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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 78)

Former Ukraine ambassador says she has no information of bribes or criminal activity involving Trump

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6104564236001_6104555638001-vs Former Ukraine ambassador says she has no information of bribes or criminal activity involving Trump Victor Garcia fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 544b4049-73fb-5ab0-84fd-4a01a772e35f

During Friday’s public hearings, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified that she had no information regarding criminal activity or bribes that President Trump would have been involved with, prompting Republicans to once again criticize the impeachment inquiry.

“I would now feel compelled to ask you, Madam Ambassador, as you sit her before us, very simply and directly, do you have any information regarding the president of the United States accepting any bribes?” Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah., asked.

TRUMP ATTACKS MARIE YOVANOVITCH DURING IMPEACHMENT HEARING, SAYS EVERYWHERE SHE WENT ‘TURNED BAD’

“No,” Yovanavitch said.

“Do you have any information regarding any criminal activity that the president of the United States has been involved with at all?” Stewart asked.

“No,” Yovanavitch said.

Stewart thanked Yovanvitch before predicting that public support for impeachment would decrease after the hearings.

“The American people know this is nonsense,” Stewart said. “The American people know this is unfair.”

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., reacted to the exchange on Twitter, saying that Democrats had “no case.”

“The Democrats second day impeachment witness, Ambassador Yovanovitch, has no information on any of the relevant questions,” Meadows tweeted. “They have no case. This is not serious.”

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Earlier in the hearing, Yovanovitch, a career diplomat who has served both Republican and Democratic presidents, relayed in detail her story of being suddenly recalled by Trump in May, saying she believes Giuliani played a key role in telling people she was not sufficiently supportive of the president.

Fox News’ Adam Shaw and Alex Pappas contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6104564236001_6104555638001-vs Former Ukraine ambassador says she has no information of bribes or criminal activity involving Trump Victor Garcia fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 544b4049-73fb-5ab0-84fd-4a01a772e35f   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6104564236001_6104555638001-vs Former Ukraine ambassador says she has no information of bribes or criminal activity involving Trump Victor Garcia fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 544b4049-73fb-5ab0-84fd-4a01a772e35f

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Photo of inmate enjoying Popeyes chicken sandwich in his cell goes viral

A photo of an inmate who managed to get his hands on the much sought after Popeyes Chicken Sandwich has the internet going wild.

The images, which were originally posted by Frank Gutta on Instagram and later made the rounds on Twitter, shows the prisoner getting ready to chow down on America’s latest food craze.

“Trying to see what all the hype bout,” Gutta captioned the image, which was posted to his Instagram Stories. On another photo, he captioned: “Thanks Bae.”

POPEYES CHICKEN SANDWICH TRAFFIC MAYHEM PROMPTS STERN RESPONSE FROM POLICE: ‘A SANDWICH ISN’T WORTH A TICKET’

The inmate is seen sitting on a cot and posing with the sandwich that was apparently brought to him by a companion.

The photo quickly went viral and generated many comments on Twitter.

“I don’t wanna even know how that got in there,” one person tweeted.

SUSPECT ACCUSED OF FATALLY STABBING MARYLAND MAN WHO CUT LINE AT POPEYES FOR CHICKEN SANDWICH IDENTIFIED: POLICE

Westlake Legal Group 3cded54b-Popeyes-Chicken-Sandwich Photo of inmate enjoying Popeyes chicken sandwich in his cell goes viral Gerren Keith Gaynor fox-news/lifestyle fox-news/food-drink/food/fast-food fox news fnc/food-drink fnc article 5a03362a-5b5b-50b8-8482-10c1ab9e8901

A photo of an inmate who managed to get his hands on the much sought after Popeyes Chicken Sandwich has the internet going wild. (Photo: Popeyes) (Popeyes)

Another Twitter user wrote, “Was gonna say this Popeye’s [sic] sandwich is getting out of hand but the happiness I felt for dude getting that sandwich outweighs it all.”

“People in jail still deserve some level of humanity. Glad bro got to try something that’s still next to impossible to get lol,” another person commented.

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Some Twitter users were less concerned about how the prisoner got the chicken sandwich, and more interested in how he was able to take a photo and post it to Instagram.

“U can have phones in jail??” one person said.

“Are we gonna talk about the fact he got an iPhone in there?” another person wrote.

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Others questioned whether or not he was actually in a prison cell.

“Is he in jail or a dorm?” someone tweeted. “They kinda look alike. Maybe he’s just trying a chicken sandwich on a study break.”

Westlake Legal Group Popeyes-Chicken-Sandwich-Popeyes Photo of inmate enjoying Popeyes chicken sandwich in his cell goes viral Gerren Keith Gaynor fox-news/lifestyle fox-news/food-drink/food/fast-food fox news fnc/food-drink fnc article 5a03362a-5b5b-50b8-8482-10c1ab9e8901   Westlake Legal Group Popeyes-Chicken-Sandwich-Popeyes Photo of inmate enjoying Popeyes chicken sandwich in his cell goes viral Gerren Keith Gaynor fox-news/lifestyle fox-news/food-drink/food/fast-food fox news fnc/food-drink fnc article 5a03362a-5b5b-50b8-8482-10c1ab9e8901

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Country singer Kelleigh Bannen says her debut album was nearly 10 years in the making

Westlake Legal Group Kelleigh-Bannen Country singer Kelleigh Bannen says her debut album was nearly 10 years in the making Nate Day fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment/genres/country fox-news/entertainment/features/exclusive fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 67ea10a4-b120-54bd-a41f-0c5cc8217fa4

On one hand, Kelleigh Bannen has had a traditional experience with the music industry: dreaming of stardom from a young age and adoring Garth Brooks.

