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National Geographic launches imprint for children's fiction

National Geographic is entering the land of make-believe.

After focusing on nonfiction for years, National Geographic Kids Books is starting an imprint for children's fiction.

National Geographic tells The Associated Press the new imprint is called Under the Stars. The first publication, Trudi Trueit's "Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secret," is scheduled for September.

"Explorer Academy" is the first of a seven-book series. It blends science and adventure as it tells of the journeys of a diverse group of young people.

Under the Stars plans to publish one new series a year, primarily for children ages 8-12. The imprint will focus on what it calls "core" National Geographic subjects, including geography, space and exploration.

Tate Britain exhibition to explore van Gogh's UK years

London's Tate Britain has announced an exhibition exploring how a formative period in Britain inspired Vincent van Gogh.

The gallery says the show, due to open next year, will focus on the Dutch artist's crucial but "obscure" years in the U.K.

Van Gogh lived in London between 1873 and 1876 as a trainee art dealer. He later moved to France, and died in 1890 after shooting himself.

Tate Britain director Alex Farquharson said Friday that the exhibition is a chance "to reveal the impact Britain had on van Gogh as well as the enormous influence he had on British artists."

It will contain more than 40 works, including "Starry Night Over The Rhone" and "Sunflowers."

"Van Gogh and Britain" will run from March 27, 2019, to August 11, 2019.

Kane Brown & his fiancé’s Valentine’s Day duet gets a surprising background singer

By Rare Country: We see a lot of evidence that talent runs in families. Garth Brooks’ daughter, Allie, is a gifted singer-songwriter, and so is Vince Gill’s daughter, Jenny, and Toby Keith’s daughter, Krystal. We’re already spying little singers in kiddos like Hillary Scott’s daughter, Eisele, and Kimberly Schlapman’s girl, Daisy. But, occasionally, talent marries talent, like Garth and Trisha Yearwood, Vince and Amy Grant, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, and Thompson Square’s Shawna and Keifer Thompson. It looks like that might be the case with Kane Brown and his fiancée, Katelyn Jae. Obviously, we know that Kane is quite the singer, songwriter and even dancer when he hits the stage, as he has been doing lately on Chris Young’s “Losing Sleep Tour.” His self-titled debut album has sold more than a half-million copies and he landed his first big No. 1 in 2017 with “What Ifs” featuring longtime pal Lauren Alaina. The follow-up single, “Heaven” is in the Top 10 now and is still climbing the charts. RELATED:  Kane Brown and fiancée share pics of romantic getaway But Kane’s beautiful fiancée, Katelyn, is no slouch when it comes to singing either. We’ve heard their front seat sing-alongs before, but this talented blond beauty could have quite a promising pop career on the horizon, although for now, she seems to be focused on wedding plans and supporting her fella’s career. There’s another member of the family, though, who may not have quite the vocal quality and talent that Kane and Katelyn have. He does, however, have his own tone and timbre that lends a little something extra to their family sing-alongs. It’s the couple’s English bulldog, Rambo. The happy couple was singing a karaoke-style duet of Julia Michaels’ “Issues” at home on Valentine’s Day when Kane pulled the lovable pooch into his lap. After giving his pops a wonderfully slobbery lick, Rambo chimed right in with his own vocals, snorting and slapping his abundant jowls. RELATED:  Kane Brown and his fiancée’s dance party has everyone talking It is so hilarious that even Kane and Katelyn get tickled by Rambo’s hysterical, and somewhat juicy, contribution. Kane shared the big news of the couple’s engagement early last year during a concert, but since then, both he and Katelyn have been somewhat tight-lipped regarding details of their wedding. We do know that the ceremony will take place in the fall, but no specific date or location has been announced. The bride-to-be has also been pretty secretive about her wedding gown, if she’s found it yet, but there’s no doubt that whatever she chooses to wear, she’ll be utterly ravishing in it. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see those pictures after they exchange their “I dos!” But there is still one question: What role will Rambo play in the nuptials? We’re hoping for ring-bearer.

