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BTS holds world’s largest paid virtual concert

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SEOUL, June 15 (UPI) — A concert streamed online Sunday by K-pop megastars BTS drew the largest paid audience ever for a virtual musical event, the band’s management company said on Monday.

The 100-minute event, “Bang Bang Con: The Live,” was viewed by 756,000 fans from 107 countries, Big Hit Entertainment announced in a statement.

“Marking the biggest audience for a paid virtual concert, BTS is regarded to have shown new possibilities of virtual concerts in the age of COVID-19,” the management company said.

Fans were able to choose from among six different camera angles throughout the live stream, ranging from close-ups to full-screen shots, as the septet chatted and performed their hits across five different rooms and two stages in a Seoul studio.

The concert marked the first collaborative project between Big Hit and U.S.-based live streaming solutions firm Kiswe after the two companies signed a partnership agreement last week.

The boy band performed a 12-track set that included “DOPE,” “Boyz with Fun,” “Like,” “Just One Day,” “Jamais Vu,” “Respect,” “Friends,” “Black Swan,” “Boy With Luv (Feat. Halsey),” “Go Go,” “Anpanman” and “Spring Day.”

“We have prepared a short preview of our tour,” the band announced as they performed “Black Swan” and a revamped stage version of “Boy With Luv.”

BTS released its most recent album, Map of the Soul: 7, in February. A tour, which was scheduled to kick off in Seoul in April before continuing to North America, Europe and Asia, was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Though we may not be able to see each other at this time, we’ve been constantly striving to grow as a group,” band member Jimin told fans at the virtual concert Sunday. “We are coping up with it pretty well so hope that you too can overcome this time by finding the small joy within. Hope we can meet each other again with smiles on our faces.”

The band is slated to release a Japanese album, its first in two years, on July 15. The new album, called Map Of The Soul: 7 – The Journey, will feature new Japanese songs as well as Japanese versions of hits including “Boy with Luv,” “Fake Love” and “On.”

BTS and its fan base, known as ARMY, made headlines recently by raising funds to support the Black Lives Matter movement. After the band and management company Big Hit announced a $1 million donation to the movement, fans started a social media hashtag campaign, named #MatchAMillion, and raised over $1 million for Black Lives Matter as well.



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Reality TV stars Christina and Ant Anstead split up

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Sept. 19 (UPI) — Reality TV stars Christina and Ant Anstead have split up after nearly two years of marriage.

“Ant and I have made the difficult decision to separate. We are grateful for each other and as always, our children will remain our priority. We appreciate your support and ask for privacy for us and our family as we navigate the future,” the Christina on the Coast star wrote in an Instagram post Friday.

The message included a photo of the former couple walking along a beach at sunset.

They began dating in October 2017, married in December 2018 and welcomed their son Hudson in September 2019.

Christina also has a 5-year-old son named Brayden James and 9-year-old daughter, Taylor Reese, with her ex-husband and Flip or Flop co-star, Tarek El Moussa.

El Moussa has been engaged to reality television personality, Heather Rae Young, since July.

Ant Anstead is the host of Wheeler Dealers.

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Dwayne Johnson tears down faulty security gate to get to work

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Sept. 19 (UPI) — Film star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson tore down the security gate at his home when it malfunctioned and prevented him from getting to work.

“Not my finest hour, but a man’s gotta go to work,” the Moana and Jungle Cruise star captioned Friday’s Instagram photo of the damaged gate he tossed on the lawn.

“We experienced a power outage due to severe storms, causing my front gate not to open,” he explained. “I tried to override the hydraulic system to open the gates, which usually works when power goes out — but this time it wouldn’t. Made some calls to see how fast I can get the gate tech on site, but I didn’t have 45 min to wait. By this time, I know I have hundreds of production crew members waiting for me to come to work so we can start our day. So I did what I had to do. I pushed, pulled and ripped the gate completely off myself. Tore it out of the brick wall, severed the steel hydraulics and threw it on the grass. My security team was able to meet the gate technician and welders about an hour later — and they were apparently, ‘in disbelief and equally scared;’ Not my finest hour, but I had to go to work. And I think I’m 100 [percent] ready to be #blackadam #ripgates.”

Deadpool actor Ryan Reynolds was quick to comment on the post.

“The gate opened the OTHER way,” Reynolds quipped.

Johnson’s Jumanji co-star Karen Gillan responded with a string of faces with tears of joy emojis and remarked, “This is brilliant.”

Comedian Tony Baker joked, “The gate’s final words were ‘not like this…..’ beeeeeeeeeeeeep flatline.”

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Famous birthdays for Sept. 20: Phillip Phillips, Sophia Loren

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Sept. 20 (UPI) — Those born on this date are under the sign of Virgo.

They include:

— Novelist Upton Sinclair in 1878

— Sister Elizabeth Kenny, Australian nurse who pioneered the care of polio victims, in 1880

— NASA mathematician Dorothy Vaughan in 1910

— Basketball Hall of Fame Coach Arnold Jacob “Red” Auerbach in 1917

— Actor Sophia Loren in 1934 (age 86)

File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI

— Artist Dale Chihuly in 1941 (age 79)

— Writer George R.R. Martin in 1948 (age 72)

— Hockey Hall of Fame member Guy Lafleur in 1951 (age 69)

— Actor Gary Cole in 1956 (age 64)

— Actor Kristen Johnston in 1967 (age 53)

— Musician Gunnar Nelson in 1967 (age 53)

— Musician Matthew Nelson in 1967 (age 53)

— Actor Asia Argento in 1975 (age 45)

— Actor Jon Bernthal in 1976 (age 44)

— Musician Phillip Phillips in 1990 (age 30)

— Actor Jason Drucker in 2005 (age 15)

File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI

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