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Wild turkey that chased residents of small Quebec town killed by slingshot

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Wild turkey that chased residents of small Quebec town killed by slingshot
MONTREAL — A wild turkey that for three weeks sowed terror in the small town of Louiseville, Que., was killed Thursday morning by a sharp-eyed man armed with a slingshot, Mayor Yvon Deshaies says. He likened the incident to a biblical scene. “A slingshot, like in the days of David and Goliath,” the mayor exclaimed in an interview. Deshaies said the…
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Conductor Andrew Davis, who headed orchestras on 3 continents, dies at 80

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Conductor Andrew Davis, who headed orchestras on 3 continents, dies at 80

Conductor Andrew Davis, right, raises his arms as he takes a bow, accompanied by Renee Fleming, and Peter Rose, center, during the final dress rehearsal of Richard Strauss’s Capriccio in the Metropolitan Opera at New York’s Lincoln Center, March 25, 2011.

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Conductor Andrew Davis, right, raises his arms as he takes a bow, accompanied by Renee Fleming, and Peter Rose, center, during the final dress rehearsal of Richard Strauss’s Capriccio in the Metropolitan Opera at New York’s Lincoln Center, March 25, 2011.

Richard Drew/AP

Andrew Davis, an acclaimed British conductor who was music director of the Lyric Opera of Chicago and orchestras on three continents, has died. He was 80.

Davis died Saturday at Rusk Institute in Chicago from leukemia, his manager, Jonathan Brill of Opus 3 Artists, said Sunday.

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Davis had been managing the disease for between 1 1/2 and 2 years, but it became acute shortly after his 80th birthday on Feb. 2. He had conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra last December in the U.S. premiere of his own orchestration of Handel’s “Messiah.”

“A consummate musician, incredibly versatile and a phenomenal colleague, as well,” soprano Renée Fleming said in an email to The Associated Press. “It takes a special kind of command to be a great conductor, the power to make close to a hundred musicians (each one, at heart, a diva or divo) hang on your tiniest gesture. So it is remarkable that even with that strength, Andrew’s primary quality was his innate happiness. He was gifted with an infectious joy that somehow came through in every bar of music he made.”

As his 80th birthday approached, Davis was invigorated by the challenge of molding an orchestra, especially young players.

“Harnessing all that energy and that enthusiasm and that passion, and galvanizing it into a totally, totally unified conception and not just conception but — what’s the word? — realization,” he said during an interview with the AP last July after rehearsing the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America in workshops and then at New York’s Carnegie Hall. “I berate them more than I would, but I hope always with a twinkle in my eye.”

Davis was music director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra from 1975-88 and Britain’s Glyndebourne Festival from 1988-2000; chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra from 1989-2000 and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra from 2013-19; then music director of the Lyric Opera from 2000-21.

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Davis made his Lyric Opera debut in 1987 and led about 700 performances of 62 operas by 22 composers.

“He was a true artistic partner to me and a shining light for so many of us,” Lyric Opera general director Anthony Freud said in a statement. “We will miss his incredible artistry, his extraordinary wisdom, his irrepressible humor, his unfettered zest for life and his devotion to the arts and the humanities.”

Davis conducted a dozen Last Night of the Proms concerts, an annual celebration of Britain at London’s Royal Albert Hall. He twice gave the customary speech in the patter of the Major General’s song from Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance.”

Born in Ashridge, in the Hertfordshire county of England, Andrew Frank Davis played organ for his parish choir and joined the choir at the Watford Grammar School for Boys. He studied piano at London’s Royal Academy of Music in London, became an organ student at King’s College Cambridge, and played piano, harpsichord and organ with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields from 1966-70.

He made his conducting debut with the BBC Symphony in 1970, became an assistant conductor with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Philharmonia Orchestra, then in 1971 made his North American debut with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

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“One of the finest conductors of his generation,” Carnegie Hall executive and artistic director Clive Gillinson said. “I worked with him on an ongoing basis at the London Symphony Orchestra, and the players and I were always totally engaged by his superb musicianship.”

