After 90 year wait, Minnie Mouse gets her Hollywood moment

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – She waited 90 years and saw a trail of men and Disney princesses get there before her, but on Monday Minnie Mouse finally got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Minnie Mouse made her movie debut in the 1928 film “Steamboat Willie,” and her co-star and beau Mickey Mouse got his bronze plaque on Hollywood Boulevard back in 1978.

But it took another 40 years for Minnie, who appeared in more than 70 animated movies, to join him on the Walk of Fame.

“In true Hollywood fashion, she delivered a memorable performance but Mickey got all the credit,” Walt Disney Co Chief Executive Bob Iger said at the ceremony unveiling the 2,627th star.

“After 90 years in show business, it’s certainly about time you got your star,” Iger said.

Minnie has been celebrated as a fashion icon, pop culture staple and a character who brings joy to children worldwide, and an actor dressed as the cartoon character waved and batted her eyelashes throughout Monday’s ceremony.

“This is the best day ever. Thank you, thank you, thank you,” she squeaked from the red and white polka dot stage.

Pop star Katy Perry, also dressed in red and white polka dots for the occasion, said she had been a fan of Minnie since the age of two or three.

“Minnie and Mickey printed diapers – that was my first memory ever and it turned into a lifelong devotion,” the “Firework” singer said.

“No one rocks a bow, or the color red, quite like her,” Perry added.

Walk of Fame honorees are selected by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.

Women have stepped up their campaign in recent years for equal pay in Hollywood and better representation behind and in front of the camera.

It took Minnie much longer than her boyfriend to receive Monday’s accolade because Disney only nominated her last year, Walk of Fame producer Ana Martinez told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Maybe he was more popular back in the day,” Martinez said.

Donald Duck, Tinker Bell, Snow White and other Disney characters were immortalized on the Walk of Fame before Minnie.

Reporting by Jill Serjeant, Sebastien Malo and Reuters Television; Editing by Tom Brown

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Davos elite tap Cate Blanchett, Elton John, Shah Rukh Khan for human rights awards

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) – Film star Cate Blanchett, singer-songwriter Elton John and Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan received awards at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Monday for their work raising awareness about human rights issues.

Blanchett, an Australian, received a Crystal Award for her work with people who have fled their homes. British singer-songwriter John received his for his charitable work with his AIDS foundation. Indian Khan’s was in recognition of his work championing the rights of children and women in India.

The Crystal Award is given, by the WEF to artists who make a positive change in society.

The awards were presented at a ceremony in the village of Davos, in the Swiss Alps, where some of the world’s top policy makers and executives have begun gathering for the annual meeting.

Blanchett, who has won two Oscars, was named a goodwill ambassador for United Nations refugee agency UNHCR in May 2016. As part of her role, the actor has traveled to Lebanon and Jordan to meet refugees displaced by the Syrian conflict.

She warned of the consequences if more was not done to help people forced to flee their homes.

“Lost generations of uneducated, disenfranchised and displaced children not only represent a vast loss of potential but also a threat for future global security and prosperity,” she said.

More than a million people have fled parts of Africa and the Middle East to Europe in the last few years.

Reporting by Alexis Akwagyiram in Davos Editing by Jeremy Gaunt

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With swirls and cages, Dior goes surrealist for Haute Couture week

PARIS (Reuters) – Christian Dior plunged spectators into a surrealist dreamworld on Monday at Paris’ Haute Couture week, as models dressed in black-and-white hypnotic patterns took to the runway under sculptures of body parts suspended from the ceiling.

The LVMH label unveiled its latest collection on the first day of a fashion week dedicated to the highest echelon of couturiers, which runs until Jan. 25. The creations, often handmade, are not meant for shops, and when sold are usually exclusively tailored to one person.

Dior showed off its almost completely monochrome outfits on a checkered catwalk. Models peered out from behind facemasks: some feline, others like mailboxes, all of them black.

Famed Surrealist artists such as Salvador Dali or Rene Magritte often depicted bird cages or disjointed body parts in their art, a motif evoked in the show with giant noses and ears dangling over the runway and cage-like corsets worn on it.

