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Jasper Johns to leave Connecticut estate for artists retreat

Famed painter Jasper Johns is making plans for his rural estate in the Connecticut hills to become an artists' retreat after he's gone.

The 87-year-old artist, who has lived and worked in the town of Sharon for the last two decades, received its blessing last week for his property to host as many as two dozen artists at a time to live, share meals together and work on their craft.

In the small Litchfield County town, some see his decision as a boost for the lively local arts scene. Art studios dot the town green in the community of some 3,000 people where Johns is a towering if seldom-glimpsed figure.

"I really think that's the best use of that property because it extends his legacy," First Selectman Brent Colley said. "A lot of us never see him. He never comes out. But he employs a lot of people and he's been a great asset to the town."

Johns is considered a major influence on pop, minimalist and conceptual art through his work dealing with themes of perception and identity. His textured images of American flags became icons of modern art, and he was honored by President Barack Obama in 2010 with a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The town planning commission approved the proposal last week. A Johns representative sought the exception to zoning rules now because knowing the town's position will help with his estate planning, according to the minutes from last week's hearing.

The plan calls for a retreat, set up as a charitable or nonprofit organization, with about 20 employees. The property is a few hundred yards from the town's main marketplace. It consists of six parcels of land, including some with residences. Planners say no additional construction is planned for now although some barns may need to be converted to studios. Besides the property, Johns plans to provide an endowment for the artists retreat.

Colley said it is a fitting plan for the property that Johns has acquired and steadily improved in recent years.

"He's done a nice job of renovating and renewing that whole portion of town," Colley said.

Boxer LaMotta, immortalized in 'Raging Bull,' dies at 95

Jake LaMotta, the former middleweight champion whose life in and out of the ring was depicted in the film "Raging Bull," for which Robert De Niro won an Academy Award, has died, his fiancee said Wednesday. He was 95.

LaMotta died Tuesday at a Miami-area hospital from complications of pneumonia, according to fiancee Denise Baker.

"Rest in Peace, Champ," De Niro said in a statement.

The Bronx Bull, as he was known in his fighting days, compiled an 83-19-4 record with 30 knockouts, in a career that began in 1941 and ended in 1954.

LaMotta fought the great Sugar Ray Robinson six times, handing Robinson the first defeat of his career and losing the middleweight title to him in a storied match.

In the fight before he lost the title, LaMotta saved the championship in movie-script fashion against Laurent Dauthuille. Trailing badly on all three scorecards, LaMotta knocked out the challenger with 13 seconds left in the fight.

LaMotta threw a fight against Billy Fox, which he admitted in testimony before the Kefauver Committee, a U.S. Senate committee investigating organized crime in 1960.

"I purposely lost a fight to Billy Fox because they promised me that I would get a shot to fight for the title if I did," LaMotta said in 1970 interview printed in Peter Heller's 1973 book "In This Corner: 40 World Champions Tell Their Stories."

LaMotta was "stopped" by Fox in the fourth round on Nov. 14, 1947, in Madison Square Garden. He didn't get a title shot until 10 fights later.

On June 16, 1949, in Detroit, he became middleweight champion when the Frenchman Marcel Cerdan couldn't continue after the 10th round.

Of the claim that Cerdan had to quit because of a shoulder injury, LaMotta said in 1970: "Something's bound to happen to you in a tough fight, cut eye, broken nose or broken hand or something like that. So you could make excuses out of anything, you know, but you got to keep on going if you're a champ or you're a contender."

Renowned for his strong chin, and the punishment he could take, and dish out, LaMotta was knocked down only once — in a 1952 loss to light-heavyweight Danny Nardico — in his 106 fights.

LaMotta's first defense was supposed to be a rematch with Cerdan, but the Frenchman was killed when a plane en route to the United States crashed in the Azores in 1949.

So in his first defense, LaMotta outpointed Tiberio Mitri on July 12, 1950, in New York, then on Sept. 13, he rallied to knock out Dauthuille at Detroit.

LaMotta's title reign ended on Feb. 14, 1951, when Robinson stopped him in the 13th round in Chicago. In a fight that became known as the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, LaMotta gave as good as he got in the early rounds, then took tremendous punishment. He would not go down.

In their second match, on Feb. 5, 1943, in New York, LaMotta won a 10-round decision, giving Robinson his first defeat in the 41st fight of his illustrious career.

LaMotta was born July 10, 1922, on New York City's Lower East Side but was raised in the Bronx. After retiring from boxing in 1954, he owned a nightclub for a time in Miami, then dabbled in show business and commercials. He also made personal appearances and for a while in the 1970s he was a host at a topless nightclub in New York.

