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New Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker TV spot teases what fans have dubbed the "Sith Dagger" – GamesRadar+

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is fast approaching, and the sheer number of TV spots being released by Disney and LucasFilm is becoming slightly overwhelming. While we still have little idea of what's going to actually happen in Episode 9 the final instalment in the Skywalker saga there are numerous clues that fans have picked up on. One of them concerns a certain dagger.

At around the 13-second point in the above footage, Rey can be spotted holding up a blade, affectionately known as the "Sith Dagger" by fans. We've actually seen this before in a Rise of Skywalker trailer, though only those who analysed every frame would have actually picked up on the weapon being present. In the final trailer, when Rey and Kylo smash a statue of a Darth Vader-looking person, the dagger can be seen in Rey's left hand.

So, why all the fuss about a dagger? Well, turns out Star Wars fans may have seen the weapon before. In the Clone Wars animated series, the Dagger of Mortis is introduced. The item was used by a character known as the Father, a powerful Force user, as a means to control his own children and make them immortal. In the series, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker come to fight the Father's own son, and it all ends with the Father being killed by the dagger, thus ending his children's immortality. The blade, as well as the planet it's housed on, Mortis, then disappeared.

Could the powerful dagger have been found again? Perhaps by the Knights of Ren, for Kylo's use? Or by Palpatine, to grant himself immortality? Then how would it have ended up with Rey? Unless this is all part of Palpatine's evil plan, nine movies in the making? Maybe that's not even the same dagger and we're clutching at straws? Perhaps there's more than one mystical dagger in the galaxy far, far away? Maybe Rey will kill Palpatine once and for all with the dagger?

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker director J.J. Abrams recently hinted that we'll see new uses for the Force in the upcoming movie. It was really important that we not just redo the things youve seen, but add new elementswhich we knew will infuriate some people and thrill others," he told Vanity Fair. Could Abrams be alluding to one of the characters using the dagger? Becoming immortal? So. Many. Questions. Luckily, we don't have too long to wait, as Rise of Skywalker reaches UK cinemas 19 December and Us theatres 20 December.

For more on Star Wars, check out our deep-dive into theStar Wars timelineand our article onhow to watch the Star Wars movies in order including seven different ways!

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The future is now as artist takes a walk in cyberspace – The Age

Sahej Rahal, Dry Salvages 2017, performance and installation. Courtesy the artist and Chatterjee & Lal, Mumbai. Credit: Reece Straw

While Years and Years taps into the hugely popular speculative fiction genre, imagining how things might change in the next couple of decades, Feedback Loops seems to have drawn that exciting but terrifying future into the present.

Technology has facilitated who and what you can be, says curator Miriam Kelly. If you are thinking about an alternative world, you think about who you might be in that world. And while there are a lot of controversial and problematic things about technology, it has become a fundamental space for finding community and for being strongly connected and creative.

Rahal does this by building a personal mythology comprising sculptural forms and digital-based relics of the future absurd animalistic forms that appear to be autonomous. What I have found with a lot of his work is the chaos of the streets and found objects are distilled and created in a new way in the gallery space, Kelly says. Every time he makes new sculptural work, he bases it on location, speaking to the narratives of what people are using and discarding.

Sahej Rahal, Antraal 2019 (still), sentient AI program. Credit:Courtesy the artist and Chatterjee & Lal, Mumbai

When Rahal arrived in Melbourne for his residency and to start creating work for the exhibition, he and Kelly went on a scouting mission. Ever since art school in India, his approach has been to recycle as many materials as possible, and to use other peoples throwaways detritus that is especially interesting among art students.

I pick up objects there is a lot of skip-diving and I go to places where I can easily find materials, Rahal says. While on a residency in Vancouver, where there is a big television industry, he found ample offcuts of sets and sci-fi costumes, which he turned into outfits, conch shells and crowns, among other things. At Monash, he arrived just before the annual graduate show, when students clean out their studios to show work a boon for Rahal, who did a raid on the skips.