Romance, bold colors, a protest: London Fashion Week begins

It's time for London to enjoy its stint as the center of the fashion universe.

London Fashion Week kicked off Friday with catwalk shows by Bora Aksu and Mulberry, and headliners over the next few days include Burberry, Christopher Kane, Roksanda and other favorites.

Designer Vivienne Westwood, 76, shifted away from her usual role to be a model — this time in an anti-fracking protest.


Mulberry and its creative director Johnny Coca titled the spring and summer collection "Beyond Heritage" to emphasize that it's a modern house capable of innovation and surprise — even though the impressive show was built on English archetypes, including garden parties, Ladies' Day at Ascot and other traditions of the summer season.

It was a fun, breezy show, even despite being staged in Spencer House, a grand 18th-century mansion in the posh St. James district. The collection made stunning use of imaginative statement hats, even if a few were literally over the top and obscured the models' eyes. Many were simply spectacular, angular and birdlike, and added a touch of whimsy, and more than a few inches of stature, to the outfits.

Many of the ensembles were more revealing than would be worn at a typical garden party — with sheer bodices or very low cut fronts — but there were a few more classical dresses that would fit in well at Buckingham Palace. Some were reminiscent of the 1920s flapper era, and bold African-style prints were sometimes mixed in.

"I thought it was amazing," said actress Emma Roberts, who watched from a front row seat. "I like the feminine and the bedazzle."



For London-based Turkish designer Bora Aksu, a longtime Fashion Week favorite, it was time to emphasize romance in his autumn/winter collection.

Asku's show featured a collection of long, frilly dresses that were elaborately constructed and included a mixture of semi-sheer panels.

Favored colors were white with black detailing and shades of dark blue, lavender and pink.

Some of the outfits offered new interpretations of the traditional British prep school look. The jackets were androgynous, the skirts or leggings long and feminine. The looks were often asymmetrical, highlighted by a long, jeweled earring dangling from one ear.

The designer said the collection Friday was inspired by the story of a young Georgian-era woman who challenged stereotypes by becoming a prominent surgeon at a time when most doctors were male.



Designer Fyodor Golan's catwalk show celebrated flight, with some outfits loosely modeled on hot air balloons and billowing parachutes.

He made raucous use of bold, contrasting colors — including bright red and orange, cobalt blue and ivory. His signature rainbow stripes were plentiful, giving the collection a youthful flair.

There were surprises: some athletic wear seemed purely functional, if elaborately constructed, but concealed delicately made silk layers. There were sexy white hoodie outfits — better for showing off on the street than in the gym — and slouchy knit tops.

A few models wore decorative, oversized backpacks, again more for show than for actual travel. Golan made extensive use of dramatic white makeup, often applied on the forehead or over one eye, and decorated some outfits with sparkles.

The collaboration with MTV also marked how long it's been since the video channel first took off in the Michael Jackson era. Golan said MTV has been the "voice of youth culture for decades" and that embracing this legacy brought back "memories of our teenage years."

Many of the casual outfits bore the familiar MTV logo or Golan's own FG imprint.



Everyone knows most fashion models at catwalk shows are ultra-thin and very tall. That doesn't sit well with a group of self-proclaimed "curvy" women, who protested Friday outside London Fashion Week headquarters on the Strand in central London.

The group included Hayley Hasselhoff, daughter of the well-known "Baywatch" star David Hasselhoff.

"LFW — Where are the curves?" read one sign carried by a protester.



Designer Vivienne Westwood is not showing in London this season but she has already made waves by appearing as a model in an anti-fracking protest.

The 76-year-old designer wore a campaign dress and a placard denouncing fracking at an event Thursday. She has spoken out repeatedly on environmental issues and warned of the dangers of climate change.



Caroline Rush, chief of the British Fashion Council, said in her opening speech that the fashion industry now contributes roughly 30 billion pounds ($42 billion) to Britain's economy each year, making it a business of substantial importance.

Fashion officials released figures indicating that Chinese visitors have surpassed Americans as the prime buyers in the London luxury fashion field.