The 1980 film "Raging Bull," based on LaMotta's memoir written 10 years earlier, was nominated for eight Academy Awards. Though director Martin Scorsese was passed over, De Niro, who gained 50 pounds to portray the older, heavier LaMotta, won the best actor award.

In 1998, LaMotta, who had four daughters, lost both of his sons. Jake LaMotta Jr., 51, died from cancer in February. Joe LaMotta, 49, was killed in plane crash off Nova Scotia in September.

A funeral in Miami and a memorial service in New York City are being planned, Baker said.

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This story has been corrected to show that LaMotta was born in 1922, not 1921.

Daryl Hall renews effort for outdoor stage at NY music venue

Officials in an upstate New York town are again considering Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Daryl Hall's request to build an outdoor stage at his restaurant and music venue.

The Poughkeepsie Journal reports (http://pojonews.co/2f8nQYe ) the town of Pawling Planning Board discussed the project during its meeting this week.

Kenneth Stenger, an attorney representing the board, says the discussion centered on the volume of sound live music would produce during outdoor performances at Daryl's House.

The Hall & Oates musician's business filed a lawsuit against the town earlier this year, claiming the town's effort to lower the venue's maximum occupancy would force the restaurant to close.

William Sayegh, an attorney for Daryl's House, says Hall is working closely with the town to secure approvals for the outdoor expansion.

___

Information from: Poughkeepsie Journal, http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com

AP Exclusive: Clinton book has sold more than 300,000 copies

Hillary Clinton's "What Happened" had a big debut.

Clinton's book about her stunning loss in 2016 to Donald Trump sold more than 300,000 copies in the combined formats of hardcover, e-book and audio, Simon & Schuster told The Associated Press on Wednesday. The book's hardcover sales of 168,000 was the highest opening for any nonfiction release in five years, according to NPD BookScan, which tracks around 85 percent of retail print sales. Mark Owen's "No Easy Day," a 2012 memoir about the killing of Osama bin Laden, sold more than 250,000 copies in its first week.

Sales for "What Happened" far exceeded the first week numbers of more than 100,000 copies for Clinton's book about her years as secretary of state, "Hard Choices," which came out in 2014 as she was preparing to launch her run for president. "What Happened" has been at or near the top of the Amazon.com best-seller list since its publication Sept. 12 despite a suspicious early wave of negative reader reviews (later pulled by Amazon), likely posted by commentators who had not yet read the book.

"The remarkable response to 'What Happened' indicates that, notwithstanding all that has been written and discussed over the last year, there is clearly an overwhelming desire among readers to learn about and experience, from Hillary Clinton's singular perspective, the historic events of the 2016 election," Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy said in a statement. "In its candor and immediacy, 'What Happened' is satisfying that demand."

Clinton's all-time opening was for her memoir, "Living History," a 2003 release that included her first extended comments on the affair between her husband, President Bill Clinton, and White House intern Monica Lewinsky. "Living History" sold more than 600,000 copies in its first week and came out before the fall of the Borders superstore chain and struggles of Barnes & Noble weakened the hardcover market.

Clinton had promised to let her "guard down" for her first book to come out when she was neither in government nor seeking office. Responses to "What Happened," as with so much of Clinton's political career, have varied widely. "What Happened" has been called everything from boring and self-serving to revelatory and poignant.

According to Simon & Schuster, the book set a company record for weekly digital audio sales and sold more e-book editions in a single week than any nonfiction release from the publisher since Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs in 2011.

Linda Hamilton set to return to 'Terminator' franchise

Linda Hamilton is returning to the "Terminator" franchise for the first time since 1991's "Terminator 2: Judgment Day."

"Terminator" creator James Cameron announced Hamilton's casting at a private event in Los Angeles on Tuesday night, the Hollywood Reporter reported. Paramount Pictures, which is distributing the planned sequel, confirmed the news Wednesday.

Cameron is producing the sequel, which "Deadpool" filmmaker Tim Miller is directing. Arnold Schwarzenegger is also set to return.

Cameron, who was once married to Hamilton, recently compared Wonder Woman unfavorably to Hamilton's "Terminator" character, Sarah Connor. Cameron called Gal Gadot's superhero an "objectified icon," but said Connor was defined by "pure grit."

Jimmy Kimmel: Senator 'lied right to my face' on health care

Kimmel said that a health care bill co-sponsored by Cassidy fails the "Jimmy Kimmel test." The phrase was coined by Cassidy after Kimmel announced in May that his baby son, Billy, had surgery for a birth defect and argued that all American families should be able to get life-saving medical care.

"This new bill actually does pass the Jimmy Kimmel test, but a different Jimmy Kimmel test," Kimmel said on Tuesday's show. "With this one, your child with a pre-existing condition will get the care he needs if, and only if, his father is Jimmy Kimmel."

