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Pop Culture

  1. Ephraim Sykes' painful St. Petersburg past fuels his performance in NBC's 'Hairspray, Live!'

    Human Interest

    Maddie Baillio, left, as Tracy Turnblad, Harvey Fierstein, center, as Edna Turnblad and Ephraim Sykes, right, as Seaweed J. Stubbs in the television special "Hairspray Live!" [NBC]
  2. Amy Schumer as Barbie? She will be the most perfect (imperfect) version ever


    Attention, feminists. Before you write off 2016 as a net loss for contemporary feminism, know this: Amy Schumer is in talks to play Barbie in a live-action comedy.

    Amy Schumer appears in a scene from her comedy series, "Inside Amy Schumer." [Ali Goldstein | Comedy Central via AP]
  3. Obama gives Medal of Freedom to sports, rock stars (who embrace mannequin challenge)


    WASHINGTON — For the last time before he leaves office, President Barack Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Tuesday, bestowing it on 21 stars of Silicon Valley, Hollywood, sports and …

    Actress, comedian, and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, glances at President Barack Obama as she is presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016, in Washington. Obama is recognizing 21 Americans with the nation's highest civilian award, including giants of the entertainment industry, sports legends, activists and innovators. [Associated Press]
  4. When it comes to the national anthem, allegiance runs deep

    Pop Culture

    TAMPA — Just about noon on a Tuesday, and Mission BBQ is packed. Diners swab forks of pulled pork through pools of Memphis Belle sauce. Football highlights cycle overhead on TV.

    Plato Academy Charter School students, from left, Alivia Mandy, 6, of Clearwater, Kenlee Tomasko, 7, of Dunedin, and Kylee Mazak, 6, of Oldsmar, join in observing the "The Star-Spangled Banner," tthe national anthem of the United States of America, with their class mates at the beginning of class on Wednesday in Monica Beard's first-grade class at the school in Clearwater. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times
  5. Dress that Marilyn Monroe wore while singing Happy Birthday to President Kennedy sells for $4.8 million


    LOS ANGELES — Officials say a dress worn by Marilyn Monroe as she famously sang "Happy Birthday" to President John. F. Kennedy has sold for nearly $5 million at a Los Angeles auction.

    This 1999 file photo shows Marilyn Monroe's "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" dress on display at Christie's in New York.  Julien's Auctions says that the iconic, form-fitting gown was sold for $4.8 million Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016, to Ripley's Believe It or Not. [Associated Press]
  6. Bob Dylan is not going to Stockholm to pick up his Nobel Prize


    COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Bob Dylan won't be coming to Stockholm to pick up his 2016 Nobel Prize for literature at the Dec. 10 prize ceremony, the Swedish Academy said Wednesday.

    Bob Dylan accepts the 2015 MusiCares Person of the Year award in Los Angeles. The Swedish Academy says Dylan is not coming to Stockholm to pick up his 2016 Nobel Prize for literature at the Dec. 10, 2016 prize ceremony.  [Vince Bucci | Invision via AP]
  7. Dwayne 'the Rock' Johnson named People's 'Sexiest Man Alive'


    NEW YORK — Former WWE champ Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson can add People's "Sexiest Man Alive" title to his list of accomplishments.

    Dwayne Johnson was named "Sexiest Man Alive" by People magazine for 2016. (Associated Press [2010])
  8. Leonard Cohen, singer-songwriter of love, death and philosophical longing, dies at 82


    Leonard Cohen, a singer-songwriter whose literary sensibility and elegant dissections of desire made him one of popular music's most influential and admired figures for four decades, has died. He was 82.

    Leonard Cohen, the influential singer-songwriter, on stage at the Barclays Center in New York, Dec. 20, 2012. Cohen, whose gravely baritone and sophisticated songs of religion and love, depression and suicide, politics and war made him an unlikely and reluctant pop star, has died, it was announced on Nov. 10, 2016. He was 82. [Chad Batka | New York Times]
  9. Column: Pop culture and politics, a match made on stage


    Come. Sit down on the leather sofa. Close your eyes and I'll get the kettle on. Now, spill.

    How bad is your election fatigue?

  10. Bob Dylan, Bill Murray and Henry Kissinger: When honorees don't want their prize


    On Sunday night, the ever-elusive Bill Murray is expected to take the stage at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and accept the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, an award he actively avoided receiving. Last week he told The Washington Post's Geoff Edgers, "I really thought if I don't answer the phone …

    Bob Dylan before being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in the East Room of the White House in Washington, on May 29, 2012. [Associated Press file]