This story corrects the dollar conversion of the British Fashion Council's data to $42 billion.

African fashion on display at early 'Black Panther' shows

The vibrant African fashion of "Black Panther" was on display at multiplexes around the country Thursday as moviegoers flocked to the first showings of Marvel's latest superhero blockbuster in traditional African shirts, dresses, head wraps and more.

Some opted to make their own clothes to celebrate the arrival of a superhero many black moviegoers said provided an opportunity for them to celebrate their heritage in a way they haven't been able to before.

"We're excited because we get representation in a film that's not about slavery, that's not about trials and tribulations, but about a powerful African empire, which is where we come from in the first place," said tattoo artist Elisheba Mrozik, who attended one of the first showings of the film in Nashville.

She wore a flowing shoulderless black gown that was broken up by patterns of purple and yellow designs that she said was made in Nigeria and that she bought for the film's release and Black History Month.

"Somebody that looks like me is a superhero and nobody is whitewashing it. And it's beautiful," she said.

In the nearly 10 years since Marvel's "Iron Man" sparked sprawling film superhero universes, there have been plenty of chances for fans to wear clothes that pay homage to favorites such as Spider-Man, Batman, the Hulk and more.

But "Black Panther" has sparked something different — an opportunity for black moviegoers to watch a superhero who not only looks like them, but also introduces a different view of Africa than has traditionally been seen at theaters. Set in the fictional nation of Wakanda, a technologically advanced oasis that has never been colonized, the film has been praised for its vision of Afrofuturism, strong and smart female characters and a story that shatters stereotypes about the continent and its people.

The film earned $25.2 million in Thursday showings, making it the biggest debut of a February release and the second-largest early opening of a Marvel Studios feature.

At an early showing at Hollywood's TCL Chinese Theater, Segun Begunrin and his family wore a bright purple outfit that had special meaning to them.

"This particular fabric meant something personally to me, because it was the fabric that we selected for my father's funeral. So we did it for the celebration of his life. So it's a form of celebration for the movie," he said.

Jacob Taylor also attended an early show in Los Angeles and said the impact of "Black Panther" extends beyond the African-American community. "I think it is very indicative of where we are as a culture," he said. "The push for diversity, inclusion, equal pay — all of that. So, I think it's just timely."

At a showing in New York's Times Square, Mykwain Gainey wore a Basotho blanket used by the Bantu tribe in South Africa. "It's featured very prominently in the film, and it's cultural heritage," he said. Gainey said he wanted something fashionable that fit the film, but he also wanted to stay warm.

Kiara Citron, who is a huge Marvel Comics fan and had a Deadpool-themed wedding, was at the same theater and wore a bright blue satin gown she spent a week sewing, using some leftover fabric for a matching head wrap.

"I just made something for the occasion because I've never had an opportunity for this before," she said. "I've never gone to a theater to see a film like this before, so I just really needed to go all out."

In Nashville, Latarsher White and her family wore custom-made African gowns and suits to a Nashville theater because it made them feel connected to their heritage.

"It's just an opportunity to explore those regal roots and to know that some of us do come from royalty," she said. "It's bigger than what we see every day and what's represented. It's just connecting to your heritage and that royal lineage to a degree. And so it's always good to play dress- up."

Kermit El-Amin, 25, wore his African tribal prints to work before watching the film in Nashville.

"I wanted to make sure that people knew that I really felt comfortable," El-Amin said. "Feel comfortable in the skin that I am in and feel comfortable doing things like this."

Ronald Simmons, founder of the website, sported a Black Panther T-shirt to a Times Square show Thursday night. He said he expected "Black Panther" to be life-changing for many fans, especially children.

"If I was a kid, and I saw 'Black Panther' that would have been great," he said. "I grew up in a lot of heroes and none of them look like me at all. And I still love those heroes, but I can imagine being a kid and seeing, you know, a character that looked like me, I would be pretty hyped."


Associated Press video journalist Rick Taber contributed to this report from Los Angeles. John Carucci reported in New York and Kristin M. Hall reported in Nashville.


