Don't Miss Out

    Join the VIP Club

    When you're a VIP member you can enter secret contests, WIN back stage passes and one-of-a-kind experiences even get tickets to the best shows in town before anyone else.  What are you waiting for?  JOIN NOW!

    Entertainment News »

    JK Rowling marks 20 years since Harry Potter appeared

    Wizarding legend Harry Potter's tale has turned 20.

    Author J.K. Rowling's first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, was published in Britain on June 26, 1997.

    Since then, it has sold more than 450 million copies worldwide and has been translated into 79 languages. The books' magical world has inspired multiple films, spinoffs, memorabilia and amusement park attractions. The White Elephant Cafe, the Edinburgh spot where Rowling wrote the first book, has become an international tourist destination.

    "20 years ago today a world that I had lived in alone was suddenly open to others," Rowling tweeted. "It's been wonderful. Thank you."

    Rowling's publisher, Bloomsbury, will release four new editions of the book, one for each house at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry, in honor of the anniversary.

    Oprah picks debut novel 'Behold the Dreamers' for book club

    Imbolo Mbue, whose debut novel "Behold the Dreamers" is Oprah Winfrey's latest selection, owes her career in part to the talk-show host.

    "Years ago, I went to the library one day in Falls Church, Virginia, to borrow a book and saw a shelf that only had Oprah book club picks," Mbue, 36, told The Associated Press during a recent telephone interview. "And one of the books that caught my eye was Toni Morrison's 'Song of Solomon.' And after reading it, I was very much in awe of it (and) thought maybe I would try writing, too."

    Mbue's "Behold the Dreamers" was published in 2016 and won the PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction, an honor previously given to Philip Roth and Ann Patchett, among others. The book tells of an immigrant from Cameroon who becomes the chauffeur for a Lehman Brothers executive not long before the 2008 financial crisis. In Monday's announcement to The Associated Press, made jointly by Winfrey's OWN network and "O'' magazine, Winfrey said "Behold the Dreamers" was both topical and timeless.

    "It's about race and class, the economy, culture, immigration and the danger of the Us vs. Them mentality," she said in a video. "And underneath it all comes the heart and soul of family, love, the pursuit of happiness and what home really means."

    Winfrey has championed other debut works in recent years, including Ayana Mathis' "The Twelve Tribes of Hattie" and Cynthia Bond's "Ruby." She began her club in 1996 and has helped dozens of books become best-sellers. Last year, she provided a major boost to Colson Whitehead's "The Underground Railroad," which went on to receive the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize. Within hours of Monday's announcement, "Behold the Dreamers" had jumped from No. 2,493 to No. 6 on Amazon.com's best-seller list.

    Mbue's novel was partly based on personal experience. A native of Cameroon, Mbue is a New York City resident who lost her job working in a media marketing department after the crash and wondered how others managed, including the drivers she saw parked in front of the Time Warner Center in midtown Manhattan.

    Mbue has remained a fan of Winfrey's club, reading such selections as Barbara Kingsolver's "The Poisonwood Bible" and Jeffrey Eugenides' "Middlesex," while never imagining she would be invited to the inner circle. When Mbue was told this spring that she would be hearing from someone at "O'' magazine, she assumed they wanted her to review a book.

    "And then the phone rings and I hear, 'Hi, Imbolo, it's Oprah,' and she said my book was her next selection," Mbue recalled. "And I really lost it. I was screaming, 'Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god!'"

    Michelle Obama appeared at the BET Awards and Twitter can't handle it

    Former first lady Michelle Obama made a cameo appearance via video message at Sunday night’s BET Awards and Twitter is still overflowing with feelings.

    >> BET Awards 2017: Show photos

    “Barack and I are so sorry that we can’t be there tonight in person,” she said as Chance The Rapper was honored with the Humanitarian Award, recognizing his activism and philanthropic work in Chicago. “But please know we are there with you in spirit and we are so incredibly proud of you, Chance.

    >> BET Awards 2017: Red carpet arrivals

    “We have known Chance and his family since he was a wee little baby rapper. It has been a thrill watching him come into his own in so many ways,” she continued. “In addition to making some really amazing music Chance has been taking that big, bright spotlight that follows him around and he’s shining it on young people in our hometown of Chicago.”

    >> Read more trending news

    The video clip, which highlights Chance’s work with the young people of Chicago and concludes with Obama’s remarks, is online here.

