TIME Music

Johnny Winter, Blues Star, Is Dead at 70

Texan was one of Rolling Stone's top 100 guitarists ever

Johnny Winter, the Texas blues icon, died in Zurich, Switzerland on Wednesday at the age of 70.

The star guitarist—Rolling Stone named him one of the 100 best ever—was playing till the end, performing his last gig in Austria on Saturday. Since his self-titled album was released in 1969, Winter has recorded and produced dozens of albums of classic rock and blues, including several with his childhood idol Muddy Winters.

A biography on his Facebook page describes Winter as “the clear link between British blues rock and American Southern rock à la the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd.”

“His wife, family and bandmates are all saddened by the loss of their loved one and one of the world’s finest guitarists,” says a post on his page.

TIME celebrities

Chicagoans May Sue George Lucas for Stealing Their Tailgating Space

The Apollo Spring Gala And 80th Anniversary Celebration
George Lucas attends the Apollo Spring Gala and 80th Anniversary Celebration at The Apollo Theater on June 10, 2014 in New York City. Dave Kotinsky—Getty Images

This is not the museum location you're looking for, George

The Windy City doesn’t plan to welcome George Lucas with open arms.

The billionaire Star Wars creator announced June 24 that he plans to build his private museum in Chicago, choosing a location on Lake Michigan over spots in Los Angeles and San Francisco. But a group of Chicagoans has vowed to file a lawsuit to block Lucas from building his $1 billion facility on the grounds that the private museum violates city ordinances designed to preserve the space next to Lake Michigan for public use, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

But Bears fans have joined these public space advocates in objecting to the museum’s planned location for a very different reason. The facility is set to be built close to Soldier Field where the Chicago Bears play and will occupy two of the parking lots currently dedicated to the arena. Bears fans are concerned that the museum is honing in on their tailgating space.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who lobbied hard to bring the museum to Chicago, says that he believes the project will survive legal challenges, according to the Chicago Tribune. He assured Chicagoans that no taxpayer money would be used to build the museum and that the 17-acre plot of land is large enough for both the museum and 12 acres of new green space. He also addressed the question of tailgating, giving no details but saying, “We’ve worked that issue out, and [tailgating] will be continued.”

The 95,000-square-foot building will house the director and producer’s memorabilia, examples of his technology and paintings by the likes of Norman Rockwell from Lucas’ personal collection. If plans move forward, the George Lucas Museum will sit on the same campus as Chicago’s many other museums, including the Field Museum of Natural History, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Shedd Aquarium, the Adler Planetarium and the Museum of Science and Industry. It is set to open in 2018.

[Hollywood Reporter]

TIME Crime

Man Breaks Into Kennedy Compound Looking for Katy Perry

Katy Perry performs onstage during "The Prismatic World Tour" at the Verizon Center on June 24, 2014 in Washington, DC.
Katy Perry performs onstage during "The Prismatic World Tour" at the Verizon Center on June 24, 2014 in Washington, DC. Kevin Mazur—WireImage/Getty Images

Maybe he knows something we don't know

A man allegedly broke into the Kennedy compound in Barnstable, Mass. on Tuesday, but he wasn’t looking for a scion of the celebrated political family. He was looking for the the pop singer Katy Perry.

Ted Kennedy Jr. was away at his Connecticut home when he phoned his property in Massachusetts and a stranger answered, police said. Kennedy called the police, who found a black car parked outside the house when they arrived.

Fifty-three-year-old James Lacroix was in the kitchen, wearing a Captain America T-shirt and camouflage shorts, police said.

Lacroix was arrested for breaking and entering, CNN reports. He told the police he had been there for three hours and was looking for the pop singer Katy Perry.

Does Lacroix know something we don’t know, or might he have confused Perry with former Kennedy paramour Taylor Swift? Perhaps we’ll never know.

[CNN]

TIME celebrities

Tracy Morgan Flashes a Smile and a Peace Sign, and Offers Thanks for Support

The comedian appears in good spirits after leaving hospital

Tracy Morgan flashed a smile and a peace sign to photographers outside his home on Monday, in one of the comedian’s first appearances since the June 7 car accident that left him in critical condition.

“I’m O.K.,” he said. “I love you very much. Thank you. I appreciate everything.”

The 30 Rock star has been released from rehabilitation and will continue his recovery efforts at home, his representative told Entertainment Tonight. “He asked me to pass along his sincerest gratitude to everyone who has helped him get to this point,” the rep said. “He would also appreciate some privacy during this crucial point in his recovery.”

Morgan has launched a lawsuit against Walmart for negligence leading to the accident, which took place when one of the store’s trucks slammed into the limousine the comedian was riding in. The Walmart driver had allegedly fallen asleep at the wheel.

Plaintiffs also include comedian Ardie Fuqua, Morgan’s assistant Jeffrey Millea and Millea’s wife Krista Millea.

