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If you don’t recognize Jessie Buckley’s warm smile and lilting voice already, chances are you will soon. Having starred in the acclaimed HBO series Chernobyl, and with upcoming projects alongside big names like Renée Zellweger and Keira Knightley, the 29-year-old actor and singer from County Kerry, Ireland, is set to become a familiar face on both sides of the Atlantic.
Buckley’s latest film, Wild Rose, follows a young Scottish woman with high hopes of becoming a country music singer. We meet Rose-Lynn Harlan as she leaves prison and reunites with her two children in the film’s opening scenes. A free spirit, Rose soon struggles with the difficulties of chasing her musical dreams and holding down responsibilities at home. The movie has won raves, in large part for the kinetic energy Buckley brings to the role.
Hailing from a musical family, Buckley first appeared on British TV screens in 2008, as a contestant in the talent competition I’d Do Anything competing for a leading role in a new West End musical. Since then, she has performed on London’s stages, featured in several television series including adaptations of War and Peace and The Woman in White, and won critical acclaim for her lead role in the award-winning psychological thriller Beast. She’s set to star in Charlie Kaufman’s upcoming Netflix thriller I’m Thinking of Ending Things as well as a film adaptation of the family-friendly classic The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle, opposite Robert Downey Jr., slated for release in early 2020.
Despite the growing buzz surrounding her, there’s a distinctly grounded quality to Buckley as she says she has no desire to “sheen herself up” or become more glamorous to appeal to audiences. In the weeks leading up to the release of Wild Rose on June 21, Buckley spoke to TIME about her musical upbringing, channeling real-life trauma in Chernobyl and the kinds of stories she likes to tell.
Do you find yourself gravitating towards certain projects or characters?
Now, I’m asking myself what it is I want to say next. I suppose I quite like going to the opposite side of where I’ve just come from, and I like exploring different aspects of myself. I don’t like settling or feeling comfortable; I like surprising myself and surprising others.
What about the character of Rose-Lynn appealed to you?
The minute I read the script, I just was so excited and unnerved, and thrilled by this boisterous, flawed, human, raw, courageous young mother. Rose is so alive and so human and real. All of the women in the film were breaking outside of the four walls of where they were told they were allowed to exist in and dream in.
What do you make of Rose’s relationship with music, and how it affects her relationships with those around her?
Initially music for her is escape—it’s belonging to something else, and somewhere else. And also, whether she’s aware of it or not, everything that she’s not able to say in her real life, she says it in her music. She wants to be able to say it to her kids but she doesn’t know how to do that. She’s afraid of them in ways, because they make her vulnerable.
Did you have a musical family growing up?
My mum is a harpist and a singer. She’s had five kids and she’s an amazing woman. She’s just gone back to study music psychotherapy at university. Our family is like the von Trapps, it’s madness. My parents gave us an amazing gift: that whatever it is you’re passionate about or want to explore — life is much more fulfilling if you experience it with things like that rather than materialistic things.
Do you ever see any reflections of Rose, or any of your other characters, in yourself?
I never initially, when I read a script, think, “Oh brilliant, that’s me!” Because there’d be no point. I definitely didn’t have that tenacious courage that Rose-Lynn had in the beginning. But for me, I always want to go away with half the character, and half the character go away with me at the end of a job. You have to put a little bit of yourself in there, and they for you.
In Chernobyl, the basis for your character is Lyudmilla Ignatenko, whose husband was a firefighter affected by radiation poisoning. How did you tap into that experience of extreme grief and trauma?
I was terrified of the responsibility of it. It’s still important. It’s real. The story shocked me as much as it shocked everybody else. Everybody knew the word Chernobyl, or had heard the word Chernobyl growing up, but I hadn’t heard the truth at the core of what happened.
It’s such a unique kind of grief that is very hard to understand, because it happened so quickly and [the event was] so massive and horrific. Her story is one of love, and the danger of love. The book Chernobyl Voices became kind of bible to me when I was filming and preparing. It was also useful looking at photos of her, and watching a documentary that she was in. There was always something about her neck for me — almost like she was choked by grief that wasn’t allowed to be spoken about.
