Critic’s Notebook: A High-Stakes Hearing Raises Two Voices, One Quiet, One Loud

The political and gender divide in America played out on TV not just in what Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh said, but how they said it.
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Game of Thrones Actress Voices We Happy Few Main Character

Game of Thrones actress Charlotte Hope will voice one of the main characters in We Happy Few.

On today’s episode of Inside Xbox, Compulsion Games’ founder Guillaume Provost revealed the actress is voicing Sally Boyle, one of the three playable characters in the survival adventure game set in a drug-addled dystopia.

Charlotte Hope is an English actress best known for her reoccurring role as Myranda, the sadistic girlfriend of Ramsay Bolton in seasons 3 – 6 of HBO’s hit drama series.

“Most of our cast is from England,” Provost said during the Inside Xbox interview. “We tried casting some actors in Canada … when we were tight on budget and didn’t have a lot of money. And what we realized is that some of the actors can do British accents quite convincingly, but it’s very difficult to have a convincing performance at the same time.”

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Voices of millions of UK taxpayers stored by HMRC

Privacy campaigners say 5.1 million Britons have had their voices stored without permission.
BBC News – Technology


Is This The Voice’s Most Formidable Coaching Line-Up Yet?

The Voice“I feel like you all invented that because I’m coming. And you’re all afraid.”
When Kelly Clarkson uttered that sentiment in the season 14 premiere of The Voice, making…

E! Online (US) – TV News


Li Edelkoort to Open Paris Gallery to Spotlight Artists, New Voices

WATCH THIS SPACE: Having first opened a private art salon in Paris more than three decades ago, Trend Union founder Li Edelkoort will soon take her career full circle by unveiling a public design gallery in her company’s headquarters.
Set to open its doors Jan. 18 at 30 Boulevard Saint-Jacques, the space will showcase design and arts and crafts — “what deserves to be shown collected and cherished at this moment in time,” according to the trend forecaster. To that end, a Heartwear pop-up shop will be among the planned events.
Created in 1993 by Edelkoort and some of her fashion designer friends, Heartwear is a nonprofit that collaborates with artisans by helping them scale up their creations without compromising their design integrity, culture or environment that they live and work in. With the assistance of department stores and magazines, Heartwear develops high-level goods with broader distribution. The nonprofit’s aim is to create a lasting connection with a collective or region. Khadi cotton from India and indigo-colored textiles from Benin are two of the projects that have been executed. To try to help the specific regions become self sustainable, profits are reinvested in those where the artists are based.
Trend Union will also

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Lanvin Voices ‘Astonishment’ at Press Reports

Trying to quell the swell of press reports swirling about the future of Lanvin, the house on Friday afternoon released a statement from “general management” reserving the right to “act in defense of its interests,” while acknowledging that it is “going through a difficult time but has no debts.”
“The Lanvin House reports its astonishment about the relentlessness of some of the media against her, and this for months,” it said. “Today, articles have been published in which one reports, all too often, on the basis of noises and not of certain facts. This deeply hurts the company as well as its employees.
“The House…has always paid its employees and suppliers, and is working actively and optimistically on its future,” it said.
One story on Friday by Reuters quoted Lanvin’s managing director Nicolas Druz saying alternative “sustained financial and industrial solutions that do not involve capital increases will be found by the end of March.”
A Lanvin spokeswoman could not immediately be reached for comment.
WWD reported earlier this week that there has not yet been any cash injection that was pledged by Lanvin’s owner, Taiwanese media magnate Shaw-Lan Wang. Last month, the executive said she would inject funds into the beleaguered company to “support

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Avatar therapy ‘reduces power of schizophrenia voices’

Patients became less distressed and heard voices less often compared with those who had counselling.
BBC News – Health

US voices frustration with ‘warrant-proof’ encryption

Encryption tools in apps such as WhatsApp “thwart law enforcement”, says US Deputy Attorney General.
BBC News – Technology


‘Handbook For Mortals’ Author Accuses YA Community Of Keeping Out New Voices

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We Are Not Hysterical: 18 Strong Female Voices You Should Read

Strand Book Store staff recommends reads by outspoken women.
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Karlovy Vary Continues to Champion Challenging Voices

Czech director Václav Kadrnka’s “Little Crusader” may have been the first local production in 15 years to win the Crystal Globe for Best Film at Karlovy Vary this year, but in all other respects it’s a typical success story from Eastern Europe’s largest film festival — one that exemplifies its programmers’ dual commitment to highlighting… Read more »



We Are Not Hysterical: 18 Strong Female Voices You Should Read

For every positive attribute a woman may possess ― strength, persistence, decisiveness ― there seems to be a popularly used synonym that casts the same quality in a negative light. Women who lead may be painted as curt, loud or cold ― or, worst of all, hysterical.

To combat this message, the staff at New York City’s Strand Book Store compiled a list of strong female voices who, like Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), refuse to be silenced. 

Writes Strand: “On the heels of yet another female U.S. Senator being told to more or less ‘calm down’ while passionately doing the job she was elected to do, we are again wondering this: why are outspoken women so quickly accused of being hysterical? Being unapologetically loud and standing firm on your values are viewed very differently among genders, and when this perceived ‘hysteria’ halts progress, we have a problem.”

Below are 10 titles by women with strong, clear voices, as selected by Strand Book Store:

Mother of All Questions by Rebecca Solnit

In a tone that is incisive, challenging and more than a little disturbing, Solnit speaks volumes on women who refuse to be silent, the gender binary, and so much more. She is fearless in addressing misogyny, the casualness of rape jokes in contemporary comedy, and the need for men to join the third wave. Reassuring and honest, this essay collection embraces modern day feminism and voices that celebrate it. Looking for more leadership? Check out Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me, or as we consider it, the bible of “mansplaining.”

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

When we grow up, we want to be like Malala. With a strength that many will (thankfully) never need to channel, Malala offers forgiveness to the members of the Taliban that shot her in the head at just 15 years old in Pakistan. Her miraculous recovery can only be overshadowed by her determination to voice the need for girls’ education in a world of suppression. Through education, these girls can pursue the lives they dream of and the independence they may only read about. With her own education and determination, Malala is the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts. 

My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor

Another example of strong women in our government, Sonia Sotomayor was the first Hispanic and third woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. As many stellar female role models, Sotomayor learned early in life to depend on herself if she wanted to succeed. She was inspired by television characters in her career choice, and her sheer determination ensured that she became a lawyer and earned a degree at Yale Law School. Her memoir inspires us to take further steps to see women in every role of federal government.

A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women by Siri Hustvedt

A beautiful collection of essays from novelist and feminist Siri Hustvedt, author of The Blazing World and What I Loved. In the first of three sections, Hustvedt investigates how gender biases affect our perception of the world in a most timely fashion. Her feminist perspective is combined with elegant writing as she draws connections between the oft incompatible humanities and the sciences.

Plenty Ladylike by Claire McCaskill

A wonderful story that is pro-feminine ambition, Plenty Ladylike explores the life of a woman who has faced it all. Paying her way through law school as a waitress (a trying job on its own), McCaskill has faced and overcome opposition her entire career. When seeking support on her way to the Missouri House of Representatives, voters would suggest she just go get married instead. Once she was elected, secret meetings were held by fellow politicians to block her efforts. When given every opportunity to give up, she refused, and that persistence definitely makes us a fan.

No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need by Naomi Klein

The title alone reminds us that now is not a time to be timid and quiet. Klein’s new release offers real action and strategy for countering the surreal world of politics currently dominating the U.S. She also draws a strong correlation for readers between shock politics and climate change based on two decades of extensive research. A great read on in-depth information of the current administration and how to continue the resistance.

Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of The Unruly Woman by Anne Helen Petersen

Turn brazen into a compliment with this soon-to-be-released fireball by Buzzfeed culture writer Anne Helen Petersen. Inside, she examines pop icons who are known for their unruly attitudes (think Lena Dunham or Nicki Minaj) and tops us off with a no-nonsense analysis of why this has become a make it or break it point for today’s celebrities. Plus, you can meet Anne Helen Petersen in person at Strand for the book’s release on June 20th.

Hunger: A Memoir of [My] Body by Roxane Gay

Freshly released and on the coattails of her heartbreaking collection of short stories, Difficult Women, Roxane Gay has captured us again with the new memoir, Hunger. In it, with bravery and honesty that is raw as it is resilient, Gay catalogs a lifetime with being at odds with her own body. In a society where being bigger can actually make you invisible, this book provides a voice to an underrepresented population of women here and around the world.

Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity by Julia Serano

As an activist, professional biologist, and transsexual woman, Julia Serano provides a unique perspective on gender, tying together the social and science perspectives in one well-crafted book. She hits hard on the theme of femininity, emphasizing our predisposition to equate it with weakness and passiveness, and she explores where this theme stems from. She encourages feminist and transgender activists to reclaim “being feminine,” turning it into an empowering term for all.

Sex Object: A Memoir by Jessica Valenti

A New York Times bestseller, Sex Object is praised as “an antidote to the fun and flirty feminism of selfies and self-help” by New Republic. Valenti is unabashed in nailing down the ways that sexism affects all areas of our lives. Using the her young adult life in NYC as a foundation, the personal becomes political in a memoir that is less about storytelling and more about a society that still puts women in second place.

Additional Voices:

Dear Ijeawele, Or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie | Adichie speaks on Feminism with Strand

Body Horror: Capitalism, Fear, Misogyny, Jokes by Anne Elizabeth Moore

Shrill by Lindy West | Lindy West on Shrill at Strand

Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture by Ariel Levy

Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World by Ann Shen

Women Who Don’t Wait in Line: Break the Mold, Lead the Way by Reshma Saujiani

Double Bind: Women on Ambition edited by Robin Romm | Watch Strand’s Double Bind Panel

Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir

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Voices of the Women’s March: ‘This Is When We Stand Up,’ Says Sophia Bush

The nation is weary after an election season filled with rancor, division and controversy. But actress and activist Sophia Bush insists that now more than ever, it’s time to take a stand against President Donald Trump.

Bush, who was among the estimated 500,000 people at the Women’s March on Washington on Saturday, told PEOPLE at the protest that it’s up to all Americans to come together to fight Trump and help protect each other’s rights.

“The election was insidious and I feel like a lot of people sort of threw their hands in the air and said, ‘I don’t want to deal with this.’ And I get it. Donald Trump turned our political system into a circus. It was embarrassing,” she said.

“But at the end of the day, this is where we are now. This is when we double down and we stand up and say, ‘No, you will not destroy our environment to make money for your friends that are already billionaires. No, you will not hit our education system and make life harder for the kids in this country. No, you will not gut our health care system and let people die of cancer and preexisting conditions. No, this isn’t happening.’ ”

RELATED VIDEO: Watch: Natasha Stoynoff Breaks Silence, Accuses Donald Trump of Sexual Attack

Bush — who campaigned for former President Barack Obama in both 2008 and 2012, and for former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016 — told reporters Saturday that she was honored to work with the Obama administration and with Michelle Obama, with whom she moderated a 2016 South by Southwest panel discussion on the former first lady’s Let Girls Learn initiative.

Bush added of her participation in the Women’s March, “I’ve always wanted to show up.”

“The day I knew this march was being organized I called the organizers and I said, ‘Tell me how I can help. Tell me what I can do. I’m there. Literally anything you need.’ ”

“For me, this is how we vote,” Bush said. “What companies you support, where you spend your money. What things you are willing to actually activate around. That’s how you show your government and the world what you want.”

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Senior GP Helen Stokes-Lampard voices fears for services

A leading GP is “profoundly concerned” about how doctors will cope over the busy winter.
BBC News – Health

Tom Hanks’ Brother Secretly Voices Woody When Tom Is Busy, AKA Your Childhood Is A Lie

If you’ve ever had a Woody toy, video game or — in a few cases — seen a “Toy Story” movie, you’ve assumed the voice you heard coming from the cowboy in the yellow-plaid shirt was that of Tom Hanks.

Well, reach for the sky, because there’s been a snake in your boot/ears this whole time. This town was big enough for two all along and the dual-sheriffs are actually Tom Hanks and his brother, Jim Hanks.

UK-based comedian Graham Norton used his show to confront Tom about this mystery back in 2011, bringing out a Woody doll and asking if he had provided the voice.

“No, it’s my brother Jim,” Tom responded smirking, and then continued on to explain, “There are so many computer games and video things and Jim just works on those all year long.”

Clarifying how this initial idea came about, Tom said that it had to do with him being too busy to handle all the extra voice work. He recalled to Norton, being asked rhetorically, “You don’t want to do this,” to which he appears to still respond, “No, get my brother Jim, he’ll do it.”

