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Wendy Williams announces 3-week hiatus due to Graves’ disease

Wendy Williams is taking three weeks off from her talk show.

The former radio personality turned daytime TV show host was candid with her live audience Wednesday as she made the announcement. The 53-year-old has Graves’ disease and hyperthyroidism, both of which she has spoken about in the past. 

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“Wendy is a true champion and has never missed a day of work. But her health and well-being must be put before all else,” a show representative told People. “Wendy has been openly dealing with her Graves’ disease for many years, in addition to hyperthyroidism. Yesterday, Wendy’s doctor prescribed a necessary three weeks of rest to get her levels and medication in sync. The show will be in repeats during this unplanned hiatus. A live show was produced today so that Wendy could speak directly to her fans and explain her condition.”

“My doctor has prescribed -- are you ready? As of today, three weeks of vacation,” she said.

Williams then described the symptoms that come with Graves’ disease and hyperthyroidism.

“Along with hyperthyroid and Graves’ disease, it promotes nervousness,” Williams said. “No, I’m not nervous. Anxiety, please. I’m over 30 years in this game.”

Related: Watch: Wendy Williams faints on live TV

The wife and mother to a teenage son did admit she has some symptoms, including a rapid heartbeat.

“Now, I can cop to irritability, but I’m just thinking it’s me micromanaging,” she said. 

Ever the workhorse, Williams said she would be back in less than three weeks.

“I’ll be back in two (weeks). I’m not an heiress. Who is going to pay my bills? Are you serious? I’m just saying, I come from working class,” she said.

Williams said she blamed her symptoms on the stresses of being a working wife and mother, encouraging women to put their health first.

“What I want to say to women, more than men, is stop putting everyone first because if we’re not good, they’re not good,” she said. 

Williams took three days off last week after she said she was “feeling flu-ish.” It was the first time she was out sick from the show since it started in 2009. In October, Williams fainted on-air while introducing a segment.

Related: Wendy Williams addresses fainting on live Halloween show

“That was not a stunt,” Williams said at the end of that episode. “I overheated in my costume, and I did pass out. But you know what? I’m a champ and I’m back.”

CNN reported that there will not be a fill-in host for the show. Repeat episodes will air during the hiatus.

Watch Williams’ message to viewers below.

Geraldo Rivera talks weapons age-limits with Trump

Television personality Geraldo Rivera says he has discussed the idea of raising the minimum age to purchase assault-type weapons with President Donald Trump, adding that Trump "took it under advisement."

Rivera, a Fox News contributor, says in an email Wednesday that he spoke with Trump during a dinner at Mar-a-Lago over the weekend. He added that Trump "further suggested strongly that he was going to act to strengthen background checks."

Rivera says Trump was "deeply affected" by visits with survivors of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead.

The gunman used an AR-15. Rivera says Trump was "shocked and distressed" by the wounds inflicted.

On Tuesday, the White House said the idea of raising the age limit to buy an AR-15 was on the table for discussion.

Talk show host Williams taking time off for health reasons

Daytime talk show host Wendy Williams says she's taking three weeks off on doctor's orders.

Williams says that her doctor told her to take the break to deal with her Graves' Disease and hyperthyroidism. Reruns will air in her absence.

Williams told her audience Wednesday that she's been feeling like there are birds flying around her head, like a cartoon, and discussed other symptoms. She urged women in her audience not to neglect their health and to get regular check-ups.

The talk show host is 53 and recently lost 50 pounds.

Madrid art fair yanks photo exhibit amid political spat

Madrid's International Contemporary Art Fair on Wednesday yanked a photo exhibition called "Political Prisoners in Contemporary Spain," prompting charges of censorship against the government-funded body which operates the event venue.

The spat came during efforts by pro-independence groups in the northeastern Catalonia region to break away from Spain. Some Catalan political leaders and activists have been preventively jailed because of their secession bid, and their supporters claim they are political prisoners — a charge which the national government in Madrid has vigorously denied, labelling them "politicians in prison."

The ARCO fair organizers said in a statement that IFEMA, which runs the fair venue, asked the exhibiting gallery to take down artist Santiago Sierra's photographs of unidentified prisoners because the controversy caused by the collection had diverted attention from the rest of the exhibits. It said the Helga de Alvear gallery complied with the request, leaving a broad stretch of blank wall.

