Strictly’s Seann Walsh speaks out over kiss

The comedian says he’s “not the person I’m being portrayed as” after kissing his Strictly partner.
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Mom of Woman Killed in Horrific Limo Crash Alongside Boyfriend Speaks Out: ‘There’s Nothing Worse’

When she heard news about the horrific limousine accident that left 20 dead in upstate New York on Saturday afternoon, Martina Wieblitz Halse desperately tried to contact her daughter, Amanda Halse, who she knew was traveling with a large group in that same area.

Martina and her daughter, Karina Halse, repeatedly texted and called Amanda, but with each message sent and number dialed, their attempts went unanswered.

Then, their worst fears were realized when an investigator appeared at their door.

“I don’t even know what injuries she had,” Martina tells PEOPLE of finding out Amanda, 26, was in the limo when it crashed. “They told me that they took her out of the limousine and put her in an ambulance to go to the hospital and she still had a heartbeat.”

Amanda ultimately died from her injuries, which she suffered as she was celebrating her friend Amy Steenburg’s 30th birthday on October 6. The group of friends were in a limo that failed to stop at a T-intersection in the rural town of Schoharie in upstate New York. The limo flew into a nearby parking lot and crashed into an unoccupied SUV, killing the driver and all 17 passengers. The accident also claimed the lives of two pedestrians, who were struck by a parked SUV after it was slammed into by the limo.

“It’s terrible. I lost my baby. I last saw her the week before on a Saturday,” Martina says. “There’s nothing, nothing worse than this.”

RELATEDCouple Killed in Limo Crash Were ‘Amazing Parents:’ They Were Devoted to Their Kids’

Martina, who is paralyzed, says she she saw a lot of herself in her daughter, Amanda, including her love of arts and crafts. Because of Martina’s condition, Amanda would spend time helping her mother tend to the flowers in her garden. The two had initially planned to go to a fall festival on Sunday, after Amanda returned from her trip with her friends.

“She was way too young ,” Martina says through tears. “She was such a kind person, everybody loved her.”

Amanda also shared a close relationship with her siblings.

“I am hanging in there. Taking it one step at a time,” says Amanda’s sister, Karina. “I feel a sense of strength when I talk about my sister so I believe she is helping me through this, but overall, I feel empty, devastated and just sad.”

During the drive, Amanda had been accompanied by her boyfriend, Patrick Cushing, 31, who was also killed in the crash.

“Patrick was such a passionate and good-hearted person. He had such empathy and kindness,” his brother, Justin Cushing, tells PEOPLE.

Patrick was a gifted athlete and played dodgeball for Team USA, Justin says, but most of all, he deeply loved those closest to him.

“He loved, hugged and cried with his friends and family like their problems were his,” he explains. “ celebrated with those same family and friends like our successes were his personal goals.”

RELATED4 Sisters, Their Husbands, Newlyweds & Parents Among 20 Killed in Tragic Limo Crash

While he was passionate about photography and sports, Patrick was also devoted to his role as a godparent to Adam and Abigail Jackson’s two young daughters, Archer, 4, and 16-month-old Ellie.

“He took it like he was an adopted third parent,” Justin says. “He kept her pictures in his phone to show off like they were his own.”

Adam and Abigail also lost their lives in the crash, which is still under investigation. A GoFundMe page has been set up to provide for their daughters, which has raised more than $ 65,000.

With nearly two dozen people lost in the accident, the pain of the tragedy is felt far and wide. For Justin, who served as best man for Adam in his wedding to Abigail, the devastation is unimaginable.

“I lost my two best friends in this, in my brother and Adam. I lost my cousin in Erin ,” he says. “This was all so hard to write and I’m shaking knowing I’m missing something important to his life.”


PEOPLE.com

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Le’Veon speaks: Expectations, message to teammates, trade talk

Bell (finally) had a lot to say about what to expect when he plays, telling his side to teammates and what it would take for him to agree to a trade.
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Reboot Writer Speaks Out After Fan Backlash: “It Could Be Time to Meet a New Slayer”

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sarah Michelle Gellar, David BoreanazThere is only one Buffy Summers, according to fans and writer Monica Owusu-Breen.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer was the talk of the town when words got out that Owusu-Breen was developing a…

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Kris Jenner Speaks Out About Khloe & Tristan's Situation

The "KUWTK" momager comments on Khloe Kardashian's relationship with Tristan Thompson amid his cheating scandal. Does she support Khloe's decision? Watch!
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Ashley Judd Speaks Out About Her Decision to Sue Harvey Weinstein: ‘I Lost Prestige & Power in My Career’

Judd said she’s “suing for economic remedy due to damage done to career as a result of sexual harassment” in a tweet on Monday.

Come back every weekday at 12:00 p.m. EST to watch People Now streaming live from the Meredith offices in New York City, and rebroadcast at 11:30 a.m. EST. Get the absolute latest in celebrity news, real-life people stories & the best of fashion and food. Want even more? Watch clips from yesterday’s People Now.


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L.A. Brand Rails Founder Jeff Abrams Speaks About London Store Plans, Plots Accessories and Homewares Expansion

LONDON-BOUND: Los Angeles-based label Rails founder Jeff Abrams says he feels like he’s been in expansion mode since he started his company with upcoming plans to open a store in London and potentially grow his line to include accessories and homewares.
Stocked at Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and Trilogy, he recently held a pop-up showcase at Harrods showcasing his full spring 2018 women’s wear range, which was filled with his signature shirts, easy dresses and rompers. Prices ranged from 140 pounds for a shirt to 300 pounds for denim or knitwear.
Launched in 2008, the label is known for its luxe soft button down shirts won by the likes of celebrities including Jessica Alba and Kendall Jenner.
He said there’s a lot of room for growth for his brand in Europe. “We’re always trying to identify places where we have room for growth,” Abrams said. “Even in this market where we’ve been for a couple of years, there’s still so many places where we’re not selling yet. We’re actively growing those markets in Asia, Middle East, South America. There are so many places that we can see customers are visiting us online and buying our product, but we may not have retail distribution and

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Gabrielle Union Speaks Out After Being Caught in Tristan Thompson Drama

Gabrielle Union, Tristan ThompsonGabrielle Union would like to be excluded from this narrative.
Earlier this week, Tristan Thompson made front-page news after photos and video purportedly of the NBA player surfaced…

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Lily Cole speaks out over ‘prejudice’ in Emily Bronte row

There have been complaints over the actress’s role in Emily Bronte anniversary celebrations.
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Jil Sander’s Work Speaks for Itself at Designer’s First Retrospective in Frankfurt