Davis made his opera-conducting debut in Strauss’ “Capriccio” at the Glyndebourne in 1973 and the following year met his future wife, soprano Gianna Rolandi, when she sang Zerbinetta in performances of Strauss’ “Ariadne auf Naxos” that he led at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. They got married in 1989 and had a son, composer Edward Frazier Davis.

Davis became a Commander of the British Empire in 1992 and a Knight Bachelor in 1999. The family moved to Chicago when he was hired by the Lyric Opera.

During the pandemic, Davis translated Virgil’s “Aeneid” from Latin into English verse.

“I took an entrance exam in classics in New College, Oxford,” he told NPR, “but then a couple of weeks later I took the organ scholarship trials at King’s College, Cambridge, which much to my surprise I won, so that was the end of classics for me.”

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His wife died in 2021. In addition to his son, he is survived by a sister, Jill Atkins, and brothers Martin Davis and Tim Davis. Funeral services will be private.

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Classic film lovers: See James Dean's apartment and more on new TCM tour at Warner Bros.

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Classic film lovers: See James Dean's apartment and more on new TCM tour at Warner Bros.

In 2021, the Warner Bros. Studio Tour created new interactive exhibits focused on the company’s recent history, unveiling areas dedicated to the DC Comics universe and the “Harry Potter” franchise.

This week, the popular Studio Tour in Burbank is doubling down on its more distant past.

Warner Bros. is now offering a Turner Classic Movies-branded version of its studio tour that will bring guests to previously off-limit areas of the lot, including vintage animation buildings, a mini rose garden and an apartment that once housed James Dean. The 90-minute tram portion of the jaunt — about 30 minutes longer than the studio’s standard tram excursion — will allow guides to go deeper into the history of the studio’s catalog to deliver factoids related to such films as “Casablanca,” “My Fair Lady,” “Rebel Without a Cause,” “Auntie Mame” and many more.

“We’re off the leash,” says Brad Taylor, a 15-year tour guide veteran with Warner Bros., noting that the TCM excursion will include time for guides to chat with visitors about their favorite films.

The Warner Bros. Studio Tour will now offer a TCM-branded trek to focus on classic films. TCM hosts — from left, Eddie Muller, Jacqueline Stewart, Ben Mankiewicz, Alicia Malone and Dave Karger — recorded segments for the outing.

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(The Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood)

“We get to talk to the guests and really hang out with people who have the same passion that we do,” Taylor says. “I find that ‘classics’ guests are less about behind-the-scenes and more, ‘I can’t believe this is where we are.’ It’s just the look on their faces when they realize ‘Casablanca’ filmed here, or James Dean stood right here.”

The launch of the TCM tour arrives during the network’s 30th anniversary and close to 12 months after classic film fans were given a scare. In June, Warner Bros. announced that layoffs would hit TCM, including some of the network’s top executives, prompting concern from prestige directors such as Steven Spielberg, Paul Thomas Anderson and Martin Scorsese. After garnering national attention, key cuts were reversed and Warner Bros. sought to assure fans that TCM would continue to be handled with care.

TCM network hosts — Eddie Muller, Jacqueline Stewart, Ben Mankiewicz, Alicia Malone and Dave Karger — recorded new video segments for the outing. The tour will take guests into the lot’s Property House, an area not visited by the standard tour. Here, visitors can get glimpses of materials for a full set, including items for a complete Oval Office setting, but expect guides to highlight vintage items, such as a throne from the Errol Flynn pirate film “Captain Blood.”

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Danny Kahn, vice president-general manager of the studio tour, says there have been numerous requests over the years from guests to delve a little deeper into the studio’s animation history. That’s why the TCM tour will for the first time take visitors to an area of the lot once known as “Termite Terrace,” which from 1955 to 1964, says Taylor, housed the animation department, a building with a sloped roof designed to capture sunlight. Animation legend Chuck Jones, says Kahn, had an office in the Termite Terrace area in the 1990s despite Warner’s moving animation production elsewhere.

Another unique tour locale is the exterior of the Dean apartment. When Dean resided there during filming of “East of Eden,” it was actually across the street from the lot, the apartment nesting above a pharmacy. But gradual studio expansion has led to the area now being on Warner Bros. property.