The artist's studio said the move damaged the international prestige of Spain and of the annual fair. It said in a statement that the common denominator of the prisoners portrayed in the photos was that they had expressed their ideas without resorting to violence.

The collection of 24 black-and-white photographs featured head-and-shoulder portraits of prisoners with their faces pixelated. Captions explained who they were, such as Catalan and Basque nationalists, without naming them.

One group of photographs included people facing potential trial for their actions during the recent Catalan independence turmoil, and many Spaniards would likely be able to identify them despite the pixelation. They include Catalonia's former vice president, a former Catalan interior minister and two prominent Catalan separatist activists.

Carlos Urroz, the director of ARCO, said each gallery's space at the exhibition is a private area. Urroz said that Sierra, the artist, "is always very controversial and all his works have a very political slant."

Madrid City Council said it didn't support the decision to withdraw the exhibit, saying it defends freedom of expression and creativity "above all."

“POISON/CHEAP TRICK WEEKEND CONTEST” OFFICIAL RULES

1. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR TO WIN. A PURCHASE WILL NOT IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. ALL FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL AND MUNICIPAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS APPLY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.  

2. Eligibility. Subject to the additional restrictions below, POISON/CHEAP TRICK WEEKEND CONTEST (the “Sweepstakes”) is open to adults who currently reside or work full-time in Nassau or Suffolk County in the state of New York, who are 18 years or older at the time of entry. Employees of Cox Media Group Long Island/WBAB (“Sponsor”), Live Nation Worldwide, Inc. and each of their respective affiliated companies, subsidiaries, and advertising and promotional agencies, and the family members of, and any persons domiciled with, any such employees, are not eligible to enter or to win. The term “family members” includes spouses, parents, grandparents, siblings, children, grandchildren and in-laws, regardless of where they live.  

3. How To Enter. The Sweepstakes will begin at 8:00 a.m. E.T. on February 24, 2018 and end at 3:00 p.m. E.T. on February 25, 2018 (the “Sweepstakes Period”). Sponsor will be the official timekeeper for the Sweepstakes.  

To participate in the contest, contestants must listen to 102.3 WBAB during the sweepstakes period. Anytime the official “contest sounder” is played on WBAB, caller 20 at 631-955-WBAB will win the prize. 

4. Prize Description. A maximum of eight (8) prizes will be awarded during the contest period.  

Subject to verification of eligibility and compliance with these Official Rules, eight winners will each receive two tickets to the Poison and Cheap Trick at the Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater on June 21, 2018. (the “Event”).  

No refund or compensation will be paid in the event of the cancellation or delay of the Event, or any portion thereof. Sponsor will not be liable if the Event, or any portion of it, is cancelled or delayed. Sponsor may in its sole discretion, attempt to reschedule for a future event. Event tickets are subject to certain terms and conditions as specified by issuer. The terms and conditions of the Event tickets may govern if the Event is cancelled due to weather, an act of God, an act of terrorism, civil disturbance or any other reason. Sponsor is not responsible for, and will not replace, lost, mutilated, or stolen Event tickets, vouchers, or certificates. Exact details, including seat locations, shall be determined in the sole discretion of Sponsor.  

Limit: One (1) prize per person and per household.  

A maximum of one prize winner per family or household within a 30-day time period is permitted. If the potential winner is found to have won a prize on WBAB within the past 30 days, that winner will be deemed ineligible and a substitute winner will be selected.  

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Winners may be required to complete an affidavit of eligibility, and a liability and publicity release (except where prohibited by law).  

Sponsor’s inability to reach a potential winner after a reasonable (as solely determined by Sponsor) effort has been made, the failure of a potential winner to timely respond to a prize notification, the return of any prize notification as undeliverable, and/or a potential winner’s failure to comply with any term or condition of these Official Rules may, in Sponsor’s sole discretion, result in the potential winner’s disqualification and the selection of a substitute winner by a random drawing from among all remaining eligible entries received during the Sweepstakes Period.  

