An Artistic Vision

NEW YORK — Artists, scholars, and musicians come together for the first-ever Mormon Arts Center festival in New York City.

The gathering is dedicated to elevating, expanding and defining what Mormon Art looks like.

KSL Arts and Religion Specialist Carole Mikita shares the humble beginning of this movement and how the festival came to be.

Visit the studios and art spaces of both new and known Mormon Artists and hear the music created by some very talented Mormon composers.

KSL 5 TV Live

Religion

The Piano GuysThis General Conference documentary is sponsored by The Piano Guys. Come spend an evening with The Piano Guys when they perform live at Vivint Smart Home Arena December 8th. Tickets are on sale now at all Smith’s Tix locations and the venue box office. 


New York City’s First-Ever Mormon Arts Center Festival

The first-ever Mormon Arts Center Festival in New York City united artists, scholars, and musicians to show Mormon Art. This gathering helped to elevate the concept of Mormon Art.  It also attracted a lot of attention both from the Mormon community and others.

KSL Arts and Religion Specialist Carole Mikita shares the humble beginning of this movement and how the festival came to be. Visit the studios and art spaces of both new and known Mormon Artists and hear the music created by some very talented Mormon Composers.


General Conference Documentaries

You can watch more General Conference documentaries like this one with the KSL-TV app. The app is free, with no cable subscription required, and available for a variety of Connected TV and smartphone platforms including Amazon Fire, Roku, iOS, Android and fourth-generation Apple TV boxes.

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Special KSL general conference programming to feature patriotism, service and exclusive interview with new LDS prophet

SALT LAKE CITY — This weekend, KSL-TV will suspend its regular daytime programming and, along with airing LDS general conference, will air several inspiring, locally-produced documentaries addressing a wide range of topics.

All of the specials will be available on KSL-TV, KSL.com and on demand on the KSL TV app. Be sure to tune in to watch each of these specials.

Here is a schedule for these programs:

Saturday, March 31

9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.: History of the Saints

Holy Ground, Sites Sacred to the Restoration: Palmyra

Each year, thousands of Latter-day Saints journey to the sacred sites of the Restoration to experience more fully what happened and where. It was at these sites where the LDS faithful believe God restored necessary truths and ordinances. Many come away understanding that these places have a sacred spirit about them that strengthens spiritual knowledge and faith. This special presentation is the first in a series that will take viewers all over the world to stand virtually on holy ground. This first episode journeys to Palmyra and Manchester, the very cradle of the Latter-day Saint Restoration. The stories, the events and the scenery that make this ground holy will be presented in vivid detail.

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: General Conference

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.: Aid Amidst the Storm

Florida, Texas, Mexico, Puerto Rico, California — the list of areas affected by disaster in the last few months is overwhelming. Each place was impacted in different ways, but one thing they all had in common were the Mormons there among those who were offering aid. Whether in a sea of yellow Helping Hands vests or just neighbor to neighbor, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were a force for good as they joined many others who were volunteering and providing support. See the heartwarming connections these volunteers made as they answered the call to serve amidst the storm.

1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.: In God We Trust

Kyle Fox is defined by his patriotism, service and love of God. He’s an everyday citizen who, during a time when divisions are strong and many have lost hope, felt compelled to create a project that unites people around a common symbol of freedom. He set to work creating the largest free-flying American flag in The United States and then flew it across a 1,100-foot canyon near his home. His desire was to inspire greater patriotism in others and to strengthen the love of country within his community. His “Follow the Flag” project has become more than he could have imagined, has impacted thousands and has helped military families heal. Fox believes we all have a responsibility to be courageous, to speak out and to have hope. We’ll share the faces, places and inspiring stories surrounding this project.

1:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.: An Artistic Vision

Artists, scholars, musicians and interested observers will come together for the first-ever Mormon Arts Center festival in New York City in June. This gathering is dedicated to elevating the concept of why Mormon art matters. KSL arts and religion specialist Carole Mikita shares the humble beginning of this movement and how the festival came to be. Visit the studios and art spaces of both new and known Mormon artists, and hear the music created by some very talented Mormon composers.

2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.: General Conference

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.: LDS News and World Report

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Sunday, April 1

9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.: 50 Years of Miracles

Once a year the quiet community of Manti, Utah, is transformed into a hub of activity as thousands of people from around the world flock there to experience the Mormon Miracle Pageant. What began as a one-time performance at the foot of the Manti Temple has transpired into a half century of tradition. Join KSL news specialist Sam Penrod as he explores “50 Years of Miracles,” the story of the Mormon Miracle Pageant in Manti.

9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.: Music and the Spoken Word

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: General Conference

12:00-1:00 pm President Russell M. Nelson: Brilliant Mind, Gentle Heart

For decades, he served as an apostle and now, Russell M. Nelson has become the 17th prophet and president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He came to church leadership from a career as a world-renowned heart surgeon. In an exclusive interview with him, we discover the many gifts and talents of a man with a brilliant mind and gentle heart.

His colleagues, friends and family members also offer insights and share stories of his faith as he traveled the world, and of his devotion as a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. Those who know him best say President Nelson’s intense belief in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ makes him a leader for this time.

1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Voices of Strength

Whether it’s in business, education, community service or sports, you’ll find people who inspire others. In “Voices of Strength,” we profile these five women who have used their experiences and voices to help others. We share their stories and personal insights about faith, hard work and grief.

  • Gail Miller: For a long-time, Gail Miller was known only as the wife of businessman Larry H. Miller. Today, she is known for her philanthropic work and service in the community. Her life may seem charmed, but Gail Miller has experienced challenges in nearly every aspect of her life: financial struggles, family trials and personal loss. Through it all, she had the courage to move forward and remain grounded in her faith. Gail Miller has recently released a book called “Courage to be You.” In it, she provides inspiring lessons from her unexpected journey.
  • Sahar Qumsiyeh is a Palestinian convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She joined the LDS Church when she came to BYU to study math, and then returned to Palestine. She was a Relief Society president in Israel, who many times couldn’t get through the security checkpoints in Jerusalem to get to church. Her story is one of forgiveness and the healing power of the Savior. She has written a book called “Peace for a Palestinian,” where she shares her story of faith amid war in the Holy Land.
  • Carol Decker: While she was pregnant, Carol suffered an infection which nearly took her life. The infection caused her to go blind, and she had to have both her legs and parts of her arms amputated. Since then, Decker has become an advocate for adaptive living, and is a motivational speaker. She epitomizes strength, perseverance, optimism and faith.
  • Lisa Valentine Clark: You’ve probably seen her in any number of commercials or independent features. Clark is an actress, comedian, writer and producer. But she says her greatest roles are mother and wife. Clark and her husband are the parents of five children. During the last few years, as her career has taken off, struggles at home have become more challenging. Life and death have taken on new meaning for Clark who helps her husband progress through the life-altering stages of Lou Gehrig’s disease. She says, “When we don’t know where to begin, we begin with hope.”
  • Justice Christine M. Durham: Durham knows what it feels like to blaze trails for others. For years, she was told that her dream to practice law was implausible because she was a woman. When Durham graduated from Duke Law School, fewer than 2 percent of the people practicing law were female, but this didn’t discourage her. Durham worked hard and eventually served as Utah’s first female district court judge and Utah Supreme Court justice. She is the only woman in the state to have been elected Chief Justice by her fellow justices. Durham credits her colleagues, family and faith for her success. At one point in her career, Durham was the highest ranking LDS Church member serving in the United States judiciary system.

1:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.: Miracles from Elsie

Three-year-old Elsie Mahe’s life was cut short after a tragic accident in the family home, but her legacy lives on. The Mahe family says while they didn’t receive their miracle for Elsie, there were many miracles from Elsie. Elsie’s organs were donated to save many lives, but the miracles go far beyond this. See how the sparkle and spirit of a little girl have helped to spread faith, love and kindness across the globe.

2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.: General Conference

4:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.: The Rising Generation

Most performers are lucky to achieve fame after years spent in the trenches. But what do you say about a singing five-year-old who’s already been seen by millions on YouTube and network television? In “The Rising Generation,” you’ll meet a variety of young people who’ve already hit it big. From little Claire Crosby singing with her dad, Dave, to Lexi Walker, who’s recording and performing all around the globe, and Madilyn Paige, who made a splash on NBC’s “The Voice.” Then there are the family acts, like Jenny Oaks Baker & Family Four, who haul their instruments around the world to play. And sibling actors Mia, Anson and Ari Bagley thrill audiences onstage and on their hit family YouTube channel “Working With Lemons.”

You’ll find out how these local young LDS performers hold on to their values in a tough industry, stay driven yet well-rounded and how they’ve managed to see their hopes and dreams realized long before they thought possible.

4:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.: Family History 2.0

Think genealogy is digging through musty libraries and church basements? Think again. Family history research has come a long way in the past few years. Today you’re just as likely to uncover hidden mysteries on your smartphone or in your DNA results. Popular television programs like “Relative Race” have helped intensify interest in family history research. Program host Michelle King explores how modern technology is making your family research fun, engaging and memorable.

KSL 5 TV Live

General Conference Available on the KSL-TV App

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – For the first time ever, viewers of General Conference will be able to live stream sessions on the big screen – and to watch them on-demand – with the KSL-TV app.

In addition to KSL-TV’s broadcast coverage, General Conference sessions will air live on the KSL-TV app at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. MDT on Saturday, September 30 and Sunday, October 1. The app will also have all sessions available for later viewing on-demand.

The KSL-TV app is available for Amazon Fire, Roku, iOS, Android and fourth-generation Apple TV boxes — this means viewers aren’t limited to watching on mobile devices or scheduled timing: General Conference sessions can be watched on the big screen, whenever it’s most convenient.

To find the KSL-TV video app, search “KSL TV” in app stores.


General Conference Documentaries

In addition to providing sessions live and on-demand, all of KSL-TV’s General Conference documentaries will be available on the KSL-TV app. Simply select “Documentaries” in the ON DEMAND section (tap the remote control icon) – or search “General Conference.”

Documentaries this session include:

  • History of the Saints: Respected scholars come together to answer questions and address concerns about Joseph Smith the Prophet.
  • Choosing Happy: Key strategies to find happiness, with specific techniques to get through severe setbacks and sorrow.
  • An Artistic Vision: The first-ever Mormon Arts Center festival in New York City, where artists, scholars, and musicians come together to elevate the concept of why Mormon Art matters.
  • Civility: Changing the Conversations: Civility has taken a serious hit, but despite the trend toward negativity, there are positive voices working hard to make communication more civil.

The KSL-TV video app, found by searching “KSL TV”, offers live KSL-TV video streams along with an extensive library of on-demand news, entertainment, and sports content.

KSL 5 TV Live

Religion

KSL has new and exciting ways to watch General Conference this year. In addition to KSL-TV 5’s broadcast coverage, General Conference will also be streamed live in the KSL-TV mobile and Connected TV apps (iOS, Android, Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV). No cable subscription required. And don’t worry if you miss anything or want to watch again later. All sessions and KSL Conference documentaries will also be available in the app on-demand.


Conference Sponsors

A lot of work and production goes into our Conference documentaries and coverage. Thank you to all of our sponsors: The Piano Guys, EDGEhomes, Deseret First Credit Union, Siegfried & Jensen and Living Scriptures.

