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Entertainment

    All in the Family' and 'The Jeffersons' are coming back to TV, live and for one night only. Woody Harrelson, Marisa Tomei, Jamie Foxx and Wanda Sykes will star in re-creations of episodes from the influential sitcoms born in the 1970s. Norman Lear, who created 'All in the Family' and its spinoff 'The Jeffersons,' and Jimmy Kimmel are hosting the ABC prime-time special airing next month, the network said Thursday. Harrelson and Tomei will play Archie and Edith Bunker, with Foxx and Sykes as George and Louise Jefferson. Ellie Kemper, Justina Machado and Will Ferrell also will appear, ABC said, with more stars to be announced. The original shows starred Carroll O'Connor and Jean Stapleton as the blue-collar Bunkers, and Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford as the upwardly mobile Jeffersons. People say 'these two shows were meant for the '70s and would not work today,' Lear said in a statement. 'We disagree with them and are here to prove, with two great casts depicting 'All in the Family' and 'The Jeffersons,' the timelessness of human nature.' Ferrell, Lear and ABC late-night host Kimmel are among the executive producers of 'Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear's 'All in the Family' and 'The Jeffersons.'' Sitcom veteran James Burrows will direct the 90-minute special. 'All in the Family' was a TV groundbreaker when it debuted in 1971, using comedy as a vehicle to explore racism, women's rights and other hot-button issues. 'The Jeffersons' (1975-85), about a successful black family in a largely white world, featured the TV rarity of an interracial couple. Lear, 96, was an executive producer on a recently canceled Netflix reboot of another of his hit series, the 1975-84 'One Day at a Time,' which was reimagined with a Latino family.
  • Chinese artist Ai Weiwei's interest in studying human rights around the world led to his meeting with relatives of the 43 college students who disappeared in southern Mexico in 2014. That encounter led, in turn, to his new exhibit in Mexico's capital. Ai has lived under house arrest in China and faced censorship because of his activism, even as his fame led to major exhibits in leading international museums, including the Tate Gallery in London and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In Mexico, Ai chose a university museum to mount his exhibit dedicated to the case of the students from the teachers' college at Ayotzinapa in Guerrero state. He used students to assemble Legos into big, colorful portraits of the 43 missing young people. 'He wanted it to be a university structure,' said Cuauhtémoc Medina, one of the curators of 'Ai Weiwei: Re-establish memories,' the show at the contemporary art museum of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. The idea began in 2016 when Medina took Ai to the Miguel Agustin Pro Human Rights Center, where the artist talked with some of the students' relatives. 'At some point he told them that he had also been a political prisoner, that when one is disappeared in a completely isolated situation, the only thing that keeps you alive is being totally convinced that your loved ones must be fighting by any means possible to get you back,' Medina said. Ai was confined to his home in China as a result of his outspoken criticisms following the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan province that killed some 90,000 people, including thousands of children in poorly constructed schools. The 43 Mexican students disappeared Sept. 14, 2014, in the Guerrero city of Iguala after local police allegedly turned them over to a local drug gang. The federal government maintained the gang killed the students and burned their bodies at a garbage dump. But international experts raised doubts about that scenario and Mexico's new administration has created a commission to re-investigate. 'This is an example of the very interesting conversation that exists today between the aesthetic and the political,' Medina said. 'The human rights crisis in Mexico has become a global topic in a radical way, so that we can't pretend anymore that the disappearance of dozens or thousands of people or the deaths of more than 200,000 in recent years are secondary.' Ai, who also makes documentaries, received permission from the Ayotzinapa families to do a film on the case. Some of the interviews that are part of the film are being shown at the exhibit, which will be on display until Oct. 6. But the students' portraits are the most powerful element. 'It was really interesting, because it's re-signifying the material completely,' said Iván Leyva, a history student at the university who helped assemble the portraits. 'Who hasn't played with Legos as a child?' The portraits are based on images that the parents of the missing youths carry on signs during their protest marches and at news conferences — young faces looking straight ahead with their names below. Each pixel is represented by a Lego brick and the students followed a color guide to assemble them. It creates a three-dimensional and multi-colored effect for the faces on backgrounds of green, white or red, the colors of Mexico's national flag. The young people who assembled the works found themselves moved as the portraits began to take shape. 'It gave me goosebumps because I thought: 'That could have been me.' No one is exempt,' Lleyva said. 'It doesn't stop making you angry and it likely has to do with the symbolism of the event, the symbolism of this attack against the student community.