A PARTICIPANT IS NOT A WINNER OF ANY PRIZE UNLESS AND UNTIL SPONSOR HAS COMPLETED ITS VERIFICATION OF PARTICIPANT’S ELIGIBILITY.  

A winner may waive the right to receive a prize. Prizes are non-assignable and nontransferable and cannot be redeemed for cash. No substitutions allowed by winner. Prizes and individual components of prize packages are subject to availability. Sponsor reserves the right to substitute prizes or components of prize packages with a prize or component of equal or greater value. Winner is solely responsible for reporting and payment of any taxes on a prize. Winner may be required to provide his/her valid Social Security Number to Sponsor for tax purposes and/or complete an IRS W-9 form in order to claim a prize. Winners are solely responsible for all federal, state and local taxes on prize value and, as applicable, will be issued an IRS Form 1099 based on the prize value determined by Sponsor. Prizes not won and claimed by eligible winners in accordance with these Official Rules will not be awarded and will remain the property of Sponsor.  

6. Publicity. Except where prohibited, acceptance of any prize constitutes the winner’s irrevocable consent to the publication or other use by Sponsor and its licensees of his or her name, biographical information and likeness in any media, including the Internet, for any commercial, publicity or promotional purpose, without limitation, review or approval, or additional compensation.  

7. Participation. By participating, participants agree to be bound by these Official Rules and the decisions of Sponsor and any Sweepstakes judges or administrators selected by Sponsor, which are final and binding in all respects. Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify persons found tampering with or otherwise abusing any aspect of this Sweepstakes as solely determined by Sponsor. In the event the Sweepstakes is compromised by tampering or other causes beyond the reasonable control of Sponsor which corrupt or impair the administration, security, fairness or proper operation of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to suspend, modify or terminate the Sweepstakes. Should the Sweepstakes be terminated prior to the stated expiration date, Sponsor reserves the right to award prizes based on the entries received before the termination date. Proof of sending or submission of an entry will not be deemed proof of receipt by Sponsor.  

8. Release. BY PARTICIPATING IN THE SWEEPSTAKES, EACH PARTICIPANT AGREES TO FULLY RELEASE, FOREVER DISCHARGE AND HOLD HARMLESS SPONSOR, COX MEDIA GROUP, INC., COX ENTERPRISES, INC., AND THEIR RESPECTIVE SUBSIDIARIES, AFFILIATES, SUPPLIERS, DISTRIBUTORS, ADVERTISING/PROMOTION AGENCIES, AND PRIZE SUPPLIERS AND EACH SUCH COMPANY’S OFFICERS, DIRECTORS, EMPLOYEES, AGENTS, REPRESENTATIVES, AND SUCCESSORS AND ASSIGNS (COLLECTIVELY, THE “RELEASED PARTIES”) FROM AND AGAINST ANY CLAIMS, COSTS, LIABILITIES, LOSSES, INJURIES, AND DAMAGES ARISING OUT OF THE SWEEPSTAKES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, ANY CLAIMS FOR PERSONAL INJURY, DEATH, OR DAMAGE TO OR LOSS OF PROPERTY, LOSS OF ENJOYMENT, OR ANY OTHER HARM WHATSOEVER ARISING OUT OF: (1) PARTICIPATION IN THE SWEEPSTAKES; (2) THE QUALITY, RECEIPT, POSSESSION, USE, OR MISUSE OF ANY PRIZE; OR (3) ANY TRAVEL OR ACTIVITY THAT IS RELATED TO THE SWEEPSTAKES OR ANY PRIZE.  

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Only the number of prizes stated in these Official Rules is available to be won in the Sweepstakes. In the event that production, technical, seeding, programming, or any other reasons cause more than the stated number of prizes as set forth in these Official Rules to be available and/or claimed, Sponsor reserves the right to award the prizes by a random drawing among all legitimate eligible prize claims.  

10. Construction. The invalidity or unenforceability of any provision of these rules shall not affect the validity or enforceability of any other provision. In the event that any such provision is determined to be invalid or otherwise unenforceable, these Official Rules shall be construed in accordance with their terms as if the invalid or unenforceable provision was not contained therein.  

