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Dr. Dre says he had three strokes when hospitalized for brain aneurysm

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Dr. Dre says he had three strokes when hospitalized for brain aneurysm

Dr. Dre’s hospitalization for a brain aneurysm in 2021 was a harrowing experience that included three strokes over a two-week period, the legendary producer recently said.

“It’s just something that you can’t control that just happens, and during those two weeks, I had three strokes,” he said on the March 14 episode of SiriusXM’s podcast “This Life of Mine … With James Corden.”

The “Next Episode” and “Nuthin’ But a ‘G’ Thang” rapper also noted that he initially dismissed his first symptom: pain behind his ear.

“I just woke up, and I felt something right behind my right ear, and I almost felt like the worst pain I ever felt, and I got up and I went on about my day and I thought that I could just lay down and take a nap,” the hip-hop icon recalled.

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“My son had a female friend that was there and was like, ‘No, we need to take you to the hospital,’ so they took me to urgent care and I got to urgent care and they were like, ‘No, this is serious.’ Next thing you know, I’m blacking out. “

The Compton-born philanthropist and media mogul, whose real name is Andre Young, said he was in and out of consciousness and ended up in an ICU for two weeks; there, he heard doctors telling him, “You don’t know how lucky you are.” He added that he didn’t realize that he had hypertension because he’d always taken care of his health. (He previously told The Times that he “never saw that coming.”)

“I asked questions like, ‘What could I have done to prevent this?’ and nobody could give me an answer. I had no idea that I had high blood pressure or anything like that because I’m on my health s—,” he told Corden. “I’m lifting weights, I’m running, I’m doing everything I can to keep myself healthy. I said, ‘Would that have prevented it if I had worked out a little bit harder or ate different or something like that?’ It’s like, no. That’s hereditary. High blood pressure in Black men, that’s just what it is. They call it the silent killer. You just have no idea, so you know, you have to keep your s— checked.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, brain aneurysms form and grow because blood flowing through a vessel puts pressure on a weak area of its wall, which can increase the size of the aneurysm. If the aneurysm leaks or ruptures, it causes bleeding in the brain, known as a hemorrhagic stroke.

Dre did not elaborate on the type of strokes he had or their effects. But the experience, he said, didn’t necessarily result in a significant change to what he had been doing or how he wanted to live his life.

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“I’m not saying, ‘OK, I’m just gonna go f— crazy because who knows if the lights are gonna come out tomorrow,’ I don’t think about it like that,” he said. “I just think it was something that just happened to me. It definitely makes you appreciate being alive. That’s for sure.

“When you go through that situation, it’s crazy. Especially when I was on my way home from the hospital because possibly, that couldn’t have happened. I don’t know. It’s crazy, so now knowing that I had no control over that. It’s just something that could happen out of the blue. You wake up and you go, ‘S—. OK. I’m here.”

The rapper, who rose to fame with rap group N.W.A. and went on to become a top producer and co-founder of Beats Electronics, previously said that his doctors didn’t think he was going to survive the ordeal.

“I’m at Cedars-Sinai hospital and they weren’t allowing anybody to come up, meaning visitors or family or anything like that, because of COVID, but they allowed my family to come in,” he said on the “Workout the Doubt” podcast in 2022. “I found out later they called them up so they could say their last goodbyes because they thought I was outta here.”

Dre said he “didn’t know it was that serious” at the time but remembered the constant check-ins and treatments he received during recovery.

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The multiple Grammy Award winner has rebounded since the health crisis, performing with fellow hip-hop legends just over a year later during his hometown Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show and receiving the inaugural Dr. Dre Global Impact Award at the 2023 Grammy Awards.

And, on Tuesday, he’s set to receive the 2,775th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Legendary radio host Big Boy will emcee the ceremony and Dre’s longtime collaborator Snoop Dogg and fellow music impresario Jimmy Iovine will deliver remarks.