FRANKFURT — Her work speaks for itself. That is the message Jil Sander conveyed in no uncertain terms Thursday, first by skipping the preopening press conference for her first solo retrospective at Frankfurt’s Museum for Applied Art. To be sure, the exhibit dramatically celebrates the power of less on three floors and 32,000 square feet of sparsely filled, precisely staged space.
“Jil Sander: Present Tense” opens Friday and runs through May. It’s been a project museum director Matthias Wagner K. said was on the top of his wish list when he joined the museum five years ago, but Sander was not easy to convince. For one thing, she’s not fond of looking back. For another, she’s no fan of the customary still-life parade. “I’m not really a friend of clothes on mannequins, especially clothes that someone has worn before. It’s not really my dream,” she told WWD prior to the opening. What changed her mind?
Richard Meier’s white L-shaped, three-cube complex, with its ramps, open vistas, space flooded with light, and a mutable floor plan where walls could appear or disappear. After visiting the building, Sander decided to take the plunge, and for the past year and a half, she, her team

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Luke Skywalker Speaks

Mark Hamill has always embraced his “Star Wars” legacy, but when he was invited back for “The Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi,” he hesitated: “I was just really scared.”
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Weinstein accuser Rose McGowan speaks out

Actress Rose McGowan has called for women to name and shame sexual abusers after speaking publicly for the first time since she accused Harvey Weinstein of rape.
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Charlize Theron Speaks Honestly About Growing Up With An Alcoholic Father

The actress also praised her mother, calling her “a huge inspiration in my life.”
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R. Kelly’s Alleged ‘Hostage’ Speaks Out

“It just came to a point where it definitely has [gotten] out of hand.”
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Hawaii Five-0 Boss Speaks Out on Controversial Exits: Daniel Dae Kim, Grace Park Were Offered “Unprecedented Raises”

Hawaii Five-0The chatter surrounding Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park’s surprise exits from Hawaii Five-0 isn’t dying down just yet.
Shortly after CBS issued a statement explaining their side of…

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Hawaii Five-0 Boss Speaks Out on Controversial Exits: Daniel Dae Kim, Grace Park Were Offered “Unprecedented Raises”

Hawaii Five-0The chatter surrounding Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park’s surprise exits from Hawaii Five-0 isn’t dying down just yet.
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Daniel Dae Kim Speaks Out After ‘Hawaii Five-0’ Pay Dispute

“The path to equality is rarely easy.”
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One Of The ‘Real People’ From That Chevy Commercial Speaks Out

How could one brand have all that J.D. Power?

That’s essentially the question Chevrolet has been asking America for quite some time now, with their ubiquitous commercial series that features “Real People. Not Actors.” The recurring conceit of these ads involves a Chevy spokesman, Potsch Boyd, bragging to normal people (just like you) about how many J.D. Power awards Chevy has won.

The very regular “not actors” then jump and scream and laugh and express how cool the Chevy brand is these days. It’s very uncomfortable to watch.

You’ve seen these ads. You’ve hated these ads. You’ve wished these ads would go away.

But you’ve probably also wondered how “real” these “not actors” are, especially since their emotions and reactions often seem highly strange and unbelievable.

Thankfully, one of the “real people” just broke their NDA and spoke to The A.V. Club about the whole experience. The person did the interview on the condition of anonymity, but The A.V. Club claimed they did a “a thorough background check.”

The whole Q&A is worth a read, as there are many funny moments that came out of creating this commercial, but here’s the basic rundown.

Everyone was just really confused. I felt nervous. It was weird.
A Chevy “Real Person”

A nondescript agency recruited this man on the street and asked if he was interested in participating in paid market research. He agreed, and for a promised $ 200 went to the Los Angeles Convention Center having no idea he was about to be in a Chevy commercial. The same day as filming, a porn awards show was taking place at the center and so he thought that’s what he was going to be a part of when he arrived.

He then waited around in a big, dark room with the other future “real people,” still having no idea what his task was. With all the confusion, he had the thought, “Oh, I might get murdered.”

Eventually, doors opened to reveal the brightly lit room seen in the commercial. Spokesman Boyd was already there, just silently smiling. Apparently, he didn’t really ever stop smiling.

Here’s the person’s explanation of the first few moments:

[The spokesperson] just said, “Hey, guys!” as we walked in, and it was another long walk to get over to where he was standing in complete silence. Everyone was just really confused. I felt nervous. It was weird.

Then, a cameraperson showed up and it was evident that this was for a commercial. Later, the “real people” would realize there were many other hidden cameras on set. In any case, once the NDA-breaker’s group realized they were going to be on TV, a magical spell seemed to be cast over them.

Here’s a hilarious explanation of the effect:

It was weird because, once we got in there, he didn’t tell us where to stand or anything. He didn’t point at anything. We just magically got in that line of four people horizontally right in front of him. It was like they had this weird power.

When I was talking to people in the lobby, no one seemed that enthusiastic about anything. The second we got in there, it was like magically everyone was the world’s biggest Chevrolet fan. I can’t stress enough that I’m a real person and not an actor. None of these people were actors, because I asked them what they all did for a living. They suddenly became these perfect spokespeople when this guy started asking questions, like, “What’s the first word that comes to your mind when you think about Chevy?” Literally, the guy next to me was like, “Freedom.” [Laughs.] He was suddenly so patriotic. He was like, “American-made cars. Quality.” All of these people were spewing out these buzzwords.

The whole thing took about two hours. Chevy ended up paying the person $ 150 in Visa gift cards and promised to mail $ 50 later. (This was a baffling payment method to him, as well.) The “real people” that ended up having speaking roles in the commercial would eventually get more money, something that may also explain why everyone is so eager to be enthusiastic.

As The News Wheel reported in 2015, some of the “real people” were actors by profession, a fact explained away by a GM representative who claimed this was just because they scouted for people in LA. Struggling actors who know that faking enthusiasm could yield a better paycheck could explain this. 

It’s a popular opinion that these commercials are pretty painful to watch, so much so that just one of the many people parodying the ads has earned millions of views. All at Chevy’s expense.

Here’s one of those parodies:

After being a part of the commercial, the NDA-breaker still doesn’t understand what the J.D. Power award is supposed to mean. He told The A.V. Club:

I’m still not really sure what a J.D. Power And Associates Award is, and they explained it to us. I didn’t retain it at all. But I am genuinely surprised to hear that Chevy has won more unimportant awards than any other car manufacturer.

No matter how long these inane commercials continue (and like cockroaches, they will probably outlive us all), the world may never know who or what J.D. Power is or represents.

Maybe ― speculating widely here ― J.D. Power is the pseudonym of famously reclusive author J.D. Salinger, who actually cheated death and spends his days writing the next great American car reviews, like, “A Perfect Day for Bananafish … and Chevy Products.” Nothing makes sense in this world. Especially these commercials, though. 

