June 7, 2018 

Associated Press 

 

A founding member of the Grammy-winning gospel group the Blind Boys of Alabama has died. Clarence Fountain was 88.

 

Fountain died Sunday in a hospital in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he had been taken Friday, manager Charles Driebe of Atlanta said in an email Monday.

 

The group won four Grammys, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and a National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship, and were members of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Their cover of Tom Waits’ “Way Down in the Hole” was the theme song for the first season of the HBO series “The Wire,” which used a different artist or group each season.

 

Fountain is survived by his wife, Barbara. The family planned a private viewing Monday at their church, with a public funeral Tuesday at a larger church, which had not yet been chosen, Driebe wrote.

 

Fountain stopped touring with the group in 2007 because of complications from diabetes, but sang on their 2017 album, “Almost Home,” according a statement from Driebe’s Blind Ambition Management. It said the album grew out of the realization that only Fountain, the group’s longtime leader, and its current leader, Jimmy Carter, remained of the original members.

 

“These men were both raised as blind, African American males in the Deep South during the Jim Crow years, and they were sent to a school where the expectation for them was to one day make brooms or mops for a living,” Driebe said “But they’ve transcended all that. The arc of their lives and of the band reflects the arc of a lot of changes in American society, and we wanted to find a way to capture their experiences in songs.”

 

Fountain and friends started their first singing group as students at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Deaf and Blind in Talladega, where Fountain was enrolled when he was 8. The Happy Land Jubilee Singers sneaked off campus to sing for soldiers at a nearby training camp.

 

“Buoyed by the praise (and money) they received, the group left the school in 1944 while still in their teens,” Driebe wrote in the news release about Fountain’s death.

 

They were still called the Happy Land Jubilee Singers when they had their first hit single in 1948, “I Can See Everybody’s Mother But Mine.”

 

The name they used for the rest of their careers came from a double billing later in 1948 with another group of blind singers, the Jackson Harmoneers — an event promoted as a battle between the Five Blind Boys of Alabama and the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi.

 

“The crowd loved us, the name stuck, and things took off for us,” Fountain said, as quoted in the news release.

 

After a series of concerts with the Jackson Harmoneers, he said, Ray Charles’s manager offered a big touring deal if they would cross over to other genres. “There was no way we were going to go pop or rock,” Fountain said. “Who needed it? Our bellies were full, we had no headaches, we were happy. At least I was happy, singing real gospel.”

 

They signed with Specialty Records in 1953, but left after five years because of more pressure to sing secular music. They sang in 1960s benefits for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and kept singing hard-driving gospel, even as it became less popular.

 

They won national acclaim in 1983 for the Off-Broadway stage production of Gospel at Colonus, an adaptation of Sophocles’ tragedy Oedipus at Colonus set in a black Pentecostal church. Morgan Freeman played young Oedipus, and the Blind Boys sang the part of the blinded Oedipus. The play received two OBIE awards and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award.

 

The group’s first Grammy nomination came in 1992, and they won their first Grammy for best traditional gospel album in 2001 with “Spirit of the Century,” their first release with Peter Gabriel's Real World Records.

 

They won Grammys in 2002, 2003 and 2004 for “Higher Ground,” “Go Tell It on the Mountain” and “There Will Be A Light,” the last a collaboration with Ben Harper. The lifetime achievement came in 2009. They recorded with artists including Lou Reed, Bonnie Raitt, Tom Waits, k.d.lang, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, Susan Tedeschi, Aaron Neville and Mavis Staples.

 

Driebe quoted Fountain: “My theory is do something good in the end and that will close out your longevity. After that, you can go on home and sit down.” 

Category: Arts & Culture

June 7, 2018 

Aries 

MAR 21 - APR 19 

Secrets, lies, deception, confusion. Your love life might resemble a truly scandalous made-for-television move this week. Obviously, it won't be this difficult for everyone. Not all of you are engaged in this level of toxicity, so if you know you and your honey are good, you can relax. You both might seem a bit absent-minded this week. That's all. If, however, that voice inside your head is whispering to you that you don't have all the facts when it comes to your relationship with someone, it might be time to pay attention. If you have to wonder this hard about where you stand or what your lover is telling you, it's a red flag.

