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Money rolls in to rescue Smithsonian's ruby red slippers

People are pledging lots of green to restore a pair of famous red slippers.

On Monday, the Smithsonian launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $300,000 to preserve its pair of the ruby slippers that whisked Dorothy back to Kansas at the end of "The Wizard of Oz." By Friday morning, the campaign had already raised $239,000. More than 4,390 people had backed the project.

The slippers have been one of the most beloved items at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History for more than 30 years. They were crafted almost 80 years ago by the MGM Studios prop department. Like most movie props, they weren't built to last.

The Smithsonian wants to use the money toward a technologically advanced display case that will preserve them for future generations.

Listen to the Rolling Stones' 'Hate to See You Go'

The Rolling Stones have released the second pre-release track from their upcoming Blue and Lonesome album — a cover of the Little Walter classic "Hate to See You Go." Continue reading…

Review: Leonard Cohen old and wise on 'You Want It Darker'

Leonard Cohen's late, late career resurgence reaches new heights on "You Want It Darker," an elegant treatise with deep felt layers of wisdom and a sense of finality.

Produced mostly by son Adam, Cohen's third studio album in five years puts his most effective musical forms through a filter of restraint. Nothing distracts from the 82-year-old's haunting lyrics, and his vocals remain both otherworldly and down-to-earth.

A physical, naked bass line drives the title song, as Cohen's woofer-rattling vocals are underpinned by a cantor and the Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue Choir, connections to his Montreal youth. Full of recriminations and frustrations while also ready to accept fate, it may be God who wants it darker, but it's us who "kill the flame."

On "Treaty," later reprised with a string quartet, Cohen may be putting to rest the relationship described on "Hallelujah," with no room for illusions — "I'm so sorry for the ghost I made you be/ Only one of us was real, and that was me."

The Mediterranean stylings of "Traveling Light" are like the soundtrack to Cohen's courtship of the legendary (and recently deceased) Marianne Ihlen on a Greek island in the 1960s. "Leaving the Table" is a country song glowing from the jukebox and Johnny Cash could have recorded "If I Didn't Have Your Love" with Rick Rubin.

If it's too early to say goodbye, we can consider "You Want It Darker" as simply his new album, not the end of a trilogy.

No matter which station of life he's at, Cohen shines on, darkly.

Review: Lady Gaga's powerful voice stars on uneven 'Joanne'

Lady Gaga has spent the last few years proving her vocal chops — the Grammy-winning album with Tony Bennett, the show-stopping "Sound of Music" tribute at last year's Academy Awards, her performance of "Till it Happens to You" for her Oscar nomination this year — and her strong voice is the star of the promising but uneven "Joanne."

Those performances may have hinted at what this album could be: a stylistic departure from her dance-pop past. "Joanne" is more like a rock-and-country album with a few dance songs sprinkled in.

It doesn't feel like a new persona as much as an artist exploring her boundaries. The result is a little haphazard, but it's interesting to hear where she might be heading.

"Joanne" is named for the pop star's late aunt. The title song is fittingly tender, though Gaga's voice sounds affected. Backed by acoustic guitar and simple percussion, it ultimately lends the track a timeless feel.

Gaga employs an equally obvious vocal technique — this time a stiffened vibrato — to lesser effect on the downtempo ballad "Angel Down."

She sounds more natural, even fierce, elsewhere, particularly on the heartfelt "Million Reasons" and the rocker "Diamond Heart."

Gaga co-wrote and produced every song, most of them with Mark Ronson, who also plays guitar, bass or keyboards on many of the tracks. Other co-writers include Beck, Florence Welch, Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, folk-rocker Josh Tillman and country hit maker Hillary Lindsey.

There's a lot going on, and there's no real cohesion, but there are a few catchy standouts likely to merit replays.


Follow AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen at .

Lady Gaga returns to NYC bar where she launched her career

Lady Gaga returned to the New York City bar where she performed years ago as an unsigned act on the eve of her new album's release, singing rock and pop songs for an audience including Robert De Niro, Helen Mirren, die-hard fans and music industry insiders.

Gaga sang tracks from "Joanne," released Friday, at The Bitter End late Thursday, going from piano to guitar. She was backed by a band that included Mark Ronson, who produced the new album, and Hillary Lindsey, who co-wrote with Gaga.