Over 10 years ago, you competed on I’d Do Anything and came in second place. How do you feel about that experience now?
I look back at that show now, and myself then, and I’m proud of that young Jessie. For me, I just wanted to sing and be part of something that would otherwise take me 30 or 40 years to even get a toe inside the door. I was very raw, and sometimes, I really was crap. I feel like from where I am now, it’s all been little yellow brick roads along the way. Maybe I dreamed, but I never thought it would actually be possible that I would make a movie. That’s something that didn’t happen to a girl from Killarney.
In the forthcoming film Misbehaviour, you play Jo Ann Robinson, who helped organize a feminist protest against the 1970 Miss World pageant. Did you meet the real life inspiration for your character?
Oh yeah! She’s around and she’s excellent — she’s got dyed purple hair and wears Doc Martens and she is just the coolest cat. The explosion that happened with those women coming out of the 1960s is about sisterhood. It’s about encouraging women and men to respect each other and respect yourself and stand up for yourself, and not be puppeteered or paraded around and be told that you’re not allowed to feel something because you’re put on this plinth of beauty.
Do you think that’s a relevant message in 2019?
I think it’s a story relevant for every era. We have to constantly keep questioning and evolving, and young women need to keep being reminded of that. There’s so much pressure, whether you’re a woman or young man, to succeed and for success to look like something, usually based on money and looks. It’s really soul-sapping, and that’s why these conversations, questions, moments, films and stories, need to keep being told.
Source: Entertainment – TIME | 19 Jun 2019 | 4:59 pm
Don’t underestimate the power of K-pop. That’s a lesson many in the music industry have learned over the past few years, as the South Korean musical export has taken over charts and groups like BTS, BLACKPINK and EXO have broken records, established global fanbases on social media and found footholds in Western culture. Now, a team of composers, K-pop experts and musicians are trying to draw attention to the deeper side of K-pop: its construction as an art.
In “K-Factor: An Orchestral Exploration of K-Pop” on June 20, New York City’s Lincoln Center will host a live symphony orchestra of 50 musicians playing orchestral arrangements of some of the genre’s biggest hits, from Red Velvet’s “Ice Cream Cake” to BTS’s “Idol” and Girls Generation’s “I Got a Boy.” The goal is to shine a new light on the history, evolution and complexity of the music of K-pop, back to its influences in the ’30s and ’40s — and not just on its glitzy and sometimes controversial idols.
“I hope the audience is able to feel that the whole K-pop trend nowadays isn’t just by sudden chance, but more the result of a long history of creative innovation,” says South Korean songwriter Eana Kim, one of the architects of the “K-Factor” show. “[K-pop] is about creating a worldview as much as having good music. I think that’s helped people around the world connect with it recently.”
Kim was brought in by classical composer and pop singer-songwriter and producer Johan, who previously worked with conductor Yuga Cohler on “Yeethoven,” an orchestral mashup of Kanye West and Beethoven’s works. This time, they built a larger team — including Kim, Seoul-based K-pop expert and consultant Jakob Dorof and advisor Jihoon Suk — to develop the show. TIME spoke with Johan, who is based in Los Angeles, as well as Dorof and Kim, who are both based in South Korea, about why the genre was ripe for an orchestral reimagining and what they hope K-pop fans new and old will take away from their project.
TIME: How did this project come together?
Johan: Yuga [Cohler] and I had been talking about doing a show that would explore a type of music that an orchestra would bring out and illuminate in a different way. Partly because of the phenomenon around K-pop, but also because of general interest, we both started talking about why K-pop was compositionally interesting. Pretty much immediately, I reached out to Jakob [Dorof]. I knew him from college and he’s an expert on this; also he knew people who work in this industry.
Jakob Dorof: One of the people we involved very early on is Eana Kim. She is by many measures the top lyricist in the industry [in South Korea]. The side of Korean music we’re focusing on is a bit underrepresented, both in Korea and internationally. We’ve also got Jihoon Suk; he’s an expert on early Korean music, and early recorded music in general. The scope of the show goes all the way back to the 1910s to 1920s and has a really robust historical aspect. And we’ve brought in JungJae Moon, a top pianist here, involved with SM Entertainment, one of the main architects of K-pop since the very beginning. And Chris Yoon, head of A&R at SM, is doing a talk.
