R. KELLY’S TRIAL BEGINS
NEW YORK (AP) – R. Kelly will face trial beginning today on charges that he ran an enterprise to recruit sex partners. Jury selection will begin in Kelly’s sex-trafficking trial in New York. He has denied wrongdoing. Prosecutors say Kelly instructed employees to help him recruit women and girls for sex. Part of the evidence prosecutors plan to introduce involves Aaliyah, who died in 2001. Prosecutors allege that Kelly schemed to get a fake ID for Aaliyah so he could marry her in 1994 when she was 15. Kelly also will face charges in Illinois and Minnesota.
KOOL & THE GANG’S DENNIS THOMAS DIES
NEW YORK (AP) – Sax player, flutist and percussionist Dennis Thomas of Kool & The Gang has died at the age of 70. His representative says Thomas died in his sleep in New Jersey but did not give details on his death. Thomas was the master of ceremonies at Kool & The Gang concerts and had played as recently as this past July 4 in Los Angeles. Thomas not only was the band’s stylist, but early on in the band’s career he also acted as “budget hawk.” That meant he would stuff the paper bag with their concert earnings into the bell of his horn.
PAUL JOHNSON OF “GET GET DOWN” DIES
CHICAGO (AP) – House music disc jockey Paul Johnson, who had a hit with “Get Get Down,” has died from complications from COVID-19. His agent says Johnson died Wednesday in Chicago at the age of 50. “Get Get Down” was a number-one dance hit in 1999.
LYNYRD SKYNYRD’S RICKEY MEDLOCKE TESTS POSTIVE FOR COVID
CANTON, Ohio (AP) – Guitarist Rickey Medlocke of Lynyrd Skynyrd is resting at home after testing positive for COVID-19. Lynyrd Skynyrd was forced to drop out of the Pro Football Hall of Fame concert tonight. They’ve also called off all concerts for this week. Brad Paisley and Jimmie Allen will extend their sets at the hall of fame concert to accommodate.
REO SPEEDWAGON CANCELS SHOWS OVER COVID
UNDATED (AP) – REO Speedwagon singer Kevin Cronin says he’s quarantined and dealing with “reduced, yet uncomfortable symptoms of COVID-19.” Cronin writes on social media he’s touched by “the outpouring of positive energy” for those who were understanding when the band canceled concerts, including an appearance at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota. However, Cronin says his patience is pushed over the edge by “ridiculous conspiracy theories.” He says while REO welcomes lively discussions of different opinions, “to connect our decision to cancel shows to some political agenda is absurd, insulting, and quite simply wrong.”
COVID SURGE FORCES CANCELLATION OF NEW ORLEANS JAZZ FEST
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – The New Orleans Jazz Fest is a no-go again. Organizers of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival say it has been called off because COVID-19 cases are surging in Louisiana. The festival is usually held in the spring, but it had been pushed to October because of the pandemic. The lineup was to include Foo Fighters, Lizzo, Ludacris, Demi Lovato, Melissa Etheridge and H.E.R. (HER). Last year’s Jazz Fest also was canceled. The next Jazz Fest is set for April 29-May 8.
BRITNEY SPEARS’ FATHER ASKS COURT TO KEEP HIM AS CONSERVATOR
LOS ANGELES (AP) – One of the central issues to the fight over Britney Spears’ conservatorship involves a phone call from one conservator to another. Spears’ father, James Spears, who oversees his daughter’s finances, says court-appointed professional Jodi Montgomery, who handles his daughter’s life decisions, called him on July 9. James Spears says Montgomery was “very distraught” that his daughter was not taking her medication, ignoring medical advice and refusing to see her doctors. James Spears says he and Montgomery discussed the possibility of an emergency psychiatric hold for Britney. Montgomery says she did call James Spears about Britney’s behavior and mental health but says he’s misrepresenting the facts. James Spears has filed court documents saying there are “no grounds whatsoever” for removing him from the conservatorship, as his daughter has requested.
