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DiCaprio meets with Trump on green jobs to boost economy

Leonardo DiCaprio and the head of his foundation met Wednesday with President-elect Donald Trump to discuss how jobs centered on preserving the environment can boost the economy.

In a statement to The Associated Press, Terry Tamminen, the CEO of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, confirmed the meeting at Trump Tower in New York City. Tamminen said the pair gave a presentation to Trump, daughter Ivanka, and other members of Trump's team on how focusing on renewable, clean energy could create millions of jobs.

"Today, we presented the President-elect and his advisors with a framework — which LDF developed in consultation with leading voices in the fields of economics and environmentalism — that details how to unleash a major economic revival across the United States that is centered on investments in sustainable infrastructure," Tamminen said. "Our conversation focused on how create millions of secure, American jobs in the construction and operation of commercial and residential clean, renewable energy generation."

The Oscar-winning actor has been a strong advocate of fighting climate change and preserving wildlife, and his recent documentary, "Before the Flood," addresses the peril that the world faces because of climate change.

DiCaprio previously met with Ivanka Trump and presented her with a copy of the film.

The meeting with Trump's team lasted for about 90 minutes. The actor also gave the president-elect a copy of the documentary, and Trump promised to watch it, according to a person who was familiar with the meeting but not authorized to speak publicly.

Tamminen, who was secretary of California's Environmental Protection Agency under former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, said Trump was receptive and suggested they meet again next month.

"We look forward to continuing the conversation with the incoming administration as we work to stop the dangerous march of climate change, while putting millions of people to work at the same time," said Tamminen.

The meeting came after word got out Wednesday that Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, a climate-change denier whose policies have helped fossil fuel companies, is expected to be announced as Trump's pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.

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Online:

http://ldcfoundation.org

DiCaprio meets with Trump on green jobs to boost economy

Leonardo DiCaprio and the head of his foundation met Wednesday with President-elect Donald Trump to discuss how jobs centered on preserving the environment can boost the economy.

In a statement to The Associated Press, Terry Tamminen, the CEO of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, confirmed the meeting at Trump Tower in New York City. Tamminen said the pair gave a presentation to Trump, daughter Ivanka, and other members of Trump's team on how focusing on renewable, clean energy could create millions of jobs.

"Today, we presented the President-elect and his advisors with a framework — which LDF developed in consultation with leading voices in the fields of economics and environmentalism — that details how to unleash a major economic revival across the United States that is centered on investments in sustainable infrastructure," Tamminen said. "Our conversation focused on how create millions of secure, American jobs in the construction and operation of commercial and residential clean, renewable energy generation."

The Oscar-winning actor has been a strong advocate of fighting climate change and preserving wildlife, and his recent documentary, "Before the Flood," addresses the peril that the world faces because of climate change.

DiCaprio previously met with Ivanka Trump and presented her with a copy of the film.

The meeting with Trump's team lasted for about 90 minutes. The actor also gave the president-elect a copy of the documentary, and Trump promised to watch it, according to a person who was familiar with the meeting but not authorized to speak publicly.

Tamminen, who was secretary of California's Environmental Protection Agency under former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, said Trump was receptive and suggested they meet again next month.

"We look forward to continuing the conversation with the incoming administration as we work to stop the dangerous march of climate change, while putting millions of people to work at the same time," said Tamminen.

The meeting came after word got out Wednesday that Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, a climate-change denier whose policies have helped fossil fuel companies, is expected to be announced as Trump's pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.

___

Online:

http://ldcfoundation.org

Dolly Parton organizing telethon for Tenn. wildfire victims

Country icon Dolly Parton has organized a musical telethon to raise money for victims of the Tennessee wildfires that destroyed more than 1,700 homes in the resort town of Gatlinburg.

The event, which will air Dec. 13 on Great American Country, will include performances by Reba McEntire, Kenny Rogers, Alison Krauss and Parton, whose Dollywood theme park in neighboring Pigeon Forge escaped damage from the fires.

Proceeds from the telethon will go to the Dollywood Foundation My People Fund, which was created to provide $1,000 each month to Sevier County families whose homes were damaged or destroyed by the wildfires.

Officials say 14 people have died and more than 145 others were injured in the fire that spread from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Review: 'Office Christmas Party' throws a holiday rager

The only things to burst forth when the egg nog starts flowing in "Office Christmas Party," though, are slow-motion party montages that exist for nothing but the film's trailers, and further reflections on the sad state of the studio comedy.

