Soon-Yi Previn breaks silence on ‘unjust’ Woody Allen abuse claims

The wife of Woody Allen has defended her husband against “unjust” claims of sexual abuse against his adopted daughter and attacked her adoptive mother Mia Farrow.
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Argento accuser breaks silence on alleged assault

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Demi Lovato Breaks Silence After Overdose and Hospitalization: ‘I Will Keep Fighting’

Demi Lovato has broken her silence for the first time following her overdose on July 24.

“I have always been transparent about my journey with addiction. What I’ve learned is that this illness is not something that disappears or fades with time. It is something I must continue to overcome and have not done yet,” she wrote on Sunday in a message shared on her Instagram account.

“I want to thank God for keeping me alive and well,” she added, before praising her fans for standing by her through this difficult time.

“To my fans, I am forever grateful for all of your love and support throughout this past week and beyond. Your positive thoughts and prayers have helped me navigate through this difficult time,” she remarked.

Lovato’s note came one day after sources told PEOPLE that the 25-year-old “Sorry, Not Sorry” singer has agreed to enter a drug treatment center following her release from the hospital, where she has been for the past 12 days.

“Demi is well enough to leave the hospital this weekend. She has agreed to rehab and will go straight to an in-patient facility,” a source explained. “She wants to be sober. She wants to get help. She understands that it will take a lot of work and commitment to stay healthy, but this is what she wants.”

RELATED: Demi Lovato Has Agreed to Enter Rehab: ‘She Understands the Severity of Her Overdose’ Says Source

In her note, Lovato also went on to “thank my family, my team, and the staff at Cedars-Sinai who have been by my side this entire time.”

“Without them I wouldn’t be here writing this letter to all of you,” she explained.

“I now need time to heal and focus on my sobriety and road to recovery. The love you have all shown me will never be forgotten and I look forward to the day where I can say I came out on the other side,” she added.

“I will keep fighting,” she continued, adding a heart emoji.

Lovato was rushed to the hospital on the morning of July 24 following the incident at her Hollywood Hills home. Her publicist released a statement that evening confirming Lovato “is awake and with her family who want to express thanks to everyone for the love, prayers and support.”

RELATED VIDEO: Demi Lovato’s Six Years of Sobriety Was a ‘Fight Every Single Day’: Source

“Her whole family and Wilmer are just there to support her through recovery,” a source told PEOPLE last week, describing the singer’s support system as she continued her recovery process.

“Wilmer has spent hours at the hospital with Demi every day,” a second source added. “He seems very concerned about her.”

A source previously told PEOPLE the 38-year-old actor, who dated the singer for six years before their split in June 2016, rushed to Lovato’s side on July 25. He was also seen visiting Lovato again on July 26, when a photo of him at the hospital emerged.

RELATED: Demi Lovato Is ‘Getting Better’ as Ex Wilmer Valderrama Spends ‘Hours’ with Her Every Day: Sources

Lovato has long battled addiction, mental illness and disordered eating.

The Disney Channel alum entered treatment in 2010, where she received professional assistance for bipolar disorder, bulimia, self-harm and addiction. Lovato relapsed after she left the treatment center, then entered a sober living facility for a year.

But even after treatment, insiders say she still struggled with her private pain. “Demi was never really clean and sober from all of her demons,” a Lovato source previously told PEOPLE. “She has been fighting depression and anxiety for quite some time — and is still in such a dark place. She was sober for a while, but not completely sober for six years.”

In March, Lovato revealed she celebrated six years of sobriety, but three months later, in June, she released a new song, “Sober,” in which she suggested that she had relapsed.

If you or someone you know is in need of help, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.