He found troves of rejected constructions that have gone on to form the basis of the armatures for sculptures that will receive expandable foam skins. In the ACCA spaces, he will wear these sculptures, echoing the artificial intelligence programs he has designed.

When Rahal opens his laptop to display some of this cyberspace work, an extraordinary world appears an alien landscape with a peculiar shard-like entity striding about, apparently without aim or cause. But this creature, it is soon revealed, responds to external stimuli our voices, in particular. Not only does volume and pitch cause it to shudder and move, but the speed at which Rahal speaks determines the flow of time in the program.

He describes this being as a quasi-sentient musical instrument that is also capable of creating music by itself. He references Indian raags, the melodic frameworks used in classical Indian music, and various Hindu deities and demons that are also used in formulating this work.

Kelly describes Rahals work as exploring the transition of our species into machine form not as a negative outcome but as a natural progression in a Darwinian sense. Sahej is very interested in worlding in a science-fiction sense, she says. He is very considered about what it takes to build a world what do the environments and characters look like, what is the narrative?

Likewise, Feedback Loops presents a mix of performance-based work and a galaxy of digitally inspired worlds. Kelly says these are populated by characters and conceptualisations that seem to be both real and fictive and the aesthetics of the internet are strongly at work.

The six artists, she says, have an everyday approach to new media and computational thinking, from gaming software and CGI to the ripping and rehashing of internet content. But this melds very easily as demonstrated by Rahal with live performance and the materiality of sculpture, textiles, drawing and painting. At the heart of it is the idea of the feedback loop, which Kelly describes as evoking time, knowledge and culture as cyclical and generative.

Lu Yang, Material World Knight 2019 (still), computer game environment. Credit:Courtesy the artist

Audiences will navigate the work in a loop through the gallery and discover everything from Canadian Zadie Xas explorations of Korean shamanism and the supernatural via video, costumes and mask, to the gaming worlds of Chinas enfant terrible Lu Yang, who describes herself as living on the internet. Other artists include Tianzhuo Chen (China) and Australians Madison Bycroft and Justin Shoulder.

Justin Shoulder, Carrion 2018. Courtesy the artist. Credit:Liz Ham and Tristan Jalleh

Kelly says these artists were chosen from a long list, but essentially she was interested in a generation born on the cusp of digital nativity who are influenced by the ethics and aesthetics of the internet.

Madison Bycroft, Ruses and refusals (Thetis) 2019 (still), digital video, 60:00 mins. Credit:Courtesy the artist

'I found this really beautiful intersection between the artists working with ideas about alternative worlds and speculative fictions, but also being really immersed in technology and what we would once have called new media, Kelly says. But for these artists, born in the 1980s, new media is just another tool. It all becomes layered with painting, sculpture, installation and textiles alongside gaming, AI, CGI and so on.

These things were seen as radical in the 1990s when these speculative fiction/futures developed. They used to be dystopian and apocalyptic, but now it is far more nuanced with a more alternative way of thinking that is not so didactic.

Feedback Loops is at ACCA, December 7 - March 22. acca.melbourne

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The future is now as artist takes a walk in cyberspace - The Age

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Who Was the Most Streamed Artist on Spotify in 2019? – TooFab

The year 2019 had its ups and downs: TikTok went viral worldwide, Miley and Liam broke up, Meghan and Harry welcomed baby Archie. But nothing captures the zeitgeist of 2019 quite like what we listened to across the world.

In case you haven't heard, music streaming service Spotify does annual roundups of the most-streamed artists, songs and albums of the year, plus personalized roundups showing who you've been loving in 2019.

But Spotify's also lumped in a bonus this time around. This year's roundup happens to be on the eve of the roaring twenties, which means that you also get to see who's topped the Spotify charts for this decade.

