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Taylor Swift is named Time magazine's person of the year

People
Taylor Swift

NEW YORK — Time magazine named Taylor Swift its person of the year on Wednesday, a week after Spotify announced she was the most-played artist on the streaming platform.

Swift was picked from a group of nine finalists that included Barbie, King Charles III, and OpenAI chief executive Sam Altman, among others.

“While her popularity has grown across the decades, this is the year that Swift, 33, achieved a kind of nuclear fusion: shooting art and commerce together to release an energy of historic force,” Time said about her selection .

Her year included the wildly popular Eras Tour and concert movie , the release of her reimagined ‘1989’ album , and her closely watched relationship with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. She's even the subject of college courses .

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was Time's 2022 person of the year.

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Jamie Foxx

ATLANTA — Actor Jamie Foxx, who was hospitalized while shooting a movie in Atlanta in April, made a surprise appearance Monday night at an awards show.

He accepted a Vanguard Award at the Critics Choice Association’s Celebration of Cinema & Television Honoring Black, Latino & AAPI Achievements to celebrate his performance in Amazon Prime’s “The Burial.”

After walking on stage, Foxx said, “It’s crazy, I couldn’t do that six months ago. I couldn’t actually walk.”

This is the first time Foxx has made an official public appearance since he fell sick. He has not said what caused him to end up in a hospital but he spent time at a physical rehabilitation center in Chicago that specializes in stroke recovery, traumatic brain injury rehab, spinal cord injury rehab and cancer rehabilitation, according to TMZ.

“I want to thank everybody. I’ve been through something,” the actor said, referring to his health scare. “I’ve been through some things.”

“I cherish every single minute now,” he added. “It’s different. I wouldn’t wish what I went through on my worst enemy because it’s tough when it’s almost over. When you see the tunnel, I saw the tunnel. I didn’t see the light.”

Foxx was nearly finished shooting a Netflix action comedy in Atlanta in April called “Back in Action” with Cameron Diaz when he landed in a local hospital. The producers used body doubles to finish the movie, which does not yet have a release date.

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Travis Scott

PITTSBURGH — In "Circus Maximus," the film accompanying his new album "UTOPIA," Travis Scott climbs a mountaintop for an audience with a godlike Rick Rubin.

The wise, white-bearded producer — behind albums by everyone from the Beastie Boys to Johnny Cash — calmly poses a series of questions: "Is the house half empty or completely empty? How are the kids? I heard there was a tragedy. Are you still crying? How 'bout the drugs? Are they still working, or are you just tired of them?"

"Well, actually," Scott mumbles, "I didn't come to talk about that ...."

What he wants to know is how and whether he can still "rage."

Rubin presses him: "How is home?"

"Home," Scott says. "Home ain't been the same in a while. All I hear is echoes, half the day."

Nothing's been the same for Travis Scott since Nov. 5, 2021, when 10 fans died and hundreds were injured during a crowd crush while the rapper was on stage at the Astroworld Festival in his hometown of Houston.

The Kanye disciple, who returns to PPG Paints Arena Friday, will forever be tainted the event, much like The Who was following the tragedy in Cincinnati in 1979. The difference is that while The Who were said to be unaware of the events outside the stadium when they went on that night, Scott was on stage raging in front of the unruly crowd of about 50,000. It's among the factors that will keep the lawsuits going for years.

It wasn't the first time that things had gotten out of control at one of the concerts by the rapper, whose reputation for provoking wild behavior from his crowds goes back to his first tour in 2015.

Complex ran a review of that tour headlined, "I Tried Not to Die at Travi$ Scott and Young Thug's Show Last Night."

"He was rap's agent of chaos," the reviewer wrote, "aiming to make his show as hectic as possible while he prowled around inhumanly across the stage."

That year, he pleaded guilty to reckless conduct charges after officials claimed that he encouraged fans at his Lollapalooza show to breach the barricades. In 2017, he was arrested in Arkansas for encouraging fans to rush the stage resulting in injuries to fans, a security guard and a police officer. He paid a fine for inciting a riot.

Should we go on? Also from that tour, Scott was sued by a concertgoer who was pushed from a third-floor balcony at an NYC show after the rapper encouraged people to jump.

It's not that Scott's music is that hard, compared to the likes of, say, Slipknot, or such rap gods as Ice Cube, DMX or even Kanye. There's something about it, though, and his delivery that puts people on edge.

