K-pop superstars BTS canceled an upcoming concert series in South Korea's capital as the country that exports entertainment worldwide tries to contain a soaring virus outbreak.
It follows a near-shutdown of entertainment in hard-hit parts of China, the world's second-biggest economy and second-biggest box-office market.
BTS, which performed at the Grammys and at New York's Grand Central Terminal for "The Tonight Show" in recent weeks, is seen as an emblem of South Korea's cultural and economic power. Local media said the canceled concerts were the inaugural leg of the band's new world tour.
"We regret to announce that the BTS MAP OF THE SOUL TOUR ... has been cancelled," the band's agency Big Hit Entertainment said in a statement.
The management agency said the COVID-19 outbreak in South Korea, which has more than 2,000 cases so far, made it impossible to predict the scale of the outbreak by April.
The seven-member boy band was scheduled to perform April 11-12 and April 18-19 at Seoul's Olympic Stadium. The agency said it had to consider the health and safety of the artists, the production crews and the more than 200,000 concertgoers expected.
The South Korean government and others affected by the epidemic have pushed to restrict massive public events to try to avoid situations where the virus might spread.
Disney said Friday its parks in Tokyo would close for two weeks, adding to closures of its parks in Shanghai and Hong Kong.
Cinemas in China already were shuttered, which affected the Chinese release of "Sonic the Hedgehog" and the Beijing premiere and a promotional tour of the James Bond film "No Time to Die" among other impacts.
The Walt Disney Co.'s anticipated live-action "Mulan" remake is due to open in China on March 27.
The U.S.'s National Symphony Orchestra canceled performances in Japan, after earlier canceling concerts in Beijing and Shanghai. That followed cancellations by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Hong Kong Philharmonic.
South Korean agencies have been canceling K-pop events at home and abroad in response to requests from fans about artists' safety.
Artists such as Taeyeon and boy bands WINNER and NCT Dream had previously canceled shows in Singapore and Macao, and GOT7 postponed concerts in Bangkok and Singapore.
U.S. band Green Day postponed upcoming Asia shows as well, citing health and travel concerns in its announcement on Twitter.
BTS has a large international following and was the first K-pop act to debut atop the Billboard Album chart in 2018 with "Love Yourself: Tear."
The National Symphony Orchestra canceled the five remaining performances in Japan of its Asian tour because of a new virus epidemic.
The orchestra originally was to play eight concerts in its first international tour with music director Gianandrea Noseda. On Feb. 4, the NSO called off shows in Beijing on March 13 and 14 and one in Shanghai on March 17.
In an announcement Thursday night, the orchestra scrapped performances from March 6-11 in Fukui, Sakai, Hiroshima and Tokyo. It cited a recommendation from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that major cultural events be canceled for the next two weeks.
"After multiple consultations with officials at U.S. government agencies and recommendations from the Japanese government, it became clear that these evolving circumstances are beyond our control," NSO executive director Gary Ginstling said in a statement.
The NSO is based at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and hopes fill the void in its schedule with orchestra and chamber music in the Washington area.
The Boston Symphony Orchestra canceled an Asian tour from Feb. 6-16 that had included performances in Seoul, South Korea; Taipei, Taiwan; Shanghai and Hong Kong.
The COVID-19 illness caused by a new type of coronavirus has sickened tens of thousands of people, most of them in China. Japan and South Korea also have been hard hit among Asian countries.
With a definitive nod to novelty 'New Generation, New Tools, New Communication'- the 6th edition of Dhaka International Mobile Film Festival (DIMFF) is set to begin on Friday at the permanent campus of the University of Liberal Arts (ULAB).
Different from other events, the festival is known as the country’s first and only mobile phone-based international competition on filmmaking, started back in 2015.
The two-day long festival, organized by CinemaScope - a film apprenticeship program of University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) - will screen a total of 57 films in three categories: 39 films in the Screening category, 5 films in the One Minute category and 13 in the Competition category.
Set to arrange screenings at Star Cineplex (Shimanto Shambhar branch) for the first time ever, the films will also be screened at Campus A, Campus B and the Permanent campus of ULAB in Mohammadpur where the festival will be inaugurated on Friday by Professor H M Jahirul Haque, Vice Chancellor of ULAB and Professor Jude William Genilo, Head of Media Studies and Journalism department of ULAB.
A press conference was held at ULAB Campus A auditorium in Dhanmondi of the capital on Thursday where the organizers briefed the media about the details of the festival.
The organizers informed that a total of 202 films have been submitted from 41 countries and a total of 2297 people have registered for 8 screening schedule in this year’s festival.
Regarding the participation process, the organizers said that the Competition category is restricted to university students in Under Graduate or Graduate level while One Minute Film category is restricted to Grade 1 - 12 students of school and college-goers.
Explaining the rules, the organizers said that the submitted films must be completely shot on a mobile phone (cell-phone/smart phone). However, there is no restriction regarding any specific brand or model, specifications and operating system of the phone as well as post-production tools. Also, participation is totally free of cost at the festival.
“The objective of the DIMFF is to involve young minds from anywhere in the world to take part in this festival, portraying their visions out of their mobile phone cameras. Throughout the years, we have received overwhelming responses from the participants around the world," said the festival's advisor Dr Abdul Kabil Khan.
More information on the 2020 festival is available on their website www.dimff.net and also at their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ULABCinemaScope.
Michael Jordan says he didn't see Kobe Bryant as his rival for the mythical honor of being recognized as the best basketball player ever.
Instead, he came to love Bryant as the little brother he never had, and as a student eager to learn from Jordan's experiences and skills.
"He wanted to be the best basketball player that he could be," Jordan said Monday at Bryant's public memorial service at Staples Center. "And as I got to know him, I wanted to be the best big brother that I could be."
