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M.I.A. slams music industry

M.I.A. has bemoaned how "narrow and corporate" the music industry has become.

The rapper, real name Mathangi 'Maya' Arulpragasam, began her recording career in 2002 and has since had hits with songs such as Born Free and Paper Planes. However, the 42-year-old isn't impressed with how the industry has changed over the years, explaining her dissatisfaction in an interview with BBC News.

"Music has become so narrow and corporate," she vented. "To be a famous singer, you can go to Brit School, you can go on X-Factor, or maybe you are born into it.

"It's not like bands often meet at school now and have a community spirit. I think music has become catalogue fodder, a corporate thing that when we bring Artificial Intelligence into it, for example, using holograms for tours, the human aspect is going to disappear even further."

M.I.A. added that while she has been trying to find the magic formula for success since first trying her luck as a musician, she has now come to the conclusion that she "just likes working".

"When I came as a refugee to England everyone said 'become a pop star, that's the best thing you can do, that's 'it', so I did that," she said. "Then they said, 'move to Beverly Hills and marry a prince and be Cinderella' and I did that too. I have been constantly trying to find what 'it' is in my life and I think now it's just making work.

"I just like working. That's always what I've done. All the consequences of that - all the flak I've taken over the years - they've taught me about society and that feeds into the work I make."

She has also had her rise to fame documented in Steve Loveridge's new documentary Matangi/Maya/M.I.A., which will be released later this year. The movie tackles some of the more controversial aspects of her life, including the lawsuit filed against her by the National Football League following her Super Bowl performance in 2012, and watching it was tough for her.

"I'm going to have to treat it as free therapy," she added.

Jolie: 'I make myself useful'

Angelina Jolie has to make herself "useful" to avoid having an "empty life".

The 42-year-old actress has a lot on her plate - with six children as well as a busy career. She also takes on humanitarian work, but said in a new interview with Deadline that each aspect of her life adds up to making her feel as though she's contributing something to the world.

"You have your creative, and you have your work, and every day of your life is going to be about somehow growing as a person," she explained. "Somehow feeling you can contribute to the extent that you can get tribute.

"We're all trying to find balance, as people. I think to be a balanced person, you have to find those things that you just purely enjoy. But, of course, if you aren't participating in the bigger picture of life, and in being somehow useful, and you aren't doing something and growing, then really, you'll find you're not very happy. Really, you'll have quite an empty life."

Angelina recently acted as producer on Nora Twomey's Oscar-nominated animated feature The Breadwinner, which tells the story of a young Afghan girl called Parvana, who is forced to dress as a boy to provide for her family after her father is sent to prison.

The film resonated with Angelina, and she hopes that it will also "engage people emotionally" as they watch it.

"I think if you can't travel to places, then we can bring these places and these people closer to you through film," she explained. "If you haven't met a Parvana... you can meet them, and you can be moved by them, and you can spend time with them during the time you watch the film.

"It's not just the act of changing law, it's that people know why they feel compelled to do it, and that they feel connected to other human beings across the world, and they feel emotional about what their needs are. Then, they're compelled. So it helps us to first engage people emotionally."

Stephen Fry reveals cancer

Stephen Fry has revealed he has been battling prostate cancer.

The comedian and actor posted a 13-minute video on his official website on Friday in which he announced cancer had been discovered in his prostate following an MRI scan.

He shared the link on Twitter with the caption, "For the last 2 months I've been in the throes of a rather unwelcome and unexpected adventure. I'm sorry I haven't felt able to talk about it till now, but here I am explaining what has been going on."

In the video, Stephen, 60, revealed he opted to have surgery to remove his prostate, as well eleven lymph nodes, in the first week of January and said the operation "went well".

"Cancer is a word that rings in your head. 'I've got cancer' I kept saying to myself, good heavens. You're not supposed to get cancer. I know it's a cliche but you don't think it's going to happen to you, cancer is something that happens to other people," he said.

"So far as we know, it's all been got. Are there greater chances of me getting other cancers now? Apparently not. But I won't know for sure until I get my PSA (prostate-specific antigen) levels checked. They should be zero because I have no prostate, so the prostate specific antigen should be zero.

"But if there's anything left on the bed of the prostate where they've taken it out, it may have spread and I'll have to get radiotherapy and the whole damn thing will start again. But for the moment I'm fit and well and happy."

Stephen, who stepped down as the host of the BAFTA Film Awards in January and was replaced by Joanna Lumley at the ceremony last Sunday, also thanked his doctors, family, friends, and husband Elliott Spencer for their support.


Brendan Fraser: 'I was groped'

Brendan Fraser grew "depressed" and "reclusive" following an alleged inappropriate encounter with former Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Philip Berk.

The accusations against Berk first surfaced after the alleged incident in 2003 and were addressed in the former film boss' memoir, but Fraser is now opening up about them publicly for the first time to GQ magazine.

