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National Entertainment

Shawn Mendes the big winner at Juno Awards pre-telecast gala

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  • LONDON, Ont. — Shawn Mendes emerged the big winner at Saturday’s Juno Awards pre-telecast as the heartthrob picked up four wins across several major categories.

    The Pickering, Ont. native won artist, pop album, songwriter and single of the year for his hit track “In My Blood.” But the pop singer wasn’t present to accept the awards because he’s on the European leg of his concert tour.

    That left Michael Buble as the biggest surprise appearance of the night. The crooner swooped into the gala dinner and awards ceremony to pick up a trophy just minutes before he recognized David Foster for his philanthropic efforts. 

    Buble grabbed his 14th career Juno for “Love,” which won adult contemporary album of the year. But the singer made it clear he was mostly at the event to celebrate his close friend Foster receiving this year’s humanitarian award.

    “He has inspired me to be a better man and embrace the importance of giving back however I can,” Buble said as he introduced the acclaimed producer, whom he called “a man whose heart is as big as the sun.”

    Foster was recognized for his support of hundreds of charities, including his own foundation, which provides financial help to Canadian families in need of life-saving transplants.

    The suave producer said he enjoyed the opportunity to speak about his interests outside of music, calling his philanthropy “a second commitment in my life that’s equal or (will) maybe outlive my music.”

    Other winners at the Juno gala included country act the Washboard Union, who nabbed breakthrough group of the year, while alternative album went to newcomers Dizzy for “Baby Teeth.”

    Jeremy Dutcher had the crowd buzzing after he was played off the stage while delivering his acceptance speech, which touched on Indigenous representation in music and included a direct message to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about reconciliation.

    “A nation-to-nation relationship does not look like pipelines,” said the winner for Indigenous music album.

    “A nation-to-nation relationship does not look like sending militarized police force into unceded territory and a nation-to-nation relationship does not look like, in 2019, our communities still on boiled-water advisory.”

    The show’s producers didn’t afford Dutcher much longer than the allotted time for speeches.

    That led Arkells frontman Max Kerman to call Dutcher back onto the stage with them to finish his speech as they picked up the rock album prize.

    In the metal/hard music category, Voivod marked a career first when they pocketed the award, telling the crowd it was their first Juno win in 36 years.

    Wesli’s “Rapadou Kreyol” snagged world music album, while Dave Merheje’s “Good Friend Bad Grammar” won comedy album.

    Loud Luxury, the pair of DJs who met at London’s Western University, picked up their first Juno for dance recording with their global hit “Body.”

    The group is nominated for three more Junos at Sunday night’s televised show, where the remaining awards will be doled out. Top categories, including album, group and breakthrough artist, as well as country album of the year, are part of the broadcast.

    Viewers can also vote for the Juno Fan Choice Award on the Juno Fan Choice website.

    The show airs on CBC and streams through the CBC Music website.

    __

    Listen to a playlist of 2019 Juno Award nominees on Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2DGvgyZ

     

    Follow @dfriend on Twitter.

    David Friend, The Canadian Press



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    National Entertainment

    Disney closes $71B deal for Fox entertainment assets

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  • Disney has closed its $71 billion acquisition of Fox’s entertainment business, putting “Cinderella,” ”The Simpsons,” ”Star Wars” and “Dr. Strange” under one corporate roof.

    The deal is likely to shake up the media landscape. Among other things, it paves the way for Disney to launch its streaming service, Disney Plus, due out later this year. It will also likely lead to layoffs in the thousands, thanks to duplication in Fox and Disney film-production staff.

    By buying the studios behind “The Simpsons” and X-Men, Disney aims to better compete with technology companies such as Amazon and Netflix for viewers’ attention – and dollars.

    Disney needs compelling TV shows and movies to persuade viewers to sign up and pay for yet another streaming service. It already has classic Disney cartoons, “Star Wars,” Pixar, the Muppets and some of the Marvel characters. With Fox, Disney could add Marvel’s X-Men and Deadpool, along with programs shown on such Fox channels as FX Networks and National Geographic. Fox’s productions also include “The Americans,” ”This Is Us” and “Modern Family.”

    The deal helps Disney further control TV shows and movies from start to finish – from creating the programs to distributing them though television channels, movie theatres, streaming services and other ways people watch entertainment. Disney would get valuable data on customers and their entertainment-viewing habits, which it can then use to sell advertising.

    Disney CEO Bob Iger said in an earnings call in February that Disney Plus and other direct-to-consumer businesses are Disney’s “No. 1 priority.”

    Cable and telecom companies have been buying the companies that make TV shows and movies to compete in a changing media landscape. Although internet providers like AT&T and Comcast directly control their customers’ access to the internet in a way that Amazon, YouTube and Netflix do not, they still face threats as those streaming services gain in popularity.

