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Google celebrates Earl Scruggs, banjo-picking pioneer

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Earl Scruggs revolutionized the way we play and appreciate the banjo today.

Scruggs, who was born 95 years ago this month, developed his own three-finger method of picking the five-string banjo – a style so radical it’s now widely referred to as “Scruggs style.” His style, which features picks attached to the thumb, index finger and middle finger, has become a defining characteristic of bluegrass music and the most popular style of playing banjo in the genre.

Google dedicated an animated Doodle to Scruggs on Friday, highlighting his radically different style, which helped elevate the status of the instrument from a background instrument to one that now commands the spotlight.

Scruggs was born in North Carolina on January 6, 1924, to a family that played music when not farming. After his father died when Scruggs was four, the young boy seemed to find solace by practicing the banjo when he wasn’t in school or doing his farm chores. His first radio performance was at the age of 11.

When Scruggs was 21, he joined the Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys band, which helped coin the term “bluegrass” and popularize it as a distinct genre of country music. During this time, he met vocalist and guitarist Lester Flat, with whom he would form the Flatt and Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys in 1948.

The Coen brothers paid homage to the band in the 2000 film Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? by naming the movie’s rag tag band The Soggy Bottom Boys.

The duo spent more than two decades together, recording more than 50 albums before breaking up in 1969. In 1962, they recorded The Ballad of Jed Clampett, the theme song for The Beverly Hillbillies, and Scrugg’s 1949 instrumental Foggy Mountain Breakdown became a hit with a younger generation when it was featured on the soundtrack of the 1967 classic film Bonnie and Clyde.

During his diverse career, Scruggs played with artists as varied as Bob Dylan and sitarist Ravi Shankar, and his contribution to music didn’t go unrecognized in his lifetime. He received four Grammy awards, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and National Medal of Arts. He was also inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriters’ Hall of Fame.

Google Doodles typically recognize individuals on their birthday or anniversaries of noteworthy moments in their life. But Scruggs, who died in 2012 at the age of 88, isn’t being recognized by Google for either of those things.

Friday marks the fifth anniversary of the opening of the Earl Scruggs Center, a 10,000-square-foot facility in Shelby, North Carolina. Reflecting his influence on today’s generation of musicians, the sold-out concert opening the center five years ago featured Vince Gill, Travis Tritt and Sam Bush, among others.

Source: https://www.cnet.com/news/google-celebrates-earl-scruggs-banjo-picking-pioneer/

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Entertainment schedule announced for upcoming Winter Fair at NYS Fairgrounds

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A full slate of musicians and other entertainers, including many New York State Fair favorites, have been booked to perform at the upcoming Winter Fair in February.

Held inside the state fairground’s Expo Center, the three-day festival will feature elements of the summertime tradition, including midway rides, vendors and fair foods.
Full schedule:
Friday, Feb. 8
4 p.m. – Paul Davie’s Magical Mystery Tour

6 p.m. – The Ripcords

8:30 p.m. – Custom Taylor Band

Saturday, Feb. 9
11 a.m. – Kambuyu Marimba Band

12:15 p.m. – Francis Academy of Irish Dance

1 p.m. – Karate John’s martial arts demonstration

1:30 p.m. – Mike & the Rhythm & Blues

2:20 p.m. – Hilby the Skinny German Juggle Boy

3 p.m. – Karate John’s martial arts demonstration

3:30 p.m. – Joe Driscoll

4:45 p.m. – Native American Dancers, representing the Six Nations

6 p.m. – The BlackLites

8:30 p.m. – Todd Hobin Band

Sunday, Feb. 10
· 12:15 p.m. – Sera Bullis

· 1:30 p.m. – Winner of the JCC Battle of the Bands (scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 19)

· 3:30 p.m. – Grupo Pagan

· 6 p.m. – Jess Novak Band

The fair runs from 3 to 11 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 8, from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9 and from noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 10.

Advance tickets are $4 for adults, $2 for teens and seniors and free for children under 12. Advance tickets are available online at nyswinterfair.com. Tickets at the door will be $6 for adults and $4 for teens and seniors.

Source: https://www.syracuse.com/entertainment/2019/01/entertainment-schedule-announced-for-upcoming-winter-fair-at-nys-fairgrounds.html

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Toyota Supra returns for 2020 with help from BMW

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Since everyone seems to love a reboot these days, Toyota is getting in on the action with the first Supra sports car it’s sold in the United States since 1998.
The long-awaited coupe debuting at the Detroit Auto Show is a collaboration with BMW that has also spawned a new Z4 roadster, but looks every bit the modern Toyota and features an inline-six-cylinder engine just like the most iconic Supras of old.