Directors Will Speck and Josh Gordon ("Blades of Glory," ''The Switch") have assembled many key ingredients to a successful Christmas shindig, or as it's called in the film, a "non-denominational holiday mixer." A holiday sweater-clad Kate McKinnon (who plays a nervous human resources administrator), alone, should be enough to cater any party. But there's also T.J. Miller, Courtney B. Vance, Vanessa Bayer, Randall Park and two "Veep" players, Matt Walsh and Sam Richardson. Who wouldn't want to carol with such a crew?

But "Office Christmas Party" and its filmmakers have little feel for how to utilize its funny cast, or for what it wants to unleash. Speck and Gordon, who handsomely set their film in a Chicago high-rise, have a movie with all the trimmings, but none of the jokes.

The cast is also titled toward the wrong people. It stars Jason Bateman as an executive at Zenotek, a computer company that is run by its budget-cutting CEO, Carol Vanstone (Jennifer Aniston). The Bateman-Aniston combo has been trotted out so often in mediocre comedies (including "The Switch") that it has lost whatever appeal is once had.

The fresh blood in "Office Christmas Party," though, is Miller, the "Silicon Valley" star. His HBO show is a far more pointed and smarter parody of internet company culture. But in his biggest big-screen role yet, he's lost little of his swagger. Here, he's the head of Zenotek's Chicago branch, a position inherited from his late father. The bigger job went to his sister, Carol, whom he resents for her more corporate management.

Given two days to turn the branch's profits around before his sister drastically cuts the staff, he desperately organizes an extravagant holiday party to court a lucrative client (Vance). The early scenes, pre-romp, are the film's best. Since television has largely given up the workplace sitcom, there's space for a movie to pick up the slack.

But "Office Christmas Party," cobbled together by six writers, doesn't have the confidence to build its story through the interplay of its employees, and it soon tires of office politics. As things ramp up, a prostitute (Abbey Lee) and a pimp (Jillian Bell) are brought in, as is a far-fetched plot involving Olivia Munn's inventor. The film seems to be hanging together purely to accommodate enough scenes of "Project X"-style mayhem as the party careens out of control, complete with already stale Uber and 3-D printer gags. Even when today's comedies go crazy, there's not an ounce of danger.

It's just nearly enough to make a movie, despite the considerable spiritedness of Miller, an arched-eyebrow force of nature. The best that can be said for "Office Christmas Party" is that at least it doesn't underuse him.

"Office Christmas Party," a Paramount Pictures release, is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for "crude sexual content and language throughout, drug use and graphic nudity." Running time: 105 minutes. One and a half stars out of four.

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Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP

AP Source: Grammy country committee rejects Beyonce song

Beyonce earned a whopping nine Grammy nominations Tuesday, including best rock performance, but the singer's twangy song "Daddy Lessons" was rejected by the Recording Academy's country music committee.

A person familiar with the Grammy nomination process told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Beyonce submitted "Daddy Lessons" — from her album "Lemonade" — to the country category. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to speak publicly about the topic, said the country music committee rejected the song.

If Beyonce's song had made it through, it would have been eligible for honors such as best country song and country solo performance.

Representatives for Beyonce and the Grammys didn't immediately reply to emails seeking comment.

"Daddy Lessons" highlights the Houston native's Southern music roots, incorporating horns, acoustic guitar and hand claps as Beyonce sings about lessons she learned from her father and former manager. The lyrics include references to the Second Amendment, the Bible and shooting guns.

Beyonce performed the track at last month's Country Music Association Awards alongside the Dixie Chicks, and later released a version of the song featuring the country trio.

Earlier in the year, the Chicks covered the song on their tour, and others in the country genre welcomed the tune, including Blake Shelton, who defended the song from critics who say it's not country.

Country star Dierks Bentley told the AP, "There is just something intangible about it that it feels like a country song."

Karen Fairchild of Little Big Town said, "(Beyonce) has some stories to tell — that's clear on 'Lemonade.' And that's what makes country music great."

Beyonce, still, impressed the music world by earning Grammy nominations in the rock, pop, R&B and rap categories — becoming the first artist to earn nominations in those fields in the same year. Paul McCartney and Janet Jackson have also received Grammy nominations in pop, rock, R&B and rap, but not in the same year.

