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Alaska book ban vote draws attention of hometown rockers

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Members of the Grammy-winning rock band Portugal. The Man are stepping into a banned book controversy in their Alaska home town. After the school board at the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District in Palmer voted 5-2 last week to remove five classics used for ...

Horror flick ‘The Wretched’ wastes some good ideas

You can thank “The Wretched” if you suddenly want to add another item to stock up with during this pandemic: salt. That’s one of the only things that apparently keeps witches at bay. Pro tip: buy it in big bags. Brothers Drew and Brett Pierce — co-directors and co-writers — have put ...

NMU music faculty engage in virtual outreach efforts

MARQUETTE —Northern Michigan University music department faculty members are using YouTube to expand their educational and entertainment outreach. Erin Colwitz began a “Women in Music” video lecture series and Mark Flaherty launched an NMU Jazz “Tune of the Week” performance series. ...

A teeming, violent pre-pandemic world in ‘Extraction’

NEW YORK — The big-budget action thriller “Extraction” belongs, in many ways, to another world. It’s set in the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka, one of the most densely populated cities in the world. It’s in this urban sea of people and traffic that Chris Hemsworth’s battle-scarred ...

‘Book of Longings’ has an ambitious, lasting power

“I am Ana. I was the wife of Jesus ben Joseph of Nazareth. I called him Beloved and he, laughing, called me Little Thunder.” With these opening words, Sue Monk Kidd launches into her ambitious new novel, “The Book of Longings.” Ana is a force to be reckoned with. A woman who ...

Center of ‘Beastie Boys Story’ is music. So is friendship.

NEW YORK — Getting the Beastie Boys’ Michael “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz and longtime collaborator and friend, Spike Jonze, together during normal times would be full of jokes, playful banter and overall fun. But on a Zoom video call during the quarantining era? ...

New show ‘Defending Jacob’ is a homecoming for Chris Evans

NEW YORK — Chris Evans’ latest TV project had a nice lure built in — he was able to stay close to his Boston-area home. “I got to sleep in my own bed and see my family on the weekends. And it felt really, for a little while, like I had a regular 9-to-5 job,” the actor said. ...

In shutdown, a glimpse of life without movie theaters

NEW YORK — Jennifer Page jokes that four months in, this decade is already the worst of her life. A server at a nearby resort, she’s out of work due to the pandemic. After someone tested positive at her mother’s nursing home, Page moved her into a room off the dining room. Two weeks ...

Comic-Con canceled over coronavirus, plans 2021 return

LOS ANGELES — This year’s San Diego Comic-Con has been canceled due to coronavirus-related restrictions around large gatherings. Organizers say they are planning for the festival to return in July 2021. The annual confab was scheduled to take place from July 23 through July 26 in and ...

Songwriting retreats to take place in Curtis

MARQUETTE — From Americana, blues, jazz, country, contemporary Christian to rock, music will bring people together for the annual two-weekend excursion songwriting extravaganza where beginners and experienced musicians will learn the logistics of writing a song from professional musicians. ...

Sudan protest image wins prestigious World Press Photo award

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — An emotion-charged photo of a young man illuminated by cellphone lights as he recites poetry amid a crowd of protesters calling for civilian rule in Sudan won the prestigious World Press Photo award on Thursday. The image, titled “Straight Voice,” was captured by ...

With no theaters, film fans find ways to gather virtually

LOS ANGELES — There are 44 people in the Social Distance Movie Club’s Slack channel, where co-workers at Crooked Media have had discussions about everything from a Dwayne Johnson earthquake film to Faye Dunaway’s turn as Joan Crawford in “Mommie Dearest.” It doesn’t have anything ...

Loretta Lynn’s bond with Patsy Cline remains strong

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn only knew each other a short time before Cline’s death at the age of 30, but the friendship formed between two trailblazers of country music is enough to fill a book. Lynn’s new memoir, “Me and Patsy: Kicking Up Dust,” which was ...

Lady Gaga raises $35M for virus fight, curates all-star TV event

NEW YORK — Lady Gaga and advocacy organization Global Citizen have raised $35 million to fight the coronavirus and will launch a TV special featuring Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder and Billie Eilish to combat the growing virus. Gaga said on Monday that the money was raised in seven days and ...