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‘Minecraft’ Will Host Two Music Festivals To Benefit Coronavirus Fundraising

Music festivals, by and large, have been postponed or outright canceled in the wake of COVID-19 and the global pandemic that has shut down gatherings in the United States and abroad. But much like other industries interrupted by coronavirus, the music industry is taking things online in an interesting way.

One sector that — with few exceptions — has remained mostly uninterrupted is the video game industry, which has provided welcome relief to people practicing good social distancing by sitting in their homes and spending time online. And now we’ve seen a pair of music festivals pop up in a single game.

Sunday brought word that pixelated life simulator Minecraft will host a music festival headlined by American Football and taking place in a digital recreation of a club called Elsewhere. The event space was worked on by Elsewhere and Open Pit and will feature artists like Anamanaguchi, Baths and HANA.

via Pitchfork:

Open Pit and Anamanaguchi are throwing a coronavirus relief virtual music festival on Saturday, April 11 that takes place within the video game world of Minecraft. It’s called Nether Meant and it’s set to feature performances from American Football, Anamanaguchi, Baths, HANA, and more. Nether Meant takes place in a fictional space called Elsewither, which is based on the Brooklyn venue Elsewhere (Elsewhere worked jointly with the Open Pit team to create this space). The event starts at 6 p.m. Eastern.

People can watch within the game (all the information for how to join the concert is on the official website), or if you don’t want to join in the game itself, you can watch along on Twitch starting at 6 p.m. Eastern. They’re also selling VIP passes to the concert, which offers “special VIP areas in-game” and in-game merch. Proceeds from the VIP passes will go to Good360’s COVID–19 relief efforts.

Interestingly, it’s not the only concert happening in the Microsoft-owned behemoth of a game. Block By Blockwest, a play on the already-canceled South By Southwest, will take place on April 25 and feature Pussy Riot as its headlining act. Both festivals are said to donate proceeds to COVID-19 relief organizations, which are worthy causes given the circumstances that led to these shows being pushed online. It will certainly be interesting to see how festivals translate to Minecraft, which will certainly be more about the music than the visuals. But hey, maybe that’s how music festivals really should be.

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‘Schitt’s Creek’ Star Annie Murphy Credits Dan Levy With Transforming her Life

With the season finale of Schitt’s Creek on the very near horizon (it airs Tuesday, April 7.), Annie Murphy sat down with Variety for a look back at her time on the hit comedy series and how her co-star and show creator Dan Levy changed her life.

From the very beginning, Murphy says Levy knew she was perfect for the role of Alexis. There was just one small hurdle. Levy’s father, veteran comedian Eugene Levy, had always pictured Alexis as a blonde in his mind. Fortunately, the younger Levy was still able to get Murphy in to audition for both Alexis and surly hotel clerk Stevie, which she managed to pull off despite having to fly to Toronto from Los Angeles where she was knee deep in pilot season and not having much luck.

But then came the wait. Murphy knew that if you don’t get a call back after two weeks, it usually means you didn’t get the part. By the time Levy eventually called her, it had already been three weeks, so she was naturally prepared for the worst. In fact, she ignored the call at first before working up the courage to call back and face what she just assumed was going to be another rejection:

Dan picked up the phone and proceeded to say, “Hey, I just wanted to let you know that we loved having them come in, and we really loved what you did.” And then just left me hanging — like 45 years of my life went by. It was the worst. I was trying to put on a brave face, and be like, “Honestly, I grew so much as an actor,” putting the tears back into the duct. Right before he hung up, he was like, “Just one quick question. How would you like to play my sister on the show?”

It was a life-changing moment. My apartment had burned down; it was a bleak time. It really just 180-ed my life, to go work with two people I had admired so much growing up.

Obviously, things worked out, and Murphy’s portrayal of Alexis became a fan favorite and the launcher of a million GIFs. In fact, her viral fame is still going strong thanks to her pop spoof “A Little Bit Alexis” becoming a pandemic anthem for hand-washing, which Murphy never saw coming. She was allowed to both write and choreograph the song, and she genuinely had no clue it would take off:

Even though we knew that it had to be a spoof and not very good, we secretly all wanted to write a banger of a song. I wrote the lyrics, and then the other two did the bleeps and bloops and put the melody together. I sent it to Dan and just waited and waited and waited, and he wrote back, “I am obsessed.” We ended up recording the full song. It gets played at clubs now. It’s crazy.