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Family of 5-Year-Old Boy Killed by Atlanta Restaurant’s Revolving Wall Speaks Out: He ‘Had a Hug for Everyone’

The family of Charlie Holt, the 5-year-old boy who was killed after he became caught in a rotating wall at a restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia, on Friday, is speaking out after their son’s tragic death.

“Charlie Holt was the sweetest, most accepting, and lovable child who had a hug for everyone. He never met a person or an animal whom he did not immediately love,” the family said in a statement. “Everyone was his friend. His thirst for knowledge and adventure was infectious. Everyone so loved sweet little Charlie.”

At 3:26 p.m. on Friday, the Atlanta Police responded to a call about an injured child at the Sun Dial restaurant located on the 72nd floor of the Westin Hotel.

“The floor of the restaurant rotates clockwise to offer views of the city. The family was seated at a window table. At some point the child wandered away from the table,” the police confirmed in a written statement to PEOPLE. “Somehow, the child became lodged between the wall and a table as the dining area rotated. The rotating floor automatically shut off. The Westin’s security staff and employees were able to dislodge the child. However, the child sustained critical injuries and later died at the hospital.”

The young boy was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he died from his injuries that afternoon. According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Charlie and his parents were visiting from Charlotte, North Carolina.

The restaurant is expected to remain closed until further notice, a spokesperson told the outlet.

“In lieu of flowers and to honor him, the Charlie Holt Memorial Fund has been established to preserve his memory and to allow children to fulfill the dreams that Charlie himself was unable to experience,” the family said.

Contributions may be mailed to the following:

The Charlie Holt Memorial Fund
Towne Bank
5806 Harbourview Blvd., Suite 201
Suffolk , VA 23435


PEOPLE.com

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Howard Stern: Sean Spicer Speaks ‘Fluent Moron’

Sean Spicer isn’t getting much love from Howard Stern after claiming Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons while speaking during a recent press conference.

Stern said Wednesday on his Sirius XM radio show that Trump’s press secretary speaks “fluent moron” and is “embarrassing” the president.

“When I heard [the Hitler comments], I was like, Trump’s got to fire this guy, I think,” Stern said.

The 63-year-old shock jock said Spicer managed to achieve a difficult goal: Make Syrian president Bashar Assad “look good” by comparison.

According to Stern, Spicer’s stupidity shifted the conversation from Assad’s atrocities against his own people to the question of how Spicer could “not know that Hitler marched his own people … to concentration camps and turned on chemical gas.”

“It was somewhat remarkable that a guy this high up in the administration wouldn’t know this,” Stern said. “The guy’s just not informed, and it’s kind of embarrassing ― it’s just embarrassing.”

Stern quickly added: “But it’s entertaining as hell.”

Later, Stern invited staffer Sal Governale on the mic, asking him how he’d compare to the current press secretary. “You speak fluent moron, and so does Sean Spicer,” Stern concluded.

The complete segment can be heard below: 

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Matt Damon Speaks Out Against Donald Trump’s Proposed Border Wall

Matt Damon, star of the upcoming movie “The Great Wall,” isn’t really “a believer in walls.” Specifically, walls proposed by President Donald Trump

In a new interview with People, Damon spoke out about the president’s plan to erect a wall between the United States and Mexico, as well as Trump’s idea that Mexico will pay for it

“I believe that history belongs to the cooperators,” the actor said, before noting that he doesn’t think “Mexico is going to pay for our infrastructure any more than we’re going to pay for their highways, you know what I mean? That’s just not going to happen. But, that’s where we are and we’ll see how it all plays out.”

Damon continued, “Hopefully the people of Mexico understand that the people of our country, the majority of them, don’t believe that we should be putting any walls up.”

When Trump was campaigning for the presidency, Damon expressed his discontent over the possibility of seeing the former “Apprentice” host in the White House.

“I’m kind of amazed we’ve arrived at this point,” he said during a 2016 interview with ABC News’ “Popcorn with Peter Travers. “I’m concerned.” 

“There’s no way we can let this guy be the [president],” he added. “To let that dude have the nuclear football, are you kidding me? That’s dangerous. He’s impulsive and rash, and doesn’t seem to think deeply about too many things.”

Following Trump’s election, however, Damon, took on a more diplomatic tone. The actor, who has openly admitted he didn’t vote for the Republican candidate, told NBC, “A successful American president is good for all of us and we really have to be rooting for him right now.” 

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‘City of the Sun’ Reveals True Middle East: Juliana Maio Speaks

When thinking of Egypt one normally would not equate the country as being friendly to those of Jewish faith or heritage. Juliana Maio, author, producer and entertainment lawyer, brings to light a past of rich history when Jews were born and lived in Egypt peacefully. Her amazing fictional novel City of the Sun combines espionage, romance and drama with historical facts in telling the story of a 1941 Cairo that led to the Jewish-Arab conflict.

2017-01-05-1483639637-5523252-maio.JPG
Image courtesy of Juliana Maio

A Jewish-Egyptian herself, Maio was the second generation of her family of European Jewish faith to be born in Egypt. At the young age of only three, in 1956, Maio and her family were forced to leave her home-land and flee to France due to the Suez Crisis. After being raised in France, she traveled to the United States to complete her higher education, receiving her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and her Juris Doctor degree from UC Hastings.

Maio, wishing to share her rich heritage, reconnected with her Egyptian roots after the birth of her daughter. Through much research Maio wrote her novel City of the Sun out of love, as if birthing another child.

Egypt’s Role with Nazis Exposed

Maio’s City of the Sun reveals Egypt’s role with the Nazis against the British rule. From the lovely Juliana’s story one learns much of how the past has played on the continued conflict between Jews and Arabs today. Cairo, once known as the “Paris on the Nile,” makes the perfect backdrop for a story filled with espionage and passion. Although most know about the Nazi battles of World War II few realize that Egypt was deeply embroiled in the conflict as well. City of the Sun takes the reader on a ride back to 1941 into a land deeply affected by the state of the world and war.

“Drawing from her Jewish-Egyptian heritage and personal experience as a refugee and immigrant, Maio delivers a powerful story of history, espionage and love with City of the Sun. The novel follows Mickey Connolly, an American journalist who is in Cairo to report on the war in North Africa in 1941. Mixing true historical events with a fictional story of love and espionage, Maio creates a poignant tale, while painting an accurate painting of a pivotal moment in history.”


Amazing Interview with Juliana Maio

The advantaged Europeans and continued British military occupation along with the intensifying Arab-Zionist conflict eventually drove Jews, who were seen as traitors aligned with Western powers, out of Egypt. The Arab-Israeli war of 1948 and the creation of the State of Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people further deteriorated relations. With the Suez Canal Crisis in 1956, involving France, Britain and Israel, followed by wars in 1967 and 1973 between Egypt and Israel, associations between Jews and Muslims in Egypt were completely damaged.

I was fortunate to have a chance to speak with the author about history, her real-life story and views.

