Las Vegas, Apr 2 (AP/UNB) — Winter came to Las Vegas. Fire-breathing dragons held court over the world-famous fountains at the Bellagio casino-resort Sunday, as familiar elements from the TV phenomenon "Game of Thrones" were projected on the rising water. The jets danced to a score incorporating the recognizable theme song before one of the colossal beasts lit up the lake along the Las Vegas Strip in a blaze of pyrotechnics.
The 3½-minute spectacle that left a crowd of onlookers cheering debuted two weeks ahead of the scheduled premiere of the HBO fantasy series' final season.
The streaming water formed the show's iconic throne and crown. A towering 800-foot-long (244-meter) wall of water emerged from the lake.
The display, however, intentionally did not reveal any elements of the new season.
"We didn't just want to portray literally scenes from 'Game of Thrones' here, not like a teaser or a preview of season eight," said Mark Fuller, CEO of WET Design, the company that created the fountains and show. "We want to bring you the emotion."
At the heart of the fountain show is the giant wall of water. It represents the ice wall that defines the TV show, but also serves as a surface onto which the creators project falling snow, the series' logo and the silhouettes of the dragons breathing orange and blue flames.
The company worked with the series' composer Ramin Djawadi to create a special score that along with the dancing water aimed to capture the excitement of the TV hit.
The fountain show begins by dropping musical hints of the TV series, using Djawadi's "Winter is Here" from the seventh season. It comes to full force as the show's recognizable "Main Titles" theme song comes on.
"We have to make sure that the fountain gives the same kind of energy, the same kind of drama, that people are associating this music with," said Peter Kopik, director of design and choreography for WET Design. "(That) was the hard part of the choreography because it's continuously energetic and continuously up and loud and strong, and choreography had to reflect the same thing and not being tiring at the same time."
The spectacle ends as the shadow of the Night King appears one last time, and flames cover part of the roughly 9-acre (3.6-hectare) lake.
Oklahoma resident Josh Elliott stopped by the lake with his wife Sunday as part of their anniversary trip. They were amazed by what they saw.
"We have probably seen a hundred fountain shows, and this is by far the best," he said while waiting for the show to start for a second time. "Oh yeah, we are not moving."
Las Vegas resident Gaile Tiquia is re-watching all seasons ahead of the upcoming premiere. She said she came to the casino-resort after seeing a mention on social media about the special show and wondering if it would include any spoilers.
"I had chills for the entire show," she said. "It's amazing! It's too much."
The "Game of Thrones" fountain show marks the first time the lake has been set ablaze, but artists and others have previously used the fountains for a variety of stunts. Billionaire Richard Branson rode a jet ski on the lake in 2010, and Drake performed one of his hits there during the 2017 Billboard Music Awards.
The landmark at the luxury property owned by MGM Resorts International attracts millions of visitors every year. It has nightly shows with recorded music ranging from Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman's duet "Time to Say Goodbye" to Sin City's unofficial hymn "Viva Las Vegas" sung by Elvis Presley.
"The Bellagio fountain is iconic. It's known around the world, and so is 'Game of Thrones,'" Djawadi said. "So, I think putting them together and seeing the music choreographed to a fountain like that is quite the spectacle. I think it will get everybody really pumped for this final season coming up."
The special fountain show will run nightly until April 13, the day before the eighth season's premiere.
Los Angeles, Mar 31 (AP/UNB) — Beyonce was named entertainer of the year at the 50th annual NAACP Image Awards that highlighted works by entertainers and writers of color.
After Beyonce accepted the award Saturday night, the superstar paid homage to the people who were nominated in the same category as her. She beat out Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James, Regina King, Chadwick Boseman and director Ryan Coogler.
"Regina King, I love you so much. You taught us patience, persistence and how to be masterful in your craft," she said. "Chadwick Boseman is teaching children to dream and to be seen as kings. LeBron James has taught us the strength of all forms, leading by example and providing education to our kids. Ryan Coogler tells our stories in a way that celebrates our history and proves we do have power."
