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Wednesday, 07 August 2013 11:05

Usher's son nearly drowns

ATLANTA (AP) - Usher's son has nearly drowned. Authorities in Atlanta says Usher Raymond the Fifth nearly drowned when he fell to the bottom of a pool - and became stuck in the pool's drain. A police report says a housekeeper tried to get to the boy, but couldn't free him from the drain. Eventually the boy was pulled and given CPR by a contractor working on the home. By time paramedics were called, the police report says young Usher was "conscious, alert and breathing" - and was taken to a hospital. Usher Raymond V is one of two sons of Usher and Tameka Foster. They divorced two years after they were married in 2007. The near drowning of the singer's son comes nearly a year after Foster's 11-year-old son, Kile Glover, died after being critically injured in a boating accident. The boy, who was Usher's stepson, was run over by a personal watercraft on a lake near Atlanta.

Wednesday, 07 August 2013 11:04

Robin Thicke "Blurring Lines" between genres

NEW YORK (AP) - His new hit "Blurred Lines" is being heard everywhere - and the video is getting lots of peeks, too. But Robin Thicke says he wonders if all that would have happened if he hadn't already established credibility as an Urban artist. The singer notes it's rare these days to have a song playing on both pop and urban stations. Thicke says he doubts the song would have gotten more play if he were a new artist. Speaking of doubts, Thicke says he wondered if his career was about to hit the skids as he approached his newest album. He says he decided to "push the boundaries" and work with some proven hit-making producers. He's happy with the results, especially because he says he "didn't have to change" the type of artist he is and the type of music he likes making.

Wednesday, 07 August 2013 11:04

Amazon launches site for purchase of fine art

NEW YORK (AP) - Amazon.com is getting into the fine art arena. Customers can buy original and limited edition works of art from more than 150 prominent galleries and dealers via Amazon Art. The announcement came Tuesday, a day after Seattle-based Amazon.com Inc. announced that its CEO, Jeff Bezos (BAY'-zohs), had purchased The Washington Post. Amazon Art features 40,000 works from more than 4,500 artists. The wide range of works includes folk art, impressionism and modern art. Prices range widely, too. There's a photograph by Clifford Ross for $200 and a painting by Norman Rockwell for $4.85 million. The online marketplace offers detailed information about the artist, work, provenance and exhibition history. Amazon worked with Sotheby's for a short-lived experiment selling art online in 1999.    

NEW YORK (AP) - Dan Lauria will once again lead the cast of the Tony Award-nominated "A Christmas Story, the Musical" when it tours the Northeast this winter. Producers on Wednesday announced that "The Wonder Years" veteran will return to narrate the zaniness when the musical plays The Bushnell in Hartford, Conn., from Nov. 12-17, and The Wang Theatre in Boston from Nov. 20-Dec. 8, and The Theater at Madison Square Garden from Dec. 11-29. Says Lauria: "I don't know too many actors who can say, 'I've played the Garden.' I'm excited about it." Like the film, the musical features a menacing school bully, an annoying kid brother, a lace-stocking-clad leg lamp, a bright pink bunny suit and a kid who gets his tongue stuck to a frozen flagpole. 

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) - Fox says Cory Monteith's addiction-related death will be addressed in the "Glee" episode bidding farewell to his character, Finn Hudson. Fox Entertainment Chairman Kevin Reilly declined Thursday to specify how the character would exit, saying he couldn't confirm Finn would be felled by drugs. The 31-year-old Monteith was found dead in a hotel room in Canada last month. Tests showed his death was caused by a mixture of heroin and alcohol. Reilly said at a news conference that the show's producers are working out the details for the episode. Public service announcements related to Monteith's death are planned. Proceeds from music sales for the tribute will go into a fund in Monteith's honor. The episode will be the third aired in the new season of "Glee," which begins Sept. 26.

NASHVILLE (AP) - A George Jones gospel record will come out in time for his birthday. Jones would have been 82 on September 12, and two days before that, the album "Amazing Grace" will be released. Most of the songs were recorded in 2002 with producer Billy Sherrill. Jones talked Sherrill into coming out of retirement to record with him. One song, "Great Judgment Morning," was recorded in 1994 with Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter, Travis Tritt, Ricky Skaggs, Marty Stuart and Connie Smith. Jones had planned to release "Amazing Grace" before he died.

PLANO, Texas (AP) - Randy Travis is out of the hospital and has been transferred to a physical therapy facility. Travis checked into a hospital July 7 after a viral illness affected his heart. Doctors had stabilized his heart with a pump, and as they removed it, he suffered a stroke three days later. His fiancee', Mary Davis, thanks fans for their support.

Thursday, 01 August 2013 11:22

Former Louisiana governor's wife gives birth

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards' wife, Trina, has given birth to a baby boy. Edwin is 85 years old; his wife is 34. A post on Trina Scott Edwards' Facebook page says the boy was born Thursday at 12:52 a.m. Also on her Facebook page, it says the boy's name will probably be Eli Wallace, after her husband's father. This will be the third child for Trina and the fifth for Edwin, but it's the couple's first together. They've been married for two years. Edwin Edwards served four terms, ending in 1996. He married Trina shortly after his release from federal prison for his role in a bribery and extortion scheme. A reality show about their life, "The Governor's Wife," was supposed to premier on A&E network in June but was delayed.

LONDON (AP) - The British government has stepped in to stop singer Kelly Clarkson taking a ring once owned by Jane Austen out of the country. The "American Idol" winner bought the gold and turquoise ring at auction last year for just over 150,000 pounds ($228,000). But on Thursday Culture Minister Ed Vaizey put an export bar on the item until Sept. 30 in the hope that a British buyer will come forward. Vaizey said Austen's modest lifestyle and early death aged 41 "mean that objects associated with her of any kind are extremely rare, so I hope that a U.K. buyer comes forward so this simple but elegant ring can be saved for the nation." The government has the power temporarily to halt the export of works judged to be national treasures.

Thursday, 01 August 2013 11:21

Valerie Harper starts work on TV movie

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The UP cable channel said Valerie Harper is filming a TV movie in Canada. The movie, titled "The Town That Came A-Courtin', is based on a novel by Ronda Rich and also stars Lauren Holly, Cameron Bancroft and Lucie Guest. UP, which described the movie as an uplifting romance, said Wednesday it welcomed the "inspirational" Harper as part of the project. In March, the 73-year-old actress said she's been diagnosed with a rare, incurable brain cancer but that she intended to live each moment fully. Harper gained fame playing Rhoda Morgenstern on television's "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "Rhoda." UP's "The Town That Came A-Courtin"' will air in January 2014, the channel said. It's being shot in Vancouver, British Columbia. 

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