How is K-pop distinct from Western pop? What has contributed to its recent popularity?
Eana Kim: There was a big decline of boy bands and girl groups in the West in the 2000s, with less focus on choreography and the whole visual aspect. But it was picking up a lot of popularity in Korea during that time, and Japan, too. As the market for “idol pop” expanded here, it helped Korean companies and artists hone their craft and gain a kind of worldwide competitiveness.
One unique thing is the entire K-pop system, [in which] a single entertainment company takes charge of the whole process: directly casting teens and training them, on top of producing and marketing. Eventually, K-pop got to the level where idol group members had to start directly contributing to the creative process, to help them stand out.
Another key thing is Korean idol groups spreading out worldwide through platforms like YouTube and V-Live, which is another way to help build a fandom — sharing glimpses of the artists’ daily lives, their creative process, all that stuff.
Many audiences know K-pop through the popularity of its “idol” industry. What about K-pop musically makes it unique to focus on?
Johan: There are concerts where the orchestra plays pop music, and those are fun. But we see [K-pop] as a robust and intellectual artistic institution. Coming from my background — having spent most of my life as a classical composer before I ever did pop music — that was really the interest: expose people to this very sophisticated music. We want to trace certain musical threads and how they’ve developed over the past 100 years of Korean music history. It’s not just, “here are the hits.” We’re trying to be more provocative from a formal composition standpoint.
Dorof: There are a lot of things about K-pop that are distinct in popular music history worldwide. It is a recently global and Western phenomenon. But that coverage of the musical aspect, the understanding of that — and the depth of it as a process and an art form — is a bit lacking. This is an opportunity to show that.
What struck you in the process of translating K-pop hits into orchestral arrangements? Was there anything particularly surprising or challenging?
Johan: You’ll see songs jumping from genre to genre within sections of a song, even from bar to bar. In ’90s [K-pop], there’s a lot of heavy metal references going on, but mixed with R&B and also a rap component. That can be an exciting challenge for an orchestra. You can’t just be like, ‘Well, there are parts that will work for the orchestra and we’ll drop the others.’ It’s all there, every little detail. So for instance, those ’90s boom-bap drums: I want to use orchestral percussion to capture the exact second that a particular snare drum sound has been chopped a certain way, really getting into the sonic detail of that. I ended up relying on a lot of unusual techniques; you have to play your percussion instrument using this particular type of mallet.
How did you end up choosing the songs?
Dorof: We are trying to have it be a visceral, fun concert experience, but we also want it to have a historical narrative. There’s one iconic example — Girls Generation’s “I Got a Boy” from 2013. It seemed like it would be a real challenge because it’s very musically sophisticated, but the vast majority of it is happening around one chord. I was a little worried about that, but when I heard Johan’s orchestration I was blown away and psyched to hear how that will play. And there’s one ’90s pick from the annals of K-pop that’s just epic and wild and maybe the most classical in the entire set.
Johan: Some songs, like “MAMA” by EXO, are so symphonic already. BLACKPINK has this song “Kill This Love” right now which leans heavily on brass and trombone; that’s fun because it’s going to sound exactly like it. Then when you get into the ’90s, stuff by H.O.T. and the earlier era of K-pop, like Seo Taiji [and Boys], they really capture how jarring the genre juxtapositions are. A song might rely heavily on the drums, but the orchestra is mostly not drums. So you start looking for other details: there’s this whole synth part that I maybe didn’t notice, there’s a background vocal really tucked in.
Dorof: Also, if you take a panoramic view of K-pop history, especially in the ’90s onward, there’s a surprising amount of screaming.
Johan: There’s very metal-inspired pieces. I ended up reaching into my compositional background of chaotic, atonal music and techniques to get jarring stuff to capture those details. The arrangement is closer to a contemporary classical concert than purely a tribute to pop music, because it’s so complex and provocative.
