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Entertainment news and blog articles from The Huffington Post

Brazilian Police Push Ahead With Charges Against Ryan Lochte (Thu, 25 Aug 2016 18:18:32 -0400)


SAO PAULO  - Brazilian police recommended on Thursday that prosecutors present charges against Ryan Lochte for a false crime report, after the U.S. swimmer told police and media last week that he and three team mates were robbed at gunpoint during the Rio Olympics.


A judge must approve the charge.


Brazilian police said no such crime took place and that Lochte was responsible for an act of vandalism in a gas station while returning home drunk after a party.


A police statement on Thursday said the officer in charge of the investigation had recommended to judges that Lochte be deposed in the United States and that a transcript be sent to the ethical commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).


(Reporting by Tatiana Ramil; Writing by Daniel Flynn; Editing by Brad Haynes)

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Gina Rodriguez Explains Why Latinos Need To Have Each Other's Back (Thu, 25 Aug 2016 17:54:35 -0400)

Gina Rodriguez candidly spoke with Latina Magazine for her cover story in the October issue about how powerful she felt the Latino community would be if more people banded together to fight for common causes and lifted one another up.


Though she noted that Latinos are helping one another in Hollywood and, beyond, she felt the community as a whole could be doing better.


“Sadly, our culture has been living the crab-in-the-barrel effect,” she said to Latina. “We’re so afraid there isn’t enough room for all of us that we fight to get to the top. We don’t need to do that. There’s room for all of us. We’re stronger in numbers. As Latinos, we put Barack in office. We could do the same in making sure that Donald Trump doesn’t get in office. We are that strong.”


And the 32-year-old actress has made a concerted effort to practice what she preached.


Rodriguez, who plays Andrea Fleytas in the upcoming film “Deepwater Horizon,” told the magazine that if she didn’t land the role, she wanted to make sure it at least went to another Latina.


“It didn’t need to be me,” she explained. “I told Peter, ‘If it’s not me, it could be Natalie Martinez. It can be Melonie Diaz. It can be Génesis Rodriguez. It can be Stephanie Beatriz. It can be Melissa Fumero. It can be any Latina out there crushing it and killing the game.’”



A photo posted by Gina Rodriguez (@hereisgina) on




Rodriguez’s mission to lift others up as she rises in her career isn’t limited to the Latino community; she's also committed to representing and advocating on behalf of all women.


“A strong leader is one who creates other leaders,” she explained. “So if I am encouraging young girls to take control of their lives, to spread kindness, then I am doing the job God put me here to do. With every attempt we make within the industry, with every project I take, it will be to advance women. Not only women of color but all women and men.”


Read more of Gina Rodriguez’s interview with Latina magazine here.  

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MTV Decoded Answers The Question ‘Are Hispanic People White?’ (Thu, 25 Aug 2016 17:47:01 -0400)




When it comes to matters of race and ethnicity, things can get very complicated. Thankfully, Franchesa Ramsey is always ready to decode everything.


In a new episode of MTV News, the host of “Decoded” tackled the question “Are Hispanics white?” The answer is, unsurprisingly, complex. 


As an ethnicity, there’s a limitless amount of racial identities that can live within the Latino community. That means Latinos can be asian, black, mixed race and, yes, even white. 


“If you ever hear anyone say, ‘This is America and 77 percent of it is white.’ Whether they know it or not, they’re including a very large number of people who identify as Hispanic or Latino,” Ramsay says in the video as she breaks down “Hispanic” isn’t a racial category in the census. 


Ramsey also enlisted the help of YouTube vlogger Kat Lazo to help further break down the difference between Hispanic and Latino (or the gender neutral term Latinx), plus explain the differences between race and ethnicity. 


“The reason this gets so confusing when we’re talking about Latinx in America is that there’s a broad ethnic Latinx identity that has a complex history with lots of different racial groups living together,” Lazo explains. “Latinx isn’t a race but we’re definitely racialized as a people, which is confusing and I’m the one who said it.” 


Indeed it is. Check out their full breakdown of the topic in the video above. 

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Hillary Clinton Says She Stands With Leslie Jones After Vicious Nude Photo Hack (Thu, 25 Aug 2016 17:16:39 -0400)


Hillary Clinton is the latest powerful voice to speak up on Leslie Jones’ behalf after the actress fell victim to a horrid cyber hack that exposed her personal information and nude photos online.