One the other hand, Bannen’s rise to fame has been completely unconventional: not writing music until after college and finding inspiration and influence in R&B stars and movie musicals like “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”

Bannen, 38, released her debut full-length album “Favorite Colors” on Oct. 11 and hasn’t looked back since.

TAYLOR SWIFT CLAIMS SCOOTER BRAUN, SCOTT BORCHETTA WON’T LET HER PERFORM HER OLD MUSIC AT AMAS

“It’s been years in the making,” Bannen said of the album. “The songs are from the last 3 years or so, and we started recording a year ago [in] May, April.”

The album features 14 tracks, three of which, “John Who,” “The Joneses” and “Happy Birthday,” were featured on a 2018 EP.

“Those songs were really what started us down this process of this album,” Bannen explained. “We just felt like it was kind of sad to move on without them on the album because they kind of opened the doors to the album.”

Bannen has reason to feel attached to her music. She co-wrote all 14 songs on the album, a feat not conquered by many of today’s biggest artists.

“(Nashville is) such a songwriting town,” said Bannen of her home. “I grew up there, so I love storytelling and I think that’s what country music does at its finest. Telling real, relatable stories in great detail that makes you feel like you’re there. That’s what I try to do when I sit down in the writing room.”

But before the singles, the EPs and the record, Bannen found herself in the midst of an unusual career jumpstart.

“I love storytelling and I think that’s what country music does at its finest.”

—  Kelleigh Bannen

“Some of the first records I owned were Dixie Chicks albums, Martina McBride and Sara Evans,” she revealed. “What’s interesting about those three is that all the records I was listening to at that time were produced by Paul Worley who is a legendary producer in country music.”

Bannen credits Worley, who produced her single “Sorry on the Rocks,” with discovering her in Nashville.

Of course, she has always had an appreciation for artists like Garth Brooks and Vince Gill for their storytelling abilities.

CMA AWARDS 2019 COMPLETE WINNERS LIST

However, there are other artists who have influenced Bannen’s career, but not the kind you might not expect for a traditional singer-songwriter hailing from Nashville.

“The ‘Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’ was a huge album for me,” Bannen said. “I think she’s one of the truly finest songwriters and one of the fines singers that maybe we’ll ever see.”

Her cadre of influencers only gets wider, too, with her song “Diamonds” being heavily influenced by Marilyn Monroe‘s iconic performance of “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”

“It goes back to storytelling,” said Bannen in reference to how a 1953 Marilyn Monroe movie could possibly influence one of today’s up-and-coming country singers. “She was such a storyteller and that was such an opulent time of movie making, so it’s that visual storytelling that was so incredible in those musical numbers.”

However, Bannen wanted to put her own twist on the message behind the song. She felt that “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” isn’t entirely relatable to the more “grounded” country music world.

Her M.O. for the song was to “play with something sparkly like that, but in a way that is a more country presentation.” She injected the song with flirty, playful lyrics about marriage (I.e. diamond rings) and the love behind it.

Bannen also recalls watching Fred Astaire movies with her dancer mother and singing Frank Sinatra with her grandparents.

“Those influences are huge because I think ultimately those are great storytellers. Frank is one of the ultimate storytellers, just the way he interprets a lyric is just so special.”

Of course, Bannen’s album was influenced by some of her closest friends, not just A-list celebs.

Jaren Johnson of Cadillac Three, who Bannen calls “a truly fine songwriter,” served as the album’s main producer. Funny enough, Bannen and Johnson grew up in the same area at the same time, even attending high school together, though Bannen admits they didn’t know each other then.

Although his songwriting isn’t featured on the album, they have written together since then, such as Bannen’s country radio single, “You Are What You Love.”

“We’ve been at it for a long time together and we’ve come up in this town together,” Bannen said. “So I’ve always loved Jaren and I love that he understands country, but he also isn’t afraid of some really gritty, real sounds.”

Bannen says that some songs sound “too pretty” and can come across as “not very relatable,” but that’s a problem that Johnson avoids as Bannen sees it.

“He brings a real textured edge to things, which I love.”

“I think I knew I wanted to be a musician from a very young age inside, but I didn’t know how to say it.”

— Kelleigh Bannen

BEVERLEY MITCHELL TALKS ABOUT NEW CHRISTMAS MOVIE, POSSIBLE ‘7TH HEAVEN’ REBOOT

She also worked “a ton” with Grammy-nominee Will Bowen, whom Bannen calls “a close, close friend.” Also a contributor to “Colors” Claire Douglas.

