Bruce Springsteen ‘on the Mend’ but Won’t Return to Tour Until 2024 

Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band perform on tour at MetLife Stadium on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP)
Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band perform on tour at MetLife Stadium on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP)
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Bruce Springsteen ‘on the Mend’ but Won’t Return to Tour Until 2024 

Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band perform on tour at MetLife Stadium on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP)
Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band perform on tour at MetLife Stadium on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP)

American rock legend Bruce Springsteen announced Wednesday that he will postpone the remainder of his 2023 tour dates until next year, as he recovers from treatment for peptic ulcer disease.

The 74-year-old singer "has continued to recover steadily" and will continue treatment for the rest of the year on doctor's advice, the statement said.

"Thanks to all my friends and fans for your good wishes, encouragement, and support, I'm on the mend and can't wait to see you all next year," he said in a statement.

The artist beloved as "the Boss" has been on tour with his E Street Band since the start of the year.

But earlier this month he announced he was postponing his September concert dates in the United States due to his illness. He also postponed two shows in August due to an unspecified illness.

"Rescheduled dates for each of the 2023 shows, including those postponed earlier this month, will be announced next week, all taking place at their originally scheduled venues," the statement said Wednesday.

Anyone unable to attend on the new dates will be able to request a refund, it added.

The artist behind mega hits like "Born to Run" and "Dancing in the Dark," Springsteen has sold more than 150 million records.

Peptic ulcers are open sores that develop on the inside stomach lining and the upper portion of the small intestine. The most common symptom is abdominal pain.

Speaking to AFP at the Manhattan film premiere of Martin Scorsese's "Killers of the Flower Moon," Steven Van Zandt -- a guitarist in the E Street Band -- said his longtime friend Springsteen "was doing better every day."

Still pulling marathons

Springsteen's current tour is the first he's gone on with the E Street Band since 2017, and he's been on the road most of 2023.

He traversed the United States before taking on Britain and Europe, then returned stateside in August.

Just before announcing his ulcer, the Boss played a nonstop three-hour set in his home state of New Jersey under a full late-summer moon.

Springsteen is famous for his marathon shows, with the longest clocking in at more than four hours, a performance he pulled off in Helsinki in 2012.

At his final show before going on leave earlier this month, Springsteen performed the hits -- including a majestic rendition of "Jungleland," a Jersey favorite -- and the deep cuts, including his rarely performed "Detroit Medley."

The artist also injected the show with his newer music off his most recent studio album "Letter To You," a meditation on loss and mortality from one of rock's ruminative stars.

The album fits neatly into his canon, with the layered guitars, dramatic percussion and glockenspiel swelling into the signature sound he coined with his E Street Band, the group he's performed with since 1972.



Review: In Concert Film ‘Renaissance,’ Beyoncé Offers Glimpse into Personal Life during World Tour

US singer/songwriter Beyoncé arrives for the world premiere of Disney's "The Lion King" at the Dolby theatre on July 9, 2019 in Hollywood. (AFP)
US singer/songwriter Beyoncé arrives for the world premiere of Disney's "The Lion King" at the Dolby theatre on July 9, 2019 in Hollywood. (AFP)
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Review: In Concert Film ‘Renaissance,’ Beyoncé Offers Glimpse into Personal Life during World Tour

US singer/songwriter Beyoncé arrives for the world premiere of Disney's "The Lion King" at the Dolby theatre on July 9, 2019 in Hollywood. (AFP)
US singer/songwriter Beyoncé arrives for the world premiere of Disney's "The Lion King" at the Dolby theatre on July 9, 2019 in Hollywood. (AFP)

In Beyoncé’s concert film, she describes her recent Renaissance World Tour as being run like a machine: From lighting to set design, the superstar had a hand in everything production-related to ensure her stadium tour exceeded expectations after four years of preparation.

As a perfectionist, Beyoncé was tirelessly determined — working almost 50 days straight — to create an epic concert experience. This becomes clear in her movie “Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé,” which chronicles the massive tour in support of her seventh studio album.

Written, directed and produced by Beyoncé, “Renaissance” perfectly captures her dazzling performances for the big screen and includes some intimate behind-the-scenes footage from the normally private singer, who has rarely done interviews in the past decade.

Beyoncé released her nearly three-hour “Renaissance” movie through AMC Theaters in similar fashion as the “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour ” film, which opened with a record-breaking $97 million domestically for a concert film last month. But unlike Swift, whose project primarily focused on her onstage performances, Beyoncé offers more insight into her personal life.

“I'm really excited for everyone to see the process,” she says in the film.

With “Renaissance,” Beyoncé displays more of her human side like in her 2019 Netflix film “Homecoming,” which delved into the singer headlining the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. This time, she goes a step further into her story as arguably music's hardest-working performer, who attempts to juggle being a mother of three while she maintains her mental and physical fortitude during her tour.

Beyoncé expressed frustration with challenges to her lofty aspirations for her tour and felt she wasn’t being heard because she’s a Black woman. The tour ultimately grossed around $500 million, according to Billboard. She opens up about having surgery on her knee, which forced her into rehabilitation a month before her first opening show in Stockholm.

Unlike her tour, Beyoncé confesses, she's “not a machine.”

But through her aches and pains, Beyoncé — who is the most decorated Grammy artist in history — showed up and performed at a very high level. It's what she demanded of herself and others who mirrored her mentality to make each show come into fruition.

The film showcases a few big-name performers who accompanied Beyoncé onstage, including Megan Thee Stallion in Houston. During her Los Angeles stint, Kendrick Lamar was a special guest along with Diana Ross, who sang to Beyoncé for her 42nd birthday.

