People in the news

Olympian Phelps

dives into business

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Michael Phelps wants to dive into Silicon Valley’s investment opportunities as he tries to make the transition from Olympic swimming star and product pitchman to entrepreneur.

“I would love to get involved, whether it’s in a couple little startups here and there, take a little risk, have some fun and see where it goes,” Phelps said in an interview during a recent visit to San Jose, California, while appearing at Intuit’s QuickBooks software conference.

For now, Phelps isn’t providing any details about what he is going to do, though he says he has been getting advice from venture capitalists and other experienced investors in Silicon Valley startups.

Getting into tech investing would be a new direction for Phelps, whose business experience to date consists mostly of his own line of swimwear and endorsement deals with the likes of Under Armour, Visa and Wheaties.

These and other big brands have paid him an estimated $75 million during his career. That’s far more than the $1.65 million that he received from the U.S. Olympic Committee and Speedo for winning a record 28 medals, including 23 golds, in five Olympics.


Diamond prepares

for world tour

NEW YORK (AP) — Neil Diamond took “Song Sung Blue” to the top of the charts, and now he promises to leave “no song unsung” when he takes the stage next year for a world tour.

The 75-year-old singer-songwriter promises to play the highlights of his discography on his upcoming “50 Year Anniversary World Tour” — including songs he wrote for the 1960s TV rock band The Monkees.

“Especially stuff from The Monkees,” Diamond told The Associated Press before taking the stage at the annual lighting of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center on Wednesday night. Diamond wrote several songs for the band, including “I’m a Believer,” which has sold more than 10 million copies.

The first leg of the tour kicks off in Fresno, California, on April 7, and goes through August, including a stop in New York in June. Other stops include Atlanta, Dallas and Los Angeles.

“We play all over the United States, North America, and then we will find other places to go,” he said.

The Grammy winner’s hits also include “Cracklin’ Rosie,” ‘’Sweet Caroline” and “Love on the Rocks.” He has sold over 125 million albums and has been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Diamond said he feels energized when he performs for his fans. “People have been loyal and listening to you for years, so you just want to give them everything. Let it all wash over them, and make sure everybody has a great time.”

He said performing at the tree lighting ceremony was like “coming home.”

“I walked these streets. I went hungry in these streets, and I’m happy to be back and to be welcomed by the New Yorkers.”


Critics’ Choice

loves La La Land

NEW YORK (AP) — The Los Angeles romance “La La Land” has landed 12 nominations from the Critics’ Choice Awards, including best picture, best director for Damien Chazelle and nods for its stars, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling.

The Broadcast Film Critics Association, which presents the Critics’ Choice Awards, announced the nominations Thursday. Barry Jenkins’ coming-of-age drama “Moonlight” and Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi thriller “Arrival” followed with 10 nominations each.

The Critics’ Choice Awards are now in their 22nd year. Previously announced television nominations were led by FX’s “The People v. O.J. Simpson.”

Winners will be announced at a Dec. 11 gala hosted by actor T.J. Miller and broadcast on A&E.


Cirque du Soleil

cancels after death

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Cirque du Soleil “Luzia” canceled its San Francisco shows through today and hired psychologists to counsel cast and crew members in the wake of an accident that killed a technician earlier this week, officials said Thursday.

But the show in town for another eight weeks will go on.

Cirque du Soleil Chief Executive Officer Daniel Lamarre said Olivier Rochette, 42, of Quebec, Canada, was killed Tuesday night when a moveable aerial lift, sitting on a slope in the big tent, toppled over and hit Rochette in the head. He had worked with the show for more than 20 years, Lamarre said.

“It’s a tragedy for sure,” Lamarre said. “The entire community of Cirque du Soleil is right now in mourning.”

Rochette, the father of four children, is the son of Gilles Ste-Croix, one of the founders of Cirque du Soleil.

Lamarre said he will reopen the show once psychologists say that the cast and crew are ready.

“I wanted to communicate to our cast and crew that I’m not going to decide when we are going to go back on stage,” Lamarre said. “A staff of psychologists will evaluate daily how people are reacting. The experts will tell us.”


Country Superfest

features top acts

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Some of the biggest names in country music will headline the 2017 Bayou Country Superfest, which moves from Louisiana’s capital to the Superdome in New Orleans for its eighth year.

Organizers on Thursday unveiled the lineup, which features Miranda Lambert, Brooks & Dunn, Rascal Flatts and Brett Eldredge on Saturday, May 27, and Blake Shelton, Thomas Rhett, Hank Williams Jr. and Old Dominion on Sunday, May 28.

The three-day festival, held over the Memorial Day holiday, includes a free, kickoff celebration on Friday, May 26 to be held at Champions Square, outside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. It features Easton Corbin, Eric Paslay and Dylan Scott.


Song for daughter

is ‘Legendary’

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (AP) — John Legend’s favorite track off his new album, “Darkness and Light,” was written for a very special lady: His 7-month-old daughter, Luna.

“When I played it for her and Chrissy for the first time, I just started crying because it felt so real to me and felt so appropriate for how I feel as a new father,” Legend said of the melancholy ballad titled “Right by You (For Luna).”

The Grammy-winning singer welcomed his first child with wife Chrissy Teigen in April.

In “Right by You” Legend ponders the kind of person his daughter will become.

“New parents have questions more than they have answers and that’s what we wanted the song to reflect,” Legend said.

By Patricia Older

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