Netflix to host virtual watch party for premiere of ‘Stranger Things 4’ Volume 2 episodes

Netflix will host a late-night virtual watch party with cast members to celebrate the last two episodes of Stranger Things 4, Volume 2.  Fans can tune in at 2:15 a.m. EDT Friday to talk live with the cast before Stranger Things 4 Volume 2 premieres 45 minutes later at 3 a.m. The event is free to all Netflix subscribers with the watch party hosted on Scener, an online co-viewing platform that allows viewers to watch titles on different streaming services at the same time.

The official Stranger Things page tweeted“Are You Ready?” join David Harbour, Brett Gelman, Jamie Campbell Bower and Joseph Quinn for a Q&A followed by a virtual watch party of STRANGER THINGS 4 Vol. 2 this Thursday powered by @scener RSVP now at http://strangerthings4.scener.com.

Stranger Things follows a group of young friends in the 1980s as they experience supernatural events. Season 4, Volume 1 premiered in May; Volume 2 premiers Friday, July 1st and will consist of two episodes, including a supersized episode with a runtime of almost two-and-a-half hours.

Fans can sign-up for the virtual watch party at strangerthings4.scener.com.

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R. Kelly sentenced to 30 years in prison for sex trafficking

A federal judge sentenced R. Kelly to 30 years in prison on Wednesday. Kelly was convicted last September of racketeering and violating the Mann Act, a sex trafficking law, including having sex with underage girls.

Kelly was also convicted in a bribery scheme involving a public official to get a fake ID for the late singer Aaliyah, so the two could marry when she was 15 and he was 27. Kelly believed Aaliyah was pregnant at the time, prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo. Kelly produced Aaliyah’s debut album, titled “Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number.” She died in a plane crash in 2001 at 22 years old.

During Kelly’s trial, nearly four dozen witnesses testified for the prosecution, alleging that he preyed upon children and women for his sexual gratification. The singer declined to testify at the six-week trial but could speak during Wednesday’s sentencing hearing. His defense team is asking for less than 14 years in prison, citing Kelly’s traumatic childhood.

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Rina Sawayama releases the new song “Catch Me In The Air”

Rina Sawayama has released a new track titled “Catch Me In The Air,” the second song shared from her forthcoming album, Hold the Girl.

According to Sawayama, the single was written “in-between lockdowns” with Oscar Scheller, Clarence Clarity, Gracey and Stuart Price.  She shared in a press release: “I really wanted to write about this weird relationship with single parents – you do catch each other in the air. I wanted the whole song to sound like it was on an Irish coastline, like a Corrs video. We put in a key change to go into the chorus, at the end of the pre-chorus to make it lift and soar like a bird…This was the first song that Stuart and I worked on together, and it was the most incredible experience. I’m such a huge fan of his work with Madonna and Kylie so it was a dream come true. We would send each other stock images of coastlines, people doing yoga on a pier, meditating in the middle of a field, hay bales, etc. to get inspired sonically.”

“Catch Me In The Air” is the follow-up to “This Hell,” which Sawayama released in May of this year. Sawayama’s second studio album, Hold the Girl, is set to release on Friday, September 2.

Check out the official visualizer for Sawayama’s Catch Me In The Airhere.

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Take a look at Lorde’s new video for “The Path”

Lorde has shared a new video for her song “The Path,” taken off her recent LP Solar Power and co-directed by Lorde and frequent collaborator Joel Kefali. Check out the video – here.

In a statement in her newsletter, Lorde wrote of the video: “On the occasion of the solstice, I wanted to share a sixth video with you, for THE PATH. This video is the first chapter in the mystical Solar Power story, a prequel to the title video. You see my character joining her friends and family on the island where they’ve chosen to start life anew, arriving in her trademark suit and quickly being transformed by nature’s strange magic. I’m so proud of my buds for learning the dance in this one. Hope you like it.”

Lorde has previously released videos for her other tracks from Solar Power including “Secrets From a Girl (Who’s Seen It All),” “Leader of a New Regime,” “Fallen Fruit,” “Mood Ring,” and the title track.

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Ghislaine Maxwell sentenced to 20 years for aiding Jeffrey Epstein in sex trafficking underage girls

On Tuesday, Ghislaine Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years in prison for aiding the late financier Jeffrey Epstein in his sexual abuse of underage girls for at least a decade between the 1990s and 2000s. Following a criminal trial, Maxwell was found guilty last December of conspiring with Epstein – an associate and romantic partner for a period of time — to groom, recruit and sexually abuse minors as part of Epstein’s now-infamous trafficking ring. Maxwell was convicted of multiple charges related to sex trafficking and conspiracy.

Maxwell’s defense team had asked to postpone her sentencing hearing because she was suddenly moved to solitary confinement, arguing that Maxwell’s hearing should be rescheduled since solitary confinement meant she was unable to prepare for it.  Despite reports about her mental state, attorneys said that Maxwell was not at risk of suicide prior to the transfer.

The 60-year-old Maxwell was indicted in July of 2020 and taken into federal custody where she was held without bail for 16 months leading up to her trial. Her arrest came about a year after Epstein died by apparent suicide in his New York City jail cell while facing federal sex trafficking and conspiracy charges. Maxwell pleaded not guilty to all charges originally brought against her, and was acquitted of one count of enticing a minor to travel across state lines to engage in an illegal sex act. She never took the stand to testify during the trial, saying she felt there was “no reason” to formally defend herself before the court because “the government [had] not proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt.”

