Ava DuVernay Is Making a Prince Documentary: 5 Things in Pop Culture Today

Ava DuVernay Is Making a Prince Documentary: 5 Things in Pop Culture Today

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Hello! Welcome to your daily roundup of what’s going on in pop culture.

Today is the 80th anniversary of Orson Welles’s “War of the Worlds” radio broadcast, a dramatization of H.G. Wells’s 1898 novel. It caused panic at the time, with some listeners believing Martians really had landed in New Jersey. It’s also one of those cultural events that launched decades’ worth of college essays (some of them by editors at Times HQ) analyzing media habits and American paranoia. It’s well worth a (re)listen — it is really convincing, to be totally honest!

In very wonderful news, Ava DuVernay is working on a multipart Prince documentary for Netflix. It will cover the artist’s entire life, Variety reports, and Prince’s estate is in full support of the project. “Prince was a genius, a joy and a jolt to the senses,” DuVernay wrote on Twitter. “He was like no other. The only way I know how to make this film is with love and great care.”

Pharrell Williams is the latest musician to ask President Trump to stop playing his music at political events. On Saturday, hours after the deadly attack on a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Williams’s “Happy” was played at a Trump rally, according to a strongly worded cease-and-desist letter from Williams’s lawyers. The Rolling Stones, Adele, Queen and others have made similar requests in the past, CNN reports.

But according to the National FFA Organization, which hosted the event at which Trump spoke (FFA stands for Future Farmers of America), it was the group’s organist who played the song, and there was no input from the president’s team. (The song begins at 2:30:30 in this video.) “The song was not used as an intro for the president, and no one in the administration asked it to be played,” an FFA representative said in an email.

A. O. Scott did not like “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the new Freddie Mercury biopic. “A baroque blend of gibberish, mysticism and melodrama, the film seems engineered to be as unmemorable as possible,” he writes in his review, which is a joy to read. I love having something crossed off my cultural to-do list.

I have resigned myself to having “in the shalllow, sh-a-a-ll-o-o-w” playing in my head for the rest of my natural life, and the “Star Is Born” soundtrack is indeed holding steady at the top of the Billboard chart. The Ringer rounded up the best songs that have been performed by movie characters, reminding me of some true classics such as Rex Manning’s “Say No More (Mon Amour)” from “Empire Records.”

On Wednesday, India will unveil the “Statue of Unity” — the world’s largest, at over 180 meters high. (That’s four Statues of Liberty.) It depicts the country’s first deputy prime minister in the ’40s, and the photos of the statue under construction are pretty wild.

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