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.
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.
Lauren Marie Young says that after Harvey Weinstein groped her in a Beverly Hills hotel room bathroom in 2013, there was another woman there who did nothing to stop it.
Taking the witness stand at Weinstein's New York City rape trial last week, Young testified that a Mexican model named Claudia Salinas closed the door behind her and the former movie mogul as they went into the bathroom and "was standing right there" when Young managed to get out.
Young shot Salinas "an evil look, and I left as quick as I could without saying anything," Young told the jury.
Salinas, now 38, is expected to offer her own version Monday as the latest defense witness in the fourth week of a trial that could see closing arguments by the end of the week. She appeared in the 2009 Weinstein-produced film "Crossing Over" with Harrison Ford.
Weinstein's lawyers have said they also plan to call two friends of the woman he is charged with assaulting: a Hollywood talent agent and a Brazilian actress who lived with the woman in Los Angeles, who were on the March 2013 trip to New York City where she alleges Weinstein raped her at a midtown Manhattan hotel.
The defense witnesses follow more than two weeks of prosecution testimony, including the accounts of six women who say the once-powerful Hollywood boss subjected them to vile sexual behavior.
Weinstein's lawyers last week used a memory expert, cognitive psychologist Elizabeth Loftus, to try to cement doubts about the women's allegations after cross-examinations that sought to highlight inconsistencies in some of their accounts. In some cases, the encounters the women were recalling happened a decade or longer ago.
False memories "can be experienced with a great deal of detail, a great deal of emotion, even though they're false," she told the jury. "The emotion is not a guarantee you're dealing with an authentic memory."
Weinstein's lawyers haven't said whether he will testify.
If he does, he faces the prospect of prosecutors grilling him over the allegations and could give them an opening to bring in more witnesses in an attempt to rebut anything he says.
"That is a question that does not have an answer at this point," attorney Arthur Aidala said. "We want to see how our defense case goes."
Weinstein is charged with raping a woman in a Manhattan hotel room in March 2013 and forcibly performing oral sex on a different woman in 2006.
Weinstein, 67, has maintained any sexual encounters were consensual.
The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they have been victims of sexual assault, unless they come forward publicly.
Subtitle this: "Parasite" is the first non-English language film to win best picture in the 92-year history of the Academy Awards.
Bong Joon Ho's masterfully devious class satire took Hollywood's top prize at the Oscars on Sunday night, along with awards for best director, best international film and best screenplay. In a year dominated by period epics -- "1917," "Once Upon a Time ... In Hollywood," "The Irishman" -- the film academy instead went overseas, to South Korea, to reward a contemporary and unsettling portrait of social inequality in "Parasite."
True to its name, "Parasite" simply got under the skin of Oscar voters, attaching itself to the American awards season and, ultimately, to history. The win was a watershed moment for the Academy Awards, which has long been content to relegate international films to their own category.
Multiple standing ovations greeted Bong's several wins. "I am ready to drink tonight," Bong said, prompting roars from the crowd. Unexpectedly called up again for best director, Bong saluted his fellow nominees, particularly Martin Scorsese, and concluded: "Now I'm ready to drink until tomorrow."
The win for "Parasite" — which had echoes of the surprise victory of "Moonlight" over "La La Land" three years ago — came in year in which many criticized the lack of diversity in the nominees and the absence of female filmmakers. But the triumph for "Parasite" enabled Hollywood to flip the script, and signal a different kind of progress.
In doing so, the film academy turned away another history-making event, again denying Netflix its first best-picture win despite two contenders in "The Irishman" and "Marriage Story," and a big-spending awards campaign blitz.
All of the acting winners — Brad Pitt, Renee Zellweger, Joaquin Phoenix and Laura Dern — went as expected.
Few categories were more certain coming into Sunday's Oscars than best supporting actor, which Pitt has had locked down all awards season. While Pitt (who in 2014 shared in the best picture win for "12 Years a Slave," as was a producer) has regaled audiences with one-liners in the run-up to the Oscars, he began his comments on a political note.
"They told me I have 45 seconds to speak, which is 45 seconds more than the Senate gave John Bolton this week," Pitt said, alluding to the impeachment hearings. "I'm thinking maybe Quentin does a movie about it."