11. Sponsor. POISON/CHEAP TRICK WEEKEND CONTEST is sponsored by Cox Media Group/WBAB. The decisions of Sponsor regarding the selection of winners and all other aspects of the Sweepstakes shall be final and binding in all respects. Sponsor will not be responsible for typographical, printing or other inadvertent errors in these Official Rules or in other materials or announcements relating to the Sweepstakes. WBAB reserves the right to make changes in the rules of the contest which will become effective upon announcement. For a list of winners (available after February 28, 2018 or a copy of these Official Rules, visit WBAB.com or send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to POISON/CHEAP TRICK WEEKEND CONTEST, 555 Sunrise Highway, West Babylon, NY 11375. If you have any questions regarding this contest, please contact WBAB Promotions at 631-587-1023.  

Live Nation Worldwide, Inc. is not a sponsor of the Sweepstakes and is in no way responsible for the administration of the Sweepstakes or the verification of winners. All inquiries regarding the Sweepstakes should be directed to Sponsor not to Live Nation.

Alice Cooper Drummer Neal Smith Recalls the Early Days: 'We Didn't Care If Somebody Loved Us or Hated Us'

The original Alice Cooper band helped make a name for themselves on the strength of their onstage antics. As drummer Neal Smith tells us, it was all about giving the crowd a night to remember.

Continue reading…

Chef Jose Andres writing book on Hurricane Maria relief work

Award-winning chef Jose Andres is working on a book about his efforts to help Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

Ecco told The Associated Press on Wednesday that it has acquired "We Fed An Island: The True Story of Rebuilding Puerto Rico, One Meal at a Time." The book is scheduled for Sept. 11 and is co-written by Richard Wolffe. A portion of proceeds will be given to the Chef Relief Network of Andres' nonprofit World Central Kitchen. Also on Wednesday, the James Beard Foundation cited his efforts in feeding millions of Puerto Ricans after the storm in naming him "Humanitarian of the Year." The foundation called him a "committed advocate of food and hunger issues."

"We Fed an Island" will be released through Anthony Bourdain's imprint at Ecco. In the book, Andres says he wanted to provide the "inside story" of the relief work by himself and World Central Kitchen last fall.

"We want to tell the inside story of what we saw on the ground," he writes, "the good and the bad— of the crisis, the response, and how a plate of food does more than just fill you up. It fills you with hope."

Olympian Ivett Toth Skates to AC/DC

As an armchair Olympic ice skating judge, you may not know your axels from your lutzes, but you certainly recognize an AC/DC song when you hear it.

Continue reading…

Dua Lipa, Stormzy win as Brit Awards join 'Time's Up' call

Hometown London stars Dua Lipa and Stormzy were both double winners Wednesday at the U.K. music industry's Brit Awards, where many guests wore white roses to symbolize the fight against sexual harassment and assault.

Stormzy, who has helped propel the grime genre of rap into the commercial mainstream, was named best male British solo artist, and also won album of the year, for his debut "Gang Signs and Prayer."

Taking the stage, he thanked God, his mother, his family his team and south London, where he grew up.

Stormzy said the album was "the hardest thing, I've never worked on something like this in my life."

"I've never given my entire being, I didn't have anything left after... we made something I feel that is undeniable, that I can stand by today," he said.

Stormzy also energized a show that bordered on bland. In an electric closing performance, he put Britain's prime minister on the spot, singing "Theresa May, where's the money for Grenfell" in reference to last year's deadly London tower block blaze.

Lipa, whose self-titled debut was one of 2017's breakout albums, was named British female solo artist and British breakthrough artist.

Lipa dedicated her solo artist trophy to all the female musicians who "have allowed us to dream this big."

"Here's to more women on these stages, more women winning awards and more women taking over the world," said Lipa, who topped U.K. charts with her catchy breakup anthem "No Rules."

Following up on gestures at the Golden Globes, Grammys and British film awards, guests at Britain's biggest music awards show were given flowers or white rose pins to wear in solidarity with the Time's Up movement.

Calls for change have swept through the entertainment industry since women began coming forward to accuse Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein last year.

The white rose symbol made an appearance at the Grammys last month. At the Globes and British Academy Film Awards women wore black to oppose sexual misconduct and bullying.