“She’s making a major splash on the scene in Nashville,” Bannen said. “She’s the daughter of songwriting royalty Tom Douglas, but every bit just the truest form of a songwriter in her own right.”

Like many musicians, Bannen wanted to follow a musical path from a very young age.

“I think I knew I wanted to be a musician from a very young age inside, but I didn’t know how to say it,” Bannen admitted. “Growing up in Nashville, you know, my babysitter, the guy mowing the lawn, the plumber, everybody is chasing a music dream and you see people go home.”

“My mom would say I made up my first song at 18 months old based on the word of the day that was on ‘Sesame Street,'” Bannen joked.

What’s unique about her story, however, is that she didn’t begin making music right away — it wasn’t until after college that she took her songwriting seriously.

“I’m kind of a late bloomer in that sense,” she said. “(Some people) know what they want to do from a young age and they go for it at 18 and I think they’re really brave for doing that.

Bannen was studying for the LSAT when she realized that “nothing made me feel the way music made me feel.” She called her hidden desire to perform “uncomfortable,” so, at 22, she dove into her music.

Now, she’s staring success in the face.

“When you start out, you emulate the people you love and then you have to become yourself,” said Bannen of transitioning from the 20-year-old girl writing songs in her bedroom to the woman making her national television debut performing her song “Time Machine” on “TODAY.”

“I think that would be the biggest difference for me now is knowing who you are, knowing what you do is different and hopefully special and really doubling down on that instead of trying to chase down something else,” Bannen noted.

“I don’t know if I’d say I’m successful, but I’m still alive and I’m still doing it.”

— Kelleigh Bannen

“I was very tempted to chase what people told me success would be or what I thought people wanted, but I think the more I say ‘no’ to that and try and say ‘yes’ to what’s true for me, I think that’s connective. That’s what people are looking for.”

Of her status today, Bannen modestly said: “I don’t know if I’d say I’m successful, but I’m still alive and I’m still doing it.”

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“Favorite Colors” is available now.

Westlake Legal Group Kelleigh-Bannen Country singer Kelleigh Bannen says her debut album was nearly 10 years in the making Nate Day fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment/genres/country fox-news/entertainment/features/exclusive fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 67ea10a4-b120-54bd-a41f-0c5cc8217fa4   Westlake Legal Group Kelleigh-Bannen Country singer Kelleigh Bannen says her debut album was nearly 10 years in the making Nate Day fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment/genres/country fox-news/entertainment/features/exclusive fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 67ea10a4-b120-54bd-a41f-0c5cc8217fa4

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Chicago gang leader accused of supporting ISIS

Westlake Legal Group jail-bars-iStock Chicago gang leader accused of supporting ISIS Morgan Phillips fox-news/us/crime/chicagos-crime-wave fox-news/us/crime fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/chicago fox-news/politics/justice-department fox news fnc/us fnc c08359fe-0373-5d6d-a989-65d3b4e5a037 article

The leader of a street gang in a Chicago suburb was arrested for allegedly attempting to aid ISIS, the Justice Department announced Friday.

Jason Brown, also known as “Abdul Ja’Me,” allegedly provided $500 to an individual three separate times in 2019, believing that the recipient would then wire that money to an Islamic State (ISIS) soldier in Syria, according to the federal complaint.

In a recorded conversation obtained by the Justice Department, Brown can be heard saying, “it [jihad] cannot be done like it is in Syria. In the U.S., jihad is done by spreading the word of Islam.”

US-BORN ALABAMA WOMAN WHO JOINED ISIS IS NOT AN AMERICAN CITIZEN, JUDGE RULES 

What Brown, 37, did not know was that the individual with whom he was dealing was working with law enforcement; the supposed ISIS fighter was an undercover officer.

Brown is the leader of the AHK street gang in the Chicago suburb of Bellwood, according to the complaint. AHK consists of former members of the Black P Stones, the Gangster Disciples and the Four Corner Hustlers, who converted to Islam — an AHK requirement. Brown allegedly recruited and radicalized members to support ISIS.

MISSOURI MAN FROM BOSNIA WHO AIDED ISIS GETS 8-YEAR PRISON TERM, FACES DEPORTATION 

Brown is believed to have become radicalized during a stint in a Georgia prison over a firearms offense in 2016. During that time he became familiar with the work of Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal.

“I be looking at all that stuff … every day … Islamic ahh, it’s called ahh jihadiology. … There’s like 10-minute videos. … They used to have videos like every day, like three, four videos,”  Brown was heard saying in a recorded conversation.

If someone insults the prophet Mohammed, “his head gotta go,” Brown reportedly declared.

If convicted, Brown could face a maximum sentence of 20 years behind bars for attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

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AHK members trafficked various narcotics in the Chicago area, including fentanyl, heroin and cocaine, and often bragged about the gang’s activities on social media, officials contend. Six other AHK members were arrested on federal drug charges, ranging in age from 19 to 34.

