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National Entertainment

Review: Thank U, Next: Maroon 5’s halftime show was basic

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  • There are a number of words you could use to describe Maroon 5’s halftime show performance: Empty. Boring. Basic. Sleepy. Skippable. Unfulfilling. Unnecessary.

    And those who came to help save the day didn’t do their jobs: If you blinked you would have missed that Travis Scott and Big Boi performed. Even the gospel choir singer was a struggle — clearly they let the wrong one sing lead Sunday.

    Adam Levine and friends kicked off the performance as fireworks burst from a stage designed like the letter “M,” which should have stood for “magic,” because they needed some.

    It started off on the right note, actually. “Harder to Breathe,” the band’s amazing debut rock song, was rousing as fire blasts shot from the sides of the stage. Levine grabbed his guitar for “This Love,” while other bandmates also strummed away.

    It was all going well until a joke was uttered: “A true musical genius who needs no introduction.”

    That’s when Scott rocketed to the stage. He tried to rap — most of it was bleeped out — in a circle of fire, but his inclusion felt more like an interruption. Scott performed his No. 1 hit, “Sickomode,” and Levine awkwardly danced beside him, which looked almost as bad as Katy Perry dancing next to Missy Elliott at Super Bowl 49.

    But there was one Scott highlight: He fell backward into the audience and faded away.

    The rest of the performance went downhill like Scott’s body did. Maroon 5 performed the very terrible hit “Girls Like You,” making the already bad song sound worse by mixing in a gospel choir, led by a singer whose voice would make you walk out of church (sorry, girl).

    Each transition during the halftime show didn’t feel smooth, and Big Boi appearing on top of a car in a thick mink coat added to the bizarreness of the night.

    When he performed “The Way You Move,” it just made you wonder what Andre 3000 was doing at the moment. Watching? Sleeping? Probably sleeping while watching.

    You probably had similar thoughts when Scott was onstage and Drake’s vocals played at the beginning of “Sickomode” — wishing the show had a real superstar like Drizzy to give an epic performance.

    Those thoughts lingered again when Levine sang “Moves Like Jagger.” WHERE IS MICK JAGGER RIGHT NOW AND CAN HE PERFORM? Any of the Stones would do, actually.

    Who probably should have headlined the halftime show? Gladys Knight.

    She scored a touchdown with her rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner”: The legend’s voice shined brightly as she hit all the right notes ahead of the big game between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams.

    R&B sister duo Chloe x Halle were also in top-notch form: They harmonized like a veteran girl group as they sang “America the Beautiful” at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The group, nominated for two Grammys at next week’s show including best new artist, are signed to Beyonce’s Parkwood Entertainment.

    Noise and controversy surrounded this year’s Super Bowl since some have boycotted the NFL over treatment of Colin Kaepernick, the former quarterback who protested racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem. Some performers declined participation in the Super Bowl as a result.

    Mesfin Fekadu, The Associated Press











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    National Entertainment

    Peter Tork, Monkees’ lovable bass-guitar player, dead at 77

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  • LOS ANGELES — Peter Tork, a talented singer-songwriter and instrumentalist whose musical skills were often overshadowed by his role as the goofy, lovable bass guitarist in the made-for-television rock band The Monkees, has died at age 77.

    Tork’s son Ivan Iannoli told The Associated Press his father died Thursday morning at the family home in Connecticut of complications from adinoid cystic carcinoma, a rare cancer of the salivary glands. He had battled the disease since 2009.

    “Peter’s energy, intelligence, silliness, and curiosity were traits that for decades brought laughter and enjoyment to millions, including those of us closest to him,” his son said in a statement. “Those traits also equipped him well to take on cancer, a condition he met like everything else in his life, with unwavering humour and courage.”

    Tork, who was often hailed by the other Monkees as the band’s best musician, had studied music since childhood. He was accomplished on guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, banjo and other instruments. Michael Nesmith, the Monkees’ lead guitarist, said Tork was the better of the two. Tork said he played bass because none of the others wanted to.

    He had been playing in small clubs in Los Angeles when a friend and fellow musician, Steven Stills, told him TV casting directors were looking for “four insane boys” to play members of a struggling rock band.

    Stills, a member of the legendary rock bands Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, reportedly told Tork he’d auditioned and was rejected because his teeth were ugly. He thought the handsome Tork might fare better.

    When the show debuted in September 1966 Tork and fellow band members Nesmith, Micky Dolenz and David Jones became overnight teen idols.

    Nesmith was the serious Monkee, Jones was the cute one and Dolenz the zany one.

    Tork said he adopted his “dummy” persona from the way he’d get audiences at Greenwich Village folk clubs to engage with him in the early 1960s.

    He knew only one member of the Monkees before the show’s debut, Nesmith who had been running “Hoot Nights” at the Troubadour nightclub in Los Angeles where Tork would occasionally perform.

