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Music Review: John Prine performs covers on duets album

Listening to one of this era's greatest songwriters perform material written by others is like watching Peyton Manning in a TV commercial. It's not what he does best, but it's still entertaining.

"For Better, or Worse" pairs John Prine with well-chosen covers and female singing partners as a sequel to his 1999 duets album, "In Spite of Ourselves." The best news is that Prine is in fine form despite his battle with throat cancer, and the familiar twinkle in his voice lends charm to every tune.

The set starts strong with Prine and Iris DeMent savoring the wit of "Who's Gonna Take the Garbage Out," a Loretta Lynn-Ernest Tubbs chestnut. Prine and his wife, Fiona, sound sweet together on the Elvis Presley tune "My Happiness," and Alison Krauss comes off like an angel while meshing surprisingly well with her gravelly partner on "Falling in Love Again." Best is the finale, "Just Waitin,'" an obscure Hank Williams gem that Prine performs solo with a masterful delivery. The lyrics will resonate with every impatient husband, which is to say every husband.

Other tunes are less successful. With Kathy Mattea on "Remember Me," Prine shows he should not sing harmony, and Miranda Lambert's unusual harmony on "Cold, Cold Heart" doesn't quite work.

The liner notes include a charming message from Prine but lack details about the songs that are worth a mention. "Falling in Love Again," for example, was written in German in 1930 and performed by the Beatles in their club days in Hamburg. Even the most precocious songwriter finds a good cover tough to resist.

NYC children's museum features election-themed documents

The Children's Museum of Manhattan is teaching kids with hands-on political history.

Its new exhibition features documents with authentic autographs from U.S. presidents. They're covered in plastic glass, and some are hung low enough for children to touch.

Highlights include two original pages of Abraham Lincoln's handwriting covering a legal settlement. The exhibit also has one of Richard Nixon's resignation letters and personal checks signed by Harry Truman, Calvin Coolidge and Theodore Roosevelt.

Young museum-goers can sit at a child-sized Oval Office desk, use a pretend voting booth and participate in mock elections.

Organizers say the exhibit's contemporary presidential portraits feature "a splash of color and whimsy."

The documents are from the private collection of the late Fred B. Tarter.

Music Review: Winslow-King appreciates charms of the blues

Luke Winslow-King's electric guitar cries on the song "No More Crying Today," and that contradiction sums up the blues.

Winslow-King has a firm grasp on the charms of the simple but complex genre, and explores them in an impressive variety of styles on "I'm Glad Trouble Don't Last Always."

The gospel opener "On My Way" comes from church, "Louisiana Blues" comes from the swamp, "Heartsick Blues" comes from the hills and "Act Like You Love Me" comes from "Animal House." There's harp, fiddle and organ to complement Winslow-King's fine guitar work, but nothing's overcooked. On "Louisiana Blues," a single cymbal tap stands out.

The New Orleans-based Winslow-King isn't a blues shouter. He delivers his nine original tunes in an easy tenor that turns crooner at times, and laughs at the end of one cut. But the material has plenty of bite and is good for late-night listening in solitude.

Winslow-King quotes Hank Williams, Ray Price and the Beatles as he sings about the breaking up and making up, troubles and sunny days — in other words, the cycle of life. That, too, is the blues.

Police called as larger-than-life Hitler appears in Berlin

A huge moving image of a laughing Adolf Hitler has prompted a shocked Berlin driver to call police.

Police say they received a call Monday about the apparition, which turned out to be part of an art installation.

The incident was a test for a video light show in which the faces of more than a dozen famous people tied to Berlin's history are projected onto buildings in the center of the German capital. Only Hitler is silent.

Displays of Nazi imagery that glorify the Third Reich are forbidden in Germany, but police spokeswoman Valeska Jakubowski said Thursday the Hitler apparition was covered by exceptions granted for artistic works.

The installation is part of a month-long light show that starts Friday and runs through Oct. 23.

Police called as larger-than-life Hitler appears in Berlin

A huge moving image of a laughing Adolf Hitler has prompted a shocked Berlin driver to call police.

Police say they received a call Monday about the apparition, which turned out to be part of an art installation.

The incident was a test for a video light show in which the faces of more than a dozen famous people tied to Berlin's history are projected onto buildings in the center of the German capital. Only Hitler is silent.

Displays of Nazi imagery that glorify the Third Reich are forbidden in Germany, but police spokeswoman Valeska Jakubowski said Thursday the Hitler apparition was covered by exceptions granted for artistic works.

The installation is part of a month-long light show that starts Friday and runs through Oct. 23.

'All My Children' creator Agnes Nixon dies at 93

Agnes Nixon, the creative force behind the edgy and enduring TV soap operas "One Life to Live" and "All My Children," has died. She was 93.