Designer Maria Grazia Chiuri for Christian Dior’s Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2018 fashion collection in Paris. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Gowns and capes strewn with feathers or featuring waspy, see-through fabrics also gave the collection a dream-like feel, as did the geometric patterns or swirls on many dresses.

“Black and white is the color of the subconscious and I think when you dream, you dream in black and white, so I decided it would be great to make a collection in black and white,” Dior’s chief designer Maria Grazia Chiuri told Reuters after the show.

Chiuri said in a press release she was also inspired by Italian Surrealist artist Leonor Fini, a friend of Christian Dior, the late founder of the house in the last 1940s.

The fashion house is set to host a masqued ball later on Monday, also in the grounds of Paris’ Rodin museum, the setting for the show.

Dior’s latest collection from Chiuri comes amid a shake-up at the label, as former Fendi boss Pietro Beccari prepares to replace long-standing CEO Sidney Toledano, who is moving to run several other labels in the LVMH group.

Reporting by Johnny Cotton, Writing by Sarah White, Editing by William Maclean

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Milosevic the musical – play set to divide Balkans anew

BELGRADE (Reuters) – During his lifetime Slobodan Milosevic divided the peoples of the Balkans. Now, 12 years after he died during his trial for war crimes, the onetime Serbian strongman is set to divide them again – this time as a character in a play.

Milosevic rode a wave of populist nationalism to power in Belgrade in 1989 as communism was collapsing across eastern Europe, then led Serbia through a decade of wars in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo.

Hailed by Serbian nationalists as their defender against Catholic Croats and Bosnian and Kosovar Albanian Muslims, Milosevic was reviled as a brutal dictator by the West and eventually, after a NATO bombing campaign in 1999, lost power and ended up on trial for war crimes in The Hague.

A Belgrade-based writer, Jelena Bogavac, has now written a play to be performed by Kosovo Serbs in the Kosovo town of Gracanica that attempts to portray the full complexity of a man still blamed by many across the Balkans for the deaths and suffering of tens of thousands of people.

“Initially we wanted to do a play telling personal stories of Kosovo Serbs in the 1990s, but as we conducted interviews we realized it all came down to one common denominator – Milosevic,” Jelena Bogavac, who wrote the play, told Reuters.

“In the play we are presenting the chronology of events which ends in the Hague,” said Bogavac during rehearsals of her play in Belgrade.


Actors read scripts during a text rehearsal of “The Slobodan Show” play in Belgrade, Serbia, January 20, 2018. Picture taken January 20, 2018. REUTERS/Djordje Kojadinovic

Entitled “The Lift – The Slobodan Show”, the play is a musical which focuses more on his personal relationship with his powerful wife Mirjana, his daughter Marija and his son Marko than on politics, according to an unfinished script seen by Reuters.

In one scene he comforts his daughter over the poor financial state of her radio station, and in another he tells Marko not to overheat the water in the family swimming pool.

The final part of the play – his trial in the Hague, where he died of a heart attack in 2006 – is yet to be completed.

The play is unlikely to please the ethnic Albanians who form the majority in Kosovo, which declared independence from Belgrade in 2008 in a move still not recognized by Serbia or by the 40,000 ethnic Serbs still living in Kosovo.

An estimated 800,000 ethnic Albanians were displaced and about 10,000 killed by Milosevic’s forces in the late 1990s.

“No one will change history with a play,” Naser Shatrolli, a Kosovo Albanian director and playwright, told Reuters.

“It doesn’t matter what the play says. Milosevic is a criminal, a tyrant, who destroyed the whole Balkans region, not only Albanians, and he will stay like this and no one will change that.”

Additional reporting by Fatos Bytyci in Pristina; Editing by Gareth Jones

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Britain’s Princess Eugenie to marry long-term boyfriend

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Princess Eugenie has got engaged to her long-term boyfriend Jack Brooksbank, Buckingham Palace said on Monday, with the pair set to marry later this year.

