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ABBA Teases Comeback Music And Tour After 40 Year Hiatus 

Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad make up the iconic Swedish-pop group ABBA. The group was made famous in 1974 after winning the Eurovision Song Contest with their entry of Waterloo. 

The music of Abba has been passed down from generation to generation as many young individuals today still love all the iconic hits the group released during their short time as pop stars. 

The group broke up back in December 1982, and while fans were constantly hoping they would make some sort of a comeback, it never came. Back in 2000 the group was offered $1 billion to do a reunion show, and they declined.  They also told Billboard magazine in 2014: “You will never see us on stage again. We don’t need the money, for one thing.” 

Under Attack was the last single the group ever recorded together, starting what would become a nearly 4 decade hiatus away from music. Well, fans who have been patiently waiting are having their prayers answered as the group recently took to social media to announce they would be releasing new music once again. 

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While it hasn’t been officially announced yet, some believe the group will be releasing a new song as early as September 3rd. Word broke after a verified Twitter account, @ABBAVoyage, was activated with the bio: “Join Us.”

The initial tweet from the account showed a photo of four gold rings alongside the date September 2nd, 2021. The official website is just as cryptic as the social media posts, with very little information other than encouraging fans to sign up for their newsletter. 

Back in 2018 ABBA did tease the release of new music with a statement claiming they were reuniting in the studio to record new music, initially set for a 2019 release. 

Speaking at the premiere of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, Ulvaeus spoke about two new songs set for release: I Still Have Faith in You and Don’t Shut Me Down

“One of them is a pop tune, very danceable. The other is more timeless, more reflective, that is all I will say. It is Nordic sad, but happy at the same time.”

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While speaking to the Swedish publication Expressen, Andersson discussed plans for the groups next tour as well: 

“We see each other every now and then, we’ve done a few different things, and now we’ve got a project ahead of us.”

Originally a virtual reality tour was being developed to also debut in 2019 alongside the five new songs. The members of the group would appear during these shows as “Abba-tars”.

The host of the podcast Reasons To Be Cheerful, Geoff Lloyd, discussed how the pandemic and technical difficulties delayed all of these plans, but the group is still planning a comeback.

“I got to spend an hour with Björn Ulvaeus from Abba via Zoom. He’s quarantining – he’s got an island in the Stockholm archipelago. They’ve recorded five new songs. They should have been out at the end of last year. Because of technical difficulties and the pandemic, it’s delayed things. However, the new Abba music will be out in 2021.”

Jamie Spears Will Retire As Britney’s Conservator, According To Court Filings

Britney Spears’ father, Jamie Spears, will eventually step away from his role as conservator to her estate once a proper plan is set in place, according to new court filings released this Thursday.

David Glass, a certified family law attorney who is not involved in the case, recently spoke to the media about what Britney and her team need to do next in order to give the pop star her proper freedom.

“The next step is that Britney and her legal team need to either propose the same person that they’ve been proposing, take over the conservatorship, or else work with Jamie and his attorney to find an agreeable third party who could step in as the conservator.”

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“Either way, that conservator is going to be a professional fiduciary, either an individual who does this for a living and is licensed and bonded or a financial institution like one of the big banks who do these things regularly,” added Glass.

Spears’ new attorney Mathew Rosengart shared the name of the individual that Britney wants to manage her conservatorship in court filings last week. The court documents claim that Jason Rubin has been nominated to be appointed as the conservatorship of her estate.

Rosengart spoke at a press conference after requesting Rubin as new conservator, in which he claimed that the Los Angeles Superior Court and his team “were moving aggressively and expeditiously to have Jamie Spears removed from the conservatorship.”

Rubin is a long-practicing certified public accountant who would have the power to “obtain all documents and records relating to [Spears] and her assets, whether held in her name or in the name of another, all contracts, information relating to credit cards, bank statements, estate planning documents, receivables, and any and all powers of attorney,” according to official documents.

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Christopher Melcher is another family attorney who’s not directly involved in the case, but has been following it closely. He claims that the Spears estate still has a lot of money on the line as it pertains to the expenses that Jamie Spears will be seeking payment for; earlier this year he requested his daughter pay nearly $2 million of his own legal fees.

“What Jamie Spears filed today is by no means an unconditional resignation. He’s asking for $1.2 million in attorney fees and additional compensation. It’s inappropriate for him to condition his resignation on receiving material benefits.”