But out of all the celebrity appearances, the one who stole the show was Beyoncé's 11-year-old daughter, Blue Ivy, who made her presence felt as a background dancer. Initially, the singer was opposed to pushing Blue into the limelight of performing in front of tens of thousands.

“She told me she was ready to perform, and I told her no,” Beyoncé says in the film.

She eventually agreed to give her daughter one chance to show her stuff. Her first performance, however, was subjected to heavy criticism on social media. But Blue Ivy used that to train harder. She gained confidence as the tour progressed and gained more standing ovations each time she hit the stage.

Blue Ivy's growth brought joy to Beyoncé and to Mathew Knowles, the proud grandfather who is shown saying, “Now, that's a Knowles!”

During a stop in Houston, Beyoncé along with her mother, Tina Knowles, drove around her old Third Ward neighborhood before they stopped by her childhood home. The return to her hometown marked another reunion between Beyoncé and all the members of the girl group Destiny's Child — which included Kelly Rowland, Michelle Williams, LeToya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson, who was once ousted from the group.

Now, it appears there's peace among them. There were no words exchanged on camera except for a collective hug, which Beyoncé called during her narration a “new birth for us. A lot of healing.”

Beyoncé along with her mother shared heartfelt moments of the singer's late uncle Johnny who introduced her to house music as a child and made her a prom dress. She dedicated the “Renaissance” album to him.

The film squeezes in Beyoncé's appreciation for her devoted Beyhive fanbase who are often shown in the audience in various cities. During her shows, she expresses her gratitude for them, calling them “beautiful faces.”

Despite the presence of jams like “Alien Superstar,” “Church Girl” and “Cuff It,” not every song performed on tour made the cut for the film.

And that's just fine. “Renaissance” is more about getting a glimpse into Beyoncé's life — even for just a little bit.


Elton John Urges Britain’s Lawmakers to Do More to Fight HIV/AIDS


FILE - Elton John performs on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
FILE - Elton John performs on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
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Elton John Urges Britain’s Lawmakers to Do More to Fight HIV/AIDS


FILE - Elton John performs on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
FILE - Elton John performs on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Elton John has urged British lawmakers to do more to fight HIV and AIDS, saying the UK can be the first country in the world “to defeat this awful virus.”
The British star spoke to lawmakers and campaigners in the grand Speaker’s House of Parliament on Wednesday evening at an event honoring his dedication to fighting HIV in the UK and beyond, The Associated Press reported.
"I implore you not to waste your allotted time as political leaders,” John urged dozens of lawmakers packed into the ornate gold-trimmed room. “Take action and push things a little further than might feel comfortable. And as you do, I can promise you this: I will be there with you."
John set up his AIDS Foundation in 1992 and has helped raise millions of dollars to prevent HIV infections and reduce stigma.
"This evening I was privileged to welcome Sir Elton John and acknowledge his exceptional contribution to the global fight against HIV and AIDS — personally and through the Elton John AIDS Foundation,” Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle said on X, formerly Twitter.
“His work embodies the solidarity and kindness that defines our shared humanity," he added.
John welcomed the “truly wonderful news” that the UK government has decided to extend a pilot program to test people visiting hospital emergency rooms for HIV, which officials say has discovered hundreds of undetected cases of the virus.
Under the program, which was recently introduced in London and other cities with a high prevalence of HIV cases, anyone 16 years old or older who has their blood tested in an emergency room will also get tested for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, unless they opt out of the testing.
“Automatic testing gets to people earlier, which means less HIV transmission, less illness, less death and by the estimate of health economists, 50 million pounds ($63 million) saved for the NHS,” Britain's health service, John said.
Health officials confirmed that the program would be scaled up to 46 more emergency departments across England, helping reach the estimated 4,500 people in England who could be living with undiagnosed HIV.
The Parliament reception for John came ahead of World AIDS Day, which takes place on Friday. The UK hopes to achieve zero HIV transmissions in England by 2030, in line with World Health Organization goals.
Earlier Wednesday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also paid tribute to John's AIDS Foundation, saying he was pleased its work was being celebrated in Parliament.
“Sir Elton has been a powerful voice for change in the UK and the world,” Sunak told lawmakers. “Through the brilliant work of the AIDS Foundation he has raised awareness of the issue, reduced stigma and saved lives.”


Morgan Wallen Tops Apple Music's 2023 Song Chart While Taylor Swift, SZA Also Lead Streaming Lists

(FILES) US singer-songwriter Taylor Swift performs during her Eras Tour at Sofi stadium in Inglewood, California, August 7, 2023. (Photo by Michael Tran / AFP)
(FILES) US singer-songwriter Taylor Swift performs during her Eras Tour at Sofi stadium in Inglewood, California, August 7, 2023. (Photo by Michael Tran / AFP)
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Morgan Wallen Tops Apple Music's 2023 Song Chart While Taylor Swift, SZA Also Lead Streaming Lists

(FILES) US singer-songwriter Taylor Swift performs during her Eras Tour at Sofi stadium in Inglewood, California, August 7, 2023. (Photo by Michael Tran / AFP)
(FILES) US singer-songwriter Taylor Swift performs during her Eras Tour at Sofi stadium in Inglewood, California, August 7, 2023. (Photo by Michael Tran / AFP)