    “As I write this my tears are awash, and my heart is broken,” Nesmith posted on his Facebook page Thursday. “I have said this before — and now it seems even more apt — the reason we called it a band is because it was where we all went to play.”

    During its two-year run the show would win an Emmy for outstanding comedy series and the group itself would land seven songs in Billboard’s Top 10. Three, “I’m a Believer,” ”Daydream Believer” and “Last Train to Clarksville,” would reach No. 1.

    Initially, the Monkees was a band whose members didn’t play their instruments or write many of their songs. That was something that infuriated both Tork and Nesmith.

    In later years, Tork would tell of going to an early recording session, only to be told dismissively that he wasn’t needed, that session musicians were laying down the musical tracks and all the Monkees were needed for was the vocals.

    “I was a hired hand, and I didn’t quite know that, and I didn’t quite get it,” he told The Associated Press in 2000. “I had fantasies of being more important than it turns out I was.”

    Eventually he and Nesmith wrested control of the band’s musical fate from Don Kirshner, who had been brought in as the show’s music producer. By the group’s third album, “Headquarters,” the Monkees were playing their instruments and had even performed live in Hawaii.

    After the show concluded in 1968 the band went on a lengthy concert tour that at one point included Jimi Hendrix as the opening act.

    Creative differences led Tork to leave soon after the group’s 1968 movie and album “Head.”

    For several years he struggled financially and creatively, working for a time as a waiter and a schoolteacher.

    By the mid-1980s, thanks to TV reruns and album reissues, the Monkees gained a new, younger following, and Tork rejoined the others for reunion tours. All four produced a new album, “Justus,” in 1996 featuring them on all of the instrumentals and including songs they had written.

    In the 1990s Tork also formed the group Shoe Suede Blues and toured and recorded frequently.

    Later albums included the solo work “Stranger Things Have Happened” and the Shoe Suede Blues albums “Cambria Hotel,” ”Step By Step” and Relax Your Mind.”

    Tork begged off a Monkees reunion tour with Nesmith and Dolenz just last year to finish “Relax Your Mind.” Jones died in 2012.

    ___

    Associated Press Writer Pat Eaton-Robb in Hartford, Connecticut contributed to this story.

    John Rogers, The Associated Press





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    National Entertainment

    Something strange in the neighbourhood? ‘Ghostbusters’ to be filmed in Calgary

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  • CALGARY — Calgarians may soon be noticing something strange in their neighbourhoods.

    The head of a union representing film and stage technicians says the next “Ghostbusters” movie is to be filmed in the city.

    “I can confirm that Sony has let us know they are bringing the project here,” IATSE Local 212 president Damian Petti said in an email Thursday.

    Petti could not provide details on dates, budgets or how many jobs may result.

    “Alberta’s screen industry is one of the best opportunities for job growth in the new economy,” he said.  

    “We are open for business and we welcome new projects, such as this one with open arms. With a looming provincial election, industry stakeholders are working to raise the awareness of this massive opportunity to grow our economy with all Albertans and politicians.”

    Four-time Oscar nominee Jason Reitman, who was born in Montreal, is to direct the new instalment in the “Ghostbusters” series set to come out in the summer of 2020.

    His father, Ivan Reitman, directed and produced the original “Ghostbusters” flick, which came out in 1984, as well as its sequel in 1989. The studio says that the new “Ghostbusters” will go back to its roots and will present the next chapter in the original story.

    The first two “Ghostbusters” movies starred Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson as parapsychologists in New York who investigate ghosts for a living.

    Candace Schneider, a lover of all things “Ghostbusters,” has already reached out to an agent about being an extra in the new film.

    She founded The Calgary Ghostbusters group about a year ago. Its 15 members don tan jumpsuits and proton packs and raise money for charity by making appearances at birthday parties and other events.

    “It’s just a way to be nerds, but actually do something good.”

    As soon as word got out the movie would be filming in Calgary, people started tagging Schneider on Facebook.

    “Oh my goodness — I was so excited,” said Schneider, 35.

    “When I was a kid, I loved the ‘Ghostbusters’ cartoons. I had all the toys. Egon was my first crush.”

    A 2016 reboot directed by Paul Feig featured four women — played by Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones — who start a ghost-busting business.

    “Production Weekly,” a Hollywood-based film and TV industry publication, tweeted this week that “Ghostbusters” is planning to shoot for 15 weeks in Calgary beginning in late June.

    Montreal-born Jason Reitman tweeted a movie teaser last month featuring the Ghostbusters’ signature white hearse-like Ecto-1 vehicle. He wrote: “Everybody can relax, I found the car.”

    Aykroyd, a fellow Canadian, responded on Twitter: “If you need a tune-up, you know who to call.”

    — With files from The Associated Press

     

     

     

    Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press



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