Nashville, Oct 8 (AP/UNB) — Music superstar Taylor Swift announced Sunday she's voting for Tennessee's Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen, breaking her long-standing refusal to discuss anything politics.
"In the past I've been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now," Swift wrote in an Instagram post .
Swift has faced criticism for not speaking about political issues despite having a global platform. Yet in 2017, she appeared on the cover of Time magazine as one of the "silence breakers" for her countersuit against a radio DJ who was fired after allegedly groping her before a concert. Swift won the lawsuit in a verdict that awarded her $1, which according to the suit served as "an example to other women who may resist publicly reliving similar outrageous and humiliating acts."
The pop star — who spent later years growing up in Tennessee — also slammed Republican candidate and U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn in her lengthy post on Sunday, citing Blackburn's opposition to certain LGBTQ rights and voting against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in 2013.
"As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me," Swift wrote.
Blackburn's campaign did not immediately return a request for comment.
Swift said she's not only voting for the former Tennessee governor for Senate, but also Democrat Jim Cooper for the House.
However, Swift didn't acknowledge Bredesen's recent endorsement of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, but said people may never find a candidate or party with whom they agree completely on every issue.
"Thank you for the kind words ... I'm honored to have your support and that of so many Tennesseans who are ready to put aside the partisan shouting and get things done. We're ready for it," Bredesen tweeted Sunday in response to Swift's post.
New York, Oct 7 (AP/UNB) — The Sony comic-book movie "Venom" has shrugged off bad reviews to shatter the October box-office record with an $80 million debut, while Bradley Cooper's "A Star Is Born" soared to $42.6 million.
According to estimates Sunday, the two very different films fueled an unusually robust October weekend at the North American box office. Despite a 32 percent "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the anti-hero "Spider-Man" spinoff "Venom" opened with $205.2 million globally.
The previous best October opening was $55.7 million for "Gravity" in 2013.
Cooper's "A Star Is Born" remake, also starring Lady Gaga, has been hailed by critics and pegged as an Oscar front-runner. It drew an audience that was 66 percent female and 68 percent older than 35.
London, Oct 7 (AP/UNB) — Tina Turner has revealed that she underwent a kidney transplant with an organ donated by her husband.
The 78-year-old singer says in an upcoming autobiography that she has suffered from kidney disease, and by 2016 her kidneys were at "20 percent and plunging rapidly."
She says her husband, Erwin Bach, "shocked me by saying that he wanted to give me one of his kidneys." Turner says she was "overwhelmed by the enormity of his offer."
Turner writes that afterward she felt "happy, overwhelmed and relieved that we'd come through this alive."
Turner, whose hits include "Proud Mary" and "What's Love Got to do With It?," married German music executive Bach in 2013 after a long relationship.
Extracts from "Tina Turner: My Love Story" were published Saturday in the Daily Mail newspaper and released by its U.K. publisher Penguin Random House. The book is published in Britain and North America later this month.
In the book, Turner encourages people to sign up to donate organs in order to save lives.
Barcelona, Oct 6 (AP/UNB) — Montserrat Caballe, a Spanish opera singer renowned for her bel canto technique and her interpretations of the roles of Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti, has died. She was 85.
Hospital Sant Pau spokesman Abraham del Moral confirmed her death early Saturday to The Associated Press. Del Moral says that Caballe's family requested the cause of death not be released while saying that she had been in the hospital since September.
Spanish media said that Caballe entered the Barcelona hospital in September because of a gall bladder problem.
Born into a working class family in Barcelona, Caballe unveiled her musical talents early, singing Bach cantatas at the age of 7.
In her almost unlimited repertoire, she starred in 90 opera roles with nearly 4,000 stage performances.
Los Angeles, Oct 6 (AP/UNB) — Audrey Wells, who wrote the screenplay for the brand new feature film "The Hate U Give," died the day before the film was released after a five-year battle with cancer. She was 58.
A representative from United Talent Agency said Wells died Thursday.
Wells also wrote and directed the 2003 romantic comedy "Under the Tuscan Sun."
The San Francisco native had early jobs as a disc jockey at a local jazz station and in public radio before making the transition to film, armed with a Master of Fine Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles.
She wrote the screenplays for films like "The Truth About Cats and Dogs," a modern-day Cyrano de Bergerac tale starring Uma Thurman, and "Shall We Dance," with Jennifer Lopez and Richard Gere. She made her directorial debut with the 1999 indie "Guinevere," starring Sarah Polley as a young woman who has a relationship with an older mentor.
Wells wrote the script for the critically acclaimed new film "The Hate U Give," an adaptation of Angie Thomas' young adult novel about a police shooting of a young black man. The film starring Amandla Stenberg is now playing in limited release before it expands nationwide Oct. 19.
Thomas tweeted Friday it was, "A joy to work with Audrey, and I'm forever grateful for what she gave us with The Hate U Give adaptation. She will truly be missed."
United Talent Agency co-President David Kramer said Wells was "truly special."
"The strong, independent female characters she shaped resonate today more than ever and will be a part of her legacy always," he said. "We will miss her amazing, spirit, creativity and the love she gave us."
Wells is survived by her husband, Brian Larky, and her daughter, Tatiana. Larky said Wells "fought valiantly against her illness" and died "surrounded by love."
The family asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Wells' favorite nonprofits, The Feminist Majority Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood.