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The last Hollywood event that “Punky Brewster” actress Jasika Nicole attended was the 2020 Golden Globes. But Nicole said she doesn’t feel secluded at home. “I feel very fortunate that (my spouse and I) have made such a lovely, comfortable home for ourselves,” said the Los Angeles-based actress, whose work includes “The Good Doctor,” “Scandal” and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.” “It has been a particularly big blessing during this pandemic, because my partner and I have our own spaces to work in, so we don’t feel like we are always underfoot and in the way of each other. Plus, we have outdoor spaces, so we don’t always feel so cooped up. Unexpectedly, the pandemic made us re-discover our home and appreciate it for new reasons.” Nicole stays in touch with her fans on Instagram (@jasikaistrycurious).

If you travel at all this summer, chances are most of you will be confined to the U.S., and many off those will be hitting big cities. Yes, you can find pricey private sightseeing tours almost anywhere, but some U.S. cities offer public transit trips on spectacular routes that are a lot less expensive, offering flexible schedules, and avoiding extended stops at cheap souvenir shops.

Emmy Award winner Ashley Nicole Black is one of the writers and stars of HBO’s comedy series, “A Black Lady Sketch Show.” She recently was surprised to hear that Georgia politician Stacey Abrams said she’d want Black – or actress Viola Davis – to play her in a biopic. “I was in shock,” said Black. “I’m such a big fan of (her) and her work. So the idea that she likes my work as well is very humbling. And to even be mentioned in the same breath as Viola Davis? I’m not worthy!” Black stays in touch with her fans on Twitter (@ashleyn1cole) and Instagram (@ashnb1).

“City on a Hill” actress Keiko Elizabeth said that when she was cast as Karen Shimizu — a U.S. attorney who had grown up in an internment camp during World War II — she had the unique knowledge of talking to someone who had experienced that firsthand: her father. “My dad is simultaneously very idealistic and very cynical about the American justice system and I really wanted to illuminate that paradox,” said Elizabeth, who resides in California. “Karen is a woman who, in spite of having experienced the worst of the American justice system, is committed to improving it from the inside. And that commitment is the source of (her) power and the root of (her) conflict with Jackie Rohr (played by Kevin Bacon).”

“I moved to Los Angeles in late 2018,” said Lexie Duncan, who is one of the stars of the NBC series, “Young Rock.” “However, when the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, I returned to the safety of mom and dad’s home (in Sydney, Australia). I plan to return to L.A. as soon as possible.” Duncan said Sydney is one of her favorite places. “It is very safe,” she said. “That is one thing that I probably took for granted. Sydney has a very outdoor climate and doesn’t get cold enough to snow here. It’s absolutely beautiful.”

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Canadian mixed martial arts (MMA) champion Georges St-Pierre has dabbled in acting since 2009. But after appearing in 2014’s Marvel film, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” St-Pierre is kicking it up at notch. He’s reprising his role as Georges Batroc in the Disney+ series, “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.” “I can’t share much,” said St-Pierre. “But I can tell you that I had more screen time and I am in more scenes then when I appeared in (the film).” His martial arts training has been helpful in his physically demanding roles, he said. “Karate made me gain confidence,” said the actor. “I believe you need confidence with everything you do. If you have skills to do something but no confidence, it is like someone who has a lot of money in his bank account but no way to access it. You need both for the magic to happen.”

Q: First off, thank you for all the wonderful information on Ilyce’s YouTube channel. The videos are very well made and informative. I am trying to gather some initial information about a situation my family will be dealing with shortly and was hoping that you could shed some light on things for me.

Actor Mark McKinnon (“The Available Wife,” “Blue Bloods,” “FBI”) said people are often surprised when they learn he is an ordained minister. “There have been several times I had to speak at my church, as well as been called to other churches to speak to their youth and young adult ministries,” said the New York-based actor. “I really don’t promote it much, because I never want to throw people off when they’re trying to get connected with me as an acting coach. However, the way I teach, my lesson plans a lot of times have underlying faith-based knowledge and energy tied to it.” Keep up with McKinnon’s latest projects on his website (

Andrew Stern and Laura Arias said that not being able to tour to support their latest album, “Long Rider,” has been disappointing, but keeping themselves and their fans safe during this pandemic is more important. The husband-and-wife duo make up the group 3 Pairs of Boots and said they have made great use of their time at home. “We have spent our time writing and recording a new album, for either a fall 2021 or January 2022 release and sharpening our skill set for livestream performances,” said the San Francisco-based couple. “And we created a video series called ‘Cookin'N'Country’, which we shot in our kitchen, mixing cooking and music together.”

In the 1980s, Art Bell developed the idea for a 24-hour cable comedy network, which would eventually become Comedy Central. In his memoir “Constant Comedy: How I Started Comedy Central and Lost My Sense of Humor" (Ulysses Press, $24.95), Bell writes about his beginning at the network, where he met a young Jon Stewart, and his eventual dismissal from the company he founded. Bell, who resides in Greenwich, Connecticut, is currently working on "The Origins of Comedy Central" podcast, which is scheduled to premiere in April.

Few actresses have had as eclectic a career as Gloria Reuben. After her breakthrough role as an HIV-positive physician assistant on “ER,” Reuben quit her day job temporarily to tour with Tina Turner as a backup singer. She also is the author of “My Brothers' Keeper: Two Brothers. Loved. And Lost” (Post Hill Press, $21). Born in Canada, the New York resident currently may be seen in Showtime’s “City on a Hill.” Her latest role, however, is off screen. She is the president of the global clean water nonprofit, Waterkeeper Alliance (

Kyla Pratt plays Mayim Bialik’s best friend on the new FOX sitcom “Call Me Kat.” The series also includes Swoosie Kurtz and Leslie Jordan. “Traveling for work is difficult for me, mainly because of my girls,” says Pratt, 34. “I have to quarantine before I shoot, so that means mommy is gone from home longer. I don’t like to be away too long. I actually worked out of the country during the pandemic. I flew to Winnipeg, Canada, quarantined for two weeks and then got to work. When I got back home I quarantined and then went to visit my grandparents for my birthday.” The Los Angeles resident stays in touch with fans on Instagram and Twitter under the username @KylaPratt.

Otoja Abit wrote, directed, produced and starred in the film “A New York Christmas Wedding,” which is currently available on Netflix. The New York-based actor (“Stonewall,” “Black-ish,” “Harlem Knights”) said while he is grateful to be faring well during this pandemic, he was disappointed he couldn’t celebrate his movie at film festivals as originally planned. Still, he remains optimistic and looks forward to the day when it’s safe to travel again. “My dream trip would be to travel to England with the one I love for a Christmas holiday,” said Abit, 35. “(We would) see a show on the West End, followed by a quaint dinner at a local pub.”

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