The Democratic nominee for president tweeted her support for Jones on Thursday, letting the actress know that she’s with her. 






Fellow politician Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), along with a slew of celebrities like Questlove, Octavia Spencer, Katy Perry and “Ghostbusters” director Paul Feig were some of the many people to rally around Jones after hackers posted her nude photos and personal information on her website.


Jones’ people took down her website shortly after the vicious invasion of privacy occurred. The incident is currently under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security. 


“ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in New York does currently have an open investigation,” a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security told Variety on Thursday. “As a matter of agency policy, we are unable to disclose any information related to an active investigation.”



Jones has not yet commented on the hack, but The Huffington Post has reached out to her representatives and will update this post accordingly. 


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Tyler Perry Is Really Over Being Asked About His New Mostly White Cast (Thu, 25 Aug 2016 17:15:46 -0400)


Tyler Perry is “so sick” of the backlash about his decision to cast a majority white cast for his new TLC drama-series, “Too Close To Home.”


During a Monday interview on The Tom Joyner Morning Show, the Hollywood director recalled his response to a question he was asked at a press conference about writing the series, which stars Heather Locklear, around a white family.


“I’m so sick of folks asking me why I have a show full of white folks,” he told Joyner during the radio interview. “What the hell? Nobody asked Norman Lear why he wrote for black people all those years. Stop asking me that damn question. People are people.” 


Perry later elaborated on his thoughts with TMZ when a reporter asked him about the criticism.


“If you write a story about a woman and a man who’s having pain and issues and trying to get over things, it’s the same way for a black person as a white person or anybody else, so that’s just ridiculous. People need to let all that go,” he told TMZ. 



Check out more of Tyler Perry’s interview on the Tom Joyner Morning Show here.

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Delta Airlines Pulls Chris Rock Special Over Anti-Gay Slurs (Thu, 25 Aug 2016 16:51:46 -0400)


Delta Airlines has pulled a 2008 Chris Rock special called “Kill the Messenger” from the company’s aircrafts following a complaint that Rock used anti-gay language during the program, including the word “faggot.”


The airline company issued a statement to GayTravel.com about the decision, claiming that “Kill the Messenger” should never have been uploaded as a streaming in-flight option. That statement, which was subsequently sent to The Huffington Post, reads:



“The Chris Rock ‘Kill the Messenger’ segment should not have been uploaded on flights based on our criteria for excluding onboard programming that includes content featuring explicit language, slurs, extreme violence, and explicit scenes. We apologize to any customers who were offended by the content or our airing of the segment, and we are working as quickly as possible to remove it from our aircraft. Our commitment to inclusion and respect of all customers is rooted in Delta’s values and culture, and we proudly embrace diverse people, thinking and styles.”



According to GayTravel.com, a Grindr employee complained about the video after watching it on a recent flight from New York to Los Angeles. The viewer also tweeted his discontent: 






Earlier this month, Delta landed in hot water for running an edited version of “Carol” that did not include a same-sex kiss that was present in the original version of the film.


Requests from The Huffington Post for comments from Rock about the situation were not immediately returned.

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Ann Coulter Will Be Featured On Comedy Central's 'Roast Of Rob Lowe' (Thu, 25 Aug 2016 16:45:20 -0400)

Ann Coulter, infamous right-wing pundit and author of books like Slander: Liberal Lies About The American Right, High Crimes And Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton and the lesser known The Poky Little Puppy Is A Drain On Our Economy And Should Be Put Down, doesn’t have many fans on either side of the aisle.


Now she’s going to be taking part in the “Comedy Central Roast of Rob Lowe.”






Yep, this is going to go really well.