  

Taurus 

APR 20 - MAY 20 

If you find yourself trying to control your partner's actions with your words this week, you're doing something wrong. A high-and-mighty attitude you present to your mate about something he or she wants to do will not be taken well. If you are coming across as the one who knows best in your relationship, your partner might feel as though you want a child more than a partner. This won't end well. In other news, if you're single and playing the dating game, you'll want to be careful with your finances or disclosing too much financial information to a new sweetheart too soon. Take it slow.

 

Gemini 

MAY 21 - JUN 20 

If you're in a relationship where you and your mate share finances, split the bills, or file tax returns together, this week there might be a problem. One of you seems to want to be the boss when it comes to money matters while the other isn't having it. Most likely, it's your partner who will think he or she holds the power and should handle the purse strings. If you get a sense that this is happening, you might quickly become resentful and find yourself withholding affection -- or even sex -- in an attempt to assert your power. Address this unhealthy dynamic stat ... before it gets out of hand.

 

Cancer 

JUN 21 - JUL 22 

This might be a tit-for-tat or tug-of-war kind of week for you and your partner. The trouble, however, is that while you may start out fighting over a few petty matters, it will lead to the realization that there is a major situation the two of you need to address. One of you is having feelings of deep mistrust, betrayal, or feeling controlled by the other. Your partner might have a harder time letting go of control issues than you this week. You're trying to come from a place of love, no matter what. If single and newly dating someone, it's possible that this person will start obsessing over you. You'll want to run.

 

Leo 

JUL 23 - AUG 22 

If you're single and spending a lot of social time with friends, there might be a confusing sexual situation that happens this week between you and a pal. Perhaps you'll be out having fun with a group and you'll start drinking a bit too much. In this carefree party mode, it's possible that you and one of your friends will find yourselves becoming intimate with each other ... or sharing information with each other than you later regret. Remember, you'll have to deal with the consequences. If you even think for one moment going into it that it's a mistake, stop yourself.

 

Virgo 

AUG 23 - SEP 22 

Romance is intense for you this week, Virgo! A tight Venus-Pluto opposition across your romance and social houses will make it impossible for you to hear crickets when it comes to your love life. If you're completely single, you might find yourself wickedly attracted to someone you know is wrong for you but feels oh-so-right. Take it slow! If you're dating someone, it's possible that you will feel more attached to your sweetheart -- and these feelings make you feel uncomfortable. It's never easy to open up and be vulnerable in love. You might be overthinking the situation this week and trying hard to control the fact that you're really falling for someone special.

 

Libra 

SEP 23 - OCT 22 

You and your partner might not agree on much when it comes to domestic matters this week. In fact, one of you might try very hard to gain the upper hand when it comes to family situations. If, for example, you have children together, you might be at odds about how to parent them. One of you might be more tolerant of certain behaviors, while the other has a more militant stance. See if you can meet in the middle for the sake of family peace ... and relationship peace! If you're completely single and a relative offers to introduce you to someone, put it on hold -- at least for this week.

  

Scorpio 

OCT 23 - NOV 21 

Words might cut like a knife this week between you and your partner. The question is: Who is doing the cutting? And more importantly, why? If the two of you have recently decided it's time for splitsville, it's possible that this week you're both playing the blame game, deciding that the other person is pure evil. If you're married but heading for divorce, you might even hire a lawyer this week. Another possibility is that one of you will have to help a family member going through a hard time and will feel as if the other person has "checked out" of the situation entirely. Not cool.

 

Sagittarius 

NOV 22 - DEC 21 

You and your partner might be caught up in a deceptive or bewildering situation connected to family or real estate. This is not the week to sign any kind of real estate deal to buy or sell a home or land. It's also not the best time to make any type of firm decision regarding living arrangements with your love. Information is cloudy at best, and you will both have a difficult time making a decision that you'll stick to. Another possibility is that one of you will have to help a family member going through a hard time and will feel as if the other person has "checked out" of the situation entirely. Not cool.

