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I knew it!!

Sorry, Christmas music might be bad for your health

Stressing before Christmas? Listening to the cheerful, jolly music will not help you relax, a British psychologist said.

In fact, listening to Christmas music could harm a person’s mental health, clinical psychologist Linda Blair told Sky News.

Blair said the continuous playing of Christmas music in the car or at stores reminds people of all the things they need to do before the holiday arrives.

“You’re simply spending all of your energy trying not to hear what you’re hearing,” Blair told Sky News.

Blair said store workers were “more at risk” of being mentally drained by the array of cheerful music. The same songs being played constantly makes it hard for employees to “tune it out” and “unable to focus on anything else.”

“Christmas music is likely to irritate people if it’s played too loudly and too early,” Blair told Sky News.

The Tampa Bay Times reported Best Buy began playing holiday music on Oct. 22, making the electronic store the first to stream the songs. A few days later, other stores such as Sears, Ulta and Michaels followed suit.

Mood Media’s programming executive, Danny Turner, told the Tampa Bay Times that he urges stores to stop playing novelty music because it could annoy customers.

“The one I have in mind is ‘The 12 Days of Christmas,’” Turner told the Tampa Bay Times. “Once I’m at the third day, I’m counting how many days are left. You don’t want any songs that feel like they last for 12 days.”

The newspaper also conducted a poll about the most appropriate time to start playing Christmas music. More than half of the participants said it was best to begin listening to holiday music after Thanksgiving.

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Very cool news!!

RIAN JOHNSON, WRITER-DIRECTOR OF STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, TO CREATE ALL-NEW STAR WARS TRILOGY

For director Rian Johnson, Star Wars: The Last Jedi was just the beginning of his journey in a galaxy far, far away.

Lucasfilm is excited to announce that Johnson will create a brand-new Star Wars trilogy, the first of which he is also set to write and direct, with longtime collaborator Ram Bergman onboard to produce.

As writer-director of The Last Jedi, Johnson conceived and realized a powerful film of which Lucasfilm and Disney are immensely proud. In shepherding this new trilogy, which is separate from the episodic Skywalker saga, Johnson will introduce new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored.

“We all loved working with Rian on The Last Jedi,” said Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm. “He’s a creative force, and watching him craft The Last Jedi from start to finish was one of the great joys of my career. Rian will do amazing things with the blank canvas of this new trilogy.”

“We had the time of our lives collaborating with Lucasfilm and Disney on The Last Jedi,” Johnson and Bergman said in a joint statement. “Star Wars is the greatest modern mythology and we feel very lucky to have contributed to it. We can’t wait to continue with this new series of films.”

Johnson’s upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi arrives in U.S. theaters on Dec. 15, 2017.

No release dates have been set for the new films, and no porgs were available for comment.

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Remember, every one of these negative stories that come out will all promote the release of the album. It’s all part of the huge publicity machine lined up behind this album.

Taylor Swift in Trouble With the ACLU After Threatening Critic

Taylor Swift’s album rollout is not going as planned. On Monday, the ACLU of Northern California sent a letter to Swift’s attorney stating that her camp had tried to silence and intimidate a critic. The story is incredible and bizarre: Apparently, Swift’s attorney threatened a writer at the little-known leftist culture blog PopFront over a blog post about the alt-right’s embrace of Swift’s music. How Swift’s camp found the article in the first place, and why they decided to use threatening legal tactics to suppress it, remains unclear. The writer, however, is facing Swift head-on: PopFront’s Megan Herning said in a statement Monday, “The press should not be bullied by high-paid lawyers or frightened into submission by legal jargon. These scare tactics may have worked for Taylor in the past, but I am not backing down.”

According to a press release from the ACLU, Swift’s attorney William J. Briggs, II, sent Herning a letter last month instructing her to retract her article titled, “Swiftly to the alt-right: Taylor subtly gets the lower case kkk in formation.” Briggs wrote that the post was “provably false and defamatory” and that Herning should remove it from all sources, including social media. He added that Herning could not publicize his letter because of copyright law, and that if Herning did not comply with his requests, “Ms. Swift is prepared to proceed with litigation.”