Beyonce's nine nominations include the big three: album of the year for "Lemonade" and song, and record of the year for "Formation." She is also competing for best rock performance ("Don't Hurt Yourself" with Jack White), pop solo performance ("Hold Up"), rap/sung performance ("Freedom" with Kendrick Lamar) and urban contemporary album ("Lemonade").

She has won 20 Grammy Awards and is the most-nominated woman in Grammy history with 62 nominations. Beyonce is also competing for best music film with "Lemonade" and music video with "Formation."

AP Source: Grammy country committee rejects Beyonce song

Beyonce earned a whopping nine Grammy nominations Tuesday, including best rock performance, but the singer's twangy song "Daddy Lessons" was rejected by the Recording Academy's country music committee.

A person familiar with the Grammy nomination process told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Beyonce submitted "Daddy Lessons" — from her album "Lemonade" — to the country category. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to speak publicly about the topic, said the country music committee rejected the song.

If Beyonce's song had made it through, it would have been eligible for honors such as best country song and country solo performance.

Representatives for Beyonce and the Grammys didn't immediately reply to emails seeking comment.

"Daddy Lessons" highlights the Houston native's Southern music roots, incorporating horns, acoustic guitar and hand claps as Beyonce sings about lessons she learned from her father and former manager. The lyrics include references to the Second Amendment, the Bible and shooting guns.

Beyonce performed the track at last month's Country Music Association Awards alongside the Dixie Chicks, and later released a version of the song featuring the country trio.

Earlier in the year, the Chicks covered the song on their tour, and others in the country genre welcomed the tune, including Blake Shelton, who defended the song from critics who say it's not country.

Country star Dierks Bentley told the AP, "There is just something intangible about it that it feels like a country song."

Karen Fairchild of Little Big Town said, "(Beyonce) has some stories to tell — that's clear on 'Lemonade.' And that's what makes country music great."

Beyonce, still, impressed the music world by earning Grammy nominations in the rock, pop, R&B and rap categories — becoming the first artist to earn nominations in those fields in the same year. Paul McCartney and Janet Jackson have also received Grammy nominations in pop, rock, R&B and rap, but not in the same year.

Beyonce's nine nominations include the big three: album of the year for "Lemonade" and song, and record of the year for "Formation." She is also competing for best rock performance ("Don't Hurt Yourself" with Jack White), pop solo performance ("Hold Up"), rap/sung performance ("Freedom" with Kendrick Lamar) and urban contemporary album ("Lemonade").

She has won 20 Grammy Awards and is the most-nominated woman in Grammy history with 62 nominations. Beyonce is also competing for best music film with "Lemonade" and music video with "Formation."

Congress cracks down on 'bots' that snap up concert tickets

Congress sent legislation to President Barack Obama that could make it easier to get tickets to popular shows, sports events and concerts.

Legislation passed by voice vote in the House on Wednesday would crack down on computer software used by some ticket brokers to snap up tickets. The so-called "bots" rapidly purchase as many tickets as possible for resale at significant markups, and are one of the reasons why tickets to a Bruce Springsteen concert or "Hamilton" performance can sell out in just a few minutes.

The bill would make using the software an "unfair and deceptive practice" under the Federal Trade Commission Act and allow the FTC to pursue those cases. The Senate passed the bill last month.

"Hamilton" producer Jeffrey Seller testified at a Senate hearing in September. He said the bots invade the Ticketmaster system the moment tickets go on sale and electronically purchase almost all the available inventory — one of the reasons tickets to the hit musical about the life of founding father Alexander Hamilton have sold for $1,000 or more.

Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran, the Republican sponsor of the bill, said the legislation will "level the playing field" for people buying tickets.

"The need to end this growing practice is reflected in the bill's widespread support," Moran said.

In a report earlier this year, investigators in New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office cited a single broker who bought 1,012 tickets within one minute to a U2 concert at Madison Square Garden when they went on sale on Dec. 8, 2014, despite the vendor's claim of a four-ticket limit. By day's end, that broker and one other had 15,000 tickets to U2's North American shows.

The report said third-party brokers resell tickets on sites like StubHub and TicketsNow at average margins of 49 percent above face value and sometimes more than 10 times the price.

New York's review also found that, on average, 16 percent of tickets are reserved for various industry insiders like the venue employees, artists and promoters, while 38 percent are reserved for presales to certain groups like holders of a particular credit card.