  

Capricorn 

DEC 22 - JAN 19 

You might feel as though you're in the driver's seat when it comes to your love life and relationship this week. While this might be true, you may want to remember that a partnership is about two people sharing the steering wheel equally, not one person being completely in charge. Interestingly enough, this week your partner might be the one who is all too willing to allow you to take charge about a certain situation; however, he or she will only end up resenting the fact that you've done this. Go figure?

 

Aquarius 

JAN 20 - FEB 18 

If you're dating someone new, buyer beware! As hard as this might be to read, it's possible that they are only trying to get into your wallet. You might seriously need to see this person for who he or she is rather than what they are portraying themselves to be. Now, this won't apply to you if you're dating someone for a while, so don't get nervous -- your sweetheart does love you. Still, he or she might be having something sketchy going on with finances. Don't allow love to blind you from this. Open your eyes and ask a lover about money matters. If you're in a relationship, you've got a right to know.

  

Pisces 

FEB 19 - MAR 20 

If you're single, it's possible this week that you'll meet someone who instantly feels like "home" to you. A deeply fulfilling emotional connection and physical attraction to this person might leave you wondering if this is too good to be true. Whether or not it is remains to be seen, but at least one of your friends will try to caution you to slow your roll and remember that you just met each other. Yes, open yourself up to the possibility of a whirlwind romance, but don't be foolish about it. Love takes time. 

 

Category: Arts & Culture

May 31, 2018 

By David Bauber 

Associated Press 

 

ABC canceled its hit reboot of “Roseanne” on Tuesday following star Roseanne Barr’s racist tweet that referred to former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett as a product of the Muslim Brotherhood and the “Planet of the Apes.”

 

ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey said the comment “is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values.” Barr had apologized and deleted her Monday-night tweet, calling it a “bad joke,” but the damage had already been done.

 

Barr was also dumped by her talent agency, ICM Partners.

 

The revival of the comedy was a surprise smash for ABC, owned by the Walt Disney Co., and was counted on to lead the network’s fortunes next season. Its first new episode in March was seen by more than 25 million people, with delayed viewing counted in, numbers that are increasingly rare in network television. ABC expected advertisers to pay millions of dollars for the chance to be seen during commercial breaks on television’s most popular comedy after “The Big Bang Theory.”

 

And it was all killed in a 53-character tweet.

 

One of the few network shows about a working-class family, “Roseanne” attracted considerable attention upon its return when Barr’s character supported President Donald Trump. That made the show popular with conservative viewers, and Trump himself suggested the character’s backing had a lot to do with the show’s success.

 

Barr herself has a history of diving into political conspiracy theories on her Twitter feed, and she ended her Memorial Day weekend with a series of statements. She criticized Democratic financier George Soros and tweeted that Chelsea Clinton was “Chelsea Soros Clinton,” implying she was married to a nephew of Soros. Clinton herself corrected Barr online. Donald Trump Jr. retweeted two of Barr’s statements about Soros, although not the remark about Jarrett.

 

Jarrett, who is Black, was brought up in response to Twitter commentary that raised her name in relation to an Obama conspiracy theory. Barr tweeted: “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby.”

 

She later tweeted an apology to Jarrett. “Forgive me,” she wrote. “My joke was in bad taste.”

 

Jarrett, who appeared at the taping of an MSNBC show about racism on Tuesday, said she hoped the incident could be turned into a teaching moment.

 

“I’m fine,” she said. “I’m worried about the people out there who don’t have a circle of friends and followers who come right to their defense.”

 

Barr was quickly condemned. Comic Wanda Sykes, a “Roseanne” writer, tweeted that she wouldn’t be returning to the show. Sara Gilbert, a co-star, also tweeted that the remark was abhorrent.

 

It was a quick decision at ABC for Dungey, who is the first African-American to serve as programming chief for one of the major broadcast networks, and her boss, network president Ben Sherwood. Disney chief executive Robert Iger tweeted his approval: “There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing.”