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Live Like You Mean It. The Celebrity Wishmaker Meets Carolina Bacardi. (Thu, 25 Aug 2016 16:34:36 -0400)

Focus on the positive that you have. Envision your future with hope. Be always kind and never forget to be classy. Simonetta Lein


Driving in Los Angeles with my friend and publicist Tracie, I can finally see the ocean, which is always a beautiful and calming sight. We buzz the door, it opens, and waiting for us at the top of the stairs is very special woman: Carolina Bacardi. I am in her beautiful home, suffused with bright natural light, and from where you can see the lapping waves on the horizon. We sit down in the living room while her son runs and plays, and we start talking, feeling completely at ease, and I immediately discover a person who brings so much value with her story. The story of a family, a myth and a tradition, a migration from Cuba to America when the family became too powerful in Cuba and they were at risk, she says. Her personal story as a very beautiful and humble woman who lives totally according with the "pay it forward" philosophy which is the cause of The Wishwall Foundation that I founded. Being The Wishmaker, such a person intrigues me so much, that I know I absolutely must interview her. She offers us something refreshing to drink. It is hot in LA and dry, a real problem for those who live there. The water supply in California is a massive issue, as she points out, and we need to use it very wisely.

2016-08-24-1472061476-3739630-carolinabacardi.jpg

When you were a child, did you wish for the career and for the life that you have manifested today?

I was always part of the Bacardi family, I was born with it and I never thought about a different life. Sometimes in life it is what it is, and as a child I didn't know that my life could have been different than being part of my family.

**And what a family! From the New York Times we read: "Even after the Castro regime nationalized the company's facilities in 1960, the year almost all of the Bacardi family and many of the company's executives fled (leaving the nearly century-old coconut palm planted at the original distillery, as company legend has it, suddenly to wither and die), the Bacardis became the face, and one of the largest sources of money, behind the anti-Castro movement in America, which sometimes pursued its mission with almost unbelievable audacity." Life for the family in Cuba was too dangerous so they emigrated in Puerto Rico. At that point there was a sort of a Rum war, everyone wanted to know the secret recipe of the Bacardi and witnesses revealed that "El comandante" Che Guevara forced one of the Bacardi employees who stayed in Cuba to write down what he knew about it. That paper went missing and the recipe of Bacardi rum remains a secret to this day.

Name a wish that you had for your life or for humanity that finally came true.

My brother has a beautiful daughter with a rare disease called cardiomyopathy. I think that more people should know about it. Basically your heart grows too much for your chest. The family discovered that she needed to have her heart transplanted when she was four. My grandfather decided to donate money to discover a cure for this rare pathology and we all started to be involved as a family. Finally, we were able to have a heart transplanted but someone has to die to give someone else a life and that thought is always with me. Now she is twelve and she is a happy girl. That is my personal biggest wish come true.

**Carolina is truly emotional about this family story and she shows a personal and family commitment to help out other children affected by this rare disease. Thanks to the Bacardi family, life for other children will be greatly improved, and that to me is a symbol of a family who never lost contact with the real sense of life.

If you were granted one wish for humanity or for our planet, what would it be?

I wish for more water in California. It is a huge problem. I teach my son not to abuse water.

**Yes, climate change is real. Scientists keep on repeating it and year after year we see the effects of climate change more and more. California already has a desert climate and it was exacerbated by climate change. We can pretend it doesn't exist or we can become aware and start to live our lives without misusing resources. We have to start now.

If you could go back in time and ask one question from anyone from history, who would you want to meet and what question would you ask?

I would want to talk with my great-great-grandfather. I always wanted to ask him how did he come up with the idea of creating Bacardi. I have so many family stories I would have liked to witness, like Hemingway being a friend of my grandfather or Fidel Castro going to high school with my father.

**In 1862 Don Facundo Bacardi Masso' decided to create a rum like no other. He spent more than ten years trying to perfect the formula. Despite being on the verge of bankruptcy for almost forty years he never gave up with his dream and was helped by his wife who invested her inheritance for him. She was the person who also suggested the fruit-bat as the symbol that then became world-famous for Bacardi rum. The story continues when Facundo's third son opened an office in 1890 in the city of Havana and it was there that after the Spanish-American victory the American soldiers would mix their Coca-Cola with Bacardi Rum. And so the legendary Cuba Libre was born, celebrating freedom. Her family represents so much more than a drink, however. It represents the wish, the dream of an entrepreneur and his wife who together never gave up until they became leaders and part of history.
I found it very sweet that when after the interview we went out for dinner and at the end, Carolina ordered a Bacardi Rum with ice. She acts in such a simple way, and that brand it is not just a product, it means her traditions, her story, her family. And having a sip of it, is in a way, continuing that tradition.

Please tell me what influences your unique sense of style?

I go with whatever works for me, I don't follow the sense of style of trends, if I feel good in it, then that influences me.