Your team has described the music as having a “radical spirit.” What is most radical about K-pop?
Dorof: For me, a lot of it has to do with song structure. It’s not always verse-chorus pop song format. There might be a diversion or a curveball that only happens once. This super open-minded, all-embracing approach to influences and composition [is different from the] Western pop perspective. A lot of the groups are a Korean equivalent to an *NSYNC or a Spice Girls or a Little Mix; it’s not to say that there isn’t experimental, interesting pop music elsewhere in the world. But when you compare it to the context of pop music and a One Direction or a Backstreet Boys release, as great as that music is in its way, K-pop is striking. There’s interesting textures and emotions that are hyper-dynamic. It can be very theatrical and operatic. Nothing is off-limits in K-pop, structurally or referentially. That’s what keeps me coming back.
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Walt Disney Co. will try to close the global box-office gap between its mega-blockbuster film “Avengers: Endgame” and James Cameron’s “Avatar” next weekend.
The superhero sequel will reenter theaters with new footage that wasn’t included in the first release, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige told ComicBook.com in an interview posted Wednesday. Feige didn’t specify the additional scenes, but they’ll add a bit more to a run time that’s already over three hours. Disney didn’t immediately respond to requests for further comment.
“Avengers: Endgame” has grossed $2.743 billion worldwide since its April release, according to Box Office Mojo, while 2009’s “Avatar” leads with an all-time record of $2.788 billion — not adjusted for inflation.
The rerelease comes as Hollywood is enduring a downbeat summer movie season so far, with the North American gross of last weekend’s top 10 films down 52% from the same period a year ago.
Having the box-office leader is a key bragging right for Hollywood studios. But in Disney’s case, it’s the winner either way. Disney now controls the “Avatar” studio, 20th Century Fox, and is gearing up to release a series of sequels to the science-fiction epic starting in 2021.
Source: Entertainment – TIME | 19 Jun 2019 | 12:45 pm
Warning: This post contains spoilers about Game of Thrones.
In the wake of revealing that she was “gutted” by the way that Cersei died in Game of Thrones‘ penultimate episode, Lena Headey is also speaking out about a “traumatic, great moment” for Cersei that was scraped from the show’s seventh season.
During a recent appearance at Munich Comic-Con in Germany, Headey explained that the Thrones writers originally intended for Cersei to have a miscarriage after she became pregnant with her brother Jaime’s child in season 7.
“We shot a scene that never made it into season 7, which was where I lose the baby,” she said. “And it was a really traumatic, great moment for Cersei, and it never made it in.”
By the sound of it, the scene could’ve provided the jolt of emotional impact that some fans felt was missing from Cersei’s ending. “I kind of loved doing that because I thought it would’ve served her differently,” Headey explained.
However, outside of Headey’s speculation, it’s hard to know just how much the miscarriage would’ve affected Cersei’s season 8 storyline. Especially when you consider the fact that her ultimate fate wasn’t decided by her pregnancy.
Source: Entertainment – TIME | 19 Jun 2019 | 12:19 pm
Netflix has defended its newly announced prank show, Prank Encounters, following criticism that the program is taking unfair (and unfunny) advantage of people who were looking for jobs.
A Netflix spokesperson told TIME on Wednesday that the people who took part the show were not under the impression that they were starting full-time jobs. “The pranks in Prank Encounters are spooky, supernatural, and over the top, and everyone had a great time,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “All participants came in with the expectation this was a one-day, hourly gig and everyone got paid for their time.”
Last week, the streaming giant said it had ordered eight episodes of the series, a hidden-camera show executive produced and hosted by Gaten Matarazzo. Matarazzo is otherwise known for playing Dustin on Stranger Things.
“Each episode of this terrifying and hilarious prank show takes two complete strangers who each think they’re starting their first day at a new job,” Netflix said in its initial description of the series, as reported by Deadline. “It’s business as usual until their paths collide and these part-time jobs turn into full-time nightmares.” The description prompted backlash online, as people took issue with its potentially mean-spirited concept, messing with those who are looking for work.
Netflix appears to have since updated its press release announcing the show to remove the language that prompted criticism. Its announcement now calls the series “an epic hidden-camera prank show.”
