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Shane MacGowan, Lead Singer Of The Pogues And A Laureate Of Booze And Beauty, Dies At Age 65

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LONDON, England – Shane MacGowan, The Pogues’ boisterous, rabble-rousing singer and lead composer who combined traditional Irish music with the intensity and spirit of punk, died Thursday, according to his family. He was 65.

MacGowan’s songwriting and persona established him as an iconic figure in contemporary Irish culture, and some of his compositions have become classics, most notably the bittersweet Christmas ballad “Fairytale of New York,” of which Irish President Michael D. Higgins stated that it “will be listened to every Christmas for the next century or more.”

“It is with deepest sorrow and heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our most beautiful, darling, and dearly beloved Shane MacGowan,” his wife Victoria Clarke, sister Siobhan, and father Maurice said in a statement.

According to the statement, the musician died peacefully with his family by his side.

After being diagnosed with viral encephalitis in late 2022, the musician was hospitalized in Dublin for several months. He was released last week, just in time for his forthcoming birthday on Christmas Day.

The Pogues fused Irish folk and rock ‘n’ roll into a unique, irresistible blend, though MacGowan became known for his slurred performances as much as his passionate compositions.

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Shane MacGowan, Lead Singer Of The Pogues And A Laureate Of Booze And Beauty, Dies At Age 65

His lyrics mixed scabrous and romantic elements, ranging from carousing anthems to pictures of life in the gutter to sweet love songs. “Fairytale of New York,” The Pogues’ most famous song, is a tale about down-on-their-luck immigrant lovers that begins with the rather unfestive words: “It was Christmas Eve, babe, in the drunk tank.” The duet between MacGowan’s scratchy voice and the silky tones of the late Kirsty MacColl is by far the most popular Pogues song in Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Nick Cave, a singer-songwriter, described Shane MacGowan as “a true friend and the greatest songwriter of his generation.”

The Irish president, Michael D. Higgins, stated that “his songs capture within them, as Shane would put it, the measure of our dreams.”

“His words have connected Irish people all over the globe to their culture and history, encompassing so many human emotions in the most poetic of ways,” added Higgins.

According to Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, MacGowan’s compositions “beautifully captured the Irish experience, especially the experience of being Irish abroad.”

According to Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald, “nobody told the Irish story like Shane — stories of emigration, heartache, dislocation, redemption, love, and joy.”

MacGowan was born on Christmas Day 1957 in England to Irish parents and spent his childhood in rural Ireland before returning to London. Ireland remained the everlasting focus of his imagination and longing. He grew up listening to Irish music from family and neighbors and rock, Motown, reggae, and jazz.

He was expelled from London’s renowned Westminster School and spent time in a psychiatric facility following a breakdown in his teens.

MacGowan welcomed the punk scene that erupted in the United Kingdom in the mid-1970s. He played in a band called the Nipple Erectors as Shane O’Hooligan before forming The Pogues with musicians including Jem Finer and Spider Stacey.

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Shane MacGowan, Lead Singer Of The Pogues And A Laureate Of Booze And Beauty, Dies At Age 65

The Pogues blended punk’s ferocious energy with traditional Irish tunes and instruments such as banjo, tin whistle, and accordion.

“It never occurred to me that you could play Irish music to a rock audience,” MacGowan said in his 2001 biography “A Drink with Shane MacGowan,” co-written with Clarke. “And then it clicked. Start an Irish band in London that plays Irish music with a rock and roll beat. The original plan was to simply blast out classic songs, but then I started writing.”

“Red Roses for Me,” the band’s first album, was released in 1984 and contained boisterous interpretations of Irish folk tunes among originals such as “Boys from County Hell,” “Dark Streets of London,” and “Streams of Whisky.”

The band gained a loyal following and accolades from music journalists and fellow performers ranging from Bono to Bob Dylan while performing in pubs and clubs throughout London and beyond.