Deseret First Credit UnionSiegfried & Jensen EDGEhomes


General Conference Documentary Schedule

Here is KSL-TV’s programming documentary schedule for General Conference October 2017:

Saturday, September 30, 2017

  • History of the Saints: 9:30-10:00 am
    Joseph Smith is the Prophet of the Restoration and as such occupies a unique and singular place in Latter-day Saint history. Because of who he is and what he represents he frequently comes under attack by critics. This History of the Saints special brings together respected scholars to answer questions and address concerns about Joseph Smith the Prophet.
  • 50 Years of Miracles: 12:00-12:30 pm
    Once a year the quiet community of Manti Utah is transformed into a hub of activity as thousands of people from around the world flock there to experience the Mormon Miracle Pageant. What began as a one-time performance, at the foot of the Manti Temple, has transpired into a half a century of tradition. Join KSL News Specialist Sam Penrod as he explores “50 Years of Miracles” the story of the Mormon Miracle Pageant in Manti.
  • LDS News and World Report: 12:30-1:30 pm
    This one-hour semi-annual report explores some of the major news events around the world pertaining to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • Choosing Happy: 1:30-2:00 pm
    Who doesn’t want to be happy? It’s one of the basic rights Americans were guaranteed when this country was founded — “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” But how much of your happiness is due to your circumstances? What portion is genetically determined? Who are the happiest people in the world? And, if you’re not happy—why not? Host, Michelle King talks to three experts who lay out some key strategies for finding happiness. You’ll meet several strong everyday people who’ve used those techniques to get through severe setbacks and sorrow. From dealing with the typical adversities life throws at you, to combating unexpected tragedies, addiction, and depression, you’ll be better prepared, once you’re armed with new tools and actually make the choice to be happy.
  • To The Rescue: 4:00-5:00 pm
    Members of the LDS Church have been counseled to reach out and help refugees. KSL News Specialist Deanie Wimmer shows how this call to service has inspired many people to step outside their comfort zones to help those most in need. A young woman, drawn to help in whatever way she could set up a successful nonprofit organization that now provides thousands of pounds of needed items to those fleeing their dangerous homelands. Some members have traveled to refugee camps to show compassionate care, while others serve closer to home helping in their own communities. It’s a movement that is gaining momentum — it’s a desire to help those who cannot help themselves.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

  • Connecting Roots: Freedmen’s Records: 9:00-9:30 am
    The Freedmen’s Bureau Project has changed the very fabric of genealogy for African Americans. “Connecting Roots” explains the history behind this project and the personal stories about why this is so meaningful for so many families.
  • Family History 2.0: A New Generation of Genealogy: 12:00-12:30 pm
    Think genealogy is digging through musty libraries and church basements? Think again. Family History research has come a long way in the past few years. Today, you’re just as likely to uncover hidden mysteries on your smartphone, or in your DNA results. Popular television programs like Relative Race have helped intensify interest in family history research. Program host, Michelle King explores how modern technology is making your family research fun, engaging and memorable.
  • An Artistic Vision: 12:30-1:00 pm
    Artists, scholars, musicians and interested observers come together for the first-ever Mormon Arts Center festival in New York City. This gathering is dedicated to elevating the concept of why Mormon Art matters. KSL Arts and Religion Specialist Carole Mikita shares the humble beginning of this movement and how the festival came to be. Visit the studios and art spaces of both new and known Mormon Artists and hear the music created by some very talented Mormon Composers.
  • Members in Many Lands: 1:00-1:30 pm
    Travel to far off places with News Specialist Ashley Kewish to see what life is like for Mormons around the world in India, Mali, Mexico, Jamaica, Austria, Brazil, and Ghana. Many of these members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are recent converts who have adopted a new lifestyle as they embrace the teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • Civility: Changing the Conversations: 1:30-2:00 pm
    Civility has taken a hit lately. The art of disagreeing gracefully has been replaced with vitriol comments and caustic feelings. It seems no matter the topic, discussions in online comment boards, on social media sites, and in public gatherings have become increasingly more hostile. These disagreements affect our families, our schools, and our workplaces. Despite this trend towards negativity, there are voices working to change the communication—to make it more civil. We highlight these positive voices.

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Harry Belafonte, activist and entertainer, dies at 96

NEW YORK (AP) — Harry Belafonte, the civil rights and entertainment giant who began as a groundbreaking actor and singer and became an activist, humanitarian and conscience of the world, has died. He was 96.

Belafonte died Tuesday of congestive heart failure at his New York home, his wife Pamela by his side, said Ken Sunshine, of public relations firm Sunshine Sachs Morgan & Lylis.

With his glowing, handsome face and silky-husky voice, Belafonte was one of the first Black performers to gain a wide following on film and to sell a million records as a singer; many still know him for his signature hit “Banana Boat Song (Day-O),” and its call of “Day-O! Daaaaay-O.” But he forged a greater legacy once he scaled back his performing career in the 1960s and lived out his hero Paul Robeson’s decree that artists are “gatekeepers of truth.”

He stands as the model and the epitome of the celebrity activist. Few kept up with Belafonte’s time and commitment and none his stature as a meeting point among Hollywood, Washington and the civil rights movement.

Belafonte not only participated in protest marches and benefit concerts, but helped organize and raise support for them. He worked closely with his friend and generational peer the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., often intervening on his behalf with both politicians and fellow entertainers and helping him financially. He risked his life and livelihood and set high standards for younger Black celebrities, scolding Jay Z and Beyonce for failing to meet their “social responsibilities,” and mentoring Usher, Common, Danny Glover and many others. In Spike Lee’s 2018 film “BlacKkKlansman,” he was fittingly cast as an elder statesman schooling young activists about the country’s past.

Belafonte’s friend, civil rights leader Andrew Young, would note that Belafonte was the rare person to grow more radical with age. He was ever engaged and unyielding, willing to take on Southern segregationists, Northern liberals, the billionaire Koch brothers and the country’s first Black president, Barack Obama, whom Belafonte would remember asking to cut him “some slack.”

Belafonte responded, “What makes you think that’s not what I’ve been doing?”

Belafonte had been a major artist since the 1950s. He won a Tony Award in 1954 for his starring role in John Murray Anderson’s “Almanac” and five years later became the first Black performer to win an Emmy for the TV special “Tonight with Harry Belafonte.”

In 1954, he co-starred with Dorothy Dandridge in the Otto Preminger-directed musical “Carmen Jones,” a popular breakthrough for an all-Black cast. The 1957 movie “Island in the Sun” was banned in several Southern cities, where theater owners were threatened by the Ku Klux Klan because of the film’s interracial romance between Belafonte and Joan Fontaine.

His “Calypso,” released in 1955, became the first officially certified million-selling album by a solo performer, and started a national infatuation with Caribbean rhythms (Belafonte was nicknamed, reluctantly, the “King of Calypso″). Admirers of Belafonte included a young Bob Dylan, who debuted on record in the early ’60s by playing harmonica on Belafonte’s “Midnight Special.”

“Harry was the best balladeer in the land and everybody knew it,” Dylan later wrote. “He was a fantastic artist, sang about lovers and slaves — chain gang workers, saints and sinners and children. … Harry was that rare type of character that radiates greatness, and you hope that some of it rubs off on you.”

Belafonte befriended King in the spring of 1956 after the young civil rights leader called and asked for a meeting. They spoke for hours, and Belafonte would remember feeling King raised him to the “higher plane of social protest.” Then at the peak of his singing career, Belafonte was soon producing a benefit concert for the bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama that helped make King a national figure. By the early 1960s, he had decided to make civil rights his priority.

“I was having almost daily talks with Martin,” Belafonte wrote in his memoir “My Song,” published in 2011. “I realized that the movement was more important than anything else.”

The Kennedys were among the first politicians to seek his opinions, which he willingly shared. John F. Kennedy, at a time when Blacks were as likely to vote for Republicans as for Democrats, was so anxious for his support that during the 1960 election he visited Belafonte at his Manhattan home. Belafonte schooled Kennedy on the importance of King, and arranged for them to speak.

“I was quite taken by the fact that he (Kennedy) knew so little about the Black community,” Belafonte told NBC in 2013. “He knew the headlines of the day, but he wasn’t really anywhere nuanced or detailed on the depth of Black anguish or what our struggle’s really about.”

Belafonte would often criticize the Kennedys for their reluctance to challenge the Southern segregationists who were then a substantial part of the Democratic Party. He argued with Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, the president’s brother, over the government’s failure to protect the “Freedom Riders” trying to integrate bus stations. He was among the Black activists at a widely publicized meeting with the attorney general, when playwright Lorraine Hansberry and others stunned Kennedy by questioning whether the country even deserved Black allegiance.

“Bobby turned red at that. I had never seen him so shaken,” Belafonte later wrote.

In 1963, Belafonte was deeply involved with the March on Washington. He recruited his close friend Sidney Poitier, Paul Newman and other celebrities and persuaded the left-wing Marlon Brando to co-chair the Hollywood delegation with the more conservative Charlton Heston, a pairing designed to appeal to the broadest possible audience. In 1964, he and Poitier personally delivered tens of thousands of dollars to activists in Mississippi after three “Freedom Summer” volunteers were murdered — the two celebrities were chased by car at one point by members of the KKK. The following year, he brought in Tony Bennett, Joan Baez and other singers to perform for the marchers in Selma, Alabama.

When King was assassinated, in 1968, Belafonte helped pick out the suit he was buried in, sat next to his widow, Coretta, at the funeral, and continued to support his family, in part through an insurance policy he had taken out on King in his lifetime.

“Much of my political outlook was already in place when I encountered Dr. King,” Belafonte later wrote. “I was well on my way and utterly committed to the civil rights struggle. I came to him with expectations and he affirmed them.”

King’s death left Belafonte isolated from the civil rights community. He was turned off by the separatist beliefs of Stokely Carmichael and other “Black Power” activists and had little chemistry with King’s designated successor, the Rev. Ralph Abernathy. But the entertainer’s causes extended well beyond the U.S.

He mentored South African singer and activist Miriam Makeba and helped introduce her to American audiences, the two winning a Grammy in 1964 for the concert record “An Evening With Belafonte/Makeba.” He coordinated Nelson Mandela’s first visit to the U.S. since being released from prison in 1990. A few years earlier, he initiated the all-star, million-selling “We Are the World” recording, the Grammy-winning charity song for famine relief in Africa.

Belafonte’s early life and career paralleled those of Poitier, who died in 2022. Both spent part of their childhoods in the Caribbean and ended up in New York. Both served in the military during World War II, acted in the American Negro Theatre and then broke into film. Poitier shared his belief in civil rights, but still dedicated much of his time to acting, a source of some tension between them. While Poitier had a sustained and historic run in the 1960s as a leading man and box office success, Belafonte grew tired of acting and turned down parts he regarded as “neutered.″

“Sidney radiated a truly saintly dignity and calm. Not me,″ Belafonte wrote in his memoir. “I didn’t want to tone down my sexuality, either. Sidney did that in every role he took.″

Belafonte was very much a human being. He acknowledged extra-marital affairs, negligence as a parent and a frightening temper, driven by lifelong insecurity. “Woe to the musician who missed his cue, or the agent who fouled up a booking,″ he confided.

In his memoir, he chastised Poitier for a “radical breach″ by backing out on a commitment to star as Mandela in a TV miniseries Belafonte had conceived, then agreeing to play Mandela for a rival production. He became so estranged from King’s widow and children that he was not asked to speak at her funeral. In 2013, he sued three of King’s children over control of some of the civil rights leader’s personal papers. In his memoir, he would allege that the King children were more interested in “selling trinkets and memorabilia” than in serious thought.

He made news years earlier when he compared Colin Powell, the first Black secretary of state, to a slave “permitted to come into the house of the master” for his service in the George W. Bush administration. He was in Washington in January 2009 as Obama was inaugurated, officiating along with Baez and others at a gala called the Inaugural Peace Ball. But Belafonte would later criticize Obama for failing to live up to his promise and lacking “fundamental empathy with the dispossessed, be they white or Black.”

Belafonte did occasionally serve in government, as cultural adviser for the Peace Corps during the Kennedy administration and decades later as goodwill ambassador for UNICEF. For his film and music career, he received the motion picture academy’s Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, a National Medal of Arts, a Grammy for lifetime achievement and numerous other honorary prizes. He found special pleasure in winning a New York Film Critics Award in 1996 for his work as a gangster in Robert Altman’s “Kansas City.”

“I’m as proud of that film critics’ award as I am of all my gold records,” he wrote in his memoir.

He was married three times, most recently to photographer Pamela Frank, and had four children. Three of them — Shari, David and Gina — became actors.

