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Springsteen Has Mortality On His Mind But Celebration In His Songs AT London Show

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LONDON, England – Bruce Springsteen was not going to let event promoters cancel his performance at Hyde Park 11 years ago.

“F— ’em is right,” Springsteen exclaimed, feigning fear that an impending curfew might stop his sold-out event Thursday in front of 65,000 fans.

Springsteen, still going strong at 73, had an earlier start and raced through a three-hour set Thursday in rapid succession. He took a few steps to think about the passage of time and the loss of friends.

The 28-song set included anthemic classics such as “Born in the USA,” “Prove it All Night,” and “Born to Run,” as well as several newer songs and one cover in a show that leaned heavily on a message of mortality but felt more like a celebration of life as an enthusiastic audience sang along on a beautiful summer evening.

“London, is anyone alive out there tonight?” he yelled in an entrance to “Mary’s Place,” one of the numerous songs that featured the E Street Band’s crisp horn section, dueling keyboards, and excellent collection of backup singers, all backed up by tens of thousands of amateurs. “If you’re still alive, I’m still alive.” And that is why we came here.”

The tour, Springsteen’s first in seven years, began in February in Tampa and has included nearly the same set list every night, which is rare for a performer who has frequently played requests fans leave on handwritten placards.

Springsteen and the E Street Band took the stage shortly after 7 p.m. to a shout of “Bruuuuuuce,” which can be misinterpreted as booing by the uninformed. Springsteen donned a black button-snap shirt with short sleeves folded to show off his still-taut pipes, dark pants cuffed at the ankle, and oxblood Doc Martens boots with short-cropped silvery hair slicked back.

Following the obligatory ‘Hello London’, he quickly counted out ‘one, two, three, four’ for the chest-thumping drum opening to ‘No Surrender’, which had fans howling and the band rushing forward as a hard-rocking goods train.

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Bruce Springsteen would not let event promoters cancel his performance at Hyde Park 11 years ago.

Even the opening monologue about camaraderie and the power of music, with its memorable statement about learning “more from a three-minute record… than we ever learned in school,” caught the evening’s subject.

“Young faces grow sad and old,” he sings in a line that leads to “I’m ready to grow young again” before the chorus pledge of “no retreat… no surrender.”

He then sang “Ghosts,” a soaring ode to his bandmates, ending with “I’m alive and I’m out here on my own/I’m alive and I’m comin’ home.”

Springsteen, though, was not alone. He was joined by 17 members of the E Street Band, which has been rocking for 50 years, including some of the band’s longest-serving members: guitarists Little Steven Van Zandt and Nils Lofgren, drummer Max Weinberg, bassist Garry Tallent, and keyboardist Roy Bittan.

At the climax of the song, saxophonist Jake Clemons, the nephew of Springsteen’s longtime sax player and friend Clarence Clemons, who died in 2011, placed his arm around Springsteen’s shoulder as they sang a seemingly endless string of la-la-la’s. Then, as he had done throughout the night, Clemons stepped center stage and screamed on his gleaming sax.

Despite a few tour cancellations due to undisclosed sickness, Springsteen remains a powerful performer, moving slightly stiffly as he rushed along the stage or descended several steps to slap hands and pose for photographs with the exuberant front-row audience.

springsteen

Bruce Springsteen would not let event promoters cancel his performance at Hyde Park 11 years ago.

During a rousing rendition of “Out in the Street,” in which he sings, “I walk the way I want to walk,” he staggered back to the stage. It wasn’t as uncomfortable as a tumble on stage during a May engagement in Amsterdam. Clemons sat next to him on the steps as he finished the song.

He led the E Street Band like a symphony, flailing his arms, swinging his right hand to signify a downbeat, or counting out time with his right hand. He joked about doing the motions in the mirror at night.

After a more than ten-minute jazz jam on “Kitty’s Back,” in which Springsteen opened the song by running his fingers along the fretboard of his Fender electric guitar, producing a screeching wail of feedback and growling like Tom Waits, the band eased into “Night Shift,” a Commodores tribute to R&B singers Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson. The song on his last album of soul covers, “Only the Strong Survive,” included wonderful backup vocals by Curtis King, whose astonishing ability to nail high notes made Springsteen smile.

The band took a break halfway through the show, and Springsteen approached the mic alone with an acoustic guitar. The crowd remained motionless as he described how, in 1965, he “embarked on the greatest adventure of my young life” by joining his first band, The Castiles. A half-century later, he found himself on the deathbed of the band’s founder, George Theiss, and realized he’d soon be the only survivor of that bunch of guys.

“Death is like standing on the railway tracks with a train bearing down on you,” he explained. “It brings a certain clarity of thought, purpose, and meaning.” Death’s final and lasting gift to all of us is a broader perspective on life. “How vital it is to seize the day whenever possible.”