The songs on the following two albums, “Rum, Sodomy and the Lash” (1985) and “If I Should Fall from Grace with God” (1988), by MacGowan, ranged from raucous rousers like the latter album’s title track to ballads like “A Pair of Brown Eyes” and “The Broad Majestic Shannon.”

The band also published an EP in 1986 called “Poguetry in Motion,” which included two of MacGowan’s best tunes, “A Rainy Night in Soho” and “The Body of an American.” The latter was featured frequently in the early-2000s TV show “The Wire,” when it was performed at the funerals of Baltimore police officers.

“I wanted to make pure music that could be from any time, to make time irrelevant, to make generations and decades irrelevant,” he wrote in his autobiographical book.

The Pogues momentarily ruled the world, with sold-out tours and appearances on American television, but the band’s output and appearances became more unpredictable, owing in part to MacGowan’s troubles with drink and narcotics. He was fired by the other band members in 1991 after a spate of no-shows, notably while The Pogues were opening for Dylan. Before disbanding, the band momentarily replaced MacGowan with Clash frontman Joe Strummer.

macgowan

Shane MacGowan, Lead Singer Of The Pogues And A Laureate Of Booze And Beauty, Dies At Age 65

MacGowan joined a new band, Shane MacGowan and the Popes, and released two albums: “The Snake” in 1995 and “The Crock Of Gold” in 1997. Despite his well-documented drinking problems and performances that frequently included slurred lyrics and at least one stage collapse, he reconnected with The Pogues in 2001 for a series of concerts and tours.

MacGowan struggled with health issues for years and relied on a wheelchair after breaking his pelvis a decade ago. He was well-known for his damaged, decaying teeth until he received a full set of implants in 2015 from a dental specialist who referred to the treatment as “the Everest of dentistry.”

On his 60th birthday, MacGowan got a lifetime achievement award from Ireland’s president. A celebratory concert featuring Bono, Nick Cave, Sinead O’Connor, and Johnny Depp took place at Dublin’s National Concert Hall to mark the occasion.

In an Instagram post, Clarke said, “There’s no way to describe the loss that I am feeling and the longing for just one more of his smiles that lit up my world.”

“I am blessed beyond words to have met him and to have loved him and to have been so endlessly and unconditionally loved by him and to have had so many years of life and love and joy and fun and laughter and so many adventures,” she wrote in an email.

SOURCE – (AP)

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2024 OSCARS: Everything You Need To Know About This Year’s Oscars

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NEW YORK — After a winter of award events, including the Emmys, Golden Globes, and Grammys, the granddaddy of them all, the Academy Awards, is just around the horizon. The 96th Academy Awards may be a coronation for “Oppenheimer,” which leads with 13 nominations, but other films, including “Barbie,” “Killers of the Flower Moon,” and “Poor Things,” are also in the running.

Here’s what you should know about this year’s show:

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When are the Oscars?

The Oscars will be on Sunday, March 10, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. The event will begin at 7 p.m. EDT, one hour earlier than normal, and will be live on ABC. The pre-show will begin at 6:30 p.m. EDT. This is an early reminder to set your clocks – the first day of daylight saving time in the United States.

Are the Oscars livestreamed?
You can access the show on ABC.com and the ABC app with a cable subscription. You may also watch on Hulu Live, YouTube, AT&T, and FuboTV.

Who is hosting the Oscars?
Jimmy Kimmel, who hosted the ceremony last year, will serve as emcee for the fourth time. That matches him with fellow four-timers Whoopi Goldberg and Jack Lemmon, leaving Kimmel trailing only Johnny Carson (five), Billy Crystal (nine), and Bob Hope (eleven) among Oscar hosts. “I always dreamed of hosting the Oscars exactly four times,” Kimmel told the audience.

What films are nominated for Best Picture at the 2024 Oscars?
The ten best-picture nominees are: “American Fiction,” “Anatomy of a Fall,” “Barbie,” “The Holdovers,” “Killers of the Flower Moon,” “Maestro,” “Oppenheimer,” “Past Lives,” “Poor Things,” and “The Zone of Interest.”