The ACLU says Swift has no case: Herning’s post simply states her opinions, and it is not defamatory. ACLU attorney Michael Risher said in a statement, “This is a completely unsupported attempt to suppress constitutionally protected speech.” Another ACLU attorney, Matt Cagle, added, “Intimidation tactics like these are unacceptable. Not in her wildest dreams can Ms. Swift use copyright law to suppress this exposure of a threat to constitutionally protected speech.” In a letter to Swift’s attorney, the ACLU had more fun with Swift’s lyrics: “Criticism is never pleasant, but a celebrity has to shake it off, even if the critique may damage her reputation.”

Swift’s new album, Reputation, is set to be released on Friday. This is probably not how she wanted to start a big press week. We have reached out to her for comment and will update if we hear back.

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It remains one of my all-time Desert Island favourite albums!!

THE STORY OF BRYAN ADAMS’ ‘RECKLESS’

To American listeners, Bryan Adams seemed to arrive out of the blue with 1983’s Cuts Like a Knife LP, but he’d actually been around for quite awhile; in fact, Knife was his third full-length solo release. So after that album broke him through to the big time, spinning off a trio of U.S. Top 40 singles and going platinum on either side of the American-Canadian border, he didn’t panic when it came time to put together a follow-up.

Instead, Adams focused harder than ever on delivering a set of songs that could conquer pop and rock radio, scheduling a lengthy period of woodshedding with his songwriting partner Jim Vallance. “Bryan and I got together in my basement studio every day for a year,” Vallance told Guitar World. “Noon till midnight. Some days were more productive than others, but we always put in the time and did the work.”

Adams and Vallance were well acquainted with the rigors of writing hit songs; while Adams may have had only a few big hits of his own under his belt, the duo had started out as staff songwriters, and landed cuts with other artists before completing Adams’ self-titled debut in 1980. As work started on what would become his fourth LP, Adams and Vallance continued shopping songs to other acts, some of which were accepted (“Teacher, Teacher,” recorded by .38 Special) and some that weren’t (“Run to You,” rejected by Blue Oyster Cult before being repurposed as an Adams track).

That doesn’t mean Adams was exactly nonchalant about topping his first big international success. “I was struggling with the idea of doing a record that would outdo Cuts Like a Knife,” Adams later admitted. “I was very demanding with those working around me, the band, the engineer, [producer] Bob Clearmountain. I nearly knocked myself out doing it. You just get so into it that nothing else exists. I knew that I’d taxed everybody’s personalities far more than I should have, and I lost a lot of innocence on that record. People saw a different side of me, more brutal. I just went at it with fangs open.”

“I didn’t care how many times we had to rerecord it, or rewrite it, I just wanted it to be a great listen from start to finish,” he told Mixdown in 2002. “I remember waking up on the sofa in the control room one day in New York City and everybody had left me in the studio. We were sharing the studio with another act that was recording in the daytime, and the session was about to get set up – and all I could think was, it’s 8 in the morning, and I wanted to keep recording. ‘Where the hell is everybody?'”

Keeping late hours wasn’t the only problem the musicians had to deal with while recording. The basic tracks for the album were cut at Little Mountain, a Canadian studio owned by Bruce Fairbairn and Bob Rock – a place Clearmountain described as “almost like a low-budget studio” – and given that it served as home to a lot of jingle recordings, it wasn’t really set up for the big rock drum sound the songs needed. Forced to improvise, Clearmountain told Sound on Sound that he ended up using the building’s garage.

“I went in there and clapped my hands and said, ‘Wow, can’t we record the drums in here?'” he recalled. “As it turned out, we decided it would be kind of awkward to have Mickey the drummer in a whole different room, so I set up the kit right in front of the door, got these gobos on which one side was a real hard wood surface, and made a big funnel-shaped device that focused the sound through the door into the loading bay. I put a couple of room mics in there, and that’s how we got our big rock drum sound. The funny thing is, someone apparently measured exactly how we’d set the drums up, and when Aerosmith’s records and other rock records were done at Little Mountain they’d set everything up exactly the same way. So, if you listen to some of those Aerosmith records, the drums sound almost identical to the ones on the Cuts Like a Knife and Reckless albums.”