Westlake Legal Group jail-bars-iStock Chicago gang leader accused of supporting ISIS Morgan Phillips fox-news/us/crime/chicagos-crime-wave fox-news/us/crime fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/chicago fox-news/politics/justice-department fox news fnc/us fnc c08359fe-0373-5d6d-a989-65d3b4e5a037 article   Westlake Legal Group jail-bars-iStock Chicago gang leader accused of supporting ISIS Morgan Phillips fox-news/us/crime/chicagos-crime-wave fox-news/us/crime fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/chicago fox-news/politics/justice-department fox news fnc/us fnc c08359fe-0373-5d6d-a989-65d3b4e5a037 article

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Law Enforcement Leaders Announce Project Guardian-DMV

Westlake Legal Group 18947656_G Law Enforcement Leaders Announce Project Guardian-DMV

“Through this partnership, we hope to stanch the flow of illegal guns from the Commonwealth of Virginia to Washington, Baltimore, and other cities in the Northeast, where, too often, they are used to commit violent crimes,” said Thomas T. Cullen, U.S Attorney for the Western District of Virginia.  “We will work closely with our U.S. attorney partners, the ATF, the MPD, and the Virginia State Police to identify individuals and groups in Western Virginia engaged in this deadly enterprise and put them in federal prison.”

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‘Baby Shark’ Smells Money Onstage

By the time the confetti cannons burst, the toddlers were shouting in ecstasy, their eyes fixed on the superstars onstage. Ten costumed performers were delivering the climax of “Baby Shark Live!” — a 75-minute adaptation of a two-minute music video, and an edge case in translating viral popularity into an enduringly profitable real-world franchise.

The global premiere took place on a Thursday night in October at South Carolina’s Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium, and the crowd was split between very young children and their adult caregivers. Siauna Yeargin of nearby Greenville was there with her daughter, Mireya. “When I wash her hair, she wants me to sing ‘Baby Shark,’” Ms. Yeargin said. “I had her first birthday party — ‘Baby Shark.’ Second birthday party — ‘Baby Shark.’”

Four years after the song’s release, by a South Korean media company called SmartStudy, the “Baby Shark” conquest of the planet may well have seemed complete. With just 18 words of lyrics, the song — a zippy story of a shark family out on a hunt — has been streamed on YouTube 3.9 billion times. During the World Series, entire baseball stadiums acted out the video’s shark-bite hand jive. In Dubai, water fountains dance to its beat. Its title alone has become shorthand for an earworm propelled through social media to become 21st-century digital folk culture.

Yet SmartStudy seemed unprepared at first to exploit its hit meme — and is still trying to build a business around it, with the goal of transforming its smiling ocean predator into a children’s brand on the scale of Elmo. To get Baby Shark into every shopping aisle it can, the company has struck licensing deals with Kellogg’s (for limited-edition boxes of “Berry-Fin-Tastic” cereal) and the makers of bedsheets, bath toys, coloring books, clothing, finger puppets and Halloween costumes. A Nickelodeon TV show and a feature film are also in the works.

The newest test of the property’s commercial viability is “Baby Shark Live!” If ticket sales hold strong, it will stay on the road for at least three years. Featuring about 20 songs, three of which are versions of “Baby Shark,” the show has a lot riding on it.

SmartStudy’s push into ancillary businesses may be its only way to wring big profits from its hit, given the minimal standard royalty rates paid by YouTube. And the deeper cultural origins of the song — a popular camp singalong for decades, the material is widely considered to be in the public domain — means the company lacks an airtight hold on the intellectual property behind it.

Then there is the question that must be asked of all viral memes. Will anybody still remember “Baby Shark” — and care enough to buy a $50 concert ticket — once the next online distraction comes along?

To put “Baby Shark” onstage, SmartStudy looked to Mick Jagger.

Five months ago, as the Korean studio sought an American partner to put on a traveling show, it struck a deal with Stephen Shaw and Jonathan Linden, two concert-industry veterans who learned the business working with rock giants like the Rolling Stones and Genesis. During their negotiations, Mr. Shaw recalled, one concern was paramount for SmartStudy: “They wanted a tour out as soon as possible.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_161122704_e06fcac2-63fd-4a09-ae98-dc015d85c730-articleLarge ‘Baby Shark’ Smells Money Onstage Video Recordings, Downloads and Streaming Trademarks and Trade Names Music Intellectual Property Counterfeit Merchandise Copyrights and Copyright Violations Baby Shark (Song)

Stephen Shaw, left, and Jonathan Linden, the executives behind “Baby Shark Live!,” at the Round Room offices in New York.Credit…David Williams for The New York Times

Mr. Shaw and Mr. Linden’s three-year-old company, Round Room, specializes in producing children’s entertainment, a corner of the touring business long dominated by adaptations of TV franchises. When they first dipped into the kids sector about a decade ago, it was to fill out blank spots on their annual touring calendar. At the time, they were working for Michael Cohl, the Canadian impresario who helped usher in the era of the rock megatour with the Stones and U2.

The typical kids’ show, by contrast, was a sleepier affair, with low production values and modest profit potential. “Back then, the kids-and-family business was a bit quiet,” said Mr. Linden, a lawyer who speaks with a mixture of deadpan corporate speak and showbiz pragmatism. “Some of the shows were a little long in the tooth.”