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Follow Mary Clare Jalonick on Twitter: http://twitter.com/MCJalonick

Congress cracks down on 'bots' that snap up concert tickets

Congress sent legislation to President Barack Obama that could make it easier to get tickets to popular shows, sports events and concerts.

Legislation passed by voice vote in the House on Wednesday would crack down on computer software used by some ticket brokers to snap up tickets. The so-called "bots" rapidly purchase as many tickets as possible for resale at significant markups, and are one of the reasons why tickets to a Bruce Springsteen concert or "Hamilton" performance can sell out in just a few minutes.

The bill would make using the software an "unfair and deceptive practice" under the Federal Trade Commission Act and allow the FTC to pursue those cases. The Senate passed the bill last month.

"Hamilton" producer Jeffrey Seller testified at a Senate hearing in September. He said the bots invade the Ticketmaster system the moment tickets go on sale and electronically purchase almost all the available inventory — one of the reasons tickets to the hit musical about the life of founding father Alexander Hamilton have sold for $1,000 or more.

Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran, the Republican sponsor of the bill, said the legislation will "level the playing field" for people buying tickets.

"The need to end this growing practice is reflected in the bill's widespread support," Moran said.

In a report earlier this year, investigators in New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office cited a single broker who bought 1,012 tickets within one minute to a U2 concert at Madison Square Garden when they went on sale on Dec. 8, 2014, despite the vendor's claim of a four-ticket limit. By day's end, that broker and one other had 15,000 tickets to U2's North American shows.

The report said third-party brokers resell tickets on sites like StubHub and TicketsNow at average margins of 49 percent above face value and sometimes more than 10 times the price.

New York's review also found that, on average, 16 percent of tickets are reserved for various industry insiders like the venue employees, artists and promoters, while 38 percent are reserved for presales to certain groups like holders of a particular credit card.

___

Follow Mary Clare Jalonick on Twitter: http://twitter.com/MCJalonick

Hollywood PR firm skips holiday parties, donates to charities instead

Sunshine Sachs, the Hollywood publicity firm that represents clients like Leonardo DiCaprio Natalie Portman, Ben Affleck and Facebook, has cancelled its yearly bi-coastal holiday parties and will instead donate to various charities.

>> Read more trending stories

TheWrap reported that, according to an email issued by the company, the decision was made to "defend the values we hold dear."

"We’ve been talking a lot about how to protect the things we care about, post-election," CEO Shawn Sachs told TheWrap.

The company is using its budget for what would have been the Los Angeles and New York parties to go toward 16 organizations. The company declined to disclose the total donation amount and its party budget to TheWrap.

Instead of big soriees, the firm plans to close its LA, New York, Washington D.C. and Austin, Texas, locations and volunteer in groups. After volunteering, cowrokers will have small office celebrations.

"However I felt the morning after (the election) was nothing compared to how I felt taking to people in this office, those who felt their citizenship, in a matter of moments, was gone or had been lessened," Sachs said. "Being the diverse workplace we are, many of us felt under assault."

"Now is the time to come together," he said.

The organizations receiving donations go toward organizations focused on human rights, racial justice issues, women's rights, immigrant's rights, LGBT rights and other civil rights, as well as environmental issues. Other causes include gun safety and the Flint, Michigan water crisis, among others.

The companies receiving holiday donations from Sunshine Sachs are:

Advancement Project

American Civil Liberties Union

#Cut50

EMILY’s List

Environmental Defense Fund

Everytown for Gun Safety

Flint Water Fund

Homeboy Industries

Human Rights Campaign

Immigrant Defense Fund

International Rescue Committee

Muslim Aid America

Planned Parenthood

Southern Poverty Law Center

The Trevor Project

The White Helmets

Singer Sia and filmmaker-husband Erik Anders Lang separate

Grammy-nominated singer Sia and her filmmaker-husband, Erik Anders Lang, are separating.

In a statement released through a spokesperson Wednesday, Sia and Lang said "after much soul searching and consideration we have made the decision to separate as a couple."

They were married in August 2014. They said they are "dedicated to remaining friends."

No more details were provided.

Sia, who has written songs for Beyonce, Rihanna, Katy Perry and others, is known for her own hits like "Chandelier" and "Cheap Thrills." She earned three Grammy nominations Tuesday, including best pop vocal album for "This Is Acting."

Lang's website says he has created documentaries for Louis Vuitton, Honda, MTV and other companies.

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