American songwriter Diane Warren and Russian soprano Anna Netrebko are the winners of this year's Polar Music Prizes, the Swedish award often described as the Nobel Prizes of music.
The judging panel for the 2020 prizes announced Tuesday called Warren "a master of writing for the human voice" and said her songs "embody the rare combination of being catchy and yet complex enough to be heard hundreds of times"
"Diane Warren is the reigning Queen of the American popular song," it added in its citation.
Warren who has written songs for multiple singers, as well as for several films has "perfected the art of the power ballad. "As a singer, to be given a Diane Warren song, is a gift."
The Polar Music Prize panel paid tribute to Netrebko as "a larger-than-life singer who keeps the classics alive, sells out every performance and also catches the attention of audiences new to opera."
"When Anna Netrebko performs, it's impossible to look away," they wrote.
Previous laureates include Sting, Patti Smith, Paul McCartney and Joni Mitchell, bands including Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Metallica, and conductors Pierre Boulez and Mstislav Rostropovich.
Receiving the award "is a big honor," Netrebko said in a statement issued by the panel. Warren added that finding herself among past recipients and being in "that company is mind-blowing."
The winners will each receive a cash prize of 1 million kronor ($103,520). The award ceremony is in Stockholm on June 9.
The Polar Music Prizes typically recognize one classical artist and one contemporary musician each year. The awards were founded in 1989 by the late Stig Anderson, manager of Swedish pop group ABBA, have been handed out since 1992.
Bangladeshi progressive rock artist Avishek Bhattacharjee’s Tagore-tribute solo track ‘Aha, Tomar Songe Praner Khela,’ will be released on Wednesday.
An unconventional blending of traditional Tagore-song and progressive rock fusion, the song is scheduled to be released on both YouTube and Facebook. Avishek has arranged and mastered the song.
A trained graduate of Rabindra Sangeet from Chhayanaut Sangeet Vidyayatan, Avishek is also releasing his first solo album this year.
Since the age of 8, Avishek mastered the art of classical music, inherited and learned directly from his mother. Born and raised in a music-centric atmosphere, Avishek acquired the ability to play a total of 18 musical instruments, just within the age of 24.
He is currently leading his own musical troop ‘The Avishek Bhattacharjee Project’ where he works on the traditional Bengali music.
Brad Pitt, tux still on but tie gone and best supporting actor Academy Award stowed away somewhere, stepped out of a car with a few friends at the quiet back entrance to Vanity Fair's annual post-Oscars party.
"Do you want to go to the red carpet?" an attendant asked.
"Nah," Pitt said. "Let's go right in."
He'd had enough of red carpets, cameras and questions after a long awards season that culminated in a very long Oscars on Sunday and a victory in the best supporting actor category for his role in "Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood." It was time to party.
"Go right in" could practically be the motto of the kick-off-your-shoes, kick-up-your-heels Vanity Fair party, which serves as the de facto end-of-season celebration.
Pitt and his crew slid in through an unmarked entrance near the men's room, joining the party where uniformed employees handed out In-N-Out burgers overflowing from boxes as nominees and presenters in fitted gowns and tight tuxes let loose.
Eighteen-year-old Billie Eilish and her brother-producer-pianist Finneas walked arm-in-arm into the same side of the soiree minutes later. The duo was soon hanging out on a remote couch with 24-year-old Timothée Chalamet in a cool-kids corner of the party whose celebrities, like Pitt, are often decades older.
The champagne-soaked affair, which begins as a viewing party for 100 people and grows into the night's most sought-after invitation, is thrown in a space that connects the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts with Beverly Hills City Hall and is hosted by Vanity Fair editor Radhika Jones.
On a night when the class-conscious "Parasite" was the big winner, the event was as always overloaded with the 1%, but the fare also always leans lowbrow, with boxes of fried chicken, pickles and cornbread, buckwheat corn dogs and milkshakes in the mix along with the signature In-N-Out.