Beyonce added: "I'm honored to be included among all of you, and to be a part of a vital and thriving community. Thank you to the NAACP."
Beyonce released a joint album last year with her husband, Jay-Z, called "Everything is Love." The prolific singer also paid tribute to historically black colleges and universities, as well as the dance troupes and step teams during her groundbreaking two-hour Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival performance. She also performed "Lift Every Voice and Sing," which is known as the national black anthem, at the festival and donated $100,000 to four black universities shortly after her performance.
The awards ceremony aired live on TV One at the Dolby Theatre, the same venue that hosts the Academy Awards.
Jay-Z received the President's Award for the rapper's public service achievements. He was recognized for his efforts through his Shawn Carter Foundation and serving as co-founder of the REFORM Alliance.
The rapper executive produced the documentaries "Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story" and "Time: The Kalief Browder Story," along with an animated documentary short called "The War on Drugs is an Epic Fail." That documentary highlighted the unfavorable treatment of black and Latino people when it comes to drug-related crimes.
Jay-Z quoted Abraham Lincoln after he accepted his award and dedicated his trophy to his 93-year-old grandmother Hattie White, saying: "She's so full of life." He also paid homage to the women in his life, including his wife, Beyonce, who smiled while her husband made his speech.
"It's not the amount of years in your life. It's the amount of life in your years," he said. "That quote embodies my beautiful grandmother."
"Black Panther" was awarded best motion picture. The Marvel blockbuster hit beat out "BlacKkKlansman," ''Crazy Rich Asians," ''If Beale Street Could Talk" and "The Hate U Give."
The superhero film was a cultural phenomenon. It earned $700 million domestically during it theatrical run.
"Black Panther" won in several other categories, including best actor in a motion picture (Boseman), supporting actor in a motion picture (Michael B. Jordan) and directing in a motion picture (Coogler).
Jussie Smollett, who lost to "Grey's Anatomy" star Jessie Williams in the supporting actor in a drama series category, did not attend the awards.
It has been a tumultuous week for the "Empire" star after a felony case against him was dropped in Chicago. The handling of the case, which accused Smollett of falsely reporting to police that he was assaulted by two men in downtown Chicago on Jan. 29, has drawn widespread condemnation.
Actor-comedian Chris Rock took verbal jabs at Smollett before he presented outstanding comedy series to ABC's "black-ish."
"They said no Jussie Smollett jokes," Rock said. "Yeah, I know, but what a waste of light skin. Do you know what I could do with that light skin? That curly hair, my career would be out of here. I would be running Hollywood. What the hell was he thinking? You are known as 'Jessie' for now on. You don't even get the 'u' anymore. That 'u' was for respect. You ain't getting no respect from me."
In response to Rock's jokes, "black-ish" star Yara Shahidi made her stance in the Smollett controversy obvious.
"I stand with Jussie," Shahidi said before she handed the microphone to Marcus Scribner and ducked into her crowd of castmates including Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross
Anderson returned as host of the show and won for best actor in a comedy series. He opened the awards speaking about "black excellence" in film, hoping his behavior wouldn't get him removed as host and made several jokes including one about Kanye West not being invited to cookouts.
Anderson brought his mother onstage with him and dedicated his award to "the woman who raised me in Watts (California) and pushed me to become an actor."
"Everything I do on screen is for you momma," Anderson said of his mother, who clutched his award. He also shouted out U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, who sat in the first row.
Waters received the NAACP Chairman's Award for public service. She spoke about young voters taking a stance at the polls, her thoughts on getting rid of the Electoral College and President Donald Trump's presidency.
"I still think he needs to be impeached," Waters said of Trump. "This president has defined himself as a liar."
Donald Glover, who won four Grammys this year, won for his directing on "Atlanta." On the music side, his alter-ego Childish Gambino's song "This is America" won for best music video.
