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Small Theater Companies Would Get Billions in Aid From Relief Package

About 60% of the movie theaters in the country — though not the major chains — would be in line for several billion dollars in grants if Congress can agree on a coronavirus stimulus package.

Negotiations on a bill were jumpstarted on Tuesday, when a bipartisan group of senators offered a $908 billion plan. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell circulated his own framework that would provide about $500 billion.

Both proposals include $15 billion for live event venues and movie theaters, aides on both sides of the aisle confirmed to Variety. So while the sides remain apart on several other issues, there is broad agreement about bailing out theaters, restaurants and music venues.

McConnell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke on Thursday, as hopes rose that a deal could be achieved.

“Compromise is within reach,” McConnell said on the Senate floor on Thursday. “We know where we agree. We

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The Heartbeat of ‘Small Axe’

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Director Steve McQueen’s new five-part anthology series, “Small Axe,” takes starts in the late ’60s and ends in the mid-’80s, following the West Indian community in London through the decades. Although each of the films serves as a standalone, the connective tissue is the Black West Indian experience and music — specifically reggae music.

“With Black people in general and in the U.K., music has always been a part of our survival and refuge,” says McQueen, who will appear on Day 2 (Dec. 1) of Variety’s Music for Screens. He is joined by music supervisor Ed Bailie, composer Mica Levi and musician Dennis Bovell.

At the heart of the music of “Small Axe,” McQueen elaborates: “It’s what we hold on to for hope and guidance — be it in hymns, dub, soul, funk and reggae. It’s always been our heartbeat, and that’s

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‘Selena: The Series’ might be on the small screen, but it paints a bigger picture of the iconic Tejano singer’s life

Christian Serratos (“The Walking Dead”) has her own breakout in the making as Selena Quintanilla, whose career was the culmination of a dream envisioned by her father, Abraham. Ricardo Chavira (“Desperate Housewives”) is particularly well cast as the former musician, who cobbles together a family band after overhearing his youngest daughter casually belt out a song. The band, Selena y Los Dinos, becomes an all-hands-on-deck business for the patriarch, who enlists Selena’s older siblings — A.B. (Gabriel Chavarria) on bass guitar and Suzette (Noemi Gonzalez), reluctantly, on drums — and their mother, Marcella (Seidy López), who helps to make the band’s costumes and serve as a balm to her husband’s tough management style.

“Selena: The Series” is authorized by the singer’s family (Suzette Quintanilla is an executive producer) and the first half of the two-part series is as much about them as it is about Selena. Chavira’s portrayal of Abraham

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Cry Cry Cry Release Long-Awaited Live Album To Benefit Small Music Venues

Cry Cry Cry Release Long-Awaited Live Album To Benefit Small Music Venues

Acclaimed singer-songwriters Lucy Kaplansky, Richard Shindell, and Dar Williams, who together make up the celebrated folk-pop collaboration Cry Cry Cry, are thrilled to announce the digital release of Live @ the Freight, available now (here), recorded at the last show of their sold-out, 20-year reunion tour in 2018. The band’s first full-length release in decades includes selections from their eponymous debut, favorites by each of the individuals, and some choice new-to-the-band tunes. The group made its mark uncovering hidden gems, bringing attention to fellow songwriters, and continued that process with these new arrangements of songs composed since 2000.

All proceeds from the release will benefit Live Music Society, a non-profit organization providing grants to small, independent music venues that have been impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Live Music Society seeks to “help venues survive through this crisis and to thrive once again when they are able to open their

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How Foo Fighters Came to Play in a Small Town in Italy

In 2015, desperate to get his favorite band, Foo Fighters, to play in Cesena, a small town near Rimini, Italian marine geologist Fabio Zaffagnini came up with a rather unorthodox solution. Reportedly inspired by the prank pulled by the team of “School of Rock,” which saw Jack Black and Richard Linklater asking Led Zeppelin to let them use “Immigrant Song” in a video recorded on set, he decided to invite “The Rockin’1000”—1,000 guitarists, drummers and singers —to play their song “Learn to Fly.” Simultaneously.

