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What to Bring to a Concert: Must-Haves for COVID-Safe Events & Sports Games That You Can’t Leave at Home

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We independently selected these deals and products because we love them, and we think you might like them at these prices. E! has affiliate relationships, so we may get a commission if you purchase something through our links. Items are sold by the retailer, not E!. Prices are accurate as of publish time.

If it’s been a while since you attended a sports game, concert, or another big event, you’re not the only one. Life has been far from “normal” in recent years. Nevertheless, people are adapting to change and coming up with smart, innovative ways to stay safe and enjoy events again.

If you like to be prepared for unexpected rain, we found a disposable poncho that folds up to fit in a small bag. If you’re going to an outdoor event and you want to avoid sunburn, bring a sunscreen stick. If your phone always dies, we found the most superior portable charger. If you hate sweating, we found a mini fan to always keep you cool.

We have thought of it all so you don’t have to. With these must-haves in your bag, the only thing you’ll have to focus on is having fun at your next event.

Jisulife Handheld Mini Fan

This mini fan is compact, folding into its cover, so you can easily bring it wherever you go. It’s works for 14-21 hours, which is more than enough time, but that’s not all. You can also use it as a power bank to charge your phone or as a flashlight.

This fan has 11,700+ 5-star Amazon reviews and it’s also available in brown, blue, yellow, and white.

myCharge Portable Charger Power Bank

This is the best portable charger. Take it from someone who has relied on this one since 2016. This is just the superior option. You don’t need any cords. It has a built in wire to charge Apple devices and another for Samsung devices. However, if you want to use your phone cord, there’s also a USB port. 

You know how you usually need a block and a cord to charge your wireless charger? Forget about that complicated situation because this has a plug that goes right into the wall. You can charge multiple devices at once with this and it last for a long time. This is simple and reliable.

Kitsch Spiral Hair Ties- 8 Pieces

You will never regret having an extra hair tie (or two). You and your friends will be grateful to have these on hand. These are amazing because they do not crease your hair. 

These are so good that they have 36,500+ 5-star Amazon reviews.

Rain Ponchos for Adults Disposable- 5 Pack

Lugging around a rain jacket just in case it might rain is annoying. Instead, just put these disposable ponchos in your bag. They come folded up in a super compact wrapper, so you can fit one in your pocket or bag super easily. Your friends will greatly appreciate if you bring a couple extra to the concert too.

These have 1,500+ 5-star Amazon reviews.

Vibes High-Fidelity Earplugs

If you watch Shark Tank, you probably know all about these earplugs. These are great to reduce damaging decibel levels. You can protect your ears from loud noises at games and concerts without compromising the sound quality. Instead of straight up cancelling the noise, these ear buds give you a clear sound experience that’s enjoyable.

These have 4,900+ 5-star Amazon reviews.

CeraVe Sunscreen Stick SPF 50

You will never regret putting on sunscreen. This small stick is compact and easy to use on the go.

ChapStick Moisturizer, SPF 15- Set of 3

Stocking up on ChapStick is always a good idea. Keep one of these in each of your bags. You’ll get the hydration and SPF protection that your lips need with this set of three. This is truly a classic product, with 18,200+ 5-star Amazon reviews.

Extra Spearmint Sugarfree Chewing Gum- 10 Packs

Fresh breath is especially essential when you’re rocking a face mask. If you’re going to smell your own breath for a whole concert, it might as well be minty fresh.

Mr. Pen- Safety Pins, Assorted Sizes- 300 Pack

Always keep two safety pins in your wallet. You never know when a wardrobe malfunction might happen. Safety pins can save the day for you, someone in your friend group, or even a random girl that you meet panicking in the girls’ bathroom trying to fix her broken tank top strap.

This set has 300 in assorted sizes with 6,200+ 5-star reviews from Amazon shoppers.

