Showing posts with label News Related. Show all posts
Showing posts with label News Related. Show all posts

8 April 2021

New Survey Shows America Celebrates Post-COVID With In Home Disco Parties [Infographic]

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New Survey Shows America Celebrates Post-COVID With In Home Disco Parties [Infographic]
New Survey Shows America Celebrates Post-COVID With In Home Disco Parties (Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko)
L.O.L. Surprise! has new research showing more US families have turned to kitchen dance parties with 65 percent of households enjoying more in-home discos - complete with dad-dancing and wooden spoons for microphones - over the last year than ever before and 49 percent of the 2000 Americans polled saying a kitchen disco is now a regular weekend occurrence.

The new research celebrating the launch of the new L.O.L. Surprise! Dance Dance Dance toy line reveals several interesting details about these at home discos:

  • Saturday night at 6pm is the most popular time for families to shake their booties.
  • The number one song on the kitchen disco list is Queen's iconic anthem, Bohemian Rhapsody (35 percent).
  • In second place is Justin Timberlake's funky Can't Stop the Feeling (33 percent), followed by the uplifting Ain't No Mountain High Enough by Marvin Gaye (30 percent)
  • 89 percent of households confess they can't get enough of dancing together in the kitchen during the weekend.
  • 29 percent admit that they try to keep their parents up to date on the latest music and how to bust a move - but it's just no use.
  • Three in 10 parents are being introduced to the wonders of TikTok, with U Can't Touch This by MC Hammer the number one dance taught to parents by their children (33 percent), followed by Savage Love by Jason Derulo (32 percent), and Toosie Slide by Drake (30 percent).
Isaac Larian, CEO and Founder of MGA Entertainment, conducted the research as part of the L.O.L. Surprise! Dance Dance Dance toy launch, said, "Dancing is always something that has brought people together from around the globe. We love that our toys have inspired our fans, parents and children, to find escape and joy together in kitchen disco parties, and that they have embraced dance as a way to connect no matter what is happening in the world around them."
New Survey Shows America Celebrates Post-COVID With In Home Disco Parties [Infographic]
New Survey Shows America Celebrates Post-COVID With In Home Disco Parties (Photo by cottonbro)
The survey found that 42 percent of kids still think dad's moves are embarrassing and 37 percent claim mom's moves are just as bad. However, 67 percent say that despite this, they still love to have a dance with their parents at home, although 26 percent wouldn't be caught dancing with them in public.

As for the parents, two thirds (64 percent) said dancing with their kids had lifted their spirits over the last year, with 82 percent agree being able to bust some moves together always cheers them up and helps improve their mood, and over half having used dance parties as a fun way to let off steam (55 percent). 


  • Plus, 26 percent of families are taking things to the next level and have pulled out all the stops to turn the kitchen into a home disco, complete with flashing lights and decorations to bring the party to life.
New Survey Shows America Celebrates Post-COVID With In Home Disco Parties [Infographic]
New Survey Shows America Celebrates Post-COVID With In Home Disco Parties (Photo by KoolShooters)

The 20 Greatest Kitchen Disco Songs Of All Time According To Americans:

  1. Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen (35%
  2. Can't Stop the Feeling - Justin Timberlake (33%)
  3. Ain't No Mountain High Enough - Marvin Gaye (30%)
  4. Happy - Pharell Williams (28%)
  5. Uptown Funk - Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars (28%)
  6. Shake If Off - Taylor Swift (27%)
  7. Crazy in Love - Beyonce (26%)
  8. Hey Ya - Outkast (25%)
  9. Dancing Queen - Abba (23%)
  10. I Want to Dance with Somebody - Whitney Houston (23%)
  11. Believe - Cher (21%)
  12. Wannabe - Spice Girls (20%)
  13. I will Survive - Gloria Gaynor (18%)
  14. Don't Worry Be Happy - Bobby McFerrin (18%)
  15. Sweet Child O' Mine - Guns and Roses (18%)
  16. Buffalo Soldier - Bob Marley and the Wailers (18%)
  17. My Name is - Eminem (18%)
  18. Gin & Juice - Snoop Dogg (18%)
  19. Toxic - Britney Spears (16%)
  20. Staying Alive - the BeeGees (15%)

The Infographic:

New Survey Shows America Celebrates Post-COVID With In Home Disco Parties [Infographic]
L.O.L. Surprise! shows US families are turning to kitchen dance parties celebrating post-COVID!


4 April 2021

IMAX Stomps to Biggest Domestic Opening in Over a Year with $4.5 Million for "Godzilla vs. Kong" [Trailer Included]