“That was an actual drugstore with apartments, and the studio rented it for him,” Kahn says. “I think it was to keep an eye on him and keep him on a short leash.”

The tour will also give tram riders a look at executive life at the studio, allowing them to briefly walk around a rose garden. The manicured spaces once held a tennis court as well as offices and personal screening rooms for the likes of studio mogul Jack Warner, with many of the structures dating to the 1920s. “It’s a really historic area of the lot that hasn’t really changed a lot in all these years,” says Kahn, noting the area is still in use by studio principals. “Jack Warner, when he ran the studio, privatized the first floor. That was a massage parlor that he had beneath his office.”

Staples of the tour, such as a journey around the backlot city streets, a visit to the “Friends” set and cafe and recent additions highlighting the studio’s modern franchise films are included in the TCM trek, as is a pre-tour reception with beverages and pastries. All told, expect the tour to last about 3½ hours. A tour spokesperson says the first TCM-branded outing is scheduled for Wednesday, with trams expected to depart daily after that date. Adult tickets are $95, but there is a Southern California resident discount available for $75.

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“It feels so good to have TCM here,” Kahn says. “People understand that the TCM brand is synonymous with classic film.”

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USC cancels filmmaker's keynote amid controversy over canceled valedictorian speech

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USC cancels filmmaker's keynote amid controversy over canceled valedictorian speech

Students carrying signs on April 18, 2024 on the campus of USC protest a canceled commencement speech by its 2024 valedictorian who has publicly supported Palestinians.

Damian Dovarganes/AP


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Students carrying signs on April 18, 2024 on the campus of USC protest a canceled commencement speech by its 2024 valedictorian who has publicly supported Palestinians.

Damian Dovarganes/AP

LOS ANGELES — The University of Southern California further shook up its commencement plans Friday, announcing the cancellation of a keynote speech by filmmaker Jon M. Chu just days after making the controversial choice to disallow the student valedictorian from speaking.

The private university in Los Angeles on Monday said it was canceling valedictorian Asna Tabassum’s speech at the May 10 ceremony because of safety concerns. Tabassum, who is Muslim, has expressed support for Palestinians in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, and university officials said the response to her selection as valedictorian had “taken on an alarming tenor.” They did not cite any specific threats.

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The university’s decision was met with praise from pro-Israel organizations but condemnation from free speech groups and the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Students and faculty marched across campus Thursday in silent protest of the university’s decision.

Now, university officials say they are “redesigning” the entire commencement program.

“Given the highly publicized circumstances surrounding our main-stage commencement program, university leadership has decided it is best to release our outside speakers and honorees from attending this year’s ceremony,” the university said in an unsigned statement posted Friday. “We’ve been talking to this exceptional group and hope to confer these honorary degrees at a future commencement or other academic ceremonies.”

Chu was slated to deliver the keynote address at the May 10 ceremony. He is a 2003 graduate of the university who has since directed films like “Crazy Rich Asians” and “Wicked,” an adaptation for the Broadway musical set for release last this year.

More than 65,000 people are expected to gather on campus for commencement, including 19,000 graduates.

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“Although this should have been a time of celebration for my family, friends, professors, and classmates, anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian voices have subjected me to a campaign of racist hatred because of my uncompromising belief in human rights for all,” Tabassum said in a statement earlier this week.

The Israel-Hamas war has presented a challenge for colleges under pressure to preserve free speech and open debate, and campuses are expected to be further tested as commencement speeches get underway in the coming weeks.

At Columbia University on Thursday, New York police removed a pro-Palestinian protest encampment and arrested more than 100 demonstrators. Most of them were charged with trespassing at the Ivy League-institution.

Several students involved in the protest said they also were suspended from Columbia and nearby Barnard College. The school said it was still identifying students involved in the protest and added more suspensions would be forthcoming.

“Students have a right to free speech but do not have a right to violate university policies and disrupt learning on campus,” said New York Mayor Eric Adams, who said the city was asked by university officials to remove the encampment.

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