Entertainment Briefs

Weeks after school shooting, band performs at Carnegie Hall

NEW YORK (AP) — Three weeks after a gunman killed 17 people at their high school, students from Parkland, Florida, have followed through with a long-planned Carnegie Hall performance. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Wind Symphony played at the renowned New York performance venue Tuesday during a concert featuring high school bands. The concert was scheduled before the Feb. 14 massacre. Among those killed was freshman Alex Schachter, who played in the marching band that includes the wind symphony and other groups. The 65-player wind ensemble decided to go ahead with the Carnegie Hall show. It became an uplifting plan in the depths of tragedy. Members say they appreciated spending some time immersed in music. Tuba player Luis Gomez told WCBS-TV that “music is a coping mechanism” for him and probably others.

Author of Nixon biography wins $50,000 history book prize

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City historical society has named the biographer of former President Richard Nixon as the winner of its annual book prize. The book, titled "Richard Nixon: The Life," drew headlines after author John Farrell discovered notes confirming that Nixon attempted to meddle with former President Lyndon B. Johnson's Vietnam peace talks in southeast Asia during the runup to the 1968 presidential election. The New York Times reports the New-York Historical Society's Barbara and David Zalaznick Book Prize carries a $50,000 cash award alongside the unofficial title of "American historian laureate." Farrell said in a statement that journalists and scholars have been called on to defend the study of history, and that he is proud to receive the honor. The prize will be officially awarded on April 13.

Promoter of Fyre Festival pleads guilty to fraud

NEW YORK (AP) — The promoter of the failed Fyre Festival in the Bahamas has pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges. Billy McFarland entered the plea Tuesday in Manhattan federal court, agreeing not to appeal any sentence between 8 to 10 years. The 26-year-old McFarland admitted using fake documents to trick investors in the festival. The festival was promoted as an ultra-luxurious event on the Bahamian island of Exuma over two weekends last April and May. Customers hoping to see Blink-182 and the hip hop act Migos arrived to learn music acts were canceled. Their upscale accommodations and gourmet food consisted of white tents and cheese sandwiches. McFarland declined comment outside court. McFarland has been free on $300,000 bail since his June arrest. Sentencing was set for June 21 before Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald.

Trump reopens a seemingly settled video-game debate

NEW YORK (AP) — In the wake of the Florida school shooting, President Donald Trump is reviving an old debate over whether violent video games can trigger violent behavior. There’s just one problem: Roughly two decades of research has repeatedly failed to uncover any such link. Trump plans to meet Thursday with representatives from the video game industry. His recent public comments referencing the “vicious” level of video game and movie violence in the context of school safety appears to show that he is eager to explore the issue. The Entertainment Software Association, the biggest video game trade group, said Monday that it will attend the meeting at the White House. A full list of attendees hasn’t been released by the White House.