Dhaka, Mar 24 (UNB)- Bollywood's biggest award night - the 64th edition of the Filmfare Awards - ended on a celebratory note for Team Raazi, which went home with as many as five of the black statuettes, reports NDTV. Alia Bhatt won Best Actress for playing the role of a spy while Raazi also fetched Meghna Gulzar the Best Director Filmfare Award. Raazi also grabbed the Best Film trophy!
Meanwhile, Ranbir Kapoor scored the Best Actor Filmfare Award for playing the role of Sanjay Dutt in biopic Sanju.
Ranveer Singh won Best Actor Critics' Award for his menacing role in "Padmaavat". It was a tie in the category with Ayushmann Khurrana winning for AndhaDhun. Neena Gupta was awarded in the Best Actress Critics' category for playing a middle-aged pregnant mother in Badhaai Ho.
"Padmaavat", which had as many as 17 categories, scored win in four of them! Raazi clearly scored the highest number of awards at the 64th edition of the Filmfare Awards.
Here's a look at the list of winners:
Best Film: Raazi
Critics' Award for Best Film: AndhaDhun
Best Actor in a Leading Role (Female): Alia Bhatt, Raazi
Best Actor in a Leading Role (Male): Ranbir Kapoor, Sanju
Critics' Award for Best Actor (Female): Neena Gupta, Badhaai Ho
Critics' Award for Best Actor (Male): Ranveer Singh for "Padmaavat", Ayushmann Khurrana for
Best Debut Actor(Female): Sara Ali Khan, Kedarnath
Best Debut Actor(Male): Ishaan Khatter, Beyond The Clouds
Best Director: Meghna Gulzar, Raazi
Best Debut Director: Amar Kaushik, Stree
Best Actor In A Supporting Role (Male): Gajraj Rao, Badhaai Ho and Vicky Kaushal, Sanju
Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Female): Surekha Sikri, Badhaai Ho
Best Dialogue: Akshat Ghildial, Badhaai Ho
Best Original Story: Anubhav Sinha, Mulk
Best Actor (Male) in a Short Film: Hussain Dalal, Shameless
Best Actor (Female) in a Short Film: Kirti Kulhari, Maya
People's Choice Award for Best Short Film: Plus Minus
Best Short Film (Fiction): Rogan Josh
Best Short Film (Non Fiction):The Soccer City
Best Music Album: "Padmaavat"
Best Playback Singer (Male): Arijit Singh for Ae Watan, Raazi
Best Playback Singer (Female): Shreya Ghoshal for Ghoomar, "Padmaavat"
Best Lyrics: Gulzar for Ae Watan, Raazi.
Best Lyrics: AndhaDhun
Best Background Score: Daniel George, AndhaDhun
Best Sound Design: Kunal Sharma, Tumbbad
Best Choreography: Kruti Mahesh Midya, Jyoti Tomaar for Ghoomar, "Padmaavat"
Best Action: Vikram Dahiya, Sunil Rodriguez, Mukkabaaz
Best Cinematography: Pankaj Kumar, Tumbbad
Best Editing: Pooja Ladha Surti, AndhaDhun
Best Costume: Sheetal Sharma, Manto
Best Production Design: Nitin Zihani Chaudhary and Rajesh Yadav (Tumbbad)
The venue for the 64th Filmfare Awards was the Jio Gardens in Mumbai and was hosted by Shah Rukh Khan with several stars swapping places as his co-host.
New York, Mar 24 (AP/UNB) — Barbra Streisand apologized Saturday for her remarks about Michael Jackson and two men who have accused him of sexual abuse, saying that she should have chosen her words more carefully and that she admires the accusers for "speaking their truth."
Streisand had received bitter criticism online after she was quoted in The Times of London as saying that Jackson's accusers were "thrilled to be there" during the alleged abuse, which "didn't kill them."
After an initial statement Saturday to The Associated Press in which she sought to clarify her remarks, the superstar of song, stage and screen posted an apology online that went further.
"I am profoundly sorry for any pain or misunderstanding I caused by not choosing my words more carefully about Michael Jackson and his victims," she wrote.
