Hollywood is recovering from Sunday's shocking Academy Awards, where "Moonlight" took home the best picture trophy after it was mistakenly given to "La La Land." And while the twists and turns of the presidency of Donald Trump continue, here's what's new and interesting in entertainment and the arts:
- Benedict Cumberbatch returning to TV with Showtime's 'Melrose'
- Ed Sheeran jams with Jimmy Fallon and the Roots
- 2017 Oscars updates: Show highlights | Red carpet arrivals | Best and worst dressed
- Two prominent Iranian Americans represented Asghar Farhadi at the Oscars
- New 'Twin Peaks' art is out, with a couple of very familiar faces
"Maybe they'll have 'La La Land' on the in-flight entertainment,” Abdullah said on Saturday a few hours before he was set to leave Jordan on a plane bound for Los Angeles.
“If you don’t like it,” I joked, “don’t tell anyone. They won’t let you into America.”
“So many rules,” he said, laughing to ease his nerves. “I can’t keep up.”
It was true, the part about so many rules. The fate of Abdullah’s trip, and his future as a student in the U.S., was changing by the hour, thanks to the confusion sown by President Trump’s executive order on travel and the multiple rulings against it.
Abdullah Al-Rifaie, 19, has lived in Southern California for the last year and a half, attending classes on a student visa. He left Los Angeles in December on winter break to renew his visa — to follow the rules. But in the few weeks it took for him to successfully get his paperwork processed in Jordan, Trump signed the executive order restricting travel from seven majority-Muslim countries, including the one that issued Abdullah’s passport, Iraq.
The order had an immediate effect on the travel plans of Abdullah and of many far more desperate than him — refugees and asylum seekers whose lives were in danger in their home countries.
My sisters, my mom and an attorney who offered her services pro bono when she heard of Abdullah’s plight tried to keep abreast of the rapidly changing news.
On Thursday, the situation looked bad. He should stay in Jordan for now, the lawyer advised.
On Friday, good news. A Boston judge issued a temporary restraining order against the travel ban. Visa holders from other countries on the list are getting in, we’re told, so he should get here now while he can!
But later on Friday, things changed again. Hold up, Abdullah was told. Valid visa holders are still being detained at U.S. airports and sent back to where they came from. Stay put.