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Keys, lightbulbs tied to Thomas Edison sell at auction

Keys to the New Jersey lab where Thomas Edison invented the phonograph and some of the lightbulbs that he perfected sold for more than $60,000 at auction on Saturday.

The keys sold for $10,625 at an auction run by Heritage Auctions in Dallas. A bulb created by a German inventor who claimed to have invented the incandescent lightbulb before Edison did was sold for $23,750, while a set of five Edison bulbs used in a court case sold for $30,000.

The items were acquired by Charlie Knudsen, 69, of Pittsburgh, and had belonged to his great-aunt. She was married to one of the attorneys whose law firm represented Edison in patent lawsuits.

Tags on some of the keys list the doors that they opened, including Edison's 1876 lab that became known as the "invention factory." Another key says "motor shed," and a third "shop."

Edison had applied for about 400 patents, including improvements to the incandescent bulb, before he left for New York City in 1882, said Kathleen Carlucci, director of the Thomas Edison Center in New Jersey.

The lab itself was built by Edison's father about 30 miles northeast of Trenton and was the world's largest in its day. Carlucci said it also was "the first research and development facility."

The bulbs up for auction were part of a collection used in patent infringement lawsuits. "One bulb in particular was used in a case where he (Edison) was able to prove he had a patent," Knudsen said.

After making lightbulbs commercially viable, the "Wizard of Menlo Park" turned his attention to New York City where he worked to develop an electric utility.

Squatters took over the abandoned Menlo Park property, raising chickens and crops, Carlucci said. Local residents held dances in the lab.

Today, Menlo Park is a national historic site and a state park. None of the original buildings remain, but a museum and education center highlight Edison's accomplishments.

A 131-foot memorial tower to commemorate his work on the lightbulb stands on the site. It was restored last year and its 14-foot tall replica bulb shines in the night.

"Rogue One" director Gareth Edwards has a cameo in the film

Director Gareth Edwards says he gave himself a cameo in the "Star Wars" spinoff "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story." But, as with most things "Star Wars," Edwards is staying mum on what exactly that entails.

The reveal, he said, might have to wait for the DVD extras.

Edwards is a self-proclaimed "Star Wars" super fan and has said that as a child he used to watch the first 10 minutes of the 1977 "Star Wars" every day before school.

"Rogue One" is set right before the events of that original film and chronicles the saga of the rebels who steal the plans for the Death Star. Arriving in theaters on Dec. 16, "Rogue One" is the first in a series of spinoffs set inside the universe of "Star Wars."

"Rogue One" director Gareth Edwards has a cameo in the film

Director Gareth Edwards says he gave himself a cameo in the "Star Wars" spinoff "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story." But, as with most things "Star Wars," Edwards is staying mum on what exactly that entails.

The reveal, he said, might have to wait for the DVD extras.

Edwards is a self-proclaimed "Star Wars" super fan and has said that as a child he used to watch the first 10 minutes of the 1977 "Star Wars" every day before school.

"Rogue One" is set right before the events of that original film and chronicles the saga of the rebels who steal the plans for the Death Star. Arriving in theaters on Dec. 16, "Rogue One" is the first in a series of spinoffs set inside the universe of "Star Wars."

Country artist Granger Smith breaks ribs after stage fall

Country music artist Granger Smith was able to continue performing after falling from a stage in New Jersey, but was later hospitalized.

A spokeswoman said in a statement Smith shared on Twitter that he fell while singing at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville on Friday night.

Smith was being treated for two broken ribs and a punctured and partially collapsed lung.

Smith was standing on an audio monitor when it gave way and he fell into a metal barricade. He got back up and continued performing.

He says he took a pretty hard spill but hopes to be out of the hospital soon to head home to his family in Texas.

Shows this weekend in North Carolina and Texas were canceled. Information about future shows will be released later.

Country artist Granger Smith breaks ribs after stage fall

Country music artist Granger Smith was able to continue performing after falling from a stage in New Jersey, but was later hospitalized.

A spokeswoman said in a statement Smith shared on Twitter that he fell while singing at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville on Friday night.

Smith was being treated for two broken ribs and a punctured and partially collapsed lung.

Smith was standing on an audio monitor when it gave way and he fell into a metal barricade. He got back up and continued performing.

He says he took a pretty hard spill but hopes to be out of the hospital soon to head home to his family in Texas.