Harry Belafonte was born Harold George Bellanfanti Jr. in 1927, in a community of West Indians in Harlem. His father was a seaman and cook with Dutch and Jamaican ancestry and his mother, part Scottish, worked as a domestic. Both parents were undocumented immigrants and Belafonte recalled living “an underground life, as criminals of a sort, on the run.″

The household was violent: Belafonte sustained brutal beatings from his father, and he was sent to live for several years with relatives in Jamaica. Belafonte was a poor reader — he was probably dyslexic, he later realized — and dropped out of high school, soon joining the Navy. While in the service, he read “Color and Democracy’’ by the Black scholar W.E.B. Du Bois and was deeply affected, calling it the start of his political education.

After the war, he found a job in New York as an assistant janitor for some apartment buildings. One tenant liked him enough to give him free tickets to a play at the American Negro Theatre, a community repertory for black performers. Belafonte was so impressed that he joined as a volunteer, then as an actor. Poitier was a peer, both of them “skinny, brooding and vulnerable within our hard shells of self-protection,″ Belafonte later wrote.

Belafonte met Brando, Walter Matthau and other future stars while taking acting classes at the New School for Social Research. Brando was an inspiration as an actor, and he and Belafonte became close, sometimes riding on Brando’s motorcycle or double dating or playing congas together at parties. Over the years, Belafonte’s political and artistic lives would lead to friendships with everyone from Frank Sinatra and Lester Young to Eleanor Roosevelt and Fidel Castro.

His early stage credits included “Days of Our Youth″ and Sean O’Casey’s “Juno and the Peacock,″ a play Belafonte remembered less because of his own performance than because of a backstage visitor, Robeson, the actor, singer and activist.

“What I remember more than anything Robeson said, was the love he radiated, and the profound responsibility he felt, as an actor, to use his platform as a bully pulpit,″ Belafonte wrote in his memoir. His friendship with Robeson and support for left-wing causes eventually brought trouble from the government. FBI agents visited him at home and allegations of Communism nearly cost him an appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.″ Leftists suspected, and Belafonte emphatically denied, that he had named names of suspected Communists so he could perform on Sullivan’s show.

By the 1950s, Belafonte was also singing, finding gigs at the Blue Note, the Vanguard and other clubs — he was backed for one performance by Charlie Parker and Max Roach — and becoming immersed in folk, blues, jazz and the calypso he had heard while living in Jamaica. Starting in 1954, he released such top 10 albums as “Mark Twain and Other Folk Favorites″ and “Belafonte,″ and his popular singles included “Mathilda,″ “Jamaica Farewell″ and “The Banana Boat Song,″ a reworked Caribbean ballad that was a late addition to his “Calypso″ record.

“We found ourselves one or two songs short, so we threw in `Day-O’ as filler,″ Belafonte wrote in his memoir.

He was a superstar, but one criticized, and occasionally sued, for taking traditional material and not sharing the profits. Belafonte expressed regret and also worried about being typecast as a calypso singer, declining for years to sing “Day-O″ live after he gave television performances against banana boat backdrops.

Belafonte was the rare young artist to think about the business side of show business. He started one of the first all-Black music publishing companies. He produced plays, movies and TV shows, including Off-Broadway’s “To Be Young, Gifted, and Black,” in 1969. He was the first Black person to produce for TV.

Belafonte made history in 1968 by filling in for Johnny Carson on the “Tonight” show for a full week. Later that year, a simple, spontaneous gesture led to another milestone. Appearing on a taped TV special starring Petula Clark, Belafonte joined the British singer on the anti-war song “On the Path of Glory.″ At one point, Clark placed a hand on Belafonte’s arm. The show’s sponsor, Chrysler, demanded the segment be reshot. Clark and Belafonte resisted, successfully, and for the first time a man and woman of different colors touched on national television.

In the 1970s, he returned to movie acting, co-starring with Poitier in “Buck and the Preacher,″ a commercial flop, the raucous and popular comedy “Uptown Saturday Night.” His other film credits include “Bobby,″ “White Man’s Burden,″ and cameos in Altman’s “The Player″ and “Ready to Wear.″ He also appeared in the Altman-directed TV series “Tanner on Tanner″ and was among those interviewed for “When the Levees Broke,″ Spike Lee’s HBO documentary about Hurricane Katrina. In 2011, HBO aired a documentary about Belafonte, “Sing Your Song.”

Mindful to the end that he grew up in poverty, Belafonte did not think of himself as an artist who became an activist, but an activist who happened to be an artist.

“When you grow up, son,″ Belafonte remembered his mother telling him, “never go to bed at night knowing that there was something you could have done during the day to strike a blow against injustice and you didn’t do it.″

In addition to his wife, Belafonte is survived by his children Adrienne Belafonte Biesemeyer, Shari Belafonte, Gina Belafonte and David Belafonte; two stepchildren, Sarah Frank and Lindsey Frank; and eight grandchildren.

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Associated Press writer Mike Stewart contributed to this report.

KSL 5 TV Live

Taking a look back at 60 seasons of Ballet West

SALT LAKE CITY — Ballet West is preparing to celebrate a milestone — its 60th season.

“I think the magic of Ballet West is that it has such a great and long history,” said Adam Sklute, artistic director for Ballet West.

The celebration was also a reason to look back.

“I think Ballet West has really succeeded all these years because we follow the lead of Willam Christensen.”

It began with Christian Christensen and his brother, Peter, who opened a dance and music center in Brigham City in 1903.

Christian’s sons — Harold, Willam and Lew — studied at the academy.

“And from there, it was a starting place for my grandfather and his brothers,” said Sarah West, Willam’s granddaughter.

The brothers became Vaudeville performers and then founded the Portland Ballet, the San Francisco Ballet and Ballet West.

“I just remember family gatherings in San Francisco, people telling stories and the family danced,” West said.

The year was 1992. Willam retired from Ballet West, and at age 89, was still teaching dance at the University of Utah. With his arm around a young dancer and both swinging in a circle, he exclaimed, “Then you paddle like a son-of-a-gun!”

Tom Michel, vice president of development and marketing for Ballet West in 2016, underscored the importance of the Christensen Academy in Brigham City.

“What happened in this building continues to grow ballet not only in this state, but across the country and across the planet,” he said.

The greatest example of that is “The Nutcracker.” In December of 1945 in San Francisco, Willam choreographed the first American production of that ballet. It was a huge success.

He told KSL’s Carole Mikita in 1988, “It was sold out! We hadn’t even opened yet, so we added another matinee and that was sold out!”

His choreography became a Utah tradition and was the inspiration behind thousands of “ Nutcracker” productions throughout the country.

Former principal dancer, Christopher Ruud, said what so many echo.

“In that way, Nutcracker became Christmas for me. Christmas and Nutcracker are completely inextricable.”

Ruud had a 20-year career with the company, but he said each time he heard that famous Tchaikovsky music, he remembered his own childhood and his parents, who were both Ballet West dancers.

The competitive, exhausting, body-pushing side of the ballet took center stage in a 2012 BBC Worldwide production called “Breaking Point.”

Producers auditioned 20 American dance companies before choosing Ballet West.

“They really wanted to set the record straight about ballet and ballet in America, what a dancer’s life was like, what being a professional ballet company was like,” Sklute said.

Tom Mattingly was a soloist in 2012.

“Most people don’t really understand what it means to be a ballet dancer. They don’t understand that it’s our full-time job.”

Nor did people understand what their lives were like. Cameras followed 10 dancers for six weeks, even to their homes. They looked at the focus, the dedication and the hunt for perfection.

“There’s no end to it. You can always be better,” said Allison DeBona, a demi-soloist in 2012. “We really want to show the world how it is to live the life of a ballet dancer and what we do to give everything we’ve got to become successful.”

Through the decades, Ballet West has produced beloved classics alongside modern works and new works from both well-known and up-and-coming choreographers.

And by invitation, Ballet West will perform next season at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City and The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Sklute said the company must continue to evolve.

“I’m always working to keep Ballet West as current as possible while honoring the history and tradition.”

Ballet West’s 60th anniversary — making a statement about its place in our state and its vision for the future.

KSL 5 TV Live

New art exhibition showcases ‘The Dean of Utah Artists,’ James Taylor Harwood

SALT LAKE CITY —  An exhibition will showcase more than 60 works from private and public collections by artist, James Taylor Harwood (1860-1940) at Anthony’s Fine Art in Salt Lake City.

Harwood was an internationally known artist born to Mormon pioneers in Lehi, Utah. He was the first Utah artist ever accepted to the École des Beaux Arts in Paris, then the world’s most
prestigious art school, where he worked alongside Henry Ossawa Tanner, William Bouguereau and Jean-Léon Gérôme.

Harwood painted scenes of Italy, France, California and Utah. According to a release from the exhibition states his paintings “now hang in public institutions; but, some of his most important works are only found in private homes, unseen for nearly 100 years.”

Harwood exhibited his works at the highly competitive Salon des Artistes Francais — where less than one percent of submissions were accepted— for several years. He often sent works painted from his home located near Liberty Park.

Harwood taught art, first in a private studio in Salt Lake, then at Salt Lake High (now West High School), and finally at the University of Utah where he was appointed President of the Art Institute and earned the informal title, “Dean of Utah Artists.”

According to a release about Harwood it states, “His students dominated the region through paintings and as the leaders of institutions. His students include Alice Merrill Horne (Founding Director of the Utah Division of Arts & Museums), Florence Ware (University Professor and President of the Association of Utah Artists), the “Mormon Art Missionaries” ( John Hafen, JB Fairbanks, Herman Haag, Edwin Evans, and Lorus Pratt, who founded the Springville Museum of Art and painted the interior of the Salt Lake Temple), Mahonri Young (Internationally- renowned sculptor and painter; maker of the This Is the Place Monument.), to name only a few of Harwood’s artistic progeny.”

The exhibition will be held April 20 – June 16, at Anthony’s Fine Art 401 East 200 South, Salt Lake City, Utah. The gallery is open Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information visit their website. 

KSL 5 TV Live

Lance Reddick, ‘The Wire’ and ‘John Wick’ star, dies at 60

NEW YORK (AP) — Lance Reddick, a character actor who specialized in intense, icy and possibly sinister authority figures on TV and film, including “The Wire,” “Fringe” and the “John Wick” franchise, has died. He was 60.

Reddick died “suddenly” Friday morning, his publicist Mia Hansen said in a statement, attributing his death to natural causes. No further details were provided.

Wendell Pierce, Reddick’s co-star on “The Wire” paid tribute on Twitter. “A man of great strength and grace,” he wrote. “As talented a musician as he was an actor. The epitome of class.” “John Wick — Chapter Four” director Chad Stahelski and star Keanu Reeves said they were dedicating the upcoming film to Reddick and were “deeply saddened and heartbroken at the loss.”

Reddick was often put in a suit or a crisp uniform during his career, playing tall, taciturn and elegant men of distinction. He was best known for his role as straight-laced Lt. Cedric Daniels on the hit HBO series “The Wire,” where his character was agonizingly trapped in the messy politics of the Baltimore police department.

“The Wire” creator David Simon praised Reddick on Twitter: “Consummate professional, devoted collaborator, lovely and gentle man, loyal friend. Could go on, but no, I can’t go on. This is gutting. And way, way, way too soon.”

“I’m an artist at heart. I feel that I’m very good at what I do. When I went to drama school, I knew I was at least as talented as other students, but because I was a Black man and I wasn’t pretty, I knew I would have to work my butt off to be the best that I would be, and to be noticed,” Reddick told the Los Angeles Times in 2009.

Reddick also starred on the Fox series “Fringe” as a special agent Phillip Broyles, the smartly-dressed Matthew Abaddon on “Lost” and played the multi-skilled Continental Hotel concierge Charon in Lionsgate’s “John Wick” movies, including the fourth in the series that releases later this month.

