Microsoft: What went right under Satya Nadella?

How Satya Nadella turned around the tech firm’s fortunes.
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Maggie Rogers went viral. Now she’s out to prove herself

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Greek Freak went Kareem in Milwaukee, Raptors win anyway

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How Christian Siriano Went From Project Runway’s Fiercest Contestant to World-Renowned Designer

ESC: Christian SirianoWhen Christian Siriano first made his way on Project Runway, the judges and viewers alike immediately took notice.
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This Trendsetter Went From $100 to Frosting Kate Hudson

ESC: Trendsetters at Work, BychariAs Kate Hudson’s character in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days would say: Frost yourself.
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Carole Radziwill Says She Walked Away from Something That Went Against Her Values After RHONY Exit

Carole Radziwill is asking fans what they would do if they were in her shoes.

On Friday, just days after announcing her departure from the Real Housewives of New York, the reality star polled her Instagram followers to see whether they would follow their hearts or put their bank accounts first.

In an Instagram Story, Radziwill, 54, posed a question to her fans, “If you were doing something that was forcing you to do things that went against your own value system would you walk away regardless of the pay? Its a tough decision.”

After fans overwhelming voted “yes” on her survey, the journalist wrote, “So 80% would walk away from something that went against their own values.”

It was a decision, she told fans, that she was forced to make recently.

“That’s how I felt this past year too. It’s difficult but life is long and you can’t always play the short game,” the star added.

It appears she is very happy with that decision, as the best-selling author was beaming in the photograph.

The smiling star looked chic but casual in a pair of ripped jeans and a white T-shirt as she soaked in some sun during her vacation in Aspen, Colorado.

“I am sure this does not come as a surprise to any of the viewers, all of whom have been supportive, encouraging, and kind. My original curiosity about reality television has waned over the years and I am focusing on TV and writing projects that better suit my more steady temperament,” Radziwill told PEOPLE in a statement on Wednesday.

PEOPLE learned that her ongoing feud with Bethenny Frankel also influenced her choice, as indicated by the portion of her statement in which she said she was “thrilled to leave frenemies behind.”

“They never seemed to be able to reconcile. The show couldn’t go on another season with both of them at each other’s throats. And Bethenny’s an OG. She’s been there since the beginning. She’s a , but she gives the show a lot of energy,” a source tells PEOPLE. “There’s no way they’re going to do it without her. Last time she left, the show went to hell.”

However, one production source insists that as far as producers are concerned, Radziwill could have chosen to stay: “She was not pushed to leave. She left on her own accord.”

RELATED ARTICLE: RHONY’s Dorinda Medley Predicted Luann de Lesseps’ Relapse: ‘She’ll Be Drinking in 3 Months’

She ended her statement with sincerity and wit. “I have worked with amazing producers, made great friends, and I’m thrilled to leave frenemies behind,” Radziwill wrote. “I will remember this entire experience with delight, humor, and a veracious accuracy. Next.”

In RHONY‘s tenth season, airing now, Radziwill has had a pretty epic fallout with Frankel, though she’s still friendly with Tinsley Mortimer, Ramona Singer, Dorinda Medley, Sonja Morgan and Luann de Lesseps.

On Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen Wednesday, Ramona Singer told Cohen she’s “sad” to see Radziwill go.

“I love Carole inside and out. I think she’s really warm, special, down to earth, truthful, giving, kind, supportive of women, genuine, smart fabulous. I’m like, ‘Wow.’ I’m going to miss not being with her doing the next season. It’s going to be a void,” Singer said, shaking her head. “This is going to be a void for me,” Singer added.

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Facebook’s Latest Problem: Tracking Where the Data Went

Facebook’s internal probe into potential misuse of user data is hitting fundamental roadblocks: The company can’t track where much of the data went after it left the platform or figure out where it is now. WSJD


A Simple Breast Augmentation Turned Deadly for One Botched Patient: ”You Didn’t Go to a Surgeon, You Went to an Assassin”

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How a School-Shooting Videogame Almost Went on Sale

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How Katja Blichfeld Went From Anxious ‘Super Christian’ To Queer Stoner Icon

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Conan O’Brien Reveals How Donald Trump Coped When Twitter Went Down

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Women Say Richard Meier’s Conduct Was Widely Known Yet Went Unchecked

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Nonfiction: She Didn’t Own a Birth Certificate or Go to School. Yet She Went On to Earn a Ph.D.