    >> Watch the clip here

    Twitter users working to process their emotions turned to GIF therapy:

    “Time and again he has been standing up, speaking out and doing the work to get kids in our community the education they deserve,” the former first lady concluded. “With these passionate efforts, Chance is showing our young people that they matter, that they have something inside of them that is worthy of being expressed and that they have so much to contribute to their communities and to our country. Chance, you are an outstanding role model and an inspiration to all of us who care about our next generation. Because of you, countless young people will grow up believing in themselves, fulfilling their God-given potential and then reaching back and lifting up other people along the way.

    >> BET Awards 2017: Complete winners list

    “I can think of no greater legacy to leave. And I am thrilled to celebrate you here tonight and honored to call you my friend.”

    Viral News

    Therapy dogs comfort grieving families at funeral homes

    There’s Kermit in Texas, Lulu in New York and Dempsey in Ohio

    They are therapy dogs who comfort grieving families at funeral homes across the country. 

    Increasingly, funeral home directors are adding comfort animals as a service to help friends and relatives deal with the loss of a loved one.

    >> Read more trending news

    “The families love it,” Jessica Koth, spokeswoman for the National Funeral Directors Association, told “Today.” “An animal changes the mood of the room.”

    While the group does not track the number of therapy animals, Koth said it is on the rise. 

    In addition to their duties at funeral homes, some of the dogs also visit hospitals, nursing homes and libraries, where they are part of programs in which people read to to children.

    There’s Charlie the labradoodle in Minnesota, Gracie in Missouri and Judd in Indiana

    Tim Hoff, director of Hoff Funeral Homes in Minnesota, got the idea to get a therapy dog after attending a convention for funeral service professionals, according to the Winona Daily News. The Hoff family got Charlie from a breeder who specializes in therapy and service animals. 

    “He’s just a lover,” Ashley Czaplewski, funeral director and Charlie’s handler, told the Daily News. “He seems to know exactly who needs his attention, and he sits right at their feet. It’s like he can see who’s struggling the most, even if we can’t.”

    Before the dogs can start comforting the grieving, they undergo training, testing and certification to ensure they can handle the work. 

    Judd spent a year in obedience classes and training before he was certified a grief therapy dog. 

    “Judd displays that loving, gentle nature: ‘Everything is good. Just focus on me and I’m going to make it OK,’” Shari Wallace, his handler at Armes-Hunt Funeral Home, told “Today.” “He’s like a sponge: He absorbs your stress and your fear and your anger. People could be crying or hanging their head, but when he approaches, he becomes a distraction from their emotions.”

    Woman's photo of son's hospital bill goes viral

    A New Jersey mother wants parents and other Americans to know the cost of health care in the country. 

    >> Read more trending news

    In a now-viral tweet, Alison Chandra posted a photo of her son's latest hospital bill. Chandra’s son, Ethan, was born with heterotaxy syndrome, a rare genetic disorder in which organs form on the wrong side of the body, CNN reported. 

    "Ethan was born with nine congenital heart defects and he has two left lungs. Five or so spleens of dubious function. His liver and his gallbladder are down the middle of his body along with his heart, and then his stomach is on the right instead of the left side," Chandra told CNN.

    On Friday, Chandra tweeted a hospital bill for services received from Boston’s Children’s Hospital earlier this year.

    "It seems fitting that, with the #TrumpCare debate raging, I got this bill in the mail today from Ethan's most recent open heart surgery," she wrote. “Without insurance we would owe $231,115 for 10 hours in the OR, 1 week in the CICU and 1 week on the cardiac floor.”

    Chandra’s tweet has been liked more than 80,000 times and retweeted more than 53,000 times.

    "That is why I like to tell our story. Maybe you hadn't thought of this side before. You don't picture a 3-year-old with all these fees,” she said. 

    Chandra, who said she didn’t follow politics until November, said she was “shocked at how loudly each side yells about their specific talking points.”

    “It paints these issues as black and white when they are anything but that,” she told CNN. “My fear is that this bill comes into play and suddenly essential health benefits are no longer covered, like hospitalization, prescription medications. (Ethan) will rely on prescription medications for the rest of his life. He is functionally asplenic and will need to take prophylactic antibiotics the rest of his life to prevent and protect against sepsis, a huge risk of death for our kids in the heterotaxy community.

    “As a mother with a kid who has disorder you feel alone ... We just want him to be a kid.”

    Read more at CNN.

    Events