Country singer Morgan Wallen ’s “Last Night” topped Apple Music’s global song chart in 2023 as the giant music streamer released year-end lists Tuesday and provided listeners with data on their own most listened-to tunes.
Wallen’s hit emerged as the country song with the most days — 52 — at No. 1 on the Global Daily Top 100 chart.
Nigerian rapper Rema’s “Calm Down” remix with Selena Gomez was No. 12 on the global songs chart, the highest entry, ever, for an African song. (“Calm Down” was No. 1 on the streamer’s Shazam chart.)
Joining “Last Night” at the very top of the global songs list were “Flowers” by Miley Cyrus in second, “Kill Bill” by SZA in third, “Rich Flex” by Drake and 21 Savage in fourth, and another SZA track in fifth slot: “Snooze,” which was followed by Taylor Swift’s “Anti-Hero.”
SZA, who leads the 2024 Grammy nominations, topped Apple's most-read lyrics in 2023 for her smash single, “Kill Bill.”
Wallen’s “Last Night” stayed atop the Billboard Hot 100 for 16 weeks this year, beating Harry Styles’ “As It Was” for the record of longest No. 1 run for a non-collaboration. It also tied Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee feat. Justin Bieber’s “Despacito” for the title of second-longest reign in Hot 100’s 65-year history.
New to 2023's suite of year-end charts is the inclusion of an Apple Music Sing chart, which allows users to view which songs fan sang along the most to this year. On the inaugural chart, J-pop duo YOASOBI hit No. 1 with their song “アイドル(Idol).”
Apple’s data also shows the growing presence of Música Mexicana globally. Peso Pluma and Eslabon Armado’s history-making “Ella Baila Sola” made it to No. 18 on the Global Daily Top 100, which also featured Grupo Frontera and Bad Bunny’s “un x100to,” Peso Pluma and Natanael Cano’s “PRC,” and Fuerza Regida and Grupo Frontera’s “Bebe Dame.”
Also available Tuesday is Replay — Apple’s alternative to Spotify’s Wrapped playlist — which allows Apple Music subscribers to engage with what music was most popular on the streaming service this year.
In November, Apple Music named Taylor Swift its artist of the year, after the pop superstar broke incredible records: In the first 10 months of 2023, 65 of Swift's songs reached Apple Music’s Global Daily Top 100. The Eras Tour was a catalyst: Streams grew 61% globally when she kicked off her landmark concert tour in March, and continued to build.
“Taylor Swift’s impact on music is absolutely undeniable — not just this record-breaking year, but throughout her entire career," Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music and Beats, said in a statement. “She is a generation-defining artist and a true change agent in the music industry, and there is no doubt that her impact and influence will be felt for years to come."


Timothee Chalamet Turned to Vocal Coach to the Stars for ‘Wonka’ 

Hugh Grant, from left, Timothee Chalamet, Olivia Colman and Rowan Atkinson pose for photographers upon arrival at the photo call of the film "Wonka" in London, Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. (AP)
Hugh Grant, from left, Timothee Chalamet, Olivia Colman and Rowan Atkinson pose for photographers upon arrival at the photo call of the film "Wonka" in London, Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. (AP)
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Timothee Chalamet Turned to Vocal Coach to the Stars for ‘Wonka’ 

Hugh Grant, from left, Timothee Chalamet, Olivia Colman and Rowan Atkinson pose for photographers upon arrival at the photo call of the film "Wonka" in London, Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. (AP)
Hugh Grant, from left, Timothee Chalamet, Olivia Colman and Rowan Atkinson pose for photographers upon arrival at the photo call of the film "Wonka" in London, Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. (AP)

Timothee Chalamet took lessons from a top vocal coach as he prepared to follow in the footsteps of Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp to play Willy Wonka in a new movie that tells the origin story of Roald Dahl's famed character.

In "Wonka", a musical film, the "Dune" and "Call Me by Your Name" actor plays a younger version of the chocolate-loving inventor.

"(It was) daunting because the character's beloved, people are very protective over characters they love and skeptical about Hollywood remakes. But I think we did a great job. I'm very happy with the film," Chalamet told Reuters at the "Wonka" world premiere at London's Royal Festival Hall on Tuesday.

The 27-year-old said he worked with Eric Vetro, the vocal coach to singers including Ariana Grande, John Legend and Katy Perry.

"A lot of training, a lot of vocal lessons with Eric Vetro in LA, a lot of work," he said of his preparation for the film's musical numbers.

"Wonka" sees the top hat and long jacket wearing character land in a fictional city after several years at sea. The town is home to the world's top chocolatiers and Wonka, too, hopes to open his own shop. As he chases his dream and goes against a powerful chocolate cartel, he befriends a young orphan girl and a curious small creature with orange skin and green hair - an Oompa Loompa, played by Hugh Grant.

The film is co-written and directed by "Paddington" filmmaker Paul King.

"We wanted to make a movie that would stand as a companion piece to the Gene Wilder movie, which obviously has these enduring classic songs," said King.

"There's a lot of clues that Roald Dahl left as to what Willy did before 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' so we felt confident if we just picked up on those clues, we could make something that Roald Dahl would be proud of," added Simon Farnaby, who co-wrote the screenplay with King.

"Wonka" is out globally in December.


Four BTS Members to Begin S.Korean Military Service Mid-December 

Jungkook of BTS performs on NBC's "Today" at Rockefeller Plaza on November 08, 2023 in New York City. (Getty Images/AFP)
Jungkook of BTS performs on NBC's "Today" at Rockefeller Plaza on November 08, 2023 in New York City. (Getty Images/AFP)
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Four BTS Members to Begin S.Korean Military Service Mid-December 

Jungkook of BTS performs on NBC's "Today" at Rockefeller Plaza on November 08, 2023 in New York City. (Getty Images/AFP)
Jungkook of BTS performs on NBC's "Today" at Rockefeller Plaza on November 08, 2023 in New York City. (Getty Images/AFP)

The remaining four members of K-pop supergroup BTS will begin their military service in mid-December, joining the three who are already serving, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported on Wednesday, citing music industry sources.