In her memoir, “Educated,” Tara Westover recounts her extraordinary journey from her survivalist family in Idaho to the lecture halls of the Ivy League.
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How Jade Bird went from ‘brutal’ open mic gigs to the Brit School and US success

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The day Johnny Cash went to prison

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To Break Into the Grammys, Netflix Went Old-School Vinyl

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How the Pirelli calendar went from pin-up to political

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Why Carrie Underwood Went from Working Out 6 Days a Week to Just 1 or 2: ‘That Just Kind of Has to Be Okay’

Only made it to the gym twice this week? Then you and Carrie Underwood have something in common.

Though the superstar singer is known for her sculpted legs, she admitted Thursday that she isn’t working out as much as she used to.

“I used to work out six days a week,” Underwood, 34, told E!. “But now that’s a little rare, sometimes it’s one or two times a week and that just kind of has to be okay. And it is okay because whatever I’m doing that’s keeping me out of the gym is important.”

And the Nashville crooner certainly has plenty on her plate. Along with her music, Underwood has her Calia by Carrie Underwood activewear line and a busy life with her husband Mike Fisher, who just retired from the NHL after making it to the Stanley Cup Finals, and their 2-year-old son Isaiah.

Underwood says she makes family time a priority over the gym, but when she does get in a workout, it often becomes a family affair — especially when Isaiah crashes her workouts.

“He probably will, 90% of the time, wander into my workout session,” she said. “But it’s nice to be able to stop and give him a kiss.”

Fisher will join in too, but even the former professional athlete can’t keep up with Underwood.

“Mainly, when we work out together, we’re just working out in the same space,” she said. “But I will say, the other day I was doing the ab wheel … and later on that day, Mike said something like, ‘I’m not ready for the ab wheel yet.’ ”

And along with her ab routine, Underwood will do sprints and lunges in her hilly neighborhood.

“I do a lot of squats, I do a lot of lunges, I do a lot of curtsy lunges, I do a lot of goblet squats, I use the leg press machine,” she said.

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How JAY-Z’s new album went ‘instant’ platinum

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The Obamas Went Rafting In Bali And They’re Clearly Having A Blast

Anything a member of the Obama family does is major news. So when the entire group is spotted together ― engaging in water sports and wearing matching rafting gear, no less ― you can consider the internet broken. 

Barack, Michelle, Malia and Sasha Obama were spotting on a rafting trip Monday during a vacation to Indonesia, and it is truly a delight for all the senses.

Just look how happy they are, rafting down the Ayung river in Bali.  

Check out the former president rafting into the future and away from the current state of U.S. politics: 

The activity surely fits into Michelle Obama’s summer fitness program. The former first family is currently enjoying a 10-day trip to Indonesia, where Obama spent some of his childhood. He moved there at age 6 when his mother married an Indonesian man, and stayed until he moved to Hawaii to live with his grandparents at age 10. 

The Obamas will also visit the ancient city Yogyakarta and President Obama will address the Indonesian Diaspora Congress in July, the Associated Press reports. 

On Sunday, the group visited Bali’s Jatiluwih rice terraces. 

Here’s hoping for even more family photo ops to come. 

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Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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Why D.S. & Durga Went to the Edge of the World for Its New Scent

Can’t afford a trip to Scotland? This fragrance is the next best thing.

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Elon Musk Tweeted About Naming His New Boring Machine. You Know What Went Down.

People online just love to name things, and here’s yet further proof.

Elon Musk tweeted Friday about what to call his new tunneling machine, and was immediately deluged with amusing pun-packed ideas.

Boaty McBoatface, the public’s choice of moniker after Britain’s government asked it to name a new polar exploration ship, inspired a raft of suggestions ― as did Musk’s name and various plays on the word “bore.”

The billionaire even chimed in on some of the submissions:

It remains to be seen whether Musk will actually choose one of the suggested names for the machine, which reportedly forms part of his new The Boring Company venture that aims to create underground tunnel networks to relieve traffic congestion.

But for the record, here are some of the funniest suggestions. Our favorites? Borer the Explorer and Borat.