Melcher explained that Jamie’s “resignation” reads more like a “condition-of-surrender.”

“The half-million dollars plus Jamie is asking for in crisis communication and PR fees is not something that Britney’s estate should pay for. To ask the estate to pay fees aimed at rehabilitating Jamie’s public image is ludicrous,” he explained.

In an Aug. 5 filing, Rosengart claimed that “Jamie Spears still seeks compensation’ from Ms. Spears — of $1,356,293 in attorney’s fees from Oct. 17, 2020, to June 30, 2021, including a shocking and inexplicable $541,065.50 for ‘Media Matters.'”

Britney Spears’ next court date regarding her conservatorship case is set for September 29th.

Music Festival

Dance Music Producer Kelli Hand, K-Hand, Dies At 56

DJ and music producer Kelli Hand, more commonly known as K-Hand, has died at the age of 56 this week. Her death was confirmed by close friends on social media. 

Hand was known for delivering prolific, versatile, and admirable music that worked as an inspiration for many underrepresented voices in the dance music industry. 

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Hand was named “the first lady of Detroit” back in 2017 by the City’s Council, praising her for her extreme success in a field where Black women were extremely underrepresented and unacknowledged. 

Hand was born and raised in Detroit. She began taking weekend trips to New York City as a young woman in the 1980’s. She often frequented Paradise Garage, one of the most famous NYC locations for birthing the house and techno scene in America. 

While she worked during the day on a fraud team for a phone company, she also began DJing in the late 80’s at local residences. Eventually she began producing her own music and starting her own label; UK House Records, later renamed Acacia Records. It was at this point that she released her debut EP, Think About It, in 1990.

Jeff Mills, Robert Hood, Mike Banks, and Mike Clarke. who were all famous in the techno world in the 80s/90s, helped record the album.

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Her work began spreading throughout Europe, where she began touring in the mid-90s. The released the first of her seven studio albums in 1995, and continuously would release music until 2020. 

“If it’s not on vinyl, it’s not final, that’s the bottom line. Because you need that warm sound, that analogue sound – not the robotic mouse clicking sound. From 2000 it’s all been Einstein, twinky-twinky electronic computer-mouse-clicking music,” Hand explained in a 2016 interview. 

“A lot of people produce by putting things in blocks on a screen. Some people make good music doing that, but for me that’s not producing – you’re playing a computer game.”

Mike Servito, a dance music community leader, was among many who paid tribute to K-Hand this week online: 

“She was truly pioneering! You leave us with an inspirational Detroit music legacy. Our Detroit sister will truly be missed.”

Britney Spears Files To Have Accountant Replace Father As Conservator 

An attorney working for Britney Spears has officially filed to make the pop star’s new conservator her accountant Jason Rubin; a position that’s currently being held by her father. Lawyer Matther Rosengard made the official request in a Los Angeles court filing this week. 

The Los Angeles Times reported that Rosengart filed a petition to remove Jamie Spears, her father, as a conservator and replace him with Rubin. In a recent court hearing. Spears spoke for herself and stated that she wanted her father removed immediately, and would like to sue him for abuse. 

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Rosengart just recently started representing Spears after she was able to choose her own lawyer in a landmark decision made in her conservatorship case last month. Spears has been enduring this arrangement for 13 years now. 

The conservatorship means she has no control over her finances, estate, career, social media, or reproductive rights; she claimed in court that the individuals working in her conservatorship refuse to let her take out her IUD. 

After Spears delivered an emotional testimony last month that spread throughout social media, the icon has gained a slew of public support, including a message from Congress who invited Spears to the White House to better break down the issues with abusive conservatorships all throughout the US.

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Spears claimed that throughout her conservatorship she was forced to perform and take medication against her will. Her top priority has now become terminating the conservatorship, but mainly removing her father from the role of conservator. 

Spears also claimed that she would not be performing as long as her father still had control over her career and finances. 

“There’s a real question as to why Mr Spears does not voluntarily step aside today. Today. Does anybody really believe that Mr Spears’s involvement in the case is in the best interest of Ms Spears?” said Rosengart earlier this month in court. 

Spears is due back in court on September 29th, where a final decision over her father’s removal as conservator will be made.