Shows this weekend in North Carolina and Texas were canceled. Information about future shows will be released later.

Teyana Taylor advises Kanye on recovery: "Take your time"

Teyana Taylor has some practical advice for her mentor Kanye West.

The singer-dancer, who has performed with the Grammy-winning artist, wants him to take his time recovering.

"Take however much time you need, you know. Time heals all," Taylor told The Associated Press on the red carpet Friday for the "VH1 Divas Holiday: Unsilent Night" show.

"He's a workaholic. He worked his (expletive) off. And if he needs to get his mind right, then I think everybody should respect that and let him do that," Taylor said.

Last month, West was hospitalized in Los Angeles after displaying erratic and angry behavior. It forced him to cancel the remaining 21 dates on his tour.

Taylor said she's stayed in touch with West.

"I sure have. That's what family is supposed to do. He definitely knows that his friends and his family's in his corner for sure," Taylor said.

Taylor and West won best dance performance at the Soul Train Awards for "Fade."

The 25-year-old singer-dancer is the newest member of the VH1 Divas club, performing with Mariah Carey, Vanessa Williams, Chaka Kahn, and Patti Labelle.

"Patti and (the others) told me I was a diva in training. So they're teaching me the ropes right now, so that's always a good look"

___

Follow John Carucci at http://www.twitter.com/jacarucci

Teyana Taylor advises Kanye on recovery: "Take your time"

Teyana Taylor has some practical advice for her mentor Kanye West.

The singer-dancer, who has performed with the Grammy-winning artist, wants him to take his time recovering.

"Take however much time you need, you know. Time heals all," Taylor told The Associated Press on the red carpet Friday for the "VH1 Divas Holiday: Unsilent Night" show.

"He's a workaholic. He worked his (expletive) off. And if he needs to get his mind right, then I think everybody should respect that and let him do that," Taylor said.

Last month, West was hospitalized in Los Angeles after displaying erratic and angry behavior. It forced him to cancel the remaining 21 dates on his tour.

Taylor said she's stayed in touch with West.

"I sure have. That's what family is supposed to do. He definitely knows that his friends and his family's in his corner for sure," Taylor said.

Taylor and West won best dance performance at the Soul Train Awards for "Fade."

The 25-year-old singer-dancer is the newest member of the VH1 Divas club, performing with Mariah Carey, Vanessa Williams, Chaka Kahn, and Patti Labelle.

"Patti and (the others) told me I was a diva in training. So they're teaching me the ropes right now, so that's always a good look"

___

Follow John Carucci at http://www.twitter.com/jacarucci

Semper (and suffer) Fidel: Artists conflicted about Castro

As a prominent advocate for human rights, the poet Rose Styron knew well the abuses in Fidel Castro's Cuba and the censorship of artists and publications with dissenting views. But when she and her husband, author William Styron, were invited to meet him in 2000 she didn't hesitate to accept.

"He was an interesting, controversial, obviously very intelligent and charismatic figure," she says of Castro, who died Nov. 25 at age 90. "And in the back of my head, I was also thinking there might be a way to persuade him not to put people in prison for free speech."

For the Styrons and other artists, Castro was a contradiction they never quite resolved, a man equally hard to embrace or to ignore. He was the bold revolutionary who defied the U.S. government and inspired the left worldwide and the long-winded despot who drove out Eliseo Alberto, Daina Chaviano and other prominent writers and reminded artists of the right-wing leaders they had traditionally opposed.

But Castro was intriguing to the creative community in part because he was intrigued in return. Ernest Hemingway fished with him. Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir were early visitors after Castro took power in 1959 and Gabriel Garcia Marquez a longtime supporter. Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz and other jazz musicians performed in Cuba. Norman Mailer, who met Castro in the late 1980s, would list him along with Charlie Chaplin, Muhammad Ali and Ezra Pound as among the four great geniuses he knew personally.

Many had mixed feelings. "Ironweed" novelist William Kennedy shared happy memories of speaking for hours with Castro when both were at the home of Garcia Marquez, but also called some of his actions "abhorrent." Harry Belafonte discussed everything from rap music to Hollywood movies with Castro, but could never fully accept him.

"Fidel was so charismatic, his energy so powerful, his legacy in some ways so admirable, in other ways so sad," Belafonte wrote in his memoir "My Song," published in 2011. "I genuinely liked him, but I can't say he was my role model."