Hard as Adams and his team worked on the recordings, the songs deserved it. The resulting collection, titled Reckless and released on Nov. 5, 1984, offered a seemingly endless stream of singles for pop and rock radio, starting with the Top 10 “Run to You” and continuing through “Somebody” (No. 11), “Heaven” (No. 1), “Summer of ’69” (No. 5), “One Night Love Affair” (No. 13) and a duet with Tina Turner, “It’s Only Love” (No. 15). It didn’t matter that some of the songs had disparate origins – that “Run to You” had been intended for Blue Oyster Cult, or that “Heaven” had originally surfaced on the soundtrack to the forgettable 1983 movie A Night in Heaven. During a year dotted with massive musical breakthroughs from a wide variety of artists, Adams went toe-to-toe with some of the biggest hit records of the year.

For a time, Adams’ hot streak was mainly confined to the U.S. and Canada. In America, for example, Reckless broke the Top 10 of Billboard’s Top 200 Albums chart in early 1985 before dropping back out – only to return later in the year as single after single hit heavy rotation, finally reaching No. 1 in August. But a newly resurgent Tina Turner, returning the favor that longtime fan Adams afforded her when he asked her to duet on “It’s Only Love,” ultimately helped the album catch on in Europe when she asked him to be her support act for the overseas leg of her 1985 tour.

“I’ll be forever grateful to her for taking me on tour with her in Europe after that because it broke the album,” Adams said later, recalling that his European label had “kind of shelved” Reckless despite its huge success in the U.S. “‘Summer of ‘69’ never got any traction, anywhere, except in America and Canada. Ten years later in 1992 or 1993, sometime after the release of the So Far, So Good album I started getting people calling and saying, ‘You know, I just heard ”69′ is number one in Holland this week!’ You know? This is, like, maybe 10 years after it was released.”

Reckless would prove a difficult act to follow for Adams, who found himself strapped to a touring and publicity treadmill that powered on for years after the album’s release. He risked burnout, and so did his audience; by the time he returned in 1987 with his fifth LP, Into the Fire, he was greeted with far more resistance at radio, where the album generated a comparatively weak trio of Top 40 singles, and the record’s platinum sales paled in comparison to its predecessor’s blockbuster success.

For a few years, it looked like 1984-85 would prove to be the apex of Adams’ career, with Reckless looming out of reach over subsequent efforts – but as we know now, that brief lull was just the calm before the storm that arrived with 1991’s Waking Up the Neighbours, which topped the charts all over the world off the back of its airplay-hogging lead single and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves soundtrack anthem, “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You.” Still, even if Adams’ career has kept right on going in the years since Reckless, the album remains a pivotal turning point – the album that took him from rock star to superstar, and a collection of songs that still holds up today.

“I recorded and rerecorded and recorded and rerecorded until I thought it was as close to being as good a record as it could possibly be,” Adams told the Aquarian. “I can even remember when the final fader went down on ‘Summer of ‘69,’ I still thought we hadn’t quite got it. I listen to it now and I don’t know what I was wondering about because it sounds right to me. I think if you’re complacent with things, it’s not the way to be when you make records. You always have to second guess yourself quite a bit.”

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THOR – RAGNAROK is one of the absolute best sequels I’ve ever seen. A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS is one of the absolute worst.

Thor: Ragnarok electrifies box office with $121 million opening weekend

Thor: Ragnarok may spell trouble for the realm of Asgard, but it brings good news for the box office. Disney and Marvel’s third solo movie starring Chris Hemsworth as the god of thunder is on track to gross an estimated $121 million in the U.S. and Canada over its first weekend, easily conquering the competition while heralding Hollywood’s first big opening in several weeks.

Ragnarok‘s haul represents the fourth-largest debut of 2017, behind Beauty and the Beast ($174.8 million), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ($146.5 million), and It ($123.4 million). It also crushes the openings of 2011’s Thor ($65.7 million) and 2013’s Thor: The Dark World ($85.7 million), and edges out the most recent installment of the Marvel cinematic universe, Spider-Man: Homecoming ($117 million).

Directed by with a distinctly humorous tone by Taika Waititi and boasting a powerhouse cast — including Cate Blanchett, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddeslton, and Tessa Thompson — Ragnarok received glowing reviews and garnered an A CinemaScore, indicating good word of mouth. The threequel, which reportedly cost $180 million to make, has likewise fared well overseas, tallying about $306 million since it began rolling out last week.

After a sluggish October, Ragnarok could help spark a lively holiday moviegoing season, with fellow tentpoles like Justice League and Star Wars: The Last Jedi coming in the weeks ahead.