Spotify has over 248 million active users monthly across 79 countries according to its investor relations website, making this a pretty good picture of what the world listens to. Here's what Spotify's data shows:

Post Malone, a man of Beerbongs, Bentleys and now, Spotify immortality, tops this list for the first time. This comes just 12 weeks after the release of his third album, "Hollywood's Bleeding". Honorable mentions go to breakout star Billie Eilish and Ariana Grande, who came second and third respectively after the success of their albums "WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?" and "thank u, next."

Let's all think about the fact that Billie Eilish is 17 years old and has two Grammy nominations and a RIAA-certified 2x Platinum album to her name. To add to her list of accolades, "WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?" also took the title for the top-streamed album of 2019.

Congratulations to Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello for taking over the radio (and our hearts) with their steamy collaboration "Seorita." The song has over one billion (yes, with a b) streams on Spotify, meaning that literally one-seventh of the world has listened to it.

Billie Eilish and Post Malone take second and third spots with "bad guy" and Swae Lee collab "Sunflower" respectively.

Lil Nas X, Lizzo and Lunay share this award this year for storming the scenes with their work on "Old Town Road," "Juice" and "pico" respectively.

The genre for the year was comedy, and the three most-streamed podcasts were "The Joe Budden Podcast with Rory & Mal," "My Favorite Murder with Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark," and "Gemischtes Hack."

We apologize in advance for getting these songs stuck in your head all over again.

Open up your Spotify app, hit the home button, and it should be at the top of your screen! If you're on your computer, go to this link to find your personalized Spotify Wrapped list when you hit the "2019 Wrapped" image.

View Photo Gallery Getty All the Can't Miss Moments from the 2019 American Music Awards

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Who Was the Most Streamed Artist on Spotify in 2019? - TooFab

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Prepare to die from cuteness over this ‘Troop Zero’ trailer – Vanyaland

2019 hasnt been the best year at the movies for Amazon Studios. Their big, splashy Sundance acquisitions the Mindy Kaling vehicle Late Night, Scott Z. Burns The Report, and Brittany Runs a Marathon all flopped in one way or another, so much so that the distributor is shortening the theatrical windows for their titles from now on. One of these casualties is Bert and Berties Troop Zero, which we saw back at Sundance and didnt care much for, but figured it would see a big ol theatrical release given how broadly it appealed to audiences. Sadly, thats not really the case anymore, and Amazon has largely been pretty silent about its release prospects in the intervening months. That changed on Thursday when the distributor finally dropped a trailer for the movie. Your mileage may vary, but a whole lot of you might find it cute.

Take a look:

So, yeah. Youre either going to be with that or not, despite having a cast with the likes of Viola Davis and Allison Janney in it.

But here is what we think will be this movies defining legacy: The fact that it has the single longest synopsis from a distributor that weve ever seen in a press release. Just look at this thing, its massive!

In a tiny Georgia town in 1977, a motherless girl dreams of life beyond the confines of her trailer-park home in Troop Zero. When her quest for connection leads her to reach for the stars in a competition to be included on NASAs landmark Golden Record, it becomes clear she will have to depend on some new friends to take her the last mile.

Every night, Christmas Flint (Mckenna Grace) sits under a starry sky with a flashlight, signaling to extraterrestrial visitors that never arrive. Sensitive, imaginative and deeply lonely, Christmas and her equally eccentric best friend Joseph are the ultimate misfits in their rural hometown of Wiggly, Georgia. When Christmas learns that the winners of the annual Birdie Scout Jamboree talent contest will be included on a recording to be sent into space for posterity, her mission in life becomes to join the Scouts and win Jamboree.

When she is blackballed by the snobbish local Birdie Scout troop and their uptight leader Miss Massey (Allison Janney), Christmas rallies a group of elementary-school outliers to start their own chapter. With grudging help from her dads irascible office manager, Miss Rayleen (Viola Davis), Christmas and her crew have to bypass every roadblock Miss Massey can find in the fine print of the Birdie bylaws in order to reach the Jamboree and their chance at immortality.