“The world of Wick would not be what it is without Lance Reddick and the unparalleled depth he brought to Charon’s humanity and unflappable charisma. Lance leaves behind an indelible legacy and hugely impressive body of work, but we will remember him as our lovely, joyful friend and Concierge,” Lionsgate said in a statement.

Reddick earned a SAG Award nomination in 2021 as part of the ensemble for Regina King’s film “One Night in Miami.” He played recurring roles on “Intelligence” and “American Horror Story” and was on the show “Bosch” for its seven-year run.

His upcoming projects include 20th Century’s remake of “White Men Can’t Jump” and “Shirley,” Netflix’s biopic of former Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm. He was also slated to appear in the “John Wick” spinoff “Ballerina,” as well as “The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial.”

The Baltimore-born-and-raised Reddick was a Yale University drama school graduate who enjoyed some success after school by landing guest or recurring roles “CSI: Miami” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” He also appeared in several movies, including “I Dreamed of Africa,” “The Siege” and “Great Expectations.”

It was on season four of “Oz,” playing a doomed undercover officer sent to prison who becomes an addict, that Reddick had a career breakthrough.

“I was never interested in television. I always saw it as a means to an end. Like so many actors, I was only interested in doing theater and film. But ‘Oz’ changed television. It was the beginning of HBO’s reign on quality, edgy, artistic stuff. Stuff that harkens back to great cinema of the ’60s and ’70s,” he told The Associated Press in 2011.

“When the opportunity for ‘Oz’ came up, I jumped. And when I read the pilot for ‘The Wire,’ as a guy that never wanted to be on television, I realized I had to be on this show.”

Reddick attended the prestigious Eastman School of Music, where he studied classical composition, and he played piano. His first album, the jazzy “Contemplations and Remembrances,” came out in 2011.

He had a recurring role as Jeffrey Tetazoo, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, on the CBS series “Intelligence.” On “American Horror Story: Coven,” he portrayed Papa Legba, the go-between between humanity and the spirit world.

Reddick is survived by his wife, Stephanie Reddick, and children, Yvonne Nicole Reddick and Christopher Reddick.

His death was first reported by celebrity website TMZ.com.

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Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits

KSL 5 TV Live

Lloyd Morrisett, who helped launch ‘Sesame Street,’ dies

NEW YORK (AP) — Lloyd Morrisett, the co-creator of the beloved children’s education TV series “Sesame Street,” which uses empathy and fuzzy monsters like Abby Cadabby, Elmo and Cookie Monster to charm and teach generations around the world, has died. He was 93.

Morrisett’s death was announced Tuesday by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit he helped establish under the name the Children’s Television Workshop. No cause of death was given.

In a statement, Sesame Workshop hailed Morrisett as a “wise, thoughtful, and above all kind leader” who was “constantly thinking about new ways” to educate.

Morrisett and Joan Ganz Cooney worked with Harvard University developmental psychologist Gerald Lesser to build the show’s unique approach to teaching that now reaches 120 million children. Legendary puppeteer Jim Henson supplied the critters.

“Sesame Street” is shown in more than 150 countries, has won 193 Emmys, 10 Grammys and in 2019 received the Kennedy Center Honor for lifetime artistic achievement, the first time a television program got the award (Big Bird strolled down the aisle and basically sat in Tom Hanks’ lap).

Born in 1929 in Oklahoma City, Morrisett initially trained to be a teacher with a background in psychology. He became an experimental educator, looking for new ways to educate children from less advantaged backgrounds. Morrisett received his bachelor’s at Oberlin College, did graduate work in psychology at UCLA, and earned his doctorate in experimental psychology at Yale University. He was an Oberlin trustee for many years and was chair of the board from 1975 to 1981.

The germ of “Sesame Street” was sown over a dinner party in 1966, where he met Cooney.

“I said, ‘Joan, do you think television could be used to teach young children?’ Her answer was, ‘I don’t know, but I’d like to talk about it,’” he recalled to The Guardian in 2004.

The first episode of “Sesame Street” — sponsored by the letters W, S and E and the numbers 2 and 3 — aired in the fall of 1969. It was a turbulent time in America, rocked by the Vietnam War and raw from the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. the year before.

Children’s programming at the time was made up of shows like “Captain Kangaroo,” “Romper Room” and the often violent cartoon skirmishes between “Tom & Jerry.” “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” was mostly teaching social skills.

“Sesame Street” was designed by education professionals and child psychologists with one goal: to help low-income and minority students aged 2-5 overcome some of the deficiencies they had when entering school. Social scientists had long noted kids who were white and from higher-income families were often better prepared.

The show was set on an urban street with a multicultural cast. Diversity and inclusion were baked into the show. Monsters, humans and animals all lived together peacefully.

It became the first children’s program to feature someone with Down syndrome. It’s had puppets with HIV and in foster care, invited children in wheelchairs, dealt with topics like jailed parents, homelessness, women’s rights, military families and even girls singing about loving their hair.

It introduced the bilingual Rosita — the first Latina Muppet — in 1991. Julia, a 4-year-old Muppet with autism, came in 2017 and the show has since offered help for kids whose parents are dealing with addiction and recovery, and children suffering as a result of the Syrian civil war. To help kids after 9/11, Elmo was left traumatized by a fire at Hooper’s store but was soothingly told that firefighters were there to help.

The company said upon the news of his death that Lloyd left “an outsized and indelible legacy among generations of children the world over, with ‘Sesame Street’ only the most visible tribute to a lifetime of good work and lasting impact.”

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Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits

KSL 5 TV Live

Actor Kevin Spacey to face 7 additional sex charges in UK

LONDON (AP) — Actor Kevin Spacey will be charged with seven further sex offenses in Britain, all relating to the same alleged victim, U.K. prosecutors said Wednesday. It brings the number of charges the Hollywood star faces in the U.K. to 12.

Britain’s Crown Prosecution said Wednesday that charges against the former “House of Cards” star are three of indecent assault, three of sexual assault and one of causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent. The charges relate to incidents between 2001 and 2004.

The prosecuting authority approved the charges following “a review of the evidence gathered by the Metropolitan Police in its investigation,” said Rosemary Ainslie, head of the CPS Special Crime Division.

Spacey, a double Academy Award winner, has already pleaded not guilty to charges that he sexually assaulted three men between 2004 and 2015 when he was the artistic director at the Old Vic theater in London.

His trial is due to start on June 6, 2023 and last for three to four weeks. It is likely to be at the Old Bailey, the venue for Britain’s highest-profile criminal trials.

He also faces a Dec. 16 court hearing on the new charges.

Spacey, who has addresses in London and the U.S., was granted bail and allowed to return to the United States after a preliminary hearing in June.

Spacey, 63, won a best supporting actor Academy Award for the 1995 film “The Usual Suspects” and a lead actor Oscar for the 1999 movie “American Beauty.”

His celebrated career came to an abrupt halt in 2017 when actor Anthony Rapp accused the star of assaulting him at a party in the 1980s, when Rapp was a teenager. Last month, a jury at a civil trial in New York cleared Spacey of those allegations.

KSL 5 TV Live

Jules Bass, who brought ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ to TV, dies at 87

(CNN) — What kind of Christmas would it be without the resourceful Rudolph or Hermey the aspiring dentist, without friendly Frosty or the dastardly Heat and Snow Misers?

Jules Bass brought them all to vivid, animated life on TV. And with his producing and directing partner Arthur Rankin Jr., he didn’t just contribute indelible classics to the canon of Christmas specials — he helped popularize the genre.

Bass, who helmed beloved animated Christmas specials like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Frosty the Snowman,” died this week, publicist Jennifer Ruff told CNN. He was 87.

Born Julius Bass, the Philadelphia native attended college in New York City, where he met Rankin. The pair, then employed at an advertising agency, teamed up first to create commercials but yearned to move into creative programming.

After Rankin toured a Tokyo animation studio, he and Bass decided to create a series in stop-motion animation, a technique they’d call “Animagic.” Their first effort was the children’s show “The New Adventures of Pinocchio,” also the first series produced by the company that would become Rankin/Bass Animated Entertainment.

But the duo left a permanent mark on TV with the 1964 debut of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” a stop-motion special based on the Christmas story and popular song. The 55-minute special expanded the story to include a crew of misfit toys, a snowman narrator voiced by Burl Ives, a too-skinny Santa and a bizarre mustachioed prospector named Yukon Cornelius.

“Rudolph’s” unique animation style and lovable cast made it a hit among critics — the New York Times called it a “charming and tuneful hour of fantasy” — and audiences. It’s since become one of the longest-running Christmas specials in history, airing on TV nearly every year since its first run.

The pair went on to create more Christmas specials in stop-motion, like “The Year Without a Santa Claus” and “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” as well as traditionally animated hits like “Frosty the Snowman.” Many of those specials still air every year between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

Bass and Rankin worked together for decades, crafting stop-motion feature films like “Mad Monster Party” and animated adaptations of “The Hobbit” and “The Return of the King.” The duo also produced the cult-classic TV series “Thundercats.” They continued working together until Rankin/Bass shut down for good in 1987, though they’d reunite once more for a 2001 special called “Santa, Baby!”

“A partnership comes from two people who support each other and complement each other,” Rankin said in an interview about his work with Bass. Rankin died in 2014 at age 89.

Bass’ artistic partner was the more vocal of the two, and he regularly handled interviews and press for their projects, said Rick Goldschmidt, a former colleague of the pair who wrote “The Enchanted World of Rankin/Bass.” Bass was content to stay out of the limelight and continue his work, which included writing the children’s picture book “Herb, the Vegetarian Dragon” and the romantic novel “Headhunters,” which became a 2011 film called “Monte Carlo” starring Selena Gomez. An “incredible chef,” according to Ruff, Bass also created a children’s cookbook of vegetarian recipes featuring, naturally, Herb the dragon.

In the 2010s, he attempted to mount a musical about composer Oliver Messiaen, who composed music while imprisoned at a German POW camp. The show never made it to Broadway, but Bass’ own affinity for music shone through in his various projects. He penned lyrics to beloved songs in many of the films he co-directed, including the themes for both Heat and Snow Misers in “The Year Without a Santa Claus” and “The Greatest Adventure” from “The Hobbit.”

The latter song was a simple but stirring tale that encapsulated Bilbo Baggins’ life-changing decision in just a few lines, and remains one of Bass’ most touching creations: “The greatest adventure is what lies ahead; today and tomorrow are yet to be said. The chances, the changes are all yours to make. The mold of your life is in your hands to break.”


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KSL 5 TV Live

I AM The Journey Features Artists from Many Backgrounds

In January 2020, the Center for Latter-day Saint Arts announced a new program of grants for artists and scholars from diverse communities. The end result of these grants was a production and art exhibit called; I AM THE JOURNEY. It was a celebration of global Latter-day Saint voices through art, music and dance. The purpose of this program was to honor diverse cultural legacies through a shared artistic community.

 

The grants were funded by the Center for Latter-day Saint Arts and were made available to anyone worldwide who self-identified as part of the Black, Indigenous or People of Color (BIPOC) Latter-day Saint community.

Twenty grants were awarded to visual artists, writers, composer, dramatists, and scholars. These works were displayed in the Conference Center lobby and on the stage at the conference center in Salt Lake City. It was an evening of entertainment and connection.

Kevin and Lita Giddins from the Center’s Race, Diversity & Inclusion Committee spearheaded the program and were the visionaries behind the I AM project.

Kevin said, “it’s important to engage with artists of color so we can hear their stories in the way they tell history.”

According to Mykal Urbina the Executive Director for the Center for Latter-day Saint Arts, “The Center is committed to sharing the more global story of Latter-day Saints and to creating programs that amplify BIPOC artists.”

To see more about this program Watch for I AM The Journey this Saturday at Noon on KSL TV.

KSL 5 TV Live

Kevin Spacey charged in UK with 4 counts of sexual assault

LONDON (AP) — British prosecutors said Thursday they have charged actor Kevin Spacey with four counts of sexual assault against three men, an announcement that came as the actor was in court in New York testifying in a different case.

