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Drexler surprises with 6 Latin Grammys; Rosalia best album

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Uruguay’s Jorge Drexler was nominated for seven Latin Grammys and on Thursday he took home six, surprising those who took Bad Bunny’s triumph for granted. The second surprise was Rosalía winning album of the year for “Motomami (Digital Album).”

“You have no idea how unexpected all this is for me,” said Drexler as he received the song of the year award for “Tocarte” (Touch you) from his album “Tinta y tiempo” (Ink and Time) that he performs with Spanish urban musician C. Tangana.

The Uruguayan musician performed “Tocarte” live with British singer Elvis Costello during the ceremony at the Mandalay Bay Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas. Drexler dedicated his award “to all those who make urban music in Spanish.”

Bad Bunny, who was not present at the ceremony, was the biggest nominee with 10 mentions.

In the end, he won all the prizes in the urban music section: best fusion/urban performance for “Titi me preguntó” (Titi asked me); best reggaeton performance for “Lo siento BB:/” (I’m sorry BB:/) which he sings with Tainy and Julieta Venegas; best rap/hip hop song for “De museo” (Of museum), best urban song for “Titi me preguntó” (Titi asked me); and best urban music album for “Un verano sin ti” (A summer without you), which was also nominated for a Grammy in the album of the year category, the first album sung in Spanish to achieve this.

Visibly surprised at winning album of the year at the Latin Grammys, Rosalía said ”‘Motomami’ was the album that she had to fight the most to make, but which “has given me the most joy.”

Rosalía thanked Latin America, Spain, her team and “the love of my life,” she said looking at the Puerto Rican urban artist Rauw Alejandro, who was in the front row.

Rosalía, who also won the Latin Grammy for best alternative music album for “Motomami,” performed “Hentai”, “La Fama” and her summer hit “Despechá.”

Drexler also won Latin Grammys for best pop song for “La guerrilla de la concordia” (Guerrilla of harmony), best alternative song for “El día que estrenaste el mundo” (The day you premiered the world), best singer-songwriter album for “Tinta y tiempo” (Ink and Time) and best song in the Portuguese language for “Vento sardo” with Marisa Monte.

“This is insane, this is a wonderful exaggeration,” Drexler said.

For the first in the history of the Latin Grammys a tie was announced in the category of best new artist, with 95-year-old Cuban singer-songwriter Ángela Álvarez sharing the award with 25-year-old Mexican singer-songwriter Silvana Estrada.

In an emotional moment, the young Mexican singer said the award for best new artist “was already ours” because most of the candidates this year were women and “even more so because I have here this wonderful woman who has brought tears to my eyes ever since I saw her.”

“What exists is to represent for the girls to come for the generations to know that it is worthwhile dreaming, fighting and working,” she said.

Álvarez took the stage accompanied by her grandson Carlos Álvarez, who produced her self-titled debut album.

Christina Aguilera joined Mexico’s Christian Nodal in a powerful interpretation their ranchera song “Cuando me dé la gana” (When I want to) from her album “Aguilera”, which took the award for best traditional pop vocal album.

The American singer of Ecuadorian origins, whose previous album in Spanish was “Mi reflejo” in 2000, said she had longed to make another album in Spanish since then.

After tying Drexler for best pop song, Colombian star Sebastián Yatra won the second Latin Grammy of his career for “Dharma” in the category of best pop vocal album.

“I want to continue inviting composers, young people, all the people who make music to make the music that is always a reflection of their heart,” said Yatra.

Yatra was recognized in the pop song category for his anthem “Tacones rojo” (Red Heels) whose Spanish and English version he performed with John Legend.

Mexican singer Angela Aguilar performed “En realidad” (In Reality) while Chiquis won the Latin Grammy for best band music album for “Abeja Reina” (Queen Bee).


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Book Review: Explosive debut novel ‘Fireworks Every Night’ is a bittersweet celebration of survival

“Fireworks Every Night” by Beth Raymer (Random House)

C.C.’s isn’t your typical rags-to-riches story. She remembers growing up in a single-wide with her older sister, stay-at-home mom and car-salesman dad. But she also remembers when they moved to Florida after everything in the car lot burned down — including their home — launching them into a comfortable middle-class life and a fresh start in a state her dad proudly brags has fireworks every night.

“Fireworks Every Night” is Beth Raymer’s debut novel, but not her first book. Following her 2010 memoir “Lay the Favorite,” she borrows from her life to create a deeply personal story of a dysfunctional family.

Having grown up in West Palm Beach, Raymer puts her local knowledge to use as her protagonist — a resident of Loxahatchee, Florida — rattles off the schools she plays basketball against, and how worn down or rich they are. She’s familiar with the Baker Act and who’s been institutionalized through its use. She knows all the neighborhoods and has eaten at Benny’s on the Beach.

If the gorgeous cover designed by Elizabeth A. D. Eno isn’t enough to draw you in, let the heartbreakingly determined main character and the promise of an earnest look at the skeletons in her closet convince you.