Their strategy with Round Room — whose other shows include “PJ Masks Live!,” based on a Disney Junior animated series — is to bring some of the high-tech dazzle of a stadium rock show to the preschool set. That means a faster-paced show, V.I.P. upsells and some flashier stagecraft. For “Baby Shark Live!,” an LED backdrop displays continuously shifting scenery and animation, using visual elements borrowed from SmartStudy’s studio to recreate the underwater environment of the viral video.

To hold the attention of such young audiences, Round Room designed “Baby Shark Live!” as a simple and quick-moving spectacle — a toddler’s version of a jukebox musical.

The two-act show draws from the catalog of Pinkfong — SmartStudy’s preschool brand — including takes on nursery-school chestnuts like “The Wheels on the Bus,” “Down in the Jungle” and “Bingo.” A booming EDM remix of “Baby Shark” closes the second act.

SmartStudy approved nearly every aspect of the show in protection of its golden-goose franchise. The players behind the three main characters — Baby Shark, a fox named Pinkfong and a hedgehog named Hogi — are cloaked head to toe in fuzzy mascot costumes, and mime their lines to taped vocal performances by singers that SmartStudy deemed most suited to the brand.

The show was carefully scripted to resemble a pop concert, with the cast performing a crescendo of one athletic dance number after another. Even the stage banter was modeled after a rock concert’s, as Mr. Shaw explained before the Spartanburg show, sitting with Mr. Linden in a small backstage office dominated by the presence of a yellow Baby Shark costume lying on the floor.

“‘Do you have a best friend, kids? What’s your best friend’s name?’” Mr. Shaw said, quoting from the show. “That’s Freddie Mercury. That’s Mick Jagger. That back and forth with the audience, where you create this environment, where you are all one collective — that’s universal.”

Mr. Cohl, a former chairman of Live Nation who has also put on Broadway shows like “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” described this as a fundamental lesson of show business. “What they’re doing now is the same, only different,” he said of the “Baby Shark” tour. “You have an audience, and you have to give them value and entertain them. A story’s a story’s a story.”

One aspect of the concert business that Round Room wants to replicate with kids’ shows is the mechanics of tour routing — the complex choreography of sending one show after another on the road in the most efficient manner possible. Each night, the LED screen for “Baby Shark Live!” is dismantled and, along with the show’s lighting rigs, props and costumes, trucked out overnight.

“That’s the same way that it works for Beyoncé or U2,” Mr. Linden said. “You take apart the wall and move it to the next show.”

The company’s touring calendar is also planned with precision to allow a single crew of about 12 people go from show to show, for months on end. Recently, as “Baby Shark Live!” ended its fall run, the crew made its way back to Spartanburg to launch the winter leg of “PJ Masks Live!” just six days later. After that, in February, comes the next Round Room show, “Blippi Live!” — based on a goofy YouTube character with a series of popular educational videos — followed by the return of “Baby Shark Live!,” which is booked for nearly 100 shows in the spring.

Trimming those costs can help Round Room compete in what has become a crowded market of brand-driven kids’ shows. Over the next few months, that will include tours based on long-running TV and toy properties like “Paw Patrol,” “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” and “Trolls.”

Shows like these have started to draw more investment. Last year, Cirque du Soleil’s parent company acquired VStar Entertainment, which produces the “Paw Patrol” and “Trolls” tours. And in August, Hasbro, the toy giant, agreed to pay $4 billion for Entertainment One, a film, TV and music conglomerate that has “Peppa Pig” and “PJ Masks” and owns a majority stake in Round Room.

Ryan Borba, the managing editor of Pollstar, a trade publication that covers the touring industry, said the competition had led to higher production standards. “You can’t just put on a Ninja Turtle mask anymore and hope to sell tickets,” he said.

Yet while prices for pop concerts have continued to skyrocket, the economics of most kids’ shows are more earthbound. “PJ Masks Live!” has played about 300 shows in the last two years, selling $22 million in tickets, Round Room said. That is about the same ticket gross as Lana Del Rey had in just 32 shows for her headlining tour last year, according to Pollstar.

In other words, it takes many more performances, over a much longer period — and at a lower ticket price — for a kids’ show to collect as much money as even a moderately successful pop tour. Ms. Del Rey’s tour, with an average ticket price of about $74, was only the 82nd highest grossing in North America last year.

Keeping a show on the road for two years is expensive, but smart touring can significantly reduce expenses. To maximize ticket sales, Mr. Shaw said, they are considering adding a second cast and crew for “Baby Shark Live!,” which would allow multiple versions of the show to crisscross the world at once — the kind of bonus more commonly associated with the touring productions of Broadway shows.

“The beautiful thing about kids’ theatrical,” Mr. Shaw said, “is that you can have multiple units touring at the same time.”

There’s only one Mick Jagger, but it doesn’t much matter which human being is occupying Baby Shark’s costume each night. There is no star threatening to take time off to make a record, or be in a movie, or go on vacation.

“Baby Shark is not writing a book next semester,” Mr. Linden said.

“He’s not having heart surgery,” Mr. Shaw added.

SmartStudy, which opened its doors in 2010, is in many ways a characteristic company of the social-media age, trying to build up its Pinkfong brand through apps and YouTube videos.