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Who are the favourites?

Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” is the front-runner. Nolan, the best director favourite, is expected to win his first Oscar. The best actress category could be a close call between Lily Gladstone (“Killers of the Flower Moon”) and Emma Stone (“Poor Things”). If Gladstone wins, she will be the first Native American to win an Oscar. Best actor might also be a tight call between Cillian Murphy (“Oppenheimer”) and Paul Giamatti (“The Holdovers”). They would be first-time winners. Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Giamatti’s co-star, is the favourite to win Best supporting actress, while Robert Downey Jr. (“Oppenheimer”) is predicted to win Best Supporting Actor. Ryan Gosling is his closest competitor for “Barbie.”

What’s with the ‘Barbie’ snubs?
While “Barbie,” 2023’s largest box-office blockbuster, received eight nominations, much of the conversation has focused on the film’s lack of nominations. Greta Gerwig was not nominated for directing, while Margot Robbie did not win best actress. Some have detected reflections of the misogyny spoofed in “Barbie,” while others have noted comedians’ traditionally poor reception at the Oscars. The nominations for “Barbie” include best-adapted screenplay (by Gerwig and Noah Baumbach), best supporting actress (America Ferrera), and two best song nominees: Billie Eilish’s “What Was I Made For” and Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt’s “I’m Just Ken.”

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Are there any changes to this year’s Oscars?

Though prior Oscars have been marred by slaps, envelope snafus, and debates about which prizes are presented live during the ceremony, this year’s show promises to remain relatively unchanged. All of the awards will be broadcast live. The academy is introducing a new award for best casting, but the trophy will be handed in at the 2026 Oscars.

What else is there to look for?
Composer John Williams has been nominated for his record 49th best-score Oscar for “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” and 54th overall. Godzilla is making his Oscar debut, with “Godzilla Minus One” nominated for outstanding visual effects. Two non-English language films are nominated for Best Picture for the first time: the German-language Auschwitz drama “The Zone of Interest” and the French courtroom drama “Anatomy of a Fall.”

SOURCE – (AP)

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Beatles To Get A Fab 4 Of Biopics, With A Movie Each For Paul, John, George And Ringo

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NEW YORK — The Beatles are receiving the big-screen biography treatment in not just one film but four, with each band member getting his spotlight – all directed by Sam Mendes.

For the first time, the Beatles, traditionally among the most stingy rights holders, are granting complete life and music rights to a film project. Sony Pictures revealed Monday a contract that may dwarf all previous music biopics, with the story of Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr divided across four films.

The Mendes-conceived films are intended to be released theatrically in a unique manner, with the films coexisting or intersecting in theatres. Specific release plans will be communicated at a later date. Sony has set a release date of 2027.

beatles

Beatles To Get A Fab Four Of Biopics, With A Movie Each For Paul, John, George And Ringo

McCartney, Starr, and the families of John Lennon and George Harrison have all approved the initiative through the band’s Apple Corps. Ltd. Sony Music Publishing has rights to the majority of Beatles’ songs.

“I’m honoured to be telling the story of the greatest rock band of all time, and excited to challenge the notion of what constitutes a trip to the movies,” Mendes stated in an e-mail.

Each film will be told from the perspective of one of the Beatles.

“We intend this to be a uniquely thrilling and epic cinematic experience: four films, told from four different perspectives, which tell a single story about the most celebrated band of all time,” stated Pippa Harris, the film’s producer. “To have The Beatles’ and Apple Corps’ blessing to do this is an immense privilege.”

The Beatles’ most well-known film appearances were during their early career. From 1964 to 1970, they appeared in five films, including “A Hard Day’s Night” (1964) and the animated “Yellow Submarine” (1968). They have, of course, been the subject of numerous documentaries, most recently Peter Jackson’s 2021 “The Beatles: Get Back.”

beatles

Beatles To Get A Fab Four Of Biopics, With A Movie Each For Paul, John, George And Ringo

The Beatles reunited in 2023 using artificial intelligence in the newly released song “Now and Then.” The track was made feasible by technology employed by Jackson on “Get Back,” it included a music video directed by the New Zealand director.