  • The Yankees have suspended the use of Kate Smith's recording of 'God Bless America' during the seventh-inning stretch while they investigate an allegation of racism against the singer. The New York Daily News reported Thursday there are conflicting claims about Smith's 1939 song 'That's Why Darkies Were Born.' The song originated in the 1931 Broadway review 'George White's Scandals,' and was considered satire. It was recorded by Smith and also by Paul Robeson, who was black. The team said in a statement: 'The Yankees have been made aware of a recording that had been previously unknown to us and decided to immediately and carefully review this new information. The Yankees take social, racial and cultural insensitivities very seriously. And while no final conclusions have been made, we are erring on the side of sensitivity.' Smith died in 1986. The Yankees have used her recording of 'God Bless America' and sometimes live singers during the seventh inning since the 2001 terrorist attacks. ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • Real Housewives of New Jersey' husband Joe Giudice (JOO'-dys) has lost his appeal to avoid deportation to Italy. His attorneys said Thursday they are 'extremely disappointed' by the Board of Immigration's decision and have appealed to the federal circuit court in Philadelphia. Giudice and his wife, Teresa, pleaded guilty in 2014 to financial fraud. Giudice is an Italian citizen who was brought to the U.S. as a baby and says he wasn't aware he wasn't an American citizen. Teresa Giudice served nearly a year in prison and was freed in December 2015. Joe Giudice was released from prison last month and was sent to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facility in southeast Pennsylvania.
  • The release of a dense, 400-page report on the results of a two-year investigation is an event uniquely unsuited to today's minute-by-minute news cycles. That was the challenge faced Thursday by journalists who finally got to see special counsel Robert Mueller's findings on the Russia investigation, after another attempt by President Donald Trump and his administration to give their version of what it said. Reporters scrambled through stacks of paper with blacked-out portions to glean highlights. Cameras peeked over shoulders to display Mueller's words on computer screens. Anchors continually asked colleagues, 'What have you found?' or 'What jumps out at you?' 'We're all going to law school today,' NBC's Savannah Guthrie said. Mueller's report was released shortly after 11 a.m., following Attorney General William Barr's more detailed verbal summary of the written summary he delivered on March 24. That succeeded in setting a Trump-friendly narrative of the investigation. Barr repeated Thursday that Mueller had found no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians trying to influence the 2016 election, an assessment broadcast live on broadcast and cable news networks. In a short news conference that followed, Barr three times batted away questions about whether he was doing Trump's bidding in summarizing Mueller's words before the public could see them. 'I was struck with how much he put his own credibility on the line, it seemed, in order to spin for the press and give the president basically what amounts to two hours of better press,' ABC News' Matthew Dowd said. NBC analyst Chuck Rosenberg said Barr 'went too far into the tank' for Trump. 'Book reviews are interesting,' he said. 'But the book is always more telling.' For his part, Trump followed with a 'Game of Thrones'-inspired tweet proclaiming 'Game Over.' Once the report was released, the networks largely ignored — or showed in delayed, truncated form — a Trump White House appearance where he commented on the findings. Journalists were warned in advance to slow down and take time to digest the news before talking about it or interviewing opinionated guests. But that ignores a hyper-competitive world with airtime and web pages to fill and consumers who are never more than a click away from rivals. A smiling Rudolph Giuliani, Trump's lawyer, was on Fox News Channel within a half hour of the report's release. Certain highlights were emphasized, like the president's profanity when he learned of Mueller's appointment, and former White House counsel Don McGahn's refusal to order Mueller's firing. The report's sheer length made varied conclusions inevitable, even within the same news organization. 'The way Barr described what he called the top line or bottom line conclusions of the Mueller investigation tracks very closely with what I've been able to read,' NBC News' Pete Williams said. 'His summary of what the investigation says is pretty much on point.' Later, Brian Williams asked an MSNBC guest, former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, 'What report do you think the attorney general was describing this morning?' 'Not the one that I'm reading now,' she replied. Television networks used chyrons to flag findings: 'Trump to Sessions Upon Recusal: 'You Were Supposed to Protect Me'' on MSNBC. 'Trump Engaged in Effort to Encourage Witnesses not to Cooperate with Investigation' on Fox News. On YouTube, Vice News showed a reporter, sitting at a table with a framed picture of Mueller under a potted plant, reading the document. The Washington Post led its first post-release story by describing how Mueller's investigators 'struggled with both the legal implications of investigating President Trump for possible obstruction of justice, and the motives behind a range of his most alarming actions, from seeking the ouster of former officials to ordering a memo that would clear his name.' On its web site, The New York Times kept up a running series of brief dispatches from individual reporters on highlights of the report. The Associated Press did both, sending out individual alerts of report findings and leading its first post-release story with the news of McGahn's refusal to get Mueller fired. Fox News anchor Bret Baier mused about what point Mueller had concluded that there was no collusion with Russia. If that news had gotten out earlier, would it have changed the results of the 2018 midterm elections? 'You've had for 23 months the sword of Damocles hanging over the Trump campaign and the Trump administration that is eating away at the body politic,' he said. Several reporters noted how the report outlined the president's ease at lying or directing his underlings not to tell the truth. 'Stories that we were told were not true, Robert Mueller said were true,' said ABC's Cecilia Vega. 'It's right here, in black and white.' CNN's Jake Tapper noted that 'it's not a crime to the lie to the public. It's not a crime to lie to reporters.' 'Which is lucky for the White House,' Anderson Cooper replied, 'because they do it all the time.