“At 15, it’s all hellos, and later on, there’s a lot more hard goodbyes,” he explained. “So take care of yourself and those you care about.”

springsteen

Bruce Springsteen would not let event promoters cancel his performance at Hyde Park 11 years ago.

He then sang “Last Man Standing,” inspired by Theiss’ death, from his most recent album of original material, “Letter to You,” released in 2020.

Springsteen classics such as “Because the Night,” “Badlands,” “Thunder Road,” “Glory Days,” and “Dancing in the Dark” were then ripped through by the band. Even with everyone singing loudly, they couldn’t drown out Bruce’s tremendous voice or the sound system that was amplifying it.

During a rollicking “Tenth Avenue Freezeout,” a video montage featuring the larger-than-life figure called “The Big Man,” and former organist and accordionist Danny Federici, who died in 2008, played behind the band.

Springsteen appeared alone with an acoustic guitar and harmonica for an encore, joking that he was only getting warmed up.

He then sang, “I’ll see you in my Dreams,” a lullaby-like ode to mortality inspired by the death of yet another buddy.

“For death is not the end,” he sang, “’cause I’ll see you in my dreams.”

SOURCE – (AP)

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2024: Bridgit Mendler, A Former Disney Actor Turned Space Startup CEO, Is Reaching For The Stars

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Bridgit Mendler, known for appearing on Good Luck Charlie and other Disney productions, is venturing into new territory: space.

Disney has effectively launched the careers of major stars such as Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez. However, one former child actor who starred on the network is pursuing a different venture: a space corporation.

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Bridgit Mendler, A Former Disney Actor Turned Space Startup CEO, Is Reaching For The Stars

Bridgit, a 31-year-old singer and actor best known for her role as Teddy Duncan on the Disney Channel original series Good Luck Charlie, announced this week on X (formerly Twitter) that she is venturing into uncharted territory by launching Northwood Space, a California-based satellite data startup.

Bridgit will lead the company as CEO, while her husband, Gryphon Cleverly, whom she married in 2019, will serve as chief technical officer. “Expect the unexpected!” she posted on X, reacting to a CNBC reporter who broke the story.

According to Ari Eisenstat, the space programme director for the upcoming Texas Eclipse Festival, Bridgit’s venture into science “is a great example of space moving from the domain of governments to becoming accessible to everyone”. Eisenstadt adds that we should all look to “younger generations to see diverse entrepreneurs create social, economic, and environmental impact in the space community”.

According to Bridgit’s post on X, investors have already provided $6.3 million (£4.9 million) in preliminary funding for the startup to create “a data highway between Earth and space.” Mendler said, “We have a lot of work ahead of us, but that’s the fun part.”

While it may come as a surprise to her followers, Mendler has always had interests beyond performing. She graduated from the University of Southern California in 2016 and began working at the MIT Media Lab in 2017. She enrolled in the graduate programme in 2018 and will begin her doctorate in philosophy at MIT in 2020. The next year, Mendler enrolled at Harvard Law School.

mendler

Bridgit Mendler, A Former Disney Actor Turned Space Startup CEO, Is Reaching For The Stars

Then, Mendler told CNBC that the seed of the Northwood idea was planted while she was in New Hampshire during the COVID-19 lockdown. “While everyone else was preparing their sourdough starts, we created antennae from whatever we could find at Home Depot. For me, the ground side is important because it brings the effects of space closer to people. However, it wasn’t until she started working at the Federal Communications Commission in 2022 that she understood her new path: she told CNBC it was when she “completely fell in love with space law”.

Mendler’s big news has her admirers excited to follow up, and her X announcement currently has over 23,000 likes. Northwood Space, which plans to mass-produce massive terrestrial antennas that connect to satellites in space, says: “The one-lane rickety road for space data needs to adapt to a ten-lane highway routing continuous traffic across the globe.”And, as a woman in science who changed careers to pursue her ambition, Mendler is likely to inspire other women to make timely career changes.

mendler

Bridgit Mendler, A Former Disney Actor Turned Space Startup CEO, Is Reaching For The Stars

Laurie Bardon Syphard, an environmental science educator, says she’s impressed by Mendler’s credentials and is already excited about her new business. “My gut is telling me that she is going to go really far with this career in science and technology,” she adds, adding that the young scientist’s Disney admirers would most certainly keep an eye on her, especially given space is “one of the areas that just is exciting and inspires people”.

Mendler’s followers appear to agree and have taken to X to celebrate her continuous success. One fan wrote, “She’s Barbie. Like 12 different careers. Singer/songwriter, actor, Harvard PhD in law, MIT PHD student, startup CEO.”

SOURCE – (BBC)

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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:

oscars

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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