In the new interview, The Mummy star claims Berk touched him on his butt.

"His left hand reaches around, grabs my a** cheek, and one of his fingers touches me in the taint," he tells the publication. "And he starts moving it around."

The actor says he removed Berk's hand, adding the alleged incident made him feel sick.

"I felt ill," he says. "I felt like a little kid. I felt like there was a ball in my throat. I thought I was going to cry."

Berk insists Fraser's story is "a total fabrication" adding he simply pinched Brendan's butt in jest.

But the actor reveals the alleged groping left him scarred and "depressed".

"I was blaming myself and I was miserable - because I was saying, 'This is nothing; this guy reached around and he copped a feel...'" Fraser tells GQ.

"(It) made me retreat," he adds. "It made me feel reclusive. (It messed with) who I was and what I was doing. Work withered on the vine for me. In my mind, at least, something had been taken away from me."

Brendan tells the publication he felt emboldened after friends like Rose McGowan, Mira Sorvino, and Ashley Judd come forward with their own sexual misconduct allegations against disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein.

"I know Rose, I know Ashley, I know Mira - I've worked with them," he says. "I call them friends in my mind. I haven't spoken to them in years, but they're my friends. I watched this wonderful movement (#MeToo), these people with the courage to say what I didn't have the courage to say."

"Am I still frightened? Absolutely," he adds. "Do I feel like I need to say something? Absolutely. Have I wanted to many, many times? Absolutely. Have I stopped myself? Absolutely. And maybe I am over-reacting in terms of what the instance was. I just know what my truth is."

Fraser did receive an apology from Berk after the alleged incident, but the executive insists he "admitted no wrongdoing", adding it was "the usual, 'If I've done anything that upset Mr. Fraser, it was not intended and I apologize'."

Nordic Jazz Quintet

World class Scandinavian quintet Atomic will be performing in concert on February 23rd at the Black Box Theatre in downtown Kelowna. This concert is the twenty-sixth installment of the Skin And Bones Music Series.  Now in its third year of production, Skin And Bones is an Okanagan Arts Award nominated concert series dedicated to the presentation of experimental music in the Okanagan, produced through the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art. 

Since their 2002 debut album Feet Music Atomic has been navigating the globe winning audiences over with their unique style of adventurous jazz that straddles the line between open creative playing and swinging hard.  Not merely an experiment in blending various styles of jazz, Atomic performs with a virtuosic enthusiasm and energy that is guaranteed to emotionally resonate with listeners.  Hailing from both Norway and Sweden, Atomic is (at the subAtomic level) saxophonist Fredrik Ljungkvist, trumpet player Magnus Broo, pianist Håvard Wiik, drummer Hans Hulbækmo, and bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten who had previously played Kelowna in 2016 with action jazz trio The Thing.  Atomic’s most recent studio release, 2017’s Six Easy Pieces, features the band in top form live in Japan, earning a four star rating from All About Jazz.  With nods to Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, George Russell, and Archie Shepp, to name but a few, Atomic forges ahead with music that is endowed with muscular groove, moments of ethereal introspection, and freewheeling improvisations, organically flowing as “fresh concepts speeding by breathless moment after breathless moment.”  (Downbeat Magazine)

Atomic performs at the Black Box Theatre as part of the Skin and Bones Music Series on February 23rd.  Doors open at 7:30 pm and the concert will begin at 8:00 pm sharp.  The Black Box Theatre is located at 1375 Water Street in Kelowna.  Admission is $20 for the public and $15 for students and Alternator members.  Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance at Milkcrate Records on Lawrence Avenue or at the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art inside the Rotary Centre for the Arts.  Membership discount passes for Skin And Bones can also be purchased at the Alternator or online at www.alternatorcentre.com.  

Art camps are back

The Kelowna Art Gallery has come up with a creative solution for parents who want to keep their children busy during Spring Break. Art Break offers two exciting weeks of camps for children ages 5 to 8 and 9 to 12, with many opportunities for them to create art, get inspired, and make new friends.
The camps run each day from 9 am to 3 pm during the weeks of March 19 to 23 and March 26 to 29.
Young artists will be inspired by short field trips to different places in the Cultural District, as well as the exhibitions on view in the various gallery spaces. Each day children will take part in fun and inspiring activities, such as painting, sculpting, drawing, working with mixed media, and printmaking.
Class sizes for all of the camps are limited, allowing for lots of one-on-one instruction to enrich the children’s experience. All programs highlight skill-building and self-expression, as well as the introduction of new ideas and artistic techniques.
The cost for the camps each day is $55.00, (or $50.00 for Gallery members). Registrants who sign up for any four days will receive a fifth day free. Daily drop-ins will also be offered, depending on availability.
For more information, or to register your child, please contact the Gallery at 250-762-2226 or online at www.kelownaartgallery.com.

