Entertainment briefs


Sinise named Rose Parade grand marshal

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Gary Sinise has been named grand marshal of the 2018 Rose Parade, which will feature the theme “Making a Difference.”

Tournament of Roses President Lance Tibbet announced the selection Monday. He cited Sinise’s many contributions to veterans’ causes.

Sinise will ride through Pasadena, California, in the 129th Rose Parade on New Year’s Day and participate in the celebration before at the 104th Rose Bowl game, which will be a college football playoff semifinal.

Among signature roles, Sinise played the double-amputee Vietnam veteran Lt. Dan Taylor in the 1994 film “Forrest Gump.”

In thanking the Tournament of Roses for the grand marshal honor he recalled the movie’s famous line, saying, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.”

Sinise’s support of veterans pre-dated “Forrest Gump,” but he embraced the character he portrayed by forming the Lt. Dan Band, which performs at benefits and USO shows.

In 2011, he established the Gary Sinise Foundation to provide a wide range of services to veterans, service members and first responders.

Sinise told the Pasadena gathering he feels blessed to use his career success “to make a difference in the lives of our veterans, our active-duty service members, our Gold Star families — way too many Gold Star families, way too many wounded from these wars.”

He added, “They continue to struggle. They continue to sacrifice for us. So if by shining a little spotlight on me on January 1st can shine a spotlight on them to help me make a difference in their lives, I am very, very grateful to do that.”

J-Lo and A-Rod discuss relationship

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jennifer Lopez says a fire alarm went off during her first date with Alex Rodriguez, literally.

Lopez says she met the former baseball star for a dinner at a Bel Air, California, hotel that was cut short when a fire alarm rang and the couple had to evacuate the building. The couple has discussed their relationship in an interview with Vanity Fair.

Rodriguez tells the magazine that he and Lopez are “very much twins” as Latinos from New York. For her part, Lopez says: “I understand him in a way that I don’t think anyone else could, and he understands me in a way that no one else could ever.”

The couple appears on the cover of the magazine’s December issue,

Casino renames Besh steakhouse

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The steakhouse at Harrah’s New Orleans Casino is now called BH Steak — instead of Besh Steak.

The change, reported by New Orleans media, comes a week after the casino broke ties with celebrity chef John Besh. The action followed an investigative story by NOLA.comThe Times-Picayune about allegations of sexual harassment involving the business.

The story outlined the claims of women who said they were victims of sexual harassment by male co-workers and bosses in the Besh Restaurant Group. Besh stepped down from his management role in the business after the story was published.

The name BH Steak honors William “Bill” Harrah, who founded the Harrah’s gambling empire in the 1930s.

NYC votes to repeal dancing ban

NEW YORK (AP) — Cut loose! New York City lawmakers voted Tuesday to legalize dancing in bars, repealing a 91-year-old law that banned boogieing at most city nightspots.

The anti-dancing law was first enacted in 1926 and prohibited dancing in bars and restaurants that don’t have a cabaret license.

Critics said the so-called cabaret law originated as a racist attempt to police Harlem’s 1920s jazz clubs and continued to be enforced unfairly.

“If you’re Latino, if you’re black, if you’re from the LGBTQ community, you all have been impacted by this law,” said City Councilman Rafael Espinal, a Brooklyn Democrat, who introduce the legislation to repeal the law. “It is time we right this historical wrong and remove New York’s inappropriate and arbitrarily enforced dancing licensing.”

After the Council’s 41-1 vote Tuesday to repeal the law, the measure will go to Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has said he supports it. The repeal will go into effect 30 days from when de Blasio signs it.

Gump impersonator jogs around Riverside

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — Halloween started early in one Southern California city, where a man dressed as Forrest Gump has been running around neighborhoods and stopping to take pictures with residents.

Video and a photo from police show the man sporting a mangy fake beard, red shorts and a red “Bubba Gump” hat during his jogs around the city of Riverside. It’s the same outfit worn by Tom Hanks in the 1994 Oscar-winning film “Forrest Gump.” Hanks’ character spends part of the movie running across the country.

The man identified himself to KABC-TV only as Forrest Gump. He added that “it doesn’t really matter” who he is. He says his runs are “just something that took off and made the community happy, made people smile.”

Netflix exploring ‘House of Cards’ spinoff

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Netflix is exploring a “House of Cards” spinoff as the show’s final season nears amid controversy surrounding star Kevin Spacey.

The streaming channel, which reportedly is weighing different concepts for the spinoff, said Monday that the upcoming sixth season will be the last for “House of Cards.”

The announcement of the Emmy-winning political satire’s end came amid fallout from Spacey’s alleged sexual advances toward a 14-year-old actor in the 1980s. But Netflix had already decided to end the show and was pursuing a spinoff.

Spacey has apologized for the incident which he said he doesn’t recall but would have stemmed from “drunken behavior.” He also spoke publicly for the first time about being gay.

The final “House of Cards” episodes are in production, with a release date yet to be announced.