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IMAX Stomps to Biggest Domestic Opening in Over a Year with $4.5 Million for "Godzilla vs. Kong" [Trailer Included]
IMAX Stomps to Biggest Domestic Opening in Over a Year with $4.5 Million for "Godzilla vs. Kong"
IMAX scored its biggest domestic opening weekend in more than a year as "Godzilla vs. Kong" earned $4.5 million on 284 screens. Over 1,000 domestic IMAX shows were sold-out over the 5-day opening, nearly 25% of all IMAX showtimes over that period. 
  • Globally, the Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures' monster hit continued to smash expectations, earning $13 million this weekend across all markets.
IMAX Stomps to Biggest Domestic Opening in Over a Year with $4.5 Million for "Godzilla vs. Kong" [Trailer Included]
IMAX Stomps to Biggest Domestic Opening in Over a Year with $4.5 Million for "Godzilla vs. Kong" (screengrab)
"'Godzilla vs. Kong' has emerged as a symbol of the enduring strength of the theatrical experience for blockbuster filmmaking, delivering great box office even with many theatres still closed and significant capacity restrictions," said Rich Gelfond, CEO of IMAX. "Make no mistake — this film has become a global event because it received a global theatrical release, and the phenomenal pipeline of tentpole films ahead have the chance to capitalize on the same opportunity."
Despite capacity limitations of up to 25% in North America, a particularly challenging environment for IMAX given its theatre design, and a day-and-date release on streaming, "Godzilla vs. Kong" now stands as IMAX's best domestic opening since January 2020. IMAX screens accounted for 9.3% of the overall weekend box office domestically. Notably, many capacity restrictions including the 25% limit in California are planned to be eased in the coming weeks.

IMAX Stomps to Biggest Domestic Opening in Over a Year with $4.5 Million for "Godzilla vs. Kong" [Trailer Included]
MAX Stomps to Biggest Domestic Opening in Over a Year with $4.5 Million for "Godzilla vs. Kong" (screengrab)
The film continued its success globally, earning another $6.5 million since Wednesday in China while reaching a 10-day cume of $18 million, over 13% of the nationwide box office and the highest 10-day cume of the Godzilla and Kong franchise ever for IMAX in China. The China cume to-date is already nearly double the final IMAX China box office for "Kong: Skull Island" and "Godzilla: King of the Monsters".

The impressive results follow a pandemic-best opening internationally for the film last week, with some markets increasing their IMAX box office over last weekend's openings. IMAX has earned $28 million across all markets globally for the film to-date, 10% of the overall total.

TheTrailer:


  • "Godzilla vs. Kong" will continue its run in IMAX through April 21 in domestic markets and mid-to-late April in most international markets including China, with openings in Brazil and Japan, scheduled for April 29 and May 14, respectively.
IMAX Stomps to Biggest Domestic Opening in Over a Year with $4.5 Million for "Godzilla vs. Kong" [Trailer Included]
MAX Stomps to Biggest Domestic Opening in Over a Year with $4.5 Million for "Godzilla vs. Kong" (screengrab)

About "Godzilla vs. Kong":

"With the world still shaken from the battle between Ghidorah and Godzilla, humanity has begun to try and co-exist with the Titans. But after Godzilla begins his own reign of terror, humanity must call on another legend to stop him: Kong. Not everything is as it seems when Monarch travel to Skull Island, where a mysterious young girl known to communicate with Kong must warn him of the impending danger. As Godzilla rages across nations, destroying everything in his path, the fate of the world in the hands of these two legendary Titans as both Kong and Godzilla battle for the right of King, and to stop the real threat that faces them..."

31 March 2021

'Star Trek' Production Illustrator John Eaves to Receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 25th Annual Art Directors Guild Awards

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'Star Trek' Production Illustrator John Eaves to Receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 25th Annual Art Directors Guild Awards
Production Illustrator John Eaves to be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Art Directors Guild at the 25th Annual ADG Awards on April 10, 2021.
Concept Artist John Eaves, known for his iconic illustrations and designs for the Star Trek series and for the numerous science fiction realms he created, will receive the Art Directors Guild (ADG, IATSE Local 800) Lifetime Achievement Award from the Illustrators and Matte Artists (IMA) at the 25th Annual ADG Awards

Herman Zimmerman, Emmy-nominated Production Designer for the Star Trek franchise, will be presenting the award to Eaves. 
  • The event will celebrate Eaves' artistic contribution to the many space vehicles, sets, and concepts that have become classics in the Marvel, Star Trek and Sci-Fi worlds that we know today.
The Awards ceremony, set for Saturday, April 10, 2021, will break with tradition in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and will be presented on a virtual platform, streaming to a worldwide and more inclusive audience. This is the final of four Lifetime Achievement Awards to be announced by the Art Directors Guild. 

  • The event is free to everyone, but registration is required at adgawards25.com.
"For the past 36 years, John's work as a Production Illustrator has been an integral part of over 100 films and television shows. From props, to sets, to vehicles, to gadgets, and, most prominent and recognizable, a small fleet of starships for the Star Trek franchise, John has inspired many and left an amazing mark on our industry. We celebrate his creativity, talent, and contributions to the Craft and honor him with this year's Lifetime Achievement Award," said Tim Wilcox, ADG Illustrators & Matte Artists Council Chair.
John Eaves has worked as a concept artist on many of Hollywood's most successful franchises, creating iconic Sci-Fi images of futuristic worlds, vehicles, spaceships, and otherworldly designs that have become the foundations and concepts of over 100 award-winning motion picture franchises. These include four Star Trek movies; Captain America: The Winter Soldier; Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; Spider-Man: Homecoming; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Iron Man 3.

His talented prop designer and diverse model maker skills are on display in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Ant-Man and The Wasp, Ant-Man, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Iron Man 2, Batman Forever, Toys, Die Hard 2, RoboCop 2 and The Hunt for Red October, among many others.

Eaves' groundbreaking work has garnered him numerous awards, including four previous ADG awards. As a child, John was fascinated with aircraft and science fiction and how films came together, a fascination that continued into adulthood and which led to a highly successful 36-year career and still counting.