Jonas Brothers' bond strengthened

Pop star Nick Jonas and his family have been brought closer than ever before after his father fought and won his battle with cancer.

Kevin Jonas, Sr. was diagnosed with stage 2 colon cancer in March, 2017 and subsequently underwent surgery and six months of chemotherapy treatment.

Nick and his brothers Joe, Kevin, and Frankie all rushed to their parents' home in North Carolina to lend them their support during the trying time, and the Jealous hitmaker admits the health scare really rocked their lives, although it ultimately strengthened their family bond.

"When I found out about my dad's diagnosis, it was a balance of hope and real concern and fear," he tells People magazine. "I pray that no one else ever has to go through that."

"A situation like this makes you wake up and appreciate the ones around you," adds Joe, while father-of-two Kevin Jr. says, "Just spending time together can be the best coping mechanism."

Kevin Sr., who previously served as the Jonas Brothers' manager, smiles, "The boys showed me constantly - through texts, phone calls, visits - how much they love me."

He is now in remission, and plans to use his own experience to raise awareness about the importance of regular colonoscopy screenings as a spokesperson for research and support organization Fight CRC (Colorectal Cancer).

"I want to have more romance with my wife of 32 years, see my kids get married and watch my grandkids grow up," he shares.

Kevin Sr. will have plenty to look forward to in 2018 - his second son, Joe Jonas, is engaged to marry Game of Thrones actress Sophie Turner, with the couple thought to be planning a winter wedding.

Rihanna thrilled

Rihanna has publicly thanked R&B veteran Toni Braxton for making her 30th birthday party one to remember with a special performance on Tuesday night.

The Work hitmaker celebrated reaching the age milestone by stepping out for dinner at New York City's The Grill, followed by a private bash at the Pool Restaurant, where guests included Rihanna's mum, Monica, and socialite Paris Hilton and her actor fiance Chris Zylka.

According to the New York Post's Page Six, the singer's boyfriend, Saudi Arabian billionaire Hassan Jameel, was also present for the event, as was Leonardo DiCaprio, who the birthday girl has remained friends with after previously being linked to one of his pals.

Un-Break My Heart star Braxton, who was dressed in a skin-tight black gown with cut outs showing off the sides of her breasts, performed a six-song set for the party, and on Wednesday, Rihanna shared a snap of herself joining Toni onstage.

"finally met my fav!," she captioned the photo, in which Toni's head is turned towards a beaming Rihanna, who holds up a glass of bubbly and a microphone. "thank you for making my night so special! I'll never forgive you for looking this good at my party tho (sic)".

Alongside another picture from the party, showing Rihanna in her short purple and black Saint Laurent dress, she wrote, "sturdiest night of all !!! surrounded by the people I love the most !!! 30 is already my favorite era."

Rihanna's mentor and label boss, JAY-Z, is not thought to have been in attendance, but guests enjoyed 30 magnums of his Armand de Brignac champagne as they danced the night away.

Terry Crews upset

Actor Terry Crews feels victimized every time he looks at his bank statement - because his alleged molester still gets a cut from all his earnings.

The Expendables star sued William Morris Endeavor talent agent Adam Venit and the company for sexual harassment in December, after accusing the film executive of grabbing his genitals during a party in 2016.

Police are now looking into whether or not to criminally indict Venit, who is still working for the agency, and although Crews is happy with his decision to seek justice, the 49-year-old admits he hates the fact he still earns money for the agent.

"What's so strange and crazy is that I'm still paying them (the talent agency that employs Venit)," Terry told Variety reporters at Esquire's 2018 Mavericks of Hollywood party on Tuesday. "I go to work, and I still have to send a check to my molester.

"This is Hollywood, it is insane. I look at my bank statement, and I'm like, 'Damn, this is the most wrong thing of all time'. I'm calling it, I'm going to play this whole thing out. If I don't get justice, nobody can."

Venit issued a legal response in Crews' lawsuit against him earlier this month, insisting he did not mean to be sexual when he grabbed the actor's genitals.

"(Venit) tried to tell everyone it wasn't sexual. How do you do that? How is that possible?" Terry questioned. "The level of ridiculousness that this has gone to, and they're looking at me as if I'm ridiculous for even saying anything.

"I'm like, 'Nope, I'm not putting up with it'. No one should. No woman, no child, no man, anywhere, in whatever business, should ever put up with being treated less than a human being, ever."

Venit was reinstated at his agency but demoted after a brief 30-day suspension in November, with bosses insisting they found no evidence of sexual misconduct following an internal review of his behavior.

Sheeran: 'I'm not married"

Ed Sheeran has denied claims he's married fiancee Cherry Seaborn in secret, revealing the band he's been wearing on his left hand is "an engagement ring".