Representatives for Matarazzo and Propagate Content, the production company behind the series, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Source: Entertainment – TIME | 19 Jun 2019 | 12:09 pm
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Despite the fact that Rihanna recently told her Ocean’s 8 co-star Sarah Paulson that she was “working on” her long-awaited ninth album in an interview for Interview, Rih now appears to be trolling her music-thirsty fans with a new Fenty t-shirt.
At a Fenty pop-up in New York City on Tuesday, Rihanna debuted a new $230 Fenty t-shirt emblazoned with the words “No More Music.”
But while this design certainly gave some shoppers pause, Rihanna is known for trolling her Navy fanbase when it comes to their pleas for new music. Back in October 2018, Rih posted a meme of herself on Instagram in which she’s wiping sweat off her brow while surrounded by fans. She wrote across the image “when your fans keep asking you for new music.”
So don’t worry too much Rih stans, here’s the official word on the album as of the June interview:
It really does suck that it can’t just come out, because I’m working on a really fun one right now. I’m really happy with a lot of the material we have so far, but I am not going to put it out until it’s complete. It makes no sense to rush it, but I want it out. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m like, “Even if I don’t have the time to shoot videos, I’m going to put an album out.
Source: Entertainment – TIME | 19 Jun 2019 | 11:18 am
There are a lot of great karaoke songs in the world—Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn”, Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’”, and Destiny Child’s “Say My Name” just to name a few. One song that is not normally included in the pantheon of great sing-along songs, mostly because it has one lyric that punctuates long musical interludes, is The Champs’ “Tequila”. That song’s reputation may change, though, thanks to singer Andy Rowell’s performance on America’s Got Talent .
While Rowell is a comedian by trade, he has a deep and abiding love for karaoke and is on a mission to elevate it from drunken bar sing along to respected art form. “When I was growing up, I was really inspired by all sorts of music but my first time really singing was at a karaoke bar,” Rowell explained in his pre-performance interview. “Some people think, ‘Oh, it’s kind of amateur-ish,’ but it’s just as professional as a normal singer. There’s just lyrics on a screen.”
Rowell then took to the stage on the reality show to perform, making his job even harder by choosing to sing “Tequila”. As the music played, every few minutes—and right on time—he would shout the word, “Tequila!” just like in the original song. By the end of the performance, the crowd and at least one of the judges was shouting along with Rowell. The unusual song choice made it difficult to know how the judges would rule. “Song choice is always important on this stuff,” judge Howie Mandel told Rowell. As it turned out, Mandell was a big fan. “I love you,” he said, citing not only Rowell’s song choice, but his “exuberance and excitement.” He, along with the other three judges, all gave Rowell a big yes to push him through to the next round.
Rowell probably selected the song because he knew it would be a hit with the crowd. As Billboard reports, Rowell previously posted a performance of the song on Instagram where it went viral, currently at more than 2 million views.
Source: Entertainment – TIME | 19 Jun 2019 | 11:15 am
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Something curious happened on a New York City subway train recently — and for once, it was a good-curious moment.
Typically, New York City’s subways are a mode of transportation where people tend keep to themselves, but that collective reserve didn’t stop a group of commuters from getting into their groove when the moment (and the music) felt right. In video captured by civil rights attorney and former Obama associate staff secretary Joel Wertheimer, a car-full of passengers are seen breaking out into song together. Their jam? The Backstreet Boys 1999 megahit “I Want It That Way” together.
It all started when a car-hopping man arrived onto the scene with a speaker blaring the track. Yes, the commuters still knew all the words and Wertheimer says it was completely random. “Everybody was mumbling the words at first and then it just sort of crescendoed,” Wertheimer told TIME. “Joyful is the best word I have for it.”
Had a really tough week and tonight I was the subway and some guy walks between train cars, shirtless, bumping a speaker. I wasn't in the mood for Showtime particularly. But sometimes people and life surprise you and a little magic happens. pic.twitter.com/S7o4282SOS
— Joel Wertheimer (@Wertwhile) June 17, 2019
The resulting video has gotten more than 6,000 people talking, and Wertheimer later implored those who enjoyed the moment of brightness to donate to the Coalition For The Homeless. “Not everybody on the train in New York is so lucky,” he tweeted.