The seven-member group is on temporary break while members carry out South Korea's mandatory military service.

South Korea has one of the world's largest active armies to defend against North Korea, with all able-bodied men between the ages of 18 and 28 required to serve between 18 and 21 months.

There has, however, been public debate over whether BTS members should be given exemptions considering their contributions to the lucrative K-pop industry.

The group's main rapper and leader RM and vocalist V will enlist on Dec. 11, while Jimin and Jung Kook will follow suit the next day, Yonhap reported.

After initial training, the four will serve as active-duty army soldiers for 18 months, according to another report in entertainment media outlet Star News.

BTS' management agency HYBE, which has said the four had begun the process of enlistment, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Earlier this month, Jung Kook announced in a blog post he would serve in the military in December.

Jin, 30, the group's oldest member, is set to be discharged from military service in June.


‘Past Lives,’ Lily Gladstone Win at Gotham Awards 

Janae Collins, Cara Jade Myers, Tantoo Cardinal, Yancey Red Corn, Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Lily Gladstone, William Belleau, Jillian Dion and Talee Redcorn pose with awards at the 33rd annual Gotham Film Awards in New York City, U.S., November 27, 2023. (Reuters)
Janae Collins, Cara Jade Myers, Tantoo Cardinal, Yancey Red Corn, Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Lily Gladstone, William Belleau, Jillian Dion and Talee Redcorn pose with awards at the 33rd annual Gotham Film Awards in New York City, U.S., November 27, 2023. (Reuters)
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‘Past Lives,’ Lily Gladstone Win at Gotham Awards 

Janae Collins, Cara Jade Myers, Tantoo Cardinal, Yancey Red Corn, Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Lily Gladstone, William Belleau, Jillian Dion and Talee Redcorn pose with awards at the 33rd annual Gotham Film Awards in New York City, U.S., November 27, 2023. (Reuters)
Janae Collins, Cara Jade Myers, Tantoo Cardinal, Yancey Red Corn, Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Lily Gladstone, William Belleau, Jillian Dion and Talee Redcorn pose with awards at the 33rd annual Gotham Film Awards in New York City, U.S., November 27, 2023. (Reuters)

Celine Song’s wistful romance "Past Lives" earned top honors at the Gotham Awards on Monday evening at an award-season kickoff where the night's biggest drama came in a political speech by Robert De Niro that the actor claimed had been edited without his permission.

"Past Lives," a breakout at the Sundance Film Festival in January and an arthouse hit in June for A24, may be poised to be an Oscar sleeper this year after winning best feature film at the Gothams. Affection is strong for Song’s directorial debut, starring Greta Lee as a woman born in Seoul who, after marrying an American (John Magaro), reconnects with a childhood friend from South Korea (Teo Yoo).

"This is the first film I've ever made and a very personal film about an extraordinary feeling I had in an ordinary bar in the East Village, not too many blocks away from here," said Song, accepting the award. "As this film has been shared with the world, it has taught me — and taught us — that you're never alone in that extraordinary feeling."

"Past Lives" was expected to win, but the ceremony went off-script when De Niro, co-star in Martin Scorsese's "Killers of the Flower Moon," took the podium to present a tribute award to the film. While giving his remarks, De Niro noticed a section had been omitted on the teleprompter. After attempting to scroll back through, he completed his speech before returning to read from his phone.

"The beginning of my speech was edited, cut out," De Niro said. "I didn’t know about it."

De Niro, known for his fiery rhetoric against former President Donald Trump, then expanded on what he called America's "post-truth society" and chided Hollywood — specifically John Wayne — for earlier depictions of Native Americans.

"The former president lied to us more than 30,000 times during his four years in office, and he’s keeping up the pace with his current campaign of retribution," De Niro said. "With all of his lies, he can’t hide his soul. He attacks the weak, destroys the gifts of nature and shows his disrespect for example using Pocahontas as a slur."

De Niro seemed to blame Apple, which produced "Killers of the Flower Moon," for the changes to his speech.

"So, I’m going to say these things — to Apple and thank them, all that. Gothams. Blah blah blah. Apple. But I don’t really feel like thanking them at all for what they did," said De Niro. "How dare they do that, actually."

Apple didn't immediately respond to requests for comment late Monday evening.

It was still a big night for Scorsese's epic, about the Osage murders in the early 20th century, even though Scorsese unexpectedly wasn't in attendance. Lily Gladstone, who stars in the film opposite Leonardo DiCaprio, won for best lead performance — though not for that performance.

Gladstone won for a lesser-known film released earlier in 2023: "The Unknown Country," in which stars as a woman embarking on a road trip though the Midwest. In each of her speeches — for "Killers of the Flower Moon" and "The Unknown Country" — Gladstone praised the filmmakers for prioritizing Native perspectives.

"I challenge everybody in this room who makes films: Invest. When you have a budget, invest it in the people," said Gladstone. "Invest in the people that you’re telling your story about. Your film will be better for it. Your lives will be better for it."

The Gotham Awards, now in their 33rd year, leapfrog most of the major ceremonies that lead up to the Academy Awards. But over time, they’ve established themselves as the first big party of the season, and an early hint at some of the favorites.

Put on by the Gotham Film & Media Institute and held annually at Cipriani Wall Street, the Gothams have some quirks that make them different than other awards. Prizes are chosen by small committees of film professionals, critics and journalists. Their acting categories are also gender neutral, with 10 actors nominated for lead performance, and another 10 up for supporting performances.