Eugenie, 27, is a granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth and eighth in line to the throne. She is the second daughter of Prince Andrew, the queen’s third child who is known as the Duke of York.

“The Duke and Duchess of York are delighted to announce the engagement of Princess Eugenie to Mr. Jack Brooksbank,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement.

“Her Royal Highness and Mr. Brooksbank became engaged in Nicaragua earlier this month.”

The wedding will be held in the autumn at St George’s Chapel in Windsor – the same venue where her cousin Prince Harry will marry American fiancée Meghan Markle in May.

Reporting by Alistair Smout

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China takes aim at hip-hop, saying ‘low-taste content’ must stop

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s censors have a new target in a widespread clamp-down on popular culture: the country’s nascent hip-hop scene, which resonated with Chinese youth last year on hugely popular television show “Rap of China.”

Hip hop artists Wang Hao, known as “PG One” and Zhou Yan, known as “GAI” – the two winners of the show – have been sanctioned in recent weeks for bad behavior or content at odds with Communist Party values. GAI was pulled from hit show “The Singer” last week.

The crackdown on hip-hop, still very much a new genre in China, reflects a broader squeeze on popular culture as the country’s stability-focused leadership looks to rein in potential platforms for youthful dissent.

Beijing is eager to use popular culture to shape public opinion, including co-opting rap artists ahead of its five-yearly congress last year. With state support comes the insistence that Party values must take center stage in the artists’ work.

The latest cleanup started when PG One was forced to apologize for lewd lyrics, which critics said were insulting to women and encouraged the use of recreational drugs.

The official Xinhua news agency wrote that PG One “does not deserve the stage,” and that “we should say ‘no’ to whoever provides a platform for low-taste content.” Other official media and companies quickly followed suit; the rapper’s tracks were soon pulled from most online sites.

GAI, who had been in third place on The Singer, broadcast by Hunan TV, was cut from the program last week with no reason given. Rapper Vava was hastily edited out of the same station’s flagship variety show “Happy Camp” because of her association with hip-hop culture.

“Hip-hop’s prospects in China seem dim after Chinese rappers removed from TV shows,” read one headline from influential state-run tabloid Global Times on Sunday.

The same paper this month said hip-hop – which it called a “tool for people to vent their anger, misery, complaints” – did not suit China and “cannot thrive” here.

The campaign underscores a broader clean-up of cultural content from video games, online streaming and even performance art amid a drive to make cultural products adhere to mainstream socialist core values.

PG One, Vava and Hunan TV could not immediately be reached for comment. GAI, who had tried to make his act more Party-friendly – including an impromptu performance in which he sang the words “long live the motherland” – did not respond to requests for comment.

Chinese news portal Sina reported on Friday that China’s broadcasting watchdog had said immoral and vulgar content should be kept off the air, including hip-hop – and even tattoos.

The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television did not respond to a telephone request for comment from Reuters on Monday.

This is not the first time Chinese musicians have run afoul of local censors. In 2015, China’s culture ministry banned 120 songs – mostly rap – for “promoting obscenity, violence, crime or threatening public morality.”

In July last year, Beijing’s Municipal Bureau of Culture said it was “not appropriate” for Justin Bieber to tour in China because previous performances there had created “public dissatisfaction.”

A month later, organizers aiming to bring Grammy Award-winning artists to China said they would only “promote artists with a positive and healthy image.”

Li Yijie, a patriotic rapper with government-backed band Tianfu Shibian, said that regulators weren’t blacklisting the genre as a whole, but that recent scandals meant “some institutions, firms, TV stations and the public had lost confidence in hip-hop.”

“Maybe local television stations think it is too sensitive to run hip-hop shows now,” he added.

Reporting by Pei Li and Adam Jourdan; Editing by Gerry Doyle

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Craft and tech mingle at French couture house Fournie

PARIS (Reuters) – At his Paris workshop, haute couturier Julien Fournie is surveying the final tucks and tweaks to his outfits as models try on his hand-stitched silk gowns, bringing to life creations he first sketched on a tablet. 