'Star Trek' Production Illustrator John Eaves to Receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 25th Annual Art Directors Guild Awards
The event is free to everyone, but registration is required at adgawards25.com
As previously announced, Ryan Murphy, one of television's most successful award-winning writers-directors-producers whose shows have consistently reflected the highest quality of production design, will receive the esteemed Cinematic Imagery Award, presented by actor Matt Bomer, star of Ryan's "American Horror Story," "Glee," "American Crime Story," "The Normal Heart" and, most recently, "The Boys in the Band."

Academy Award- and Emmy-winning Production Designer Stuart Wurtzel, ADG, known for his work on Hannah and Her Sisters and "Angels in America," will receive the ADG Lifetime Achievement Award from the Production Designers and Art Directors Council (AD). Martha Johnston, ADG, dynamic artist best known for her over 60 movie and television design credits, is set to receive the ADG Set Designers & Model Makers (SDMM) Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Scenic Artist Patrick DeGreve, ADG, best known for his prolific backings, sets and props for shows created at CBS TV City over the past 45 years, will receive the ADG Lifetime Achievement Award from the Scenic, Title & Graphic Artists (STG). 

  • A complete list of past honorees can be found on ADG's website. #iwillbethere #adgawards
  • Producer of this year's ADG Awards (#ADGawards) is Production Designer Scott Moses, ADG. 
Final online voting will be held through April 7, 2021, and winners will be announced at the virtual gala ceremony on Saturday, April 10, 2021. ADG Awards are open only to productions when made within the U.S. by producers signatory to the IATSE agreement. Foreign entries are acceptable without restrictions. 
'Star Trek' Production Illustrator John Eaves to Receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 25th Annual Art Directors Guild Awards
The Invite - Art Directors Guild (IATSE, Local 800)

SOURCE: Art Directors Guild (IATSE, Local 800)

29 March 2021

AAPI Celebrities Rally Community for Social Change in #StopAsianHate Music Video [Video Included]

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AAPI Celebrities Rally Community for Social Change in #StopAsianHate Music Video [Video Included]
AAPI Celebs Dante Basco, Lisa Ling, Simu Liu Stand Strong with Director Johnny Lee in New Music Video "Tonight #StopAsianHate" to Unite Community
Asian American artist Johnny Lee hopes his latest music video inspires Americans to stand together again. Lee last directed "Stand Up/Stand N Rock #NoDAPL," earning him an MTV Video Music Award in 2017 for "Best Fight Against the System." Now, the message in his latest music video hits even closer to home.
Following a weekend of nationwide rallies in support of Asian American Pacific Islander communities, Lee's music video "Tonight #StopAsianHate" showcases solidarity for AAPI, BLM, and LGBTQIA+ lives. Joining Lee in this #StopAsianHate anthem and calling for racial unity and social change are notable AAPI personalities, including journalist Lisa Ling of CNN and actors Simu Liu, Dante Basco, Kelly Hu, and Hayden Szeto.

AAPI Celebrities Rally Community for Social Change in #StopAsianHate Music Video [Video Included]
"Tonight #StopAsianHate" (screengrab)
"There's a long history of Asian discrimination in America, but there's an equally long history of Asian American activism," said Liu, known for his role as "Jung Kim" in Kim's Convenience and appearing next as "Shang-Chi" in Marvel Studio's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. "It's our responsibility to continue that fight and that legacy."
Basco, whose recent film "The Fabulous Filipino Brothers" premiered at SXSW, noted, "The song 'Tonight' is a reminder to stand together, tonight and every night, against fear, hate, and violence."
Also appearing in the music video are young actors Michael Campion, Christian Isaiah, and Cade Michael, musicians Henry Fong, KLAXX, and Kaleena Zanders, youth dancers of Mighty Shock L.A., reality TV's Kevin Kreider, Kelly Mi Li, and Kane Lim of "Bling Empire," and members of Lee's family.

AAPI Celebrities Rally Community for Social Change in #StopAsianHate Music Video [Video Included]
"Tonight #StopAsianHate" (screengrab)
In response to the staggering increase of anti-Asian sentiment and violence in the last year, Lee hopes all people will speak out. The music video shares community resources and ends with a call-to-action to report all hate crimes or incidents.
"What began as an anthem to support #BlackLivesMatter has evolved into uplifting the AAPI community and the LGBTQIA+ community – really, empowerment for all people," said Lee, who wrote, recorded, and performed "Tonight" as one half of the DJ/EDM duo The Hotel Lobby.
Developed and produced by an Asian American team, "Tonight #StopAsianHate" is directed and edited by Johnny Lee with producers Jessica del Mundo, Gilbert Le, and David Christopher Lee

  • All proceeds from digital purchases of "Tonight" will go towards StopAAPIhate.org.