This year, one of the most competitive categories was best international film. There, Justine Triet's Palme d'Or winning courtroom drama "Anatomy of a Fall" triumphed over the likes of "Poor Things,All of Us Strangers" and "The Zone of Interest." Triet's film also won for best screenplay.

Andrew Haigh’s tender metaphysical drama "All of Us Strangers," starring Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal, had come into the Gothams as the lead nominee with four nods, but went home without a trophy.

The Gothams this year removed a $35 million budget cap for nominees, but many big-budget films still opted not to submit themselves. The monthslong Screen Actors Guild strike meant awards season got off to a slower start, but one of the early questions is if anything can rival those diametrically opposed summer sensations of "Barbie" and "Oppenheimer."

Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie of "Barbie" were among the numerous tribute awards. In their joint speech, Gerwig said her partner, Noah Baumbach, found out he was co-writing the movie with her from a Variety article that cited them both. He sent the article to Gerwig with just a question mark, she said.

"Then he wrote back: ‘It’s OK, we'll make each other laugh,’" added Gerwig.

Best supporting performance went to Charles Melton of Todd Haynes' "May December." He plays a young father who first began his relationship with his wife (Julianne Moore) when he was a minor.

A.V. Rockwell, whose directorial debut "A Thousand and One" stars Teyana Taylor as a single mother, won for breakthrough director. She noted all of her fellow nominees were women. "It's a fight just to get here," she said.

"Just to be frank, it is very hard to tell a culturally specific story when you look like this," said Rockwell.

Best documentary went to Kaouther Ben Hania’s Tunisian film "Four Daughters," a true story about a Tunisian women with two daughters who became radicalized. The film reconstructs their disappearance.

In the TV categories, the Netflix series "Beef," starring Steven Yeun and Ali Wong as a pair locked in a feud after a road rage incident, won for both breakthrough series under 40 minutes and for Wong's performance.

"If you haven't seen ‘Beef’ yet, I swear it’s more than me and Steven crying," Wong said.

Tribute awards ensured that some star power hit the Gothams stage. They were given to: Bradley Cooper, the director, star and co-writer of "Maestro"; Ben Affleck, the director and co-star of "Air"; George C. Wolfe, the director of "Rustin"; and Michael Mann, the director of "Ferrari."

Affleck, however, wasn't in attendance. The film's screenwriter, Alex Convery, instead accepted the award.

"Well, you thought you were getting Ben Affleck," said Convery. "Sorry."

The Gothams have a checkered history of forecasting future awards glory. Last year, it was the first win in what became a runaway Oscar campaign for "Everything Everywhere All at Once," and where Ke Huy Quan’s supporting-actor bid got its start. The year before that, Gotham winner "The Lost Daughter" faded on the campaign trail, but 2020-winner "Nomadland" went the distance to the Academy Awards.


Hiam Abbass’ Palestinian Family Documentary ‘Bye Bye Tiberias’ Applauded at Marrakech Film Festival 

(L-R) Palestinian actress and director Hiam Abbass and French-Algerian director Lina Soualem pose on the red carpet during the 20th Marrakesh International Film Festival in Marrakech on November 25, 2023. (AFP)
(L-R) Palestinian actress and director Hiam Abbass and French-Algerian director Lina Soualem pose on the red carpet during the 20th Marrakesh International Film Festival in Marrakech on November 25, 2023. (AFP)
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Hiam Abbass’ Palestinian Family Documentary ‘Bye Bye Tiberias’ Applauded at Marrakech Film Festival 

(L-R) Palestinian actress and director Hiam Abbass and French-Algerian director Lina Soualem pose on the red carpet during the 20th Marrakesh International Film Festival in Marrakech on November 25, 2023. (AFP)
(L-R) Palestinian actress and director Hiam Abbass and French-Algerian director Lina Soualem pose on the red carpet during the 20th Marrakesh International Film Festival in Marrakech on November 25, 2023. (AFP)

Thirty years ago, Palestinian actor Hiam Abbass left her home to pursue her dreams of being in the movies, joining generations of women in her family who were shaped by exile and “learned to leave everything and start anew.”

That's one of the stories told in her director daughter Lina Soualem's documentary “Bye Bye Tiberias,” which received a standing ovation and shouts of “Long Live Palestine” on Saturday night at the Marrakech International Film Festival for the film's first screening in the Arab world.

The documentary, the Palestinian entry for next year's Academy Award for Best International Feature, follows Abbass and Soualem as the mother-daughter pair laugh, cry and tell the story of four generations of women in their family.

“Bye Bye Tiberias” first premiered at the Venice International Film Festival, more than a month before the start of the latest Israel-Hamas war, sparked by the militant group's deadly incursion into Israel on Oct. 7.

It is the only Palestinian film in competition in Marrakech, where festival organizers have, unlike past years, not held screenings in a popular square that has seen protests against the war.

Introducing the documentary on Saturday, Soualem and Abbass acknowledged it was an emotional time to present the film, thinking about the children and grandchildren of Palestinian refugees in Gaza.

Soualem declined to answer a question about how today's war affected reactions to her film. Speaking carefully, she later said that she felt the emotional response from festival audiences in Europe and the United States and noted her emphasis on offering a different Palestinian narrative amid current events, humanizing Palestinian women and the complex choices they make throughout their lives.

“Our hearts are heavy, seeing everything happening in Gaza — all the destruction and all the deaths, which we are mourning,” she said in an interview with The Associated Press on Sunday. “Every screening, there is a sense of repair and warmth. There’s a lot of people who feel that they cannot speak or they are silenced.”