Belafonte and others followed a similar pattern with Castro, initial exhilaration over the Cuban revolution giving way to disillusion, if not outright rejection. Todd Tietchen, author of "The Cubalogues: Beat Writers in Revolutionary Havana," says that Allen Ginsberg and other poets were drawn to the "politics of style — beards, berets, long hair" that Castro and his ally Ernesto "Che" Guevara helped personify. But while visiting in the mid-1960s, Ginsberg saw gays rounded up and sent to work camps. He quickly, and publicly, became a government critic.

"He called Castro's heterosexuality in question, confessed that he wanted to sleep with Che, and challenged the Castro government to invite The Beatles to play a national concert in Cuba as he thought the band's long hair and their 'high tender voices' might insert some much-needed androgyny into the island's culture," Tietchen says. "When Castro finally had enough, he had Ginsberg seized and placed on the next plane out of Cuba."

When the Styrons arrived in 2000, their entourage included Garcia Marquez and playwright Arthur Miller, who would describe their time with Castro in a long essay published in The Nation. Miller, who died in 2005, wrote that he had anticipated a stale affair in the spirit of his encounters with Eastern European leaders.

"I expected to have to do a lot of agreeable nodding in silence to statements manifestly silly if not at times idiotic," he explained in his essay. "Unelected leaders and their outriders are unusually sensitive to contradiction, and the experience of their company can be miserably boring."

Rose Styron noted that she had attempted to visit Cuba before, on behalf of Amnesty International, but the government rejected her application for a visa. When she finally saw Castro, she was surprised by the neatness of his appearance, a well-tailored suit and not the fatigues of his earlier years.

Castro's guests dined on "fantastic shrimp and spectacular pork, dream pork," Miller wrote. The meal wasn't boring, but it was long and exhausting. For hours, Castro expounded about the world, whether the CIA or the intransience of the Russians. He had clearly kept track of his guests' whereabouts earlier in the day and found time to tease Styron about her visit with a local dissident.

"He said, 'I know that from 2 to 3 you went to the park and from 3 to 4 you went to the museum,'" Styron says. "Then he asked, 'What did you do from 5 to 6? Were you shopping?'"

By 2 a.m., Garcia Marquez was apparently sleeping and Castro's underlings fighting to stay awake. With the leader "in full flight, borne aloft by a kind of manic enthusiasm," Miller summoned enough courage and energy to tell his host that he had had enough.

"I raised my hand and said, 'Please, Mr. President, forgive me, but when we arrived you will recall that you said I was 11 years, five months and 14 days older than you,'" Miller wrote. "I paused, struck by his sudden brow-lifted look of surprise or even some small apprehension at the interruption. 'It is now 15 days.'"

Castro laughed and sent everyone home.

Recalls Styron: "His cabinet did everything but stand up and cheer."

Disney teases 28 minutes of 'Star Wars' spinoff 'Rogue One'

The secretive "Star Wars" spinoff movie "Rogue One" just got a little more tangible.

Disney and Lucasfilm unveiled 28 minutes of footage for reporters on Friday at Skywalker Ranch, teasing the origin story of the band of rebels who aim to steal the plans for the Death Star — the event that sets into motion the plot of the original 1977 "Star Wars."

The footage skipped around in time and story line, but essentially sets up a world on the brink of rebellion. The Empire's agents are everywhere, with stormtroopers roaming the streets searching for dissidents.

We meet the protagonist, Jyn Erso, as a young child whose parents, Galen (Mads Mikkelsen) and Lyra (Valene Kane), are of particular interest to the Empire, and specifically Ben Mendelsohn's Director Orson Krennic. Without revealing anything else, it's the specific origin story that still eludes audiences when it comes to the most recent "Star Wars" heroine, Rey. But twists and turns seem to await spectators in "Rogue One," which finds a grown Jyn (Felicity Jones) in cahoots with the rebel alliance on a dangerous mission to try to stop the Empire from building their planet destroyer.

Director Gareth Edwards introduced the footage Friday, joking that they thought about showing 30 minutes but decided they needed to save something. The film was screened for the cast recently, but few have seen the final product, which will premiere Dec. 10 in Los Angeles before hitting theaters Dec. 16.