This one’s a 3.0-liter that’s turbocharged to put out 335 hp, and the Supra has rear-wheel-drive, a perfect 50/50 weight distribution and can hit 60 mph in 4.1 seconds. It’s only available with an 8-speed automatic transmission, but comes standard with a computer-controlled suspension and active rear differential that shifts power from side to side to improve handling.
Toyota’s namesake president Akio Toyoda, who races cars for fun and is one of the brand’s certified Master Drivers, personally took it to the track for development driving. (Must be nice to run your grandfather’s company, huh?)

Toyota is even putting the Supra’s name and face on its spec Nascar Xfinity Series cars this season to drive the performance point home. Toyota’s North American General Manager, Jack Hollis says the company shares the same level of purchase consideration as Ford and Chevrolet among NASCAR fans and expects the Supra to connect with them just as well as the Camry and Tundra have.

It’s very much a grand tourer, though, with an upscale, two-seat interior and plenty of electronic safety aids including automatic emergency brakes, lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control, but you can always turn them off and just drive.

Pricing will start at $50,920 when the Supra speeds into showrooms this summer.

Source: https://www.foxnews.com/auto/toyota-supra-returns-for-2020-with-help-from-bmw

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Who Is Katherine Schwarzenegger? All About Chris Pratt’s New Fiancée and Her Kennedy Connection

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Katherine Schwarzenegger is more than just her famous last name.

The 28-year-old recently got engaged to boyfriend Chris Pratt after first being linked together in June 2018. Pratt, 39, revealed the happy news with a sweet picture of him giving Schwarzenegger a kiss on the forehead while she proudly shows off her ring. Schwarzenegger also later posted the same image.

“Sweet Katherine, so happy you said yes! I’m thrilled to be marrying you. Proud to live boldly in faith with you. Here we go! 💍🙏♥️,” Pratt captioned his post.
“My sweet love. Wouldn’t want to live this life with anyone but you ♥️💍” Schwarzenegger wrote on hers.
But who is the famous beauty the action star is set to marry? Read on for more.

Her family is seriously famous

This one is a no-brainer given her last name, but her high-profile parentage goes even deeper than dad Arnold. Schwarzenegger is Arnold and Maria Shriver’s oldest child, with sister Christina, 27, and brothers Patrick, 25, and Christopher, 21, following close behind.

Although her dad is one of the biggest action stars in the world, her mom’s side of the family is even more famous. Shriver’s mom and Schwarzenegger’s grandma was Eunice Kennedy — President John F. Kennedy’s younger sister.

Eunice married Shriver’s dad Sargent, who is also a recognizable name in history. He served as U.S. Ambassador to France and was even the Democratic nominee for Vice President in the 1972 election alongside Presidential nominee George McGovern, but they lost to President Richard Nixon.
Eunice died in 2009 at 88 while Sargent died in 2011 at 95.

She was raised religious

Like Pratt, Schwarzenegger’s religious faith plays a big role in her life. The whole Schwarzenegger clan would often attend church together before Arnold and Maria’s separation, and Schwarzenegger has continued attending service regularly with Pratt.
A source tells PEOPLE that their shared beliefs have been a big part of their relationship.

“They click on a lot of levels, but definitely on a spiritual level,” the source says. “They have the same outlook on the world, and their faith ties them together. He’s really impressed that she’s vocal and unashamed about her beliefs in God, because that’s how he is. He’s constantly around other people who have no faith or are apologetic about it, but not her. She is willing to talk about it to anyone who will listen.”

She’s an accomplished author

Schwarzenegger has made a name for herself as an author, starting with her 2010 book Rock What You’ve Got: Secrets to Loving Your Inner and Outer Beauty from Someone Who’s Been There and Back. Schwarzenegger used the book to tell her own personal story in overcoming self-image issues while giving advice in how to be confident.
Her next book came in 2014 after she struggled finding her way after graduating from the University of Southern California. I Just Graduated . . . Now What? gave advice to fellow recent grads in how to navigate the post-college life.

Schwarzenegger’s latest work is a children’s book titled Maverick and Me, which she released in 2017. It’s named after her rescue dog Maverick and tells the story of how he came into her life.

Source: https://people.com/movies/katherine-schwarzenegger-chris-pratt-fiance-kennedy/

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