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Comedy – The Huffington Post
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Jennifer Lopez Went Short and Sexy for the 2017 Met Gala Afterparty

After wearing a blue princess-inspired gown, Jennifer Lopez hit a 2017 Met Gala afterparty in a short sparkly dress.
The party doesn’t stop once the Met Museum doors close! Check out what some of your favorite stars wore to the Met Gala afterparties.
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How Need Supply Went from a Small Shop to a Global Fashion Force

With 20 years now in the bag, the one-time vintage jeans store is looking to expand into a full-blown lifestyle brand.

Style – Esquire


7 Famous Couples Who Went From Shaky Ground to Rock Solid: Why Breaking Up Is Hard but Sometimes Necessary

Justin Timberlake, Jessica Biel, Prince William, Kate Middleton, Liam Hemsworth, Miley CyrusThere’s that advice you get from everyone after a breakup about how, when you find the right one, it’ll just be easy. None of those crummy problems that have plagued you while dating all…

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T-Pain’s First Ride Went Up in Flames

The rapper learned about fuel pumps the hard way.

Lifestyle – Esquire


The Kardashians Canceled Their Christmas Card, But Went Full Speed Ahead With The Festivities

If you’ve been patiently waiting for the annual Kardashian Christmas card, it’s just not happening this year. Christmas has officially come and gone without the first family of reality TV releasing a traditional holiday photo. 

Of course, since Kim Kardashian is still adjusting after she was robbed in Paris this past October, and Kanye West was only recently released from hospital ― not to mention all the drama between Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna ― we can’t say we’re surprised the family skipped what was really just another excuse for yet another elaborate photoshoot. 

Still, this isn’t the first year, the family has skipped the sending out the card. Following their most over-the-top Christmas card ever, shot by David LaChapelle in 2013, Kim told Glamour UK that they “ran out of time” in 2014. 

So while a card isn’t in the cards this year, that doesn’t mean the Kardashians didn’t keep up with their other holiday traditions.

On Saturday night, the family gathered together for matriarch Kris Jenner’s annual Christmas Eve party, where guests wore their sparkliest attire and were treated to performances by John Legend and Babyface, according to The Daily Mail. 

Though Kim has yet to make a real return to social media herself, she was spotted enjoying herself in her sisters’ Khloe and Kylie’s Snapchat stories. 

She's backkkk #KimKardashianWest @kimkardashian via @khloekardashian's #snapchat

A video posted by Kardashians & Jenners (@allthingskuwtkj) on

Kendall, #CaitlynJenner & Kylie at the Kardashian/Jenner Christmas Eve Party 2016 ❤ #Family

A photo posted by Kardashians & Jenners (@allthingskuwtkj) on

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Style – The Huffington Post
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Avaya: How an $8 Billion Tech Buyout Went Wrong

Avaya, a telephony company bought by private-equity firms TPG and Silver Lake in 2007 for about $ 8 billion, is weighing a chapter 11 bankruptcy filing to slash its $ 6 billion debt load. WSJD


Victoria’s Secret Model Elsa Hosk Went Completely Nude for a Photo Shoot

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Mommy Man: How I Went From Mild-mannered Geek To Gay Superdad

Mommy Man: How I Went From Mild-mannered Geek To Gay Superdad

As a teenager growing up in the 1980s, all Jerry Mahoney wanted was a nice, normal sham marriage: 2.5 kids and a frustrated, dissatisfied wife living in denial of her husband''s sexuality. Hey, why not? It seemed much more attainable and fulfilling than the alternative-coming out of the closet and making peace with the fact that he''d never have a family at all. Twenty years later, Jerry is living with his long-term boyfriend, Drew, and they''re ready to take the plunge into parenthood. But how? Adoption? Foster parenting? Kidnapping? What they want most of all is a great story to tell their future kid about where he or she came from. Their search leads them to gestational surrogacy, a road less traveled where they''ll be borrowing a stranger''s ladyparts for nine months. Thus begins Jerry and Drew''s hilarious and unexpected journey to daddyhood. From then on, they''re in uncharted waters. They''re forced to face down homophobic baby store clerks, a hospital that doesn''t know what to do with them, even members of their own family who think what they''re doing is a little nutty. One thing''s for sure. If this all works out, they''re going to have an incredible birth story to tell their kid. With honesty, emotion, and laugh-out-loud humor, Jerry Mahoney ponders what it means to become a Mommy Man . . . and discovers that the answer is as varied and beautiful as the concept of family itself.
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Who Went Home on Dancing With the Stars? And Is Nick Carter Having a Boy or Girl? Find Out!