2017-01-05-1483639737-3519253-155.jpg
Photo by Carol Ruth Weber

Carol Ruth Weber: The ten years of research it took of learning so you could write your amazing story must have been an emotional roller coaster. What did you learn about yourself and did this journey change your life’s outlook or direction in life in any way?

Juliana Maio: Yes, yes, yes! Refugees tend to distant themselves from where they came from. Leaving my birth place at such an early age I quickly assimilated myself within the French culture. I was sent to boarding school where I immediately became French and learned to reject my Egyptian background.

I was in search of my identity. I never expected to be so fascinated. The journey led to me finally accepting myself as culturally Arabic. So much material from everyone’s point of view propelled the history that I then had to fictionalize into the story, balancing the two together just right. I am proud of my immigrant status and being grounded by my child, job and husband. It took a very long time, needing to understand with so much passion, who I was, who were my parents.

CRW: The story speaks to the crucial historical moment in time when Jews and Arabs lived peacefully together prior to the expulsion of the Jewish people from the Arab land. Do you have any memories of being three years old and leaving your homeland?

JM: Being so young when we were forced to flee, I have no actual remembrance of when I actually lived in Egypt. In my mid-twenties working as a lawyer I went to Egypt for a client. Getting off the plane I breathed in the air and it felt familiar. The food, music and history is in my core DNA. When I am in Egypt I feel immediately accepted, like they can tell I am one of their own.

CRW: In 1941 80,000 Jews lived in Egypt, now you tell me there are only 11. What holds for the future of Jewish-Arab relations?

JM: The country is made up of a very young population. With such a large percentage of people being under 25 years old most there now have no idea that Jews ever lived there, making them the “Forgotten Jews.” The Jews who are still there are made up of one man and some elderly women who had refused to leave. The Jews, who would not leave and stood ground because it was their country, faced hardship and jail. Out of dire circumstances 99-percent of Jews left the country. Putting aside bad times in order to have good memories has helped.

Today I am saddened to see the hatred between Jews and Muslims. Politics have hijacked the hearts and minds. This is a 100 year old conflict. At the end of World War I the French and English mapped out boundaries in the Arab world creating countries that should never have been grouped together and creating dictatorships. The Arabs did not have a chance to form their own countries. Israel was formed out of a need for Jews to have their own country making it an “Island of Democracy in a Sea of Madness.”

CRW: Through research, heritage and writing, you are now viewed as a leading authority on past and current issues surrounding Middle Eastern culture. How has the culture of the past impacted the culture of today for the people living in the Middle East and Middle Easterners living around the world?

JM: The French and English came to the country as if they owned it, especially during war soldiers pouring in imposing their lifestyles of drinking and prostitution onto the Arabs. It was a matter of politics. The English and French divided the Middle East. Britain had Egypt with the main interest being the Suez Canal.

Due to trade in India the English could not afford to lose the Suez. They imposed themselves politically and economically, disregarding Arabs as primitive and barbaric. The Arabs in turn developed an aversion to the British which transferred to the entire West. As a direct result to what the British did back then to the Arabs gave rise to new Islamic Extremists beginning with the Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt, being promised independence from England by Hitler and German propaganda, sided with Germany.

CRW: Jewish people had long been wanderers looking for a homeland before Israel was born, how did they come to live in Egypt in the first place?

JM: Before the wars in Egypt since Biblical times, before the Suez Canal and modernization, people from Middle East, Africa and Italy brought their own religions and languages to live there due to economic reasons. Most lived together speaking French, then the International Language of Diplomacy until the first half of the twentieth century. Cairo was absolutely beautiful back then. The Europeans made it their playground, a magnificent city, a beautiful blend of the East and West. I wanted to capture that moment for City of the Sun so the world would not forget.

CRW:
Not well taught in the United States one learns from your book that the Battle of El Alamein was a pivotal victorious moment for British allies, fighting in North Africa against the German and Italian army. What did you learn about this moment having on the ultimate outcome of the war and what effect did it have on the Jewish people?

JM: If Germany had conquered Egypt it would not of been good news for the Jews. During World War II whoever won control of the Suez Canal would win the war. The British declared Martial Law and took over, taking away the Arabs weapons and control. British and the allied Navy were in Cairo, the entire Mediterranean was important. Without the battle, we could of lost the war.

Maio currently practices entertainment law in Los Angeles, being known for representing internationally renowned filmmakers. Her past experience involves serving as Vice President of Worldwide Corporate and Business Affairs for Triumph Films, a joint venture between Columbia Pictures and Gaumont Films. Maio also co-founded Lighthouse Productions, an independent film and television company. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Academy Award-winning film producer Michael Phillips, and their daughter.

With such a compelling story Juliana is looking to one day seeing her City of the Sun in film, perhaps as an important mini-series. A thoughtful woman spreading her historical knowledge in amazing non-fictional exciting prose worthy of reading by all. Knowledge and appreciation of others can truly end war – may all on this Earth find peace living together.

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Pope Francis Speaks Out Against the Commercialization of Christmas in Midnight Mass

Pope Francis led the annual Christmas Eve Mass, known as the Midnight Mass, in a packed St. Peter’s Basilica on Saturday.

To ring in Christmas and celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Sistine Chapel choir sang “Gloria” and the basilica’s bells rang out across Rome.

In his homily, Francis urged his flock to reflect on how children today aren’t always allowed to lie peacefully in a cot, loved by their parents as Jesus was, but rather “suffer the squalid mangers that devour dignity,” according to the Associated Press.

“Let us allow ourselves to be challenged by the children who are not allowed to be born, by those who cry because no one satiates their hunger, by those who do have not toys in their hands, but rather weapons,” he said.

Alessandra Tarantino/AP

In another appeal, Francis called for the faithful to not get caught up in the commercialization of Christmas – “when we are concerned for gifts but cold toward those who are marginalized.” Materialism has “taken us hostage this Christmas,” he said. “We have to free ourselves of it!”

The Pope, who celebrated his 80th birthday last week, delivered Christmas greetings to Vatican employees and their families on Thursday, according to Vatican Radio.

Saturday’s late night Mass, which was live streamed at 3:15 p.m. ET, was the first major event of the Christmas season, followed by the Pope’s noon Urbi et Orbi (To the city and the world) blessing on Christmas Day.


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Watch JLaw’s Jaw Drop When Chris Pratt Speaks German

Uh oh! Chris Pratt just broke Jennifer Lawrence.

Pratt’s been having fun cropping his “Passengers” co-star out of pictures while on the press tour for their new movie. But those days might be over after Lawrence seemingly malfunctioned during a recent Facebook Live interview the pair did with Bild, a Berlin entertainment website.