Back on earth, STX Films’ comedy sequel A Bad Moms Christmas is in line for second place with an estimated $17 million weekend, and a five-day total of about $21.6 million (after opening Wednesday). The latter figure is a bit below analysts’ expectations of about $25 million, and it falls short of the original Bad Moms‘ three-day $23.8 million opening.

The follow-up to the R-rated sleeper hit received largely negative reviews, and audiences gave it a so-so B CinemaScore (dropping down from the original’s A grade). Scott Moore and Jon Lucas returned to direct Bad Moms Christmas, which once again stars Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn as three overburdened, underappreciated women — who this time deal with the stress of the holidays and their own mothers.

Rounding out the top five are Lionsgate’s Jigsaw, with about $6.7 million, and Boo 2: A Madea Halloween, with about $4.7 million, and Warner Bros’. Geostorm, with about $3 million.

On the specialty front, actress Greta Gerwig’s critically acclaimed directorial debut, Lady Bird, is poised to gross about $375,612 from four locations, for a per-theater average of $93,903 — the best such mark of 2017. Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, and Tracy Letts star in the coming-of-age dramedy, which was released by A24.

Meanwhile Richard Linklater’s veteran drama Last Flag Flying will gross an estimated $42,000 from four locations, for a $10,500 per-theater average. Amazon and Lionsgate released the film — starring Bryan Cranston, Steve Carell, and Laurence Fishburne — to solid reviews.

According to ComScore, overall box office is down 4.8 percent year-to-date. Check out the Nov. 3-5 figures below.

1. Thor: Ragnarok — $16.3 million
2. A Bad Moms Christmas — $17 million
3. Jigsaw — $6.7 million
4. Boo 2: A Madea Halloween — $4.7 million
5. Geostorm — $3 million
6. Happy Death Day — $2.8 million
7. Thank You for Your Service — $2.3 million
8. Blade Runner 2049 — $2.2 million
9. Only the Brave — $1.9 million
10. Let There Be Light — $1.6 million

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Hurry up, Oscar films!! There’s nothing good to go and see right now…and there hasn’t been for weeks!!!

Box office: Jigsaw scares off competition, Suburbicon bombs

Moviegoers weren’t exactly dying to hit the multiplex on the weekend leading up to Halloween, as the horror movie Jigsaw is poised to top the box office with an estimated $16.3 million in the U.S. and Canada, coming in below industry projections along with fellow newcomers Suburbicon and Thank You for Your Service. When the dust settles, this should go down as one of the slowest frames of the year.

Making the eighth installment of Lionsgate’s Saw series, Jigsaw was intended to breathe new life into the gory franchise but is on track to open lower than all but one of its predecessors: Saw VI, which eked out $14.1 million in 2009.

Directed by brothers Michael and Peter Spierig, Jigsaw once again centers on a group of people held captive in intricate death traps by a mysterious assailant. The film received generally negative reviews, but the Saw movies have never been critical darlings, and audiences gave it a B CinemaScore — a solid mark for horror flicks in general and the Saw series in particular.

Dropping down to second place is another Lionsgate offering, Boo 2: A Madea Halloween, with about $10 million. That figure marks a so-so decline of 53 percent and brings the domestic total of the Tyler Perry comedy to $35.5 million after 10 days in theaters.

Rounding out the top five are Warner Bros’. disaster movie dud Geostorm, with an estimated $5.7 million; Universal’s slasher Happy Death Day, with an estimated $5.1 million; and WB’s sci-fi sequel Blade Runner 2049 with an estimated $4 million.

Further down the list, the Miles Teller-starring military drama Thank You for Your Service is coming in below expectations with about $3.7 million, good for sixth place, while the George Clooney-directed dark comedy Suburbicon is bombing with about $2.8 million, putting it in the No. 9 spot.

Despite boasting a heavyweight cast that includes Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, and Oscar Isaac, and a script originally penned by Joel and Ethan Coen (rewritten by Clooney and Grant Heslov), Suburbicon received poor reviews and a dreadful D-minus CinemaScore. The film centers on a 1950s community whose placid surface belies its inherent bigotry and rottenness.

Thank You for Your Service has fared better with critics and audiences, at least, garnering largely positive reviews and a sturdy A-minus CinemaScore. Directed by Jason Hall, the screenwriter of American Sniper, the film stars Teller as an Iraq war veteran who struggles to readjust to civilian life. Hall also wrote the script for Thank You, adapting David Finkel’s nonfiction book.