PEOPLE.com

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Demi Lovato Breaks Her Silence Nearly Two Weeks After Overdose

Demi Lovato, MTV Video Music Awards 2017, NippleNearly two weeks after suffering a drug overdose, Demi Lovato is reaching out with a message to her many supporters.
In a lengthy statement posted to her Instagram on Sunday afternoon,…

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Cardi B Breaks Her Silence About Alleged Altercation

The "Be Careful" rapper takes to Twitter to address her entourage's physical altercation with an autograph-seeker following Monday night's Met Gala. Watch!
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Kim Kardashian Breaks Silence On Khloe’s Cheating Scandal: ‘It’s Just So F**ked Up’

Khloe Kardashian’s boyfriend was allegedly caught cheating with multiple women days before she gave birth.
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Peter Kay breaks silence after cancelling tour

Comedian Peter Kay has tweeted for the first time since cancelling all future work projects in December due to “unforeseen family circumstances”.
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Real Housewives’ Lauri Peterson Breaks 2-Year Silence on Son’s Arrest

Joshua Waring, Lauri Waring, Lauri PetersonReal Housewives of Orange County star Lauri Peterson took to Twitter on Thursday to set the record straight about her son Josh Waring’s arrest.
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Emma Gonzalez Cries While Leading Powerful Moment of Silence During March for Our Lives Protest

After saying a few words at Saturday’s March for Our Lives protest in Washington D.C., Emma Gonzalez, one of the survivors of the Parkland, Florida, school massacre last month, began an unannounced moment of silence.

“Six minutes and about 20 seconds,” she began. “In a little over six minutes, 17 of our friends were taken from us, 15 were injured, and everyone, absolutely everyone in the Douglas community was forever altered.”

“Everyone who was there understands. Everyone who has been touched by the cold grip of gun violence understands,” she added, before naming the victims of the school shooting.

Afterwards, Gonzalez stood silently in front of the microphone for several minutes with tears streaming down her face as the crowd was at turns silent and filled with scattered applause and calls of encouragement for the 18-year-old.

At one point, the crowd even began chanting, “Never again.”

RELATED: Thousands of Students Rally Against Gun Violence in March for Our Lives Demonstrations Across the World

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After Gonzalez had been onstage for 6 minutes and 20 seconds, a timer went off and she resumed speaking.

“Since the time that I came out here, it has been 6 minutes and 20 seconds. The shooter has ceased shooting, and will soon abandon his rifle, blend in with the students as they escape, and walk free for an hour before arrest. Fight for your lives before it’s someone else’s job,” she remarked before concluding her speech.

• For more compelling true crime coverage, follow our Crime magazine on Flipboard.

The March for Our Lives protest in Washington D.C. was planned by Gonzalez and fellow Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students Jaclyn Corin, Cameron Kasky, David Hogg, and Alex Wind within days of the Feb. 14 mass shooting. The event went on to inspire hundreds of “sibling marches” worldwide.

In addition to the student speakers in D.C., a group of celebrities joined them, including George and Amal ClooneyMiley Cyrus, Common, Jennifer Hudson, and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

RELATED: Jennifer Hudson Closes March for Our Lives with Emotional Performance After Losing Family to Gun Violence

But the March for Our Lives was not about star power.

As Stoneman Douglas Student Ryan Deitsch said in his D.C. speech, “Movie stars in the crowd, we might have videos on these screens but this is not the Oscars. This is real life, this is reality, this is what’s happening in our country and around the world today.”

“We’re done hiding, we’re done being afraid,” he said. “Though I know we March today, this isn’t the end. This is the beginning. It’s time to fight for our lives.”


PEOPLE.com

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After Days of Silence, Zuckerberg Publicly Addresses Facebook Crisis

In an effort to restore confidence in the social-media giant, Mr. Zuckerberg posted a statement about the recent furor over Facebook’s handling of user data.
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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg breaks his silence about data leakFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he'll work to rebuild users' trust in the company.



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Uma Thurman breaks silence on Weinstein attack

The actress alleges the movie mogul attacked her – and separately, that she was assaulted as a teen.
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Thurman breaks silence on ‘Weinstein abuse’

Uma Thurman has accused Harvey Weinstein of sexually assaulting her after they worked together on Pulp Fiction.
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Books of The Times: ‘Heart Berries’ Shatters a Pattern of Silence

Terese Marie Mailhot’s memoir is about growing up on an Indian reservation in Canada and her family’s intergenerational trauma.
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Weinstein’s ex-assistant breaks silence

Harvey Weinstein’s former assistant has said she has broken a confidential agreement to speak out about alleged sexual harassment by the disgraced movie mogul.
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Fashion Breaks Its Silence on Harvey Weinstein Scandal

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Jon Bernthal Takes a Vow of Silence for Pilgrimage

If there’s any actor that might be considered an “actor’s actor” who has gone to great lengths for his craft, then Jon Bernthal has worked his butt off to get where he is now.

