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Names and faces

by The Associated. Press | September 13, 2021 at 3:55 a.m.

• Laine Hardy celebrated his 21st birthday Sunday with the release of his first album at a French Quarter benefit for recovery efforts following Hurricane Ida. The Louisiana country artist, the winner of "American Idol" in 2019, performed a live-stream concert from the New Orleans Jazz Museum in the Old U.S. Mint on behalf of Volunteer Louisiana and The Louisiana Museum Foundation. "He could have celebrated the release of his first album anywhere, but chose to celebrate at the New Orleans Jazz Museum because of his love of this state, the people and our unique culture," Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser said. "His desire to help his fellow Louisianans and bring awareness to the recovery efforts following Hurricane Ida truly shows the outstanding character of this young man, and further exemplifies why we are fortunate to have him represent our state." Hardy's debut album, "Here's To Anyone," will officially be released Friday. On Buena Vista Records/Industrial Media's 19 Recordings label, it features 11 songs including the feel-good summertime track "Memorize You" and the anthemic "Authentic." Hardy is a native of Livingston, where Ida last month ripped roofs off homes and businesses, downed utility lines and felled thousands of trees. "So many people have been impacted and we wanted to find a way to help," Hardy said. "I can't think of a better way to spend my birthday than playing a show for everyone."

• Audrey Diwan's 1960s abortion drama "L'Evenement" ("Happening") won the Golden Lion at the 78th Venice International Film Festival on Saturday, while the runner-up honor went to Paolo Sorrentino's semiautobiographical "The Hand of God." Diwan's film about a French college student who finds herself with an unwanted pregnancy was the unanimous choice of a jury that included recent Oscar winners Bong Joon Ho and Chloe Zhao. The competition was robust, including such other well-received films as Jane Campion's "The Power of the Dog," Pedro Almodovar's "Parallel Mothers" and Maggie Gyllenhaal's "The Lost Daughter." Twenty-one films vied for the prize, which has become a promising early indicator of a film's Oscar prospects. "I did this movie with anger. I did the movie with desire also. I did it with my belly, my guts, my heart, my head," Diwan said. "I wanted 'Happening' to be an experience." She's the sixth woman to have directed a Golden Lion winner.

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