Spoilers ahead! Dancing With the Stars got back to basics this week, but there was nothing basic about the dances (as evidenced by all the intricate lifts for one). Andy Grammer and Nick Carter moved…

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You Won’t Believe the Transformation Heidi Klum Went Through to Become Jessica Rabbit On Halloween

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Halloween Week at Dancing with the Stars: What Went Wrong and Who Went Home

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Where Keynes Went Wrong: And Why World Governments Keep Creating Inflation, Bubbles, and Busts

Where Keynes Went Wrong: And Why World Governments Keep Creating Inflation, Bubbles, and Busts

In responding to the financial crash of 2008, both the Bush Administration and the Obama Administration have relied on prescriptions developed by John Maynard Keynes, the most important economist since Marx. But should we be relying on Keynes? What did Keynes actually say? Did he make his case? Hunter Lewis concludes that he did not. If Keynes was wrong then so are the economic policies of virtually all world governments today.
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Where Keynes Went Wrong

Where Keynes Went Wrong

In responding to the financial crash of 2008, both the Bush Administration and the Obama Administration have relied on prescriptions developed by John Maynard Keynes, the most important economist since Marx. But should we be relying on Keynes? What did Keynes actually say? Did he make his case? Hunter Lewis concludes that he did not. If Keynes was wrong then so are the economic policies of virtually all world governments today. Now with linked endnotes and index.
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The Cat Who Went up the Creek (Om) By Lilian Jackson Braun (Paperback)

The Cat Who Went up the Creek (Om) By Lilian Jackson Braun (Paperback)

Overview Jim Qwilleran is enjoying his stay at the Nutcracker Inn in Black Creek. His two Siamese, Koko and Yum Yum, don’t seem quite as pleased with the accommodations? though Koko does enjoy keeping a keen eye on the squirrels and other local wildlife. Then, while Koko’s eagerly watching some jumping trout, he spots something else: a body, floating downstream. When it’s revealed that the victim was a guest at the inn?and had nuggets of gold hidden in his shoes?Qwill dives into the case. And if he and the cats don’t solve it soon, they’re going to be up the creek without a paddle? Product details Isbn-13: 9780515134384, 978-0515134384 Author: Lilian Jackson Braun Publisher: Penguin Putnam Inc Publication date: 2003-02-27 About Wordery Wordery is one of the UK’s largest online booksellers. With millions of satisfied customers who enjoy low prices on a huge range of books, we offer a reliable and trusted service and consistently receive excellent feedback. We offer a huge range of over 8 million books; bestsellers, children’s books, cheap paperbacks, baby books, special edition hardbacks and textbooks. All our books are dispatched from the UK. Wordery offers Free Delivery on all UK orders, and competitively priced international delivery. #HappyReading

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When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II

When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II

Chronicles the joint effort of the U.S. government, the publishing industry, and the nation’s librarians to boost troop morale during World War II by shipping more than one hundred million books to the front lines for soldiers to read during what little downtime they had.

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Everything You Need to Know About What Went Down in Orange Is the New Black Season 2

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Meet The Lovable Couple Who Got Married And Went Viral On The Same Day

A day before their wedding, an emotional video of Kristie Scherrer and Tavis Doucette aging 70 years in six minutes (thanks to makeup and prosthetics) hit the Internet. The collaboration between YouTube channels Cut Video and Field Day quickly became a viral sensation with more than 14 million views.

via Tribune Media

“We realized it was released when we were on our way to our rehearsal,” Scherrer told The Huffington Post. “When we got to the dinner, we told a few of our friends who knew about it that it released and they all admitted that they had seen it. By then the local news had even picked it up. At the wedding everyone had seen it but us. We really wanted to watch it together and there was no time the day of the wedding.”

So 12 hours after their big day, the newlyweds watched the video for the first time at a screening with family and friends. A crew from Field Day was there to capture their tender reactions.

Credit: BuzzFeed via Field Day/YouTube

“Like [Kristie] said in the film, we couldn’t be more sure of the person that we’re with,” a misty-eyed Doucette says after viewing the finished product.

Although you don’t get to see or hear much from the couple’s family in the reaction video, Scherrer told HuffPost that their entire family was “deeply moved” by it.

“We don’t live anywhere close to our family and never have as a couple, so I think it showed them a more intimate side of our relationship than they are used to seeing when we visit,” she said. “They laughed and cried and were really proud of us.”