Its rise has coincided with the explosion of K-pop — the most prolific and tightly controlled corner of the global music industry. Less a genre than a production ecosystem, K-pop is a world dominated by producers and talent managers, where songs are carefully engineered for maximum catchiness and virality.

With a zapping electronic beat and a kinetic energy that builds to a climax, “Baby Shark” resembles a K-pop dance hit far more than the mellow, static numbers that make up most kids’ fare.

As each line of the song introduces the members of a shark nuclear family — Baby, Mommy, Daddy, Grandma, Grandpa — the beat grows bigger and the track adds more layers of instrumentation. Then producers add some tension by speeding it up and raising its key by one semitone, before the whole thing abruptly stops — at just the point where we want to hear it again. If “Baby Shark” were a little longer, it might not be so addictive.

Heesun Byeon, SmartStudy’s content director, said in an email that the company avoided “typical nursery rhyme style” and, since the barriers of genre matter little to small children, that its producers borrowed sounds from hip-hop, EDM and disco. Harking to the golden age of American bubble-gum, they also craft their hooks from lots of doo-doos, yoi-yois and boom bodi boom-booms.

“We try to design sounds that can instantly capture the attention of our audience,” Ms. Byeon said.

The company uploaded “Baby Shark” to its Pinkfong channel on YouTube in 2015, then replaced it the next year with the current video, which features two children acting out dance moves. After first going viral in Asia, the video caught on in the English-speaking world in 2018, helped by attention from celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres and James Corden. It was only that fall that “Baby Shark” truly opened for business on a global scale, as SmartStudy began signing its raft of consumer product licenses in the United States and Britain.

Marina Lee is the head of consumer products for Pinkfong USA, a SmartStudy subsidiary, and through the rollout of “Baby Shark Live!” has acted as a gimlet-eyed brand monitor. “If you look at typical kids’ properties, they start maybe as TV shows, then they have toys, then maybe live shows. Music comes in later,” she said. “But we were very different from that. We started from music and digital content, and built a program around it. In that aspect, Baby Shark has been a bit of a pop star, not just an animated character.”

“Baby Shark” has seemingly reached the summit of virality. Its main clip is now the fifth-most popular video in YouTube’s history. Counting the dozens of other “Baby Shark”-adjacent songs on the Pinkfong channel — “Ghost Baby Shark,” “Twinkle Twinkle Little Shark,” “Sharky Pokey,” etc. — and versions in other languages, the full franchise has neared eight billion streams.

But the value of those videos is limited. SmartStudy stands to collect only about $8 million so far from its various “Baby Shark” titles, according to Jordan Bromley, a music industry lawyer who has published estimates of streaming royalty rates. Those numbers put SmartStudy in a position familiar to many current pop stars: Its fame depends on a streaming hit, but to bring in the big money it must look elsewhere.

“What this company is doing is akin to what an artist does with a hit song,” Mr. Bromley said. “An artist will go out on tour and do a merch line, maybe a TV show, maybe an endorsement. Those are all verticals based on the success of the song.”

SmartStudy reported $35 million in revenue in 2018, a 47 percent jump from the year before. It does not break out the performance of its individual properties, and the company declined to answer questions about the financial success of “Baby Shark.”

Complicating its strategy, SmartStudy does not have complete control over the exploitation of “Baby Shark.” In part that is because the market abhors a vacuum — especially if it involves cute animal T-shirts.

In Spartanburg, the majority of the assembled crowd — both kids and adults — arrived in some form of “Baby Shark”-related apparel. There were T-shirts in every variation of familial nomenclature (Nana Shark, Uncle Shark, Brother Shark), and enough girls clad in pink “Baby Shark” dresses to populate an Easter parade.

As the crowd began to settle in, Mr. Shaw, who began his career manning the merch table at Rolling Stones tours in the early 2000s, ran to meet Ms. Lee. “Have you ever seen so many counterfeit T-shirts in your life?” he asked. Ms. Lee winced.

SmartStudy may have simply waited too long to catch the viral demand. One mother, Caitlin Bowlin — whose daughter, Lorelai, was wearing a “Baby Shark” dress that Ms. Bowlin said she had ordered from China — said that when she went shopping for “Baby Shark” swag, there simply was not much of it to be found.

“When ‘Baby Shark’ came out, it was so hard to find things,” Ms. Bowlin said. “You go out to Walmart and find all the other major cartoon characters — ‘Paw Patrol,’ ‘Scooby-Doo’ — and they’re everywhere. But ‘Baby Shark,’ it’s so limited.”

Another question is who truly controls the intellectual property behind “Baby Shark.” SmartStudy owns its videos and recordings, and it has applied for trademarks on branded items ranging from clothes, toys and Christmas ornaments to fishing tackle. Yet the raw material behind the hit is most likely in the public domain — which has provided an opening for competitors to sell their own products. Companies with no SmartStudy affiliation have applied for trademarks for Baby Shark snack cakes, aquarium kits, mushrooms and coffee grounds.

A parent scanning Amazon might notice little difference between the books “Baby Shark and the Balloons,” “Bedtime for Baby Shark” and “I Love You, Baby Shark.” But the first is an officially sanctioned title from HarperCollins, while the second and third are from a rival publisher, Scholastic, that has no deal with SmartStudy. Scholastic said its five unlicensed titles have sold more than one million copies.