As my co-worker put it, this means “your child’s cute little Woody toys are a f**king lie.” Another surprised and uncharacteristically outraged co-worker added, “everything is bulls**t.”

How could this be?

Jim Hanks is an actor in his own right, with a long list of credits since 1992. One such recent role in 2015 was for a short titled, “The Other Brother,” where he plays the sibling of a famous Hollywood producer. His character’s job in the short is to give tram tours around Universal Studios, showing off the more well-known brother’s success.

Over a dozen credits are from his work voicing Woody in “Toy Story” properties. Many of these are for video games, but you’ve most likely heard his work in the popular doll versions of Woody (which Norton showed) or if you’re of a certain generation, perhaps in the 2000 movie, “Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins.”

Jim can manipulate his voice to sound almost exactly like his brother’s, which is part of the reason why you’ve never noticed the difference. The other part, of course, being that you didn’t expect a beloved actor and Pixar’s first franchise to betray you.

In the video below, Jim shows off his relative talent, while also admitting what scares him about the level of fame that follows his brother.

The Huffington Post reached out to Jim Hanks’ representation, along with multiple producers from his early ”Toy Story” roles, but nobody wished to comment on the story.

With no further answers to console your shaken memories, it’s time to find your old Woody toy, pull its string and somehow accept that it has actually been pulling your string this whole time.

“You’re my favorite deputy,” Jim Hanks tells you in Tom Hanks’ voice as Woody.

You should have always known you were second string.


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FACE IT: New Plays. New Voices

One of the most heartening and potentially exciting things in reporting on theatre is discovering new voices. Everyone laments–fairly–that there are too few new plays and writers whose work make it to Broadway. Which is why a show like HAND TO GOD was important. Even though it didn’t ultimately win the Tony as best play, most audiences clearly enjoy the highly original work by Robert Askins….a fresh name for many of us.

Granted, few shows of ANY kind ever make it to Broadway or remain there for long. Those that do tend to come from well known names who understandably make investors and producers feel more secure. Off-Broadway–as well as in many venues around the country–are where we see and hear new works. Even when they are not always fully formed, you sense that you are listening to something raw and often special.

This past week I saw several plays in New York written by folks we will definitely be hearing from for years to come. Branden jacobs-Jenkins is just 30 years old and he’s already won off- Broadway awards for his shows Appropriate and An Octoroon. And now his latest one, Gloria, has just had its run extended at the Vineyard on E. 15th street

While far from perfect, Gloria shows a real talent at work. This is a two and a half act piece, and progresses chronologically. The first takes place inside a magazine office in 2010, where an assortment of six characters gossip, snipe at one another, and bemoan their profession: (“No one reads magazines for the truth”) and reveal their ambitions and insecurities. (“I’ll die if I’m 30 and still in a cubicle.” “Now I have to fact check the fact checkers!”) “And about those unpaid interns, one character muses, “they’re too entitled to do any real work.”

It’s fair to call Gloria a biting sitcom in the first act, until an unexpected and violent outburst occurs, shocking characters and audiences alike. I won’t disclose anymore, though suffice to say it seems eerily prescient. The second act takes place eight months later, as three of the magazine’s former staffers find themselves at a Starbucks, where they testily compare the books they are writing about the incident. For the final addendum, we are in the present time at a Hollywood production office where the same subject matter is now fodder for potential television series.

The playwright’s ideas are compelling and highly contemporary: how we quickly turn grief and loss into material to be packaged, sold and viewed; How the victims of a terrible tragedy choose what they remember; how they play with the facts; How odd heroes are made. (“Why does dying make someone interesting”?) “Have you considered turning this into something”? is the recurring question for characters trying to capitalize on a tragedy they may have been only tangentially part of.

Good ideas all, though the script could have gone through another draft or two, made sharper and run deeper. Branden Jacobs-jenkins is understandably hot, and non- profit companies like the Vineyard must be thrilled to get one of his works as quickly as it comes off the press. However, words can be smart on the page but come off as less than organic on stage. Still, his career is taking off and there will be much ahead.