It’s been five years since Bernthal was a regular on AMC’s The Walking Dead, but he then got an even more high-profile gig as The Punisher in the second season of Netflix’s Daredevil. Bernthal’s version of Marvel’s Frank Castle proved popular enough to get him his own series, which he shot earlier this year and is expected to debut later in 2017.

Between doing those shows, Bernthal still found plenty of time to make movies, and he even found time to chat with IGN about a variety of topics.

Brendan Muldowney’s Pilgrimage couldn’t be any more different from Bernthal’s normal role, if there is such a thing, because it takes place during 13th century Ireland as it follows a group of monks on a dangerous journey through the rugged Irish landscape to bring a sacred relic back to Rome. The diverse group of monks is played by Stanley Weber, John Lynch, Hugh O’Conor and none other than Tom Holland, and Bernthal is playing a character simply known as The Mute, a man unable to speak who comes from a violent past.

Continue reading…

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Taylor Swift Breaks Silence on Instagram

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Jonathan Demme, director of The Silence of the Lambs, dies at 73

The Oscar-winning film-maker also made such films as Philadelphia and Stop Making Sense.
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How Much Silence Is Too Much? I Found Out

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Ryan Murphy Breaks Silence on Naya Rivera and Lea Michele Rumors: The Guys Feuded, Too

Mark Salling, Glee, InstagramMark your calendars: Season 10 of FX’s Feud may center on Glee stars Lea Michele and Naya Rivera.
At least, that’s what co-creator Ryan Murphy joked to E! News while sitting down…

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Review: Scorsese’s ‘Silence’ is a gorgeous, tedious journey

This image released by Paramount Pictures shows Andrew Garfield, left, and Shinya Tsukamoto in a scene from "Silence." (Kerry Brown/Paramount Pictures via AP)Martin Scorsese's "Silence " is not an easy film to watch. At times it's grotesquely violent, at others tediously slow. But it is a full and worthy cinematic experience that is bold, thought provoking and utterly singular. That it's also a nearly three-decade effort from one of our living greats is just an interesting factoid in the end — plus, we've been here before a few times over with Scorsese's passion projects.



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‘Silence,’ ‘La La Land,’ ‘Passengers’ Among Production Design Oscar Contenders

This year’s production design Oscar race is, as ever, heavy on period pieces, but there is variety if voters are willing to look.

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Somewhere In The Bulgarian Mountains, A Woman Recreates Beyoncé’s ‘Single Ladies’ In Total Silence

If someone flawlessly executes a Beyoncé number in the middle of the remote Rhodope Mountains with nobody there to see it, did it really happen?

Luckily for Gery Georgieva, the video of her triumphant achievement is gaining serious traction online. Georgieva, a British-Bulgarian artist known for blending pop and folk cultures, attempts the only YouTube re-staging of Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” choreography you haven’t seen, donning traditional garb and jingling quietly against the snowy landscape. It’s bizarre and oh-so beautiful. 

I see pop and folk culture as parallel,” Georgieva explained in an interview with Broadly, “in that they’re the lowest common denominator way of belonging that can move such a big amount of people. That power — to have the ability to encourage thousands of people to learn a Beyoncé dance — that’s something quite special and weird.”

Some other Georgieva moments worth exploring include this Caviar Face Tutorial, which is exactly what it sounds like, and this disco-themed reimagining of Monet’s “Water Lilies.“ Compare the artist’s skills to the original Bey below and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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Palin’s Shameful Silence on Trump’s Misogyny

Alaska’s quitter governor and the Tea Party’s queen diva Sarah Palin uses her Facebook page to comment on all things political, including touting Donald Trump’s candidacy for the presidency. But when it comes to Trump’s outrageously sexist comments about her former colleague at Fox News, Megyn Kelly, Palin has remained shamefully silent about El Donaldo’s latest round of misogyny.