“Bye Bye Tiberias” splices together intimate interviews of Soualem's family members, primarily her mother, Abbass, known to both Arab and Western audiences from her work in the television series “Succession” and “Ramy” as well as films such as “The Lemon Tree” in 2008, the Blade Runner 2049 in 2017, and “Gaza mon amour” in 2020.

It builds off Soualem's first documentary “Their Algeria” — another personal history about her grandparents' exile from North Africa and move to France amid war and economic downturn.

Unlike other Palestinian narratives, which focus on the broad diaspora, the Gaza Strip or the occupied West Bank, “Bye Bye Tiberias” documents a family displaced by the 1948 Arab-Israeli war from one city to another within modern-day Israel, where they retained citizenship but lived in a Palestinian village largely segregated from Jewish Israeli life.

Abbass rolls her mother Nemat in a wheelchair past Hebrew street signs and a now-dilapidated mosque in modern-day Tiberias as Soualem explains how the 1948 war upended her grandmother's education and “propelled her at full speed into history.”

Intimate interviews are spliced with excerpts from home movies shot by Soualem's father at their family's home in Deir Hanna, and archival footage spanning back to 1948.

That year, the British ordered the family to leave their home in Tiberias, a city on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. The home was later destroyed, the family was prohibited from returning and its members resettled far and wide, including in Syria and Deir Hanna, a Palestinian village within the borders of modern-day Israel.

“These images are the treasure of my memory that I don’t want to fade,” says Soualem, who narrates the documentary.

A generation later, living amid such tension “suffocated” Abbass, who emigrated to France three decades ago to pursue her dreams of becoming an actor.

“Today, I wish I could ask my mother if she forgives me for making a choice that was contrary to her traditions and her life,” Abbass says at one point in “Bye Bye Tiberias.”

For much of her daughter's life, Abbass rarely talked about her departure from the Middle East, not wanting to “open the gate to past sorrows,” Soualem says.

In the film, though, she does. Soualem captures Abbass mourning the loss of her mother, remembering performing in Jerusalem's Palestinian National Theatre, and peering across the Sea of Galilee trying to digest the enormity of what happened to Palestinian families like hers post-1948, as well as her choice to leave a land that holds great meaning to her.


‘Get Ready with Me’: Video Genre That Focuses on Everyday Life Is Everywhere — And Not Slowing Down 

TikToker Allie Pribula poses for a photograph in Mechanicsburg, Pa., Monday, Nov. 20, 2023. (AP)
TikToker Allie Pribula poses for a photograph in Mechanicsburg, Pa., Monday, Nov. 20, 2023. (AP)
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‘Get Ready with Me’: Video Genre That Focuses on Everyday Life Is Everywhere — And Not Slowing Down 

TikToker Allie Pribula poses for a photograph in Mechanicsburg, Pa., Monday, Nov. 20, 2023. (AP)
TikToker Allie Pribula poses for a photograph in Mechanicsburg, Pa., Monday, Nov. 20, 2023. (AP)

“Get Ready with Me” — to go on a date, go to work or ... get fired?

“Get Ready with Me” videos are everywhere these days, and they’re as straightforward as the name suggests. Social media users, often influencers, invite viewers to watch them get ready to do something or go somewhere. And embedded in the storyline are the skin care, the makeup, the hairdo and all the glam that goes into looking hot — and, of course, the personal stories about life or love that arrest your attention.

GRWM videos, as they’re also known, are part of a trend of “with me” content that has gained popularity over the past decade. Think “Clean with Me” videos where users watch people clean their homes for inspiration or pleasure. Or hours-long “Study with Me” videos for students who want buddies for intense cramming sessions but don’t have any friends nearby.

More than a decade after debuting on YouTube in the days when creator content was still relatively new, “Get Ready with Me” videos and their personal sensibilities have inundated social media thanks to a shorter iteration of the genre, which seems to have lent them a more personal and even revelatory tone.

“For creators, this is a vehicle for storytelling,” says Earnest Pettie, a trends insight lead at YouTube. “It becomes an excuse to share something about your life.”

People are watching by the billion

The videos have made everyday tasks a core staple of our online diets on platforms like YouTube by drawing in viewers who find it either informative, communal, or both.

Consumers, for the most part, seem to be really into it. In a report released in August, YouTube said there were more than 6 billion views of videos titled with variations of “grwm” at that point in the year. On TikTok, videos with the hashtag “grwm” have been viewed more than 157 billion times.

Celebrities and “it girls” have hopped on the bandwagon, often to promote their brands or as part of Vogue’s “Beauty Secrets” series, which draws from the trend. In April, model Sofia Richie Grainge joined TikTok and posted a series of Get Ready with Me videos to offer fans an inside look into her wedding.

In the initial years of the genre, Pettie says, people would simply put on makeup in front of the camera. Soon after, the videos evolved to what is seen today — content creators getting glammed up while talking to their followers about whatever’s on their minds.

It experienced another revival in recent years with the popularity of short-form video, TikTok’s bread-and-butter — which was cloned by YouTube and Instagram in the form of Shorts and Reels, respectively.

The genre is being adopted by up-and-coming creators who might be uncomfortable sharing a story in a video without doing anything else, says Nicla Bartoli, the vice president of sales at Influencer Marketing Factory. Adding activities has the tendency to make content feel less heavy and more inviting, especially to viewers who’ve never come across the creator but are interested in what they’re doing.

Because users also tend to scroll quickly on TikTok, creators must capture a viewer’s attention right away before they move on to the next thing on their “For You” page. More engagement means more popularity, which typically leads to partnerships with companies eager to pay influencers through brand deals or other means.