Reports suggesting the Shape of You singer had tied the knot with his long-time love have been swirling for weeks, and Ed fuelled the speculation by sporting a silver band on his left ring finger.

However, as he attended the Brit Awards in London on Wednesday, Ed clarified that the accessory is not an indication that he's a married man.

During an interview on the red carpet at the O2 Arena, Ed was asked by Sky News what the ring means, to which he replied: "It's an engagement ring. I don't know, I feel like it's good to both do things."

The redhead was then asked when he and Cherry will be walking down the aisle but refused to be drawn on a potential wedding date, replying: "It will be a situation like this where no one knows."

Ed proposed to Cherry on New Year's Eve and announced the engagement in January, sharing a sweet Polaroid photo of him embracing his partner and revealed their happy news in the caption. 

"Got myself a fiance just before new year. We are very happy and in love," he wrote, adding: "And our cats are chuffed as well xx."

Ed, 27, and Cherry's relationship blossomed in 2016 when the singer took time away from the spotlight to recuperate after years of touring. 

And he recently revealed that his romance with the risk advisory consultant even had him thinking about fatherhood.

"I don't want to be touring when I have kids," he told U.K. programme Good Morning Britain last March. "I want to be nipping out now and then and actually being able to be a father. So yeah, I think I would definitely have kids, I'd definitely love all the kids in the world, but I don't want to have them right now."

Megan Fox slams Hollywood

Megan Fox has slammed Hollywood for being "morally bankrupt" and insisted movie bosses treat actors like dispensable commodities.

The 31-year-old actress has starred in her fair share of blockbuster movies, including the first two films in the Transformers franchise, and is well versed on the ups and downs of her industry of choice. And in a new interview with E! News, Megan opened up about the dangers of Hollywood, particularly the fact that the actors are treated as commodities by movie bosses.

"(Hollywood is) morally bankrupt," she vented. "There's not a lot of concern about what's right for individuals. As long as you survive filming and they've gotten what they need from you they don't really care if you drop dead afterwards. It doesn't matter if you break an arm or you break a leg.

"You can get really sick as long as you are not bleeding from your face you are going to keep working and people don't understand that. There's no regard for your safety or your physical well-being at all because it doesn't matter because you are a means to an end."

It's not the first time the screen star has blasted movie studios for lacking morality and integrity - she previously made similar remarks during an interview with Hong Kong's Prestige magazine last year.

Elsewhere in the interview, Megan opened up about how she balances her work life and looking after three sons, Noah, five, Bodhi, four, and 18-month-old Journey, with her marriage to Brian Austin Green. In a bid to ensure their relationship stays fresh, Megan schedules a weekly date night for her and Brian, and has even tried to ban talk of the couple's three sons at the nights out - although she admits that's a struggle.

"We try to make it to a movie once a week or have an adult lunch so that everything isn't always kid-centered," she smiled. "I try to make a rule let's not talk about the kids, but it's impossible."

Portman sidesteps question

Natalie Portman dismissed an awkward question about Woody Allen during an interview by stressing the focus should remain on Hollywood's history of gender inequality.

The Black Swan actress, who is in the middle of promotional duties for new Netflix movie Annihilation, was questioned about the director, who she worked with on the 1996 movie Everyone Says I Love You, during an interview with Buzzfeed.

Allen has recently faced renewed questions over adopted daughter Dylan Farrow's claims that he molested her - allegations the filmmaker has always strenuously denied.

During the interview, the reporter asked Natalie a question which began, "I think time may be up for Woody Allen... does it feel that way to you?"

"I don't think that's what the conversation should be about," Natalie responded. "I think it should be about: Why didn't Elaine May make a movie every year? Why didn't Nora Ephron make a movie every year? Where's the female version of Bill Cosby? Why don't we see any Asian women in films?" said the 36-year-old, who has been a vocal member of the Time's Up movement against sexual harassment and gender inequality.

"There's so much art that's being lost by not giving opportunities to women and people of color. Let's not talk about what man's career is over. Let's talk about the vast art trove we've lost by not giving women, people of color, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQ+ community opportunities - let's talk about that loss for all of us in art," she added.

"Let's talk about that huge hole in our culture. I don't want talk about "Isn't it sad that this person who's made 500 movies can't make movies anymore?' That's not for me to decide. And it's also not what I'm upset about."

Natalie also expressed her regret in the interview over signing a petition in support of director Roman Polanski in 2009.

She was among a list of stars, including Penelope Cruz, Harrison Ford, and Martin Scorsese, who signed a document issued to the Swiss Federal Justice pleading for his release from police custody.

"I very much regret it," she sighed. "I take responsibility for not thinking about it enough. Someone I respected gave it to me, and said, 'I signed this. Will you too?' And I was like, 'Sure.'"

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