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Anastasia Tsioulcas

Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter on NPR's Arts desk. She is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics and identity, and primarily reports on music. Recently, she has extensively covered gender issues and #MeToo in the music industry, including backstage tumult and alleged secret deals in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against megastar singer Plácido Domingo; gender inequity issues at the Grammy Awards and the myriad accusations of sexual misconduct against singer R. Kelly.

On happier days, Tsioulcas has celebrated the life of the late Aretha Franklin, traveled to Havana to profile musicians and dancers, revealed the hidden artistry of an Indian virtuoso who spent 60 years in her apartment and brought listeners into the creative process of composers Steve Reich and Terry Riley.

Tsioulcas was formerly a reporter and producer for NPR Music, where she covered breaking news in the music industry as well as a wide range of musical genres and artists. She has also produced episodes for NPR Music's much-lauded Tiny Desk concert series, and has hosted live concerts from venues like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and New York's (Le) Poisson Rouge. She also commissioned and produced several world premieres on behalf of NPR Music, including a live event that brought together 350 musicians to debut a new work together. As a video producer, she created high-profile video shorts for NPR Music, including performances by cellist Yo-Yo Ma in a Brooklyn theatrical props warehouse and pianist Yuja Wang in an icy-cold Steinway & Sons piano factory.

Tsioulcas has also reported from north and west Africa, south Asia, and across Europe for NPR and other outlets. Prior to joining NPR in 2011, she was widely published as a writer and critic on both classical and world music, and was the North America editor for Gramophone Magazine and the classical music columnist for Billboard.

Born in Boston and based in New York, Tsioulcas is a lapsed classical violinist and violist (shoutout to all the overlooked violists!). She graduated from Barnard College, Columbia University with a B.A. in comparative religion.

Dusty Hill, bassist for the enduring Texas blues rock band ZZ Top for over half a century, has died at age 72. The trio's other members, Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard, announced Hill's death in a Facebook post. Gibbons and Beard said that Hill had died in his sleep at his home, but did not provide a date.

Britney Spears' recently installed lawyer, Mathew Rosengart, submitted a blistering 120-page petition to Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday, arguing that the singer's father, Jamie Spears, needs to be removed from overseeing her financial affairs immediately.

Britney Spears' recently named lawyer, Mathew Rosengart, promised when he came aboard on July 14 that he would act speedily towards setting a new course for the pop icon and her conservatorship. On Monday, he filed a petition on Spears' behalf with Los Angeles Superior Court asking for Jason Rubin to be named as the new conservator of her estate. If approved, Rubin would replace Spears' father, Jamie Spears, who has controlled her money and financial decisions since 2008. Rosengart has also filed a petition asking for Jamie Spears to be removed from his position.

Editor's note: This report includes allegations of sexual assault and physical abuse.

Federal prosecutors are seeking to have evidence of what they say are more alleged, but uncharged, crimes committed by R&B singer R. Kelly admitted at his upcoming trial in New York. The allegations include the abuse of teenage girls and women dating as far back as 1991, the sexual abuse of a 17-year-old boy, physical abuse, hush payments and bribery.

Famed musician Eric Clapton said on Wednesday that he will not perform in any venue that requires audience members to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

"Following the PM's announcement on Monday the 19th of July 2021, I feel honor bound to make an announcement of my own: I wish to say that I will not perform on any stage where there is a discriminated audience present," Clapton wrote.

Editor's note: This report discusses charges of sexual assault.

Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein pleaded not guilty to charges of rape and sexual assault in a Los Angeles County courtroom Wednesday. He is accused of sexually assaulting five women in separate incidents that span nearly a decade.

Officially, the Olympic Games begin on Friday, Jul. 23 and run through Sunday, Aug. 8 — and for all the armchair athletes out there, the biggest thrill is tuning in to watch the excitement.

For an American audience, NBC continues to have a lock on all things Olympic. Events will air across many NBC properties, including NBC, USA, CNBC and Golf Channel, as well as on Peacock (NBC's streaming platform), the NBC Sports app and on NBCOlympics.com.