Fournie is one of few designers trying to propel fashion into the modern age, with accessories created from 3D printers and sketches developed virtually. 

Yet Fournie’s high-tech approach is barely noticeable in his latest Asian-inspired collection, on view on Tuesday during Paris’ Spring/Summer Haute Couture Week, one of fashion’s ultimate display of craftsmanship.

Vintage kimono fabrics are subtly integrated into the designs, some with intricate origami-style adornments.

“New technology isn’t about doing dresses with blinking lights,” Fournie said in his studio after an afternoon of fittings. “We realized that in fashion, technology is only interesting when it disappears.”

For his couture house – a small team of seven – that means doing as much of the creative work as possible online, from conceiving looks to exchanging samples with textile suppliers virtually.

Fournie’s experiments with iPad designs earned him a visit last year from Apple CEO Tim Cook, who came to see how the tools were being used.

French designer Julien Fournie is seen in his workshop during an interview with Reuters ahead of his Spring-Summer 2018 Haute Couture fashion show presentation in Paris, France, January 15, 2018. Picture taken January 15, 2018. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

The designer is also collaborating with French 3D engineering and software company Dassault Systemes to develop management systems and printing techniques adapted to the fashion world.

Fournie has other ventures up his sleeve with technology start-ups, and he said he had designed a soon-to-be unveiled USB stick meant to store and protect cryptocurrencies.

Fournie’s clothing designs, however, remain at the heart of his business, as do the artisan skills of his team.

The 42-year-old, known for favoring 1950s-style silhouettes, last year became a permanent member of France’s select Haute Couture club, whose 15 houses include storied names such as Christian Dior and Chanel.

His clients, more than 90 percent of whom come from the Middle East, seek one-of-kind designs — validating, in Fournie’s eyes, the role of Haute Couture in an age of fast-fashion high street labels and global luxury brands.

“I love the idea that Haute Couture is bearing the torch for individuality,” he said.

Some of the numbers from Fournie’s latest collection, in hues of cherry blossom pinks and deep blues meant to evoke an Asian dreamworld, have already been sold, he said. The price tag remains a secret.

Reporting by Sarah White and Noemie Olive; editing by Clelia Oziel

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Notorious B.I.G. Billboard Up At Murder Scene

The Notorious B.I.G.

Looking Down On His Murder Scene

1/22/2018 12:40 AM PST


The marketing team behind “Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G” found a brilliant spot to promote the series … right above Biggie‘s actual murder scene.

B.I.G. was gunned down March 9, 1997 as he left L.A.’s Petersen Automotive Museum — on the corner of South Fairfax & Wilshire. Now, a huge billboard right above that intersection shows his face with the tagline “20 Years. Still Unsolved.”  

The true crime scripted series also covers Tupac‘s murder, which happened 6 months before Biggie’s. There is no billboard up at the Vegas intersection where ‘Pac was killed. Not yet, anyway.

The show premieres February 27.


Razzie ‘worst film’ nods is an Oscar-studded affair

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Adventure movie “Transformers: The Last Knight” led nominations on Monday for the annual Razzie Awards for the worst films on a list packed with previous Oscar winners Jennifer Lawrence, Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson and Russell Crowe.

The tongue-in-cheek Razzies, created in 1980, serve as an antidote to Hollywood’s Oscars ceremony. Winners of the year’s worst films — if they turn up — are given a gold, spray-painted trophy at a ceremony held on the eve of the Academy Awards in March.

“Transformers: The Last Knight,” the latest in the action franchise based on toys that change from robots to vehicles, earned nine nominations, including worst picture and worst acting nods for many of its star-studded cast, including Anthony Hopkins and Mark Wahlberg.

Despite lackluster reviews, the 5th film in the series earned a healthy $605 million at the worldwide box office in 2017.

Razzie founder John Wilson called “Fifty Shades Darker,” based on the best-selling erotic novels, “more sleep-inducing than sexy,” while the reboot of “Baywatch” was among the worst picture contenders.