The source of this confusion is “Baby Shark’s” origins, in a modern version of oral folk tradition. Long before “Baby Shark” was a meme, it was a zipper song — a tune, like “Old MacDonald Had a Farm,” that allows verses and variations to be tacked on, one after another after another.

For decades, “Baby Shark” was a favorite at summer camps across the United States and Canada. As recalled by many camp professionals, the song usually began with its now-familiar family roll call but — in possible inspiration from the 1975 film “Jaws” — inevitably turned into a jokey horror show about a shark attack, as campers added stock or improvised lines about being torn limb from limb.

The song has had occasional brushes with fame — in 2008, a techno version became a viral hit in Europe — but nothing like the success that came after SmartStudy cut its version. The company has described its song as being based on a “traditional nursery rhyme.”

That description rankles Jonathan Wright, a children’s performer near Binghamton, N.Y., who goes by the stage name Johnny Only. According to Mr. Wright, he came across “Baby Shark” “about a dozen years ago” at the local Jewish Community Center. Finding the original too gruesome for the toddlers he usually sang for, Mr. Wright created his own G-rated version, editing out the blood and guts and giving the song a short, streamlined narrative that focused on the shark family. His homemade video, posted to YouTube in 2011, features a brisk pop melody and beat, with doo-doos sung like Beach Boys harmonies.

Then, about two years ago, Mr. Wright said in an interview, he was alerted to the Pinkfong version. He said he was stunned at how similar it sounded to his own. “I did feel a bit violated,” Mr. Wright said. “They didn’t even change the key. The rhythm is identical, and other elements were very similar, the way they brought in the harmonies and brought in the Daddy Shark voice.”

He sued SmartStudy in South Korea, arguing that while the roots of “Baby Shark” are public domain, he holds a copyright to a distinct derivative version, which was infringed by the Pinkfong track.

Jennifer Jenkins, a law professor at Duke who specializes in music copyright and the public domain, is skeptical that Mr. Wright has a case. The crux of his claim is that SmartStudy copied him in turning a gory and amorphous old singalong into a toddler-friendly pop song; the lyrics and melodies of Mr. Wright’s and SmartStudy’s songs are not identical. Under American law, Professor Jenkins said, the mere idea of making the adaptation is not copyrightable.

“He doesn’t own the idea of sanitizing something,” she said. “He owns the way that he sanitized it, and what he added to it, and Pinkfong did not copy any of that.”

Mr. Wright’s case has been slowly making its way through the South Korean courts. His lawyer, K.S. Chong, said they were considering bringing another suit in the United States.

Mr. Wright said that he wanted recognition for his work but now rarely performed his version of the song. The children in his audience, he said, “will now tell me that I’m doing it wrong.”

“And they’re toddlers,” he added. “They’ll say it loudly.”

The song has also begun to disappear from the repertoire of some camps, driven away by overexposure or distaste. “Camp songs are sacred and not to be sung mainstream, and that’s what makes them special,” said Alyson Bennett Gondek, the director of Camp Woodmont in Cloudland, Ga. “Therefore we don’t sing it anymore.”

After the concert ended in Spartanburg, stagehands set up a small backdrop on the stage for the V.I.P. offering: For $50 per person, ticket holders lined up for a quick smartphone snapshot with the costumed Baby Shark and Pinkfong characters. The line was 120 people deep, with some little ones struggling to stay awake as the clock neared 8 p.m.

Mr. Shaw and Mr. Linden readily acknowledge that there is no guarantee for the lasting appeal of “Baby Shark.” But they compare it to the risks they faced in the rock business: With nearly every tour (minus U2 or the Stones, maybe), they were always taking a chance on a new band, a new album, a new trend in pop culture.

Mr. Linden noted that after they had signed on with SmartStudy to produce “Baby Shark Live!,” they faced some incredulity in the business at the prospect of building an entire show around a single song, and one of such minimal content. Not anymore.

“We’ve had some friends who said, ‘You’re building a show based around a song?’” Mr. Linden said. “Then later they call back, interested in tickets.”

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Texas parole board recommends delaying Rodney Reed execution

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles recommended Friday that the state delay the execution of Rodney Reed, amid calls by supporters and celebrities to reexamine his conviction because of new evidence.

The board unanimously recommended a 120-day reprieve for Reed, who is set to receive a lethal injection on Wednesday for the 1996 killing of a 19-year-old woman.

Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, will decide whether to accept the board’s recommendation. The board has recommended commuting a death sentence only five times since 1982.

CELEBRITIES, ACTIVISTS URGE CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM AT ‘DAY OF EMPATHY’

Westlake Legal Group 72519967-AP19310611484130 Texas parole board recommends delaying Rodney Reed execution Louis Casiano fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox news fnc/us fnc c2fc440c-cbf7-5e73-b5ad-66ccb1ff6f98 article

In this Oct. 13, 2017, photo, death row inmate Rodney Reed waves to his family in the Bastrop County District Court in Bastrop, Texas. (Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP, File)

Abbott has halted one imminent execution, in 2018, in his four years in office.