The Grammy winner, who grew up in New York City, performed songs like "Million Reasons" and "Joanne," an homage to her aunt who died at 19 from lupus before Gaga was born (Joanne is the singer's middle name). After the performance inside the bar, Gaga performed outside for her feverish fans. She sang two more songs from the top of the bar's roof, even sitting down on the edge of the roof to belt out the lyrics as fans and residents cheered her on.

The Thursday show, also attended by Gaga's mother and father as well as Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer of the Comedy Central series "Broad City," was the second date on her Dive Bar Tour with Bud Light. She performed the first show two weeks ago in Nashville, Tennessee, and a third performance, at an unannounced location, will take place Oct. 27.

Royal Philharmonic Elvis CD brings fresh takes to classics

"The Wonder of You," recorded at the Beatles' old Abbey Road Studios, offers one more chance to enjoy Presley's voice in a different context, deliciously backed by a world-class orchestra geared toward the nuances of his delivery. It's a new twist on a very familiar, and treasured, body of work.

This one is a tried and true concept, basically a variation on last year's quite successful posthumous pairing of Elvis Presley with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, but the fact that it's been done once before doesn't diminish the pleasure.

There are few surprises, but it's a reminder of Presley's range and vocal dexterity. The opening rocker, "A Big Hunk O' Love," sounds totally fresh in an orchestral mode. Fans of Elvis's gospel approach will thrill to his masterful "Amazing Grace."

The orchestral style suits Elvis well: Taken out of the rock 'n' roll context, there is no need for his swagger or his snarl. The orchestra is restrained and understated, allowing Presley's vocals alone to carry the day, even if they do fall short on "Memories" and a few others.

The orchestral format also gives rise to "live" concerts with Elvis singing on screen while the Royal Philharmonic performs. A series of six British shows in major arenas this fall is expected to draw thousands of the faithful — the number doesn't seem to be dwindling, even 39 years after his death, in a country where he never performed.

But two "Royal Philharmonic" CDs may be enough. What some fans crave — Elvis singing alone, with only his guitar as accompaniment — may not exist in any vaults, and may be impossible to create even in this age of computer-driven magic.

Let's do the time warp again! Rocky Horror remake rocks

Let's do the time warp again!

More than 40 years after one of the great cult films of all time introduced an unsuspecting public to sweet transvestites, a mad scientist making an erotic Frankenstein creature, and a highly repressed yet oversexed Brad and Janet, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is back, this time as a TV remake Thursday on Fox.

It still bristles with all the weirdness and gender-bending that made the 1975 film a great excuse to party, then dress up in character and go to a midnight showing where you not only watched the show, you threw rice at the screen, sprayed water on fellow theatergoers, and shouted lines back and forth to the actors.

The show launched Tim Curry to stardom as Dr. Frank N. Furter, the "sweet transvestite from transsexual Transylvania." Curry is back — but this time as the narrator.

His signature role this time out is played by Laverne Cox of "Orange Is The New Black," herself a transgender performer. She approaches the role a (tiny) bit more subdued than did Curry; the sight (or the very idea) of a horny transgender scientist was a lot more jarring 40 years ago then it is now.

Adam Lambert, who some feel would have made an equally swell Frank N. Furter, instead plays Eddie, the biker Elvis-wannabe first played by a then virtually unknown Meat Loaf. "Hot Patootie" is a high point here, as is "Time Warp," which still provides as good an excuse to dance around stupidly as it did when Gerald Ford was president.

Bottom line: The re-done songs rock, the characters are memorable, and Rocky Horror is still good, dirty fun.

Cher talks Donald Trump, emojis and 'American Horror Story'

Cher is not finished.

The iconic singer-actress is returning to the stage next year for a series of performances on both sides of the country because, well, she can't imagine not working, not even at 70. Despite bidding fans farewell in past tours, Cher is not prepared to say her final goodbye.

"Someday, I will be finished," she said during a recent interview to promote her forthcoming "Classic Cher" residency tour. "That's really what I've said to myself: 'Someday, you won't be able to do this, but you're able to right now.' It's like my mom misses driving. My mom loved driving. She can't do it anymore."