 "Tonight #StopAsianHate" - The Video:

About Johnny Lee:

Johnny Lee is a Vietnamese American artist with decades of experience in the entertainment industry as a composer, musician, and award-winning director. In 2017, his work as director of "Stand Up/Stand N Rock #NoDAPL" by Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas, featuring Shailene Woodley and the "Magnificent Seven" Native American artists, earned him an MTV VMA in the cause-related category of "Best Fight Against the System." Lee appears in "Tonight" with A'shanti as DJ/EDM duo The Hotel Lobby. 
AAPI Celebrities Rally Community for Social Change in #StopAsianHate Music Video [Video Included]
"Tonight #StopAsianHate" (screengrab)
SOURCE: Johnny Lee

26 March 2021

International Star Sofia Carson Releases New Single & Music Video "Fool's Gold" [Video Included]

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International Star Sofia Carson Releases New Single & Music Video "Fool's Gold" [Video Included]
Sofia Carson “Fools Gold” - Cover Art
Igniting a bold and bright chapter, gold-selling and chart-topping singer, songwriter, actress, and activist Sofia Carson returns with a new single and music video entitled "Fool's Gold".
With production by Grammy Award-winning duo Stargate [Rihanna, Beyoncé] and Jeff Jones, the song marks a major evolution for the international star. On the track, a soulful funk guitar wraps around a pulsating bass line as her captivating voice sings a melody that embraces and transports you.

International Star Sofia Carson Releases New Single & Music Video "Fool's Gold" [Video Included]
Sofia Carson “Fools Gold” (screengrab)
The visual story of the record is told through the concept of Fire. Directed by Hannah Lux Davis [Ariana Grande, Drake], the music video bottles Sofia's undeniable energy as she metaphorically "plays with fire" in the game of love. With bold and striking visuals, Sofia's electric performance brings the song to life.
About the song and video, she commented, "This is the beginning of a story I'm sharing with the world. We meet a girl who's at the cusp of falling heart-first into a love that feels too good to be true. Before she falls, she can't seem to quiet that voice in her head that keeps singing 'are you for real or Fool's Gold?'"
  • Gearing up for a monumental year, Sofia Carson was recently named UNICEF's newest US Ambassador, while she's set to star, produce and write the soundtrack for the film Purple Hearts.

"Fool's Gold" - The Music Video:


International Star Sofia Carson Releases New Single & Music Video "Fool's Gold" [Video Included]
Sofia Carson “Fools Gold” (screengrab)

About Sofia Carson:

No matter what Sofia Carson does, she writes her own story. She has carved out a singular path in music, film, television, and philanthropy. As an award-nominated singer and songwriter, she's garnered nearly 1 billion streams and 2 billion-plus views, reached #1 on the Billboard Top 200, and launched a dynamic catalog, including two gold-selling albums and four gold-selling singles thus far. As an actress, she has starred in NETFLIX's Feel The Beat, Michael Bay's Songbird, Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists, and the upcoming Purple Hearts. As a philanthropist, she stands out as UNICEF's newest US Ambassador, the first global ambassador of the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation and a member of the first-ever Ambassadors Council for The House of Blues Music Forward Foundation. Sofia is an honorary board member of WE DO IT TOGETHER, a nonprofit production company created to produce films, tv and new media content dedicated to the empowerment of women. As a style icon, Sofia is Global Brand Ambassador for beauty leader REVLON and has launched her own makeup collection. A Teen Vogue cover story by Priyanka Chopra Jonas summed her up best, "Sofia Carson has the grace of a pro." In 2021, she continues to define herself with the fiery and fierce new single "Fool's Gold" produced by Stargate [Rihanna, Beyoncé] and Jeff Jones, a story that hints at more to come from Sofia in 2021.
International Star Sofia Carson Releases New Single & Music Video "Fool's Gold" [Video Included]
Sofia Carson “Fools Gold” (screengrab)

For more information on Sofia Carson, visit:

TwitterInstagramFacebookYouTube ✔

SOURCE: Hollywood Records

25 March 2021

Michael Douglas Shares Life Lessons About His Career, Family, Fatherhood, and the Future in AARP The Magazine's April/May Issue

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Michael Douglas Shares Life Lessons About His Career, Family, Fatherhood, and the Future in AARP The Magazine's April/May Issue
Michael Douglas Shares Life Lessons About His Career, Family, Fatherhood, and the Future in AARP The Magazine's April/May Issue (original picture via AARP)
With an award-winning career in entertainment spanning 50-plus years, Michael Douglas is an icon, but he also holds important titles as a father, grandfather, husband, friend and mentor. 
The Hollywood vet recalls powerful advice, pivotal college moments and more in his AARP The Magazine cover story. After a year of what Douglas calls "couch potato-ing," the 76-year-old is looking forward to getting back to work, with no plans to retire anytime soon.

  • Currently, Douglas plays an acting coach who is past his prime, grappling with the question of what actually matters in the long run of life in the Netflix comedy "The Kominsky Method." The first two seasons are streaming now, with the third season in progress.
The following are excerpts from ATM's April/May 2021 cover story featuring Michael Douglas available in homes starting in April and available online now at www.aarp.org/magazine.

Michael Douglas Shares Life Lessons About His Career, Family, Fatherhood, and the Future in AARP The Magazine's April/May Issue
Michael Douglas Shares Life Lessons About His Career, Family, Fatherhood, and the Future in AARP The Magazine's April/May Issue (screengrab from video)

On the importance of honesty:

"If you lie, people lose faith in you and it just makes everything more difficult."

On being mentored by Karl Maiden:

"Those days, when you were the second banana on a police show, usually you were a step or two behind the lead because the focus couldn't hold both actors. Karl was the first guy who said to me, "Come on up." He shared the spotlight, cared about others, said I was the son he never had. A good mentor can save you a lot of pain."

On the lessons he'd like to pass on to his children and grandchildren:

"A work ethic. Courtesy to your fellow human beings. And kindness. Which are traits you have to work at and rehearse."