Pratt supposedly learned German in school, so the interviewer put him to the test, asking if he understood the German she had just spoken. He said that he did and repeated it back, causing JLaw’s face to do this:

And this:

And later this: 

We’re so mesmerized by Lawrence being mesmerized that it’s hard to notice the way the pair are sitting makes it look like the movie is called “Assengers.”

Good catch, Imgur.

Lol … “Assengers.”

OK, OK, that’s all fun, but an interview is going on, peeps. Let’s get serious. Things get back underway, and it finally appears Lawrence is going to be good … until Pratt breaks out the German again:

Same, JLaw. Same.

You can see all of Lawrence’s faces in the Facebook Live video here:

Also, Lawrence does mention her appearance on “The Graham Norton Show,” which caused some controversy after the actress told a story about scratching her butt on sacred rocks. But this interview took place before the demand for Lawrence to apologize filled headlines this week. The actress has since addressed the incident.

H/T Imgur

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The Carpetbagger: A Casualty of ‘The Birth of a Nation’ Controversy Speaks Out

The actor Colman Domingo spoke about how Nate Parker film’s awards prospects have been damaged because of the rape case Mr. Parker was embroiled in.
NYT > Arts

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Joe Corré Speaks About London Punk Memorabilia Burning Rally

CORRE’S CAUSE: “Punk is dead. It’s time to think about something else,” said Joe Corré at a news conference in London, ahead of a ritual burning of the era’s memorabilia. The son of punk royalty Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood, Corré is pumped up for Saturday’s rally, which will see more than five million pounds, or $ 7 million, worth of memorabilia turn to ashes in Camden, north London.
Corré, who founded the high-end lingerie brand Agent Provocateur with his then wife Serena Rees, is asking other punk fans to meet him and let go of their belongings from the era at the burning ceremony on Nov 26. The date coincides with the 40th anniversary of the release of the Sex Pistols’ debut single “Anarchy in the U.K.” Corré’s father McLaren managed the group, and is considered the godfather of the movement.
Corré decided to stage a rally after reading about Punk London, an ongoing celebration of punk’s 40-year anniversary, with musical gigs, talks, and exhibitions. Corré penned an open letter to the anniversary’s organizers, asking: “Who’s really behind this thing? The Heritage Lottery fund? The Mayor? Where is all this money going? Is it going to support the homeless? The fund for

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When Your Confronted with Art, It Speaks to Everybody

Art has been with us through the ages; painting, architecture and sculpture have always been the epitome of art rarely if ever making room for ‘pretenders’ to their throne. Deep in the basement of our 19th and 20th Century art museums you might find the stirring on the peripheral of the art world a scrappy underdog, one called fashion. Fashion has a subterranean feel to the traditionalists, frivolous in its expression but there is an irony as the aesthetic principles of fashion are far from trivial. Deep aesthetics, refined principles and exquisite techniques that are criteria for traditional art pieces are adhered to by the couturiers and emerging brands around the world. Clothing has finally become seen as not only forms of self-expression or red carpet looks, but works of art themselves.
 
We are firmly in the 21st Century, yet the acknowledgement of fashion as a manifestation of art is relatively a recent postscript in the long history of art. The late Alexander McQueen blew open the sealed hallowed doors of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2011 when the Costume Institute unveiled his Savage Beauty exhibit, and that year’s Met Ball. In honoring his predecessors like Yves Saint Laurent, Margiela, and Galliano, it was inevitable that a showcase of one of the world’s most boundary pushing and “bad boy” fashion designers would inspire both the emerging and current artists as well as fashion designers. The sheer numbers of visitors descending on The Met stunned those staunch traditionalists, tangibly reinforcing the paradigm that today we are open to embrace the artistic sensibilities of fashion. “Fashion is still considered more in the female domain as opposed to painting, and I think that is why people are quick to dismiss fashion as art,” stated Andrew Bolton.

Millennials have not only embraced fashion as an enthusiastic manifestation of art but there is no question as why wouldn’t fashion represent art anymore like there once was.  There are more words written on twitter in the last two years than have ever been scribed in all books ever printed. Our ability to process so much, in such a staccato fashion is astonishing, we absorb so much today that we can embrace painting, architecture, sculpture and fashion without any of them being eclipsed by the popularity of one form of art over another.
 
The artistic expression of our modern designers can communicate their passion on multiple platforms, such modern day fashion notable art evangelists like Tom Ford, Olivier Rousteing, Riccardo Tisci, Hedi Slimane, and Anthony Vaccarello. Then you have the new and emerging designers and brands, Demna Gvasalia of Vetements, Jerry Lorenzo of Fear of God, Kanye West with Yeezy, Virgil Abloh of Off White, and John Targon and Scott Studenberg of Baja East. In creating their lines whether it’s for the runway or e-commerce, each of these designers are now viewed as artists and rightfully so. You can take Tom Ford with his work as a screen-writer and director of the amazing films A Single Man and his new thriller Nocturnal Animals, where the majority of the costumes are designed and created by Tom Ford himself. His work is art in every form. From his eponymous brand, his screen writing, directing capability, and grooming products he embodies every aspect of an artist. Then you have John Targon & Scott Studenberg, the designer’s and co-founders of Baja East, a brand that has eradicated gender lines in fashion and brought to forefront gender blurring and sexual fluidly through clothing to every generation. For Baja East’s latest show, their Spring 2017 collection which they housed in a parking garage on Bleeker street, they collaborated with Winc; the world’s first personalized wine club (a company that has also partnered with designer Jonathan Simkhai and Yes Way Rose), to create a red wine blend that their friends and consumers would drink. It’s the label on the bottle that brings art and fashion together, as it was taken from a print from their most recent collection. So not only is this dynamic duo being seen as artists, they are making their designs and lifestyle readily accessible in different forms to their audience. Artists are always building new gateways, Baja East’s blends perfectly to their demographic.

Domingo Zapata, the world renowned painter who produces Neo-Expressionist paintings as well as sculpture, has a unique and distinctive way of incorporating fashion into his works and collaborations. His art adorns the walls of the likes the Gansevoort Hotels, Provocateur, The Plaza Hotel and the Freedom Tower in New York City. The New York Post has proclaimed Zapata to be the “new Andy Warhol, with starlets begging for a sitting.” It is the way he blends fashion into is works that brings him to a league of his own. His collaboration with Alice and Olivia and the CFDA, A + O X DOMINGO ZAPATA opened the doors to more collaborations for him, furthering the fusion between his art and fashion and only with more to come.

Let me introduce myself to you. My name is Brendan Brown and I am the founder and creative director of the Mr. BGB brand. Which may bring you to wonder why Domingo Zapata and I are collaborating with one another. When you have the pleasure of meeting someone organically whose artistic vision you have valued for years (after seeing one of his bullfighter paintings hanging above the bar at Cipriani Downtown back in 2013) and as a person their visions and goals are exactly what you imagined, you never know how far or deep these opportunities can take you. I am excited to share that Domingo and I are going to be working on some exciting projects that fuse fashion and art together and we look forward to sharing these concepts with you all in the near future.