Nixon died Wednesday at a Haverford, Pennsylvania, physical rehabilitation facility close to her Rosemont home, said her son, Bob Nixon. She had checked in to gain strength for a planned book tour, he said.

She had just completed her memoir, "My Life to Live," on Sunday, a week before it was due to publisher Penguin Random House for publication in early 2017, her son said.

"She was really a great wife, mother and human being — but above all, a writer. She was writing up until last night," he said, and had called him with a few changes for the book.

The cause of death was not immediately known, he said.

Nixon suffered a stroke four years ago with serious complications, her son said, but she fought to regain her health. He confirmed her birthdate as December 1922, despite media reports that she was 88.

"I am devastated to learn that we have lost Agnes. I adored her and admired her and I am forever grateful to her!" Susan Lucci, who starred as Erica Kane on "All My Children," said in a statement.

Nixon created, wrote and produced the long-running ABC daytime serials, which were canceled in 2011 as the network bowed to the reality that soaps had faded as a daytime TV force. (Both subsequently had short-lived online runs.)

"All My Children" aired for nearly 41 years, while "One Life to Live" made it to 44 years. They were set in the fictional Philadelphia-area towns of Pine Valley and Llanview.

Social issues including child abuse, AIDS, alcoholism and gay rights made their way into the series' story lines. Erica Kane was the first regularly appearing TV character to undergo a legal abortion, in 1973.

In a 2003 episode of "All My Children," Bianca, who was Erica's daughter, and the character Lena shared what was billed as daytime TV's first same-sex kiss.

"The theme of 'All My Children' from the beginning is the belief that, as God's children, we are all bound to each other by our common humanity, despite our many personal differences," Nixon told The Associated Press at the time. "The Bianca story is our latest effort to dramatize that belief."

"Agnes' impact on daytime television and pop culture is undeniable," said Robert Iger, chairman and CEO of ABC parent The Walt Disney Co., in a statement. "She was the first to champion socially relevant topics, and the towns and characters Agnes brought to life leave an indelible imprint on television that will be remembered forever."

Nixon, a native of Chicago, was mentored by the grande dame of the soap opera genre, Irna Phillips, back in the radio age.

She was writing for a TV soap, "Search for Tomorrow," as early as 1951. In the late 1960s, while raising a family and serving as head writer for "The Guiding Light," Nixon created a "bible" detailing "All My Children."

The show was rejected by CBS, but after Nixon breathed new life into NBC's flagging "Another World," she was approached by ABC to create a new serial. That was the start of "One Life to Live," which earned such solid ratings in its first year that ABC asked for another.

"I said to my husband, 'I can't think of another one,'" Nixon told the AP in 2013. "He said, 'How about "All My Children"?' So I opened the desk drawer and took out the 'bible' and sent it to ABC. They said, 'Boy, that was fast work!'"

The stories and characters of Nixon's fictional worlds never ended for her, Bob Nixon said: "It might not have been on the air but it was in her head."

Agnes Nixon was married to the late Robert Nixon, and the couple's four children are among her survivors. Services were planned for Saturday in Rosemont, with a private burial to follow.

'All My Children' creator Agnes Nixon dies at 93

Agnes Nixon, the creative force behind the edgy and enduring TV soap operas "One Life to Live" and "All My Children," has died. She was 93.

Nixon died Wednesday at a Haverford, Pennsylvania, physical rehabilitation facility close to her Rosemont home, said her son, Bob Nixon. She had checked in to gain strength for a planned book tour, he said.

She had just completed her memoir, "My Life to Live," on Sunday, a week before it was due to publisher Penguin Random House for publication in early 2017, her son said.

"She was really a great wife, mother and human being — but above all, a writer. She was writing up until last night," he said, and had called him with a few changes for the book.

The cause of death was not immediately known, he said.

Nixon suffered a stroke four years ago with serious complications, her son said, but she fought to regain her health. He confirmed her birthdate as December 1922, despite media reports that she was 88.

"I am devastated to learn that we have lost Agnes. I adored her and admired her and I am forever grateful to her!" Susan Lucci, who starred as Erica Kane on "All My Children," said in a statement.

Nixon created, wrote and produced the long-running ABC daytime serials, which were canceled in 2011 as the network bowed to the reality that soaps had faded as a daytime TV force. (Both subsequently had short-lived online runs.)

"All My Children" aired for nearly 41 years, while "One Life to Live" made it to 44 years. They were set in the fictional Philadelphia-area towns of Pine Valley and Llanview.

Social issues including child abuse, AIDS, alcoholism and gay rights made their way into the series' story lines. Erica Kane was the first regularly appearing TV character to undergo a legal abortion, in 1973.

In a 2003 episode of "All My Children," Bianca, who was Erica's daughter, and the character Lena shared what was billed as daytime TV's first same-sex kiss.