[Entertainment Tonight]

TIME movies

Chris Pratt Was Turned Down for Roles in Star Trek and Avatar

2014 MTV Movie Awards - Arrivals
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 13: Actor Chris Pratt attends the 2014 MTV Movie Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on April 13, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage) Steve Granitz—WireImage

He's come a long way from that time he was on The O.C.

After several failures to launch, Chris Pratt is finally going to outer space — at least, in the movies.

The Parks and Recreation actor is starring in the upcoming superhero flick Guardians of the Galaxy, but he had to face plenty of intergalactic rejection before he could bring the Marvel comic book character of Star-Lord to life on screen.

In the current issue of Entertainment Weekly, Pratt explains how he auditioned for the roles of Jake Sully in Avatar and Captain Kirk in the reboot of Star Trek. Pratt remembers the Avatar audition as particularly rough:

“They said they want somebody that has ‘that thing,’ that ‘It factor’ … I walked into that room knowing that I did not have that thing, and I walked out thinking I would never have that thing, probably … I figured, I’ll find a way to make money and if that means I’m playing character roles, that’s terrific. People have to work. I just don’t want it to be at a f—ing restaurant.”

At least Pratt now stars alongside Zoe Saldana, who did land roles in Star Trek and Avatar and who dresses up like another colorful alien in Guardians (this time in green), so it’s not like he really missed out on anything.

TIME celebrities

Conor Oberst’s Rape Accuser Admits Making Story Up ‘To Get Attention’

2014 Hangout Music Festival - Day 1
Conor Oberst performs during the 2014 Hangout Music Festival at Hangout Beach on May 16, 2014 in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Tim Mosenfelde—Getty Images

"I’m truly sorry for all the pain that I caused,” writes Bright Eyes singer's accuser

A woman has admitted to fabricating claims that musician Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes raped her as a teenager, according to a notarized statement that was dated and surfaced on Monday.

Joan Elizabeth Harris, who originally identified herself as Joanie Faircloth, first made the accusation in the comments section of a 2013 xoJane article. But she now says she “made up those lies about him to get attention” while dealing with a sick child, in a document first published by BuzzFeed.

Harris apologized for spreading the story “online and elsewhere over the past six months” and for “undermin[ing] the claims of actual sexual assault victims.”

Oberst has denied the accusations and filed a defamation suit earlier this year in response. A recent TMZ story claimed the rape accusation led Oberst’s label to drop him, but the label told the NME that the report was inaccurate.

The full statement reads:

“The statements I made and repeated online and elsewhere over the past six months accusing Conor Oberst of raping me are 100% false. I made up those lies about him to get attention while I was going through a difficult period in my life and trying to cope with my son’s illness. I publicly retract my statements about Conor Oberst, and sincerely apologize to him, his family, and his fans for writing such awful things about him. I realize that my actions were wrong and could undermine the claims of actual sexual assault victims and for that I also apologize. I’m truly sorry for all the pain that I caused.”

[BuzzFeed]

TIME Music

Neil Young Cancels Israel Concert Amid Gaza Conflict

British Summer Time 2014 - July 12th
Neil Young of Neil Young and Crazy Horse performs on stage at British Summer Time Festival at Hyde Park on July 12, 2014 in London, United Kingdom. Gus Stewart—Redferns/Getty Images

Police say the concert was canceled to keep people out of rocket range

Rock legend Neil Young and longtime band Crazy Horse have cancelled of an upcoming concert in Tel Aviv because of the spiraling conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

“It is with heavy hearts and deep sadness that we must cancel our one and only Israeli concert due to tensions which have rendered the event unsafe at this time,” read a statement from the band, Variety reports. “We’ll miss the opportunity to play for our fans and look forward to playing in Israel and Palestine in peace.”

The concert was scheduled for July 17 at Hayarkon Park.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told Reuters that police canceled the concert “in order not to put people in Gaza rocket range at unnecessary risk.” Militants in Gaza have fired hundreds of rockets toward Israel in the past week.

“I will be making donations to both the Louise Tillie Alpert Youth Music Centre of Israel, and Heartbeat,” Young’s statement continues, “two organizations that teach music to Palestinian and Israeli youth simultaneously by enabling them to play music together.”

[Variety]

TIME celebrities

Tracy Morgan Released From Medical Rehab After Deadly Crash

65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Arrivals
Comedian Tracy Morgan at the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, Sept. 22, 2013. Morgan, who was critically injured in a crash at the New Jersey Turnpike, was released from medical rehab, according to his publicist. Byron Purvis—AdMedia/Corbis

The comedian will continue his recovery at home

Actor and comedian Tracy Morgan has been released from a medical rehabilitation center more than a month after being critically injured in a car crash on the New Jersey Turnpike.

The former Saturday Night Live star’s publicist said Saturday Morgan is continuing treatment at home and is seeking privacy during his recovery.