On the specialty front, Magnolia’s The Square will gross about $76,000 from four locations, for a per-theater average of $19,000; Open Road’s Blake Lively thriller All I See Is Your will take in about $135,504 from 283 locations ($479 per theater); and Atlas Distribution’s faith-based drama Let There Be Light will earn about $1.8 million from 373 locations ($4,826 per theater).

While the domestic box office has been quiet this weekend, Disney and Marvel’s superhero movie Thor: Ragnarok is making noise overseas, debuting to an estimated $107.6 million across 36 markets (which represent about 52 percent of its planned international footprint). That figure puts it ahead of recent Marvel offerings Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Doctor Strange, when comparing the same suite of territories at today’s exchange rates. Ragnarok opens domestically and in most remaining foreign markets Nov. 3.

According to ComScore, overall box office is down 5 percent year-to-date. Check out the Oct. 27-29 figures below.

1. Jigsaw — $16.3 million
2. Boo 2! A Madea Halloween — $10 million
3. Geostorm — $5.7 million
4. Happy Death Day — $5.1 million
5. Blade Runner 2049 — $4 million
6. Thank You for Your Service — $3.7 million
7. Only the Brave — $3.4 million
8. The Foreigner — $3.2 million
9. Suburbicon — $2.8 million
10. It — $2.5 million

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My opinion is we’re going because they’re good. When movies are good people will go and see them.

Why horror movies are having their best box office year ever

This year’s horror movies are doing so well, it’s scary.

Frightening flicks such as “Get Out,” “It” and most recently “Happy Death Day” have made $733 million in ticket sales this year, the New York Times and Box Office Mojo reported. That’s the biggest box office year for horror ever, without adjusting for inflation. And there are still two months left in 2017, plus another “Saw” movie (“Jigsaw”) opening Friday that will scare up even more sales.

What’s interesting is that “Get Out” (which made $175 million) opened in February and “It” (more than $300 million and counting) floated in early September – well ahead of Halloween, when audiences are especially in the mood for psychological thrillers and creature features.

So why have viewers been so drawn to the dark side this year?

Dr. Margee Kerr, a sociologist specializing in fear and author of “Scream: Chilling Adventures in the Science of Fear,” told Moneyish that “fun-scary” activities like horror movies and haunted houses reprioritize the day-to-day stresses that freak us out. And this year’s many natural disasters, national tragedies and political controversies have been especially distressing.

“Horror and startle can distract us from the everyday thoughts and concerns,” said Dr. Kerr. “We’re not thinking about our bills, about the future of the economy, about health insurance – we’re completely in the moment and feeling powerful thanks to the cascade of chemicals released in times of threat.”

Robert Thompson, Syracuse University professor and pop cultural historian, agreed. “Evolution happens about more slowly than civilization does, so human beings are still wired for fear at a time when many of us, if we’re lucky, live daily lives now where we don’t have a lot of actual physical fear,” he told Moneyish. “So giving yourself a dose of artificial fear in a safe environment [like a movie theater] can be a fulfilling thrill.”

“Even better, we’re with our friends, the people we care about and that care about us,” Dr. Kerr added, “and research shows that people bond more closely when frightened.” Like snuggling up to your date during a scary part in a movie, or holding your best friend’s hand in a haunted house.

Horror movies have been a box office draw for decades and franchises like “Friday the 13th” and “A Nightmare on Elm Street” have reeled in $380.6 million and $370.5 million total, respectively.

But most of 2017’s fright shows have been critically-acclaimed films with broad appeal.

“These aren’t generic slasher or horror films, they are really compelling films that are well acted and well written and so people are talking about them and the good word of mouth is drawing more people to see them,” said Thompson.

And the scares have been particularly timely. “It” encourages viewers to confront the dangers of growing up while looking back at their childhood fears with nostalgia. And “Get Out” mined the racial divide the country is still mired in today.

“Horror movies have always been a way for us to talk about, share, educate and shine light on society’s biggest fears and ‘Get Out’ mirrored the very real, lived sentiment of many: This horrific, abusive, inhumane treatment of black Americans that it is not only condoned by whites, but approached with such an air of entitlement, arrogance and levity that seems invisible to everyone but those on the receiving end,” said Dr. Kerr.

She said “Get Out” has also tapped into the collective uncertainty of knowing what to believe anymore during an epidemic of fake news and politicians changing their stories every day.