“The level of compelling stories has been increasing a lot,” says Bartoli, whose company connects influencers with brands who want to partner with them to promote products. “It can be because it’s more crowded. You need to step up the game, so to speak.”

Get ready for emerging personalities

One of the most-known influencers in this arena is 22-year-old Alix Earle, who shares her experiences with struggles like acne, an eating disorder and panic attacks as well as lighthearted episodes about nights out with friends. She has nearly 6 million followers on TikTok.

Alisha Rei, 18, who lives in Toronto and models, says she wants to create viral social media content to help her build her following and, in turn, her modeling career. She says her friends told her to make Get Ready with Me videos because they tend to be popular.

Because of modeling events, Rei says she’d missed some shifts at her part-time job working at a mall shoe store. So she decided to make a “get ready with me to get fired” video while doing her makeup before she went back for another shift. The video was tagged #pleasedontbelikeme.

In an interview, Rei, a college freshman, says she received a warning from her manager but didn’t get fired.

Often, behind the “getting ready” content lurk other, more commercial messages.

Bartoli notes that many of the confessional videos do more than they might first appear: They can provide more engagement from users who want to receive updates on a story that’s being shared or know more about the products creators are using. That can make the videos good for product placements and encourage brand partnerships, which, according to Goldman Sachs, is the largest source of income for creators.

The investment bank said in a report earlier this year that the creator economy is worth $250 billion today and could roughly double in size by 2027.

Allie Pribula, a 25-year-old TikToker who used to be an elementary school teacher in the Philadelphia suburbs, says she started making GRWM videos as a way to process her feelings about her old job. Pribula says some companies have since reached out to her to offer gifts and have paid her to market products on her page. She says she considers it a “side hustle.”

Camilla Ramirez Diaz, a 25-year-old optician who lives in Burlingame, California, recently bought a freckle pen that was featured on GRWM videos she watches at night to wind down her day. Diaz prefers to watch them more on TikTok, where she says the content can be a bit more personal. She cites a video she recently came across from an influencer who was getting ready while stranded in London due to an expired passport.

“It's almost like you’re watching your friend on FaceTime with you,” Diaz says. “I could sit there all day and watch Get Ready with Me videos from different creators. They’re just a mix of everything.”


‘Hunger Games’ Feasts, ‘Napoleon’ Conquers but ‘Wish’ Doesn’t Come True at Thanksgiving Box Office 

US actress Viola Davis attends the premiere of "The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes" at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California, on November 13, 2023. (AFP)
US actress Viola Davis attends the premiere of "The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes" at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California, on November 13, 2023. (AFP)
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‘Hunger Games’ Feasts, ‘Napoleon’ Conquers but ‘Wish’ Doesn’t Come True at Thanksgiving Box Office 

US actress Viola Davis attends the premiere of "The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes" at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California, on November 13, 2023. (AFP)
US actress Viola Davis attends the premiere of "The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes" at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California, on November 13, 2023. (AFP)

The Walt Disney Co.’s “Wish” had been expected to rule the Thanksgiving weekend box office, but moviegoers instead feasted on leftovers, as “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” led ticket sales for the second weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.

Neither of the weekend’s top new releases — “Wish” and Ridley Scott’s “Napoleon” — could keep up with Lionsgate’s “Hunger Games” prequel. After debuting the previous weekend with $44.6 million, the return to Panem proved the top draw for holiday moviegoers, grossing $28.8 million over the weekend and $42 million over the five-day holiday frame.

In two weeks of release, “Songbirds and Snakes” has grossed nearly $100 million domestically and $200 million globally.

The closer contest was for second place, where “Napoleon” narrowly outmaneuvered “Wish.” Scott’s epic outperformed expectations to take $32.5 million over the five-day weekend and an estimated $20.4 million Friday through Sunday. The film, starring Joaquin Phoenix as the French emperor and Vanessa Kirby as his wife Joséphine de Beauharnais, was also the top movie globally with $78.8 million.

Reviews were mixed (61% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) and ticket buyers were non-plussed (a “B-” CinemaScore), but “Napoleon” fared far better in theaters than its subject did at Waterloo.

“Napoleon,” like Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon,” is a big-budget statement by Apple Studios of the streamer’s swelling Hollywood ambitions. With an estimated budget of $200 million, “Napoleon” may still have a long road to reach profitability for Apple, which partnered with Sony to distribute “Napoleon” theatrically. But it’s an undeniably strong beginning for an adult-skewing 168-minute historical drama.

“Wish,” however, had been supposed to have a more starry-eyed start. Disney Animation releases like “Frozen II” ($123.7 million over five days in 2019), “Ralph Breaks the Internet” ($84.6 million in 2018) and “Coco” ($71 million in 2017), have often owned Thanksgiving moviegoing.

But “Wish” wobbled, coming in with $31.7 million over five days and $19.5 million Friday through Sunday. It added $17.3 million internationally. It had been forecast to debut closer to $50 million.

“Wish,” at least, is faring better than Disney’s Thanksgiving release last year: 2022’s “Strange World” bombed with a five-day $18.9 million opening. But hopes had been higher for “Wish,” co-written and co-directed by the “Frozen” team of Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee and featuring the voices of Ariana DeBose and Chris Pine. “Wish,” a fairy tale centered around a wished-upon star, is also a celebration of Disney, itself, timed to the studio’s 100th anniversary and rife with callbacks to Disney favorites.

Critics weren’t impressed, saying “Wish” felt more like a marketing than movie magic. So instead of righting an up-and-down year for Disney, “Wish” is, for now, adding to some of the studio’s recent headaches, including the underperforming “The Marvels.” The Marvel sequel has limped to $76.9 million domestically and $110.2 million overseas in three weeks.