So much for Mama Grizzly solidarity with conservative women like Kelly, with whom Palin once declared: “We are the women’s movement!”

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When Trump recently assaulted John McCain — who plucked Palin from obscurity in August of 2008 to join him on the Republican ticket — it was an entirely different matter. Palin immediately came to Trump’s defense, calling him a hero and blaming the scuffle on the media. It was an act of betrayal directed at McCain — and yet another instance of her blatant duplicity — that only Palin could pull off.

Trump, of course, has been nothing more than a serial sexist when it comes to his constant attacks on women: He has called women “ugly,” “fat,” “dogs,” “slobs,” “bimbos,” “extremely unattractive,” ad infinitum, all leading up to his allegation this weekend that Kelly was menstruating during the Republican presidential primary debate Thursday tonight.

I guess in Palin World, that all makes you a “hero.” So be it. But as virtually every major player in the current Republican line-up for president has called Trump on his latest remarks, Palin still hasn’t brought herself to take the high road. Just before the Presidential debate last week, Palin gave yet another bizarre interview in which she said that she advised Trump [3:11]:

I’ve already told him. I said: Keep it up! America appreciates that you’re calling it like you see it. He’s telling a lot of truth. And really helping educate and lead the other candidates because they’re going to have to step up their game and quit sounding like politicians.

I wonder what “truth” she thinks he’s now telling?

In addition to being beholden to Trump — he’s the only current candidate, with the possible exception of Ted Cruz, who would ever utter her name publicly — I’ve been told that there’s some inside back-story to Palin’s glaring lack of solidarity with Kelly. According to a source once in Palin’s inner-circle in Southcentral Alaska, Palin was livid at Kelley two years ago when the latter interrupted Palin in an interview in which Palin went into what seemed like a crack-addled rant about Obama and the American economy.

No one holds a grudge like Palin. In June, Palin was overtly critical of Kelly for interviewing Jill Duggar Dillard and Jessa Duggar Seewald on her Fox News program. Two weeks later it was announced that Palin had been dumped from her position at Fox News.

That Palin is an exceedingly dull blade goes without saying, but even she must have noted the timing of Fox’s decision.

Trump just blew some seriously needed oxygen into Palin’s sinking political platform by indicating that Palin would serve in a cabinet-level capacity in his administration–which only someone with Palin’s crazy could view as a possibility — and for a brief moment it appeared that Palin’s stock, depressed as it is, might yet have another bump in it.

Not so. The descending numbers from her political action committee and her utter disappearance from the national Republican debate fully indicate that Palin’s political half-life has long since passed. She’s been reduced to a laugh-line and an afterthought.

As I noted in my critical biography of her, The Lies of Sarah Palin: The Untold Story Behind her Relentless Quest for Power, there is really no low to which Palin will not stoop to advance her own political and monetary interests. Her silence on the Kelly-Trump affair is par for the Palin course. When it comes to political courage and integrity, she has none.

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Award-winning writer and filmmaker Geoffrey Dunn’s best-selling The Lies of Sarah Palin: The Untold Story Behind Her Relentless Quest for Power was published by Macmillan/St. Martin’s in May of 2011.

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‘Look Of Silence’ Director On How The Film Is Sparking Change In Indonesia

Joshua Oppenheimer‘s 2013 documentary “The Act of Killing“ detailed the Indonesian genocide of the 1960s, which has been estimated to have claimed the lives of about half a million people. Now Oppenheimer is back with a follow-up film called “The Look Of Silence,” which is enabling Indonesians to finally address horrors their country has yet to recover from.

“‘The Look Of Silence’ has, I’m humbled to say, helped catalyze a fundamental transformation in how Indonesians are responding to the genocide and its present day terrible legacy of corruption, fear and violence,” Oppenheimer told HuffPost Live’s Nancy Redd on  Thursday. “It’s helped energize a movement for truth and reconciliation and some form of justice.”

