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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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A&E >  Pop culture

Nichelle Nichols, who played Uhura in ‘Star Trek’ franchise, dies at 89

UPDATED: Sun., July 31, 2022

Nichelle Nichols, an actress whose role as the communications chief Uhura in the original “Star Trek” franchise in the 1960s helped break ground on TV by showing a Black woman in a position of authority and who shared with co-star William Shatner one of the first interracial kisses on American prime-time television, died July 30 at 89.
A&E >  Pop culture

American soprano withdraws from Italian festival that used blackface

UPDATED: Sat., July 16, 2022

The American soprano Angel Blue announced on Thursday that she had canceled her planned debut in Verdi's "La Traviata" at the Arena di Verona in Italy after learning that an earlier production of "Aida" at the summer festival had featured performers in blackface. The Grammy-award winning singer's decision came after Russian soprano Anna Netrebko shared photos of herself on Instagram wearing dark makeup to play the title role of an Ethiopian princess.Blue, who is Black, posted on Instagram that she could not in "good conscience" associate herself with an institution that supports the practice, which has been largely discontinued in the U.S., where it is widely viewed as racist and dehumanizing."Let me be perfectly clear: the use of blackface under any circumstances, artistic or otherwise, is a deeply misguided practice based on archaic theatrical traditions which have no place in modern society," she wrote. "It is offensive, humiliating, and outright racist. Full stop."In recent years, several prominent politicians and entertainers, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, Jimmy Fallon and Jason Aldean have come under fire for wearing blackface in the past. The practice has a long, complicated history in theater, stretching from the medieval period to Shakespeare to American minstrel shows. The Metropolitan Opera's 2015 "Otello" was the company's first production of the show that did not use skin-darkening makeup. In some parts of Europe and Russia, however, blackface has endured. A 2019 Post opinion piece called it a "global problem."The Arena di Verona controversy comes at an inopportune moment for Netrebko, who is trying to rebuild her reputation after her long-standing support of Vladimir Putin drew criticism after the invasion of Ukraine. In March, Netrebko canceled performances in Europe and the U.S., including several at the Metropolitan Opera after refusing to comply with the venue's request that she renounce her support for Putin.Netrebko has been an outspoken proponent for wearing blackface, believing it helps maintain theatrical tradition. For a 2018 production of "Aida" at the Metropolitan Opera, she resorted to a tanning salon after the company balked at her desire to use dark makeup. The recent photos Netrebko posted to Instagram, which show her with long black braids and makeup covering her face, chest and arms, received more than 1,000 comments, many calling her out. (Netrebko declined, through a spokesperson, to comment for this article.)Earlier this week, a spokesperson from Arena di Verona told OperaWire that the performances of "Aida" are meant as a restaging of the venue's 2002 production directed by Franco Zeffirelli, which was "made when these sensitive topics were not such an issue." The spokesperson added that "it is very hard to change" historical productions. Other singers in the cast also performed in dark makeup.In statement responding to Blue's cancellation, the Arena di Verona further defended the decision and questioned why the soprano hadn't withdrawn her performance commitment earlier. ("Aida" premiered on June 18.) The statement also said that company officials still hoped to meet with Blue to discuss the issue further, noting, "We have no reason nor intent whatsoever to offend and disturb anyone's sensibility." Blue remains listed for performances of "La Traviata" on July 22 and 30 on the venue's website.Many from the opera world took to social media to applaud Blue's decision and send messages of support. Fellow opera singer Ryan Speedo Green, who is also Black, thanked Blue "for standing up for us" in a comment. "This practice needs to stop and all the artist/administrations who support it should be put on blast so their support of racist practice can be brought to light," he wrote.Blue's withdrawal comes amid increasing international accolades for the singer, who has been described as an "operatic sensation." In 2019, she was the first Black woman to play Violetta in a fully staged performance of Verdi's "La Traviata" at Italy's Teatro alla Scala. Earlier this summer, she made her debut at the Paris Opera in Charles Gounod's "Faust."

A&E >  Pop culture

The blind ‘Stranger Things’ fan who moved actor Joseph Quinn to tears speaks out

UPDATED: Wed., July 13, 2022

Joseph Quinn has seen a meteoric rise in celebrity since starring as Eddie Munson on "Stranger Things." Coming face-to-face with his fans at a meet-and-greet in London, though, he was overwhelmed by seeing firsthand just how much they all loved him. Quinn appeared Saturday at the London Film and Comic Con, intending to shake his fans' hands and speak with them for a while. Due to an ...
A&E >  Music

Beyoncé has made music history — again — with chart-topping ‘Break My Soul’

UPDATED: Thu., July 7, 2022

Beyoncé is building on her own foundation of musical excellence by making history — yet again. With her latest hit single, "Break My Soul," the Grammy winner has become the first woman — and the third performer of all time — to notch at least 20 top 10 titles as a solo artist and at least 10 top 10 tracks as a member of a group on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. According to Billboard, the only ...
A&E >  Pop culture

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz blasts Sesame Street – again – after Elmo gets the coronavirus vaccine

UPDATED: Wed., June 29, 2022

WASHINGTON — With a little green bandaid on his furry red arm, Elmo, the beloved 3 1/2-half-year-old Muppet on the long-running children’s PBS program Sesame Street, said “there was a little pinch, but it was okay” when he received his coronavirus vaccine this week. Sen. Ted Cruz quickly pushed back. On Twitter, where Sesame Street shared a clip Tuesday of Elmo and his Muppet dad Louie ...
A&E >  Art

A good man: Exhibits honor ‘Peanuts’ creator Schulz on 100th

UPDATED: Mon., May 30, 2022

New exhibits on display at the Billy Ireland museum and at the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa, California, are celebrating the upcoming centenary of the birth of “Peanuts” cartoonist Schulz, born in Minnesota on Nov. 26, 1922.
A&E >  Entertainment

Game On: Video games are much easier than they used to be

UPDATED: Thu., May 12, 2022

If you’ve ever found yourself playing in an arcade, there’s a good chance you realized that video games can be very, very difficult. That’s not crazy – I’ve been a hardcore gamer as long as I can remember, and, honestly, arcade gaming can feel downright masochistic if you’re actually trying to beat a game.
A&E >  Entertainment

Jury gives sweeping win to Kardashians in Blac Chyna lawsuit

UPDATED: Tue., May 3, 2022

A jury on Monday gave a sweeping win to the Kardashian family in former reality-TV star Blac Chyna’s lawsuit against them. The Los Angeles jury found that none of the members of the famous family defamed Chyna, nor did any interfere with her contract by convincing E! to cancel her reality show “Rob & Chyna.”
A&E >  Entertainment

Red carpet returns with White House correspondents’ dinner

UPDATED: Mon., May 2, 2022

WASHINGTON – The White House press corps’ annual gala returned Saturday night along with the roasting of Washington, the journalists who cover it and the man at the helm: President Joe Biden. The White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, sidelined by the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, featured Biden.

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