“Wish” also faced direct competition for families in “Trolls Band Together.” The DreamWorks and Universal Pictures release opened a week prior, and took in $17.5 million in its second frame ($25.3 million over five days).

“‘Wish’ ran into a much more competitive market than what Disney might normally see in the Thanksgiving corridor,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for data firm Comscore. “We’re accustomed to seeing those Disney films at the top of the chart. They kind of had to split the audience with ‘Trolls.’”

Still, the storybook isn’t written yet on “Wish.” It could follow the lead of Pixar’s “Elemental,” which launched with a lukewarm $29.6 million in June but found its legs, ultimately grossing nearly $500 million worldwide.

Also entering wide-release over the holiday weekend was Emerald Fennell’s “Saltburn,” the writer-director’s follow-up to 2020’s “Promising Young Woman.” After debuting in seven packed theaters last weekend, “Saltburn” grossed $3.1 million over five days for Amazon and MGM. Barry Keoghan stars as an Oxford student befriended by a rich classmate (Jacob Elordi) and invited to his family’s country manor.

As Hollywood’s award season accelerates (Netflix debuted Bradley Cooper’s “Maestro” in select theaters but didn’t report grosses), Focus Features’ “The Holdovers” continues to be one of the top choices in cinemas. Alexander Payne’s film starring Paul Giamatti as a boarding school instructor made $3.8 million over the five-day weekend. In five weeks, it’s grossed $12.9 million.

Ticket sales overall reached $172 million in US and Canada theaters over the five-day holiday weekend, according to Comscore. That’s up significantly from recent years but well behind the typical pre-pandemic Thanksgiving weekends. (In 2019, sales boosted by “Frozen 2” surpassed $262 million.)


Saudi Arabia Unveils Largest Entertainment Destination in Aseer Worth over SAR 1.3 Billion

With an investment value of more than SAR 1.3 billion, the entertainment destination is strategically located between the cities of Abha and Khamis Mushait, near Abha International Airport. (SPA)
With an investment value of more than SAR 1.3 billion, the entertainment destination is strategically located between the cities of Abha and Khamis Mushait, near Abha International Airport. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia Unveils Largest Entertainment Destination in Aseer Worth over SAR 1.3 Billion

With an investment value of more than SAR 1.3 billion, the entertainment destination is strategically located between the cities of Abha and Khamis Mushait, near Abha International Airport. (SPA)
With an investment value of more than SAR 1.3 billion, the entertainment destination is strategically located between the cities of Abha and Khamis Mushait, near Abha International Airport. (SPA)

Governor of Aseer Region and Chairman of Aseer Development Authority “ASDA” Prince Turki bin Talal bin Abdulaziz oversaw the announcement of SEVEN’s fifth entertainment destination in the Kingdom and the first in the Aseer region, reported the Saudi Press Agency on Sunday.

With an investment value of more than SAR 1.3 billion, the entertainment destination is strategically located between the cities of Abha and Khamis Mushait, near Abha International Airport. The development is set on a land size of 64,000 square meters with a built-up area of more than 79,000 square meters.

Designed by Gensler, a global architecture, design, and planning firm, the architecture was inspired by the ancient stone buildings of the area to highlight the identity of Aseer. The design aligns with the principles of The Urban Code of Aseer Region, which aims to promote excellence in urban planning, design, landscape and architecture, while respecting the identity of the region.

Prince Turki said: “Aseer region is witnessing an unprecedented renaissance across different sectors and verticals through the endless support from our leadership. SEVEN’s entertainment destination in Abha is one of the key projects in Aseer which will support our ambition to become a global destination all year round.”

Chairman of the Board of Directors of SEVEN Abdullah AlDawood said: “Abha represents another ambitious project in the framework of our efforts to support the entertainment sector across the Kingdom following the objectives and goals of Vision 2030. We forecast a GDP contribution of more than SAR 4 billion and over 5 million visitors by 2030. In addition to creating more than hundreds of direct and indirect jobs for the people of Aseer region.”

He added: “We have been keen, in cooperation with the Aseer Development Authority and under the direct supervision of Prince Turki bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, to ensure that the architectural design of the destination is inspired by the ancient heritage of the region, while providing unique and distinctive entertainment attractions for guests of all age groups, enriching their quality of life.”

“We extend our sincere appreciation to our strategic partners for supporting our efforts to develop the entertainment landscape in the region.”

SEVEN, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), has appointed Modern Building Leaders to undertake the construction works.

SEVEN Abha will be home to eight unique attractions, which includes a family entertainment center offering various experiences from arcade games, unique world-class rides to Virtual reality areas.

There will be a Discovery Adventures jungle-themed edutainment attraction created in partnership with Warner Bros. Discovery Global Themed Entertainment, an outdoor jungle-themed attraction that provides exciting educational entertainment experiences; a PLAY-DOH themed entertainment center that taps into children’s creativity and imagination under license by leading toy and game company Hasbro; and a 12-hole indoor golf adventure area with the latest technology for an immersive gaming experience.

Visitors can experience a full range of live entertainment events at the multipurpose venue, indoor e-karting on multi-level tracks, a 10-lane futuristic bowling concept, ten screens for cinema from AMC and many more fun-filled experiences all under one roof. In addition, SEVEN will bring a wide range of retail and F&B offerings with something to suit everyone.

SEVEN has partnered with leading companies in their fields to design the entertainment attractions in Abha, including Cundall, Theme 3, Top Notch, Holofice, Thinkwell and Sea Quest.