 

Three weeks earlier, “Roseanne” was the toast of ABC’s annual presentation of its programming plans to advertisers. Sherwood even joked then: “If anyone came to play a drinking game based on how many times we mention ‘Roseanne,’ you’re welcome.”

 

“Roseanne” earned an estimated $45 million in advertising revenue for ABC through its nine episodes that started airing in March, according to Kantar Media. The firm estimates that the 13 episodes that had been ordered for next season would have brought in as much as $60 million, with more through repeat episodes.

 

Hulu and the Laff comedy channel said Tuesday they were pulling re-runs of “Roseanne” from their schedules.

 

The cancellation has no clear precedent in television history, said David Bianculli, professor at Rowan University in New Jersey. The closest analogy is CBS pulling the plug on the Smothers Brothers variety show due to their anti-war views in the late 1960s and the same network not renewing “Lou Grant” at its peak, which star Ed Asner always contended was due to his outspoken political beliefs.

 

“Roseanne Barr’s comments were appalling and reminiscent of horrific time in our history when racism was not only acceptable but promoted by Hollywood,” said Derrick Johnson, NAACP president and CEO. “We applaud ABC for taking a stand against racism by canceling ‘Roseanne.’ We commend the network and ... Dungey for placing the values of diversity, inclusion and respect for humanity above ratings.”

 

Barr got what she deserved, said Shonda Rhimes, creator of hit ABC shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal.”

 

“As I tell my 4-year-old, one makes a choice with one’s actions,” Rhimes tweeted. “Roseanne made a choice. A racist one. ABC made a choice. A human one.”

 

ICM dropped Barr within hours of the cancellation, saying in a statement that the agency was “greatly distressed by the disgraceful and unacceptable” tweet. Bruce Helford, executive producer of “Roseanne,” said he was “personally horrified and saddened by the comments and in no way do they reflect the values of the people who worked so hard to make this the iconic show that it is.”

Category: Arts & Culture

May 31, 2018 

Aries 

MAR 21 - APR 19 

All the secrets you keep in your heart about the person you love can come out this week without you feeling vulnerable. It's possible that you have a secret crush on someone and that holding your feelings inside has finally reached a point where you know it is no longer serving you. As you take the plunge and reveal them to this person, you'll be relieved to know that your heart is safe in their hands. In fact, it was all along. If you're in a relationship already, this will be a week of absolute emotional, spiritual, and intimate connection. You are blessed! 

 

Taurus 

APR 20 - MAY 20 

The jackpot in love continues to be yours thanks to Jupiter moving through your relationship sector. In Scorpio, it hasn't always been a free windfall though. In fact, the price you have to pay for deep love is a willingness to truly dig into the most complicated human interactions possible between two people. Core wounds in relating, trust, and intimacy must be confronted in order to for you to reap the rewards of this prize. Happily, this week it appears that you and your mate are finally on the same page when it comes to your mutual willingness to do so. You won't regret it.

 

Gemini 

MAY 21 - JUN 20 

It'll be quite an emotional week for you and your mate, Gemini. Fortunately, you'll both want to talk about it rather than stuff your feelings somewhere neither one of you can possibly reach. On Tuesday Mercury moves into your sign, giving you strength when it comes to expressing exactly what it is you want to convey in a manner that is clearly understood by others. On the same day a Full Moon will occur in your partnership sector, making it important for you and your mate to confront whatever turning point is happening in your love connection. Are the current circumstances deepening your bond? Or are they making you aware of possible irreconcilable differences? The only way to know is to communicate about it. And communicate you will.

 

Cancer 

JUN 21 - JUL 22 

With Venus still moving through your sign, it's clear that you're in a happy place when it comes to feeling good about yourself and your romantic possibilities. If you're completely single, this week you could make a love connection with someone who sweeps you off your feet. Venus will be at a gorgeous angle to Jupiter, the planet of abundance, now in your true love sector. She'll also connect happily to Neptune, the planet of inspiration and unconditional love. Are you already taken? Expect the feels to be extra fulfilling between you and your lover now. Sweet!