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Review: Director Ken Loach's compassion remains a sturdy, reliable virtue in 'The Old Oak'

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Review: Director Ken Loach's compassion remains a sturdy, reliable virtue in 'The Old Oak'

When it comes to the fiercely political British director Ken Loach’s latest film, “The Old Oak,” a bit of classic Hollywood promotional language comes to mind: Ken Loach is “The Old Oak.” Because seemingly forever, the sturdiest, tallest figure in the cinema of working-class struggle has been Loach, the man behind such raw, forthright classics as “Kes,” “Riff-Raff,” “The Wind That Shakes the Barley,” “I, Daniel Blake” and “Sorry We Missed You.”

If this is the final round for the 87-year-old filmmaker, he’s going out with a protest sign in one hand and a pint in the other. That’s because “The Old Oak,” written by longtime collaborator Paul Laverty and named for the last remaining pub in a downtrodden town in northeast England, shows Loach no less committed to the cause but also as faith-filled as he’s ever been.

It’s 2016 when we enter the story via black-and-white photographs of a busload of displaced Syrians, mostly mothers, children and the elderly, being dropped off in the mining town of Durham, the film’s audio dominated by locals loudly and bigotedly condemning their arrival. When the film itself starts (and cinematographer Robbie Ryan’s clean naturalism takes over), we learn that the refugee documenting everything is a young woman named Yara (Ebla Mari), whose first interaction is with a brutish man who violently grabs her camera and breaks it.

One of the aid helpers appalled at his townsfolk’s behavior is divorced, middle-aged pub owner TJ (an affecting Dave Turner), a lonely man with a good heart and a lot of hurt. He offers to help get Yara’s camera repaired and the unlikely pair strike up a friendship borne of mutual empathy for each other’s pain: her homeland and family brutalized by war; his once-thriving community battered by economic neglect and a poisoning fear. The latter is routinely manifested in the churlish Old Oak regulars for whom nostalgia-fueled resentment is no longer a condition to be changed but a disturbingly snug set of clothes; they view TJ’s kindness toward Yara (or anybody’s charity toward the Syrians) as a betrayal.

Dave Turner in the movie “The Old Oak.”

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(Zeitgeist Films)

But on the walls of the threadbare pub’s long-shuttered backroom is photographic evidence — a reminder to TJ, an inspiring history for Yara — of the country’s 1984 miners’ strike, when an embattled people looked out for one another. Soon enough, TJ is spearheading a revitalization of the room so two struggling worlds can meet: communal dinners to feed both the refugees and a deprived town’s isolated youth. As things play out, however, Loach and Laverty are realistic enough in their tale of invigorating compassion to grasp that, as difficult as it is to find and nurture hope, just as essential is recognizing the danger lurking in festering grievance.

As vitally angry as Loach’s films can often be about the issues they’re addressing, the secret glue to his unvarnished, in-the-moment style has always been what camaraderie and care look like within any maelstrom of injustice and oppression. The authenticity of his casting, including his unwavering belief in newcomers, is flawless here, with Mari’s portrait of resilience sharing the frame wonderfully with Turner’s bearish, wounded air. And in a key role as a pub regular, Trevor Fox makes palpable the injury and distrust that can warp an honest reaction to a stranger’s struggles.

Loach is the rare movie agitator who can point to results. In 1966, his television film “Cathy Come Home” rattled the U.K. into acting on homelessness. We may be too inured these days to the unceasing drumbeat of immigration’s realities and disinformation to expect “The Old Oak,” as deeply emotional as it is, to have a similar impact. But we can still feel thankful for this beautifully indignant director’s career-long, never-wavering theme of solidarity, of seeing others’ problems as ours too, worth striking about and fighting against. It’s a righteous oeuvre with marvelously strong roots.

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‘The Old Oak’

Not rated

In English with English subtitles (due to strong regional accents)

Running time: 1 hour, 53 minutes

Playing: In limited release.