Who is your favorite fashion designer or brand right now and why?

I love Prada, it is always very classy and chic.

What is your fashion mantra?

Jeans and a white shirt are super sexy. I believe in simple and classy, you can never go wrong with that.

What is your final message for our readers?

You have to focus on the positive that you have. I personally know that I come from a privileged family and I never take it for granted. I really want to remind anyone to never take anything for granted. Friends are a very big support for me, so my message is to dedicate time to friendship because it is one of the most precious bonds you can have.

**Thank you Carolina for allowing me to be part of a piece of history for a moment. I wish you the best, my friend. A big shout out to Tracie May Wagner and I still remember our women's dinner with lots of joy. We should do it again.

As always, make your wishes come true.

From Philadelphia, The Celebrity Wishmaker Simonetta Lein

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Credits: William Russell Edu, Collaborator. Carlo Battillocchi, photographer. Getty Images.

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Ryan Lochte Signs First Sponsor Since Rio 'Robbery' Ruse (Thu, 25 Aug 2016 16:19:45 -0400)


Just days after Speedo, Ralph Lauren and two other sponsors dropped Ryan Lochte following a scandalous, booze-fueled night in Rio, things are starting to look up for the embattled Olympic athlete.


On Thursday, Lochte locked down a new sponsor, a throat lozenge company by the name of “Pine Bros.” As part of the contract, ESPN reports, he’ll push a tagline that the cough drops are “forgiving on your throat.”


Both Ryan Lochte and the company confirmed the news in tweets Thursday afternoon:










That ethos of forgiveness carried through in a statement by Pine Bros CEO Rider McDowell, who seemed eager to overlook the international incident his new spokesman triggered earlier this month.


“We all make mistakes, but they’re rarely given front-page scrutiny. He’s a great guy who has done incredible work with charities,” McDowell said. “I’m confident that Pine Bros. fans will support our decision to give Ryan a second chance.”


“Love your brothers,” text on the company website reads ― somewhat appropriately, given Lochte’s status as a consummate “bro.” “They’ll love you back.” 


This story has been updated with comments from Pine Bros and Lochte.

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John Krasinski On Playing The Iconic Jack Ryan: 'There’s Definitely Fear' (Thu, 25 Aug 2016 16:14:13 -0400)






John Krasinski has played every character from our favorite goofball Jim in “The Office” to a badass soldier in “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.” But his newest character might be the biggest departure from his real-life personality yet.


Krasinski is the latest actor to take on the role of Jack Ryan, the CIA agent from Tom Clancy’s popular novels, in an upcoming Amazon series from “Lost” showrunner Carlton Cuse. With this role, Krasinski joins the crew of Hollywood actors who have played the part of Jack Ryan in the past, including Harrison Ford, Alec Baldwin, Chris Pine and Ben Affleck.





“He’s one of my favorite characters of all time,” Krasinski told The Huffington Post when he stopped by to talk about his upcoming role in the film “The Hollars,” which he also directed. “Tom Clancy’s books are phenomenal and I think that it’s such a huge role, not only for me personally, but I know for a lot of people.”


As for whether the show will follow the plot of the books completely, the actor said you can except some more modern dilemmas.


“They’re sort of more ripped-from-the-headlines type stuff, so the first year, the villain, or I don’t know what you want to call it, is it’s taking on ISIS for sure,” Krasinski told Collider.


The project, which will stream on Amazon, is a product of Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes production company. Krasinski and Bay first worked together on this year’s “13 Hours,” where Krasinski showed off his action chops.



“There’s definitely fear, like you’re terrified to take on the role,” said Krasinski of portraying such an iconic character.


There was talk of the project being made into a two-hour movie, but Cuse and Krasinski agreed that it would not do Ryan justice.


“A two-hour movie for Jack Ryan may not be the best serving medium because the books, they’re so much longer,” said Krasinski. “It’s this great opportunity to do a longer-form storytelling where you can actually really delve into the character the way he was in the books, rather than jam it all in into two hours.”

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Band Blows Up Parrot! (Thu, 25 Aug 2016 15:37:51 -0400)

THIS JUST IN! Trae Pierce and the T-Stone Band blew the roof off the Green Parrot!