The adorable couple first met at a cafe on their second day of school at Wagner College back in 2006. They were introduced by a mutual friend and stayed close friends until their senior year, when their friendship blossomed into something more serious.

Courtesy of the couple

Courtesy of the couple

The couple moved from New York City to Los Angeles last year. Scherrer is an account executive at a marketing firm and Doucette is an actor.

“Which means I am a very experienced bar tender,” he joked.

Doucette and Scherrer said that neither of them anticipated the massive and overwhelmingly positive reception to the original video, but feel honored to have been part of the experience.

“Tavis asked if I cared if he submitted us for it and I said sure,” she said. “We went to the audition during my lunch hour and I really didn’t think anything of it. Then we got cast and started to learn more about the project and who was behind it. The director told us we could ‘expect some people to see it.’ But this kind of reaction, the responses and messages we have received, it’s been incredible.”

Watch their reaction video above. To see more photos from the couple’s wedding and from throughout their relationship, check out the slideshow below.

H/T BuzzFeed

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Style – The Huffington Post
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Newport Folk Festival Celebrates 50 Years Since Bob Dylan Went Electric

NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) — This year’s Newport Folk Festival plans to pay tribute to the moment when Bob Dylan made rock history by going electric 50 years ago.

The festival, noted for introducing performers who later became big stars, will have a secret lineup of musicians billed as ’65 Revisited. Festival producer Jay Sweet said on Tuesday that nearly a dozen contemporary musicians are included in an “all-star lineup,” but the audience won’t know who they are until they take the stage to close the festival with a “massive” set celebrating Dylan’s 1965 performance.

Dylan first appeared at Newport as a guest of Joan Baez in 1963. His three-song electric set two years later — including “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Maggie’s Farm” — is widely viewed as one of the most pivotal moments in rock ‘n’ roll history. It marked Dylan’s break with the folk movement and spurred others to go electric as well.

The Fender Stratocaster guitar Dylan played in the performance sold at auction in 2013 for nearly $ 1 million, the highest price paid for a guitar at auction.

Dylan is not playing at this year’s festival, although Sweet said he’s invited to play every year. If there’s any year Dylan wouldn’t come, it’s Sweet’s guess it would probably be this one.

“Having him back would be the least Newport way to celebrate it,” he said.

Dylan last played Newport in 2002.

“Trying to recreate that moment is a fool’s errand,” Sweet said. “We’re about the future, not about reliving the past.”

But Sweet said without that moment, when Dylan struck out a new path for music, the Newport Folk Festival probably would not be celebrating its 56th anniversary this year.

“Every once in a while, you have to acknowledge, that allowed us to be here,” he said.

The festival runs July 24-26. Tickets are sold out for the last two days, but a few are available for the first day. Other headliners include Roger Waters and The Decemberists.

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When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped Us Win World War II

When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped Us Win World War II

When America entered World War II in 1941, we faced an enemy that had banned and burned over 100 million books and caused fearful citizens to hide or destroy many more. Outraged librarians launched a campaign to send free books to American troops and gathered 20 million hardcover donations. In 1943, the War Department and the publishing industry stepped in with an extraordinary program: 120 million small, lightweight paperbacks, for troops to carry in their pockets and their rucksacks, in every theater of war.Comprising 1,200 different titles of every imaginable type, these paperbacks were beloved by the troops and are still fondly remembered today. Soldiers read them while waiting to land at Normandy; in hellish trenches in the midst of battles in the Pacific; in field hospitals; and on long bombing flights. They wrote to the authors, many of whom responded to every letter. They helped rescueThe Great Gatsbyfrom obscurity. They made Betty Smith, author ofA Tree Grows in Brooklyn, into a national icon.When Books Went to Waris an inspiring story for history buffs and book lovers alike.
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Universal Orlando went by the book when creating live shows for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley

When it came to creating authentic live entertainment for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, the folks at Universal Orlando Entertainment really went by the book.

“Which book?,” you ask. “Harry Potter and the Chambers of Secret.” A single sentence from that 1998 J.K. Rowling novel, to be exact. Where — as The Boy Who Lived was exploring “The Burrow” (i.e., the Weasley family home) — Harry noticed that …

… the old radio next to the sink had just announced that coming up was “Witching Hour, with the popular singing sorceress Celestina Warbeck.”