Band-Aid Brand Flexible Fabric Adhesive Bandages- 100 Pack

It’s also a smart call to keep two bandages in your wallet. Obviously, these are essential for small wounds, but if you’re wearing uncomfortable shoes that dig into your feet/ankles, you’re gonna need one of these for each foot. 

Butaby Rectangle Sunglasses for Women- 2 Pack

These rectangle-shaped sunglasses are just what you need to channel your inner It Girl. These come in a pack of two and there are so many colors to choose from.

This set has 10,400+ 5-star Amazon reviews.

Joopin Polarized Sunglasses for Women Vintage Big Frame

If you prefer to go big with your sunglasses, you can never go wrong with these. These are just $15 and they’re available in a few different colors. These have 7,200+ five-star reviews, with one shopper writing, “They look expensive! These are perfect!” Another said, “This is the favorite purchase I made for myself this year! I paid around $15, and they have a far more expensive look. They’re also comfortable. I love having polarized lens too!”

CHOK.LIDS Everyday Cotton Style Bucket Hat Unisex

These are a style must-have and they’re also great to keep the sun rays away. There are 40 colors to choose from and this hat has 6,200+ 5-star Amazon reviews.

Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer Variety Pack- 8 Pack

We all know why hand sanitizer is essential at this point. These mini hand sanitizers can be easily fastened to your bag.

White Powecom KN95 Respirator Face Mask – Ear Loop- 10 Masks per Pack

This is the best deal out there. The Powecom KN95 personal respirator mask is made with your breathability and comfort in mind. It has a multi-layer filtration system of non-woven breathable fibers. They’re $11 for a set of ten, but you can also get them in a set of 20, 30, and in other amounts, going up to 25,000 masks in a set.

FANGTIAN N95 Mask NIOSH Certified Particulate Respirators Protective Face Mask- Pack of 10

These masks are N95-certified for at least 95 percent filtration efficiency against certain non-oil based particles. They have adjustable nose clips to help maintain a secure seal and they’re made from a latex-free material to ensure your comfort if you’re wearing these for a long time. And if you are wearing a mask at work, these are compatible with most protective eyewear.

This set has 2,900+ five-star Amazon reviews.

Vorspack Clear Purse

Most stadiums require small, clear bags to get admission to an event. This one fits the bill and it’s chic with its gold chain.

Clear Drawstring Bags- 2 Bags

You cannot beat this price, especially for two bags. These are stadium security-approved.

Bearz Outdoor Pocket Blanket

If you’re at an outdoor event, there’s no seating, and you just want to sit. This pocket blanket/ picnic mat is so compact that it can fit into the palm of your hand when it’s folded up in that drawstring bag. This is waterproof, sandproof, and there are multiple colors to choose from. This is much easier than hauling around a heavy blanket.

If you’re looking for more must-haves, Rachel Zoe shared the biggest fashion trends you’ll see in 2022.

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Cardi B and Fat Joe Step in to Help Victims of Bronx Fire

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Cardi B and Fat Joe represent for the Bronx in a major way.

Only 9 days into the New Year, a high rise fire would strike an apartment building at the Twin Parks North West in the Bronx of New York, killing 17 people. Sadly, 8 of those individuals would be children.

Overall, 44 people were injured from the fire and many took to social media to ask for help as many are houseless, some are even the last of their family following the deadly fire.

After hearing the devastating news, Cardi B stepped in to help cover the cost of funeral and burials for the victims of the tragedy. “I cannot begin to imagine the pain and anguish that the families of the victims are experiencing, but I hope that not having to worry about the costs associated with burying their loved ones will help as they move forward and heal,” Cardi B stated.  “I send my prayers and condolences to everyone affected by this horrific tragedy.”

Cardi B speaks on the deadly Bronx fire that happened on January 9th, taking the lives of 17 people and sending many more to the hospital. She also names other artists that are also helping the victims like Fat Joe, Remy Ma, Dream Doll, Brooklyn Johnny, Hot 97 & Power 1051. pic.twitter.com/9LaQ0jhQ4J

— Bardi V | 💎 (@imcardivenomb) January 19, 2022

Cardi B will be partnering with The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City to cover the expenses for the families.