Wrestling Ring

John Cena Returns To The WWE In Epic Appearance On Monday Night Raw

John Cena shocked WWE fans everywhere this weekend with an unexpected appearance during Sunday’s Money In The Bank pay-per-view event. The 16-time WWE Champion then made an appearance on Monday Night Raw, during the show’s first event with live fans since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic back in March 2020. 

“Finally, we can come back and cheer together, and boo together. And make some noise and connect with the people that love this.” 

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Cena has recently been taking on a lot of acting endeavors; he’s currently working on the ninth installment of the Fast And Furious series, and will be in the upcoming Suicide Squad movie. Cena never officially quit the WWE, and instead announced that he would take on the title of part-time wrestler to pursue other opportunities.

Cena explained that he was back for one reason, and one reason only, and that’s to take the WWE Universal Championship. Roman Reigns is the current WWE Universal Champion, but will now have to defend the title in five weeks at Summer Slam. 

The two will take on the main event slot for the pay-per-view event next month in Las Vegas. Cena got the crowd hyped up for the match with some good old-fashioned trash talking on Monday. 

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“Roman Reigns is an arrogant, self-absorbed, over-hyped, over-protected, overexposed gimmick. And that, that is coming from me.”

Cena hasn’t wrestled in a high profile match since Wrestlemania 34 when he lost to the Undertaker. During his Raw appearance he assured fans that this would not be a “one and done” match, and he would be sticking around for a little while now. 

“I’m telling you right now, I’m going to be at Smackdown on Friday. And I can’t wait to see you all there.”

MJ Rodriguez Discusses Trans Representation In Media After Receiving Historic Emmy Nomination

MJ Rodriguez of FX’s Pose made history this week, becoming the first trans woman to receive an Emmy nomination in a lead acting category. Rodriguez claims she was attending the Cannes Film Festival when she got the news of her nomination. 

“I felt so seen. I felt more represented and accepted than I have in a long time. I felt like my colleagues now see me, my acting colleagues see me, and the people who are surrounded by the arts see me, and how much I want to give the world.”

Rodriguez plays a house mother and nurse named Blanca on Pose, a show about ballroom culture in 1980’s and ‘90’s New York City, and the politics surrounding LGBT+ individuals at the time; the HIV/AIDS epidemic is also a huge plot point throughout the series, which just premiered its third and final season. 

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Pose is a series by Steven Canals and Ryan Murphy, and it made history when it first premiered due to the fact that every single trans character was actually played by a transgender actor; most of which have never worked in television before this point. 

The representation and telling of history that the show has provided has created an amazing space for LGBT individuals of all ages to learn about their history and the people who fought for the rights they have today. 

Rodriguez spoke during a Zoom interview after receiving her nomination and discussed the euphoric moment in which she found out. 

 “I was up until 8 o’clock in the morning. When the news came, my mom and my godmother (were) sitting at the dining table. And the moment my name was announced, I just screamed and I broke. And my mom grabbed me. She kind of like flung me around. I gave her a hug. She swung me around a little bit. And I just remember falling into my boyfriend’s arms and just crying. Tears of joy, tears of happiness.”

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Sarah Kate Ellis of GLAAD called Rodriguez’s nomination “a breakthrough for transgender women in Hollywood, and a long-overdue recognition for her groundbreaking performance over the past three seasons of Pose.” 

“Pose has undoubtedly raised the bar for trans representation on television and changed the way viewers around the world understand the trans community.” 

Rodriguez continued to say that she was “grateful to know that we are finally being seen the way we need to be seen, and that our stories can now be seen as human stories. It just opens the diaspora, opens everything even more. There are limitless amounts of stories that can now be told, simply because of this happening.”

“I’m thinking about all the young people who can look to us and see that we are human and have so much to offer and that we can be looked up to and that there are dreams that are obtainable, because we can make them happen.”

When it comes to her future in Hollywood, Rodriguez is just getting started: “I just feel like the sky is limitless. I feel like there’s so much more opportunity out there. The world — it’s opened, and I can’t even express how happy I am to know that I’ll be able to be a part of more amazing pieces of work … and just put out good products. I know that’s what the future looks like.”

Courtroom

Britney Spears’s Court-Appointed Lawyer Resigns From Conservatorship 

Samuel Ingham, Britney Spears’s court-appointed attorney has asked to resign from the conservatorship that has controlled the pop star’s life for 13 years. The news of his decision comes after Spears was able to speak in front of the court for the first time since the conservatorship began. 

