Category: Entertainment

entertainment news

Plastic Bag Store Opens in New York City

The Plastic Bag Store isn’t really a store but an art installation. Nina Vishneva, in this story narrated by Anna Rice reports on this unique piece of art that’s all about plastic.
Camera: Alexander Barash, Natalia Latukhina

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Museum Exhibit Revamp Raises Concerns in Hong Kong

Scholars are urging government curators not to shy away from controversial issues in the production of new exhibits as the Hong Kong Museum of History undertakes a two-year revamp of its popular Hong Kong Story exhibition.Occupying 7,000 square meters in eight galleries on two floors, the permanent exhibition of the Hong Kong Story has attracted more than 10 million local and overseas visitors since its launch in 2001, according to the museum website. It has now been temporarily closed, starting October 19, for an extensive renovation.  Visitors wearing masks to help protect against the coronavirus walk past an earth sculpture, at the Hong Kong Museum of History, in Hong Kong, Oct. 16, 2020.The old exhibition showcased exhibits starting from the Devonian period 400 million years ago up to 1997. It only caused a stir in the public when the exhibition was officially closed this month, even though the decision was announced in 2015. The revamp is a regular exercise of history museums conducted every 20 years, according to John Carroll, a professor in the University of Hong Kong’s History Department and an expert in museology.Coming at a time when Hong Kong is reeling from intense turmoil after yearlong massive protests sparked by a now-defunct extradition bill last year, many fear the new exhibition — which will cover the period from the Neolithic to 2014 — will be a watered-down version of the recent history of the city.“Everything in Hong Kong these days is politically charged, there’s no point in speculating. The project is going to be difficult and challenging. However, it’s a good opportunity to make it an even better exhibition,” according to Carroll, the author of A Concise History of Hong Kong.   “It’s not uncommon for governments to produce museums which are not critical because they don’t want to train people to be critical of the authorities. Most museums are a compromise,” he said, adding that “Museums should be a product of discussion, argument and negotiation, and to tell complex stories.”  A screen shows the ceremony of British handover Hong Kong to China, at the exhibition “The Hong Kong Story” in the Hong Kong Museum of History, Oct. 16, 2020.He said even the old exhibition was curated in a traditional, conservative way, with an apparent attempt to avoid controversy. For instance, the portraits of the British governors who headed Hong Kong before the political handover to China in 1997 were displayed in a “dark corner” of the venue. “It is designed in such a way that people would not spend much time there,” he said.Echoing Carroll’s views, Godfrey Lai, a history researcher at Lingnan University, a Hong Kong liberal arts university, said, “I’m not too concerned with certain events being omitted or downplayed in the new exhibition since it’s rather difficult to wipe out history in modern times. But I am more concerned with the use of language and whether the selection of the content is biased.”“What’s so problematic is that the government tends to obtain the information from pro-establishment sources such as pro-Beijing newspapers,” he added.  In the old exhibition, photos and videos instead of text were used to depict politically sensitive incidents, such as the pro-communist Hong Kong riots in 1967 under the British rule to keep away from having to deal with the conflicting views related to the historic events, Lai said.For the updated version of the exhibition, he suggested that interviews with people who have participated in the events and government officials who are responsible for making the decisions, and artifacts generated during that time be included to provide a more complete perspective.  Lai also said the display should be presented from the point of view of Hong Kong people rather than that of the mainland Chinese.“Domestically, it should resonate and have a connection with the local people. Externally, tourists would want to know how the local people look at the events. If people want a mainland Chinese perspective, they should go the museums in Beijing,” he said.Taking a broader view, Carroll said the exhibition will be aimed at not just the 7.5 million local population but also visitors from mainland China and overseas.  “Some people want to be more critical of the colonial rule, but some don’t,” he said.  Both history scholars indicated they would want to have government officials’ reaction to key events shown in the exhibition. Then-Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s decision-making over the Umbrella Revolution, for example, also known as Occupy Central Movement when a series of mostly peaceful sit-in pro-democracy protests took place in 2014 should be featured in the renewed production, Carroll said.Angela Fong, who had visited the now-closed exhibition several times over the years with her two children, aged 17 and 10, said she is concerned that key political issues will be left out or “twisted.”“The government is already making changes to the history textbooks in schools. It’ll be difficult to tell the truth to our next generation,” she said.In 2015, history researcher Lai founded Wetoasthk, a Facebook page dedicated to Hong Kong history that has close to 30,000 followers. He said the government does not have an exclusive privilege in keeping a record of history.“Anyone can record history, especially with the help of technology today,” he told VOA.