In adulthood, C.C. is engaged to a well-educated and absurdly wealthy man — a far cry from the childhood in which she learns what it means to fight for survival. Hopping between the two timelines in stark juxtaposition, the full picture of C.C.’s life emerges.

As kid-C.C.’s home life comes completely unraveled, the story morphs from tragicomedy to horror, revealing how her family fell apart and left her sister struggling with addiction, her mother chronically absent and her father homeless. All the while, adult-C.C. is juggling a host of modern stresses: the viability of having children, climate change, living in a world that makes it far too easy to compare yourself with the 8 billion others who inhabit it, and reconciling your self-worth with the balance in your bank account.

Raymer launches addiction, homelessness, neglect and poverty shamelessly into the lexicon, treating C.C. and her family with nothing less than respect.

A nature motif runs throughout the story, blurring the line between animal and human and calling into question what is “natural” in a world so unnaturally shaped by people. Animals play a quiet but pivotal role throughout “Fireworks Every Night,” shaping Raymer’s engrossing novel into a bittersweet celebration of the scrappy Americans who are finding a way to survive even as the elite push humans and animals alike out of their habitats.

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Book Review: ‘White House by the Sea’ tells storied Kennedy tale through family’s compound

“White House By the Sea: A Century of the Kennedys at Hyannis Port” by Kate Storey (Scribner)

The history of the Kennedy family is so well-chronicled — from the modern Camelot legend surrounding John F. Kennedy’s presidency to the series of tragedies that marked the family throughout the 20tb century — that it’s hard to imagine new ways to tell their story.

But Kate Storey does just that in “White House By the Sea: A Century of the Kennedys at Hyannis Port” — revisiting the family’s history through their time at the famed Kennedy compound on Cape Cod.

Storey, the senior features editor at Rolling Stone magazine, weaves a fascinating narrative about the Kennedy family using Hyannis Port as the backdrop. The book traces the family’s ties to the compound back to the 1920s, when Joseph Kennedy bought Malcolm Cottage, what became known as the Big House.

Many of the stories feel so familiar, from Joseph Kennedy Jr.’s death during World War II to John F. Kennedy Jr.’s fatal plane crash in 1999. The compound was also the setting for much happier occasions, including John F. Kennedy’s presidential acceptance speech and the wedding of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver.

Storey gives them a fresh look with new details and well-sourced reporting that opens up a traditionally private community — “what’s left of Camelot,” she writes.

Storey’s research gives the book a more intimate feel than many other histories of the Kennedy family, introducing figures that aren’t as well-known but played a key role in the family and its compound. Fittingly, it’s written in an accessible way that makes the book a welcome beach read.

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Fox News unveils primetime lineup with Jesse Watters in Tucker Carlson’s former time slot

Jesse Watters will fill the Fox News Channel time slot left vacant by the firing of Tucker Carlson, part of a dramatic revamp of the network’s evening lineup announced on Monday.

Greg Gutfeld’s late-night show that combines news and comedy will move up an hour to start at 10 p.m. Eastern, displacing Laura Ingraham. She’ll shift to 7 p.m., the hour that Watters has occupied. Sean Hannity will stay in his 9 p.m. time slot, Fox said. The new lineup debuts on July 17.

The announcement comes roughly two months after Fox News fired Carlson shortly after settling a defamation lawsuit with the voting machine maker Dominion Voting Systems on the eve of trial. The case, which centered on the network’s airing of false claims following the 2020 presidential election, exposed a trove of private messages sent between Fox hosts, including Hannity and Carlson, in which they criticized peers at the network.

Carlson has since begun doing occasional monologues for Twitter, although Fox is attempting to get him to stop the broadcasts.

Fox has seen its ratings tumble since Carlson exited. Carlson averaged 3.25 million viewers at 8 p.m. in the first three months of the year, and the string of guest hosts who replaced him the past two months usually reached under 2 million, making the network’s command more tenuous.

The lineup change signals that Fox is doubling down on its opinionated evening programming strategy, with three sharp-tongued men filling the prime-time hours. It’s something of a triumphant return for Watters, who got his start at the 8 p.m. hour, doing man-in-the-street interviews and other features for Bill O’Reilly before O’Reilly’s firing in 2017.

It also means double duty for Gutfeld and Watters, who are both panelists on “The Five” and will continue there. The late-afternoon political talk show has become Fox’s most popular program.

Keeping that show’s chemistry intact appeared to be a priority for Fox. Gutfeld said in a Wall Street Journal interview last week that he would no longer appear on “The Five” or do his late-night show if he were to get Carlson’s old time slot.

Trace Gallagher, who has worked at Fox since the network began in 1996, will host a news show at 11 p.m., filling the hour that Gutfeld is leaving vacant.

“The unique perspectives of Laura Ingraham, Jesse Watters, Sean Hannity, and Greg Gutfeld will ensure our viewers have access to unrivaled coverage from our best-in-class team for years to come,” Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott said in a statement.

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