Cassidy touted his Kimmel test in a May interview soon after the host's announcement about his son, arguing that annual and lifetime caps on the amount spent on an individual's health care was unnecessary. Kimmel later invited him on his show, where Cassidy reiterated his stance on spending caps and told the host he believed all Americans should have access to regular medical care.

On Tuesday, Kimmel said in his monologue that the bill introduced by Cassidy and fellow Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina not only fails the "Jimmy Kimmel test," but also what he called the "Bill Cassidy test."

"This guy, Bill Cassidy, just lied right to my face," Kimmel said.

The Graham-Cassidy bill leaves the question of caps up to the states, which Kimmel said means "there will be lifetime caps in many states." Kimmel's comments echoed a statement released Monday by a coalition of 16 patient groups, including the American Heart Association and the March of Dimes. The statement said the Graham-Cassidy bill would "potentially open the door" to caps.

Kimmel said Cassidy should join a bipartisan group of senators working on a health care overhaul. If not, he said, Cassidy should "stop using my name because I don't want my name on it."

"There's a new Jimmy Kimmel test for you," Kimmel said. "It's called a lie detector test. You're welcome to come by the studio and take it anytime."

Kimmel also argued the bill would leave more without health care coverage and raise premiums.

Cassidy's spokesman didn't immediately return a request for comment Wednesday from The Associated Press.

The senator told CNN on Wednesday that he was sorry Kimmel "does not understand" the bill. Cassidy said more people will be covered under his bill "than under the status quo."

Senate Republicans are facing a Sept. 30 deadline to pass a repeal of former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act and avoid a filibuster from Democrats. President Donald Trump supports the plan.

Billy Bush separating from wife after nearly 20 years

Former "Access Hollywood" and "Today" show personality Billy Bush has separated from wife Sydney Davis after nearly 20 years of marriage.

Jill Fritzo, Bush's publicist, says in a statement that the couple has "separated for the moment to evaluate their life together." She adds, "they love each other and their children deeply and are committed to a bright future."

The separation comes nearly a year after a 2005 recording surfaced of a lewd conversation between Bush and then "Apprentice" host Donald Trump during an "Access Hollywood" shoot. The video rocked Trump's presidential campaign and led to Bush's ouster from his "Today" post.

Bush is a cousin of former President George W. Bush and a nephew to former President George H.W. Bush.

New mom Serena Williams thanks mother for being a role model

In an open letter to her mother posted to Reddit , Williams calls mom Oracene Price "one of the strongest women I know." Williams mentions some of the criticisms she's endured about her muscular body, before telling Price she's proud that "we were able to show them what some women look like." She adds "we are curvy, strong, muscular, tall, small, just to name a few, and all the same: we are women and proud!"

Williams says she hopes to "have the same fortitude" in raising her own daughter, Alexis Olympia, who was born on Sept. 1. She signed the letter: "your youngest of five."

Williams is engaged to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

Does Justin Bieber Have a New Song And Sound!? Check It!

Justin Bieber is ready to drop MORE NEW music!!! 

The singer canceled his tour to take a chill out, but just yesterday (Sept 19th) he teased that maybe his level of CHILL is in the form of a new sound. 

He shared on his INSTA story, a quick clip of what looks like a producer in the studio.. and in the background you hear Bieber singing on a SEXY new song:

Sound like a bop!? I think so! No word on the name or if and when it’ll be released… but I can tell you that the INSTA vid is now deleted… soo…. We shall see!

Kevin Hart's ex-wife says his cheating ruined their marriage

With Kevin Hart’s marital woes suddenly painfully public, his first wife is speaking frankly about what wrecked their marriage.

“Lies and infidelity,” Torrei Hart, mother of Kevin’s son and daughter, told Inside Edition. The two were married from 2003 to 2011, getting together before Kevin was famous and drifting apart after he did.

>> Kevin Hart apologizes to wife, kids following cheating rumors

Kevin is in Atlanta at the moment filming “Night School.”

He’s recently been the target of rumors suggesting romantic liaisons outside his current marriage, but has up to now denied such talk. In a video he posted over the weekend, however, he struck a somber and confessional tone.

>> Read more trending news

“I’m at a place in my life where I feel like I have a target on my back. Because of that, I should make smart decisions. Recently, I didn’t,” he said. “I made a bad error in judgment. I put myself in an environment where only bad things can happen, and they did. In doing that, I know I’m going to hurt the people closest to me .. my wife and kids. It’s a (expletive) moment when you know you’re wrong.”

>> On AJC.com: What Kevin Hart’s wife did after his apology video

>> On AJC.com: Kevin Hart launches his own comedy app

Kevin and Eniko Parrish got married in 2016 after becoming engaged in Atlanta in 2014, when he was in Atlanta filming “Ride Along.”

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