The same can be said of Joshua Harmon, who is 32 and whose new play Significant Other is now at the Laura Pels, produced by the ever resourceful Roundabout Company. Harmon is previously known for Bad Jews, which started off -Broadway and is now doing exceedingly well across the country. Significant Other might be called Sad Gays, but in fact it is much more than that. This one is about four best friends in their late twenties (Think Sex and the City with one of the quartet being a man.) The character of Jordan Berman watches as, over a few years, his three gal pals hook up and head to the altar. As the playwright said after the show, this piece is not really about one’s gender, as much as it is about what it feels like to be the last single standing as one heads into his or her 30s.

This is fine writing…very funny, painful and touching. There are countless memorable lines: “I have found my soul mate. I know that sounds funny since we have nothing to talk about.” “Last night I went out with a guy who says while he’s personally not into cannibalism, he can understand people who are.” “Do you think it’s weird that I want to have kids just so I can discipline them?”

The play is totally contemporary, taking place in New York City today and dealing with a millenial’s various crushes and dating mishaps. But mostly it’s about friendship and the challenges of keeping them intact as the participants find their significant others. While it is not explicitly about being gay, it can be seen as the perfect play to follow the Supreme Court decision last week. Yes, everyone might now have the right to love and marry who they choose. But that also may mean more pressure on the gay community to find the right partners, make the full commitments, and even play new roles in others’ weddings. “How can you be a bridesmaid?” asks one of the young women to Jordan, her best friend. “You can do anything now,” he answers, badly hurt in the play’s most searing confrontation.

Playwright Joshua Harmon says this is a personal if not autobiographical play. Whatever it is, the character of Jordan rings very true. Part of this is due to the sensational performance of Gideon Glick. I can’t believe he won’t be racking up awards. He runs the gamut of emotions and when he wails, “I’m 29 and no one has ever said they love me”–well, that will hit home for folks of all stripes. Glick is a great physical actor: he does a long bit on whether to press the send button on an email to a man crush: “My brain knows I shouldn’t do it but my finger keeps crawling over,” he says in a desperate, unanswered phone call. While there are no explicitly bad Jews in this one, there are plenty of good jokes that will resonate on that score. When Jordan dates a Jewish guy, he notes a kind of shorthand “It just means we can talk about our mothers without it being a buzz kill.”

The show is beautifully directed by Trip Cullman and the actors are impeccable, even when they play seemingly cliché roles: the pushy narcissist; the overweight supportive one; the dour wry one. Lindsay Mendez, Sas Goldberg and Carra Patterson are those girlfriends, who hit every mark and go beyond type. And Barbara Barrie is splendid as always as Jordan’s grandmother. “Don’t die young–but don’t get old” she warns him.

Most these playwrights are emerging for us, but they have obviously been plying their trade for years, and have resumes filled with all kinds of written material, and shows that started in fringe festivals and multiple workshops. Tom Jacobson has one of those resumes though his show The Twentieth Century Way is his first to make it into New York. It’s playing through July 19 at the Rattlesnake theatre. Like Significant Other, The Twentieth Century Way is catching a moment. It is playing smack in the middle of the West Village, a few blocks from the Stonewall Inn–and I saw it on the night of the Supreme Court decision. Not only were the streets outside overflowing with celebrants, the spirit even infused the experience of this play—which dramatizes the actual story of a vice squad in Long Beach, California in 1914, that specifically targeted homosexuals and gay bars.

This is a two character piece, but in fact you get to know at least a dozen. Theoretically, these are two actors who meet before auditioning for some movie project. But they quickly morph into police officers, important long beach figures who were caught in compromising situations, newspaper reporters and editors, and more. There are many metaphorical lines–a few too many: “the heart of improvisation is solving a problem,” “you don’t have to feel, just act like you feel,” “this might not be an audition….this might be an arrest,” “everyone is acting..all the time,” “I don’t exist– I belong in the mind of the audience.” We get it.

A lot of the obvious could be eliminated. There is enough strong material here, including the very fact of this little known attack on, and exposure of, gays in what was considered to be one of the most morally upright and religious of communities. The performances by Will Bradley and Robert Mammana are nothing less than tour de forces. I try not to call actors brave simply because they eventually take all their clothes off. And even though I wish they didn’t have to say the words “naked truth–” it really does make sense here. I hope The Twentieth Century Way picks up traction….especially at this moment in time. The big battles have been won, but it’s always good to recall the little ones fought and lost along the way.