    AT&T bought Time Warner last year for $81 billion and has already launched its own streaming service, Watch TV, with Time Warner channels such as TBS and TNT, among other networks, for $15 a month.

    In addition to boosting the Disney streaming service, expected to debut next year, the deal paves the way for Marvel’s X-Men and the Avengers to reunite in future movies. Though Disney owns Marvel Studios, some characters including the X-Men had already been licensed to Fox.

    Disney also gets a controlling stake in the existing streaming service Hulu, which it plans to keep operating as a home for more general programming. Family-friendly shows and movies will head to Disney Plus.

    No pricing has been disclosed for Disney Plus. The streaming service will feature five categories of material: Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic. Disney charges $5 a month for ESPN Plus, a service that offers programming distinct from the ESPN cable channel.

    Meanwhile, Fox Corp. — the parts of 21st Century Fox that are not part of the deal, including Fox News, Fox Sports and Fox Broadcasting — started trading on the Nasdaq under the “FOX” and “FOXA” tickers on Tuesday.

    Mae Anderson, The Associated Press


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    American man dedicated life to finding treasure on Nova Scotia’s Oak Island

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  • HALIFAX — An American who became a famed Nova Scotia treasure hunter is being remembered by friends as a larger-than-life figure.

    Dan Blankenship died Sunday at 95.

    He was a staple on “The Curse of Oak Island,” a reality TV series on the History channel that was set on the 57-hectare island on Nova Scotia’s south shore.

    His son David Blankenship said Tuesday they hoped to have a memorial service on Thursday, likely in Martins Point, N.S.

    Charles Barkhouse, an Oak Island historian and family friend, described Blankenship as a “living legend.”

    “I mean, how often do you get to meet a treasure hunter?” Barkhouse chuckled. “In truth he was much more than just a treasure hunter. He had a very full life.”

    Barkhouse said Blankenship was a U.S. Army veteran who had a successful contracting business in Miami, Fla., when he got hooked on the Oak Island mystery after reading a “Reader’s Digest” story in 1965.

    “He’s poured his blood, sweat and tears into that island trying to solve this mystery,” Barkhouse said.

    The Oak Island legend began in 1795 when curious teenage boys began digging at the site, thinking they might find a pirate’s buried treasure.

    Theories on who may have buried treasure on the island range from pirate Blackbeard to the Knights Templar.

    Blankenship described in a 2010 interview how he became engrossed in the legend after reading the “Reader’s Digest” story.

    “I handed the article over to my wife and said, ‘Read that’ and so she read it and, in so many words, said, ‘So what?’ I said, ‘Well, No. 1, there’s treasure on Oak Island, and No. 2, I’m going to be instrumental in getting it.’ That was the beginning.”

    Blankenship co-owned the island with a group of investors, including brothers Rick and Marty Lagina, who are doing the major work on site now. Their search for treasure has been featured during the reality TV show’s six seasons.

    “Dan was known as a pillar of strength to those around him and we will be forever grateful for the time we had with him,” the show’s Los Angeles-based production company, Prometheus Entertainment, said in a tweet.

    Previous digs at the so-called money pit site — a circular depression discovered by one of those boys in 1795 — uncovered a layer of stones below the surface and layers of logs every three metres, as well as layers of charcoal, putty and coconut fibres, to a depth of 27 metres.

    Barkhouse said Blankenship settled on the island in the 1970s and was driven in ways he imagines most people who are attracted to a mystery are.

    “All these treasure hunters even going back to the start — they want to be the ones to solve this thing,” said Barkhouse. “You have to have that belief, that passion that you are going to be the one to solve it, because if you don’t then there is no point in even being there.”

    He said Blankenship was a great storyteller with a strong presence.

    “At 95 when you shook his hand you knew you were shaking somebody’s hand,” Barkhouse said. “He had a big set of mitts on him because he was a hardworking man all his life. He had a grip on him like a steel vice.”

    Rick Lohnes, who runs tours of Oak Island, said he first met Blankenship in the 1980s at the auto repair shop where Lohnes used to work.

    “He used to come in and tell me stories, but he’d never go a complete story,” Lohnes said. “He’d always tell me I’d have to wait until the next time he came back.”

    Lohnes said Blankenship truly believed there was treasure to be found and it was “just a matter of getting to it.”

    “To me Dan is Oak Island. It is a real loss the knowledge that went with him.”

    — With files from Alison Auld.

    Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press


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    march, 2019

    fri8mar - 30aprmar 85:30 pmapr 30Real Estate Dinner Theatre5:30 pm - (april 30) 10:00 pm

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