Please check out my blog at www.MrBGB.com and www.dzapata.com for the future collaborations and products, as well as @MrBGB & @DomingoZapataOfficial on social media for behind the scenes and sneak peeks of what is to come.

“Sometimes you have to leave room for mistakes and keep the possibility open for something magical to happen.” ~ D. Zapata

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Robert L. Lynch Speaks of Hope, Unity, and Resilience at the End of This Presidential Election

I congratulate President-Elect Donald Trump and all of the national, state, and local elected leaders across the country who won their elections last night. I also thank Secretary Hillary Clinton for her hard-fought campaign, along with all the candidates who did not win but participated in our great democracy by running for elected office.

The historic election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States brings some uncertainty in terms of federal support for the arts. President-Elect Trump, in answering questions co-developed by Americans for the Arts during the course of the campaign, deferred to Congress on supporting increased federal funding of the National Endowment for the Arts and other federal funding for culture in general. He also deferred to state and local school districts on maintaining or increasing support for arts education funding. While he does express appreciation for arts education and the arts in his own life, specific policy positions are unknown or undeveloped.

We do know that the President-Elect is very interested in growing the U.S. economy and improving international trade deals. Arts and cultural industries contribute 4.23 percent, or $ 704.2 billion, of the nation’s GDP. The value added by arts and culture to the U.S. GDP is greater than that of several other sectors, including the construction industry, transportation and warehousing, mining and extraction, utilities, and agriculture. In contrast to U.S. goods and services as a whole, arts and cultural commodities are yielding a trade surplus–of $ 24 billion. The arts and cultural sector supports 4.7 million jobs, with more than 2.2 million people in the U.S. whose primary occupation is as an artist.

Americans for the Arts, with the support of hundreds of thousands of grassroots arts advocates in every state, will reach out to the Trump transition team and administration to share these economic numbers on the arts and culture. We will work hard to advance pro-arts policies and strengthen our efforts to transform communities through the arts. It is more important than ever that we use the arts to help the economy, our communities, families and children, and our nation to seek hope, opportunity, and ultimately to come together.

President-Elect Trump has said, “…supporting and advocating for appreciation of the arts is important to an informed and aware society. As President, I would take on that role.” We hope for a White House and administration that supports the nonprofit arts community, the local and state arts support infrastructures, as well as independent artists and creative entrepreneurs. Arts policy recommendations that the Americans for the Arts Action Fund has put forward and will continue to fight for include:

• Increasing federal funding for the arts to $ 1.00 per capita (an increase from 46 cents per capita);

• Fully funding and implementing the “well-rounded education” provisions within the Every Student Succeeds Act by strengthening equitable access to learning in the arts;

• Preserving or expanding charitable tax deduction incentives for giving to nonprofit arts and culture charities; and

• Establishing a cabinet-level position for the arts and culture to advise President-Elect Trump on matters such as how the arts impact the economy, diplomacy, education, and the overall well-being of citizens and the nation at large.

As the 115th Congress is sworn in this January, it is also possible that we will see more conservative and bold policies emerge with a single party controlling the House, Senate, and White House. Complex challenges may be ahead that will impact funding decisions and policy priorities, including a possible tax reform overhaul that hasn’t happened since 1986 that could impact charitable giving for nonprofit organizations. However, we look to our bipartisan congressional partners, like the long-standing Congressional Arts Caucus, the Congressional STEAM Caucus, along with new Senate Cultural Caucus leadership with the retirement of Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), to grow their ranks and press for supporting arts and culture in America. Together with all of America’s pro-arts elected officials and continued grassroots advocacy, we look forward to continuing to build upon legislative successes when the next session of Congress begins in 2017.

Further, last night, pro-arts results came in from a number of ballot initiatives at the state- and local-level. For instance, in Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson Counties in Colorado, a ballot initiative–Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD)–dedicates one-tenth of a 1 percent sales and use tax to cultural facilities throughout the seven-county Denver, Colorado metropolitan area. Voters overwhelmingly supported extending this through 2030, which currently generates about $ 55 million a year. The SCFD was first authorized in 1988 and has since been reauthorized twice in 1994 and 2004, respectively. It is local efforts like these that can make real impact in communities all across America. Several arts education funding referendums were also overwhelmingly passed last night by voters in Pinellas County, Florida and Tucson/Pima County, Arizona.

Americans for the Arts will continue to recognize and advance support for the arts and arts education among the nation’s bipartisan state legislators, county officials, mayors, lieutenant governors and governors through a robust set of partnerships that promote leadership in the arts each year.

It’s also important that those of us in the nonprofit arts sector remember the great strength and resiliency that binds us together. For more than 60 years Americans for the Arts has worked with the infrastructures and governments of our communities to make people’s lives better. And of course the arts have helped our communities in different ways for thousands of years before that.

As President-Elect Trump’s administration takes shape, we will remain engaged to ensure that he and his transition team hear from arts leaders, community leaders, and activists and keep the arts central to the many pressing needs of the country. We will unite and strengthen our efforts to show that the arts represent the best of humanity, and urge President-Elect Trump’s administration to advance pro-arts policies that will impact our society, communities, and generations to come.

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Alice Birch Speaks Softly and Writes Loud Plays

The British playwright’s American debut, “Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again.,” is a call for feminist revolution with a ferocity absent from her personal demeanor.
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Joe Biden Speaks Candidly About Grief, Loss And Faith In Revealing Stephen Colbert Interview

In an emotional interview, Vice President Joe Biden spoke candidly on Thursday about the recent death of his son Beau, extensively discussing his grief and how it has made it difficult for him to commit to a potential presidential bid in 2016 despite growing calls for him to run.

“I don’t think any man or woman should run for president unless, number one, they know exactly why they would want to be president; and two, they can look at folks out there and say, ‘I promise you have my whole heart, my whole soul, my energy and my passion,'” he told comedian Stephen Colbert in an interview that will air Thursday night on CBS’ “The Late Show.” 

“I’d be lying if I said that I knew I was there. I’m being completely honest,” Biden continued. “Nobody has a right in my view to seek that office unless they are willing to give it 110 percent of who they are.”

Biden has repeatedly indicated that his family is the primary factor in his decision whether or not to run and has said that he is unsure if he possesses the “emotional energy” to run.

He spoke at length about his grief on Thursday, recounting memories of Beau and frequently appearing close to tears.

“I was a hell of a success. My son was better than me. He was better than me in every way,” he said of Beau, who died in May after battling brain cancer.

The vice president also spoke about how his Catholic faith has helped him cope with Beau’s death, saying that religion gives him “enormous sense of solace.”

“I go to mass and I’m able to be just alone, even in a crowd,” he said. “It’s just a place you can go.” 