From Christmas solitary late-night vigils to a final show-stopping musical performance, Troop Zero is an endearing and magical tale set against a backdrop of beloved hits of the 70s, as Christmas forges friendships that will change her life and help her find a real family.

Jesus Christ, right? Thats practically a fucking novel!

Troop Zero hits Prime Video on January 17.

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Just the tip: Dickinson a charming millennial comedy about a girl ahead of her time – AsiaOne

Just the tip: Dickinson a charming millennial comedy about a girl ahead of her time  AsiaOne

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Who is the best-loved sports personality in Pittsburgh? – Pittsburgh Soccer Now

This column is written as a special for Pittsburgh Soccer Now, by guest contributor Robert Bell.

The city has had its fair share of sporting heroes in the past. From tough as teak footballer players to legendary baseball stars, Pittsburgh has given us memorable moments from unforgettable personalities.

Soccer in the city hasnt yet produced a hero to match other sports.

Megan Klingenberg with the World Cup trophy...

It is true that Meghan Klingenberg has had a terrific career and that current players such as Robbie Mertz are sure to give us some highlights in the years to come, though.

To inspire them, we bring up some of the most incredible athletes we ever saw in this city of Pennsylvania.

So, what stars from the past do they need to live up to?

Bill Mazeroski

Few athletes have gone down in history for a single shot like Mazeroski has. He was born in Wheeling, West Virginia and raised in Ohio, but it was while wearing the colors of the Pittsburgh Pirates that he achieved baseball immortality.

In truth, his greatest strength was in defensive play at second base. Yet, he is best remembered for hitting the historic home run in game seven of the 1960 World Series against the New York Yankees. His game-winning home run is arguably the finest moment in Pittsburghs proud sporting history.

Jack Lambert

Born in Ohio, it was a stellar 11-year career with the Steelers that turned him into a football icon. Lambert was arguably the toughest linebacker of all time, and a key part of the famously mean defense that drove the team to a string of famous victories and made them into Super Bowl winners.

He originally wanted to study to become a vet, but never looked back after joining the Steelers in the 1974 NFL Draft. Despite largely staying out of the public eye since retiring in 1985, he made an appearance earlier in 2019 to sign memorabilia.

Willie Stargell

Stargell is another hugely popular player who wasnt born in the city but played here for his entire career. He joined the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1962 and stayed there for 21 memorable seasons. Among his claims to fame is that he hit no fewer than seven of the 18 balls that have sailed over the 86-foot tall stands at Forbes Fields.

His glittering career included seven All-Star appearances and a monumental 1979 season where his MVP performance inspired the Pirates to fight back against the Baltimore Orioles to win the World Series. This is a Pittsburgh sporting hero that wont ever be forgotten.

Mario Lemieux

Canadian-born Lemieux played for the Pittsburgh Penguins during 17 seasons. During that time, he came to be regarded as one of the best players to ever take to the ice. Known as The Magnificent One, he is an NHL legend thanks to his speed and skill.

His tremendous record with the Penguins includes several Stanley Cup triumphs, both as a player and later as the owner of the team. Remarkably, all of this was despite the fact that he suffered from numerous chronic health problems. The debate over whether he was better than Wayne Gretzkyremains one of the sports most fascinating subjects.

Robert Clemente

Clemente was born in Puerto Rico but become a hero in Pittsburgh during 18 seasons with the Pirates. He was the first Latin American/Caribbean player to enter the National Baseball Hall of Fame, following his tragic death in 1972.

His list of achievements is hugely impressive, with 12 Golden Glove Awards, 12 All-Star appearances, and 3,000 career hits. However, he is also fondly remembered now for his charity work and wonderful personality. It was while flying to help earthquake relief in Nicaragua that he died in a plane crash.

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