As for the finale, Murphy says to expect lots of very real tears from her and Levy. Although, she does offer hope for Schitt’s Creek fans who aren’t ready for the show to end. “Write a strongly worded letter to Dan, please.”

(Via Variety)

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108 Of The Funniest “Tiger King” Tweets Because Y’all Are Still Talking About This Show

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Delta Has Updated Its Flight Change Policy And It’s Incredibly Flexible

Air travel is an absolute mess right now. Flights are empty, planes are grounded, and an inexplicably short-sighted industry is asking for government support. In the wake of the coronavirus shutdown, airlines have been forced to adapt their cancellation/ change policies drastically. More and more airlines are moving toward a Southwest-style “change whenever you want, for free”-type model.

In hopes of gaining customer loyalty and trust during the quarantine, Delta Airlines is extending their rebooking window for two years. That’s massively helpful because while it’s expected that travel will open up again within a few months, building up the disposable income to travel might take potential flyers worldwide considerably longer. Delta’s previous policy only applied to trans-Pacific flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Incheon, South Korea, and Italy and required passengers to rebook their travel before May 31st, 2020, but considering a lot has changed since the early days of the outbreak — namely that the US now leads the world in COVID-19 cases by a substantial amount — Delta has expanded that policy to include all flights.

Delta’s current policy allows passengers to rebook their tickets for up to two years since the date of purchase and will waive all change fees until May 31st, 2022 if you’ve booked your flight for any time in April or May of 2020 or have existing eCredits or canceled travel from flights in March, April, or May of this year. Tickets purchased between March 1st and May 31st, 2020 can also be changed without a change fee for up to a year from the date of purchase. Thankfully, this is an automatic process and you won’t have to jump through any formal channels or make an official cancellation (a stipulation of many previous cancellation/rebooking policies) to score your eCredits. Delta is also making information on eCredits and their new ticket expiration dates readily available online soon.

“We are actively working on a solution to display the new expiration dates in all the places you can find your eCredits on,” reads a statement on the new policy, “If your eCredit for canceled travel has not yet been processed or extended, or is temporarily displaying incorrectly… rest assured your flight value is secure through May 2022 and will be ready to redeem online when you need it.”

Some fare differences may apply for new bookings, but fortunately if your fare ends up being cheaper than your original ticket you’ll receive the eCredits back into your account for the difference. Delta’s policy page has a full breakdown of this new policy — it’ll be interesting to see if other airlines follow-suit in the weeks to come.

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Chris Paul And Steph Curry Discussed The Infamous Crossover That Dropped CP3

While we all deal with unprecedented and terrifyingly uncertain times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been a few things that have brought some levity and much needed entertainment into our lives. One such thing is the sudden boom in Instagram Live broadcasts featuring superstars in the world of music and sports trading stories, going track-for-track in producer battles, or just going long on a DJ set for people to vibe to from their living room.

It’s helped there be a continued sense of community and also offered a welcome respite from the weight of the real world for a brief period. Sometimes, it’s even served to mend some fences and bring folks together that we wouldn’t typically expect. On Monday, we saw Chris Paul and Stephen Curry, two generational point guard talents who have not exactly been the best of friends, sit down to talk on IG Live about all manner of things, including that infamous behind-the-back crossover that Curry hit Paul with in 2015 that sent the Point God to the ground and has run on highlight reels ever since.

Paul knows there’s no way to do this conversation without bringing it up, since the comments scrolling on the bottom surely are all discussing it, and Curry doesn’t gloat or brag even after Paul admits he “got me.” Curry, unsurprisingly, deflects, noting he’s been gotten by Paul in the past and that it’s something that happens to everyone when you defend elite point guards in the NBA. It’s cool to see them talk about this and while there’s not been basketball to watch, seeing some of these greats swapping stories and getting together on a large platform to talk about the game has been a bright spot in all of this.

