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Outdoor theater abounds in Northwest parks

Grab your sun hat and pack your picnic: from Seattle to Snohomish, Mount Vernon to Monroe, Bainbridge Island to Burien, the hills (and valleys) are alive this summer with the sounds of Shakespeare and musical comedies.

Pop music is streaming more than selling

LOS ANGELES — One brutal truth emerges from Nielsen SoundScan’s report on trends in the music industry for the first half of 2014: Today’s consumers are far more interested in seeing and hearing pop music than buying it.

Mark Wahlberg: From teddy bears to Autobots

LOS ANGELES — Before Mark Wahlberg ever attempted to test his mettle vis-a-vis giant metamorphosizing robots from outer space — before he befriended a heroic battle-bot named Optimus Prime on screen — the actor prepared for his latest part with an unlikely foil: a talking teddy bear with an outsize taste for prostitutes and cocaine.

“Maiden” is the reason Sandra Oh left “Grey’s Anatomy”

CHICAGO — With its sadly timeless themes of political tyranny, the fragility of democracy and the intersection of political and personal abuse, Ariel Dorfman’s drama “Death and the Maiden” certainly feels ripe for revival. The widely acclaimed work by the Argentine-Chilean scribe was a global hit in the early 1990s, premiering at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 1991, and then showing up on Broadway with Glenn Close and Richard Dreyfus. Roman Polanski made a movie version in 1994 with Sigourney Weaver and Ben Kingsley.

Paramount rushes to end “Transformers” dispute in China

BEIJING — Hollywood studios, salivating over China’s booming movie market, are falling over themselves to sew up deals on the mainland. But just days before its global launch of “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” Paramount Pictures got a crash course in just how fraught such tie-ups can be.

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Jerry Seinfeld returns with more “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: The first episode of the fourth season of Jerry Seinfeld’s Web series — arriving Thursday — begins very close to home. Jerry returns to Long Island, where he grew up, with Sarah Jessica Parker in her very own Ford Country Square Wagon LTD, circa 1976. Sights to be seen in Thursday’s opener: Francesco’s Bakery on South Broadway in Hicksville and the Colony Diner on the Hempstead Bethpage Turnpike, where coffee is served.

Kathy Griffin will host 2014 Daytime Emmy Awards

LOS ANGELES — Comedian Kathy Griffin will be hosting this year’s Daytime Emmy Awards. But she won’t have the assistance of Anderson Cooper, who has co-hosted CNN’s New Year’s Eve coverage with Griffin for the last seven years. With 20 stand-up specials under her belt, Griffin should be fine on her own.

A flawed heroine? Edie Falco loves it

LOS ANGELES — Edie Falco has a cold. Actually, it’s more like a sinus infection, one that’s been plaguing her for weeks now, and so she enters the roof-top restaurant at the Peninsula hotel in Beverly Hills apologizing if the medication has made her a little dingy.

Push made to make “Dragon” sequel, bigger, better

SAN FRANCISCO — There’s a lot of good and bad to making a follow-up to a highly successful feature film. The people behind “How to Train Your Dragon 2” ran into both as they were putting together the sequel that follows one of the best reviewed films of 2010.