Attempts to dramatise the Beatles’ narrative have been intermittent and less effective. A 1979 biography titled “The Birth of the Beatles” was developed while Lennon was still alive, with the Beatles’ original drummer, Pete Best, serving as an adviser. The 1994 indie drama “Backbeat” followed Lennon’s connection with Stuart Sutcliffe before the Beatles became famous. Aaron Taylor-Johnson portrayed a teenage Lennon in the 2009 “Nowhere Boy” film.

However, music biopics have become a lucrative business in the last decade. Box-office successes like “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Rocketman,” and “Elvis” have prompted Hollywood executives to seek the next jukebox blockbuster. Over Presidents Day weekend, “Bob Marley: One Love,” co-produced with the Marley estate, was the top-grossing film in theatres. A Michael Jackson biopic is currently under production.

beatles

Beatles To Get A Fab Four Of Biopics, With A Movie Each For Paul, John, George And Ringo

“Theatrical film events today must be culturally significant. “Sam’s daring, large-scale idea is that and more,” said Tom Rothman, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures’ Motion Picture Group.

The combination of Mendes’ crew “with the music and stories of four young men who changed the world, will rock audiences all over the globe,” Rothman added. “We are deeply grateful to all parties and look forward ourselves to breaking some rules with Sam’s uniquely artistic vision.”

SOURCE – (AP)

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George Santos Sues Late-Night Host Jimmy Kimmel For Tricking Him Into Making Videos To Ridicule Him

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NEW YORK — Former United States Representative George Santos said in a complaint filed Saturday that late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel duped him into creating films on the Cameo app that were used to mock the disgraced New York Republican on the show.

Kimmel, ABC, and Walt Disney Co. are named as defendants in the action filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. A Disney staffer was identified as a media contact for the Jimmy Kimmel Live! The show has yet to respond to an email from The Associated Press requesting comment.

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George Santos Sues Late-Night Host Jimmy Kimmel For Tricking Him Into Making Videos To Ridicule Him

George, who was ejected from the House of Representatives last year after being charged with numerous counts of fraud and stealing from contributors, is suing for alleged copyright infringement, fraudulent inducement, breach of contract, and unjust enrichment.

Kimmel misrepresented himself to persuade George to create personalised videos “capitalising on and ridiculing” his “gregarious personality,” according to the lawsuit.

Individuals and corporations contacted Santos via Cameo to request personalised video messages. According to the complaint, Kimmel made at least 14 requests using fictitious identities and storylines, which Santos was unaware of.

santos

George Santos Sues Late-Night Host Jimmy Kimmel For Tricking Him Into Making Videos To Ridicule Him

According to the claim, the films began playing on a segment titled “Will Santos Say It?” in December.

In one of the videos, Santos congratulates the alleged winner of a beef-eating contest, praising the achievement of eating 6 pounds (2.7 kilogrammes) of loose ground beef in under 30 minutes as “amazing and impressive.”

“Frankly, Kimmel’s fake requests were amusing, but what he did was a clear violation of copyright law,” said Robert Fantone, an attorney for George, in an email.

Santos is seeking $750,000 in statutory damages for the five videos he generated that were featured on the show and numerous social media sites. He also requests that other damages be established at trial.

santos

George Santos Sues Late-Night Host Jimmy Kimmel For Tricking Him Into Making Videos To Ridicule Him

The former senator is facing a raft of criminal charges, including allegations that he cheated campaign donors, lied to Congress about his wealth, took unemployment benefits while employed, and used campaign contributions to pay for personal expenses such as designer apparel. He is also accused of making unauthorised payments on credit cards belonging to several benefactors.

George pleaded not guilty to an amended indictment in October.

On Tuesday, Democrat Tom Suozzi won a special election to fill Santos’ previous seat.

SOURCE – (AP)

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