On collaborating with women:

"My mother was an actress. I spent a lot of time with her backstage at the theater. So I've never been threatened by formidable women. I'm proud that for nearly every woman I've worked with, it's been one of her best roles. Kathleen Turner, Geneviève Bujold way back in Coma, Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, Annette Bening, Sharon Stone. I try to make the environment as comfortable as possible, give them respect and protection. This season of "The Kominsky Method" will be my fourth time working with Kathleen and there is a wonderful comfort in that."

On continuing to work into his 70s:

"Work keeps you going, keeps you sharp. Of course, these days I'm looking around the set, like, I'm the oldest person here, man. Where did the time go? But I love the whole process. We're not doing brain surgery; we're showbiz."

Michael Douglas Shares Life Lessons About His Career, Family, Fatherhood, and the Future in AARP The Magazine's April/May Issue
Michael Douglas Shares Life Lessons About His Career, Family, Fatherhood, and the Future in AARP The Magazine's April/May Issue (image via AARP)
SOURCE: AARP

23 March 2021

Sesame Workshop Releases New "ABCs of Racial Literacy" Content to Help Families Talk to Children About Race and Identity ["Giant" Song Video Included]

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Sesame Workshop Releases New "ABCs of Racial Literacy" Content to Help Families Talk to Children About Race and Identity ["Giant" Song Video Included]
Sesame Workshop Releases New "ABCs of Racial Literacy" Content to Help Families Talk to Children About Race and Identity (image courtesy of Sesame Workshop)
Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, is releasing new resources to support families in talking to their children about race and racism. The "ABCs of Racial Literacy" is part of Coming Together, Sesame Workshop's ongoing commitment to racial justice. Designed to provide families with the tools they need to build racial literacy, to have open conversations with young children, to engage allies and advocates to become upstanders against racism, and more, Coming Together includes a racial justice educational framework, ongoing research, and a rolling release of new content on SesameWorkshop.org/ComingTogether.
Coming Together is rooted in extensive research and consultation with experts to develop a groundbreaking Racial Justice educational framework and curriculum for young children. Like the science-based whole-child model that Sesame Street is known for, this framework will help guide and inform the creation of new Sesame Workshop content going forward—including future seasons of Sesame Street. Today's announcement, which is part of the Sesame Street in Communities initiative, builds on recent efforts focused on tackling racism and its impact on children, including The Power of We: A Sesame Street Special, the CNN Town Hall Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism, and related short-form content.

Sesame Workshop Releases New "ABCs of Racial Literacy" Content to Help Families Talk to Children About Race and Identity ["Giant" Song Video Included]
Sesame Workshop Releases New "ABCs of Racial Literacy" Content to Help Families Talk to Children About Race and Identity (screengrab)
"At Sesame Workshop, we look at every issue through the lens of a child. Children are not colorblind—not only do they first notice differences in race in infancy, but they also start forming their own sense of identity at a very young age," said Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, Senior Vice President, Sesame Workshop. "'The ABCs of Racial Literacy' is designed to foster open, age-appropriate conversations among families and support them in building racial literacy. By encouraging these much-needed conversations through Coming Together, we can help children build a positive sense of identity and value the identities of others."
The new 'ABCs of Racial Literacy' resources launching today are designed to help all families celebrate their own unique identities, while also providing age-appropriate language and strategies to answer sometimes-tough questions around race and racism. In one video featuring two new Muppets, 5-year-old Wes and his father Elijah, Elmo wants to know why Wes's skin is brown. Elijah explains the concept of melanin and that the color of our skin is an important part of who we are. In a new music video, the Sesame Street Muppets celebrate their own unique identities; the song, "Giant," is available on all major platforms through Warner Music Group's Arts Music. In another video coming soon, Rosita's mom and her friend Sofia help Rosita cope with a racist incident in the grocery store, while also celebrating speaking Spanish. Additional resources include videos featuring real families talking about their experiences, activities for families to do together, and talking points and conversation starters for families.

The new Coming Together: The ABCs of Racial Literacy resources launching today are available at no cost to families at SesameWorkshop.org/ComingTogether. The resources, which are available in English and Spanish, will also be distributed through a wide range of national and community providers as part of Sesame Street in Communities, Sesame Workshop's program to support children and families, particularly those most vulnerable. Additional professional development materials for providers like social workers, educators, and healthcare providers will also be available.
"Sesame Workshop has always stood for diversity, inclusion, equity, and kindness. As a trusted source for families, we have a responsibility to speak out for racial justice and empower families to have conversations about race and identity with their children at a young age," said Kay Wilson Stallings, Executive Vice President of Creative and Production, Sesame Workshop. "The work to dismantle racism begins by helping children understand what racism is and how it hurts and impacts people. Sadly, today's announcement comes at a time of racial and social discord when many families are in need of support in talking to their children about racism. We're proud to reaffirm our Coming Together commitment to racial justice, which will be woven into new Sesame Workshop content for years to come."
  • According to a recent Children and Racism study commissioned by Sesame Workshop to capture and elevate the voices of children ages 6-11 and their parents, racism was top of mind for nearly half the children surveyed with racism more prevalent in responses of Black children. The majority of parents were comfortable with children learning about race and racism through media, books, or school, yet only 23% of parents report that specific resources helped them prepare for discussions with their children. The new ABCs of Racial Literacy resources seek to fill a gap for parents and caregivers as they embark on conversations with their children about race and racism. A full report of the study findings will be released this spring.

