‘The Maid’s Version’ is superbly textured novel

“The Maid’s Version” (Little, Brown and Company), by Daniel Woodrell It’s been several years since the publication of Daniel Woodrell’s slim, harrowing and much-celebrated “Winter’s Bone.” Now “The Maid’s Version” has finally hit the bookstores, and it’s even…

Human rights group dings Kanye for Kazakhstan trip

NEW YORK (AP) — The Human Rights Foundation has criticized Kanye West for performing at a wedding in Kazakhstan, joining a chorus of detractors who say he legitimized the human rights violations of the nation’s president. The rapper…

Fantasia prepares for Broadway under watchful eye

NEW YORK (AP) — The first rehearsal of Fantasia Barrino’s upcoming Broadway show was, to be fair, a little rough. No sooner had the “American Idol” and Grammy Award winner opened her mouth to sing “I Can’t Give…

Hillary Clinton gets Elton John foundation honor

NEW YORK (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton’s support of gay rights has earned her a special honor from the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The former secretary of state will receive its first Founder’s Award. In a statement Wednesday,…

Harper joins ‘Dancing With the Stars’ competition

NEW YORK (AP) — Busy cancer patient Valerie Harper leads a class of 12 amateur hoofers in the upcoming 17th season of “Dancing With the Stars.” The cast was revealed Wednesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” For a…

College introducing online ‘Dead’ course

NEW YORK (AP) — A California university and AMC think you can learn something from “The Walking Dead.” The University of California, Irvine said Wednesday it will offer a free online course based on the network’s hit zombie…

New PBS team low key about milestone

NEW YORK (AP) — Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff didn’t think much about the milestone upon being appointed the first women to co-anchor a national daily news program on television — until flowers began filling their offices and…

A sense of community for Neko Case

NEW YORK (AP) — In her musical life, Neko Case doesn’t like to work alone. For more than a decade, the singer has maintained a dual-track career that thrives on teamwork as it taxes her organizational skills. She…

Review: ‘Madden NFL 25′ takes a victory lap

John Madden’s name has been synonymous with video-game football since 1988 — which means most current NFL players don’t remember a time when there wasn’t a “Madden” game to teach them the ins and outs of the gridiron.…

Dark Horse Comics brings ‘The Star Wars’ to life

A young, idealistic rebel from a desert planet seeks to fight an unjust, tyrannical emperor with a space station capable of destroying planets. “Star Wars” the 1977 film? Not quite. Try “The Star Wars,” the 1974 first draft…

Review: ‘Populaire’ is a love letter to ’50s films

LOS ANGELES (AP) — “Mad Men” meets “The Artist” in “Populaire,” a superbly crafted, finely acted but somewhat shallow retro rom-com about a young French secretary who, with the help of her highly persuasive boss, hammers her way…

‘The Butler’ tops ‘One Direction’ at box office

“Lee Daniels’ The Butler” was served another first-place finish over the Labor Day weekend. The film starring Forest Whitaker as a veteran White House butler earned $20.2 million in the top spot at the box office for the…

Science Fiction writer Frederik Pohl dead at 93

CHICAGO (AP) — Author Frederik Pohl, who over decades gained a reputation of being a sophisticated writer of science fiction, has died. His wife, Elizabeth Hull, says Pohl died Monday at an Illinois hospital after experiencing respiratory problems…

Matt Damon, Michael Douglas to present at Emmys

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Matt Damon and Michael Douglas won’t just be competing for an Emmy. They’ll be handing one out, too. Emmys producers announced the pair as this year’s first presenters Tuesday. Damon and Douglas are both…

‘Macbeth’ has Brian d’Arcy James, Daniel Sunjata

NEW YORK (AP) — Reinforcements have arrived for the upcoming cast of “Macbeth” and some big names are joining Ethan Hawke and Anne-Marie Duff. Lincoln Center Theater said Tuesday said the production will have John Glover, Brian d’Arcy…

Pa. university kicks Rivera off panel for ‘selfie’

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Duquesne University says TV personality Geraldo Rivera isn’t welcome to appear on a panel at the Pittsburgh school because of a half-naked self-portrait he posted this summer. Duquesne says the cellphone picture Rivera posted on…

Review: Slight songs mar Neko Case’s latest

Neko Case, “The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You” (Anti-) Neko Case has a neat name, a terrific Twitter account and a brazen, brassy alto. She could sing…

Pioneering magazine editor Daniels dies in Maine

UNION, Maine (AP) — The first woman to serve as the top editor of Life magazine has died at her home in Maine. Judith Glassman Daniels was 74. Daniels blazed a trail for women in the publishing world.…

Mom of ‘rainbow’ son comes out in new book

NEW YORK (AP) — For Lori Duron, parenting her younger son C.J. is etched in time as B.B. and A.B. — before Barbie and after Barbie. The 6½-year-old discovered the doll at the back of his mother’s closet…

New mob bio traces probe of Pa. gaming industry

EASTON, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania state police ran a top-secret investigation into whether then-Gov. Ed Rendell and his administration rigged the outcome of the casino licensing process to benefit favored applicants, including a wealthy and politically connected businessman…