The Crown Prosecution Service said Spacey “has also been charged with causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent.” The alleged incidents took place in London between March 2005 and August 2008, and one in western England in April 2013. The alleged victims are now in their 30s and 40s.

Rosemary Ainslie, head of the service’s Special Crime Division, said the charges followed a review of evidence gathered by London’s Metropolitan Police.

Spacey, a 62-year-old double Academy Award winner, was questioned by British police in 2019 about claims by several men that he had assaulted them. The former “House of Cards” star ran London’s Old Vic Theatre between 2004 and 2015.

Spacey won a best supporting actor Academy Award for the 1995 film “The Usual Suspects” and a lead actor Oscar for the 1999 movie “American Beauty.”

But his celebrated career came to an abrupt halt in 2017 when actor Anthony Rapp accused the star of assaulting him at a party in the 1980s, when Rapp was a teenager. Spacey denies the allegations.

Spacey testified Thursday in a courtroom in New York City in the civil lawsuit filed by Rapp. Spacey didn’t respond to reporters as he left the courthouse talking on his mobile phone.

The new criminal charges were mentioned briefly by Rapp’s lawyers during the court hearing, and Spacey’s lawyers were asked about it by reporters during a break in testimony. They declined to comment.

Another criminal case brought against Spacey, an indecent assault and battery charge stemming from the alleged groping of an 18-year-old man at a Nantucket resort, was dismissed by Massachusetts prosecutors in 2019.

Thursday’s court session in New York City dealt with a technical issue in the civil lawsuit, whether it was better handled in a federal or state U.S. court. Spacey was called to testify about where he lived, not about the truthfulness of the allegations against him.

Spacey testified that his main residence and domicile is in Baltimore, where he moved for the filming of “House of Cards.” He said he was “beguiled by its charm, its beauty.” But he also testified about his time living in London as the artistic director of the Old Vic.

“It was extremely important to me that I endear myself to the British public, that I’m not running away,” he said, noting that his start there was troubled by a “disastrous production” in 2005 of Arthur Miller’s last play.

But, he said, “I’m an American citizen. Once the job was done, I came back to America.”

He said he made a trip to London in February 2020 for a possible film, but then the pandemic hit. His U.S. doctor recommended that he stay there, where he resided until the following September, when his visa expired and he flew to Los Angeles for an arbitration proceeding.

He said he has not been back to the U.K. since then.

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Associated Press writer Larry Neumeister contributed to this report from New York.

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Corrects story to reflect that it was Rapp’s lawyers, not Spacey’s, who brought up the criminal charges in court.

KSL 5 TV Live

Fashion designer Virgil Abloh dies of cancer at 41

NEW YORK (AP) — Virgil Abloh, a leading designer whose groundbreaking fusions of streetwear and high couture made him one of the most celebrated tastemakers in fashion and beyond, has died of cancer. He was 41.

Abloh’s death was announced Sunday by the luxury group LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy) and Abloh’s own Off-White label, which he founded in 2013. Abloh was the artistic director for Louis Vuitton’s menswear, but his ubiquitous, consumer-friendly presence in culture was wide-ranging and dynamic. Some compared him to Jeff Koons. Others hailed him as his generation’s Karl Lagerfeld.

“We are all shocked after this terrible news. Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom,” Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive of LVMH, said in a statement.

A statement from Abloh’s family on the designer’s Instagram account said Abloh was diagnosed two years ago with cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare form of cancer in which a tumor occurs in the heart.

“He chose to endure his battle privately since his diagnosis in 2019, undergoing numerous challenging treatments, all while helming several significant institutions that span fashion, art, and culture,” the statement read.

In 2018, Abloh became the first Black artistic director of men’s wear at Louis Vuitton in the French design house’s storied history. A first generation Ghanaian American whose seamstress mother taught him to sew, Abloh had no formal fashion training but had a degree in engineering and a master’s in architecture.

Abloh, who grew up in Rockford, Illinois, outside of Chicago, was often referred to as a Renaissance man in the fashion world. He moonlighted as a DJ. But in a short time, he emerged as one of fashion’s most heralded designers. Abloh called himself “a maker.” He was named one of Time magazine’s most influential people in 2018.

In 2009, Abloh met Kanye West — now called Ye — while he was working at a screen-printing store. After he and Ye interned together at the LVMH brand Fendi, Abloh was Ye’s creative director. Abloh was art director for the 2011 Ye-Jay-Z album “Watch the Throne,” for which Abloh was nominated for a Grammy.

Abloh’s work with West served as a blueprint for future border-crossing collaborations that married high and low. With Nike, he partnered his Off-White label for a line of frenzy-inducing sneakers remixed with a variety of styles and Helvetica fonts. Abloh also designed furniture for IKEA, refillable bottles for Evian and Big Mac cartons for McDonald’s. His work was exhibited at the Louvre, the Gagosian and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

Abloh’s death stunned the entertainment world. Actor Riz Ahmed said on Twitter that Abloh “stretched culture and changed the game.” Fashion designer Jeff Staple wrote, “You taught us all how to dream.” Pharrell Williams called Abloh “a kind, generous, thoughtful creative genius.”

Abloh took what he called a “3% approach” to fashion — that a new design could be created by changing an original by 3%. Critics said Abloh was more brilliant at repackaging than creating something new. But Abloh’s style was also self-aware — quotation marks were a trademark label for him — and high-minded.

“Streetwear in my mind is linked to Duchamp,” Abloh told the New Yorker in 2019. “It’s this idea of the readymade. I’m talking Lower East Side, New York. It’s like hip-hop. It’s sampling. I take James Brown, I chop it up, I make a new song.”

Stars lined up to be dressed by Abloh. Beyoncé, Michael B. Jordan, Kim Kardashian West, Timothée Chalamet and Serena Williams have worn his clothes.

Abloh’s Off-White label, which LVMH acquired a majority stake in earlier this year, made him an arbiter of cool. But his appointment at Louis Vuitton brought Abloh to the apex of an industry he was once a scrappy outsider in — and made Abloh one of the most powerful Black executives in a historically closed fashion world.

As Abloh prepared for his debut menswear show in 2018, he told GQ, “I now have a platform to change the industry.”

“We’re designers, so we can start a trend, we can highlight issues, we can make a lot of people focus on something or we can cause a lot of people to focus on ourselves,” Abloh said. “I’m not interested in (the latter). I’m interested in using my platform as one of a very small group of African-American males to design a house, to sort of show people in a poetic way.”

Abloh is survived by his wife Shannon Abloh and his children, Lowe and Grey.

KSL 5 TV Live

Towering musical theater master Stephen Sondheim dies at 91

NEW YORK (AP) — Stephen Sondheim, the songwriter who reshaped the American musical theater in the second half of the 20th century with his intelligent, intricately rhymed lyrics, his use of evocative melodies and his willingness to tackle unusual subjects, has died. He was 91.

Sondheim’s death was announced by Rick Miramontez, president of DKC/O&M. Sondheim’s Texas-based attorney, Rick Pappas, told The New York Times the composer died Friday at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut.

Sondheim influenced several generations of theater songwriters, particularly with such landmark musicals as “Company,” “Follies” and “Sweeney Todd,” which are considered among his best work. His most famous ballad, “Send in the Clowns,” has been recorded hundreds of times, including by Frank Sinatra and Judy Collins.

The artist refused to repeat himself, finding inspiration for his shows in such diverse subjects as an Ingmar Bergman movie (“A Little Night Music”), the opening of Japan to the West (“Pacific Overtures”), French painter Georges Seurat (“Sunday in the Park With George”), Grimm’s fairy tales (“Into the Woods”) and even the killers of American presidents (“Assassins”), among others.

Tributes quickly flooded social media as performers and writers alike saluted a giant of the theater. “We shall be singing your songs forever,” wrote Lea Salonga. Aaron Tveit wrote: “We are so lucky to have what you’ve given the world.”

“The theater has lost one of its greatest geniuses and the world has lost one of its greatest and most original writers. Sadly, there is now a giant in the sky. But the brilliance of Stephen Sondheim will still be here as his legendary songs and shows will be performed for evermore,” producer Cameron Mackintosh wrote in tribute.

Six of Sondheim’s musicals won Tony Awards for best score, and he also received a Pulitzer Prize (“Sunday in the Park”), an Academy Award (for the song “Sooner or Later” from the film “Dick Tracy”), five Olivier Awards and the Presidential Medal of Honor. In 2008, he received a Tony Award for lifetime achievement.

Sondheim’s music and lyrics gave his shows a dark, dramatic edge, whereas before him, the dominant tone of musicals was frothy and comic. He was sometimes criticized as a composer of unhummable songs, a badge that didn’t bother Sondheim. Frank Sinatra, who had a hit with Sondheim’s “Send in the Clowns,” once complained: “He could make me a lot happier if he’d write more songs for saloon singers like me.”

To theater fans, Sondheim’s sophistication and brilliance made him an icon. A Broadway theater was named after him. A New York magazine cover asked “Is Sondheim God?” The Guardian newspaper once offered this question: “Is Stephen Sondheim the Shakespeare of musical theatre?”

A supreme wordsmith — and an avid player of word games — Sondheim’s joy of language shone through. “The opposite of left is right/The opposite of right is wrong/So anyone who’s left is wrong, right?” he wrote in “Anyone Can Whistle.” In “Company,” he penned the lines: “Good things get better/Bad gets worse/Wait — I think I meant that in reverse.”

He offered the three principles necessary for a songwriter in his first volume of collected lyrics — Content Dictates Form, Less Is More, and God Is in the Details. All these truisms, he wrote, were “in the service of Clarity, without which nothing else matters.” Together they led to stunning lines like: “It’s a very short road from the pinch and the punch to the paunch and the pouch and the pension.”

Taught by no less a genius than Oscar Hammerstein, Sondheim pushed the musical into a darker, richer and more intellectual place. “If you think of a theater lyric as a short story, as I do, then every line has the weight of a paragraph,” he wrote in his 2010 book, “Finishing the Hat,” the first volume of his collection of lyrics and comments.

Early in his career, Sondheim wrote the lyrics for two shows considered to be classics of the American stage, “West Side Story” (1957) and “Gypsy” (1959). “West Side Story,” with music by Leonard Bernstein, transplanted Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” to the streets and gangs of modern-day New York. “Gypsy,” with music by Jule Styne, told the backstage story of the ultimate stage mother and the daughter who grew up to be Gypsy Rose Lee.

It was not until 1962 that Sondheim wrote both music and lyrics for a Broadway show, and it turned out to be a smash — the bawdy “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” starring Zero Mostel as a wily slave in ancient Rome yearning to be free.

Yet his next show, “Anyone Can Whistle” (1964), flopped, running only nine performances but achieving cult status after its cast recording was released. Sondheim’s 1965 lyric collaboration with composer Richard Rodgers — “Do I Hear a Waltz?” — also turned out to be problematic. The musical, based on the play “The Time of the Cuckoo,” ran for six months but was an unhappy experience for both men, who did not get along.

It was “Company,” which opened on Broadway in April 1970, that cemented Sondheim’s reputation. The episodic adventures of a bachelor (played by Dean Jones) with an inability to commit to a relationship was hailed as capturing the obsessive nature of striving, self-centered New Yorkers. The show, produced and directed by Hal Prince, won Sondheim his first Tony for best score. “The Ladies Who Lunch” became a standard for Elaine Stritch.

The following year, Sondheim wrote the score for “Follies,” a look at the shattered hopes and disappointed dreams of women who had appeared in lavish Ziegfeld-style revues. The music and lyrics paid homage to great composers of the past such as Jerome Kern, Cole Porter the Gershwins.

In 1973, “A Little Night Music,” starring Glynis Johns and Len Cariou, opened. Based on Bergman’s “Smiles of a Summer Night,” this rueful romance of middle-age lovers contains the song “Send in the Clowns,” which gained popularity outside the show. A revival in 2009 starred Angela Lansbury and Catherine Zeta-Jones was nominated for a best revival Tony.