Truth and reconciliation legislation would help bring closure to many Indonesians. But the documentary takes a different approach to exposing the genocide. 

“The Look Of Silence” follows one family of survivors’ tragic discovery of how their son was murdered in 1965 and who his killers were. The film documents the family’s youngest son, Adi, as he confronts his brother’s killers. Oppenheimer explained the effect the documentary is having in the country at its center.

“Indonesians through the film are acknowledging how torn the social fabric of the country is, and how urgently truth and reconciliation are needed,” Oppenheimer said. “And the government, in response to this debate the film has raised, has now introduced a truth and reconciliation bill. Woefully inadequate, but a tremendous start in a way.”

Watch Oppenheimer discuss his moving documentary in the video above, and click here to watch his full HuffPost Live conversation.

Sign up here for Live Today, HuffPost Live’s new morning email that will let you know the newsmakers, celebrities and politicians joining us that day and give you the best clips from the day before!

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Silence: The Whispered World II Cinematic Trailer

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After losing his little sister Renie in the hazardous real world, Noah now hopes to find her again in Silence.
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Nick Jonas Breaks Silence On Olivia Culpo Split

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The Sounds of Silence

The British writer, E.M. Forster, published his last truly great novel, A Passage to India, in 1924. This novel is about many things – the differences between men and women, between cultures and countries, between the races, between the animal and human kingdoms, and between competing value systems.

Buried not quite halfway through the novel, at the beginning of Chapter 14, is another difference, the difference between speaking and remaining silent:

“Most of life is so dull that there is nothing to be said about it, and the books and talk that would describe it as interesting are obliged to exaggerate, in the hope of justifying their own existence. Inside its cocoon of work or social obligation, the human spirit slumbers for the most part, registering the distinction between pleasure and pain, but not nearly as alert as we pretend. There are periods in the most thrilling day during which nothing happens, and though we continue to exclaim: ‘I do enjoy myself,’ or ‘I am horrified,’ we are insincere. ‘As far as I feel anything, it is enjoyment, horror’ – it’s no more than that really, and a perfectly adjusted organism would be silent.”

Forster seems to have plucked this stunning aside directly from the ether and dropped it into the middle of his story without much in the way of preparation or follow-up. What is he saying? Why does he make this observation? If, after all, silence is so good, why finish reading his novel? Am I somehow poorly adjusted whenever I open my mouth?

This “passage” has haunted me for over 40 years – since I bought and first read the novel in Milan in 1971. After publishing “A Passage to India,” Forster himself spent the remainder of his life more or less silent. For decades he was a Fellow at his alma mater, Trinity College at Cambridge University, where he died in 1970. He wrote some nonfiction — mostly essays, biographies, and travel memoirs — but he never again produced a work of fiction that rivaled his early short stories, Howards End (1910), or “Passage.” A mostly autobiographical novel about his hidden homosexuality, Maurice, appeared posthumously in 1971, but many critics feel that his standing as a novelist would have been enhanced had “Maurice” never appeared. But whatever one might think of “Maurice” as a novel, it nonetheless remains unfortunate that Forster was unable – as a matter of personal choice as well as existing English law at the time (homosexuality between consenting adult men was a crime in England until 1967) – to publish his views during his lifetime. After 1924, he was spent as a writer of fiction and effectively blocked in terms of being public about his homosexuality. He knew this; hence his silence.

There is, however, a thread that runs throughout Forster’s fiction and, especially, the paragraph cited above, that speaks to us today. While Forster excels at describing differences, what he is really saying to us is to find ways to bridge those differences. That’s why the phrase “Only connect,” (which borrows from the views of Victorian writer Matthew Arnold) appears at the beginning of his other great novel, “Howards End.” It is the effort in life to find connections that matters most to him – even if one fails in the effort. There is failure in “Howards End” when the Schlegel sisters and Leonard Bast fail to bridge bridge their class differences, and there is failure at the end of “A Passage to India” when the Englishman and the Indian realize that they cannot be friends:

“‘Why can’t we be friends now?’ said the other, holding him affectionately. ‘It’s what I want. It’s what you want.’