Ingham’s resignation also follows the withdrawal of a wealth management firm that was also involved in her conservatorship. The legal arrangement has given Spears’s father and other parties intense authority over her career, finances, personal life/decisions, and medical care since 2008. 

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Last month when Spears spoke in front of the court she claimed that she wanted the conservatorship terminated, telling the judge that it was abusive and forced her to perform and take medications against her will, as well as controlling her reproductive rights. 

The law firm Loeb & Loeb which has been working with Ingham on the case has also announced its intent to resign. Ingham has faced some of the most backlash out of anyone on Spears’s team due to the fact that he wasn’t even the lawyer she wanted to begin with. 

The conservatorship in place means that Spears has to let her estate choose her lawyer and any other attorney’s involved in the case. Ingham has made up to $3 million as her lawyer. 

Investigative documentaries and articles from the Times and New Yorker have exposed a majority of Spears’s team as being a part of the conservatorship and caused a major wave of public support for Spears and her release. 

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Spears also claimed that she wasn’t ever made aware that she could petition to terminate her conservatorship despite the fact that Ingham claimed he presented that option to her numerous times; a claim Spears immediately denied during her testimony. 

While internal records have already revealed that Spears forcefully complained about the arrangement with a court investigator, Ingham never filed to end the conservatorship. In recent years, however, he has at least filed requests to get Jamie Spears, Britney’s father, removed as a conservator. 

Legal experts claim that if Spears is able to hire her own lawyer it could expedite the process to challenge and terminate the conservatorship, however, Ingham’s sudden resignation could mean that her estate will choose another attorney for her, which could bring her back to square one of fighting this arrangement. 

Spears’s manager, Larry Rudolph, also announced his resignation this week, in what most spectators are viewing as a last minute attempt from Spears’s team to get out before the full truths of her conservatorship and all those involved are revealed in the court.

Capitol in DC

Stephen Colbert Calls Out Trump After His First Rally Since Capitol Riot 

Former president Donald Trump recently held a rally over the weekend in Wellington, Ohio; this marks the first rally Trump has held since the January 6th Capitol riots. Late night host Stephen Colbert recently called out the former president for this, asking the audience who was allowing him to speak in front of people still. 

“Why is he allowed to have rallies after that? After the assassination, John Wilkes Booth wasn’t welcomed to Broadway for a sold-out performance of I Shot Lincoln: The Musical!”

Colbert discussed how the “ex-president appeared to have nothing new to say in his 90-minute speech, as he stumbled through familiar refrains and untruths like he was reading a speech from last summer.” 

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Trump also reemphasized his point that he believes “hydroxychloroquine really works,” in terms of curing Covid-19; a theory that was widely disproven last year. 

“No one cares about that now! We have a vaccine! I can’t imagine anything more tired than the Covid drug from 12 months ago.”

Trump was also called out on social media for badly mispronouncing words and phrases, and essentially speaking complete nonsense. At one point he was attempting to reference Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, by discussing how the “US sent a brave young man from Ohio to a plant.”

“Really? To a plant? Yes, he was a brave young man from Ohio named Jack, and the nation sent him to climb that beanstalk, where he skyrocketed to Feefifofum,” Colbert responded. 

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“He’s trying to talk about Neil Armstrong, but he said plant when he meant planet, which is not where Neil Armstrong went. That’s like trying to describe George Washington by saying, ‘You know who I mean! The guy on the money with the teeth made out of the cherry tree, with the painting of him crossing the Deli-meats, you know!”

Colbert also discussed all the individuals in Trump’s inner circle that are now distancing themselves from any association with the former president and his four year reign in the White House, including daughter Ivanka Trump and former attorney general William Barr. Barr recently discussed how all of Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud were “all bullsh*t.” 

Barr recently claimed that Mitch McConnell also urged him to speak out against Trump and the claims of voter fraud in the immediate aftermath of the election. Meanwhile the senate minority leader remained completely quiet on the issue himself. 

 “McConnell would’ve spoken the truth himself last December, but he needed the former president’s help to ensure that the GOP won the two runoff elections in Georgia, which they lost. In the end, Mitch McConnell sold his soul for nothing. So, a pretty fair price,”  Colbert explained.

Television Academy Makes Changes To Be More Inclusive To Nonbinary Entertainers 

The Television Academy has announced a small list of new changes they would be implementing in the future in terms of inclusivity for entertainers, as well as allowing for a wider range of films and television shows to be eligible for nomination. 

