Arts

Arts and culture

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Who exactly was Whitney Houston?

Was she the radiantly beautiful pop princess who earned the love of mainstream America with enduring hits like I Will Always Love You?

Was she the down-to-Earth onetime gospel singer from the 'hood in Newark who couldn't believe when the crowd at the 1989 Soul Train Awards booed her as a sellout to black music?

Spotify and other streaming services have begun removing white supremacist content from their platforms, as websites and musicians alike scramble to distance themselves from the white nationalist movement.

In a statement on Wednesday, Spotify blamed the labels and distributors that supply music to its database but said "material that favors hatred or incites violence against race, religion, sexuality or the like is not tolerated by us. Spotify takes immediate action to remove any such material as soon as it has been brought to our attention."

The term "Ocean's 7-Eleven" — a throwaway gag in first-time screenwriter's Rebecca Blunt's script for Logan Lucky — could have been the elevator pitch for this shaggy, Southern-fried caper comedy that marks workaholic director/cinematographer/editor Steven Soderbergh's return to feature filmmaking. (During his four-year "retirement" — his word — he kicked back and directed 20 hours of the Showtime series The Knick, and produced several other small-screen series. It's possible he did some sailing and maybe hit a few golf balls, too. Who can say?)

The production notes for Patti Cake$ describe the movie's heroine as "plain and plus-sized." Plus-sized she may be, but neither Patti Dombrowski, an aspiring rapper in her 20s, nor Danielle Macdonald, the gifted non-rapper who plays her, is plain in any sense unless your definition of beauty begins and ends with Angelina Jolie.

The typewriter is a marvelous invention, because with proper care, a single unit can last decades. And if you're still using one now, it would have to: since the mass adoption of personal computers in the 1980s, let's just say the ink on these once-inescapable household items has run dry. The brilliant mechanics, the elegance of pressing a key and leaving an instant, permanent imprint on the page, became obsolete the minute humankind invented the "delete" key.

The wildly inventive Dave Made a Maze creates a fantastic universe on a tiny budget, using mostly cardboard. Yet although it's a scrappy indie, the movie has something in common with many platinum-plated CGI blockbusters: The visuals are as strong as the script is feeble.

When comic and cabaret performer Bridget Everett takes the stage, she really takes over. Everett, who is 6 feet tall and plus size, has been known to sit in audience members' laps and even coddle their heads between her breasts during her raunchy live act. "Somebody used to call me a cabaret hurricane," she says.

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