“But the horses didn’t want it – they swerved apart; the earth didn’t want it … the temples, the tank, the jail, the palace, the birds … they didn’t want it, they said in their hundred voices: ‘No, not yet,’ and the sky said: ‘No, not there.'”

This failure to connect between Indian and Englishman also finds a parallel in “Maurice” which appeared almost 50 years later. There was connection, but it was clandestine and, of course, unpublished.

The question I find prompted by Forster today is whether, in fact, we are trying too hard to be too connected? Are we so connection-crazy that in the frenzy we are missing opportunities to find in our lives those connections that really matter? What does it mean, for example, to be “friended,” to be asked to “friend” inanimate objects or department stores, or to “follow” a Member of Congress or a celebrity? Today’s wonderful communications technology may, in fact, be a double-edged sword: we may be so connected on so many levels and with so many people, things, and issues that we lose the capacity and the essential personal space needed to reflect on what we are actually doing and trying to achieve in our lives.

Does our frenetic connectedness mean that we actually hear more but listen less? Forster is urging people to connect, but is his statement about the virtue of silence a suggestion that perhaps we might consider a better balance between non-stop connectedness and the silence needed to reflect? He does, after all, have a point: are the vast majority of “Tweets” worth the bother? And given what Hillary Clinton is going through with respect to her State Department e-mails and her private, at-home server, why on earth are we saving billions of “Tweets for posterity? Only litigation-hungry lawyers could welcome this situation.

Recently I attended a Washington, DC, forum on the nation’s economic and fiscal policy. The speakers were excellent, but I noticed that during the breaks, the large screens in the front of the room displayed “Tweets” from people who were either in the room or who were attending the forum via a remote connection. Did I really need to know in 140 characters the views of perfect strangers who were spitting back to me the content of what I had just experienced? Could I have better used the break to think about what had been said or, for that matter, talk face-to-face with other participants (which I did)?

It is estimated that there are some 500 million Tweets sent each day and over 200 billion Tweets sent each year. These numbers will surely grow. I have nothing against Twitter or other social media, but, at the same time, doesn’t Forster have a point? That most of this stuff is so dull that there is nothing really to be said about it?

All of us have been vastly empowered by modern communications technology – and this is a good thing. The question remains, however, whether we might somehow strive to find a better balance between too much connectedness and total silence. I don’t ever expect to be a “perfectly adjusted organism,” but I do strive to screen out the chatter that can sometimes get in the way of better listening and better understanding.

Charles Kolb served as Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy from 1990-1992 in the George H.W. Bush White House. He was president of the French-American Foundation–United States from 2012-2014 and president of the Committee for Economic Development from 1997-2012.

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Silence

Silence


Over the last century, many artists and filmmakers have used silence as subject matter and medium, exploring it as symbol, phenomenon, memorial device, and oppressive force. “Silence” examines the ways twenty-nine artists invoke silence to shape space and consciousness, most after John Cage’s” 4’33” (1952). Among this carefully curated selection are Joseph Beuys’s “The Silence of Marcel Duchamp Is Overrated” (1964) and works by several artists who matured in the 1960s and 70s, including Bruce Nauman and Marcel Broodthaers; documentation of Tehching Hsieh’s “One Year Performance 1978-79,” in which the artist spent a year in a cage without speaking, reading, writing, or engaging with any media; and Andy Warhol’s Electric Chair paintings. Other artists featured in the publication include Robert Rauschenberg and Ad Reinhardt, represented by white or black paintings; Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Maya Deren, Jennie C. Jones, Jacob Kirkegaard, Christian Marclay, Doris Salcedo, and Martin Wong; and intermedia artists Steve Roden and Steven Vitiello. Over forty full-color plates complement three thought-provoking essays and artist biographies.

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Silence Is Speaking… Will We Listen?

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As much as society tells me noise is more golden than silence; silence still whispers mystery to my mind and heart. I’m continually engulfed in modern day life with beeps, vibrations, commercials, news feeds — a variety of attacks on all my senses. Yet, silence’s mystifying self still delicately reaches for my curious heart.