Scott, who continued to tour internationally the past few years, is on the U.S. redemption tour with fourth album "UTOPIA," which he first teased in July 2020 and ultimately released this past July. Like "ASTROWORLD," it's an "event" record, epic in scale and run time (73 minutes) and peopled with a roster of stars that includes Drake, Beyonce, The Weeknd, Playboi Carti, Kid Cudi, Bad Bunny, SZA, Justin Vernon, Future and James Blake.

It's no easy-listening experience, challenging all who enter with a sometimes booming, mostly ambient psychedelic head trip seemingly delivered with an intentional dearth of hooks.

"UTOPIA," he told Pin-Up in a rare interview, "is something that people feel is so far-fetched and out of reach, some perfect state of mind. But you create it yourself. There are people who achieve Utopia every day. They may not be the richest people with the dopest cribs, but it's a utopia wherever they are, and that's the most you can have.

"With every album I live in these worlds in my mind — I'm trying to show people experiences where utopian things can exist, and you can enjoy yourself and have a good time. They can create energy that spews out magical things — new cures, new buildings, new avenues for people to move forward. People need to see that Utopia is real."

"I wanted the album to be a play," he told GQ. "I was trying to take Broadway — because the thing about Broadway theatres, they're kind of small — I was trying to bring the idea of Broadway to bigger venues. Like, either, like, plays in stadiums or plays in arenas, but still make it feel like a Broadway bill."

That aside, his rollout was big. On the eve of the drop, AMC Theatres premiered "Circus Maximus," described as "a mind-bending visual odyssey across the globe, woven together by the speaker rattling sounds of 'Utopia.'" The cinematic journey, written and directed by Scott, strings together videos by Gaspar Noé, Valdimar Jóhannsson, Nicolas Winding Refn, Harmony Korine and Kahlil Joseph.

His plan was to roll out "UTOPIA" live at the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt in July, but that was nixed two days before it happened due to "complex production issues," according to Live Nation. Those apparently included the Egyptian Musicians' Syndicate pulling the permit out of concern that the rapper would perform "strange rituals" during his concert.

Plan B became the Circus Maximus in Rome, site of the chariot races, where the bouncing of 60,000 fans in August had the locals thinking there was an earthquake in the vicinity. Dozens of fans were treated for pepper spray-related injuries after a localized incident.

By fans, "UTOPIA" was warmly embraced, notching a No. 1 debut (his third) with first week sales of nearly half a million to go along with Top 10 chart positions for the singles "Meltdown" (with Drake) and "K-Pop" (with Bad Bunny and The Weeknd).

As one fan commented on YouTube, "This album is like visiting an art gallery where you place your hands behind you and stare at the art while pretending you are so immersed in the art so you don't appear clueless."

Whereas "ASTROWORLD" was widely praised (85% on Metacritic), some critics were eager to get their knives out for "UTOPIA" (67%). After fawning over "ASTROWORLD," HipHopDX was particularly savage, leading with the headline, " 'Utopia' is more boring than Travis Scott."

The most brutal section noted, "Aspiring to be Kanye West and coming out looking like a Kardashian is nothing new for Scott..." and went on to say, "'Utopia' makes the case that Travis Scott can single-handedly ruin a good time no matter how many cool people show up."

Pitchfork, which was also in his corner for "ASTROWORLD" (7.8), made a similar Kanye crack before going on to declare "UTOPIA" (5.7) "a hollow spectacle."

The Circus Maximus Tour, which began Oct. 11 in Charlotte, will be mark Scott's third trip to Pittsburgh following his May 2017 debut here on the Bird's Eye View Tour at Stage AE (where he shouted out his friends Mac Miller and Wiz Khalifa) and his Astroworld stop in November 2018 in which the PPG Paints Arena floor held a massive roller coaster track that ran between two stages.

This time, the theme is ancient ruins with a set that's been compared to that of Nickelodeon game show "Legends of the Hidden Temple." Following a set by Teezo Touchdown and likely an interminable intermission, Scott's on stage for about 90 minutes blowing through 20-some songs, including almost all of "UTOPIA" (many in abbreviated versions).

There will be high people and high emotions. There will be mosh pits. There will be earthshaking beats. And hopefully everyone gets a slice of utopia and makes it home.

The show is at 8 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $74; ticketmaster.com .

From combined wire services

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