  

Leo 

JUL 23 - AUG 22 

A Full Moon will howl in your true love sector this week, Leo, so you can expect plenty of noise when it comes to matters of the heart. If you are dating someone, you might make a decision about the viability of this relationship. Do you really see long term potential? Are you compatible when it comes to spiritual beliefs and ethics? Are you intellectually compatible? These are important points of awareness you'll have now that will help you either soften your heart to love or help you charge in an entirely new direction.

 

Virgo 

AUG 23 - SEP 22 

For coupled Virgos, this will be a socially gratifying week as well as one of overall relationship fulfillment. It's nice when things are running smoothly in your world -- in fact, that's the only way you like it. You prefer everything to move on like a well-oiled machine, and your love life is no exception. Much to your dismay, however, matters of the heart are often the most difficult area of your life to control. This week though, that simply won't be an issue. You and your partner area in sync and supporting each other's hopes, wishes, and dreams. If you're single, be as social as possible. Someone is out there, just waiting to meet you.

  

Libra 

SEP 23 - OCT 22 

Mental stimulation will be the key to your physical stimulation this week. If you're single, your passions are aroused much more lately. In fact, you might be tired of all the sexual frustration and know you're in need of an outlet, stat! The problem is that you won't just find anyone to sleep with. You know you need a true connection first. While it doesn't have to be a happily ever after, emotionally rich scenario, at the very least, you need to be attracted to the person and share good conversation. This week, you're in luck. You'll easily find the intellectual fulfillment with someone that might lead to erotic fulfillment. Yes!

  

Scorpio 

SEP 23 - OCT 22 

You and your sweetheart will have plenty of opportunities this week to indulge in emotionally rich, romantic moments together. Venus, the planet of love, is now moving through the area of your chart connected to spiritual and intellectual expansion. As a result, your ideas about love and relationship have become more about what is right and just, rather than what's in it for you and you alone. Because of this shift from take to give, your partner is responding. He or she not only wants to reciprocate but also wants to remind you just how valued you are. Feel the love. 

 

 

Sagittarius 

NOV 22 - DEC 21 

With a Full Moon in your sign, you're definitely more emotionally driven. In fact, you might feel slightly uncomfortable about this. You're typically such a freedom loving, adventurous spirit and these qualities simply must be honored if you're ever going to have a quality relationship with anyone. The trouble is that with the Full Moon, you'll be feeling more emotionally vulnerable than usual. It's not like you to get attached to someone and cling, but guess what ... you might find yourself doing exactly that. Fortunately, with Mercury landing in your partnership sector on Tuesday, you'll be able to communicate all of this to your mate.

 

Capricorn 

DEC 22 - JAN 19 

Commitment is a beautiful thing for you this week, Capricorn, so if you're in a relationship, consider yourself blessed. Sometimes, we get caught up in romantic feelings for someone who is unable, or unwilling, to make any promises. Commitment phobia is a real thing for certain people, but when you fall for one and want to go all in, it can become an obvious dilemma. Fortunately, in your case it's clear that whomever you're with romantically will be on the same page as you are when it comes to love. They want you and only you. Bonus: they're not afraid to say it.

  

Aquarius 

JAN 20 - FEB 18 

Expect to have multiple options this week when it comes to your love and sex life. Yes, it's possible that you'll soon find yourself in a position where you're juggling lovers Aquarius ... and to be honest, you're OK with this scenario. There are two people (at least) who have captured your attention both intellectually and physically. While there might not be a deep emotional connection with either person, there is certainly enough chemistry for you to have some fun. Remember not to even consider entertaining this game if everyone is not on the same page. If all parties are on board, however, then have at it. Having options can be a lot of fun!

 

Pisces 

FEB 19 - MAR 20 

With Venus in your true love sector, whether you're single or attached, these days you're in a good place. You're giving off a vibe of joy and pleasure-seeking that other people are gravitating toward. You don't even have to try to capture the attention of potential dates and mates -- it's like bees flocking to honey! Beyond the pleasure principle however, you've got all the makings this week of a deep and meaningful spiritual and romantic connection with someone. Trying for a baby? You might receive blessed news this week that you can't wait to share with your sweetie.

Category: Arts & Culture

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