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‘The Trials Of Spring’ Documentary Project Amplifies Voices Of Women In The Arab Spring

A new multimedia documentary project is spotlighting the vital roles of women in the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings.

“The Trials of Spring,” is a series of six shorts, a feature film and news reports by The New York Times that offer a rarely seen look at the gripping personal experiences of female activists in the wave of revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa.

The films profile nine women across Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, Bahrain and Yemen, with each detailing their journey through uprisings and crackdowns. While each story is unique, they often share an arc similar to the larger political developments of the post-revolution countries in the region, where an initial hope for change is quashed by increasing repression and conflict.

In the Syria short, for example, archival footage shows four women known as the Brides of Peace defiantly march in protest of the Assad regime while wearing homemade wedding dresses. In interviews after fleeing the country, two of the brides describe how their triumphant demonstration caused security forces to imprison them for months.

trials of springKinda Zour, one of the Brides of Peace from Syria.

As the films show, many countries have regressed on women’s rights since the Arab Spring.

A 2013 United Nations report found that 99.3 percent of women in Egypt are subject to sexual harassment, and female activists have been forced to undergo virginity tests after being arrested for demonstrating. In an incident that sparked widespread outrage, police fatally shot female activist Shaimaa al-Sabbagh in the street during a protest earlier this year.

The team of filmmakers and producers, most of them female, presents the cross-platform project as a fascinating counter-narrative to misconceptions of women in the region as submissive to the repression of women’s rights. Instead, the films show brave acts of protest both at home and in the streets, and depict women as driving forces behind many protest movements.

“I went from I think a stereotyped understanding, to some degree, of the women in the Middle East and North Africa, to something that was more nuanced and understanding of their diversity and their strength and resilience,” said producer Beth Levison in a call with reporters on Tuesday.

Levison said stories about the Arab Spring lacked female perspectives, with media focusing mostly on men with guns and shifts in political power.

“I don’t think enough stories are told about the women who are the mortar, who are holding things together,” Levison explained. “I think that the narrative that’s often told about conflict is about who’s in what position, rather than about what’s happening on a day-to-day level to try to bring peace. It’s kind of like that old saying, ‘If it bleeds it leads.'”

Hend Nafea, a young religious Muslim woman whose story is a lead role in the feature film.

While the project puts a spotlight on activists, the films themselves are not heavy-handed works of advocacy. Instead, the works hope to amplify the voices of the women who are profiled.

“We certainly wanted to avoid the thought that here are some Western filmmakers trying to help these Arab women — because they’re incredibly strong women who can help themselves and are doing a lot to help their countries,” said the project’s Digital Director Lauren Feeney.

The short films will debut on June 7 as a special project on The New York Times homepage and will culminate with the feature focusing on Egypt that premieres at the Human Rights Watch film festival on June 12.

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Batman: Arkham Knight Trailer Score: Voices of Arkham


The cast of Arkham speak their minds about this triumphant finale to Rocksteady’s trilogy, but do any of them have anything interesting to say? Videos Hub

Eden Sher voices Disney’s first kick-butt princess for Star vs. the Forces of Evil

By her own admission, Eden Sher lives in an almost perpetual state of hyperbole.

“That’s why I always have to try and keep myself in check,” this 24 year-old actress admitted during a recent phone interview. “Otherwise — whenever anyone asks me what I’m working on now — my automatic response is that it’s ‘ … THE BEST THING EVER!’ “

Mind you, it’s easy to understand why this Critics’ Choice winner (Sher took home the Television Award for Best Comedy Supporting Actress in 2013) is so upbeat these days, given the year that Sue Heck (i.e., the character that Eden plays on ABC‘s long-running sitcom, The Middle) has been having. Between the stresses that this college-bound senior has been facing while applying to schools — not to mention being blindsided by a surprise marriage proposal from her boyfriend Darrin — Heck, as a character, has been giving Sher a heck of a lot of fun stuff to play over the past year.


But since The Middle just finished shooting its sixth season this past Friday, Eden is now pouring her over abundance of enthusiasm into her next project, Star vs. the Forces of Evil. Which is this brand-new animated series which will debut on Disney XD tonight at 8 p.m. ET / PT.

“As someone who just loves animation and comic books, I have to say that I have never seen a character like Star Butterfly before. She is Disney’s first-ever kick-butt princess. And I am just thrilled beyond words that they chose me to voice this character,” Sher said.