The "Giant" Song  - Video:

More to read, listen, and play is coming soon from across the Workshop to continue the conversation as part of Coming Together. In the coming year, Sesame Workshop will release additional Sesame Street in Communities resources made possible by the generous support of donors including PNC Foundation, USAA, and the Joan Ganz Cooney Fund for Vulnerable Children. SesameWorkshop.org/ComingTogether will be regularly updated with new content for children and families promoting racial justice.
SOURCE: Sesame Workshop

21 March 2021

History Repeats Itself: From The New Testament To QAnon

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History Repeats Itself: From The New Testament To QAnon
Although a product of the current cultural environment, QAnon also reproduces trends and dynamics from the earliest history of Christianity. (Shutterstock)

QAnon’s cryptic predictions read like something out of a Philip K. Dick novel. In the science fiction author’s book, Valis, the protagonist experiences visions he interprets as revelations about alien intelligence, political scandal and secret wisdom. The book was inspired by Dick’s own experiences and contains imagery drawn from early Christian gnostic groups — loosely organized religious and philosophical movements — that claimed to possess special knowledge about the true nature of the universe.

For the followers of QAnon, an equally gnostic vision of reality is unveiled through obscure remarks from their online oracle.

Although debated by modern scholars, the basic premise of the gnostic worldview is that reality is not what it appears. Ancient gnostics believed that the world we perceive is, in fact, a prison constructed by demonic powers to enslave the soul and that only a small spiritual elite are blessed with special knowledge — or gnosis — that enables them to unmask this deception.

A revisionist reading of reality, in which social and political events are only understood by a chosen few, is the basis of the QAnon gospel. Yet, it is also a worldview driven by long-standing religious impulses clearly evident to historians of early Christianity.

QAnon followers today

QAnon followers — predominately Donald Trump supporters and conservative Christians — appear to believe that the real cause of this past year’s crisis was an underground religious war being waged by U.S. soldiers against legions of Illuminati demons.

They believe that these beings torture and abuse children in order to procure a highly addictive drug called adrenochrome used by liberal and Hollywood elites. Building on the Pizzagate conspiracy theory of 2016, this belief has now morphed into a more expansive “end of the world” narrative.

Much of it reads like science fiction.

The QAnon story casts Trump as a kind of radical Christian ruler, deputized by God to wage war against the liberal infidels destroying a once great and holy nation. Followers believe that the former president’s tweets were not chaotic ramblings, but in fact the words of a Christian oracle, the meaning of which only true believers can decipher through online message boards.

QAnon is a curious mixture of sex scandal, anti-government protest, science fiction, biblical religion and military ethos. These ingredients make for a uniquely American religion and manifest the “cult” of Trump in its most extreme form. All of this seems incredible, even amusing, except for that fact that QAnon is tearing apart families and poisoning American politics.

A woman holds up a sign with a QAnon message. (Shutterstock)

A look at the history

Although very much a product of the current cultural environment, QAnon also reproduces trends and dynamics from the earliest history of Christianity.

In particular, the first Christians also viewed their world as a cosmic battleground and struggled to interpret an often violent and chaotic social context. Like QAnon today, some early Christians speculated about overturning their contemporary socio-political order using imagery of demons and holy war. For example, we might look to the Apocalypse of John, the final book of the New Testament and the first surviving early Christian “apocalyptic” text.

Biblical scholars have long understood that this work is an encoded, first century C.E. attack against Roman imperial power, yet, John’s apocalypse has often been interpreted as a scriptural key to how the world will end.

The earliest Christian readers of the New Testament thought that the end of times was imminent and, ever since, Christian groups have periodically arisen to proclaim that the hour is at hand, only to be disappointed.

Usually, such millenarian sects appear in times of crisis and instability, and are often unpredictable. Millenarianism is a recurring belief in religious, social or political groups about the coming fundamental transformation of society, after which “all things will be changed.” In fact, the Apocalypse of John was not widely accepted into the emerging New Testament until well into the fourth century C.E. Many early Christian leaders thought the text encouraged extremist sectarian impulses that the institutional church found difficult to control.

Inevitable immolation

QAnon is not so much a “church” (in a sociological sense) but a loosely connected network of online commentators. Even though it was birthed in a matrix of evangelical fundamentalism and Republican extremism, QAnonners are under no recognizable institutional framework.

They themselves might assert that their so-called “White Hats represent an organized military force carrying out complex operations in an underground war. It is important to recognize that QAnon is more than just a “conspiracy theory” or fringe political movement: it has all the hallmarks of a new religious movement, one that manifests deeply rooted tendencies in sectarian Christianities from the past.

Few religious sects successfully transition to stabilized religions. Most burn themselves out. Unfortunately, the nearly inevitable immolation that occurs often consumes more than just the believers themselves.

About Today's Contributor:

Timothy Pettipiece, Assistant Professor, Carleton University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. 

17 March 2021

New Book to Celebrate Centennial Landmark of U.S. Women's Suffrage

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New Book to Celebrate Centennial Landmark of U.S. Women's Suffrage
'A Vote for Women: Celebrating the Women's Suffrage Movement and the 19th Amendment' -Front Cover
August 2020 marked the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which provided a constitutional right to vote by prohibiting voter discrimination against women.
Titled 'A Vote for Women: Celebrating the Women's Suffrage Movement and the 19th Amendment., this fully illustrated and beautifully designed hardback book charts the history of the women's suffrage movement in the U.S., the fight for the vote, and some of the advances that have resulted from that victory.

