BTS’ SUGA starts mandatory alternative service, agency says

A member of K-pop juggernaut BTS started his mandatory alternative service Friday, the group’s agency told AFP, after SUGA was declared unfit for the regular military draft due to health reasons. The septet has become a global cultural phenomenon, selling out stadiums and dominating charts while raking in billions for South Korea’s economy and building an international legion of fans known as ARMY. But all able-bodied South Korean men must serve at least 18 months […]

Taylor Swift takes on Hollywood

By Thomas URBAIN She already rules music, so now it’s on to Tinseltown: Taylor Swift’s concert documentary is poised to dominate the fall movie season, challenging the hegemony of film studios and consecrating her business empire. Swift is taking a break from her wildly popular tour that began in March — performances will resume in November and run late into next year. But in the meantime, the 33-year-old is hitting the silver screen: “Taylor Swift: […]

Taylor Swift, Beyonce reporting jobs trigger controversy

By Maggy DONALDSON It’s rare for a news outlet to dedicate a reporter to one personality, but the publication USA Today has decided Taylor Swift and Beyonce are phenomena requiring their own beats. The recent announcement by Gannett, which owns USA Today, that it was seeking two journalists to cover the biggest names in music as if they were running for president triggered both excitement and eyerolls — and broader conversation about coverage priorities in […]

UK media investigate sex assault claims against comedian Russell Brand

LONDON, Sept 17, 2023 (AFP) – The BBC and Channel 4, former employers of British actor and comedian Russell Brand, said Sunday they were investigating claims of rape, sexual assaults and emotional abuse over a seven-year period, which the 48-year-old has denied. Four women have alleged sexual assaults between 2006 and 2013, when Brand was at the height of his fame working as a presenter for BBC Radio 2, Channel 4 and acting in Hollywood […]

Augmented books, Wallace and Gromit show VR future in Venice

By Eric RANDOLPH The rapid evolution of virtual reality was on display in Venice this week, with visitors brought into the world of Wallace and Gromit and watching books come to life before their eyes. Running alongside the world’s oldest film festival, Venice Immersive is tucked away on a former quarantine island that transforms each year into a showcase for the latest frontiers of entertainment. This year showed how quickly the tech is evolving. Some […]

Microsoft takes a bold leap with ‘Starfield,’ a Hollywood-Inspired Video Game

By Marc BURLEIGH “Starfield”, one of the most-anticipated video games in years, launches worldwide on Wednesday with the hype — and production standards — of a Hollywood blockbuster. And Microsoft has billions riding on its success. The ever-evolving game is the tech giant’s bid to lock players into its Xbox subscription service after some eye-poppingly enormous investments in the gaming sector, which is worth $200 billion globally. A universe-spanning role-playing sci-fi game, “Starfield” is made […]

Get it back: new hunt for missing Beatles bass guitar

By Joe JACKSON A guitar expert and two journalists have launched a global hunt for a missing bass guitar owned by Paul McCartney, bidding to solve what they brand “the greatest mystery in rock and roll”. The trio of lifelong Beatles fans are searching for McCartney’s original Höfner bass — last seen in London in 1969 — in order to reunite the instrument with the former Fab Four frontman. McCartney played the instrument throughout the […]

Taylor Swift announces film of massive ‘Eras’ tour

Didn’t score tickets for Taylor Swift’s “Eras” tour? Never fear — the culturally defining juggernaut will hit movie theaters with a concert film released on October 13. “The Eras Tour has been the most meaningful, electric experience of my life so far and I’m overjoyed to tell you that it’ll be coming to the big screen soon,” Swift said on social media Thursday. “Eras attire, friendship bracelets, singing and dancing encouraged.” The giant AMC movie […]

‘La La Land’ director hopes ‘some good’ will come of Hollywood strike

Damien Chazelle, who heads the jury at the Venice Film Festival that kicks off Wednesday, told AFP he hopes Hollywood will get over its current crisis and said he was confident that movies will survive the AI revolution. Hollywood has been brought to a standstill by a combined writers and actors strike — primarily over pay and concerns over the impact of AI technology. Stars such as Bradley Cooper (“Maestro”) and Emma Stone (“Poor Things”) […]

Strike-hit German stunt performers train kids during filming freeze

By Deborah COLE Ten-year-old Nathaniel squeezes his eyes shut, straightens his back and sucks in his breath as he plunges backward from the reinforced steel roof of a stunt car. The stacked blue mats that catch his fall release a loud hiss as two burly men give the blond primary school pupil high-fives for his successful first attempt at being an action hero. While the actors’ and writers’ strikes in Hollywood freeze up film production […]

‘Total frenzy’: Swift fever grows in Latin America

By Lucero Mendez and Ana Espinosa MEXICO CITY, Aug 22, 2023 (AFP) – Excitement is building among Taylor Swift fans in Latin America who have endured months-long queues, expensive tickets and, in one case, assault to realize their dream of seeing the pop superstar. The 33-year-old singer-songwriter, who holds the women’s record for most number one albums, will bring her “Eras” tour to the region from Thursday starting in Mexico, followed by Argentina and Brazil. […]

Britney Spears’ husband declares end of marriage, initiates legal proceedings

Britney Spears’ husband said Thursday his marriage to the troubled pop star is over, filing for divorce just 14 months after the pair wed. Sam Asghari said the couple would “hold onto the love” they have, but that they were going their separate ways. “After 6 years of love and commitment to each other my wife and I have decided to end our journey together,” the Iranian-born model wrote on Instagram. “We will hold onto […]