Along with Cardi B, Fat Joe would also collaborate with The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City to provide a relief fund for victims who were impacted by the fire, getting support from Roc Nation who posted the link to Joe’s aid on their website.

“No matter where I go in the world or what I achieve, I could never forget my community,” Fat Joe stated. “I had to react, but I couldn’t do it on my own.” Fat Joe’s efforts raised 1 million dollars along with the help of other celebrities such as Jay-Z and Dj Khaled.

Although Fat Joe raised 1 million dollars, the “Lean Back” rapper shared with Pix11 that he plans on continuing to do what he can to support the victims of the Bronx fire.

“We have so much more to raise,” he stated. “These people have real lifelong issues with emotional [and] mental distress.”

Our hearts and prayers are with the victims of the tragic Bronx fire.

Check out the video below to hear Fat Joe’s explanation as to why he felt he needed to get involved.

Anyone interested in donating to help the victims of the fire can click here.

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‘Payola Is Illegal’: Lawsuit Revives Pay-for-Play Accusations in Radio Industry

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In March 2020, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong released a cover of “I Think We’re Alone Now,” hoping to offer a small measure of comfort to a pandemic-stricken world. “I figure if we have to spend this time in isolation, at least we can be alone together,” the singer wrote on YouTube. The familiarity of Tommy James & the Shondells’ original combined with the sweet sentiment created an unexpected hit — Armstrong’s cover cracked several Billboard charts and earned radio play in both the Rock and Adult Top 40 formats.

But that May, Steve Zap, an independent radio promoter, texted an employee at a station he has worked with to reduce the single’s play count. “I hate to do this but Billie Joe needs to go down,” Zap wrote. “They said they aren’t working it” — apparently meaning the record label wasn’t actively pushing the song — “and not paying bills… If we take down, let’s see if they are all of a sudden working it?” Based on a later follow-up text from Zap, this tactic appeared unsuccessful: “Billie Joe down and they never paid a dime.”

In 2020, Rolling Stone obtained a trove of Zap’s texts, several of which explicitly refer to payments in money or goods to radio stations in connection with airplay. (“Please put Rua into 50 spin rotation,” the promoter wrote to a radio programmer, referring to the pop-rock trio. “I can use the billing.”) Zap vehemently denied any wrongdoing, acknowledging in a statement at the time that he had channeled “certain promotional support” to one radio station, but insisting that support wasn’t linked to spins, and that his operations were above-board.

Last year, a court battle between other players in the radio industry unearthed documents that hint at the large amount of money that can move between Zap and the stations he works with. Records produced in the lawsuit identified more than 130 “payments by Steve Zap in 2020 alone — totaling over $300,000” to help cover bills for Royce International Broadcasting, which then owned three radio stations. According to court filings, Zap also allegedly acknowledged that he had been paying “a budget set at $200,000” annually for those three stations — the Bay Area’s KREV, Palm Springs’ KRCK, and Las Vegas’ KFRH — for “several years” running.

Speaking on behalf of his companies Z-entertainment and Artbeatz, Zap said in a statement that he “has not, did not, and never will participate in payola, and maintains full compliance with the FCC and regulations of the record industry.”

Zap went on to call Rolling Stone’s previous article describing his business practices “reckless misreporting” and “unsubstantiated hatchet job reporting.”

Independent promoters like Zap are a longtime feature of the radio landscape. Some in the music industry liken their role to “consultants” or “lobbyists”; third-party boosters hired to use their connections to persuade program directors to add songs to playlists or give them more spins.

When the New York Attorney General’s Office investigated the radio industry in the 2000s, however, it took a different view, describing them as “middlemen” enlisted to “act as conduits for delivery of the labels’ ‘promotional support’ to [radio] stations, and help perpetuate the fiction that this support is not actually being delivered by the labels in exchange for airplay.”