In addition to exploring the history of women's suffrage in the U.S., the book brings together important stories from the fields of equality and women's rights. It also offers an insight into Congress and U.S. government departments, and the contributions they have made in shaping the U.S. of today.

A Vote for Women features editorial contributions from academics, government agencies, charities, corporations, and other organizations, alongside archival photography that vividly brings the battle for the ballot to life.

  • The book is being published by St James's House – an imprint of the SJH Group – in association with the 2020 Women's Vote Centennial Initiative (WVCI), and is being promoted as part of WVCI's ongoing celebration of centennial activities around the country, which have been extended into 2021 due to the impact of Covid-19 and the desire to bring the centennial story to as wide an audience as possible.
Ahead of the book's launch, Anna Danby, Publishing Director at the SJH Group, said: "This book celebrates the work of the remarkable women behind this achievement, and will heighten awareness around the ongoing work of our partner organizations to support social equality."
Nancy Tate, Co-Chair of WVCI with Krysta Jones, said: "WVCI serves as a central information-sharing entity for activities around the country that commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and the long struggle that produced it. St James's House has beautifully combined the work of many contributors into a keepsake book that celebrates both the centennial and the contributions made by many women over the last 100 years."
  • The book will be launched through a digital launch event on March 31, 2021 at 11am PDT/ 2pm EDT/ 7pm GMT. To attend the virtual book launch, please register at: hopin.com/events/a-vote-for-women-book-launch. The deadline for registration is March 26, 2021.

About the WVCI:

The 2020 Women's Vote Centennial Initiative (WVCI) is a collaborative effort created to share information and stimulate activities around the country in the years leading up to 2020. The mission of the WVCI is to serve as a central organizing and information-sharing entity for programs, projects, and activities that commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, educate the public on the legal and social advances resulting from the amendment, and stimulate dialogue to address the ongoing fight for women's rights.

SOURCE: St James's House

16 March 2021

Wizards of the Coast Announces Launch Date for Dungeons & Dragons Video Game Dark Alliance for PC & Consoles [Trailer Included]

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Wizards of the Coast Announces Launch Date for Dungeons & Dragons Video Game Dark Alliance for PC & Consoles [Trailer Included]
Wizards of the Coast Announces Launch Date for Dungeons & Dragons Video Game Dark Alliance for PC & Consoles (PRNewsfoto/Wizards of the Coast)
Wizards of the Coast proudly announced that Dark Alliance, the explosive action roleplaying game that builds upon the rich lore of the Forgotten Realms in Dungeons & Dragons, launches on June 22, 2021 for PC, PlayStation4, PlayStation5, Xbox One Consoles and Xbox Series X|S.
"Dark Alliance marks an important milestone for us as the first Dungeons & Dragons video game to be published by Wizards of the Coast," said Chris Cocks, President, Wizards of the Coast. "We're excited to expand beyond the tabletop and deliver a brand new type of D&D experience to long-time fans and new audiences when the game launches this June."
Developed by Wizards Studio, Tuque Games, and set in the Forgotten Realms, the game features real-time combat and dynamic co-op gameplay, and pits the infamous Drizzt Do'Urden and his legendary companions – Catti-brie, Bruenor, and Wulfgar – against some of the most iconic monsters from the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Frost Giants, Beholders, and White Dragons roam the frozen tundra of Icewind Dale in search of the Crystal Shard— and it's up to the companions to muster the strength to stop them from claiming and using it to destroy their home.

Wizards of the Coast Announces Launch Date for Dungeons & Dragons Video Game Dark Alliance for PC & Consoles [Trailer Included]
Wizards of the Coast Announces Launch Date for Dungeons & Dragons Video Game Dark Alliance for PC & Consoles (PRNewsfoto/Wizards of the Coast)
Starting today, fans can pre-order the Digital Edition for $39.99 online via DarkAlliance.com or the standard edition and retail-exclusive Steelbook edition for $59.99 at select retailers. 

The Steelbook edition includes: 
  • a Steelbook case
  • a printed art book 
  • a downloadable Dungeons & Dragons soundtrack 
  • a Beholder and Lich weapon set 
  • the forthcoming expansion "Echoes of the Blood War". 
Fans can also opt to pre-order the Digital Deluxe Edition for $59.99 that includes the upcoming expansion "Echoes of the Blood War" and the Lich weapon set. All pre-orders – regardless of edition or platform – will receive an exclusive in-game Beholder weapon set at launch.

"Dungeons & Dragons is the reason I became a game developer; it's a lifelong dream realized to be able to create something that is fun to play over and over again with your friends," said Jeff Hattem, studio head, Tuque Games. "Since announcing the game, we've worked to bring these iconic characters and monsters to life in a stunningly beautiful and fully realized world that makes you feel like you're in the middle of combat encounters in D&D."
Wizards of the Coast is making it easy to assemble your party. Players who purchase Dark Alliance on PlayStation4 will receive a free digital download code so that they can upgrade to the PlayStation5, and vice versa. Players who pre-order on Xbox One Consoles or Xbox Series X|S will only have to buy the game once and receive it on both platforms through Smart Delivery.