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Dodgers Defeat Rays to Claim World Series Title

The Los Angeles Dodgers won their first Major League Baseball World Series in more than three decades Tuesday night, shaking off a slow offensive start to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 in Game 6. For five innings, the Rays appeared to be in control in their bid to force a deciding seventh game in the series with pitcher Blake Snell allowing just one hit and zero runs. But the Dodgers rallied in the sixth inning, scoring a run on a wild pitch by Rays reliever Nick Anderson and a second run on a fielder’s choice one batter later. Star outfielder Mookie Betts, who came to the Dodgers in an offseason trade, pushed the lead to 3-1 with a home run in the eighth inning. Tampa Bay’s only run came by way of a first-inning home run by Randy Arozarena, who emerged as a star during the postseason with nine total home runs. The Rays had more chances early in the game with multiple runners on base in the first two innings.  But Dodgers pitchers were able to hold the Rays in check, striking out 16 total batters and allowing just two hits in the final eight innings.Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas.Reliever Julio Urías struck out Willy Adames to seal the victory for the Dodgers and send their players into a celebratory pile on the infield. Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager was named the World Series Most Valuable Player after compiling a .471 batting average with two home runs and seven runs scored in the series. The championship is a culmination of years of recent success for Los Angeles, which has won more regular season games than any other team since the 2010 season but suffered repeated heartbreak in the playoffs. The Dodgers lost the 2017 World Series in seven games to the Houston Astros, and a year later fell in the World Series to the Boston Red Sox.  Last season brought a first-round defeat at the hands of the eventual champion Washington Nationals. “This is our year,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after the game. “We said it.  This is our year.” All of the 2020 World Series games were played in Arlington, Texas, one of the effects the coronavirus pandemic had on the Major League Baseball season.  The league postponed its usual start from the end of March to the end of July, with teams playing just 60 regular season games instead of 162.  No fans were allowed into stadiums until the last two rounds, when only a limited number were able to see games in person. The schedule was further thrown into chaos with multiple teams experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks.  Tuesday night, Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner was removed in the eighth inning, and after the game it was announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19. “It’s a bittersweet night for us.  We’re glad to be done,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said. “I do think it’s a great accomplishment for our players to get this season completed.” 

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Halloween Goes On at White House With a Few Twists

With a bit of rejiggering, President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump played host Sunday to hundreds of superheroes, unicorns, skeletons and even a miniature version of themselves as part of a Halloween celebration at the White House.
In years past, the president and first lady personally handed out candy to the costume-clad kids. This year, the treats were provided separately as participants walked along a path on the South Lawn.  
The kids still briefly met the president and first lady, who waved and offered words of encouragement from a safe distance about how much they liked the costumes. Trump and the first lady have both recently recovered from COVID-19.
Trump was particularly pleased with a young boy with a distinctly Trump head of hair and a partner who did her best Mrs. Trump impersonation. The president motioned for them to turn and pose for the cameras, and they happily agreed.
Another tot, a true princess it appeared, was so smitten with the cameras that she kept waving at them as she walked along, never noticing the VIPs behind her.
The spooky celebration was changed up a bit as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Guests older than 2 were required to wear face coverings and practice social distancing. The same went for all White House personnel working the event, while any staff giving out candy also wore gloves.
The South Portico of the White House was decorated with bright-colored leaves in various shades of autumn, chrysanthemums and pumpkins, while a military band set the mood by playing songs such as Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

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Texas Singer-Songwriter Walker Dies at 78

Jerry Jeff Walker, a Texas country singer and songwriter who wrote the pop song “Mr. Bojangles,” has died at age 78.Walker died Friday of cancer, family spokesman John T. Davis told The Associated Press.”He had battled throat cancer for many years, and some other health issues,” Davis said Saturday.Walker emerged from New York’s Greenwich Village folk scene in the 1960s, and he was a founding member of the band Circus Maximus. He moved to Texas in the 1970s and in 1972 scored a hit with his version of the Guy Clark song “L.A. Freeway.”Walker and the Lost Gonzo Band in 1973 recorded an album live in Texas called “Viva Terlingua” that became a classic of the country-rock scene. Walker had since released more than 30 albums.In 1986, he formed independent music label Tried & True Music and released albums under it.Walker was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2017, undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, he told the Austin American Statesman in 2018.”I guess I took my singing for granted, and now I don’t,” he told the newspaper.In 2017, it was announced that Walker had donated more than 100 boxes of his music archives to The Wittliff Collections at Texas State University, including tapes, photographs, handwritten lyrics and artifacts.Walker’s survivors include his wife, Susan; son, Django; and daughter, Jessie Jane. 
 