Pitt said the honor had given him reason to reflect on his fairy-tale journey in the film industry, going back to when he moved to Los Angeles from Missouri. "Once upon a time in Hollywood," said Pitt. "Ain't that the truth."
Most of the early awards went according to forecasts, including Dern winning for her performance as a divorce attorney in Noah Baumbach's "Marriage Story." Accepting her first Oscar, Dern thanked her in-attendance parents, "my legends, Diane Ladd and Bruce Dern."
For the 87th time, no women were nominated for best director this year, a subject that was woven into the entire ceremony — and even into some attendees' clothing. Natalie Portman wore a cape lined with the names of female filmmakers who weren't nominated for best director, including Lulu Wang ("The Farewell"), Greta Gerwig ("Little Women") and Mati Diop ("Atlantics").
Coming on a rare rainy day in Los Angeles, the ceremony was soggy and song-heavy. Some performances, like Eminem's performance of "Lose Yourself," were unexpected (and drew a wane response from Martin Scorsese). All of the song nominees performed, including Elton John who won with his longtime songwriting partner Bernie Taupin for their "Rocketman" tune.
The hostless ceremony opened on a note of inclusion, with Janelle Monae performing "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" and her own song, "Come Alive," with an assist from Billy Porter. "I'm so proud to be standing here as a black queer artist telling stories," Monae said. "Happy Black History Month."
Two former Oscar hosts, Chris Rock and Steve Martin, provided the opening monologue. "An incredible demotion," Martin called it. Martin also reminded that something was missing from this year's directing nominees. "Vaginas!" Rock replied.
There were milestones, nevertheless. In winning best adapted screenplay for his Nazi satire "Jojo Rabbit," the New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi became the first indigenous director ever to win an Oscar. He dedicated the award to "all the indigenous kids in the world who want to do art, dance and write stories."
"We are the original storytellers," Waititi said.
"Joker" composer Hildur Gudnadottir became only the third woman to ever win best original score. "To the girls, to the women, to the mothers, to the daughters who hear the music opening within, please speak up," said Gudnadottir. "We need to hear your voices."
Awards were spread around to all of the best-picture nominees, with the lone exception being Martin Scorsese's 10-time nominee "The Irishman."
"1917," acclaimed for its technical virtuosity, took awards for Roger Deakins' cinematography, visual effects and sound mixing. The car racing throwback "Ford v Ferrari" was also honored for its craft, winning both editing and sound editing. Gerwig's Louisa May Alcott adaptation "Little Women" won for Jacqueline Durran's costume design. "Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood" for Barbara Ling's production design.
Netflix came in with a leading 24 nominations. Along with the win for "Marriage Story," the streamer's "American Factory" won best documentary. The film is the first release from Barack and Michelle Obama's Higher Ground Productions. No studio has spent more heavily this awards season than Netflix, which is seeking its first best picture win after coming up just shy last year with "Roma."
Pixar extended its domination of the best animated film category, winning for "Toy Story 4." It's the 10th Pixar film to win the award and second "Toy Story" film to do so, following the previous 2010 installment.
It was an early award for the Walt Disney Co. which despite last year amassing a record $13 billion in worldwide box office and owning the network the Oscars are broadcast on, played a minor role in the ceremony. The bulk of its awards came from 20th Century Fox ("Ford v Ferrari") and Fox Searchlight ("Jojo Rabbit"), both of which the company took control of after its $71.3 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox last year.
Disney's ABC, which is broadcasting the show live, hoped a widely watched field of nominees — including the $1 billion-grossing "Joker," up for a leading 11 awards — will help viewership. Last year's show garnered 29.6 million viewers, a 12% uptick.
In a year of streaming upheaval throughout the industry, this year's Oscar favorites were largely movies released widely in theaters. They also predominantly featured male characters and came from male directors.
After a year in which women made significant gains behind the camera, no female directors were nominated for best director. The acting categories are also the least diverse since the fallout of #OscarsSoWhite pushed the academy to remake its membership. Cynthia Erivo ("Harriet") is the only actor of color nominated. Those results, which have been a topic in speeches through awards season, stand in contrast to research that suggests the most popular movies star more people of color than ever before.