“Pacific Overtures,” with a book by John Weidman, followed in 1976. The musical, also produced and directed by Prince, was not a financial success, but it demonstrated Sondheim’s commitment to offbeat material, filtering its tale of the westernization of Japan through a hybrid American-Kabuki style.

In 1979, Sondheim and Prince collaborated on what many believe to be Sondheim’s masterpiece, the bloody yet often darkly funny “Sweeney Todd.” An ambitious work, it starred Cariou in the title role as a murderous barber whose customers end up in meat pies baked by Todd’s willing accomplice, played by Angela Lansbury.

The Sondheim-Prince partnership collapsed two years later, after “Merrily We Roll Along,” a musical that traced a friendship backward from its characters’ compromised middle age to their idealistic youth. The show, based on a play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, only ran two weeks on Broadway. But again, as with “Anyone Can Whistle,” its original cast recording helped “Merrily We Roll Along” to become a favorite among musical-theater buffs.

“Sunday in the Park,” written with James Lapine, may be Sondheim’s most personal show. A tale of uncompromising artistic creation, it told the story of artist Georges Seurat, played by Mandy Patinkin. The painter submerges everything in his life, including his relationship with his model (Bernadette Peters), for his art.) It was most recently revived on Broadway in 2017 with Jake Gyllenhaal.)

Three years after “Sunday” debuted, Sondheim collaborated again with Lapine, this time on the fairy-tale musical “Into the Woods.” The show starred Peters as a glamorous witch and dealt primarily with the turbulent relationships between parents and children, using such famous fairy-tale characters as Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel. It was most recently revived in the summer of 2012 in Central Park by The Public Theater.

“Assassins” opened off-Broadway in 1991 and it looked at the men and women who wanted to kill presidents, from John Wilkes Booth to John Hinckley. The show received mostly negative reviews in its original incarnation, but many of those critics reversed themselves 13 years later when the show was done on Broadway and won a Tony for best musical revival.

“Passion” was another severe look at obsession, this time a desperate woman, played by Donna Murphy, in love with a handsome soldier. Despite winning the best-musical Tony in 1994, the show barely managed a six-month run.

A new version of “The Frogs,” with additional songs by Sondheim and a revised book by Nathan Lane (who also starred in the production), played Lincoln Center during the summer of 2004. The show, based on the Aristophanes comedy, originally had been done 20 years earlier in the Yale University swimming pool.

One of his more troubled shows was “Road Show,” which reunited Sondheim and Weidman and spent years being worked on. This tale of the Mizner brothers, whose get-rich schemes in the early part of the 20th century finally made it to the Public Theater in 2008 after going through several different titles, directors and casts.

He had been working on a new musical with “Venus in Fur” playwright David Ives, who called his collaborator a genius. “Not only are his musicals brilliant, but I can’t think of another theater person who has so chronicled a whole age so eloquently,” Ives said in 2013. “He is the spirit of the age in a certain way.”

Sondheim was born March 22, 1930, into a wealthy family, the only son of dress manufacturer Herbert Sondheim and Helen Fox Sondheim. At 10, his parents divorced and Sondheim’s mother bought a house in Doylestown, Pa., where one of their Bucks County neighbors was lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II, whose son, James, was Sondheim’s roommate at boarding school. It was Oscar Hammerstein who became the young man’s professional mentor and a good friend.

He had a solitary childhood, once in which involved verbal abuse from his chilly mother. He received a letter in his 40s from her telling him that she regretted giving birth to him. He continued to support her financially and to see her occasionally but didn’t attend her funeral.

Sondheim attended Williams College in Massachusetts, where he majored in music. After graduation, he received a two-year fellowship to study with avant-garde composer Milton Babbitt.

One of Sondheim’s first jobs was writing scripts for the television show “Topper,” which ran for two years (1953-1955). At the same time, Sondheim wrote his first musical, “Saturday Night,” the story of a group of young people in Brooklyn in 1920s. It was to have opened on Broadway in 1955, but its producer died just as the musical was about to go into production, and the show was scrapped. “Saturday Night” finally arrived in New York in 1997 in a small, off-Broadway production.

Sondheim wrote infrequently for the movies. He collaborated with actor Anthony Perkins on the script for the 1973 murder mystery “The Last of Sheila,” and besides his work on “Dick Tracy” (1990), wrote scores for such movies as Alain Resnais’ “Stavisky” (1974) and Warren Beatty’s “Reds” (1981).

Over the years, there have been many Broadway revivals of Sondheim shows, especially “Gypsy,” which had reincarnations starring Angela Lansbury (1974), Tyne Daly (1989) and Peters (2003). But there also were productions of “A Funny Thing,” one with Phil Silvers in 1972 and another starring Nathan Lane in 1996; “Into the Woods” with Vanessa Williams in 2002; and even of Sondheim’s less successful shows such as “Assassins” and “Pacific Overtures,” both in 2004. “Sweeney Todd” has been produced in opera houses around the world. A reimagined “West Side Story” opened on Broadway in 2020 and a scrambled “Company” opened on Broadway in 2021 with the genders of the actors switched.

Sondheim’s songs have been used extensively in revues, the best-known being “Side by Side by Sondheim” (1976) on Broadway and “Putting It Together,” off-Broadway with Julie Andrews in 1992 and on Broadway with Carol Burnett in 1999. The New York Philharmonic put on a star-studded “Company” in 2011 with Neil Patrick Harris and Stephen Colbert. Tunes from his musicals have lately popped up everywhere from “Marriage Story” to “The Morning Show.”

An HBO documentary directed by Lapine, “Six by Sondheim,” aired in 2013 and revealed that he liked to compose lying down and sometimes enjoyed a cocktail to loosen up as he wrote. He even revealed that he really only fell in love after reaching 60, first with the dramatist Peter Jones and then in his last years with Jeff Romley.

In September 2010, the Henry Miller Theatre was renamed the Stephen Sondheim Theatre. “I’m deeply embarrassed. I’m thrilled, but deeply embarrassed,” he said as the sun fell over dozens of clapping admirers in Times Square. Then he revealed his perfectionist streak: “I’ve always hated my last name. It just doesn’t sing.”

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Utah Shakespeare Festival Returns For 2021 Season

CEDAR CITY, Utah — The Utah Shakespeare Festival has opened its season in Cedar City, celebrating a big anniversary and paying tribute to its founder.

COVID restrictions lifted just in time for the festival to open its three theatres and welcome audiences to what everyone hopes will be a very memorable season.

“Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me!” 

The words of a familiar song filled the air as the performers of The Green Show entertained an audience on the lawn outside the mainstage theatre before the Opening Night production.

These free shows are popular with both those who have tickets for evening productions and townspeople, men, women and children, who love to interact with singers, dancers, jugglers and in this rendition – mermaids!

This season, that interaction happens at a distance.

“There’s no blueprint for production theatre during a global pandemic,” said _______

Inside the Englestad open-air theatre, Executive Producer Frank Mack and Artistic Director Brian Vaughn, welcomed theatre-goers to the festival’s 60th anniversary by reminding everyone of the man who started it all.

“In the wake of the passing of our founder, Fred Adams, this is doubly moving,” said Vaughn as he touched his heart. “To be here, to see his dream realized, and for all of you to be here celebrating this unique spectacle of 60 years.”

In 1962, theatre professor Fred Adams came up with the idea to do Shakespeare during the summers at then Southern Utah State College. The vision grew, bringing more than 120,000 people to Cedar City every summer, and bringing a regional Tony Award in 2000.

All season, Fred, who died in February of 2020, will be remembered.

A special tribute evening has been planned for Sunday, Aug. 8.

Frank Mack, executive producer of The Utah Shakespeare Festival, paid tribute to the designers and crew who have been hard at work for months to prepare for the season.

“It’s out first year back after missing an entire season because of the pandemic, and that adds a really wonderful dimension to the performances,” said Mack.

And then, it happened — Act 1, Scene 1 of “Pericles.”

“To sing a song that old was sung,” said the title character.

Ticket sales are excellent, administrators said, with no social distancing or masks required.

Cast and crew called it a reunion.

Britannia Howe, director of both ” The Green Show” and ” Cymbeline,” described why theatre is so important this year.

“Post pandemic, it helps heal communities. As we gather together and we sit together in a space, we are able to have a context of all these different feelings we are experiencing,” she said.

At the outdoor theatre, the curtain went up on William Shakespeare’s “ Comedy of Errors.” The audience cheered and applauded one character’s attempts to carry multiple suitcases by picking up the final one in his teeth!

Utah Shakes, as so many call the festival, has opened for business, with a season built around overcoming, reconciliation and renewal.

“All of those things are representative of where we are currently in our world — about people coming back, finding love and moving on in the wake of great change,” said Vaughn.

Shakespeare Under the Stars and more is underway in Cedar City, with eight productions, some shows running until mid-October.

For details on the season and all of the extras, visit The Utah Shakespeare Festival website.

KSL 5 TV Live

Tokyo 2020: From Biles To Skateboarding – Here’s What We Missed

This was supposed to be a week of celebration in Tokyo. Japan would be opening its doors to the world and launching the 32nd Olympiad in the capital.

Instead, the postponement of the Games amid the Covid-19 pandemic means the wait goes on before new Olympic heroes emerge, unfamiliar sports captivate and legendary Olympic moments are made.

There is much to look forward to if and when the Games do begin on July 23, 2021, but it makes us long for what we missed this summer even more.

Biles cementing her legend

Four years ago in Rio, American artistic gymnast Simone Biles won four gold medals and a bronze, becoming one of the stars of the Games.

This was the summer when Biles was to cement her status as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, gymnast of all-time — as some have called her already.

Her dominance in the sport is akin to American Olympic sporting greats like Michael Phelps, Allyson Felix and Jenny Thompson.

At the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Stuttgart last year, Biles completed a record-breaking clean sweep of gold medals in all five of her gymnastic disciplines for the first time in her career.

She is unbeaten in the all-around since 2013. Her dominance is unparalleled.

Biles had always maintained she would retire after this summer’s Games and, in April, the 23-year-old was not fully committing to taking part in the delayed Games. She is, however, now back in the gym. A Biles-less Olympics would not quite be the same.

Who will be the next Phelps?

Mark Spitz’s tally of seven gold medals at the 1972 Munich Olympics was an achievement few thought would ever be surpassed.

That was until Michael Phelps splashed onto the scene.

Phelps managed six golds medals and two bronze at Athens in 2004. Spitz could rest easy for a little longer. But four years later, in Beijing, Phelps won a magnificent eight gold medals.

Spitz didn’t mind being bested, saying: “It goes to show you that not only is this guy the greatest swimmer of all time and the greatest Olympian of all time, he’s maybe the greatest athlete of all time.”

Over the next two Olympic Games, in London and Rio, Phelps took his Olympic career total to 23 golds, three silvers and two bronze medals.

Phelps is now retired, and while it seems unthinkable that anyone will ever top his Olympic medal tally, who will fill his shoes as the figurehead of swimming?

The signs point to Caeleb Dressel.

At the 2019 World Aquatics Championships, Dressel won six gold medals and two silvers, breaking Phelps’ 10-year world record in the final of the 100-meter butterfly by 0.32 seconds.

Dressel may not race in the same range of events as Phelps, but he could well be Phelps’ successor as American swimming’s next great.

New and returning sports

With every edition of the Olympic Games, new sports are welcomed to the fray.

For Tokyo, five sports have been added to the schedule. Karate, sport climbing, surfing and skateboarding will be making their Olympic debuts, while baseball and softball return after a 12-year absence.

Much has been made of skateboard’s addition, owing to the celebrity of 12-year-old prodigy Sky Brown.

But the inclusion of all of these sports is huge to their respective international status.

Speaking to CNN’s Amanda Davies in an Instagram Live interview, Australian surfing superstar Sally Fitzgibbons said that the sport’s inclusion was key to showcasing it to new audiences.