“Tracy has been released from the rehabilitation center and will continue his recovery efforts at home with an aggressive outpatient program,” said publicist Lewis Kay. “He asked me to pass along his sincerest gratitude to everyone who has helped him get to this point. He would also appreciate some privacy during this crucial point in his recovery.”

Morgan was riding home from a performance with several other comedians in a limo bus early June 7 when a Walmart truck struck his vehicle from behind. Comedian James McNair was killed and Morgan was severely injured in the incident.

The driver of the Walmart truck, Kevin Roper, was traveling 20 miles per hour over the speed limit and was close to his driving limit, according to recent reports.

Morgan, who was nominated for an Emmy award for his role in NBC sitcom 30 Rock, is suing Walmart for negligence over the crash.

“I can confirm that Tracy, along with the other victims of this horrific accident, have filed suit,” Kay said Saturday of the legal proceedings.

Walmart offered a contrite statement Saturday in response to the lawsuit. “We are deeply sorry that one of our trucks was involved,” the company said. “As we’ve said, we’re cooperating fully in the ongoing investigation.”

TIME celebrities

Tracy Morgan Is Suing Walmart Over Deadly Limo Crash

Tracy Morgan
Tracy Morgan speaks onstage at Spike TV's "Don Rickles: One Night Only" on May 6, 2014 in New York City. Theo Wargo—Getty Images for Spike TV

A Walmart trucker driving 20 mph over the speed limit hit Morgan's limo, badly injuring the comedian and killing friend and colleague James McNair

Comedian Tracy Morgan is suing Walmart over the deadly limo crash that left him critically injured and killed his close friend.

The 45-year-old Morgan was returning from a gig when a Walmart truck traveling 20 miles per hour over the speed limit rear-ended his limo.

Morgan suffered broken ribs, a broken nose and a broken leg in the crash early in the morning of Saturday, June 7, while his friend and comedian colleague James McNair was killed.

Morgan was a regular on Saturday Night Live for seven years and later starred in the series 30 Rock, for which he was nominated for an Emmy.

The suit, filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court in New Jersey, blames Morgan’s injuries on Walmart driver Kevin Roper’s “negligence.” Roper was almost at a his drive time limit, according to a preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Walmart responded with a contrite statement. “This has been a terrible tragedy. We wish Mr. Morgan, Mr. Fuqua Jr., and Mr. Millea full recoveries,” Walmart said, NBC reports. “Our thoughts continue to go out to them, their families and friends, as well as to the families and friends of everyone involved, including Mr. McNair who lost his life. We are deeply sorry that one of our trucks was involved.

“As we’ve said, we’re cooperating fully in the ongoing investigation,” Walmart went on. “We know it will take some time to resolve all of the remaining issues as a result of the accident, but we’re committed to doing the right thing for all involved.”

[CNN]

TIME celebrities

George Clooney Rejects the Daily Mail’s Apology Over Amal Alamuddin

George Clooney is not one to forgive and forget. Not when it comes to his fiancée Amal Alamuddin, anyway

Actor George Clooney has rejected the Daily Mail’s apology over a story in which the tabloid claimed the Lebanese mother of his fiancée opposed their marriage — and preferred that she be married to a member of the Druze religious group.

The small Druze community is found mostly in Lebanon, Syria and Israel. While their monotheistic faith stems from a branch of Shi‘ite Islam, it has adopted teachings from a number of other religions, including Judaism, Christianity and Gnosticism.

The Oscar-winning actor previously slammed the Mail’s article about the family’s attitude to his engagement to Amal Alamuddin, saying the story was “completely fabricated” and exploited “religious differences where none exist.”

“It says Amal’s mother has been telling ‘half of Beirut’ that she’s against the wedding. It says they joke about traditions in the Druze religion that end up with the death of the bride. Let me repeat that: the death of the bride,” wrote Clooney.

On Wednesday the British tabloid (sort of) apologized. The Mail’s statement started by denying Clooney’s fabrication claims and added that the story was based on a trusted journalist’s conversations with a long-standing contact who has strong Lebanese connections. But the statement closed with, “However, we accept Mr. Clooney’s assurance that the story is inaccurate and we apologize.”

Today, Clooney rebuffed the apology in USA Today, saying that the Mail knew ahead of time that it was not telling the truth. He referred to the tabloid’s April article that said Alamuddin’s father, a professor, had married outside the Druze faith and that her mother, a journalist, was not a Druze member. Both of Alamuddin’s parents are originally from Beirut.

“What separates this from all of the ridiculous things the Mail makes up is that now, by their own admission, it can be proved to be a lie. In fact, a premeditated lie,” wrote Clooney.

“So I thank the Mail for its apology. Not that I would ever accept it, but because in doing so they’ve exposed themselves as the worst kind of tabloid,” he said.

[USA Today]

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