  • A medical examiner says the grandson of actor Clark Gable died of an accidental drug overdose. The Dallas County Medical Examiner's office says an autopsy found Clark James Gable III was killed by a combination of the opioids fentanyl and oxycodone, and the sedative alprazolam. It ruled his death an accident. Gable died in February. The 30-year-old lived in Dallas and hosted the reality TV show 'Cheaters,' which featured confrontations with people suspected of infidelity. He is survived by his fiancée and their infant daughter. Gable's death was the latest in a national opioid crisis that the Centers for Disease Control says claimed 48,000 lives in 2017. The manufacturer of Oxycodone last month agreed to pay $270 million to settle one of thousands of lawsuits blaming it in the crisis.
  • Phone texts suggest chief Chicago prosecutor Kim Foxx worked closely with attorney Michael Avenatti before bringing sexual abuse charges against singer R. Kelly, including by meeting Avenatti during a layover at O'Hare International Airport. The Chicago Tribune reported Thursday on the Feb. 9 meeting based on text messages obtained through an open records request. They show Foxx even arranged an office at O'Hare where they could talk privately. Avenatti thanked Foxx for 'being so accommodating.' Kelly's lawyer, Steve Greenberg, argues the case is tainted by the involvement of Avenatti, who has since been charged with embezzlement and extortion. Avenatti denies the charges. Kelly prosecutors have said Greenberg's claims are baseless. Avenatti represents two Kelly accusers and gave prosecutors video purporting to show Kelly having sex with a minor. Kelly denies abusing anyone. ___ Information from: Chicago Tribune, http://www.chicagotribune.com
  • The campy 'Beach Blanket Babylon' musical revue that has been a must-see for San Francisco tourists for 45 years is coming to an end. Producer Jo Schuman Silver announced Wednesday the show's final performances will be on New Year's Eve. The show spoofs political and pop culture and has characters in colorful costumes with massive hats, including one with San Francisco's skyline. The show follows Snow White around the world as she searches for her Prince Charming. Along the way she encounters a line-up of political and pop culture characters. Recent highlights include Donald and Melania Trump, Nancy Pelosi, Vladimir Putin, Beyoncé, Ariana Grande and Oprah Winfrey. Silver said the show is ending because he felt it was the right time and not for financial reasons. 'There was no reason — I just started thinking, 'Wow, how much longer do we go?' ' she told the San Francisco Chronicle. When the show started in 1974, it was scheduled to run for only six weeks. But then it became an international phenomenon and 'the quintessential San Francisco experience,' she said There have been more than 17,000 performances that have been seen by 6.5 million people, including Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, David Bowie, Liza Minnelli and Robin Williams.