Mind you, when Eden originally auditioned for this part back in 2013, she wasn’t sure that the show’s producers actually did want her to be the voice of Star. Who’s this wand-toting teenage princess from another dimension who’s been sent to Earth to live with the Diaz family.


“I come from the live-action world. Where if you audition for a part, you typically find out that day — at the absolute latest, by the end of the week — whether or not you got the part,” Sher explained. “So when I went in and auditioned for Star, it kind of killed me that, by the end of that week, they still hadn’t called. Because from the very first second that I got the breakdown for this character, I just loved Star. I so wanted to be the voice of this character. But when I didn’t hear back from Daron (Nefcy, the creator / producer of Star vs. the Forces of Evil), I just assumed that I didn’t get it. So I was like ‘Well, that sucks. It wasn’t me. I guess that it will be someone else.’ And then I just forgot about it.”

But then two months later when Eden found that she had in fact been cast as the voice of Star Butterfly, Sher began bouncing off the walls with glee. Which proved to be a bit of a problem once Eden got in the recording booth.

“You have to understand that this was the very first time that I had voiced a character for animation. So since I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, I began jumping around the booth while I was recording Star’s lines for the pilot. And they actually had to stop this recording session to explain that the mics that they use are so sensitive that they can actually pick up when you’re moving around inside the booth. So I had to then teach myself how to stand still while I was recording Star’s lines. Which is tougher than you might think because Star Butterfly is such an active and awesome character,” Sher enthused.


And clearly animation fans agree with Eden. Given that — just based on the title sequence of this new Disney XD series (which was shown once just before a Disney Television Animation panel got underway at Comic-Con last July but wound up being captured on someone’s iPhone and then get uploaded to YouTube) — Star vs. the Forces of Evil fan art began popping up all over the Internet last Fall.

“I remember coming in for a recording session about that same time and seeing all of this Star fan art up on the walls at Disney Television Animation. And I asked ‘Does stuff like this typically happen before a show officially goes on the air?’ And they told me that this almost never happens. That animation fans usually have to see a few episodes before they then decide whether they want to embrace a new show or not. But in Star vs. the Forces of Evil‘s case, that title sequence was all they needed to see. Once they saw Star & Marco jumping from dimension to dimension, they then realized that this show was going to be something special. Which is when they started sending in all of these drawings of the show’s characters,” Sher stated.

And it wasn’t just animation fans who liked what they saw with Star vs. the Forces of Evil. Disney XD officials were so impressed with the finished episodes of this new animated series that they’d received that they actually renewed Star for Season 2 back on February 12th of this year. Which was a full six weeks before the first episode of Star vs. the Forces of Evil was officially scheduled to air on Disney XD.

“And news like that would have normally freaked me out,” Eden admitted. “But I believe so strongly in this show and the character of Star, who’s this vaguely aggressive girly princess. Honestly, I’ve never identified so much with a cartoon character before. I mean, Star is so much like me in that she’s always wrong. She’s always messing up. But at the same time, this character has such a good heart. Star is fiercely loyal when it comes to her friends and never backs down from a fight. There’s so much going on there. And that’s what makes this character so much fun to voice,” Sher concluded.

“I just wish that — when I was growing up — that there would have been a television show on with a character like Star Butterfly. Because if I were a little girl and had a character like Star that I could have idolized, I would have …,” Eden paused and then laughed. “Well, I probably would have turned out exactly the same. But if there’s a generation of little girls who actually do wind up being inspired by this character that Daron has created, Disney’s first kick-butt princess … Oh boy, I am more than ready for that. I would love to be associated with a project like that. That would be a dream come true for me.”