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IOC Chief Bach Says Olympics Cannot Be ‘Marketplace of Demonstrations’

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach said the Olympic Games are not about politics and must guard against becoming a “marketplace of demonstrations.”
Against the backdrop of the Black Lives Matter movement to protest racial injustice, calls have increased this year for a change to Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter, which bans any form political protest during the Games.
World Athletics chief Sebastian Coe said earlier this month he believes athletes should have the right to make gestures of political protest during the Games, contrary to official IOC policy.
“The Olympic Games are firstly about sport. The athletes personify the values of excellence, solidarity and peace,” Bach wrote in The Guardian.
“They express this inclusiveness and mutual respect also by being politically neutral on the field of play and during the ceremonies. At times this focus on sport needs to be reconciled with the freedom of speech all athletes also enjoy at the Games.
“The unifying power of the Games can only unfold if everyone shows respect for and solidarity to one another. Otherwise, the Games will descend into a marketplace of demonstrations of all kinds, dividing and not uniting the world.”
Bach said he experienced the “political impotence” of sport when West Germany was among several countries to boycott the 1980 Moscow Games.
“As chair of the West German athletes’ commission I strongly opposed this boycott because it punished us for something we had nothing to do with – the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet army,” Bach, the winner of team fencing gold at Montreal 1976, wrote.
“It’s no consolation that we were ultimately proven right that this boycott not only punished the wrong ones, but that it also had no political effect… the Soviet army stayed nine more years in Afghanistan.
“The Olympic Games are not about politics. The IOC, as a civil non-governmental organization, is strictly politically neutral at all times.”
The COVID-19 pandemic forced the IOC to delay this year’s Tokyo Games until 2021. 

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Bilingual Virtual Festival Features American, Russian Playwrights

A bilingual virtual festival featuring American and Russian playwrights is taking place as tensions between the two countries are high and serving as a reminder of how art can bridge differences. Maxim Moskalkov has the story.
Camera: David Gogokhia     

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American Film Institute Adjusts to Virtual Reality During Pandemic

AFI FEST, one of Hollywood’s most prestigious film festivals and part of the American Film Institute, was held virtually this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.  VOA’s Penelope Poulou spoke to the festival’s organizers and filmmakers about the challenges and advantages of the online platform. 
Camera:  Penelope Poulou   Producer: Penelope Poulou

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White House Halloween Event Tweaked for Coronavirus

Ghosts, goblins and other costumed kids are welcome to trick or treat at the White House on Sunday during a Halloween event that has been rejiggered to include coronavirus precautions.
The gates to the South Lawn will be opened to children from military families, frontline workers and others, from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Melania Trump announced Friday.
Extra precautions have been added to the spooky celebration.
President Donald Trump and the first lady — both recently recovered from COVID-19, the disease brought on by the coronavirus — will welcome guests at some point during the event.
Guests older than 2 are required to wear face coverings and practice social distancing. The same goes for all White House personnel working the event, while any staff handing out candy will also wear gloves.
Hand sanitizer will be available along the route and social distancing measures will be in place.
Participating federal departments will use a “no-touch” approach.
NASA will display space-related items, including an inflatable rocket. Costumed-clad kids can wave to the Agriculture Department’s Smokey Bear and pick up Junior Ranger badges from the Interior Department’s station.
The Education and Labor departments will offer photo opportunities, and the Transportation department will provide paper airplanes for children to take home.
The South Portico of the White House will be decorated with bright-colored leaves in various shades of autumn, chrysanthemums and pumpkins.

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During the Pandemic AFI Fest Adjusts to a Virtual Reality

AFI FEST, one of Hollywood’s most prestigious film festivals and part of the American Film Institute, was held virtually this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.  VOA’s Penelope Poulou spoke to the festival’s organizers and filmmakers about the challenges and advantages of the online platform. 
Camera:  Penelope Poulou   Producer: Penelope Poulou

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