“There’ll be some people tuning in … they would have never considered it; they would have never probably seen the beach or picked up a board and to be able to have that opportunity as a sport to showcase that is fantastic,” she said.

Fitzgibbons added that surfing’s addition was a sign of the Games modernizing and showing a willingness to “move with the times.”

Can Bolt be replaced?

Usain Bolt has been, arguably, the face of the Olympics since his showstopping performances in Beijing. So, the big question is: Can anyone replace the record-breaking showman?

The two foremost sprinters in the world at the moment are Americans Christian Coleman and Noah Lyles. Coleman is the reigning 100-meter world champion and Lyles the 200m world champion.

Coleman is currently provisionally suspended for missing a third drug test in a 12-month period. It could lead to a two-year ban, which would rule him out of next year’s Games.

Anime fan Lyles, on the other hand, could be the man for the job.

Lyles’ start-line histrionics have led to him being described as a “rock star” by USA teammate Justin Gatlin.

The 23-year-old recently made headlines for appearing to have run a world-record 18.9-second 200m, only for replays to show he had instead run just 185m.

He may well break Bolt’s 19.19 second record in Tokyo though.

Mo’s quest for a three-peat

Having claimed a double-double in the 5,000m and 10,000m in Rio, Mo Farah set his sights on marathon running.

However, Farah’s announcement last year that he will defend his 10,000m title sets up a thrilling storyline as he attempts to become the first person to achieve the 10,000m Olympic three-peat.

Farah has been at the center of controversy in recent years, with his former coach Alberto Salazar, from whom he split in 2017, banned for four years for “multiple anti-doping rule violations.”

If the Briton can win a third 10,000m Olympic gold in Tokyo, he will enhance his standing as a great of long-distance running.

KSL 5 TV Live

Religion

SALT LAKE CITY — For the first time ever, the April 2020 General Conference sessions of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were held virtually due to coronavirus concerns. Officials gathered in a small auditorium on the grounds of Temple Square to address Church members all over the world. Musical numbers were pre-recorded and sung by The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square.

Saturday Morning

President Russell M. Nelson addressed Church members first during the Saturday morning session. He said he was speaking in front of a visible congregation of fewer than 10 people. He addressed how the coronavirus has affected the way people do things all over the world, including how Church members attend their weekly services, serve missions, and conduct temple work.

“We pray that this conference will be memorable and unforgettable because of the messages you will hear, the unique announcements which will be made, and the experiences in which you will be invited to participate,” he said.

The President announced that at the conclusion of the Sunday morning session of General Conference, Church members would participate in a worldwide solemn assembly where he would lead everyone in a sacred Hosanna shout. The unified moment was to express”our gratitude to God the Father and His Beloved Son” in global unison.

He concluded his message by saying, “I know that God is mindful of us.”

President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, spoke next, followed by Elder James R. Rasband of the Quorum of the Seventy and Primary General President Joy D. Jones.

“I have often wondered why Joseph and Hyrum and their families had to suffer so much. It may be that they came to know God through their suffering in ways that could not have happened without it,” said President Ballard.

“Although the Savior has power to mend what we cannot fix, He commands us to do all we can to make restitution as part of our repentance,” said Elder Rasband.

“Women wear many hats, but it is impossible, and unnecessary, to wear them all at once. The Spirit helps us determine which work to focus on today,” Sister Jones added.

Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles addressed Church members after they joined the choir in a musical number. Brother Douglas D. Holmes, First Counselor in the Young Men General Presidency, followed his address.

“I promise, as we focus on these principles — relationships, revelation, agency, repentance and sacrifice — the gospel of Jesus Christ will sink deeper in all our hearts,” said Brother Holmes.

President Henry B. Eyring was the last speaker during the Saturday morning session.

“When I pray with faith, I have the Savior as my advocate with the Father and I can feel that my prayer reaches heaven. Answers come. Blessings are received. There is peace and joy even in hard times,” said President Eyring.

Saturday Afternoon

President Dallin H. Oaks announced the calls of nine new General Authority Seventies and 57 Area Seventies at the beginning of the Saturday afternoon session. Also called was a new Young Men General Presidency, composed of President Steven J. Lund and counselors Ahmad Corbitt and Brad R. Wilcox.

Church officials also released the 2019 statistical report. Six temples were dedicated and seven were rededicated during 2019, bringing the total number of temples in operation to 167.

Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles then spoke about the process of translating the Book of Mormon.

“As we study the coming forth of this holy book of scripture in these latter days, we come to realize that the entire undertaking was miraculous – from the prophet Joseph receiving the gold plates from a holy angel to its translation by the “gift and power of God,” its preservation, and publication by the Hand of the Lord,” Elder Soares said.

Elder John A. McCune, a General Authority Seventy, followed. He spoke about finding joy through Christ in difficult or trying times.

“We understand clearly that not every trial we face will have a result we wish for. However, as we remain focused on Christ, we will feel peace and see God’s miracles, whatever they may be, in His time and in His way,” Elder McCune said.

Bishop Gerald Causse of the Presiding Bishopric was the third speaker of the Saturday afternoon session. He spoke about the statue of the Christus at the Paris France Temple, saying the original Christus statue was sculpted in 1820 — the same year as the First Vision.

“The statue stands in stark contrast to most of the artistic renderings of that period, which largely portray the suffering Christ on the cross,” Bishop Causse said. “Thorvaldsen’s work presents the living Christ, who gained victory over death and, with open arms, invites all to come unto Him. Only the prints of the nails in His hands and feet and the wound in His side testify of the indescribable agony He endured to save all mankind.”

Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles then spoke, talking about the goodness and greatness of God and the gifts we receive from God during our earthly lives.

“…each of us has received gifts that we could not provide for ourselves, gifts from our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, including redemption through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ,” Elder Renlund said. “We have received life in this world; we will receive physical life in the hereafter, and eternal salvation and exaltation — if we choose it — all because of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Every time we use, benefit from, or even think of these gifts, we ought to consider the sacrifice, generosity and compassion of the givers. Reverence for the givers does more than just make us grateful. Reflecting on their gifts can and should transform us.”

The next speaker was Elder Benjamin M. Z. Tai, General Authority Seventy. He spoke about the power of the Book of Mormon in being converted to Christ.

“The Savior has given us the Book of Mormon as a powerful tool to aid in conversion,” Elder Tai said. “The Book of Mormon provides spiritual nutrition, prescribes a plan of action, and connects us with the Holy Spirit. Written for us, it contains the word of God in plainness and tells us of our identity, purpose, and destiny. With the Bible, the Book of Mormon testifies of Jesus Christ and teaches how we can know truth and become like Him.

Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was the final speaker of the Saturday afternoon session. He spoke of the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple, its renovation and how its renew can inspire personal, spiritual renovations.

“As I contemplate the next four years of the life of this beautiful, noble, exalted, and awe-inspiring Salt Lake Temple, I envision it more as a time of renewal rather than a time of closure!” Elder Stevenson said. “In a similar way, we might ask ourselves, “How could this extensive renewal of the Salt Lake Temple inspire us to undergo our own spiritual — renewal, reconstruction, rebirth, revitalization, or restoration?”

Special Saturday Evening Session

Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles opened the session.

He was followed by two youth speakers from Provo, Utah.

Sister Laudy R. Kaouk, a young woman from the Slate Canyon 14th Ward in the Provo Utah Stake, and Brother Enzo S. Petelo, a priest in the Meadow Wood Ward of the Provo Utah Edgemont Stake, spoke.

They were followed by Sister Jean B. Bingham, General President of the Relief Society.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency then spoke about the priesthood and its relationship to members of the Church.

President Russell M. Nelson concluded the special session, speaking about the First Vision, the Restoration of the Church and the Church’s name.

He announced a new symbol that will be used for official Church news and events and called for a second global fast for relief from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Son: Jazz Great Ellis Marsalis Jr. Dead At 85; Fought Virus

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Ellis Marsalis Jr., jazz pianist, teacher and patriarch of a New Orleans musical clan that includes famed performer sons Wynton and Branford, has died after battling pneumonia brought by the new coronavirus, one of his sons said late Wednesday. He was 85.

Ellis Marsalis III confirmed in a phone interview with The Associated Press that his father’s death was brought about by the virus that is causing the global pandemic.

“Pneumonia was the actual thing that caused his demise. But it was pneumonia brought on by COVID-19,” said the younger Marsalis, speaking of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

He said he drove from Baltimore on Sunday to be with his father as he was hospitalized. He said others in the family also were able to spend time with their father.

Four of the jazz patriarch’s six sons are musicians: Wynton, the trumpeter, is America’s most prominent jazz spokesman as artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York. Branford, the saxophonist, led The Tonight Show band and toured with Sting. Delfeayo, trombonist, is a prominent recording producer and performer. And Jason, the drummer, has made a name for himself with his own band and as an accompanist. Ellis III, who decided music was not his gig, is a photographer-poet in Baltimore.

Said Ellis III: “I was with him in the hospital for six or seven hours yesterday. Branford was with him Monday, I was with him yesterday and Jason was with him today. He passed right after Jason departed.”

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced the musician’s death in a somber news release Wednesday night. The elder Marsalis had continued to perform regularly in New Orleans until December.

“Ellis Marsalis was a legend. He was the prototype of what we mean when we talk about New Orleans jazz,” Cantrell said in her statement. “He was a teacher, a father, and an icon — and words aren’t sufficient to describe the art, the joy and the wonder he showed the world.”

Because Marsalis opted to stay in New Orleans for most of his career, his reputation was limited until his sons became famous and brought him the spotlight, along with new recording contracts and headliner performances on television and on tour.

“He was like the coach of jazz. He put on the sweatshirt, blew the whistle and made these guys work,” said Nick Spitzer, host of public radio’s American Routes and an anthropology professor at Tulane University.

The Marsalis “family band” seldom played together when the boys were younger, but in 2003 toured up East in a spinoff of a family celebration that became a PBS special when the elder Marsalis retired from teaching at the University of New Orleans.

Harry Connick Jr., one of Marsalis’ students at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, was a guest. He is just one of the many now-famous jazz musicians who passed through the Marsalis classrooms; others include trumpeters Nicholas Payton and Terence Blanchard, saxophonists Donald Harrison and Victor Goines, and bassist Reginald Veal.

Marsalis was born in New Orleans, son of the operator of a hotel where Marsalis met touring black musicians who could not stay at the segregated downtown hotels where they performed. He played saxophone in high school but was also playing piano by the time he went to Dillard University.

Although New Orleans was steeped in traditional jazz, and rock ‘n’ roll was the new sound in the city’s studios in the 1950s, Marsalis preferred bebop and modern jazz.

Spitzer described Marsalis as a “modernist in a town of traditionalists.”

“His great love was jazz a la bebop — he was a lover of Thelonious Monk and the idea that bebop was a music of freedom. But when he had to feed his family he played R ‘n’ B and soul and rock and roll on Bourbon Street,” said Spitzer.

The musician’s college quartet included drummer Ed Blackwell, clarinetist Alvin Batiste and saxophonist Harold Battiste playing modern.

Ornette Coleman was in town at the time, and in 1956 when Coleman headed to California, Marsalis and the others went with him, but after a few months Marsalis came back home. He told the New Orleans Times-Picayune years later, when he and Coleman were old men, that he never did figure out what a pianist could do behind the free form of Coleman’s jazz.

Back in New Orleans, Marsalis joined the Marine Corps and was assigned to accompany soloists on the service’s weekly TV programs on CBS in New York. It was there, he said, that he learned to handle all kinds of different music styles.

On returning home, he worked at the Playboy Club and ventured into running his own club, which quickly went bust. In 1967 trumpeter Al Hirt hired him. When not on Bourbon Street, Hirt’s band was appearing on national TV — doing headline shows on The Tonight Show and The Ed Sullivan Show, among others.

Marsalis got into education about the same time, teaching improvisation at Xavier University in New Orleans, and in the mid-1970s joined the faculty at the New Orleans magnet high school where he influenced a new generation of young jazz musicians.