“There are people that add value, that have true relationships, that you can use to complement your efforts” to get a song on the airwaves, says one label promoter. (Sources who spoke for this story did so on the condition of anonymity, fearing retribution.) But radio veterans say some independent promoters establish exclusive relationships with stations and demand “a toll” in exchange for airplay. “When you just have to pay a gatekeeper? It can become very costly,” the label promotions executive adds.

Following the New York Attorney General’s investigation, any “promotional efforts” linked to spins were regulated by the music industry. The major labels agreed to “not use … [contests or giveaways, commercial transactions, advertising, artist appearances and performances] in an explicit or implicit exchange, agreement or understanding to obtain airplay or increase airplay.”

Independent promoters were not initially embroiled in the dispute between a slew of labels and Royce International Broadcasting. But a judge put owner Ed Stolz’s stations in the hands of a receiver — a third-party custodian with extensive media experience — after a jury ruled that Royce had failed to pay licensing fees for some of the music it played. And as the receiver, W. Lawrence Patrick, prepared to arrange a sale of Stolz’s stations, he dug into their operations and discovered that they had been getting sizable payments from Zap.

“If I were on the stand, I would say it appeared that Steve was influencing what songs were being played on the radio,” Patrick tells Rolling Stone. “And it also appeared that Stolz was having Steve pay most of the bills that stations were incurring.”

Patrick and his legal team broached the transactions with Zap. The promoter claimed “that this arrangement came about because Stolz threatened to refuse to play any of Zap’s clients’ songs on the stations without [payment],” the lawyers alleged in a court filing. They argued that “whether Zap was a willing participant in this payola scheme, or was simply coerced by Stolz, is immaterial. Payola is illegal unless the pay-for-play is explicitly announced.”

“Steve kept saying, ‘I have to do this, I have to pay these bills,’” Patrick says. “And I said, ‘why?’ And he said, ‘[Stolz] won’t play my music.’ So you’re basically buying your way on to the station, and that’s not right.”

In a subsequent hearing, the Royce owner offered a very different explanation for his financial arrangement with Zap. “The status of an independent promoter in the industry is to serve as the contact point between a programmer and the industry, and that programmer then provides a listing of the musical performances that are played over a given station in that week,” Stolz testified in court.

Rolling Stone read this statement to a label promotions executive; his skeptical response was, “that’s definitely not the whole story.” “No label needs to pay an individual to find out what a station is playing — there are monitoring services that do that digitally,” adds another radio and record industry veteran who has experience with independent promotion practices.

“In a normal relationship, the label or artist manager would pay a promoter for their service, and the movement of money ends there — it’s just work-for-hire,” the veteran continues. “If money is making its way to a radio station, or vendors of that radio station, something very different is occurring. In that case, the independent promoter actually has an exclusive relationship with the radio station. The ‘promoter’ inserts itself as a gatekeeper between the station and the label and charges for access to the station’s airwaves.”

Either way, Patrick and his lawyers did not buy Stolz’s explanation. They pressed the station-owner with follow-up questions in court: “When was that [play information] transmitted to Mr. Zap?” Stolz had “no idea.” He ducked another question about his connection to the promoter, but Patrick persisted.

“Isn’t it true that Steve Zap is paying bills or infusing cash into your company in exchange for airplay for songs that he is promoting through his company?” Patrick asked during the court hearing. “Absolutely not,” Stolz replied. (Stolz’s lawyers did not respond to a request for comment.)

Court documents filed in the Stolz case referenced Rolling Stone‘s previous reporting on Zap’s 2020 texts, which provided a rare insight into the carefully targeted mechanics of radio campaigns. In those messages, the promoter frequently discussed adjusting airplay to help labels achieve chart goals, often by taking away spins from one artist higher on the chart and assigning them to a lower-ranking act.