“The world is now so noisy with this cacophony going on visually and auditorily, it’s just hard to listen; it’s tiring to listen.” Julian Treasure, 4 time TED speaker, CEO of The Sound Agency and interviewee of In Pursuit of Silence

“Silence makes us whole, if we let it…” Thomas Merton

I also believe the voice of silence is still speaking, if we let it. I feel as though I am getting to hear that voice regularly since I’ve been working on the upcoming documentary film, In Pursuit of Silence. Director Patrick Shen plans to give viewers the opportunity to examine the lack of silence and the abundance of noise in their own lives. He promises pauses and silences throughout the film in order to promote one’s own personal interpretation of their relationship with noise and silence.

“Why should we care about silence — because it’s half of our existence in terms of our interaction with this world of discourse… It’s fundamentally embedded in everything that we do: in our relationships, in our work, in our waking and our sleeping…”
-Helen Lees, author of Silence in Schools and interviewee of In Pursuit of Silence

Working with Patrick has given me an edge to understanding his art in a unique way. His previous films have touched on other areas of the unexamined life including a film about death anxiety: Flight From Death: the Quest for Immortality, a film about wisdom in unlikely places: The Philosopher Kings, and a film about a man’s journey to bring clean water to his Haitian village: La Source. I could go on to share about his resume in film festivals, awards and various platforms he’s been on but the more important aspect here is who Patrick is and not what he’s done. I’m not sure what words he would use to initially identify himself, but I’m sure it’d begin with identifying his relationships: he’s a father, a husband, a family member, a friend. My experience with Patrick has been that he is dedicated to not only his art but also the arts of others. Patrick’s passion for silence developed after he saw Into Great Silence, a film about Carthusian monks in France. He’s poured over 2 years of his life into this current project through his traveling, his reading, his often unshared moments with silence, etc.

Director Patrick Shen:

I’m really interested in examining the ways we interact with each other, with the world and the way we craft meaningful lives in the midst of so much uncertainty. The search for meaning is already a noisy affair and the constant attention that the cacophony of modern life demands from us just makes it all the more disorienting. Of the many things that silence can be and do for us, the most powerful might be its ability to reset our minds and hearts, a blank canvas upon which to paint the story of our lives. In a world that consumes so much of us, silence is needed more than ever to free us.

Patrick and I met while I was in the midst of a journey traveling to the 17 Trappist Monasteries in the US. He not only respected my work but to this day he is encouraging and excited about it. His call to come join the team came less than a year after we met, just when I was sinking back into life as a counselor.

So, why make a film about silence?

Why add to the bombardment of our senses to get a point across of minimizing it? For me, now is the time simply because this truth has not been told in this way. Although this is the first film I’ve worked on, my initial thought is how could we not make a film about silence? Documentary filmmakers have been known as the truth tellers in the entertainment industry and I couldn’t agree more. To make a film about silence is a risk within itself because society’s signs point to everything but silence. Our small team working on In Pursuit of Silence is a dedicated group of individuals who have their own unique draw and attachment to the mystery of silence.

Why are we more afraid of silence than noise?

According to The World Health Organization, noise is second only to air pollution as an environmental cause of ill health, “it’s not just about annoyance, it’s about life and death now. And its about this modern lifestyle that offers us no space for ideation, reflection, introspection or respite,” says Patrick in our recent Kickstarter video.

So why do we keep insisting on filling the empty spaces with words, the blank pages with notes and the commutes with music (or, if you’re like me, talk radio)?

“What we’re afraid of with silence, why we keep putting discourse, noise, talking, into these spaces of silence that we could make use of ­ is because silence returns us to what is real …”
-Helen Lees, author of Silence in Schools and interviewee of In Pursuit of Silence

In my own experience, I’ve found this to be the case: silence brings me back to what’s real, what the truth is — in the world and within myself. That’s not always a pretty thing, there’s some sort of purification effect that silence has when one practices it regularly and it’s not an easy process.

“I think silence is really important, as I’ve said it’s one of the practices that develops listening and I almost worship silence, you know, it’s such a rare commodity these days, it’s rarer than platinum.”
Julian Treasure, 4 time TED speaker, CEO of The Sound Agency and interviewee of In Pursuit of Silence

Join us in sharing silence.