Raising $50,000 through a crowdfunding site, Zaffagnini started recruiting potential allies and musicians with the help of his friends, including director Anita Rivaroli. One year in the planning, the open-air event produced a YouTube video that quickly went viral, amassing 55 million views to date. Rivaroli was only meant to be in charge of shooting the original video, but after a while she realized she wanted

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Hal Ketchum, country hitmaker known for ‘Small Town Saturday Night,’ dies at 67

Hal Ketchum, a mainstay of the country music chart in the 1990s and a Grand Ole Opry member, died Monday at age 67.

“With great sadness and grief we announce that Hal passed away peacefully last night at home due to complications of Dementia,” his wife, Andrea, wrote on Ketchum’s Facebook page. “May his music live on forever in your hearts and bring you peace.”

Among those weighing in with appreciation and sorrow were Toby Keith, Rodney Crowell, the Oak Ridge Boys, Chely Wright and LeAnn Rimes. Keith shared a video of himself covering Ketchum’s “Past the Point of Rescue” that he had just posted in May.

In 1991, Ketchum hit his commercial stride with his very first single, “Small Town Saturday Night,” which peaked at No. 2 and became a signature song. The now-defunct trade publication Radio & Records named it the No. 1 country song of the year.

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‘Small Town Saturday Night’ country singer Hal Ketchum dead at 67

Nov. 24 (UPI) — County music artist Hal Ketchum has died of complications from dementia, his wife, Andrea, announced in a Facebook post. He was 67.

Ketchum, known for songs including “Small Town Saturday Night” and “Past the Point of Rescue,” died Monday night at his home, Andrea Ketchum wrote in a post on the artist’s Facebook page.

“With great sadness and grief we announce that Hal passed away peacefully last night at home due to complications of Dementia,” Andrea Ketchum wrote. “May his music live on forever in your hearts and bring you peace.”

Ketchum’s wife announced in April 2019 that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and would be retiring from performing.

Ketchum, born in Greenwich, N.Y., was inducted as a member of the Grand Ole Opry in January 1994.

The Grand Ole Opry memorialized Ketchum in a tweet Tuesday that included a quote from

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‘Small Axe’ review: Steve McQueen’s series of five films is powerful act of restorative justice

It’s not immediately clear what’s going on here. But in the sensitive hands of filmmaker Steve McQueen, the point of “Lovers Rock” becomes mesmerizingly clear. Since making his astonishing feature debut in 2008 with “Hunger,” McQueen — whose 2013 film “12 Years a Slave” won best picture — has developed a cinematic language all his own. It’s a vernacular that’s simultaneously expansive and microscopically detailed; ruthless, and filled with tenderness and compassion. And it’s purely visual, especially when it comes to the way McQueen — whose roots are in the contemporary art world — observes and deploys the human figure.

McQueen’s vocabulary is on particularly glorious display in this lambent gem of a film. “Lovers Rock” takes place over the course of one night in West London’s West Indian community in 1980, when the titular musical style — a sensuous reggae subgenre — was at its height. As the film’s

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Steve McQueen’s film series Small Axe is an intimate experience

Steve McQueen’s Widows was one of the best movies to come out in 2018: it was a smart, slick crime thriller that showed the acclaimed filmmaker could follow up a challenging drama like Shame and 12 Years a Slave with tremendous crowd-pleasers. Two years later, he’s back with his follow-up effort: Small Axe, which is five whole movies now streaming on Amazon Prime. We knew McQueen was good, and now it’s undeniable that he has the range.



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While it presents as a TV series — and that’s how the BBC is airing it across the pond — it’s best to think of Small Axe as five full-on movies, with a new one premiering every Friday. (My suggestion: watch it right after The Mandalorian.) Each film / episode features an entirely new story with a different cast every time — and each feels rich enough to live in.

The

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Everything You Need To Know About Steve McQueen’s Small Axe Film Series

Streaming services pump out shows with 25-minute episode at such a rapid pace that it’s impossible to keep up. But, if you’re looking for something that takes things much more slowly, a great option just hit Amazon Prime. The first film from director Steve McQueen’s anthology series Small Axe premieres on the platform on November 20, with four more films coming out in the weeks that follow.



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Whether you’re intrigued by the premise alone or you organically stumbled upon the series’ first film, Mangrove (out now), here’s everything you need to know about the film series, from plot primers to premiere dates, and the greater meaning behind it all.

What is Small Axe?

Small Axe is an anthology series of five films created by Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave, Widows). All of the films are “anchored in the West Indian

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