“Horror movies give us a sense of closure and certainty that we just can’t always get in the real world … and that feels really good,” she said.

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Ain’t that a shame. May he rest in peace.

Rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Fats Domino dead at 89

NEW ORLEANS — Fats Domino, the amiable rock ‘n’ roll pioneer whose steady, pounding piano and easy baritone helped change popular music while honouring the traditions of the Crescent City, died Tuesday. He was 89.

Mark Bone, chief investigator with the Jefferson Parish, La., coroner’s office, said Domino died of natural causes at 3:30 a.m. Tuesday.

In appearance, he was no Elvis Presley. He stood 5-feet-5 and weighed more than 200 pounds, with a wide, boyish smile and a haircut as flat as an album cover. But Domino sold more than 110 million records, with hits including Blueberry Hill, Ain’t It a Shame and other standards of rock ‘n’ roll.

He was one of the first 10 honourees named to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Rolling Stone Record Guide likened him to Benjamin Franklin, the beloved old man of a revolutionary movement.

His dynamic performance style and warm vocals drew crowds for five decades. One of his show-stopping stunts was playing the piano while standing, throwing his body against it with the beat of the music and bumping the grand piano across the stage.

Domino’s 1956 version of Blueberry Hill was selected for the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry of historic sound recordings worthy of preservation. The preservation board noted that Domino insisted on performing the song despite his producer’s doubts, adding that Domino’s “New Orleans roots are evident in the Creole inflected cadences that add richness and depth to the performance.”

Domino became a global star but stayed true to his hometown, where his fate was initially unknown after Hurricane Katrina struck in August 2005. It turned out that he and his family were rescued by boat from his home, where he lost three pianos and dozens of gold and platinum records, along with other memorabilia.

Many wondered if he would ever return to the stage. Scheduled to perform at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 2006, he simply tipped his hat to thousands of cheering fans.

But in May 2007, he was back, performing at Tipitina’s music club in New Orleans. Fans cheered — and some cried — as Domino played I’m Walkin’, Ain’t It a Shame, Shake, Rattle and Roll, Blueberry Hill and a host of other hits.

That performance was a highlight during several rough years. After losing their home and almost all their belongings to the floods, his wife of more than 50 years, Rosemary, died in April 2008.

Domino moved to the New Orleans suburb of Harvey after the storm but would often visit his publishing house, an extension of his old home in the Lower 9th Ward, inspiring many with his determination to stay in the city he loved.

“Fats embodies everything good about New Orleans,” his friend David Lind said in a 2008 interview. “He’s warm, fun-loving, spiritual, creative and humble. You don’t get more New Orleans than that.”

The son of a violin player, Antoine Domino Jr. was born on Feb. 26, 1928, to a family that grew to include nine children. As a youth, he taught himself popular piano styles — ragtime, blues and boogie-woogie — after his cousin left an old upright in the house. Fats Waller and Albert Ammons were early influences.

He quit school at age 14, and worked days in a factory while playing and singing in local juke joints at night. In 1949, Domino was playing at the Hideaway Club for $3 a week when he was signed by Imperial record company.

He recorded his first song, The Fat Man, in the back of a tiny French Quarter recording studio.

“They call me the Fat Man, because I weigh 200 pounds,” he sang. “All the girls, they love me, ’cause I know my way around.”

In 1955, he broke into the white pop charts with Ain’t it a Shame — but actually sang the lyrics as “ain’t that a shame.” The song was covered blandly by Pat Boone as Ain’t That a Shame and rocked out years later by Cheap Trick. Domino enjoyed a parade of successes through the early 1960s, including Be My Guest and I’m Ready. Another hit, I’m Walkin, became the debut single for Ricky Nelson.

Domino appeared in the rock ‘n’ roll film The Girl Can’t Help It and was among the first black performers to be featured in popular music shows, starring with Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers. He also helped bridge rock ‘n’ roll and other styles — even country/western, recording Hank Williams’ Jambalaya and Bobby Charles’ Walkin’ to New Orleans.

Like many of his peers, Domino’s popularity tapered off in the 1960s as British and psychedelic rock held sway.

Domino told Ebony magazine that he stopped recording because companies wanted him to update his style.

“I refused to change,” he said. “I had to stick to my own style that I’ve always used or it just wouldn’t be me.”