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New WWE Champion Drew McIntyre Could Already Have His First Challenger In Tyson Fury

It’s been less than 24 hours since Drew McIntyre defeated Brock Lesnar in the main event of WrestleMania 36 to capture the greatest prize in professional wrestling history, the WWE Championship. (Well, technically, it’s been about two weeks, since Mania was pre-taped this year due to COVID-19 concerns, but you get the idea.)

Earlier today, the new champ called in live to talkSPORT’s morning radio show, at which point he joked about fighting BBC sports pundit Chris Sutton before pivoting into what kinda-sorta sounded like a real-deal challenge toward lineal world boxing champion (and part-time WWE Superstar) Tyson Fury:

“I know Tyson Fury is on the show today as well. I need to bring up Fury because he was talking trash about me. I know he’s coming up to the show, so tell him, ‘I saw what you said about me’ — you know, he doesn’t care who wins the match, he thinks I’m gonna win and he can smash me. Let him know, ‘All right, Fury, I’ve won the belt now, I’ve won the championship now, now I’m paying attention to you.’ After I beat Sutton, I’m coming for Fury.”

The Gypsy King, who already holds a count-out victory in WWE over Braun Strowman (himself the new Universal Champion), responded to McIntyre’s challenge via Instagram, writing:

@dmcintyrewwe has call me out after his @wwe Wrestlemania 36 victory, first I say congratulations and what a fantastic job. Secondly I accept his challenge, anytime any place, anywhere.👍🏻🙏🏻

Could this be Drew’s first title defense? Will we see McIntyre-Fury at SummerSlam (or in Saudi Arabia)? We’ll all have to wait and see. In the meantime, Fury continues to train for his third fight against Deontay Wilder, originally scheduled for July but postponed until later this year due to COVID-19.

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Hulk Hogan Says ‘Maybe We Don’t Need A Vaccine’ For Coronavirus, Recommends Jesus

With so much conflicting information going around about the coronavirus and our leaders shilling Malaria drugs and promising the global pandemic will miraculously go away, it’s time to get serious and listen to one of the nation’s true thought leaders: Hulk Hogan.

Hogan, who currently looks a lot like a Santa with muscles lately, took to Instagram to provide some helpful insight on the COVID-19 plague that has shut down the entire sports industry and even has professional wrestling and WrestleMania on the ropes. His perspective as a rich 66-year old who lives on the beach: maybe God gave us the virus as punishment for going outside and doing things, and that science can’t heal us, Jesus can.

Word up,can you handle the truth my brother only love HH In three short months, just like He did with the plagues of Egypt, God has taken away everything we worship. God said, “you want to worship athletes, I will shut down the stadiums. You want to worship musicians, I will shut down Civic Centers. You want to worship actors, I will shut down theaters. You want to worship money, I will shut down the economy and collapse the stock market. You don’t want to go to church and worship Me, I will make it where you can’t go to church”

“If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Maybe we don’t need a vaccine, Maybe we need to take this time of isolation from the distractions of the world and have a personal revival where we focus on the ONLY thing in the world that really matters. Jesus.

I also really like that the picture he posted appears to credit “I AM THAT I AM” to Hulk Hogan.

As of Monday morning there are more than 330,000 cases of the coronavirus infections in the United States, so please, people, for the love of God, stop worshipping Regal Cinemas and have a spiritual awakening so The Lord won’t keep crashing the economy and ruining baseball season.

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Smino Heads To South Africa In His Long-Awaited ‘Reverend’ Video

Smino hits the motherland in his latest video, visiting South Africa’s Alexandra Township and rubbing elbows with the locals in “Reverend,” which originally released almost a year ago. The St. Louis rapper has been working on his third album, which he says is “done” and being mixed by Derek Ali — aka MixedByAli, the in-house producer for Top Dawg Entertainment.

The video, directed by TopShotta, sees Smino showing off his colorful personality and unusual stylistic sensibilities by sitting in a bright green bathtub under a lime-green sun umbrella, plopped right down in one of South Africa’s notorious townships. Of course, he’s also bringing light to an area that is often overlooked and underserved by public officials — an area where the residents are mainly Black and poor. Alexandra is located in the Gauteng province, just a few miles (or kilometers) from Johannesburg, the largest city in the country. As you can probably see in the video, many folks there live in makeshift shacks and the crime rate is understandably extremely high.