Wizards of the Coast Announces Launch Date for Dungeons & Dragons Video Game Dark Alliance for PC & Consoles [Trailer Included]
Wizards of the Coast Announces Launch Date for Dungeons & Dragons Video Game Dark Alliance for PC & Consoles (PRNewsfoto/Wizards of the Coast)
SOURCE: Wizards of the Coast

15 March 2021

It's Official: Katy Perry and NCT Dream Will Headline Lazada's 9th Birthday Celebrations!

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It's Official: Katy Perry and NCT Dream Will Headline Lazada's 9th Birthday Celebrations!
Tune in to LazLive on 26 March to catch Katy Perry and many more celebrity guests from across Asia during Lazada’s 9th Birthday Super Party!
Southeast Asia's leading eCommerce platform Lazada today unveiled a star-studded lineup for its Lazada Super Party, a virtual concert slated to be simulcast across six countries on 26 March to kick off its ninth anniversary celebrations.
Global award-winning singer-songwriter Katy Perry and NCT Dream, Korea's number one youth boy band, are set to headline this year's Shoppertainment-packed Lazada Super Party concert, sharing the stage with top celebrities in Southeast Asia. 

It's Official: Katy Perry and NCT Dream Will Headline Lazada's 9th Birthday Celebrations!
Tune in to LazLive on 26 March to catch NCT Dream and many more celebrity guests from across Asia during Lazada’s 9th Birthday Super Party!
  • These fun and exciting performances will accompany consumers as they countdown to Lazada's Surprise Birthday Sale event that starts at midnight on 27 March. Consumers across Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam can tune in to the exclusive Lazada Super Party concert via Lazada's in-app livestream channel LazLive, as well as local broadcasting networks and social media platforms.
Themed around celebrating 'Everyday Superheroes', this year's concert not only pays tribute to frontline essential workers that have been working tirelessly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, but also shines the spotlight on individuals in our community who have in their own ways touched the lives of people around them.
Chun Li, Chief Executive Officer of Lazada Group said, "Lazada has grown into the robust eCommerce platform that it is thanks to the strong support and trust that our sellers, brands, customers and partners have given us over the years. As we celebrate Lazada's ninth anniversary, we also want to recognise the positive impacts made by every individual in our community. We are excited to continue setting the benchmark for the eCommerce industry, by propelling entrepreneurs and brands forward in their digital transformation journey, and serving consumers through a safe, convenient and experiential shopping journey."
"I'm delighted for global superstars like Katy Perry and NCT Dream, as well as Southeast Asia's biggest names, join us in this year's celebrations dedicated in honour of individuals and communities who have stood strong and resilient in the past year. I look forward to the opportunity for Lazada to bring joy to consumers in Southeast Asia through our annual signature Lazada Super Party concert and Birthday shopping event, and that our community will remain hopeful for the future," said Mary Zhou, Chief Marketing Officer of Lazada Group.
Sharing words of positivity and hope to her fans in Southeast Asia, top-selling global singer-songwriter popular for chart-topping hits like "Roar", "Dark Horse" and her latest studio album Smile Katy Perry said, "Thank you for supporting and loving me all this time. I am excited to meet you soon at the Lazada Super Party, to hopefully spread a little light, love and joy and have everyone sing along with me, even if we are physically apart. I wish for Lazada to help all of their customers as they need, and for everyone to always look on the bright side of life."
  • Also part of the concert's exciting line-up of performers are Agnez Mo, Raisa and 3 Diva from Indonesia, Haqiem Rusli and Ismail Izzani from Malaysia, Mimiyuuuh and Alden Richards from the Philippines, Jasmine Sokko and Nathan Hartono from Singapore, "Bella" Ranee Campen and Da Endorphine from Thailand, as well as Ha Anh Tuan, Tran Thanh and Den from Vietnam
Consumers can get a sneak peek into the anticipated lineup of performances by Katy Perry, NCT Dream and other top Southeast Asian artistes highlighting the concert by checking out the exclusive Lazada 9th Birthday Super Party playlist on Spotify.

  • The concert will include Lazada's signature Shoppertainment segments like Voucher Rain, as well as Guess It! and Shake It! in different countries where viewers can win vouchers and exclusive giveaways, as a prelude to Lazada's Surprise Birthday Sale that can be utilised on 27 March.
As part of this month's festivities, Lazada lauded six outstanding woman sellers at its inaugural Lazada Forward Women Awards, held recently during International Women's Day on 8 March. These women trailblazers in the eCommerce space had showcased resilience and innovation in their journeys as entrepreneurs, and were recognised for their range of accomplishments such as launching homegrown local businesses that have contributed to their families' livelihood, uplifting and forging new paths for local communities, or the pursuit of personal growth through innovation and enterprise.

It's Official: Katy Perry and NCT Dream Will Headline Lazada's 9th Birthday Celebrations!
It's Official: Katy Perry and NCT Dream Will Headline Lazada's 9th Birthday Celebrations!

About Lazada Group:

Founded in 2012, Lazada Group is the leading eCommerce platform in Southeast Asia. We are accelerating progress in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam through commerce and technology. With the largest logistics and payments networks in the region, Lazada is a part of our consumers' daily lives in the region and we aim to serve 300 million shoppers by 2030. Since 2016, Lazada is the Southeast Asia flagship platform of the Alibaba Group powered by its cutting-edge technology infrastructure.

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SOURCE: Lazada Group

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