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Take a look at the teaser trailer for ‘Hocus Pocus 2’

The Sanderson Sisters are back in the first teaser trailer for Hocus Pocus 2, the sequel to the classic Halloween movie which reunites Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy as Winifred, Sarah and Mary Sanderson, respectively, taking place 29 years after the original Hocus Pocus film.

The teaser trailer opens on a scene of three high school students played by Whitney Peak, Belissa Escobedo and Lilia Buckingham, who are discussing their plans for that night. Becca (Peak) tells Cassie (Buckingham) “Birthday ritual: scary movie marathon, same as every year,” as clips play of Becca and Izzy (Escobedo) visiting a magic shop and reciting a ritualistic prayer — only to realize the chanting works, and the Black Flame Candle is officially lit. A red crack opens up in the ground beneath the girls as they try to run away. “Lock up your children,” says Winifred (Midler). “Yes, Salem. We’re back!”

Hocus Pocus 2 also stars Sam Richardson, Doug Jones, Hannah Waddingham, Froyan Gutierrez and Tony Hale, among others. The sequel film premieres on Disney+ Sept. 30.  Check out the teaser trailer – here.

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NBC to air fundraising special ‘Ukraine: Answering the Call’ featuring Alicia Keys, Julianne Moore, Kristen Bell and more

NBC is planning to air a one-hour special called ‘Ukraine: Answering the Call,’ set to air Sunday, July 3 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

The network said in a press release that the program is “aimed at educating, raising funds for those whose lives have been shattered by the crisis, and spreading awareness through the power of entertainment — an answer to the call from President Volodymyr Zelensky who has challenged Americans to use their voices to reach those who want peace.”

As of press time, those confirmed to appear on the broadcast are José Andrés, Jon Batiste, Kristen Bell, Brandi Carlile, Brian Cox, Jeff Daniels, Vera Farmiga, Lena Headey, Alicia Keys, Simu Liu, Julianne Moore, Brad Paisley and Rosie Perez. The show will also feature a performance of the classic song, “What the World Needs Now is Love,” by Broadway stars Rachel Bay Jones, Brenda Braxton, Liz Callaway, Lilla Crawford, Juwan Crawley, José Llana, Beth Malone, Andrea McArdle, Bonnie Milligan, Orfeh, Krysta Rodriguez, Seth Rudetsky, James Wesley and NaTasha Yvette Williams.

To learn more about the special or to donate early, check out the official website.

NBC Sets ‘Ukraine: Answering The Call’ Fundraising Special With Kristen Bell, Alicia Keys, Julianne Moore, More

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GMA Announces 2022 Summer Concert Series Lineup including Demi Lovato, Megan Thee Stallion and more

Good Morning America has announced the lineup for its 2022 summer concert series. Each concert will take place from Rumsey Playfield in New York’s Central Park, and all performances will air simulcast on Friday mornings from 7-9 a.m. on GMA.

The ABC morning show shared that that Demi Lovato, K-pop group Aespa, Megan Thee Stallion and other artists will perform as part of the series. Aespa will kick off the concerts July 8 at Central Park in New York. The South Korean girl group released its first English single, “Life’s Too Short” last week and will release its EP Girls the same day as its GMA concert.

OneRepublic will follow July 15, with Megan Thee Stallion to perform Aug. 12, Demi Lovato on Aug. 19 and Ozuna on Aug. 26, and Black Eyed Peas will close out the concert series Sept. 2.

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J-Hope of BTS to release solo album after group hiatus announcement

BTS’s J-Hope will release a solo album titled Jack in the Box.  Big Hit Music made the announcement on Weverse, sharing that the album will arrive on July 15, with the first single released two weeks earlier on July 1. The album “represents [J-Hope’s] aspirations to break the mold and grow further.”

The title of the first single has not been revealed, but it represents the “diverse content to show J-Hope’s creative identity as an artist will be introduced.” J-Hope also shared the news on his Instagram account, and posted a video.

The release of J-Hope’s solo work follows the announcement that BTS was going on hiatus temporarily. Fellow BTS members RM, Suga, V, Jungkook, Jin, and Jimin also have solo projects in the works. J-Hope will also be a headliner on the main stage at Lollapalooza on July 31, replacing Doja Cat, who is recovering from tonsil surgery.

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Season 4 of ‘Succession’ begins production in New York

HBO announced the start of production of Season 4 of Succession, taking place in New York City with creator Jesse Armstrong returning as showrunner.

Season 4 will pick up as Logan Roy (Brian Cox) attempts to sell Waystar Royco to tech billionaire Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgard). Sarah Snook, Jeremy Strong, Kieran Culkin, Alan Ruck, Matthew Macfadyen, Nicholas Braun, J. Smith-Cameron, Peter Friedman, David Rasche, Fisher Stevens, Hiam Abbass, Justine Lupe, Scott Nicholson, Zoë Winters, and Jeannie Berlin are all set to return.

The Season 3 finale aired Dec. 13 on HBO, and was only nine episodes long. HBO did not announce an episode count or premiere date for Season 4.

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