'I expected to find a crater when I came back today!' laughed John Vagnoni, co-owner/overseer of the GP, and the man with the incredible ear who selects the bands. Not a day passes he doesn't receive CDs from hopefuls requesting to play.

John must be breaking a lot of hearts. Daily mountains of submissions arrive and he has to mine for the diamonds.

I asked him if he's ever made anyone cry when turning them down, and he said, 'I hope not!'

John mixes things up and these days on Sundays, from noon to 4pm Captain Blues, a local treasure, takes the stage and anyone with an instrument and any courage can join an impromptu jazzy/bluesy band. Captain Blues leads meanwhile belting out tunes.

See Captain Blues here doing Otis Redding: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4ahAAG5yTA

Because Trae Pierce, who has won 4 Grammys, is a generous man, for the last set of the weekend, Sunday Sound Check, as they call it from 5pm to 7pm, he gave the microphone to Captain Blues and when the Captain was done Trae graciously said, 'You weren't supposed to outdo me!'

Fact is Trae Pierce and The T-Stone Band are loaded with supersonic talent and since they visited last time all of town has been clamoring for their return.

Please look them up on their website www.traepierceandthetstoneband.com and/or iTunes.

Keyboard player David D1 Grant assures me the release date for their new single is merely months away and a whole album can be expected in 2017. Yay!

Along with my first love www.Xperimento.com, TPTS is now permanently on the biannual trek to remote Key West. We're grateful for the quality willing to travel to our faraway isle. Just another reason why Key West is the best.

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The Soundtrack Of Our Lives: A Lesson From The Tragically Hip (Thu, 25 Aug 2016 15:02:30 -0400)

I am not a musician and I am not Canadian born, so really I have no right to be adding my voice to the dozens, if not hundreds of articles and blog posts written about Saturday night. But I feel compelled to at least try to explain to my non-Canadian friends what I experienced... and therein lies the problem. There are no words. How do you even begin to describe an event that you know, even in the midst of it, that in years to come Canadians will be asking each other "Where were you on the 20th August 2016?" No, I am not referring to a terrorist attack, a devastating natural disaster, or a political scandal; I am talking about The Tragically Hip's concert. Yes, a single musical performance by a rock and roll band! And when you grasp for words and come up with 'epic',' historic', 'unprecedented... I can almost feel your eyebrows raising and the scepticism in your gaze, especially as many of you may have never even heard of the band!

You see, The Hip (I have been in Canada long enough to have learned that you never say 'tragically' before 'hip' or 'ice' before hockey, unless you enjoy being laughed at!) has for the past 3 decades been Canada's most popular band. In May, they announced the tragic news that their lead singer, Gord Downie (aka 'Canada's Shakespeare'), had terminal brain cancer and this summer, following the release of their latest album, they would tour across Canada ending in their hometown of Kingston (which also happens to be my adopted hometown). Only a lucky few (7000 to be precise) were successful at securing tickets for this final show (it sold out in nano-seconds). Shortly after it was announced that the concert would be broadcast live on National television. Cities, towns, and communities across the country organized public screenings. In Kingston, 35,000 people gathered in Market Square (the very spot where I exchanged my marriage vows), a mere couple blocks away from where the live event was happening. Our mayor declared it to be Tragically Hip Day. We didn't join the masses downtown, preferring instead to share this moment with friends. At 8.30pm the feed from the Olympics was interrupted with the visual of The Hip members embracing backstage, and for 3 hours we watched (with a third of the Canadian population) their farewell performance, unedited and commercial free.

On Sunday, over FaceTime, I tried to explain the magnitude of this event to my sister (who was oblivious and much more concerned about the British medal tally in Rio) but I couldn't do the night justice. I told her to look it up online. There have been many beautifully written and heartfelt prose shared by fans, describing the bands influence on Canadian culture, their musical legacy, and Gord Downie's courage in the face of death. Unanimously they all make reference to The Hip being the soundtrack of the lives of Canadians. Even Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, who attended the show, made such a statement. In the preceding months, since the announcement of Downie's diagnosis, I have heard this sentiment repeated again and again by friends .... 'The Hip -the soundtrack of my life'.