The Academy announced that they would be recognizing gender-nonbinary performers in the Emmy competition specifically. Effective immediatly any nonbinary nominee and/or winner of a given category can request that their nomination certificate and Emmy statuette carry the term “performer” instead of “actor” or “actress” which are traditionally gendered terms. 

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“We aren’t abolishing the actor, actress, supporting actor or supporting actress categories, but acknowledging that no performer category titled ‘actor’ or ‘actress’ has ever had a gender requirement for submissions.”

Asia Kate Dillion from the show “Billions” was the first nonbinary performer to get a role on a major TV show that was nominated for an Emmy back in 2017. At the time, Dillon asked the TV Academy to clarify its gender distinctions, but ended up asking to just be entered into the “supporting actor” category.

Last year, Dillion continued the fight for inclusivity for nonbinary performers, and wrote an open letter to the SAG Awards in which they asked yet again to drop the gendered acting categories. 

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“I now realize that being submitted or nominated within categories that reinforce the gender-binary should have been met with my outright rejection of those nominations, alongside calling for change.”

The MTV Movie & TV Awards and the Television Critics TCA Awards have implemented nonbinary categories in recent years, setting a hopeful precident for future award shows. Dillion and other activists have continued to emphasize that separating performers by gender in terms of these cateogries only works to further emphasize prexisting inequalities between men and women without even taking into account nonbinary performers. 

The TV Academy also announced that documentaries will be restricted more in terms of their nomination eligibility for multiple major awards. Many have complained in the past that documentaries are able to “double dip” with the Oscars and Emmys due to a lack of clarification within the categories. 

Starting in 2022, “documentary films placed on the AMPAS viewing platform will be ineligible for Emmy consideration. In other words, any film placed on the AMPAS viewing platform will be deemed a theatrical motion picture and thus ineligible for the Emmy competition.”

Harvey Weinstein Will Be Extradited To Los Angeles To Face Additional Sex-Crime Charges 

Harvey Weinstein is set to be extradited to Los Angeles to face sex-crime charges, a judge ruled this week. During the initial extradition hearing, prosecutors claimed they would likely be transferring Weinstein to California for the first half of July.  

This extradition has been delayed for about a year now due to the Covid-19 pandemic as well as Weinstein’s declining health while in prison. Judge Kenneth Case denied Norman Effman (Weinstein’s lawyer) of his latest request for an extradition delay as well as a request for a ten-day stay on the ruling. 

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Weinstein appeared in court virtually from Wende Correctional Facility in upstate New York. A tweet of a screenshot from the virtual court case shows Weinstein covering his face when his latest request is denied. 

Back in January 6th 2020, prosecutors in Los Angeles initially announced that they were charging Weinstein with sex-crimes; this was also one day before his rape trial in Manhattan that landed him in prison in the first place began. 

Los Angeles prosecutors are alleging that Weinstein raped one woman and sexually assaulted another woman in two separate incidents two days in 2013. 

In April 2020, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office charged Weinstein again with another count of alleged sexual assault on a woman at a Beverly Hills hotel in May 2010. 

Los Angeles Prosecutors in October 2020 yet again charged Weinstein with six more sex-crime counts: three felony counts of forcible rape and forcible oral copulation. Weinstein has since been given an indictment on the sex-crime charges in LA. 

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Elizabeth Fegan, the attorney for one of the survivors in the Los Angeles case, said the court’s extradition decision was “excellent news.”

“He has used every excuse for delay — time’s up! He will have to answer again for his horrific sexual abuse. I am looking forward to seeing Mr. Weinstein finally appear in Los Angeles to be arraigned on the many charges against him.”

Weinstein is currently serving a 23-year sentence following his conviction on first-degree criminal sexual act and third-degree rape in February 2020; he is appealing the conviction as well. 

“We are disappointed by the judge’s ruling but we are appealing his decision in New York and we have filed a habeas corpus petition in the Los Angeles Superior Court to prevent the Los Angeles District Attorney from transporting Mr. Weinstein to Los Angeles until he can receive the medical care he needs in New York,” a spokesman for Weinstein said.

A spokesperson for the Los Angeles County district attorney said Weinstein “is entitled to a trial within 120 days from his arrival in Los Angeles, although it is unclear at this time when he will actually arrive in Los Angeles.”