Earlier in the evening as the ceremony ended, some 1,500 people filtered into the Governors Ball — the official Oscars after-party — to grab a bite of the Wolfgang Puck fare and a drink before heading off to other celebrations. Held just a few escalator rides up from the Dolby Theatre, it's a place where attendees can relax a bit and winners can get their Oscars engraved.
Presenter Mahershala Ali mingled with admirers near the entrance, while best actor nominee Adam Driver found a small table off in a corner to share a drink and some bites with his wife, Joanne Tucker, and a few friends.
"Little Women" director Greta Gerwig, accompanied by her parents, said she was "crying all night." They were tears of joy, mind you.
"It was the most amazing night," she said, mentioning how proud she was of "Little Women" costume designer Jacqueline Durran and Laura Dern, who was in Gerwig's film, but won best supporting actress for her performance in Gerwig's fiance's movie, "Marriage Story."
Elsewhere, supporting actress nominee Florence Pugh had had enough with her high heels and walked toward the exit, carrying her teal satin shoes along with her purse. Earlier, she shared some kind words with fellow Brit and "1917" star George MacKay. Pugh, who was nominated for "Little Women," said the evening was "amazing" and "dripping with glamour."
Pugh wasn't the only one making an early exit. Best actor winner Joaquin Phoenix sped toward the door, engraved Oscar in hand, with more than a few people following him hoping to get a word in. Rooney Mara kept things moving though, grabbing her fiance by the hand and making sure their friends were close behind.
At a viewing party hosted by the Elton John AIDS Foundation, the crowd gave a standing ovation after the singer won the best original song Oscar, "I'm Going to Love Me Again" from "Rocketman."
John arrived at his party around the time the Oscars were ending. He joined British singer Sam Fender for a performance of Fender's song "Will We Talk?" The evening raised more than $6.4 million for the global fight against AIDS.
At the Vanity Fair party, as the night wore on and the main room grew crowded, the patio increasingly became the place to be. There, Spike Lee and "Harriet" star Cynthia Erivo, a best actress nominee, posed together for a picture. Gal Gadot and Salma Hayek smoked cigarettes together at a table — smoking abounds on the patio even in an era where it's increasingly rare everywhere else — and laughed with passing visitors.
The party also had its share of instant celebrities whose Oscars in more technical categories win them invitations and the congratulations of scores of partygoers.
Makeup artist Kazu Hiro and hairstylist Anne Morgan stood with their newly engraved statuettes at a table on the patio and drew crowds like household names.
As things began to wind down close to 1 a.m., sausage and egg sandwiches, vegan doughnut holes and iced coffee in to-go containers were up for grabs at the car service and valet pavilion.
Taika Waititi, who a year earlier spent most of the party dancing and this year gleefully accepted congratulations for his best adapted screenplay win, said goodbye to Keegan-Michael Key and Jeremy Renner and jumped in an SUV with a group of friends.
A nearby valet repeatedly yelled "Bong! Bong! Your car's going to leave!" making everyone look around for "Parasite" director Bong Joon Ho whose film had won four Oscars including best picture, making him the night's unlikely biggest star. He was nowhere in sight.
A group of fans just outside the barricades asked all who passed, "Is Billie Eilish still inside?"
At rehearsal for the Paraiso de Tuiuti samba school, a dancer poses for photos with admiring onlookers while wearing the bright yellow uniform and sky-high heels of the school's elite passista samba dancers.
Paraiso de Tuiuti has been a cradle of Carnival culture for people in the working-class area near downtown Rio de Janeiro for over 60 years. But the dancer herself is an import. Jessica Hahn-Chaplin hails from Bristol, England.
Hahn-Chaplin, 31, is part of the movement of foreigners who come to Brazil to train in the ways of hip swiveling and hot stepping. They're spending months at the samba schools that during Rio's world-famous Carnival will dance for more than an hour through Rio's 700-meter (2,300-foot) Sambadrome, delighting 70,000 spectators plus tens of millions of television viewers at home.
