US police probing Matthew Perry’s ketamine death

LOS ANGELES, May 21, 2024 (AFP) – US police said Tuesday they are investigating the ketamine overdose death of “Friends” actor Matthew Perry, who died at his luxury Los Angeles home last year. Perry, who played Chandler Bing on the hit TV sitcom from 1994-2004, was found unresponsive in his pool at the age of 54, sparking a global outpouring of grief from fans and colleagues. An autopsy found the cause of his death was […]

Celine Dion gives health update in rare interview

MONTREAL, April 24, 2024 (AFP) – Canadian pop megastar Celine Dion, who suffers from a rare neurological disorder, said in her first interview since announcing the career-sidelining diagnosis that she is well, but taking life “one day at a time.” Dion, 56, first disclosed in December 2022 that she had been diagnosed with Stiff Person Syndrome, which causes stiff muscles in the torso, arms and legs, with noise or emotional distress known to trigger spasms. […]

Taylor Swift unveils ‘The Tortured Poets Department’: a double album dive into heartache and triumph

By Maggy DONALDSON Taylor Swift’s hotly anticipated “The Tortured Poets Department” is here along with a surprise second album — 31 tracks released Friday in which the megawatt star purges her inner turmoil while scorching former lovers. The first album was released as scheduled at midnight (0400 GMT) but two hours later, an additional 15 tracks appeared — giving legions of Swifties plenty to chew on. By Friday evening, Spotify declared the album its most-streamed […]

Taylor Swift’s ‘The Tortured Poets Department’ drops

By Maggy DONALDSON NEW YORK, April 19, 2024 (AFP) – Taylor Swift released her highly anticipated record “The Tortured Poets Department” on Friday — the 11th studio album from the megastar who is already having a blockbuster year. “All’s fair in love and poetry… New album THE TORTURED POETS DEPARTMENT. Out now,” she wrote on her Instagram account, ending the announcement with a heart emoji. Swift had revealed the album’s release at the Grammys in […]

Studio Ghibli to receive honorary Palme d’Or at Cannes

Legendary Japanese animators Studio Ghibli will receive an honorary Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in May, organisers announced Wednesday. The Oscar-winning studio, co-founded by Hayao Miyazaki 40 years ago, is beloved worldwide for its masterpieces like “Spirited Away”, “My Neighbour Totoro” and “Howl’s Moving Castle”. It will mark the first that that Cannes gives an award to a collective, rather than an individual. Miyazaki makes few public appearances and his long-time collaborator Isao […]

Eilish, Smokey Robinson urge protection against AI

Hundreds of artists and songwriters including Billie Eilish, Smokey Robinson and the estate of Frank Sinatra signed an open letter released Tuesday urging protections against what they called an “assault on human creativity” posed by artificial intelligence. “We must protect against the predatory use of AI to steal professional artists’ voices and likenesses, violate creators’ rights, and destroy the music ecosystem,” read the letter, submitted by the non-profit Artist Rights Alliance. The letter comes after […]

DC Comics’ Jim Lee: Using AI robs artists of creative joy

By Eric RANDOLPH PARIS, March 29, 2024 (AFP) – A new three-part documentary, “Superpowered”, charts the 90-year history of DC Comics, which brought the world “Superman”, “Batman”, “Wonder Woman” and countless other superheroes. Korean-born US comic-book artist Jim Lee has been one of the genre’s great stars since his early days at Marvel in the 1980s, working on “X-Men”. When he switched to DC, he helped revive its iconic characters, eventually rising to be president […]

A-bomb saga ‘Oppenheimer’ finally opens in Japan

By Harumi OZAWA TOKYO, March 29, 2024 (AFP) – Oscars best picture winner “Oppenheimer” was finally released on Friday in Japan, where its subject — the man who masterminded the creation of the atomic bomb — is a highly sensitive and emotional topic. The US blockbuster hit screens in the United States and many other countries in July at the same time as “Barbie”, inspiring a viral phenomenon dubbed “Barbenheimer” by moviegoers. But while “Barbie” […]

Photographer Annie Leibovitz: ‘AI doesn’t worry me at all’

By Daphné BENOIT PARIS, March 20, 2024 (AFP) – Photographer to the stars Annie Leibovitz, inducted into the French Academy of Fine Arts on Wednesday, told AFP that AI was not a threat to her trade — just another artistic tool. Leibovitz is arguably the world’s most famous living photographer — thanks in large part to the iconic figures she has snapped in her 50-year career. Rare is the celebrity who has not been in […]

Despite illness, Celine Dion still keen to get back onstage

MONTREAL, March 16, 2024 (AFP) – Pop megastar Celine Dion, who is suffering from a rare neurological disorder, said in an Instagram post she looks forward to her return to the stage. Dion, 55, first disclosed in December 2022 that she had been diagnosed with Stiff Person Syndrome, which causes stiff muscles in the torso, arms and legs, with noise or emotional distress known to trigger spasms. “Trying to overcome this autoimmune disorder has been […]

“Squid Game” actor O Yeong-Su convicted of sexual assault

SEOUL, March 15, 2024 (AFP) – South Korea’s “Squid Game” actor O Yeong-su has been found guilty of sexual misconduct, a local court said Friday, after he was charged with assaulting a woman in 2017. The 79-year-old in 2022 became the first South Korean to win a Golden Globe Award for best supporting actor in a series for his performance as a seemingly vulnerable old man in the mega-hit Netflix dystopian thriller. The actor was […]

‘Katespiracy’ explodes after UK royal photo gaffe

By Anuj CHOPRA WASHINGTON, March 13, 2024 (AFP) – The picture was meant to douse speculation about the whereabouts and health of Britain’s Catherine, Princess of Wales, but instead her manipulated image unleashed a torrent of internet-breaking rumors and conspiracy theories. The storm in the royal tea pot erupted after Kate, 42, on Monday apologized and admitted to editing a palace-issued photograph of herself with her three children after the altered image was withdrawn by […]