SAfrica: Theron pledges help in AIDS fight

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Actress Charlize Theron has pledged her support in the campaign against AIDS during a meeting with South African President Jacob Zuma. Theron, an ambassador for the United Nations program on AIDS, met Zuma in Pretoria…

Music Review: Backstreet Boys bore on 8th album

Backstreet Boys, “In a World Like This” (K-BAHN, BMG) Backstreet’s back, all right! Not all right, actually. The Backstreet Boys managed to bring fifth member Kevin Richardson back into the fold for an eighth album and a world…

Dead fans keep on truckin’ at summer festivals

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — The Gathering of the Vibes festival raises some challenging aesthetic questions: Among them, is it possible for a 1960s veteran with a long ponytail to wear tie-dyed shirt, shorts and socks without looking slightly…

Celeb birthdays for the week of Aug. 4-10

Aug. 4: Singer Frankie Ford is 74. Actor-comedian Richard Belzer is 69. Actor Billy Bob Thornton is 58. Actress Kym Karath (“The Sound of Music”) is 55. Actress Lauren Tom (“Joy Luck Club,” ”Men in Trees”) is 54.…

Bryce Pinkham joins ‘Gentleman’s Guide’ on B’way

NEW YORK (AP) — Bryce Pinkham has nobly decided to join “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” on Broadway. Producers said Monday that Pinkham will star opposite Tony Award-winner Jefferson Mays when the musical begins performances on…

Review: Gill, Franklin salute Bakersfield sound

Vince Gill & Paul Franklin, “Bakersfield” (MCA Nashville) For those dismayed by contemporary country music’s lack of steel guitar and shuffle rhythms, “Bakersfield” is your antidote. With Vince Gill no longer competing for top radio hits, he turns…

Review: Glen Campbell reimagines some of his hits

Glen Campbell, “See You There” (Surfdog) At 77 and stricken with Alzheimer’s disease, Glen Campbell looks back at a lifetime of work on “See You There.” He revisits classics such as “Wichita Lineman” and “Galveston” with a contemplative,…

Review: C.J. Box returns with ‘The Highway’

“The Highway” (Minotaur), by C.J. Box Sixteen-year-old Gracie Sullivan is book-smart and resourceful, but her 18-year-old sister, Danielle, is impetuous, self-involved and boy-crazy. As “The Highway” opens, they’re driving cross-country from their divorced mother’s home in Colorado to…

NYC tunnel to become temporary art installation

NEW YORK (AP) — Vehicles will be temporarily banned from a New York City tunnel so an artist can turn it into an interactive light and sound installation. Instead, pedestrians will be allowed into the 1,300-foot-long Park Avenue…

Review: Mom’s troubled waters swirl novel

“Sea Creatures” (Harper), by Susanna Daniel There’s a charmer at the heart of “Sea Creatures,” and it’s not the novel’s narrator, Georgia, who is plenty likable in her own admittedly stumbling, searching way. It’s her 3-year-old son, Frankie,…

Pioneering ‘Avenue Q’ celebrates 10th anniversary

NEW YORK (AP) — Theater producer Robyn Goodman walked into the popular Broadway restaurant Angus McIndoe in mid-2003 and bumped into Nathan Lane, sipping wine. He told her that he’d just seen her raunchy new downtown musical. “You’re…

PBS: Acting like a network as well as service

NEW YORK (AP) — Honey Boo Boo, the management at PBS wants to thank you. You, too, real housewives. And naked castaways, Long Island princesses, breakaway Amish, storage warriors, pawn stars and pickers. People at public television may…

Friends proud of amateur film on Snowden’s HK stay

HONG KONG (AP) — It was shot in single takes with amateur actors, hobbyist directors and about $650 — mainly to pay for a room in the same Hong Kong hotel that briefly housed Edward Snowden. But the…

Traverse City Film Festival gets underway Tuesday

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — More than 150 movies are scheduled to be shown during the ninth annual Traverse City Film Festival, which gets underway Tuesday and runs through Sunday. Founded by Oscar winner and Michigan native Michael…

Jackson concludes ‘Hobbit’ filming in New Zealand

SYDNEY (AP) — Peter Jackson has finished filming “The Hobbit” trilogy. The New Zealand filmmaker shared pictures of his last day on the set with his Facebook fans. He also live-blogged from the set of the final film…

Blair Underwood back on TV starring in ‘Ironside’

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Blair Underwood is returning to series television in a remake of “Ironside,” which shares few similarities with the original series that starred Raymond Burr. The character’s name and job as a detective is…

‘The Wolverine’ claws way to top of box office

LOS ANGELES (AP) — “The Wolverine” slashed monsters and minions to debut atop the weekend box office. According to studio estimates Sunday, the Fox film featuring Hugh Jackman’s sixth turn as the claw-wielding superhero opened with $55 million.…

59th Newport Jazz Festival stars Cole, Hancock

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Roger Lewis has hauled his baritone saxophone to gigs in far-flung places, from England to Japan to New Guinea. He’s played so many places he’s lost count of precisely where he’s been. But he’s…

AP Essay: Black male humanity shown in ‘Fruitvale’

Oscar Grant did not deserve to die. This is the central message of “Fruitvale Station,” a film dramatizing the real-life case of the young unarmed black man shot in the back by a white police officer in 2009.…

Gentrification in overdrive on DC’s 14th Street

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Great Recession and its messy aftermath will go into the record books for many things: jobs lost, household wealth destroyed, foreclosure auctions held. But the epic downturn is also the reason it’s so hard…