This story corrects the spelling of Elisheba Mrozik's last name and Mykwain Gainey's first name.

Kelsea Ballerini & Husband Play Together For The First Time

Kelsea Ballerini and her hubby got to celebrate their first married Valentines Day together, even though Kelsea Ballerini kicked off her headlining tour a few weeks ago. She was playing her first headlining show at the historic Ryman Auditorium, which is in Nashville so Morgan Evans joined her on Valentine’s Day.

The newlywed was surprised when her new husband, country singer Morgan Evans came on stage to deliver a giant vase of roses. Ballerini told the crowd that she thought he had forgotten Valentine’s Day.

The new bride told fans that the singers had been to each other’s shows before, but this was their first time to perform together, reports  The Tennessean .

The cute couple then proceeded to sing a song that the Australian had written shortly after meeting the “Dibs” singer.

You can hear Ballerini tell her husband, “Don’t cry,” as he started to play the love song.

The Valentine’s Day Ryman show kicked off Ballerini’s headlining tour. She will tour with Keith Urban starting June 15 through November 3, ending in Dallas, TX.

The Latest: Jeffrey Tambor decries ouster from 'Transparent'

The Latest on the decision to remove Jeffrey Tambor from his Emmy-winning role in the Amazon series "Transparent" (all times local):

5:45 p.m.

Jeffrey Tambor says he is "profoundly disappointed" in the way Amazon Studios has handled an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against him that led to his removal from the upcoming season of the show "Transparent."

Tambor has denied all wrongdoing. He says in a statement released Thursday that he has never heard specifics of the allegations made against him and repeated his assertion that his departure is the result of what he calls a "toxic politicized atmosphere" on the show.

He also said he was disappointed that series creator Jill Soloway released a statement Thursday saying the decision was made to ensure the safety and dignity of everyone who works on "Transparent."

Soloway said Thursday that action is being taken to ensure the series' workplace "respects the safety and dignity of every individual."


3:30 p.m.

Amazon Studios says "Transparent" star Jeffrey Tambor won't be on the series when it returns for its fifth season.

The decision confirmed Thursday by an Amazon spokeswoman followed the reported conclusion of an internal investigation into sexual misconduct allegations.

A representative for Tambor didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The claims against the Emmy-winning actor were made late last year by Tambor's former assistant and an actress on "Transparent," which is about a transgender woman and her family.

Tambor denied the accusations at that time but said that in light of them he didn't see how he could return to the show.

In a statement Thursday, series creator Jill Soloway said action is being taken to ensure the series' workplace "respects the safety and dignity of every individual."

Being there helps at Olympics, even if you don't want to be

Highlights from media coverage of the Pyeongchang Olympics:

BEING THERE: Sometimes the secret to good reporting is simply being there, even if you'd rather not. Alpine skiing reporter Steve Porino was right near American Mikaela Shiffrin as she vomited before heading out on her first slalom run Friday in South Korea. Fortunately, he didn't have a camera. Was it nerves? Was Shiffrin coming down with something at the worst possible time? Not clear. In a high-flying sport decided by split seconds, though, her condition is valuable information. (Later, after finishing in fourth place, she admitted to anxiety that made her sick.) And while you don't want analyst Bode Miller as a relationship counselor, and he's a challenge to listen to, he's full of insight from being a recent top competitor on the ski circuit. He even has his own tales of throwing up before major races, and the pressure that can literally make you sick.

SHARP WORK: Yes, we're hard on Bode. He's new to the job. But we'll offer a couple of assignments. Listen to the work of Leigh Diffey and Bree Schaaf as they called the skeleton competition won handily by Yun Sung-Bin . They bring excitement and historical sweep to their calls, explaining the technicalities without getting lost in them. "This is one of those moments that just makes your heart feel like it's going to explode," Schaaf said over the replay of the South Korean's final run. "His form, his expression. I am blown away by not just this race but the entire season by Yun Sung-Bin." Similarly, cross-country ski analyst Chad Salmela made the women's 10-kilometer freestyle race easier to understand, despite its complexities. He captured the thrill as he and viewers tried to will Jessica Diggins over the finish line to earn the USA's first Olympic medal in the sport. She fell less than four seconds short in a 25-minute race.