He revealed that he feels “self-conscious” about the outpouring of support he received, noting that “so many people who have losses as severe or maybe worse than mine and don’t have the support I have.”

“No one owes you anything,” he said. “You gotta get up. And I feel like I was letting down Beau, letting down my parents, letting down my family if I didn’t just get up. I marvel at the ability of people who absorb hurt and just get back up.”

 

Colbert eventually asked Biden about the mounting rumors that he may pursue a presidential bid.

“I want to talk about the elephant in the room, which in this case is a donkey. Do you have anything to tell us about your plans?” he asked.

“I think you should run for president again, and I’ll be your vice president,” Biden quipped, referencing the time Colbert briefly was a presidential candidate in 2008.

Biden also joked about his tendency to speak out of turn as vice president when his microphone suddenly shut off at the beginning of the interview.

“By the way, they do this to me at the White House all the time — shut my mic off,” Biden said.

But most of the interview covered serious matters. Colbert, who himself has experienced immense loss, losing his father and two brothers in plane crash when he was just 10 years old, seemed to support a Biden candidacy, arguing that Biden’s experiences would give him a unique perspective.

“It’s going to be emotional for a lot of people if you don’t run,” he told Biden. “Your example of suffering and service is something that would be sorely missed in the race.”

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Brother Ali, Hip-Hop’s Truth-Teller, Speaks

Brother Ali is one of hip-hop’s most honest and outspoken cultural critics of this generation. The Minneapolis MC has released five studio albums and four EP’s all under the Rhymesayers banner. This is a small segment of our hour-long conversation in which Brother Ali took time out of his schedule to speak about some of the current challenges he sees in the community and the legacy of his label Rhymesayers as they celebrate 20 years in hip-hop.

Giving the current relationship between law enforcement and the community, is there a path forward to co-exist?

People are very afraid of the term “radical.” And for the people who know a change needs to happen, for people of good conscience and intentions, who know that things are not right — those divide into two approaches, not that a person has to believe completely in one; they are not necessarily mutually exclusive. On one hand, you have progressives who say that this is a good system, that is just not operating properly and we need to make progress within this system. We can work within the system and do better. Part of Martin Luther King’s life in 1963 when he made the “I Have a Dream” speech, he would have been considered a progressive. Whereas, contrasted with Malcolm X, who was saying that the system never had poor people in mind, never had black people in mind, it never had women in mind, and so Malcolm would be considered a radical. There are people who are radical, like Malcolm, who would say the system is fundamentally flawed and there needs to be radical changes. Radical doesn’t necessarily mean violent. The conservatives have conflated these issues to imply that radical means that somebody wants to kill people, and to be violent. That’s what they said about Malcolm, they said Malcolm is the violent one, Martin Luther King is the non-violent one and it’s much more complicated than that. Malcolm never committed any violence and never told anyone to commit violence. Malcolm may have asked the question, why is America violent in all of her disputes?

This idea that is pervaded by people of power that being a radical means that you’re violent. I would say that my philosophy is that there are some very flawed things in the make-up of our civilization, and that those things ought to be addressed. Does that mean that I don’t believe in progress action? I think short-term, progressive things are good. Is that the ultimate solution? No, it’s definitely not.

Because you speak honestly, the media gravitates to your criticisms of society as oppose to some of the more compassionate lyrics in your music. Are you optimistic about the future?

I’m not necessarily optimistic. I have a degree of hope that is related to my faith. I do believe in a creator. I do believe that there is a cause and a meaning behind the universe; and behind life. And I believe that that creator is always in complete control. That’s on a very personal level. Now, that doesn’t mean that we’re not supposed to speak out and fight injustice. It doesn’t mean that we’re not supposed to be building community. And honestly, that has become more and more of my focus — rather than fighting injustices, watering the good plants. I did a lot of organizing and activism around fighting institutions like banks and the police department — trying to hold them accountable — and I feel great about all of that, but what I’ve really found lately to be more worthy of my time and energy is just trying to build the things that I want to see more of. And that is trying to really foster and nurture community.

When I look at hip-hop culture, there are so many artists worried about technology; is that something that concerns you within hip-hop?

Yeah, I keep using the term global “monoculture,” but I think that’s what the modern age is about. I really feel the modern age is about separating us from meaning, separating us from each other, separating information from poetry, separating information from beauty, separating the heart from the mind, instead of holistic living. And that’s what we really should be promoting and talking about; and that’s what we should really be trying to get right; how do we live together. I do talk a lot about what’s wrong, both in my personal life and also in society, but I also try to always be inviting. Ultimately, I’m not condemning for the sake of condemning. This music is here for everyone. I’m here for everybody. My heart — and I hope I’m not making a false claim — but my heart field includes everybody.

I saw you perform last year, headlining the Home Away From Home Tour. After the show, I saw you greet every fan and they left with an overwhelming feeling of love.

I appreciate you saying that. On an ego level — which is a dangerous level to really exist on, because our ego will always destroy us — but on an ego level, as artists we want to be understood, and we think we deserve to be understood. And for me, when I’m at my most base level, when I’ve experienced being the most bitter or despair, it’s because I don’t feel like I’m being understood. There are two dimensions at the same time; on the one hand, there is open-embrace, love, and hope. And on the other side, because I love us so much — if you love a person, you hate when they are hurt. If someone you know is being treated unjustly, then you hate that injustice. So the songs in which I’m angry, I’m extraordinarily angry, and the songs that I’m loving, I’m extraordinarily loving, and they are tied to each other, but I agree that people tend to focus on whichever side serves them best.

Looking back, what do you think the Rhymesayers legacy has been over the last 20 years?

What I think Rhymesayers had a role in bringing to the table was that their fans did not have to be traditional hip-hop fans. Artists can make an entire career touring in cities where major hip-hop artists never went before. And also, you don’t have to have what is seen as the typical hip-hop story, or content, or delivery, or presentation. It’s only been very recently that’s been normal. That’s Rhymesayers, but we’re not the only ones to do that. Living Legends had a hand in that, Def Jux had a hand in that, Tech N9ne had a hand in that. But when you look at the label, Rhymesayers has stood the test of time. And we’ve done it in a way that is very legitimate and respectful to the culture.