After the parade, the outsiders return to their home countries and spread their samba fever.
During classes, casually dressed students can be seen brushing their feet in a quick succession of steps, their hips swinging to the right and left while keeping their heads and shoulders as still as possible. On the floor before each of them lies a thin foam cylinder, which they must avoid touching with each swift step as their instructor calls out the tempo.
These are no beginners classes. All foreign applicants have passed a selective exam to join this advanced-level course and train alongside Brazilians who have danced samba since childhood. The course is free. But leaving their jobs for months at a time is not. It's a proof of their commitment to samba.
Once a week, they join the entire Paraiso de Tuiuti rehearsal on the street leading up to the school. Passistas and percussionists, all decked out in yellow costumes, temporarily turn the dark avenue into a mini-Sambadrome.
"It was very intimidating," Hahn-Chaplin said of dancing as a foreigner in front of several hundred people at the rehearsal. "We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to make the mark."
Unlike dances like salsa and tango from other Latin American countries, samba has largely remained within Brazil's borders. Hahn-Chaplin, a language teacher and dancer instructor, is one of 15 foreigners who converged from four continents to study at the feet -- literally -- of teacher Alex Coutinho. The best dancers join Paraiso de Tuiuti in its official parade, this year scheduled for Feb 23.
Coutinho, 30, said foreign participation increases every year, with dancers returning time and again to learn the latest trends.
"Samba dancers, as with any other profession, need to recycle themselves. Every year, there will be a new thing: a different arm move, a different step," Coutinho said. "They come here, do classes and return to their countries with the skills to pass on to their students. They're propagating our culture."
Hahn-Chaplin, for example, dances samba annually in Bath, England. Sashya Debrito, who runs a samba school and performs shows in Sydney, Australia, said samba down under grows more popular every year.
Another dancer, Rie Tankana, travels all the way from Japan, where she performs at Tokyo's annual Carnival celebration. She found Paraiso de Tuiuti School on Instagram last year and is participating for the first time this year.
"It's happiness in my life, it's healing," said Tanaka, 33, who is a jobs recruiter in Osaka when not flinging her hips from side to side.
A 2019 video of Tanaka in Kobe, Japan, shows her front and center, leading a line of Japanese samba dancers with butterfly wings draped on their arms.
Anna Sui doesn't love scary movies, but she adores illusion, especially glamorous illusion.
That's one reason she turned to 1970s Italian horror, of the B movie variety, as inspiration for her latest collection, shown Monday at New York Fashion Week. Think goth vampires, and also the Catherine Deneuve-David Bowie cult favorite "The Hunger," another film that moved her.
It was the cat eye glasses and fascinator hats, along with the trashy lighting in red and green, that helped draw her in and punctuated her runway.
"This last couple of months I've watched so many of those movies," Sui told The Associated Press in a backstage interview. "Women wore negligees and peignoirs."
And devil horns? Her often breezy collection, with some colorful on-brand puffer coats thrown in, included one model with a pair of horns in black. Others were dressed in black faux leather, crinkle and burnt velvets, and vampire-esque black Jacquard with fluttery feathers.
It was horror glam, a la Anna Sui.
"I think that's what we're missing today is glamour," she said. "We've gone through that whole, like, sports sort of look and now we need something more glamorous. I think we miss glamour. Everything's so real, everything's so in your face, everything's so digital. We need a little illusion, we need a little fantasy, and that's what I was trying to show here."
This fantasy came with lace-up boots and shoes with chunky high heels, a green print dress with cutouts and a pattern of black and white leaves, a goth cape in fiery red and plentiful paisley, a brand mainstay. She mixed textures and prints, pairing a faux fur leopard coat with a loose floral dress and patchwork crochet skirts with stretch-sleeve flower blouses.
Though she hadn't left her office in weeks, Sui said fashion continues to sustain her after 40 some years in the industry.
"It's just something that I hope I can do forever," she said.