Jordan broke into tears with those words during a moving speech about his largely unpublicized friendship with Bryant, who died along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others in a helicopter crash Jan. 26.
"When Kobe Bryant died, a piece of me died," Jordan said. "And as I look (around) this arena and across the globe, a piece of you died, or else you wouldn't be here. Those are the memories that we have to live with and we learn from. I promise you from this day forward, I will live with the memories of knowing that little brother that I tried to help in every way I could. Please rest in peace, little brother."
The heartfelt comments from Jordan, the relatively media-shy billionaire owner of the Charlotte Hornets, were a poignant highlight of the two-hour ceremony. Jordan also provided a memorable image from the event when he stepped up to help Vanessa Bryant off the stage after she delivered her eulogy of her husband and daughter.
Bryant's career with the Los Angeles Lakers took off in the late 1990s when Jordan was wrapping up his own stellar career with the Chicago Bulls. The two shooting guards with silky, aggressive offensive games competed fiercely against each other, with Jordan initially unwilling to cede ground to Bryant as the next superstar at their position.
But once they became acquaintances, Bryant bombarded Jordan with late-night phone calls and questions about how to improve. When a retired Jordan traveled to Los Angeles to visit Phil Jackson, the former Bulls coach then in charge of the Lakers, Jordan was greeted by Bryant — who immediately asked him if he had brought his shoes so they could play.
"No matter where he saw me, he saw the challenge," Jordan said. "And I admired him because of his passion. You rarely see someone who's looking and trying to improve each and every day, not just in sports, but as a parent, as a husband. I am inspired by what he's done and what he's shared with Vanessa, and what he's shared with his kids."
Bryant kept up his questions even during their retirements. Just a couple of months ago, Bryant texted Jordan for insight on teaching moves to Gigi Bryant, who aspired to a basketball career.
Jordan is the fifth-leading scorer in NBA history with 32,292 points. Bryant — who played 274 more games — passed him on the career scoring list during his penultimate season in December 2014.
Kobe's 33,643 points currently put him fourth on the chart, with only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone and LeBron James above them.
Jordan won six titles with the Bulls, while Bryant won five rings and reached seven NBA Finals with the Lakers.
Fans have spent decades comparing Jordan to Bryant, and comparing both to James. Jordan isn't interested in that game.
"Kobe never left anything on the court, and I think that's what he would want for us to do," Jordan said. "No one knows how much time we have. That's why we must live in the moment. We must enjoy the moment. We must reach and see and spend as much time as we can with our families and friends and the people that we absolutely love."
Jordan teared up several times during his speech, which allowed him to bring a moment of levity to the somber proceedings.
He is well aware of the Crying Jordan meme in which an Associated Press photo of his tear-stained face from his 2009 Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony is superimposed on athletes and public figures at moments of loss or disappointment.
"Now he's got me. I'm going to have to look at another crying meme for the next ..." Jordan said while the arena dissolved into laughter.
"I told my wife I wasn't going to do this because I didn't want to see that for the next three or four years," Jordan added. "That is what Kobe Bryant does to me. I'm pretty sure Vanessa and his friends all can say the same thing. He knows how to get to you in a way that affects you personally. Even though if he's being a pain in the ass, you have a sense of love for him and the way that he can bring out the best in you, and he did that for me."
Grammy award-winning singer Pharrell may have been fired from three different McDonald's as a teen, but that didn't stop him from opening what has become one of the hottest restaurants in Miami.
The singer hosted a soul food brunch Saturday along with his dad Pharaoh, a self-taught chef, known for his sweet and spicy Nono Sauce, as part of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Growing up, family meals were the heart of the Williams home, a place to "hear what's exciting at your parent's job."
"Cooking is a reflection of your parents, the energy, the love. Food is a connector and it's a meeting place," Pharrell told The Associated Press during an interview before the brunch.
Back home, Pharaoh Williams was always in the kitchen and so were his grandmothers. Favorite dishes included his dad's chicken and pork and fried catfish with a special sauce that Pharrell says was more savory than spicy.
"His seasoning was what was always so distinctive with my dad's cooking and both my grandmothers cooked like that," he said.
At Saturday's sold-out $150 per ticket brunch at the upscale Swan restaurant in Miami's design district, they served platters of cornmeal-crusted catfish with chow chow, juicy BBQ chicken and ribs, cheddar grits and French toast with candied oranges and amaretto whipped cream.
Back in the kitchen, a team of chefs hustled to carry out Pharaoh Williams' menu, pulling mini sweet potato biscuits out of the oven and crusting copious plates of catfish. Fellow Grammy winner DJ Khaled, and former "Breaking Bad" co-stars Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul were among the guests savoring the food on a tropical jungle style patio.
Happy to leave behind his fast food days, Pharrell opened Swan restaurant and its swanky upstairs Moroccan-themed Bar Bevy in 2018 with South Beach nightlife guru and LIV club owner David Grutman. The restaurant has been a hotbed for celebrities, especially during the Super Bowl and recent Art Basel weeks, where everyone from Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West to Leonardo DiCaprio and Bono have indulged.
Grutman and Pharrell partnered with Top Chef Europe champion executive chef Jean Imbert for their restaurant, while Pharrell works on the side with a line of food products for his father.
But the "Happy" singer is clear about his role in the restaurant business — he happily stays out of the kitchen.
"I didn't cook then. I don't cook now," he laughed, adding "I love food."
He has a deep appreciation for the culinary arts, comparing it to "the same way I work in music. You're adding different sounds and things together," he said.
"Ingredients are like instruments. It's how you use them and it's who's using them. That's what makes one song different from the next, one style different from the next."