Johnny Depp — a perennial Razzie target — was singled out for what Wilson called “his worn out drunk routine” in “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” the fifth entry in the franchise in a summer of Hollywood sequels and remakes.

Lawrence and director Darren Aronofsky also felt some Razzie wrath for their horror movie “Mother!,” which some movie reviewers viewed as the work of a genius and others found laughable. The movie earned a rare F score from audiences and less than $45 million at the global box office.

Cruise and Crowe were among the worst actor nominees for “The Mummy,” while Gibson got a Razzie nod for his role in “Daddy’s Home 2.”

Nominees and winners of the Razzies are voted for online by around 1,000 Razzie members from 24 countries, who sign up online and pay a $40 membership fee. The winners will be announced on March 3

Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Sandra Maler

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‘Three Billboards’ biggest winner at female-flavored SAG awards

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Dark comedy “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” won three prizes at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) awards on Sunday in a ceremony marked by women and their stories amid the sexual misconduct scandal that has swept Hollywood.

The Fox Searchlight film about a furious woman seeking justice for the murder of her daughter was named best ensemble, the top SAG honor.

Frances McDormand won best actress and Sam Rockwell took home the best supporting actor statuette for their roles in the film.

Britain’s Gary Oldman won best actor for playing wartime leader Winston Churchill in Focus Features’ “Darkest Hour.”

Allison Janney won for her supporting actress role as a demanding mother in independent ice-skating movie “I, Tonya.”

The SAG awards are indicators of likely Oscar success in March because actors form the largest group of voters in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Oscar nominations will be announced on Tuesday.

The SAG ceremony took place after two days of marches by hundreds of thousands of women throughout the United States.

Host Kristen Bell said women were having a “watershed moment.”

“Let’s make sure we lead the charge with empathy and diligence because fear and anger never win the race,” said Bell, star of television’s “The Good Place.”

Accusations of sexual misconduct have forced dozens of powerful men in Hollywood to step down, be fired or dropped from creative projects.

24th Screen Actors Guild Awards – Photo Room – Los Angeles, California, U.S., 21/01/2018 – Frances McDormand (C), who won the award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role, and the cast of “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” pose backstage with their awards for Outstanding Cast in a Motion Picture. REUTERS/Monica Almeida

Women, many of them leading actresses, have responded by breaking their silence through the #MeToo social media movement and the Time’s Up campaign for legal support of victims.

On the red carpet, women swapped the black gowns that marked support for victims of sexual harassment at the Golden Globes two weeks ago for brighter blues, green and metallic hues.

Women were the dominant theme inside the Shrine Auditorium.

Nicole Kidman, 50, won for playing a battered wife in HBO’s female-centric TV series “Big Little Lies.”

“How wonderful that our careers today can go beyond 40 years old. Twenty years ago we were pretty washed up by this stage in our lives. This is not the case now,” Kidman said.

Aziz Ansari, nominated for his Netflix comedy series “Master of None,” was a no-show on Sunday after making headlines last week when a woman described feeling violated following an awkward date last year. Ansari said he believed their sexual activity was consensual.

Ansari lost the television comedy actor statuette to William H. Macy for “Shameless.”

James Franco, a best actor nominee for “The Disaster Artist,” did show up but skipped the red carpet and did not win. Franco had kept a low profile since describing allegations of sexual impropriety against him by five women two weeks ago as “not accurate.”

In television, NBC’s sentimental family drama “This is Us” was named the best drama ensemble cast in a surprise win over presumed front runners “The Crown” and dystopian series “A Handmaid’s Tale.”

The cast of HBO political satire “Veep” won best ensemble for a television comedy. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who is undergoing treatment for breast cancer and missed the SAG show, was named best comedy actress.

”She’s genuinely been in good spirits when we’ve seen her, which I think will carry her along … She is incredibly strong and is uniquely able to combat something like this,” Timothy Simons, who plays Jonah Ryan on “Veep,” told reporters on Sunday.

Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Additional reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Daniel Wallis, Paul Simao and Paul Tait

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