BARBRA STREISAND IS WRITING…AND WRITING…AND WRITING
UNDATED (AP) – Barbra Streisand’s pandemic project is writing a book. Actually, it’s finishing a book. She was supposed to have it done in 2016. Streisand says it’s already 824 pages and she’s still got more to go, but she tends to look for other things to do than write about her life. Another pandemic project: getting her iPhone to stop putting her name as “Barbara” with three A’s. She says it’s supposed to be a smartphone but it can’t even get her name right. Streisand also has put together a new album called “Release Me 2,” out now.
JESSICA SPRINGSTEEN WINS SILVER
TOKYO (AP) – The daughter of Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa (skee-AL’-fah) says she’s satisfied with her team’s silver-medal performance in the equestrian team jumping event at the Olympics in Tokyo on Friday. Jessica Springsteen says she was happy the four-member American team was able to pull it together. Sweden took the gold. Jessica Springsteen says her parents have been watching from home and she was inspired to begin riding after watching her mother take lessons.
“THE SUICIDE SQUAD” HAS DISAPPOINTING DEBUT AT BOX OFFICE
NEW YORK (AP) – Continuing concern about the delta variant of the coronavirus may have claimed another box office casualty. The James Gunn movie “The Suicide Squad” was expected to be a smash hit. But when the ticket receipts were tallied, it earned only $26.5 million. The movie was streamed on HBO Max the same time it was released. And ticket sales seem to indicate people stayed home to watch it, instead of streaming to theaters.
JANE WITHERS, EX-CHILD STAR AND “JOSEPHINE THE PLUMBER,” DIES
UNDATED (AP) – Jane Withers has died. To past generations she’s remembered as the child star who bedeviled Shirley Temple in movies. To those of the baby-boomer generation, she’s best known for being “Josephine the Plumber,” who touted Comet bathroom cleanser. Her daughter says Withers died at age 95.
MARKIE POST DIES, PLAYED PUBLIC DEFENDER IN “NIGHT COURT”
NEW YORK (AP) – Markie Post has died. The actor best known for playing the public defender in the 1980s sitcom “Night Court” was 70. Her manager says Post died in Los Angeles on Saturday after a years-long battle with cancer. Aside from her work on “Night Court,” Post was in several other sitcoms, including “Cheers” and “Scrubs.”
JULIE BOWEN HELPS RESCUE WOMAN WHO FELL AT UTAH NATIONAL PARK
MOAB, Utah (AP) – A woman who fainted and hit her head on a rock after stopping to rest in Utah’s Arches National Park woke up to a familiar voice – and wondered if she was watching TV. But in this case, it was real life; the voice she heard was Julie Bowen of “Modern Family.” Minnie John of New Jersey says when she heard the voice, she recognized it as someone famous. John’s sister jogged her memory by saying, “Modern Family” – and John remembered Bowen. The real-life drama with the sitcom star happened when both were visiting Delicate Arch in Utah. John posted about it last week.
MORE DETAILS ABOUT DEATH OF LISA BANES RELEASED
NEW YORK (AP) – Authorities are building their case against the person riding the unlicensed electric scooter that struck “Gone Girl” actor Lisa Banes. In court papers, prosecutors say suspect Brian Boyd knew he’d hit someone because security tape shows him getting up after the collision and checking on Banes before fleeing. From there, authorities say Boyd went to a repair shop to get his sideview mirror fixed. Boyd is charged with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death – and failing to yield to a pedestrian. Banes was struck in June and died July 14 at age 65.
MOLLY RINGWALD’S FATHER DIES
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Molly Ringwald is announcing her father has died. She writes in an obituary over the weekend in the Sacramento Bee that her dad, Robert Ringwald died Aug. 3. No cause was given. He was 80.
Robert Ringwald, who lost his sight as a child, was a pianist who promoted jazz in California for more than half a century. He co-organized the first Sacramento Jazz Festival in 1974.