When asked how he could teach something as free-wheeling as jazz improvisation, Marsalis once said, “We don’t teach jazz, we teach students.”

In 1986 he moved to Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond as coordinator of Jazz Studies, a post he kept until 1989 when the University of New Orleans lured him back to set up a program of jazz studies at home.

Marsalis retired from UNO in 2001, but continued to perform, particularly at Snug Harbor in New Orleans, a small jazz club that anchored the city’s contemporary jazz scene — frequently backing young musicians who had promise.

His melodic style, with running improvisations in the right hand, has been described variously as romantic, contemporary, or simply “Louisiana jazz.” He is always on acoustic piano, never electric, and even in interpreting the old standards there’s a clear link to the driving bebop chords and rhythms of his early years.

He founded his own record company, ELM (taken from his initials), but his recording was limited until his sons became famous. After that he joined them and other musicians on mainstream labels and headlined his own releases, many full of his own compositions.

He often played at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. For more than three decades he played two 75-minute sets every Friday night at Snug Harbor until he decided it had become too exhausting. But even then he still performed there on occasion as a special guest.

Marsalis’ wife, Dolores, died in 2017. He is survived by his sons Branford, Wynton, Ellis III, Delfeayo, Mboya and Jason.


This story has been corrected to fix the spelling of the last name of New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell.

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Utah Shakespeare Festival Partners With World-Famous London Acting Program

CEDAR CITY, Utah – The Utah Shakespeare Festival has made history after forming a five-year artistic exchange program with one of the world’s finest actor training programs, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, something that has never happened before in the United States.

The program began Jan. 1, 2020 and will continue through Dec. 31, 2024. The companies will begin combining their talents as early as this season.

Frank Mack, executive producer of The Utah Shakespeare Festival, called it a great collaboration.

“For them to see new and different ways that we approach the work, and for us to see how they approach the work, to put all of those ideas together, to create even more interesting and exciting theatre for our audiences… to have their artistry come over and join our artistry here was really irresistible,” said Mack.

Royal Academy students and graduates will perform in the festival every year while students, faculty, and staff at both locations will participate in training workshops. The London actors are set to perform in shows as soon as this season.

“We did have our auditions in December; it’s a really dynamic group,” said Festival artistic director, Brian Vaughn. “It was challenging to pick, as it always is, in casting these plays. What’s really exciting is that they’ll be playing premiere roles within our season for our audience to see them at work, and to work with our company.”

Royal Academy students will perform their international production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” – previously only seen in Europe – in Cedar City for the first time.

The current president of RADA, Sir Kenneth Branagh, is a former graduate and award-winning actor and director.

“I’m delighted about RADA’s collaboration with the Utah Shakespeare Festival, and the opportunity it presents for our students to enrich their learning,” said RADA director, Edward Kemp. “We look forward to exploring new ideas and common goals and are very grateful to be able to share our work with the audiences, artists and communities in Utah.”

Vaughn said it is very much part of his vision for the festival’s future.

“It’s about the plays and how the plays resonate with an audience, and to have that international perspective from an international scope I think will be incredibly dynamic for both organizations… to continue to bring dynamic plays to our audience, and an experience that will be unimaginable and unforgettable,” said Vaughn.

The Utah Shakespeare Festival season starts June 1 and runs through October 10. Performances by the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art students from London will take place in July.

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Utah Symphony Shares Talents With Haitian Musician

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah Symphony musicians are known for sharing their talents with Utah, traveling throughout the state for concerts and workshops that reach 130,000 students each year.

But their vision for young people goes beyond state borders and recently, they were able to host Getro Joseph, a talented young musician from Haiti.

Joseph, now 17 years old, plays with a passion. He has a gift, more remarkable because he saw a cello for the first time just four years ago.

Joseph went to his Church building in a village outside Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to play basketball. One of his friends arrived, carrying a musical instrument Joseph had never seen.

There was an instant connection between the boy and the cello and Joseph left that game determined to get one.

“And I tried to explain to my mother, that I want to play the cello,” he said. “She didn’t know the cello. She just thought a big violin!”

Joseph was able to visit Utah for a few weeks and learn from one of the state’s best – John Eckstein, a Utah Symphony musician.

“It’s stunning,” Eckstein said. “And so, I mean, it’s just, it’s really fun as a teacher to have a student like this. The amount of improvement that his intonation has shown in the last six weeks. It’s just unbelievable. You know, I’ve never seen it before!”

Eckstein and a few of his colleagues have traveled to Haiti more than once, taking instruments with them and with the help of Utah Symphony/Opera board members, raising funds for travel and hotels.

“These students have very little, their instruments, if they even had the instruments, are in poor repair,” said Patricia Richards, who serves as the interim president/CEO of the Utah Symphony/Opera. “There’s no way for them to get the materials to prepare them. They don’t have music education in the schools, really.”

But getting Joseph from Haiti to the U.S. for a few months of study proved to be tricky.

“He couldn’t even get an interview to get a Visa and John asked if I knew anybody who could help,” Richards said. “So I started calling all the offices of all of our congressional delegation and Congressman McAdams’ office got back to me immediately. They knew what to do.”

Mc Adams said he and his staff understand.

“We want to help people to navigate a really tricky federal bureaucracy, to get people here and to help to solve their problems,” he said. “And so that’s what we do. An opportunity like this to come to the United States to study with the Utah Symphony/Opera is an incredible opportunity, it opens up a world of possibilities in his life. But it also brings value to us here in Utah.”

Music transcends language barriers and the human connection between student and teacher sparks a desire to connect and inspire. Eckstein knew that spending a few weeks here or in Haiti can only do so much. But with a student like Joseph, it might turn into a lot.

“Because of his talent, dedication and his interest in teaching others, you know, he’s going to be a real force on the cello in Haiti,” Eckstein said. “And so everything we give to him is going to get passed on to a lot of people.”

For Joseph, it was much more than that.

“Music gives me, gives the hope for life, not only for life, for the change, maybe genuine, for my country.”

From the players to their artistic director to the front office – the Utah Symphony/Opera shares a vision – a reason for moving forward into 2020. Changing lives, one musician at a time.

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Longtime Big Bird, Oscar The Grouch Puppeteer Caroll Spinney Dies At 85

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Caroll Spinney, who gave Big Bird his warmth and Oscar the Grouch his growl for nearly 50 years on “Sesame Street,” died Sunday at the age of 85 at his home in Connecticut, according to the Sesame Workshop.

The Sesame Workshop said in a statement that the legendary puppeteer lived for some time with dystonia, which causes involuntary muscle contractions.

Spinney voiced and operated the two major Muppets from their inception in 1969 when he was 36, and performed them almost exclusively into his 80s on the PBS kids’ television show that later moved to HBO.

“Before I came to ‘Sesame Street,’ I didn’t feel like what I was doing was very important,” Spinney said when he announced his retirement in 2018. “Big Bird helped me find my purpose.”

Through his two characters, Spinney gained huge fame that brought international tours, books, record albums, movie roles, and visits to the White House.

“Caroll was an artistic genius whose kind and loving view of the world helped shape and define Sesame Street from its earliest days in 1969 through five decades, and his legacy here at Sesame Workshop and in the cultural firmament will be unending,” the Sesame Workshop said.

But he never became a household name.

“I may be the most unknown famous person in America,” Spinney said in his 2003 memoir. “It’s the bird that’s famous.”

Spinney gave “Sesame Street” its emotional yin and yang, infusing the 8-foot-2 Big Bird with a childlike sweetness often used to handle sad subjects, and giving the trashcan-dwelling Oscar, whose voice Spinney based on a New York cabbie, a street-wise cynicism that masked a tender core.

“I like being miserable. That makes me happy,” Oscar often said. “But I don’t like being happy, so that makes me miserable.”

To colleagues there was no question which character the kindly Spinney resembled.

“Big Bird is him and he is Big Bird,” former “Sesame Street” head writer Norman Stiles said in a 2014 documentary on Spinney.

It wasn’t easy being Big Bird. To play the part, Spinney would strap a TV monitor to his chest as his only eyes to the outside. Then the giant yellow bird body was placed over him. He held his right arm aloft constantly to operate the head, and used his left hand to operate both arms. The bird tended to slouch more as the years took their toll.

In 2015, Spinney switched to just providing the characters’ voices. That year, the longtime PBS show inked a five-year pact with HBO that gave the premium cable channel the right to air new episodes nine months before they air on PBS.

Big Bird’s builder Kermit Love always insisted that his design was a puppet, not a costume. But to many children, he was neither. He was real.

“Eight-year-olds have discovered to their horror that he’s a puppet,” Spinney told The Associated Press in 1987.

Born in 1933 in Waltham Massachusetts, Spinney had a deeply supportive mother who built him a puppet theater after he bought his first puppet, a monkey, at age 8.

He spent four years in the U.S. Air Force after high school, then returned to Massachusetts and broke into television. He teamed up with fellow puppeteer Judy Valentine for their own daily series, then worked on a Boston version of the clown show “Bozo’s Big Top.” Spinney in this period had three children, Jessica, Melissa and Benjamin, all from his 1960 to 1971 marriage to Janice Spinney. He later married his second wife Debra in 1979, and the two were nearly inseparable for the rest of his life.

It was after a disastrous performance at a puppet festival in Utah that Spinney met Muppet master Jim Henson, who came backstage and told him, “I liked what you were trying to do,” Spinney remembered Henson saying, in his memoir.

Spinney would join the Muppet crew when “Sesame Street” was about to turn them from popular phenomenon into an American institution. Henson brought his signature character, Kermit the Frog, to the show. His right-hand man Frank Oz would become famous via Grover and Cookie Monster. Together they created Ernie and Bert.

But Big Bird would become the show’s biggest star, his name and image synonymous with not just “Sesame Street” but PBS and children’s television. The character was usually used for comedy, but his innocence and questioning was also useful when serious subjects needed addressing. When “Sesame Street” shopkeeper Mr. Hooper died, Big Bird had to get a lesson in accepting death, saying in the memorable 1983 episode that “he’s gotta come back. Who’s gonna take care of the store? Who’s gonna make my birdseed milkshakes, and tell me stories?”

When Henson died suddenly in 1990 at age 53, leaving the Muppet world devastated, Big Bird played the same part in real life. At the funeral, Spinney appeared alone on stage in full Big Bird costume and sang “It’s Not Easy Bein’ Green,” Kermit’s signature song.

“It was extraordinarily moving,” Oz said in the Spinney documentary. “It tore people up.”

Spinney said he was crying under the feathers but he got through the song, looking at the sky and saying, “Thank you Kermit,” before walking off.

Sesame Street co-founder Joan Ganz Cooney said Sunday that Spinney, her longtime colleague and friend, “not only gave us Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, he gave so much of himself as well.”

“We at Sesame Workshop mourn his passing and feel an immense gratitude for all he has given to Sesame Street and to children around the world,” she said.

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Carol Burnett Is Bringing ‘Laughter And Reflection’ To Salt Lake City

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Comedy pioneer Carol Burnett will be bringing “An Evening of Laughter and Reflection” to the Eccles Theater in June 2020.

The award-winning actress’ show will be June 2. Tickets go on sale Dec. 6 at 10 a.m.

“It is Ms. Burnett’s artistic brilliance, her respect and appreciation of her fans, and her graciousness, integrity, warmth, and humor on and off screen that have made her one of the most beloved performers in entertainment and one of the most admired women in America,” according to Live! at the Eccles. 

Burnett’s show will include a feature that fans of her hit CBS show, “The Carol Burnett Show,” will be all too familiar with.

At the beginning of the television show, which ran for 11 years, Burnett would bring the lights up on the live studio audience and answer several questions. In “An Evening of Laughter and Reflection,” she’ll be interacting with the audience members, who’ll be allowed to ask questions.

For tickets and information, go to live-at-the-eccles.com or call 801-355-ARTS.

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