And with that one line of text, Universal Entertainment finally found a solution for a challenge that had been plaguing the Diagon Alley project. Which was how to naturalistically add a live entertainment element to this ambitious expansion of Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World.

“Whenever we’re developing new lands for our theme parks, we always look for ways to turn streets into stages. Give our guests the chance to come around a corner and suddenly stumble upon this seemingly spontaneous moment of entertainment,” Michael Aiello, Director of Entertainment – Creative Development for Universal Orlando Resort, explained during a recent interview. “That’s why Jake and Elwood regularly roll through Universal Studios Florida in their Bluesmobile. So that the Blues Brothers can then be seen presenting a live street show out on our New York backlot. Or why the Whos carol around Seuss Landing whenever we’re celebrating Grinchmas at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.”

But when it came to Diagon Alley, Aiello and the Universal Entertainment team were presented with a unique challenge. Given that this expansion of The Wizarding World was supposed to authentically recreate what had previously been seen in the Harry Potter films and described in J.K. Rowling’s fiction, they were now dealing with a full-scale environment that was going to be so rich & hyper-detailed that it could potentially upstage any attempts at live entertainment.


“But once we came across that line in ‘Chamber of Secrets’ which revealed that Molly Weasley was a Celestina Warbeck fan, that was our get-out-of-jail-free card. Here was a character that J.K. herself had dreamed up, this famous singing sorceress. And wouldn’t it make sense that — at some point in her fabled career — that Celestina would drop by Diagon Alley, the place where all of the witches & wizards of London went to do their shopping?,” Aiello continued. “So we took this idea to J.K. And she was so supportive of this idea that she actually provided us with the titles of several songs that Celestina could possibly perform while she was doing a live remote from Diagon Alley for the Wizarding Wireless Network.”

Mind you, once Rowling had provided Aiello and the team with titles like “You Stole My Cauldron But You Can’t Have My Heart” and “Beat Back Those Bludgers, Boys, and Chuck That Quaffle Here,” it was then up to Universal Entertainment to turn these Potter-centric concepts into musical numbers that singers could actually perform. Which is why they then turned to Michael Weiner and Alan Zachary, the talented team behind Broadway’s “First Date.”

“And from the moment we told Michael and Alan that J.K. saw Celestina as this Shirley Bassey-like performer who worked with three back-up singers, they immediately knew what to do with the songs for this character,” Patrick Braillard, Diagon Alley’s show director, recalled. “They wrote us these great jazz-fusion numbers that only a true diva like Lena Horne or Bette Midler could pull off. Which is why — when people are wandering around Diagon Alley and then happen upon Celestina performing with her Banshees — they’re completely blown away. This show just knocks their socks off.”


Of course, if you’re looking to wow an audience with a seemingly impromptu live show, you first need a proper stage for your performers to appear on. Which is why — as Universal Creative was initially designing Diagon Alley — they deliberately created a corner in Carkitt Market where Celestina and her Banshees could then make a dramatic entrance by coming down this long staircase.

“That space really serves this Wizarding Wireless Network broadcast well. Which is kind of ironic, given that Celestina and her Banshees wasn’t actually the first live show that Universal Entertainment wrote for Diagon Alley,” Aiello said. “We had this concept that we’d originally pitched for Hogsmeade. One where we wanted to establish this troupe of tale tellers who would wander about The Wizarding World and tell Universal Orlando visitors about The Boy Who Lived. But since there were no characters like this in either the Potter books or movies, it just didn’t seem authentic to go ahead with this particular entertainment idea – which is why this creative concept kind of fell off the table for Hogsmeade.”

Ah, but all that changed in 2007 with the publication of “The Tales of Beedle the Bard.” For in the foreword of this collection of Wizarding World fairytales, J.K. revealed that there was a Wizarding Academy of Dramatic Arts.


“And once we came across that reference in ‘Beedle the Bard,’ we were like ‘A-ha! Let’s latch onto that. Let’s figure out how we can expand upon this idea and then somehow make it work for Diagon Alley,’ ” Michael continued. “And in the end, what we decided to do was invent this traveling troupe of players who had trained at the Wizarding Academy of Dramatic Arts who now do street theater. And to then connect this new piece of Diagon Alley entertainment with the book that had inspired it, we decided to have these traveling players perform selected stories from ‘The Tales of Beedle the Bard.’ Which is kind of The Wizarding World’s version of Grimm’s Fairytales or Aesop’s Fables.”

