NEW YORK — When Bruno Mars hit the stage for his first TV special, he could feel the music — in his bones and his veins — and it shows.
Mars’ energetic and slick dance moves and smooth vocals are at the forefront of “BRUNO MARS: 24K MAGIC LIVE AT THE APOLLO,” which debuts Wednesday on CBS at 10 p.m. Eastern. He recorded the special at the Apollo Theater in New York’s Harlem, performing the majority of his third album, “24K Magic.”
“You got to perform it a few times to get it in your bones, to get it right, to work out all the kinks … it’s never going to be right the first time to do it,” Mars said in a phone interview from South America, where he is on tour. “By the time we got to film at the Apollo, we were already a well-oiled machine.”
“People are going to get the best that I got,” he added.
Mars said he chose to film the one-hour special at the Apollo — which he calls “a magical place” — because of the venue’s rich history in music and pop culture.
“I remember growing up watching ‘Showtime at the Apollo’ before ‘X Factor’ and ‘American Idol’ — that was the singing competition show. It was pretty cut-throat. Either you got it and they would cheer you on, or you don’t and they’ll boo you off the stage,” he said. “And that’s just Entertainment 101, and you feel that when you get into that theater. This is where it all begins it feels like.”
Mars performed the song “24K Magic” on top of the Apollo marquee in the special. He also filmed various scenes throughout New York City, from eating at hot spots to meeting his fans: “The coolest part about that was the locals in Harlem, holding their arms out for you, (saying), ‘Yo Bruno, welcome to Harlem.'”
The last year for the 32-year-old has continued to push him to superstardom: “24K Magic” reached double platinum status, while the song “That’s What I Like” hit the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It’s the year’s top R&B song.
This month he won five Soul Train Awards and seven American Music Awards, including artist of the year. Mars picked up video of the year at the BET Awards, shared with Beyonce, and won his fifth Grammy Award earlier this year.
“Awards show — I don’t know where it’s going to swing,” he said. “It’s awesome … I feel like people understand what I’m doing and what I’m trying to do and what I stand for when it comes to everything — the music, the videos, I work hard for this (expletive).”
Mars said as he reflects a year after releasing the album that he feels good about the work he put in to create the ’90s R&B-inspired album.
“You can go crazy in the studio (and) start second- guessing,” he said. “‘That’s What I Like’ — I’m listening to it for over a year to make sure it’s all right and then we put it out and luckily it did what it did. It just confirms that I’m not crazy, maybe. It’s just nice that the work I put in the studio, it translated and I just got to remember that going into the next project.”
$450 million Leonardo painting heading to new Louvre museum
NEW YORK (AP) — A Leonardo da Vinci painting of Christ that sold in New York for a record $450 million (380 million euros) is heading to a museum in the United Arab Emirates.
The newly opened Louvre Abu Dhabi made the announcement Wednesday.
The 500-year-old painting is called “Salvator Mundi,” Latin for “Savior of the World.” It’s one of fewer than 20 paintings by the Renaissance master known to exist and the only one in private hands. Christie’s auction house sold it to an anonymous buyer last month.
The New York Times reports according to documents it reviewed the mystery buyer was a little-known Saudi prince. Christie’s says it doesn’t comment on the identities of buyers or sellers without their permission.
The highest known sale price for any artwork had been $300 million (253 million euros), for Willem de Kooning’s painting “Interchange.”
MSNBC reverses firing of contributor over rape joke
By DAVID BAUDER
NEW YORK (AP) — MSNBC has reversed itself and now says it won’t be cutting ties with contributor Sam Seder over a rape joke he made on Twitter eight years ago.
Network president Phil Griffin said on Thursday that “sometimes you just get one wrong — and that’s what happened here.”
Seder had been told last week that he wouldn’t be welcomed back on the network after conservative commentator Mike Cernovich pointed out the apparent joke by Seder about defenders of film director Roman Polanski, a fugitive since pleading guilty to having unlawful sex with a minor in the 1970s.
In his tweet, Seder wrote that he didn’t care about Polanski, “but I hope if my daughter is ever raped, it is by a truly talented man with a great sense of mise en scene.”
Seder, a comedian who does the political podcast “The Majority Report,” is an occasional presence on MSNBC, most often on Chris Hayes’ prime-time show.
MSNBC’s action provoked an online outcry from fans who thought the network was caving to pressure from conservatives.
“We made our initial decision for the right reasons — because we don’t consider rape to be a funny topic to be joked about,” Griffin said. “But we’ve heard the feedback, and we understand the point Sam was trying to make in that tweet was actually in line with our values, even though the language was not. Sam will be welcome on our air going forward.”
MSNBC had initially said it wouldn’t be renewing Seder’s contract, which expires early next year.
Seder said he appreciated the network’s reconsideration and “willingness to understand the cynical motives of those who intentionally misrepresented my tweet for their own toxic, political purposes.
“We are experiencing an important and long overdue moment of empowerment for the victims of sexual assault and of reckoning for their perpetrators,” he said. “I’m proud that MSNBC and its staff have set a clear example of the need to get it right.”
Fagen sues late Steely Dan partner over band’s name, music
LOS ANGELES — Donald Fagen of Steely Dan is suing the estate of his late band mate, Walter Becker, over ownership of the band’s name and music.
Fagen’s attorneys filed papers last week in Los Angeles claiming that when Becker died in September, his estate was obligated to honor an agreement between the men stipulating that if one should die or otherwise leave the band, the other would buy back his “shares” in the group.
Becker’s representatives are calling the suit “unwarranted and frivolous.” They said Monday that the 45-year-old agreement was not in effect when he died.
“In our view, Mr. Fagen is unfairly trying to deprive Walter’s family of the fruits of their joint labors,” the estate said in a statement, adding that it had been working toward a compromise with Fagen’s lawyers.
Fagen’s attorney Skip Miller said Monday that “the agreement at the heart of the suit is as valid as the day it was signed.”
“Mr. Fagen believes Mr. Becker’s estate is entitled to receive all normal royalties on the songs they wrote together,” he said. “But this case is about the future of the band, and we will vigorously defend the contract.”
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