Yet, by highlighting Alexandra, Smino also calls attention to the potential for greatness in humble beginnings — among the township’s most famous residents is South Africa’s first democratically-elected President, Nelson Mandela. Even in dire circumstances, there’s a lot of beauty — and Smino shows that in his new video.

Watch the “Reverend” video above.

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Tom Brady Called His Move To Tampa Bay A “Great Challenge”

Last month Tom Brady, in a somewhat expected but nonetheless remarkable move, announced that he would be taking his talents to Tampa Bay. The six-time Super Bowl champion, three-time MVP and one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history struggled last season with New England, throwing for 4,057 yards, 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Eliminated in the Wild Card round by the Tennessee Titans, the Patriots failed to make it to the AFC Championship Game for the first time since 2011 and broke their three-year Super Bowl appearance streak.

On Monday the 42-year-old penned an essay for “The Players Tribune” about his future, thanking New England for his 20 years with the organization and labeling his move to Tampa Bay “a great challenge.” As is now well known, twenty years ago, Brady was a scrawny kid from the University of Michigan and wasn’t given much of a look at the 2000 NFL Combine. The Patriots drafted him in the sixth round and from there, the rest is history. “I wouldn’t change anything about it,” the former cornerstone of the New England franchise wrote.

Following the 2019-20 season, it seemed that the 14-time Pro Bowler wanted a long-term commitment from the Patriots — something the team was not willing to provide him. Brady now finds himself with many doubters — he will turn 43 in August and currently holds the title of oldest quarterback in the league. But Brady seems to know that his football career won’t last forever, and that knowledge only serves to fuel his motivation going forward.

“Now I want to see what more I can do,” the quarterback wrote. “I want to see how great I can be. I want to hear other people say, ‘Go, man. Now that’s what we’ve been missing. That’s what we need! That’s what we’ve been looking for!’”

Brady also wrote about how excited he is to “embrace fully a team that is confident in what I do — and what I bring — and is willing to go on this ride with me.” As a player with 20 years of experience playing for one of the most successful franchises in NFL history, Brady also hopes to bring his veteran leadership and expertise to the Buccaneers locker room.

But most of all, Brady believes he still has a chip on his shoulder, and that he still has something to prove.

“If I don’t go for it, I’ll never know what I could have accomplished,” the star player wrote. “Wanting to do something is different from actually doing it. If I stood at the bottom of a mountain, and told myself I could scale the highest peak, but then didn’t do anything about it, what’s the point of that?”

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Kyle MacLachlan Is Helping Raise Money To Keep The Iconic ‘Twin Peaks’ Diner ‘Alive’

Restaurants across the country have shuttered or are struggling financially, due to the coronavirus pandemic, including the iconic Twin Peaks diner. Over the weekend, actor Kyle MacLachlan, who played Agent Cooper on the original ABC series and Cooper/Dougie Jones on the Showtime revival, shared a GoFundMe for the “Twede’s Cafe Employee Relief Fund.” Twede’s Cafe is the real-life Double R Diner, located in North Bend, Washington, and organizers are hoping to “keep this iconic diner alive and directly support the staff who are being severely impacted by this global crisis”:

All over the world, individuals and businesses are being hit hard by the impacts of the COVID 19 pandemic. Twede’s Cafe is located within King County, Washington, one of the hardest hit counties in the US. We are limited to take-out only and have had to greatly reduce our employees’ hours. We are doing our best to keep our staff on the clock, but we are unable to support everyone financially with our reduced sales and as new business owners. We are hoping to raise money that will go directly towards paying our employees and helping them through this tough time. (Via)

If you have the means, spare a few bucks for the employees at this damn fine “landmark for #TwinPeaks fans,” as Agent Cooper put it. In other Twin Peaks news, MacLachlan is hosting a live-tweet of the show’s pilot on Wednesday, April 8, at 11:30 PST, followed by “an Instagram Live starting at 1:20pm PST w/ a mystery guest.” He teased that it’s Mädchen Amick (Shelly Johnson), but here’s hoping for a Wally Brando cameo, too.

(Via GoFundMe)