A ride at Disneyland that used to feature racist, colonialist depictions of Africans now emphasizes slapstick monkeys and chimpanzees besting clueless tourists instead.

Japanese musician Keigo Oyamada, who performs under the name Cornelius, has resigned from the Tokyo Olympics after being criticized on social media for having bullied children with disabilities while he was himself a student.

In court Wednesday, Britney Spears was represented for the first time in her 13-year conservatorship by a lawyer she herself had chosen: Mathew Rosengart.

On Wednesday afternoon, Britney Spears' conservatorship case will be back in front of a judge at Los Angeles Superior Court. This is the first return to court after Spears herself spoke to the judge last month, pleading for her 13-year conservatorship to end.

You might not know the late Armenian musician and composer Jivan Gasparyan by name, or even by the name of his instrument. But you've almost certainly heard his duduk, shifting between keening wails and exuberant shouts, in movie soundtracks and scores ranging from The Last Temptation of Christ to Gladiator.

Updated July 2, 2021 at 6:49 PM ET

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge confirmed Friday that she will soon hear a petition filed by Bessemer Trust, a wealth management firm, to remove itself as a planned co-conservator of pop icon Britney Spears' financial dealings.

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge signed an order Wednesday denying Britney Spears' request to have her father, Jamie Spears, removed from the financial aspects of her conservatorship.

Actor James Franco and two other men have agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit led by Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, former students of an acting school owned by Franco and one of the other men. Tither-Kaplan and Gaal, who filed their suit in Oct. 2020, claimed that they were sexually exploited and victims of fraud at the now-closed school, which was called Studio 4.

During a hearing on Wednesday at Los Angeles Superior Court, Britney Spears asked the judge to be released from the literal control of her father, through a conservatorship that has dictated her life for the past 13 years.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Pop star Britney Spears hasn't been in charge of her personal life or her finances for 13 years — that's how long she has been in a court-dictated legal arrangement called a conservatorship.

But on Wednesday, the artist will be speaking directly, albeit from a remote location, to a Los Angeles Superior Court judge about her situation. What exactly she intends to say in her appearance and what her goals might be are anyone's guess.

Two literary stars from Nigeria are having a very public feud right now, and their personal beefs are heavily overlaid with big questions about feminism, gender identity, cancel culture, social media and anti-LGBTQ violence.

On Tuesday, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced its newest class of National Heritage fellows: 9 individuals and groups who represent the richness and breadth of America's folk and traditional arts.

This year's class of fellows includes artists and creators from African-American, Mexican-American, Native, Filipino, Irish-American and Puerto Rican backgrounds, whose array of mediums span many kinds of music, ribbon and lace work, tap dance and filmmaking.

In a Twitter post, In The Heights co-creator Lin-Manuel Miranda publicly addressed criticisms of the film's casting that noted only light-skinned actors had roles as the musical's main Latinx characters.

Miranda apologized, writing Monday evening: "I hear that, without sufficient dark-skinned Afro-Latino representation, the world feels extractive of the community we wanted so much to represent with pride and joy. In trying to paint a mosaic of this community, we fell short. I'm truly sorry."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

This year's Pulitzer Prizes for arts and letters were announced today and went to a diverse group of voices. NPR's Anastasia Tsioulcas gives us a rundown.

Rahele Megosha, a high school senior from South Dakota, has been named the 2021 Poetry Out Loud national champion. The competition invites high school students to memorize and recite great poetry, both classic and modern.

One of the real vocalists behind the fake pop act Milli Vanilli has died. South Carolina-born singer John Davis was 66 years old and died Monday of COVID-19. His death was announced on Facebook by his daughter, Jasmin Davis.

Updated May 26, 2021 at 1:04 PM ET

On Wednesday, Howard University announced that it has named its newly reestablished College of Fine Arts after one of its most famous alumni: the late actor Chadwick Boseman. News of the school's naming broke in The Washington Post.

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