For now, Cher says she's still capable of staging an extravaganza — and that's what she intends to do at a pair of new high-tech venues: the Park Theater at the Monte Carlo in Las Vegas and The Theater at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland.

The pop legend's residency, which launches Feb. 8 in Las Vegas, will feature both revival performances and new takes on classic songs. Here, during a wide-ranging conversation, the unabashedly honest artist tackled an array of topics:


On why her new show is called "Classic Cher": "Oh, it's just some bull(expletive) word. It's because I'm going to try and distill my career and let everybody remember and see who I was, what I did and try not to disappoint people, like I hate it if I go to a concert and they don't do the songs I want to hear."


On whether she would perform with a Sonny Bono hologram: "No, a hologram doesn't work for an arena because it doesn't bend, so we do a big screen and angle it because it's mostly him singing. We found all these videos where he's facing me and I can sing facing him. It works out really well."


On reviving one of her favorite past performances: "There's a song that I love that was a hit called 'After All.' One time, when I was in Vegas, I did it in this amazing boat. It came out of the mist. ... It made the song seem so much more mysterious and poignant and whatever, but few people saw it, so I'm going to bring that back and the costume I wore because the costume is beautiful."


On emojis, which she frequently uses on Twitter: "For me, they are imperative. Emojis are like hieroglyphs. They really are hieroglyphs. You can use them to create emotion. You can use them to punctuate something. You can use them instead of words. I don't understand punctuation at all because I'm so dyslexic."


On Snapchat: "I find it fascinating, but I don't have time to do everything. I have to have time to do other things. I can't devote my life to it. Sometimes I go on too long (on Twitter) and think, 'This is so dumb. You're a grown-up.'"


On her son, Chaz Bono, playing a hillbilly cannibal on the latest season of "American Horror Story": "There's more to come. The more he does, the better he's going to be, but I think it's great. I mean, come on. That's your first thing, and it's 'American Horror Story.' It doesn't get better that that."


On the presidential election: "I can't even bring myself to watch the debates. That's how emotionally involved I am."


On the most important political issue: "If the Republicans get the Supreme Court, we can say goodbye to all the strides we've made that are important, just for civil liberties. When you see the people he's surrounded himself with up to now, one can only imagine who he'd pick to lead the country. He doesn't want to do it. He wants to be the king, but he doesn't want to do the work."


On Donald Trump's comments on Howard Stern's show: "If someone said that my daughter was a hot piece of (expletive), I would put my fist through his (expletive) face."




Follow AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang on Twitter at .

Vince Neil Pleads Guilty to Misdemeanor Battery in Las Vegas Hotel Incident

Vince Neil has pleaded guilty to a charge of misdemeanor battery for his role in an altercation at a Las Vegas hotel this past April.

Continue reading…

Review: Chrissie Hynde revives Pretenders on soulful 'Alone'

Chrissie Hynde reverts to her Pretenders moniker on "Alone," a soulful production helmed by The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach and starring her tough-as-nails vulnerability.

Hynde's wonderful voice, one of rock's best, can weaken knees even by reading a phone book. While the album sports all kinds of modern-retro sounds, her vocals propel the fast ones and elevate the ballads with her usual empathy and authority.

Opening with the declarative title track, which has a piano riff with shades of Allen Toussaint's "Fortune Teller," Hynde immediately clears the room — "I'm at my best, I'm where I belong, alone." That could bear bad tidings for what is supposed to be the band's first effort since the dynamic "Break Up the Concrete" in 2008, but she doesn't sound at all isolated.

Instead she gets feistily involved in fellow Akron, Ohio, native Auerbach's quirky production, which echoes a long list of rock and R&B idols, from Doug Sahm's Tex-Mex organ to T. Rex and even Duane "Twangy Guitar" Eddy himself on "Never Be Together."

"Roadie Man" is another moaning complaint by the long-suffering wife from "Watching the Clothes" and first single "Holy Commotion" has some jungle drums and whirling sounds of steel pans. "Chord Lord" is probably closest to Pretenders from 30-odd years ago, while "I Hate Myself" would suit Lou Reed or a certain controversial Nobel Prize winner.

There may not be towering classics on "Alone," but it's a rewarding listen if you accept — and you'll feel better if you do — that these are not your parents' Pretenders or even those from a few years ago. But, oh, that Hynde vibrato!

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