The highlight reel set the stage for many of the principle characters, like Diego Luna's street smart Alliance Captain Cassian Andor, Forest Whitaker's extremist Saw Gerrera and Donnie Yen's mysterious, blind Chirrut Imwe. It also established a world that will look quite familiar to anyone who's seen the 1977 "Star Wars." Costumes, characters, and sets from that first film — and some of the prequels — populate this universe, including Alliance leader Mon Mothma (Genevieve O'Reilly) and Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits) and a few other cheeky surprises.

"Rogue One" also takes audiences to planets and environs that aren't standard settings in "Star Wars" films, including a beach and a bustling marketplace.

"Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" is the first of three planned spinoff films set inside the "Star Wars" universe, including a young Han Solo film set for 2018. The so-called anthology films are separate from the main trilogy, which kicked off last year with "The Force Awakens," and will continue next year with "Episode VIII."

"We're on sacred ground here," Edwards said, pointing to a seat the middle of the theater where he said George Lucas would watch and edit his films.

Edwards said he pitched his vision for the film to Lucasfilm development executive Kiri Hart on the Skywalker Ranch campus.

Now that the film is finally finished, Edwards said the experience "feels like the end of something."

But, he added, "if you do 'Star Wars' right, it's more like the beginning."

___

Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr

Madonna raises $7.5M for Malawi, slams Trump in Miami show

Madonna kissed Ariana Grande, repeatedly criticized President elect Donald Trump and said she was ashamed to be an American in a magnetic performance in Miami on Friday night where she raised more than $7.5 million for the African nation of Malawi.

The Material Girl dug deep into her personal treasures, auctioning off pieces from her own art collection, a costume from her tour modeled by Grande and black and white photos from her 1985 wedding to ex-husband Sean Penn shot by the late photographer Herb Ritts. The trio of wedding photos sold for $230,000.

Penn, who attended the fundraiser and bid on several pricey items when the auction stalled, handcuffed Madonna and crawled through her legs at one point as the two tried to coerce the audience to bid higher.

"For once, he's not the one being arrested," she joked.

The party lasted until early Saturday morning when Madonna took the stage for an hour-long performance before a star studded crowd that included Leonardo DiCaprio, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, James Corden, ex-boyfriend A-Rod and Courtney Love. The fundraiser was just one of the many parties during Art Basel Miami Beach, a contemporary art fair.

Madonna, who performed in a pink sequined clown top and fishnet stockings, seemed to hold nothing back, especially her opinions on the election, joking with the audience that she had promised to perform sexual favors for those who voted for Hillary.

She coyly said she'd been in Donald Trump's bed, but later revealed it was for a magazine photo shoot and that Trump wasn't even there — and she criticized his cheap sheets.

"They won't be Egyptian cotton because we all know how he feels about Muslims don't we," she said as some audience members gasped.

She gyrated to a slowed-down version of Britney Spears' "Toxic" and seductively sang, "You know that you're toxic," as images of Trump appeared on a large screen behind her.

At one point, she walked into the audience, climbing on tables and giving one man a lap dance. She abruptly stood up at another point, grabbed the chair on which she had performed and said she also wanted to auction it, noting $600 could send a girl in Malawi to secondary school and $2,000 would cover her university expenses. The chair sold for $10,000.

Other notable items included a Damien Hirst painting, a private performance by magician David Blaine, who was also at the event, and a weeklong stay at DiCaprio's home in Palm Springs, which fetched $140,000. A print by artist Tracey Emin from Madonna's personal art collection, sold for $550,000.

Madonna adopted her 11-year-old son David from an orphanage in Malawi more than a decade ago. At the time, she said, "I didn't know where Malawi was" on the map. David had pneumonia and malaria. His mother died in childbirth and his siblings were also dead.

He was on hand to introduce his mother, telling audience members who paid at least $5,000 per plate, "I realize I'm one of the lucky ones."

The pop star showed videos of Malawi, asking for help to build a pediatric surgery and intensive care unit at a hospital there. Fifty percent of the population there is under the age of 15, according to her foundation Raising Malawi.

The night was punctuated by her sardonic humor, corny clown jokes, controversial political statements and heartfelt moments about how much the hospital project means to her. She divulged a few personal details, lamenting that she was very single and hadn't had sex in a long time and saying she'd always had a fascination with clowns which she said are "profoundly misunderstood."

She spoke passionately about the plight of Native Americans and asked why their land was being destroyed.

"It just really makes me feel ashamed, ashamed to be an American, ashamed to be a human being really," she said before launching into "American Life."

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