If you want to see if Sher’s dream really does come true, do check out tonight’s premiere of Star vs. the Forces of Evil. Which airs on Disney XD starting at 8 p.m. ET / PT.
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Voices from the House of Shadows and Light: Volume One

Voices from the House of Shadows and Light: Volume One

New – After a nearly two-decade-long journey, Wolfe Christopher has returned with the most of all his books that will ever be. The international author of Titanic 2012: A Chance for Redemption brings to the world a very intense and chaotic look at this life. Love, happiness, anger, confusion, and curiosity are just many of the energies that bring each poem to life. This collection is the first of many poems yet to come for Wolfe. He often jokes that this is the cheapest form of therapy thatas ev

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The Voices Official Trailer #1 (2015) – Anna Kendrick, Ryan Reynolds Movie HD

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The Voices Official Trailer #1 (2015) – Anna Kendrick, Ryan Reynolds Movie HD

Jerry is a seemingly normal man trying to succeed in his new job at the Milton Bathtub Factory. He lives in a normal apartment the type you would expect from a young bachelor with his dog, Bosco, and his cat, Mr. Whiskers. Yet something seems off. As the new guy at work, Jerry is asked to help plan the company picnic, and he meets Fiona, an attractive English girl from accounting. Jerry immediately takes a liking to Fiona and excitedly goes home to tell his pets about her. And surprisingly, they answer. But all this is just the beginning of an insanely bizarre and twisted tale.

The Movieclips Trailers channel is your destination for the hottest new trailers the second they drop. Whether it’s the latest studio release, an indie horror flick, an evocative documentary, or that new RomCom you’ve been waiting for, the Movieclips team is here day and night to make sure all the best new movie trailers are here for you the moment they’re released.

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Unveiled: Voices of Women in Afghanistan

Unveiled: Voices of Women in Afghanistan

"We have been forgotten, and we need the right to speak. If no one hears what we say, nothing will change." In 1997, during the Taliban’s repressive rule, award-winning photographer Harriet Logan went to Afghanistan and encountered a group of extraordinary women whose strong characters and dreams for the future made an indelible impression on her. Despite the peril to her life and theirs, she captured their lives in a series of striking photographs. The women risked their safety by speaking to and being photographed by her because they felt that the outside world needed to know what was happening to them. The images of women from 1997 contrast sharply with those from the 1970s, when they were free to dress as they wished, speak up for their rights, and pursue their educations alongside men. After the Taliban’s defeat at the end of 2001, Logan returned to Afghanistan, where she found many of these women again and met others. These courageous and intelligent women shared with her stories of unimaginable sadness and abiding strength through the long years of war and uncertainty. Zargoona, a widow, reveals that she could not afford to treat her cancer because Taliban law prevented women from earning a living. Nahed, a schoolteacher, has vowed never to marry because even her own brothers beat her, Durkhanai, the daughter of a famous television anchor-woman, tells how she experienced the joys of family life and the pain of lost freedom all at once: "We were like birds in a cage. For me, maybe my cage was good — my home was full of happiness. We love each other here and we are not hungry. But outside it was terrible." Nine-year-old Sanam rejoices that she can carry her doll without beingbeaten for idolatry. Latifa lost her foot when she stepped on a mine and subsequently left her house only four times during Taliban rule. She begs of women across the world: "Please help us Afghan women. We have just come out of a dark period into the sunshine. Learn from us so that what we have suffered will never happen again." Logan’s photographs reveal the world of these women, from portraits of them at home to the war-torn landscapes of Kabul and its marketplaces newly brimming with beauty products. This stunning journey in text and image will open the reader’s eyes to the Afghanistan of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
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Eyes of the Storms: The Voices of South Asian-American Women (Second Revised Edition)

Eyes of the Storms: The Voices of South Asian-American Women (Second Revised Edition)

New – “Eyes of a Storms” explores second-generation South-Asian American women and their perceptions of daily social practices in the United States. The book is a blend of theoretical critique, political analysis, and young peoples’ stories, based on a year-long feminist ethnography with a cross-national sample of twenty-five women. Spending a day in the life of each woman, the author ate and drank with them, and talked at length about issues including work, families, food, clothing, partners, a

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‘Let It Go’ Video Features 21 Character Voices From Disney, Pixar

Here’s the latest “Let It Go” viral video sensation: Dallas Baptist University student Brian Hull performs the “Frozen” song in the voices of 21 Disney and Pixar characters.

And most of them are spot-on.

Hull told that he did the song as part of a contest to win a $ 100 Disney gift card, and he almost got cold feet.

The night before I submitted my video, I was having second thoughts about how good it was, so I posted it to my Facebook, just so I could get honest feedback from my friends,” he was quoted as saying. “The next thing I know, they shared it over 200 times and now, the video has over a half million views in a day and a half.”

The 22-year-old said he’s studying to be a vocal performance major. Looks like he’s passed his first big audition.

(h/t i09)
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