"I didn't mean to dismiss the trauma these boys experienced in any way," she wrote. "Like all survivors of sexual assault, they will have to carry this for the rest of their lives. I feel deep remorse and I hope that James and Wade know that I truly respect and admire them for speaking their truth."
The apology went far beyond the earlier statement to the AP, in which she elaborated on her published remarks, saying she felt "nothing but sympathy" for the men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who accuse the late star of molesting them as children.
She wrote in that earlier statement: "To be crystal clear, there is no situation or circumstance where it is OK for the innocence of children to be taken advantage of by anyone."
The remarks in question came deep into a wide-ranging interview with The Times. Asked about Jackson, Streisand was quoted as saying she "absolutely" believed Robson and Safechuck, who make their allegations in the recent HBO documentary "Leaving Neverland."
Jackson's estate has condemned the HBO documentary. Jackson, who died in 2009, was found not guilty in 2005 of charges he molested a 13-year-old boy.
Streisand was asked about the documentary, which she called "too painful."
She then said that Jackson, when she met him, was "very sweet, very childlike." Asked how she reconciled that man with the one portrayed in the documentary, she replied: "His sexual needs were his sexual needs, coming from whatever childhood he has or whatever DNA he has. You can say 'molested,' but those children, as you heard say, they were thrilled to be there. They both married and they both have children, so it didn't kill them."
Among those firing back on social media was the director of "Leaving Neverland," Dan Reed, who wrote of that last quote: "Did you really say that?!"
Asked by The Times whether she was angry at Jackson, Streisand said: "It's a combination of feelings. I feel bad for the children. I feel bad for him. I blame, I guess, the parents, who would allow their children to sleep with him."
Also attracting attention Saturday for remarks about Jackson was his close friend and mentor Diana Ross.
"This is what's on my heart this morning," Ross wrote on Twitter. "I believe and trust that Michael Jackson was and is A magnificent incredible force to me and to many others."
Miami, Mar 3 (AP/UNB) — The family and friends of a Canadian filmmaker and conservationist who died during a shark-filming excursion in the Florida Keys are releasing his final documentary.
"Sharkwater Extinction" made a limited theatrical release Friday. The DVD is set for release March 19, and the film will stream on Amazon Prime starting in April, Sharkwater Productions said. It was first shown last fall at the Toronto Film Festival.
Rob Stewart's 2006 documentary, "Sharkwater," examined the impact of shark hunting on the ocean's ecosystem. His 2013 film, "Revolution," focused on environmental collapse.
Stewart's father, Brian Stewart, said 120 million people saw his son's first film, prompting bans around the world on shark finning, the practice of cutting the fins off sharks and discarding the rest of the fish. The new film continues to focus on the impact of shark hunting on the environment.
"He had a massive base around the world that wanted to see this movie finished," Brian Stewart said. "And that really kept us going."
Stewart's parents said their 37-year-old son had already filmed about 400 hours of footage when he drowned in January 2017. He went missing while diving at the wreck of the Queen of Nassau in about 230 feet (70 meters) of water and about 6 miles (10 kilometers) from the Islamorada coast. His submerged body was found three days later, about 300 feet (90 meters) from where he was last spotted on the surface, following a massive search.
Stewart's mother, Sandra Stewart, said they knew they wanted to complete his final film but weren't initially sure where to start. They eventually found extensive notes on his tablet computer, which were used by editor Nick Hector to complete the film.
"When we found that we realized we could finish this," Sandra Stewart said.
Though "Sharkwater Extinction" might not be precisely what its maker had intended, Brian Stewart explained how his son's meticulous planning allowed them to tell most of the story that his son wanted to tell.
"We have all his notes about all the different locations around the world he wanted to go to and what his objective for each location was," Brian Stewart said. "He wrote outstanding notes."
Rob Stewart might be gone, but his parents said the outpouring of love and support that followed his passing showed them how important his work was. They said they hoped the new film leads to more action and even greater change.
"He wasn't in it for the money," Sandra Stewart said. "He just wanted everybody to see the film, love sharks, fall in love with the ocean creatures and work to protect them."