In March 2020, Zap texted, “can we … spike Maren Morris. 1 week only and [then] Dua lipa can get in.” Two weeks later, he followed up: “Please make sure Dua Lipa goes to super power and maren comes down a bit… Give a 50 spin difference.” (A song in power rotation is one of the most played at a station.) Unsavory as this track-flipping seems, there’s nothing illegal about shifting plays from one artist to another as long as it’s not linked to some payment in money or goods.

Zap’s texts also offered a window into the fractious communications that occur behind the scenes as labels compete for positions on charts that few listeners are actually aware of (AAA and Adult Top 40 are hardly household names). Even as the promoter worked with the record companies, his texts indicated frustration with his label counterparts. “Going to make [P]atty beg for increase” in spins for a Lewis Capaldi song, one text read. “Wendy crying about Backstreet Boys,” Zap wrote. “… She can’t save it but whatever.” “That record isn’t a hit and Pete isn’t cool,” Zap texted at another point. “Don’t play [the song] so much.”

The radio press all but ignored Rolling Stone‘s reporting on Zap’s messages. Perhaps that’s a sign that the behavior described in his texts is so commonplace it does not rise to the level of news in the trades. In his recent statement, Zap said that “his promotion activities on behalf of various record labels and musicians [are] standard in the industry, and completely permissible.”

When Zap’s name came up multiple times in court documents filed in the Stolz brouhaha, the radio publication All Access — which did not reply to a request for comment — initially wrote an article citing the promoter by name: “Patrick charged that Stolz lied about payments from promoter Steve Zap that Patrick has characterized as payola/plugola.”

Zap’s name was later removed from the article, replaced with “a promoter.”

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Ghislaine Maxwell Is Using Questions About a Juror’s Sexual Abuse History to Ask for a New Trial

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On Wednesday night, just before the filing deadline, Ghislaine Maxwell’s lawyers submitted a motion for a new trial, aiming to dismiss her December conviction on sex-trafficking charges. Maxwell’s defense initially requested a new trial and indicated they would file a motion to that end earlier in January, after a juror revealed to a reporter that he may have omitted pertinent information during the selection process. On Wednesday, they filed the motion under seal and asked that all submissions be sealed until U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan makes her ruling.

“Today, counsel for Ghislaine Maxwell filed her Motion for a New Trial (the “Motion”) and accompanying exhibits under seal,” said a Jan. 19 letter from attorney Bobbi Sternheim to Judge Nathan. “For the reasons set forth in the Motion, we request that all submissions pertaining to Juror No. 50 remain under seal until the Court rules on the Motion.”

Maxwell’s closely watched sex-trafficking trial began shortly after Thanksgiving in New York’s Southern District, where the British socialite stood accused of helping procure underage girls for the late financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Throughout the monthslong proceedings, four accusers shared intimate and graphic details of abuse they’d endured during their teenage years by Epstein and how Maxwell had groomed them for it and, at times, participated. Recounting their experiences, they often wept on the stand. On Dec. 29, the Maxwell was found guilty on five of the six charges she faced, including enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts and sex trafficking a minor. 

Now, a post-trial interview threatens those results. Days after the verdict was announced, a juror, released from his obligation not to talk about the case, gave a celebratory interview to The Independent in which he discussed convincing fellow jurors to believe survivors of sexual abuse by sharing his own experience as an abuse survivor during deliberations. “This verdict is for all the victims,” said the juror, who identified himself by his first and middle name only, Scotty David. 

Unfortunately for the security of the verdict, however, Scotty David also revealed to the press that he could not remember being asked about his experience with sexual abuse during jury selection, either on the 51-question jury questionnaire — which included a question on whether you or any friends or family members have been the victim of sexual abuse or sexual assault — or during follow-up questioning known as voir dire. The possibility that he’d lied during the selection process and then gone on to play an influential role in deliberations was enough to trigger this motion for a new trial by Maxwell’s defense. The prosecution has until Feb. 2 to respond. On Thursday morning, the judge had not yet addressed to the request to seal all submissions related to the juror.

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