"The theme of 'All My Children' from the beginning is the belief that, as God's children, we are all bound to each other by our common humanity, despite our many personal differences," Nixon told The Associated Press at the time. "The Bianca story is our latest effort to dramatize that belief."

"Agnes' impact on daytime television and pop culture is undeniable," said Robert Iger, chairman and CEO of ABC parent The Walt Disney Co., in a statement. "She was the first to champion socially relevant topics, and the towns and characters Agnes brought to life leave an indelible imprint on television that will be remembered forever."

Nixon, a native of Chicago, was mentored by the grande dame of the soap opera genre, Irna Phillips, back in the radio age.

She was writing for a TV soap, "Search for Tomorrow," as early as 1951. In the late 1960s, while raising a family and serving as head writer for "The Guiding Light," Nixon created a "bible" detailing "All My Children."

The show was rejected by CBS, but after Nixon breathed new life into NBC's flagging "Another World," she was approached by ABC to create a new serial. That was the start of "One Life to Live," which earned such solid ratings in its first year that ABC asked for another.

"I said to my husband, 'I can't think of another one,'" Nixon told the AP in 2013. "He said, 'How about "All My Children"?' So I opened the desk drawer and took out the 'bible' and sent it to ABC. They said, 'Boy, that was fast work!'"

The stories and characters of Nixon's fictional worlds never ended for her, Bob Nixon said: "It might not have been on the air but it was in her head."

Agnes Nixon was married to the late Robert Nixon, and the couple's four children are among her survivors. Services were planned for Saturday in Rosemont, with a private burial to follow.

'Game of Thrones' books getting a digital enhancement

The books that gave us "Game of Thrones" are getting an enhancement for the digital age.

Random House says special editions of the five novels George R.R. Martin has completed for the "Song of Ice and Fire" fantasy epic will be released over the next few months.

The enhanced edition of Book One, "A Game of Thrones," comes out Thursday exclusively through Apple's iBooks. It was first published 20 years ago.

All volumes made in collaboration with Apple will include interactive character maps, glossaries, annotations and other features. Martin says readers will have "rich secondary material" not possible on paper.

Each book also will include an excerpt from Martin's ever-awaited Book Six, "The Winds of Winter," for which a release date is not set.

New satellite channel to be talk radio for music fans

It seems like a contradiction in terms, but the SiriusXM satellite radio network is launching a talk channel devoted to music.

Volume, a mix of talk shows, interviews and even a quiz show, will debut Oct. 17. Lady Gaga, Robert Plant, David Crosby and T.I. will be among the musician guests during the channel's first week on the air.

It's believed to be the first such channel of its kind, a chance for music fans to share their passion. One weekday afternoon show, "Debateable," will feature hosts Mark Goodman and author Alan Light talking about issues that music fans argue about.

"Volume is sports radio for music fans," said Roger Coletti, the channel's executive producer.

Singer Melissa Etheridge will have her own show, "Melissa's Basement," swapping stories and songs with other singer-songwriters at her Los Angeles-area home.

Television producer Bill Flanagan, who collected some of his best interviews for the defunct Musician magazine in the book "Written in My Soul," will host an interview program. Plant is his first guest.

Gaga will appear on the debut of Volume's morning show, "Feedback," which will be hosted by former VH1 personality Nik Carter and journalist Lori Majewski. DJ Eddie Trunk, Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian and former MTV star Kurt Loder will have their own programs, and there will be shows devoted to rap and music technology. The Rolling Stone Music Now podcast will also air on Volume.

SiriusXM has more than 30 million subscribers.

New satellite channel to be talk radio for music fans

It seems like a contradiction in terms, but the SiriusXM satellite radio network is launching a talk channel devoted to music.

Volume, a mix of talk shows, interviews and even a quiz show, will debut Oct. 17. Lady Gaga, Robert Plant, David Crosby and T.I. will be among the musician guests during the channel's first week on the air.

It's believed to be the first such channel of its kind, a chance for music fans to share their passion. One weekday afternoon show, "Debateable," will feature hosts Mark Goodman and author Alan Light talking about issues that music fans argue about.

"Volume is sports radio for music fans," said Roger Coletti, the channel's executive producer.

Singer Melissa Etheridge will have her own show, "Melissa's Basement," swapping stories and songs with other singer-songwriters at her Los Angeles-area home.

Television producer Bill Flanagan, who collected some of his best interviews for the defunct Musician magazine in the book "Written in My Soul," will host an interview program. Plant is his first guest.

Gaga will appear on the debut of Volume's morning show, "Feedback," which will be hosted by former VH1 personality Nik Carter and journalist Lori Majewski. DJ Eddie Trunk, Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian and former MTV star Kurt Loder will have their own programs, and there will be shows devoted to rap and music technology. The Rolling Stone Music Now podcast will also air on Volume.

SiriusXM has more than 30 million subscribers.

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