Antoine and Rosemary Domino raised eight children in the same ramshackle neighbourhood where he grew up, but they did it in style — in a white mansion, trimmed in pink, yellow and lavender. The front double doors opened into an atrium with chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and ivory dominos set in a white marble floor.

In 1988, all of New Orleans seemed to be talking about him after he reportedly paid in cash for two Cadillacs and a US$130,000 Rolls-Royce. When the salesman asked if he wanted to call his bank about financing, Domino smiled and said, “I am the bank.”

In 1998, he became the first purely rock ‘n’ roll musician to be awarded the National Medal for the Arts. But he cited his age and didn’t make the trip to the White House to get the medal from President Clinton.

That was typical. Aside from rare appearances in New Orleans, he dodged the spotlight in his later years, refusing to appear in public or even to give interviews.

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He is a true legend. May he rest in peace.

Robert Guillaume, ‘Benson’ and ‘Soap’ actor, dies at 89

NEW YORK — Robert Guillaume, who rose from squalid beginnings in St. Louis slums to become a star in stage musicals and win Emmy Awards for his portrayal of the sharp-tongued butler in the TV sitcoms “Soap” and “Benson,” has died at age 89.

Guillaume died at home Tuesday in Los Angeles, according to his widow, Donna Brown Guillaume. He had been battling prostate cancer, she told The Associated Press.

Among Guillaume’s achievements was playing Nathan Detroit in the first all-black version of “Guys and Dolls,” earning a Tony nomination in 1977. He became the first African-American to sing the title role of “Phantom of the Opera,” appearing with an all-white cast in Los Angeles.

While playing in “Guys and Dolls, he was asked to test for the role of an acerbic butler of a governor’s mansion in ”Soap,“ a primetime TV sitcom that satirized soap operas.

“The minute I saw the script, I knew I had a live one,” he recalled in 2001. “Every role was written against type, especially Benson, who wasn’t subservient to anyone. To me, Benson was the revenge for all those stereotyped guys who looked like Benson in the ’40s and ’50s (movies) and had to keep their mouths shut.”

The character became so popular that ABC was persuaded to launch a spinoff, simply called “Benson,” which lasted from 1979 to 1986. The series made Guillaume wealthy and famous, but he regretted that Benson’s wit had to be toned down to make him more appealing as the lead star.

The career of Robert Guillaume (pronounced with a hard “g”: gee-yome) almost ended in January 1999 at Walt Disney Studio. He was appearing in the TV series “Sports Night” as Isaac Jaffee, executive producer of a sports highlight show. Returning to his dressing room after a meal away from the studio, he suddenly collapsed.

“I fell on the floor, and I couldn’t get up,” he told an interviewer in 2001. “I kept floundering about on the floor and I didn’t know why I couldn’t do it. I didn’t know it was it was caused by my left side being weaker than the other.”

Fortunately, St. Joseph Hospital was directly across from the studio. The 71-year-old actor was taken there and treated for a stroke — the result of a blood clot that blocked circulation of blood to the brain. They are fatal in 15 per cent of the cases.

Guillaume’s stroke was minor, causing relatively slight damage and little effect on his speech. After six weeks in the hospital, he underwent a therapy of walks and sessions in the gym. He returned to the second season of “Sports Talk,” and it was written into the script that Isaac Jaffee was recovering from a stroke. Because of slim ratings, the second season proved to be the last for the much-praised show.

Guillaume resumed his career and travelled as a new spokesman for the American Stroke Association. He also made appearance for the American Heart Association.

“I’m a bastard, a Catholic, the son of a prostitute, and a product of the poorest slums of St. Louis.”

This was the opening of “Guillaume: A Life,” his 2002 autobiography in which he laid bare his troubled life. He was born fatherless on Nov. 30, 1927, in St. Louis, one of four children. His mother named him Robert Peter Williams; when he became a performer he adopted Guillaume, a French version of Williams, believing the change would give him distinction.

His early years were spent in a back-alley apartment without plumbing or electricity; an outhouse was shared with two dozen people. His alcoholic mother hated him because of his dark skin, and his grandmother rescued him, taught him to read and enrolled him in a Catholic school.

Seeking but denied his mother’s love and scorned by nuns and students because of his dark skin, the boy became a rebel, and that carried into his adult life. He was expelled from school and then the Army, though he was granted an honourable discharge. He fathered a daughter and abandoned the child and her mother. He did the same to his first wife and two sons and to another woman and a daughter.