Performers at the show at London's O2 Arena, hosted by comedian Jack Whitehall, included Justin Timberlake, Rita Ora, Sam Smith, Foo Fighters and Kendrick Lemar.

International winners included Foo Fighters in the group category, female solo artist Lorde and male solo artist Kendrick Lamar.

Soulful singer Rag'n'Bone Man took the trophy for best British single for "Human."

Ubiquitous singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran won the global success award, which goes to the year's best-selling British artist. His album "Divide" has sold more than 12 million copies around the world.

In what felt like a symbolic handover between generations, Sheeran's prize was introduced by a video message from Elton John. He was given his trophy by Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood, who called Sheeran "a lovely young guy."

Ariana Grande had been due to perform, but was forced to pull out because of illness, organizers said. She had been due to make a surprise appearance in tribute to 22 people killed when a bomber blew himself up at a Grande concert in Manchester in May.

Manchester-born Liam Gallagher stepped in instead, performing the Oasis classic "Live Forever."

Once a slightly ramshackle and unpredictable event, the Brits has become a slick showcase for U.K. and international talent.

This year's show did feature some pointed moments. As well as Stormzy's Grenfell shoutout, former Blur frontman Damon Albarn alluded to Brexit as he accepted the best British group prize with cartoon band Gorillaz.

In an apparent reference to Britain's impending departure from the European Union, he urged Britons not to let the country become isolated,

"Considering our size we do incredible things in music, we've got a real spirit and a real soul, and don't let politics get in the way of all that (stuff), alright?" Albarn said.

Most winners at the Brits are chosen by a ballot of music-industry members, with several selected by public vote, including video of the year, decided by public ballot during the show. For years that prize was invariably won by One Direction; this year it went to a member of that band, Harry Styles.

Will and Jaden Smith create eco-friendly water company: Just

Jaden Smith's environmental consciousness was born when he was out surfing at about age 10. He saw plastic water bottles bobbing in the ocean beside him, and he was so upset by it that he told his parents.

Then he learned in school about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, those floating "islands" of garbage and plastic debris, and insisted that his family do something about it.

The result is Just, an eco-friendly bottled water company founded by Smith and his famous dad, Will Smith. The company makes its packaging from almost entirely renewable resources, including "plastic" derived from sugarcane.

"This was a company born out of a child's love for the ocean," Will Smith told The Associated Press during an interview with the father-son entertainment duo about their company's new offering: flavored water. They established the company in 2015, but the elder Smith said he wanted to wait until it gained momentum on its own merits before revealing the brand had celebrity backing.

"We did not want this to be a celebrity brand," he said. "We're just about to launch our second product and we felt like there were enough people who already have accepted the brand and it wouldn't look like celebrities trying to sell some water."

Jaden Smith's passion for the company's mission — reducing plastic and carbon dioxide emissions globally — is evident when he speaks about it, as well as in various videos he's released talking about climate change, sustainability and renewable resources. The 19-year-old said he's visiting schools to spread awareness about the problems caused by plastic and pollution and to inspire young people to help find solutions.

"School and education is where it all starts, because that's where it started for me," he said, adding that he tells students: "I just want you to know that I came up with this idea when I was your age, and that means you have the infinite ability to come up with any idea or any way that you want to change the world."

He said his goals for the company also include producing classroom furniture from used water bottles as a way of repurposing materials and diverting them from landfills.

Will Smith, speaking by phone from Atlanta, where he's beginning work on an Ang Lee film, said he's been inspired by his son's commitment — both to the cause and to himself as someone who can create change. The 49-year-old superstar said that's the most valuable thing he's learned from his children (including daughter Willow, 17, and son Trey, 25): "That you have to freely and unapologetically be true to you above all things."

"There's a certain expectation that has developed of me over the years, and in watching Jaden and all of my children, I'm learning to get free again to be me and do me without the absolute concern of every single moment trying to live up to an image of who I am," Smith said. "I found a really brand new freedom through watching my kids and how they tend, specifically Jaden, to not concern themselves with anything above honesty and truth and integrity to themselves first and foremost."

___

AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen is at www.twitter.com/YouKnowSandy.

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