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Your Body Speaks Your Mind

Your Body Speaks Your Mind


Author Name: Deb Shapiro, No. Of Pages: 360 Pages, Publisher: Sounds True, Publishing Date: April 1, 2005, Language: English, ISBN -10: 1591794188, ISBN -13: 978-1591794189
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One Direction Speaks Out About Zayn Malik’s Departure for the First Time: “We Were Angry”

We've heard freak-outs, screams, sobs (so.many.sobs), and even conspiracy theories about Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction, but one thing we didn't hear were comments from the four remaining band members. Save for a few…




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Vêtements Speaks Volumes in Berlin

BERLIN — Now it its third season, Vêtements prefers to let its clothes speak for themselves — literally. The Paris-based fashion collective, made up of alumni of brands including Margiela and Louis Vuitton, is on a retail launch tour through Europe that features mini speakers on the hangers of each garment which tell a recorded story about the piece’s design, production, or inspiration.
On hand for last week’s launch event at Berlin’s The Store, although he’d largely lost his voice, Vêtements’ Guram Gvasalia provided a few enthusiastic words for the shop, which opened this winter on the ground floor of the city’s Soho House.
“I think these guys are building a new definition of retail, that very is important. And we’re kind of working with a new definition of clothing,” he said.
That definition includes wardrobe classics refracted through a lens of extreme proportions, finished with a sense of humor and off-kilter cool. The design team is headed by Gvasalia ’s brother, Demna.
Due to demand for the brand’s spring 2015 collection, the event in Berlin showed samples of Vêtements’ LVMH Prize shortlisted fall women’s wear line. Guests tried on a sage green gargantuan bomber jacket and an over-oversized black leather jacket that trailed floor-length fringe from

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Wendell Speaks Openly: “You Don’t Have to Go Through This Alone” | Raising Whitley | OWN

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Finding and accepting his truth in regard to faith and sexual identity has not been easy for Wendell; It is an ongoing struggle he’s continuously working through. Wendell shares some of the hardships he’s faced in his past that have shaped the person he is today.

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“Raising Whitley” is a humorous, poignant new docu-series following actress and comedienne Kym Whitley and her riotous collective of friends – whom she calls “The Village” – as they attempt to do something none of them have ever done before: raise a baby…together.

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MEXICAN DIRECTOR AMAT ESCALANTE SPEAKS ABOUT BEING ON MARTIN SCORSESE’S JURY IN MARRAKECH

“I came because of Martin Scorsese,” Mexican director Amat Escalante said, explaining his reason for accepting a position as member of the jury at the Marrakesh International Film Festival, which will choose the winning Competition film this evening.

Escalante, the winner of the Best Director award at Cannes last season, was delighted that Martin Scorsese, president of the jury, had seen and liked two of his films, and moreover, seemed to know them “in photographic detail,” discussing them shot for shot with the younger director here in Marrakech. It was an honor to receive such enthusiastic appraisal from an esteemed veteran like Scorsese, Escalante told us.

“Being on the jury with Scorsese is great,” he added. “He is a good listener. He listens openly to our opinions. Listening to him discuss the films, I learn a lot too.”

It was also interesting to be on this jury for Escalante because everyone has “their own opinion, their own criteria. A film will touch one jury member for personal reasons, but not another.”

2013-12-07-bamat1.JPG

What were Escalante’s own criteria for choosing a good film?

“I like a film that will take me forwards and keep my interest, make me curious about what will happens next. I like a film with suspense.”

In his own films, he noted, he makes an effort “to make exceptional things happen—like people dying”—since “reality can be pretty boring.” Escalante’s own favorite movies are genre films, like Westerns and horror flicks.

Does it ever get stressful, trying to come up with a consensus with ten people?

“No,” laughed Escalante. “It’s after all just a movie.”

As for trends that Escalante–who has been on five juries in the last couple years—sees in contemporary films, he joked: “Well, there is a lot of vomit. Yellow vomit even.”

But on a more serious note, Escalante pointed out that social issues were at the forefront of the films he has seen.

His own masterful film Heli, which earned him Best Director award at Cannes, is the story of vulnerable bystanders getting in the way of a drug cartel in Mexico, with a much discussed graphic torture scene at the climax, including a penis burnt to a crisp. The film, he told us now, has been very appreciated in Mexico, as Mexicans know the reality of which the film speaks.

“Are you as hopeless about the future as your film?” a journalist asked.

“No,” Escalante leaned forward. ” Everything can change. It can change in Mexico. What is frustrating is that change is not allowed. The media has numbed and stupefied everybody so they will follow governmental orders. Two channels in Mexico basically control the country: control who will run for president, what people are going to buy. Even soap operas deliver messages. For example, now the president wants to privatize gas. So we have a soap opera star talking about how it would be good to sell petrol. If Mexico could be liberated from this media control, that would be a revolution.”
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“The Stuffing Speaks”

Cast: American One, American Two, and Stuffing

Time: Now

Setting:
Anywhere and everywhere in America

AMERICAN ONE, AMERICAN TWO, and STUFFING, anywhere and everywhere in America.

AMERICAN ONE: Christmas is starting earlier and earlier. Pretty soon we’re going to have one big Holiday Season.

AMERICAN TWO: Looks that way.

AMERICAN ONE: These stores and malls. They don’t even care about people sitting down with their families on Thanksgiving.

AMERICAN TWO: Since when did corporations care?

AMERICAN ONE: Since the Supreme Court said that they’re people.

AMERICAN TWO: No one is making people shop.

AMERICAN ONE: That’s true. You won’t get an argument from me.

STUFFING: Me either.

AMERICAN ONE: Just think about those poor salespeople at work in the middle of the night.

AMERICAN TWO: Just think about indigenous people: beaten, raped, massacred, starved, murdered, libeled, and tossed aside for centuries.

AMERICAN ONE: It’s not like that for me.

STUFFING: You have your own national holiday?

AMERICAN ONE: I don’t like crass commercialism. It doesn’t have to be like this.

AMERICAN TWO: But the shopping rush and 24 hour buying frenzy is more honest than people sitting down and gorging themselves on denial and and myths.

STUFFING: And me.

AMERICAN ONE: Thanksgiving’s not like that, not anymore.

STUFFING: It is.

AMERICAN ONE: That’s not what I think when I sit down with my family. We talk about what we’re thankful for. Don’t you think Thanksgiving has been turned into an American family holiday?

STUFFING: No.

AMERICAN TWO: Neither do I.

AMERICAN ONE: It’s a secular American holiday.

STUFFING: So when you give thanks, whom are you thanking?

AMERICA ONE: Now you’re formal?

STUFFING: Grammar always counts.

AMERICAN ONE: We’re making progress. At least we’re starting to acknowledge what was done to Native Americans.

AMERICAN TWO: And that’s why we still have a professional football team named the ‘Redskins.’

STUFFING: Don’t forget reservations. We have so many reservations.

AMERICAN TWO: Indeed!

AMERICAN ONE: I think you’re both cynical.

AMERICAN TWO: I think we’re both honest.

STUFFING: I think you’re both naïve.

AMERICAN ONE: You’re not celebrating Thanksgiving this year?

AMERICAN TWO: Probably not.

STUFFING: Pass me along, and risk karmic indigestion.

The End and The End and The End and The End and The End and The End…

Arts – The Huffington Post
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