  • A lawsuit seeking to represent any woman with a claim against Harvey Weinstein can proceed on sex-trafficking grounds, a judge ruled Thursday, as he dramatically shrank the scope of an action trying to treat the disgraced movie producer and various companies like a mob organization. U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein eliminated 17 claims against the once powerful movie mogul who has been accused by women in several lawsuits of seeking to trade his influence in Hollywood for sexual favors. Weinstein also faces trial in state court on criminal sexual assault charges. The judge also reduced the number of named plaintiffs from 10 to four and dismissed all other defendants. The women had alleged they were attacked from 1993 to 2011. Weinstein has denied engaging in any nonconsensual sex. Elior Shiloh, an attorney for Weinstein, said in a statement that his lawyers agree with Hellerstein's dismissal of most of the claims and will 'explore all options' to get the final claim thrown out too. Attorney Elizabeth Fegan, representing the women, said the judge ruled correctly that Weinstein should face the sex-trafficking allegation 'that he used his power to deceive and manipulate women, knowing he intended to sexually abuse them.' 'We are disappointed that certain claims were dismissed and plan to file an appeal,' she said. The lawsuit first filed in late 2017 had sought to represent 'dozens, if not hundreds' of women who say they were isolated and attacked by Weinstein. Unspecified damages were sought. The lawsuit had also named companies and employees as defendants, saying they functioned together like an organized crime group to facilitate Weinstein's meetings with young women. Hellerstein said he was dismissing all defendants except Weinstein because the lawsuit had insufficiently shown that they assisted, supported or facilitated sex trafficking. Other claims were dismissed because the alleged assaults occurred too long ago and lawyers had not adequately explained why they were not brought within a time period set by law. Lawyers for the women said the delay resulted because defendants made hush payments to victims, told victims to stay quiet, sent threatening text messages, forwarded victim complaints to Weinstein and retained lawyers to blacklist victims and intimidate journalists. 'These actions, although reprehensible, did not use fraud, misrepresentation, or deception to prevent plaintiffs from filing suit,' Hellerstein said. Weinstein was ousted from the movie company he founded after a barrage of sexual harassment and assault allegations started becoming public in October 2017. Weinstein's lawyers argued it wasn't fair to let aspiring actresses equate Hollywood's casting couch with a brothel. But Hellerstein wrote that the sex-trafficking law is appropriate if victims are enticed into sexual acts with false promises of career advancement.
  • With the Mueller Report finally out Thursday, at least in redacted form, publishers are hurrying to release book editions. Two Mueller Report books are in the top 15 on Amazon.com even though free pdfs are available online. The special prosecutor's findings, which run more than 400 pages, concluded that he could not find criminal evidence of conspiracy between the Donald Trump 2016 presidential campaign and Russia's government but could not rule out the possibility that Trump may have obstructed justice after he won the 2016 election. Scribner, Melville House and Skyhorse Publishing are among those planning to have paperbacks out before the end of the month, with prices ranging from $15 for the Scribner book to $9.99 for the Melville House one, and e-books out by the end of the week. Barnes & Noble expects to have a free download for its Nook e-reader on Thursday. The Amazon-owned Audible Inc. plans a free audiobook. By Thursday night, the Skyhorse version was No. 9 and Scribner No. 14 on Amazon's bestseller list. Melville House had climbed from No. 324 earlier in the day to 74. Government reports have been a highly specialized niche in the book world for decades. They are public documents, often available for free and open for anyone to publish. But some releases are so intensely anticipated, among them the Warren Commission study of former President John F. Kennedy's assassination and the 9-11 Commission Report, they become best sellers. The 9-11 report was even nominated for a National Book Award. The Mueller report will likely have a substantial paying audience because of enormous public interest and because nonfiction works tend to sell predominantly in paper form. Scribner and Skyhorse also hope to attract readers with additional material, some of which they are hurrying to complete over the next couple of days. Skyhorse editorial director Mark Gompertz said that Alan Dershowitz, the attorney and frequent Trump defender, was 'the fastest reader and writer we have ever worked with' and was expected to finish an introduction for the Mueller book by Thursday night. The Scribner book, expected to exceed 700 pages, is being prepared in conjunction with The Washington Post. Some material, including a timeline of the investigation, has already been prepared. The Post is working on an introduction that will provide analysis of the report, and a combination of Post reporters and professional narrators will work on an audio edition. 'We're going as fast as we can,' says Colin Harrison, Scribner's editor-in-chief. The industry suffered from printing shortages last fall and winter, with such works as David W. Blight's Pulitzer Prize-winning biography unavailable for weeks. But Harrison says that Scribner can easily meet its announced first printing of 350,000. 'The planning for this has been in the works for a long time,' he says. 'We're even prepared to go back to press, expeditiously, for more books. We have the paper. We're ready.