Growing up in the UK, The Hip was not the soundtrack of my life. On holiday in 1993, drawn by the large display in Sam The Record Man in Toronto, I bought their Fully Completely album. It was clear that this was what all the cool kids were listening to, and I was 16 and desperately wanted to be cool! But back in my bedroom in the Welsh hills I couldn't even make it through a few songs. The Hip were pure rock and roll and it jarred against my Brit pop sensibilities! From time to time, I'd try again but eventually the CD collected dust at the bottom of the pile. Ten years later, when I moved to Canada there was no escaping The Hip, they were a staple in every playlist on the radio, at parties, in stores. I lamented, and my friends from across the pond supported me by sending me CD's in the mail! Somewhere over the past decade something shifted and on Saturday night, I sang, I danced, I cried with millions of other Canadians but my experience was still different because the Hip were not my soundtrack.

This idea of a musical score or series of songs that complements and parallels your life story has been playing on my mind. I guess I felt a little slighted ... where was my Hip? What is the soundtrack of my life? For most of us, it is not a single artist but a mishmash of songs. It's the opening chords in your first live concert as a teenager; the song you played on repeat as you wept over the loss of your first love; the tune that blasted on the radio on your summer road trip; the anthem that had everyone up dancing as you sang along arm in arm with your friends; the sombre tones at a loved ones funeral; the romantic ballad at your wedding. It is these songs that form your soundtrack.

I challenge you to stop and take a moment to really think about this music that is 'special' to you, and when you do I guarantee that you will be transported back to a specific moment or person in your life. A lump may form in your throat and a shiver may travel up your spine. And now you might start to understand the powerful influence of The Hip on Canadians of my generation. A true soundtrack does not merely support your story but is part of the very fabric of your life. Those songs capture your emotions, define your memories, and shape your perceptions of the world around you. We are indebted to the talented men and women who share their music and create this commentary for us. What an awesome gift that is, a gift that makes life richer.

It is not surprising that for a long time I couldn't understand the appeal of The Hip. I was trying too hard to be cool! They were simply not part of my lived experience, my soundtrack. But despite my ambivalence to the band, my first born is named, in part, after their song Cordelia. I guess this means that they are part of my soundtrack after all. That's the funny thing about soundtracks, you do not select the songs that make the playlist. It's an organic process.

Ultimately, we don't know what comes next for The Hip. The band themselves have never said that this will be their last album or their final show. Regardless, they will continue to set the tone of the soundtracks of the lives of millions of Canadian's for years to come. Of course, the context will be different, but the thing about music is that it transcends time and space.

The hashtag on Saturday read #Canadaisclosed, but in the UK we would have called it a 'lock-in'. This is when a landlord of a British pub allows patrons to stay after closing time, no one else is permitted entry, the party goes on, and those outside the doors are unaware of the great time their missing. On Saturday night there was a National 'lock-in' and Canadian's will be emotionally hung-over for some time!

This post also appeared on the authors personal blog Cool Wet Grass

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Natalie Portman And Lily-Rose Depp See Dead People In 'Planetarium' (Thu, 25 Aug 2016 15:00:55 -0400)

A trailer for a movie with Natalie Portman and Lily-Rose Depp has just dropped, and it is très chic ... and mysterious.


Planetarium” follows Portman’s Laura and Depp’s Kate ― American sisters who take a trip to Paris in the 1930s where they perform as psychic mediums.


The cinematography is absolutely enchanting. The film legitimately looks like “Amélie” meets a Dior ad meets “The Illusionist.”


After reading the Toronto Film Festival’s full synopsis, the gist of the plot is as follows: A powerful French film producer, played by Emmanuel Salinger, finds the sisters’ abilities to speak with the dead fascinating and he casts them in a new project he’s spearheading. As they get more entangled with the producer, their lives get darker and more complex.


The trailer is in both French and English, with the English parts subtitled in French so, non-French speakers may want to find an ami to watch with. 





Planetarium premieres at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals next month and has yet to get a U.S. release date.


(H/T ScreenCrush)

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Questlove Lends His Musical Expertise To Help Reshape Pandora (Thu, 25 Aug 2016 14:48:35 -0400)


Questlove is bringing his eclectic love for music to streaming radio.


The Roots drummer announced the launch of his new Pandora radio show, “Questlove Supreme,” on Wednesday. The weekly three-hour show will be curated and produced by the Philadelphia-native. It will also feature a mix of musical selections and interviews from the likes of actress-comedienne Maya Rudolph where he’ll discuss “thematic” topics, according to a press release.