As previously mentioned, we at In Pursuit of Silence have launched a Kickstarter campaign for finishing our film: we’re hoping to raise at least $ 40,000 and need your hand as we have less than two weeks to go. The funds are to cover final production trips and help launch us into the editing process so this ever important topic can get to film festivals, in our mailboxes, theaters and on our computer screens.

“Silence is what you already have, right now, but you need to let it in.”

-Helen Lees, author of Silence in Schools and interviewee of In Pursuit of Silence

Silence is speaking… will we listen?
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Arts – The Huffington Post
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Silence Not Equal to Death

3 days of silence. 2 times a year.

Silence allows me to see myself, separate from my agendas.

For the last 15 years, I have spent 3 days, twice a year, on a silent retreat at a monastery 50 miles north of Boston. It has taught me how to listen to myself and, in doing so, I hear others better.

Between a stress-filled job and the full-time home care of my elderly parents for the last 5 years, silence has become a luxury. The monastery allows me to drop my agendas at the door and slow my mind and body down. Learning to drop my agendas did not come easily. But once I did, it opened up the door to really seeing the leaves on the tress, the markings of falling snow, the remains of a bird I heard being attacked the night before. Just the claws and leg were on the ground, and in the claws was an unbroken egg. Along with the amazing opportunity to see and hear the mundane and the unusual around me, silence moves me back to discernment as a way of being. The singing of hymns 4 times a day and eating meals together in silence with total strangers is liberating and communing in fundamental ways. Most of all I get the very best sleep when I am at the monastery. Sad, that good sleep and the ability to hear a bird’s sound or my own voice is a luxury in our world today. For a dose of stillness, I go to a monastery 2 times a year.

8 deaths. 2 more to go.

Death still remains a mystery but I am no longer afraid of it.

I was 25 and less than 3 years in the US when I buried, from AIDS, my first lover in 1985. John was 54. I was deep in the closet. At 30, my next partner Bob, 60, who ran 5 miles 3 times a week, died of a heart attack in my arms as I gave him CPR. I had just learned it 2 weeks prior, but it did not work. Then there was Lucho, my AIDS Action buddy, who was the ultimate practitioner of detachment as the means to a peaceful end. He kept his mother and family away so he could die without emotions interfering with “the process of dying.” Then Tom, my current 81-year-old partner James’s nephew, both of AIDS in 1992. Lloyd and Francis and Joe. Oh yes. Walter. Walter, who was a recluse who had no relatives or friends, lived in our basement with all his windows boarded up. I mean no family and no daylight. None! He told me I needed to slow down and not move so fast. He had no possessions but had stored 20 years of New York Times crossword puzzles he had done in ink. No mistakes. Would not see a doctor and would only allow me to take care of his oozing, gangrened leg. I cleaned and bandaged it for a year. Bought him his $ 5 worth of groceries and $ 5 of cigarettes each week for 2 years. And James and I gave him morphine at the end. He said he wanted to be put out with the trash. We were the only two people at his funeral.

Fast forward. I just buried my father a year ago. Ah! What a satisfying experience. He lived a full life. He and I butted heads when I was young and he became my close friend at the end. He kept telling me in his last year how sad that I was all alone. I still am not sure what he meant. I took care of him and he cared for me. He told me I needed to be more gentle with him. He died at home at 92. He got up from his bed and walked to bed and he died. Br. Curtis from the monastery did the funeral service. And now there is my once super-active mother in a wheelchair at 89, showing early signs dementia and still finding meaning in her diminished state knitting blankets for a children’s hospital. She is looking forward to meeting up with my father. And she tells me he comes and visits her often. Sometimes with a gentle hand on her shoulder. She hates what has become of her life, confined to a wheelchair with her mind and body failing her by the day. This week she asked me if there was “mercy killing” in this country. I just checked out a small hospice nearby.

Silence has allowed me to be present to death. Allowing death to be present in my life, gives me the perspective to be mindful of the present.
GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
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