TRYING AGAIN: NBC prepared a strong feature on American snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis , a four-time Olympian sadly known best to many for falling while making an unnecessary jump at the end of a race she was dominating, costing her a sure gold medal in the 2006 Turin Games. Unfortunately, producers aired it around 1 a.m. Eastern on Thursday on the East Coast, right before a men's qualifying round in snowboarding. Time constraints probably prevented NBC from showing it before Jacobellis competed Friday (she finished fourth ) and that's a shame, because anyone who saw the story would have rooted hard for her.

PRIME TIME PLUS: NBC decided this year to air its Olympic telecast at the same time across the country, and that paid off for West Coast viewers in the U.S. with Thursday's competition in Korea. They were able to see Shiffrin win her giant slalom gold medal live in a prime viewing window, right before 10 p.m. Pacific on Wednesday. In past years, West Coast viewers were stuck watching reruns of an East Coast feed that aired three hours earlier.

COORDINATION: On a busy night Thursday, NBC seemed to use the extra space of its NBCSN cable network wisely. Producers showed a wider sweep of Olympic events on the network, while letting people who wanted to see an extended look at figure skating have the chance on cable. One area to improve upon: keeping viewers better informed of their options.

RATINGS: If the ratings were an Olympic race, NBC slipped a few seconds off its pace on Wednesday. The Nielsen company said 19.2 million people watched competition in prime time on NBC, the cable network NBCSN and through streaming services, down 8 percent from the 20.8 million who watched NBC for the corresponding night at the Sochi Olympics four years ago. An estimated 17.2 million watched NBC alone, or 17 percent off Sochi.


More AP Olympic coverage:

Jennifer Aniston, Justin Theroux announce separation

Jennifer Aniston and her husband, director Justin Theroux, are separating after two years of marriage.

The couple announced the separation in a statement to The Associated Press Thursday. 

>> Read more trending news 

“Normally we would do this privately, but given that the gossip industry cannot resist an opportunity to speculate and invent, we wanted to convey the truth directly,” the statement released by Aniston’s publicist Stephen Huvane said. “Whatever else is printed about us that is not directly from us, is someone else’s fictional narrative. Above all, we are determined to maintain the deep respect and love that we have for one another.”

The announcement was made “in an effort to reduce any further speculation,” according to the statement.

People reported that Aniston and Theroux met in 2008 but started dating in 2011. Theroux proposed to Aniston on his 41st birthday in August 2012. 

The pair had a surprise wedding in 2015, weeks before Theroux turned 44. 

According to People, the couple had been spending time apart. Aniston celebrated her 49th birthday without Theroux, but was with Courteney Cox and other friends in Los Angeles. Theroux was seen in New York.

Huvane  told The AP the decision to separate “was mutual and lovingly made at the end of last year.” The couple has no children.

This was the first marriage for Theroux. He dated hair stylist Heidi Bivens for 14 years before they spit in 2011. Aniston was married to Brad Pitt from 2000 to 2005.

As for the future, Aniston and Theroux said they are “two best friends who have decided to part ways as a couple, but look forward to continuing our cherished friendship.”

Man from 'Meet the Putmans' charged with gun crimes

A Michigan man who appeared with his family on the TLC show "Meet the Putmans" has been charged with gun crimes.

Brandon Putman appeared Thursday in federal court in Bay City, Michigan. He's accused of trying to get copies of a component to convert AR-15 rifles into automatic machine guns.

Federal firearms agent Stephen Ross says Putman went to a machine shop and asked for 10 copies of a metal part. The shop owner later contacted investigators.

Ross says Putman texted an undercover agent in January to ask about the parts.

Putman was released on bond. Messages seeking comment were left for him and his attorney.

"Meet the Putmans" aired on TLC last fall. Three generations of a family lived in one house in Michigan.

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