Reed has received an outpouring of support from big names such as Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian and Oprah, and from lawmakers from both parties.

Reed, 51, has maintained his innocence in connection with the abduction, rape and strangulation of Stacy Stites. Her body was found in 1996 on the side of a road southeast of Austin.

Reed was arrested nearly a year later after his DNA surfaced in an unrelated sexual assault; he was sentenced to death in 1998.

His lawyers and supporters argue that new evidence points to Stites’ fiance, a former police officer named Jimmy Fennell, who was a suspect in the original investigation. Reed said Fennell, who is white, was angry she was having an affair with Reed, who is black.

Westlake Legal Group AP19317750849064 Texas parole board recommends delaying Rodney Reed execution Louis Casiano fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox news fnc/us fnc c2fc440c-cbf7-5e73-b5ad-66ccb1ff6f98 article

Protesters chant outside the Bastrop County courthouse this week. (Nick Wagner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

Prosecutors said Reed’s semen was found in Stites and that his claims of an affair were not proven at trial. They said Fennell was cleared as a suspect and that Reed had a history of sexual assaults.

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Fennell was paroled last year after serving prison time for sexual assault. Reed’s lawyers argue his conviction was based on false evidence, and they denied sexual assault allegations.

Reed has several appeals pending, including one to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Westlake Legal Group 72519967-AP19310611484130 Texas parole board recommends delaying Rodney Reed execution Louis Casiano fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox news fnc/us fnc c2fc440c-cbf7-5e73-b5ad-66ccb1ff6f98 article   Westlake Legal Group 72519967-AP19310611484130 Texas parole board recommends delaying Rodney Reed execution Louis Casiano fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox news fnc/us fnc c2fc440c-cbf7-5e73-b5ad-66ccb1ff6f98 article

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Marine deserter’s mother names him in fatal shooting

Westlake Legal Group 18021767_G Marine deserter’s mother names him in fatal shooting

A criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Roanoke, Virginia, on Wednesday shows Vanessa Hanson told a U.S. Marshal that she witnessed Michael Alexander Brown fatally shoot her boyfriend, Rodney Wilfred Brown, last Saturday at a home in Hardy.

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Kanye West plans amphitheater on his Wyoming ranch

Kanye West is aiming to build an amphitheater on his new ranch in Wyoming.

Officials in Wyoming have received a building permit application from the 42-year-old rapper.

West recently announced that he plans to move the headquarters of his shoe and clothing company, Adidas Yeezy, to Cody.

KANYE WEST’S SUNDAY SERVICE HAD ‘OVER 1,000’ COMMIT THEIR LIVES TO CHRIST: ‘NEW WAVE OF REVIVAL’

He also wants to build a 70,000-square-foot amphitheater on his 4,000-acre ranch, which reportedly cost the musician around $14 million.

Westlake Legal Group kanye-west-wyoming-1-jp-king-auction-co Kanye West plans amphitheater on his Wyoming ranch Jessica Napoli fox-news/person/kanye-west fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 890fcdc4-defb-500f-980b-b08964350b21

West owns half of Monster Lake Ranch’s acreage and leases the other half from the federal government.  ((J.P. King Auction Company))

The Cody Enterprise reports the Park County Planning and Zoning Commission plans to discuss the proposed “West Meditation Space Large Impact Structure” on Tuesday.

KANYE WEST’S ‘FOLLOW GOD’ MUSIC VIDEO FEATURES HIS FATHER ON HIS WYOMING RANCH

West has worked on or recorded his past three albums in Wyoming, including the recently released “Jesus Is King.”

The planning commission will recommend whether county commissioners should approve the project.

Westlake Legal Group kanye-west-wyoming-5-jp-king-auction-co Kanye West plans amphitheater on his Wyoming ranch Jessica Napoli fox-news/person/kanye-west fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 890fcdc4-defb-500f-980b-b08964350b21

The property was listed on the website of auction house J.P. King.  ((J.P. King Auction Company))

West’s wife, Kim Kardashian, said of life on the ranch: “We love Wyoming; it’s always been such an amazing place.

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“My husband did just buy a ranch there. His dream and his vision is to move there. I love L.A., so I envision summers; I envision some weekends. But yeah, we love it,” she told late-night host Jimmy Fallon.

Cody, a town with 10,000 people, was named for Wild West showman William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group kanyewest Kanye West plans amphitheater on his Wyoming ranch Jessica Napoli fox-news/person/kanye-west fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 890fcdc4-defb-500f-980b-b08964350b21   Westlake Legal Group kanyewest Kanye West plans amphitheater on his Wyoming ranch Jessica Napoli fox-news/person/kanye-west fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 890fcdc4-defb-500f-980b-b08964350b21

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Marine deserter’s mother names him in fatal shooting

Westlake Legal Group 18021767_G Marine deserter’s mother names him in fatal shooting

A criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Roanoke, Virginia, on Wednesday shows Vanessa Hanson told a U.S. Marshal that she witnessed Michael Alexander Brown fatally shoot her boyfriend, Rodney Wilfred Brown, last Saturday at a home in Hardy.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com