He worked in a department store, the post office and as St. Louis’s first black streetcar motorman. Seeking something better, he enrolled at St. Louis University, excelling in philosophy and Shakespeare, and then at Washington University (St. Louis) where a music professor trained the young man’s superb tenor singing voice.

After serving as an apprentice at theatres in Aspen, Colo., and Cleveland, the newly named Guillaume toured with Broadway shows “Finian’s Rainbow,” ”Golden Boy,“ ”Porgy and Bess“ and ”Purlie,“ and began appearing on sitcoms such as ”The Jeffersons“ and ”Sanford and Son.“ Then came ”Soap“ and ”Benson.“ His period of greatest success was marred by tragedy when his 33-year-old son Jacques died of AIDS.

Guillaume’s first stable relationship came when he married TV producer Donna Brown in the mid-1980s and fathered a daughter, Rachel. At last he was able to shrug off the bitterness he had felt throughout his life.

“To assuage bitterness requires more than human effort,” he wrote at the end of his autobiography. “Relief comes from a source we cannot see but can only feel. I am content to call that source love.”

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I know they’re not good but I still want to see GEOSTORM and THE SNOWMAN.

Tyler Perry’s Boo 2 tops box office as Geostorm and Snowman stumble

Nine days before Halloween, the October box office is looking grim. Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween is on track to debut atop a sluggish weekend with an estimated $21.7 million in the U.S. and Canada, while fellow newcomers Geostorm and The Snowman are struggling to attract moviegoers.

Although the ninth installment of writer, director, and star Perry’s Madea series should meet industry projections and reportedly cost a modest $20 million to make, the sequel’s opening numbers are lagging about 25% behind the original Boo! A Madea Halloween, which bowed at No. 1 last year.

Boo 2, which finds Madea and company dodging ghosts and ghouls at a haunted campground, was shredded by critics but garnered a solid A-minus CinemaScore. Lionsgate released the film.

Meanwhile, the forecast is dire for Warner Bros. and Skydance’s long-delayed disaster movie Geostorm, which reportedly cost $120 million to make and is on pace to open with about $13.3 million, putting it in the No. 2 spot.

Marking the directorial debut of Independence Day screenwriter Dean Devlin, Geostorm stars Gerard Butler as a climate scientist trying to save the world from a technologically induced weather apocalypse. Critics have savaged the movie, and unlike Boo 2 audiences seem to have agreed, giving it a weak B-minus CinemaScore.

Also turning off critics and audiences alike this weekend is Universal and Working Title’s crime thriller The Snowman, which is on track to debut at No. 8 with an estimated $3.4 million.

Based on Jo Nesbo’s Nordic noir novel of the same name, The Snowman received a dreadful D CinemaScore and is currently in the single digits on Rotten Tomatoes. Tomas Alfredson (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) directed the movie, which stars Michael Fassbender as a troubled detective who teams with a brilliant recruit (Rebecca Ferguson) to track a serial killer.

Coming in fifth place, behind holdovers Happy Death Day and Blade Runner 2049, is Sony’s new firefighter drama Only the Brave, which will gross about $6 million.

Recounting the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots and featuring an ensemble cast including Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges, and Taylor Kitsch, the film has garnered glowing reviews and an A CinemaScore. Joseph Kosinski (Tron: Legacy) directed the movie.

On the specialty front, Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Killing of a Sacred Deer is on track to gross an estimated $114,585 from four locations, for a per-theater average of $28,646, while Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck is eyeing an estimated $68,762 from four locations, for a per-theater average of $17,190.

After a record-breaking September powered by the horror hit It, the past few weeks have lacked for breakout hits at the box office, particularly in the wake of Blade Runner 2049 underperforming.

According to ComScore, overall box office is down 4.8 percent year-to-date. Check out the Oct. 20-22 figures below.

1. Boo 2! A Madea Halloween — $21.7 million
2. Geostorm — $13.3 million
3. Happy Death Day — $9.4 million
4. Blade Runner 2049 — $7.2 million
5. Only the Brave — $6 million
6. The Foreigner — $5.5 million
7. It — $3.5 million
8. The Snowman — $3.4 million
9. American Made — $3.2 million
10. Kingsman: The Golden Circle — $3 million