The newly-formed partnership, which will replay for 48 hours each week, will also appoint the multi-instrumentalist as the company’s strategic advisor. In the role, he will provide the streaming platform with advice and support for artist initiatives and music product strategy.  


“I see in Pandora both a deep respect for the craft of music and a commitment to the musicians that make it their living,” he said in the release before detailing his initial introduction to the company’s trademark music algorithm Music Genome Project -- created by Pandora founder and CEO, Tim Westergren.  


“When Tim introduced me to the Music Genome Project, and explained its origin and how he and his team developed it, I was blown away,” he said. “Pandora is a company born of a musician’s experience, and I’m very excited to join them in their mission to create a healthy and vibrant industry for artists and fans, alike.”


Westergren also echoed his excitement for including Questlove’s vast musical expertise into Pandora’s business strategy.


“His near encyclopedic knowledge of the theory and history of music and his abiding passion for supporting artists of all kinds is a perfect match for our mission,” Westergren added in the press release.


“We’re thrilled to have his expertise and counsel, and to share his talents, insights and love of music with our over 78 million listeners.”


“Questlove Supreme” premieres on Pandora Sept. 7 at 1 p.m. EST.

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'El Ganzo' Boasts 'Unique Love Between A Black Gay Man And A White Straight Woman' (Thu, 25 Aug 2016 14:40:22 -0400)

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As noted above, the invite for Steve Balderson's latest feature, El Ganzo, swore that something special was going to occur between a gay man of color and a white female within its running time. Here was an intriguing come-on, one hard to cold-shoulder, so I didn't. Happily, the film is a well-acted, beautifully shot, two-hander about a couple of gentle souls, thrown together by fate, who wind up the better for the confrontation.

Susan Traylor plays Lizzy, an attractive American tourist in Mexico on her way to a hotel. After her cab gets into an accident midway to her destination, she abandons her nonplussed driver, grabs her shoulder bag, and starts walking in the midday heat, seemingly stunned. Maybe she's received a slight concussion or maybe . . .

Many sunstruck hours later, Lizzy arrives at the hotel and falls instantly asleep even before the manager who shows her to her room can leave. She awakens the next day unsure of where she is, but she does find a wad of cash taped to her leg. Down in the lobby, she asks for her luggage, unaware she's left it in the cab. That isn't all she's forgotten. She's also wondering just who is this Lizzy.

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Emotionally winded, she spots a handsome man (Anslem Richardson) sitting at table nearby and asks if she can join him. He nods. They chat. He says he's a travel photographer. She says she's a travel writer. You sense at least one of them is lying. Maybe more.

The pair go for a walk, and the guy quotes the poet Miller Williams, "You don't know what wars are going on down there where the spirit meets the bone." He leaves off the beginning of the poem, which might be even more relevant: "Have compassion for everyone you meet, even if they don't want it."

The chap is then on the phone with his boyfriend fighting. He hangs up, and eventually Lizzy and he make love. They go shopping, they go swimming, they walk past sculptures and paintings, and they connect. Is this connection more than one of two ships passing in the night or will they be dropping anchor? Probably the former, but . . .

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This might seem minimal and possibly less than "unique," but in the hands of Balderson, his cinematographer Daniel G. Stephens, and his two actors, the result is a highly substantial and satisfying meditation on need and survival. Nearly every shot is germane to the characterizations, and that is re-enforced by Balderson's artful editing that now and then jumps a second, capturing Lizzie's state of mind and her mate's creative search.

Ms. Traylor, the daughter of the two legendary acting teachers, Peggy Feury and Bill Traylor, has a compelling presence on screen. As Lizzie, she has the lovely visage of a ten-year-old who suddenly finds herself enveloped in a much older body and doesn't know how that happened. There is a delight here that fades into confusion and pain and back again to joy.

As for Richardson's homoflexible lover, he commands the screen allusively. He's masculine, attentive, and huggable, winning your affection and empathy without demanding them.

Adding to the festivities is the Mexico on display here; "splendorous" is an adjective that comes to mind accompanied by the unstoppable desire to start packing and head south.

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(El Ganzo, the winner of Best Film, Best Actor, and Best Cinematography at the Salento International Film Fest, will play from September 9th on, at the Arena Cinema in Los Angeles.)

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