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Civil War Isn’t the Movie You Think It Is

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Civil War Isn’t the Movie You Think It Is

Kirsten Dunst and Cailee Spaeny in Civil War.
Photo: Murray Close /A24

Americans sure do love to see their institutions destroyed onscreen. I remember back when it was sorta-kinda news that audiences applauded and cheered as aliens blew up the White House in Roland Emmerich’s Independence Day (1996). Since then, it’s been standard operating practice for blockbusters, particularly the disaster-y ones, to incinerate or otherwise defile a monument or an iconic government building. (We took a brief recess after 9/11 — “too soon,” etc. — but went right back to it once the cultural all-clear sounded.) Maybe because our institutions were deemed so secure and unchanging for so long, the idea that they might be ravaged by aliens, meteors, zombies, or Dylan McDermott became a naughty fantasy we were eager to see played out onscreen, over and over and over again. A variation on this kind of chaos has become all too real over the past few years, with more than 40 percent of the country in a 2022 poll saying they think a civil war is likely within the next decade. I’m not entirely convinced that the constant barrage of apocalyptic destruction on our screens is unrelated. We’ve been spectators to the fantasy for so long that we’ve come to imagine we’re participants in it.

Here’s another truth about repeatedly indulging in our fantasies: We become desensitized to them. What makes Alex Garland’s Civil War so diabolically clever is the way that it both revels in and abhors our fascination with the idea of America as a battlefield. No real monuments get done blowed up real good in this one. The spectacle this time is coyer but somehow all-consuming. What’s being incinerated in Civil War is the American idea itself.

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The film is set in what appears to be the present, but in this version of the present a combination of strongman tactics and secessionist movements have fractured the United States into multiple armed, politically unspecified factions. The president (Nick Offerman), we’re told, has refused to give up power and is now serving his third term; he’s dissolved the FBI, bombed American cities, and made a point of killing journalists on sight, or so we’re told. California and Texas have joined forces and become something called the Western Front. There’s also the so-called Florida Alliance. Smoke rises from the cities; the highways are filled with walls of wrecked cars; suicide bombers dive into crowds lined up for water rations; death squads, snipers, and mass graves dot the countryside.

How we got here, or what these people are fighting over, is mostly meaningless to Kirsten Dunst’s Lee and Wagner Moura’s Joel, two war journalists making the treacherous drive from New York City to Washington, D.C., for an exclusive, probably dangerous interview with the beleaguered president. Tagging along for the ride in their van are Jessie, played by Cailee Spaeny, a young, inexperienced photographer who aspires to a career like Lee’s, and Sammy (Stephen McKinley Henderson), an aging reporter who wants to go to the front lines in Charlottesville. Lee is vexed by both their presences. Jessie’s too young, and Sammy’s too old. The blood-soaked highways of the divided states of America are no place for either of them.

The journalists covering this war gather in hotel bars, get drunk, and loudly yuk it up with the jacked-up bonhomie we might recognize from movies set in foreign lands like The Killing Fields, Under Fire, and Salvador. They’re mostly numb to the horrors they’re chronicling. After the young Jessie is scarred by an early run-in with a man who threatens to shoot two unarmed, tortured, barely alive captives, Lee tells her that it’s not their job to ask questions or get involved: “We take pictures so others can ask these questions.”

One of the reasons Lee is such a legend in her field is because she has grown a protective shell around herself. She wants to get the picture. That’s it. She’s protective of Jessie but only to the extent that the girl will slow them down or upend their plans. “Would you photograph that moment, if I got shot?” Jessie asks. “What do you think?” Lee responds, as if the answer is obviously yes. But we also understand that Lee bears the psychological scars of what she’s seen. At night, alone in her bath at a hotel, she covers her eyes and revisits the horrors she’s photographed all over the world. “I thought I was sending a message home: Don’t do this,” she says of her earlier work. “But here we are.” Garland can be clunky and obvious with his dialogue, but Dunst can also make just about any line sound true. Her face tells one story, her words tell another; together, they bring this conflicted woman to life.

The film embodies Lee’s traumatized numbness to a degree. Garland knows how to build suspense, and he depicts astonishing violence with the requisite horror, but he also moves his film along in playfully provocative ways. After one ghastly sequence in which guerrillas shoot a weeping soldier, the director cuts to a montage set to De La Soul’s “Say No Go,” a song about a horrific subject that adds a peppy beat to the grisly images onscreen. (I was reminded of the way Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket cut to the Trashmen’s “Surfin’ Bird” right after a similar firefight.)