Of course, the boys are all in.
Consider it a refreshing departure from the typical attitude toward subway travel. Also, let’s make karaoke cars on the E train a real thing, please?
Source: Entertainment – TIME | 19 Jun 2019 | 9:43 am
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(NEW YORK) — Joy Harjo, the first Native American to be named U.S. poet laureate, has been ready for a long time.
“I’ve been an unofficial poetry ambassador — on the road for poetry for years,” the 68-year-old Harjo wrote in a recent email to The Associated Press. “I’ve often been the only poet or Native poet-person that many have seen/met/heard. I’ve introduced many poetry audiences to Native poetry and audiences not expecting poetry to be poetry.”
Her appointment was announced Wednesday by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, who said in a statement that Harjo helped tell an “American story” of traditions both lost and maintained, of “reckoning and myth-making.” Harjo’s term is for one year and she succeeds Tracy K. Smith, who served two terms. The position is officially called “Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry,” with a $35,000 stipend. Harjo will have few specific responsibilities, but other laureates have launched initiatives, most recently Smith’s tour of rural communities around the country.
“I don’t have a defined project right now, but I want to bring the contribution of poetry of the tribal nations to the forefront and include it in the discussion of poetry,” says Harjo, an enrolled member of the Muscogee Creek Nation and a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma. “This country is in need of deep healing. We’re in a transformational moment in national history and earth history, so whichever way we move is going to absolutely define us.”
She is known for such collections as “The Woman Who Fell From the Sky” and “In Mad Love and War” and for a forceful, intimate style that draws upon the natural and spiritual world. Her previous honors include the PEN Open Book Award and the Wallace Stevens Award for lifetime achievement. Earlier this year, she was awarded the Jackson Prize, given by Poets & Writers, for a poet of merit who deserves more attention.
Harjo is currently editing an anthology of Native poets, and a new book of her own poems, An American Sunrise, comes out in August (her publisher, W.W. Norton, moved it up from its planned September release). She also has a background in painting and dance, and is an impassioned saxophone player who has recorded several albums. In a 2017 blog post that is also part of her poem “Rabbit Invents the Saxophone,” she called the instrument “so human,” writing that “Its tendency is to be rowdy, edgy, talk too loud, bump into people, say the wrong words at the wrong time.
“But then, you take a breath, all the way from the center of the earth and blow. All that heartache is forgiven.”
The poet laureate is not a political position. Harjo makes clear her disdain for many office seekers, however, in her poem “For Those Who Would Govern.” She also has expressed her views on President Trump. In 2016, she linked to a Newsweek article about then-candidate Trump’s overseas business connections and tweeted, “Donald Trump’s foreign ties may conflict with U.S. national security interests.” Last summer, she linked to a New York magazine article about Trump and Russia, and tweeted: “What If Trump Has Been a Russian Asset Since 1987?”
The head of the Library of Congress’ poetry and literature center, Robert Casper, told the AP that laureates are encouraged to focus on “poems and the way they work,” including politically. During her interview, Harjo declined to talk about Trump directly, and said instead that “everything is political.”
“I began writing poetry because I didn’t hear Native women’s voices in the discussions of policy, of how we were going to move forward in a way that is respectful and honors those basic human laws that are common to all people, like treating all life respectfully, honoring your ancestors, this earth,” she said.
She cites her poem “Rabbit is Up To Tricks” as an expression of political thought, but in a timeless way. Her poem tells of a trickster Rabbit who has become lonely, and so forms a man out of clay and teaches him to steal. The clay man learns too well, stealing animals, food and another man’s wife. He will move on to gold and land and control of the world.
And Rabbit had no place to play.
Rabbit’s trick had backfired.
Rabbit tried to call the clay man back,
but when the clay man wouldn’t listen
Rabbit realized he’d made a clay man with no ears.
Source: Entertainment – TIME | 19 Jun 2019 | 8:39 am
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