What made this particular entertainment concept somewhat hard to pull off was that most Universal Orlando visitors only knew ‘The Tales of Beedle the Bard’ from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1. Which had featured a stylized animated version of one of this book’s stories, “The Tale of the Three Brothers.”

“And since — whenever possible — we want to create some sort of visual continuity between the Harry Potter films and our theme park version of The Wizarding World, we decided to have those visiting members of the Wizarding Academy of Dramatic Arts present a troubadour version of ‘The Tale of the Three Brothers’ using puppets that looked just like the animated characters had in Deathly Hallows – Part 1,” Aiello explained. “Thankfully, Michael Currey Design was up to the specific design challenges of this project. They created these terrific-looking, lightweight, hand sculpted puppets that the performers could just pull out of a trunk and then manipulate right there in front of the audience.”


And to insure that this group of traveling players would have then a selection of tales to tell whenever they next appeared in Diagon Alley, Universal Entertainment decided to turn another story from “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” into a piece of street theater. And this performance piece — “The Fountain of Fair Fortune” — also features some beautifully-detailed, Michael Curry-designed puppets.

“This is what we’ve tried to do with the entire Wizarding World project. Find these kernels of content that J.K. has written that we can then expand in full-sized pieces of entertainment that are just as rich and vivid as the fiction she created,” Aiello concluded. “That — in a nutshell — is what I think the Universal difference is. That — when we work with other people’s intellectual property — we’re just as passionate, enthusiastic & dedicated to these characters and their stories as the original creators are. Universal Orlando always strives to put these IPs we’ve been entrusted with in the best possible light.”

And speaking of dedication: Tomorrow, the most dedicated Wizarding World fans in the world will be descending on Universal Orlando for the 2nd annual “Celebration of Harry Potter.” Hosted by Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros., this three day-long event will feature Q&A sessions with Robbie Coltrane (Rubeus Hagrid), Michael Gambon (Albus Dumbledore) and other stars of the Harry Potter films. Not to mention a live duelling demonstration led by the world’s only Wand Combat choreographer, Paul Harris. Plus the “Celebration of Harry Potter” Expo, which features interactive exhibits from Warner Bros., Pottermore, Harry Potter: The Exhibition and Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, where Universal Orlando guests will then have the opportunity to try on the Sorting Hat.


But given that this will be the first time that many Harry Potter fans will have the chance to experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley (which officially opened to the public back on July 8, 2014), just be aware that there will probably be record crowds in Carkitt Market all weekend long. As these J.K. Rowling fans check out the live stage shows that Universal Entertainment built around Celestina Warbeck & her Banshees and the Wizarding Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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I Went to an Orgy Last Saturday Night

Theater Review: SMOKE


Of course I was a voyeur in the audience in the snug surroundings at the Flea Theater which can make one feel that they might as well be onstage with the characters. That being said, I was Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered by “SMOKE,” written by Kim Davies and directed by Tom Costello.

I was Bewitched by the subject matter: the sexual escapades of two people, each looking to fulfill their psychosexual desires through the other, each hoping the other will be the first to “go for it.” Like two battling avatars, they game it out. While watching, I felt that the characters were watching themselves, plotting their moves, pitching to win something they were both struggling hard with. Davies and Costello successfully bring us into this world while giving us a peep at the rumpled and neurotic world of an artist we never meet, the man with whom these two characters are deeply connected, and it almost seems are playing out their sexual manias for on some covert level they are both unaware of.

I was Bothered by Adelind Horan’s portrayal of Julie, the 20-year old college student full of all sorts of sporting strategies. The character was believable, but unfortunately I did not believe the actress, whom I felt was too self-conscious; resolutely letting us know that she was about to do something or say something contrary to the innocent girl she wanted to pretend to be. Right off the bat there was no question she was up to something, and in fact just being there was enough of a message, no need to pretend. Might it have been better if the set-up suggested something more accidental than what was presented? No need to put on the slot machine crazy eyes to let us know that the character is off kilter.

Her counterpart John, played by Ivan Dolido, was right on target like a spring in a stapler, successfully keeping the tension just taught enough for each moment to snap out another interesting nuance. He was steady; easy to watch and listen to.

As for Bewildered, I am not so much by the play, but more by the times in which we live…the language of psychosexual games is so much more elaborate than it has ever been.
Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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