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Even the film’s episodic quality — it’s really just a ghastly travelogue through the war-torn Eastern Seaboard, with our protagonists confronted at each stop with some upsetting new incident — feels like a provocation. Part of shutting yourself off to such horrors involves being able to move past them, and Civil War, like its characters, glides past each monstrous vignette with unbothered brio. This can make the film feel weirdly weightless at times. Its characters are observers and nomads. If anything, they feel less invested in what they’re witnessing as the movie goes on.

Civil War’s lack of a political point of view, as well as its refusal to really identify the positions of its warring parties, has come in for some understandable criticism. But does any sane person really want a version of this film that attempts to spell out these people’s politics or, even worse, takes sides in its fictional conflict? (That sounds like it would be the worst movie ever made.) Garland does include flashes of real news footage from a variety of recent American disturbances, but he’s clearly done more research into media depictions of other countries’ war zones.

This is maybe his best idea, and why the film’s lack of political context feels more pointed than spineless: The conceit here is to depict Americans acting the way we’ve seen people act in other international conflicts, be it Vietnam or Lebanon or the former Yugoslavia or Iraq or Gaza or … well, the list goes on. In that sense, Civil War winds up becoming a movie about itself. Beyond the plausibility of war in the United States or the tragedy of such an eventuality, it’s about the way we refuse to let images from wars like this get to us. It’s more a call for reflection, an attempt to put us in the shoes of others, than a warning — not an It Can Happen Here movie, but a Here’s What It’s Like movie. It doesn’t want to make us feel so much as it wants us to ask why we don’t feel anything.

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TikTok (Taylor's version): Singer's music returns despite platform's dispute with label UMG

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TikTok (Taylor's version): Singer's music returns despite platform's dispute with label UMG

Swifties on TikTok can rejoice — for now.

It seems scores of songs from Taylor Swift’s catalog returned to the platform this week, just months after the singer’s label Universal Music Group threatened to pull its artists’ music over a licensing disagreement. The Times confirmed that hits from the Grammy winner’s “Midnights, “1989 (Taylor’s Version), “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” and “Folklore” albums are among the snippets featured on her official TikTok page.

In a January open letter, UMG voiced several concerns about its licensing deal with TikTok, including the company’s proposed royalty rate for artists, TikTok’s content moderation and protections for musicians regarding AI-generated music.

“Ultimately TikTok is trying to build a music-based business, without paying fair value for the music,” UMG said in its letter.

TikTok countered the UMG letter, calling the label “self-serving” and alleging its actions were “not in the best interests of artists, songwriters and fans.”

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Neither representatives for UMG nor Swift immediately responded to The Times’ request for comment on Friday.

Word of Swift’s return to TikTok quickly spread on social media Thursday, as fans celebrated with .gifs, all-caps tweets and more on X (formerly Twitter).

“TAYLOR SWIFT SONGS ARE BACK ON TIKTOK??????,” one user tweeted Thursday.

While some Twitter users rejoiced in Swift’s TikTok comeback, others expressed concern over the other UMG artists whose catalogs remain off the app. Billie Eilish, Olivia Rodrigo and Ariana Grande are among the UMG artists whose music easily went viral on TikTok — but their music is no longer on their profiles.

“The music is currently unavailable,” reads a notice on both Eilish and Rodrigo’s pages. On Grande’s page, only a minute-long snippet of her duet on Lizzo’s “Good as Hell” remains.

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Swift’s return to TikTok comes just before she releases her forthcoming album, “The Tortured Poets Department,” next week. At February’s 66th Grammy Awards, where she took home the coveted prize for album of the year, Swift announced that new music was underway.

“I want to say thank you to the fans by telling you a secret that I’ve been keeping from you for the last two years,” she said. “Which is that my brand new album comes out April 19.”

Since her reveal, Swift has doled out more information about “The Tortured Poets Department,” including her track list, featured artists and the album art.

Times staff writer Wendy Lee contributed to this report.

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