Misha Nonoo Discusses Opening a Pop-up, the Relevance of New York Fashion Week, But Nary a Word About Meghan Markle

Who needs a runway show, when you can open a four-month pop-up store? While many past and current designers participating in New York Fashion Week weigh the upsides and downsides of staging a show, others are paving new routes to tie into the buzz. For Misha Nonoo, that means unveiling a 2,300-square-foot pop-up at 150 Greene Street on Monday. The New York-based designer will offer a variety of her signature pieces, but shoppers won’t find anything that she helped develop in conjunction with her friend Meghan Markle’s yet-to-be-released Marks & Spencer collection. The Duchess of Sussex’s Smart Works capsule collection is reportedly debuting Thursday and will benefit the charity that helps unemployed women. Having ditched wholesale for a direct-to-consumer business model nearly three years ago, Nonoo decided on the SoHo location based on analytics culled from online sales. To give the pop-up “a good run,” it will be during the key fall and holiday selling seasons. “Based on how the location works for us and how everything else works out in the store, we’d love for the space to become permanent. We’ll see if we decide to stay in that exact location or we move around. But New York is such an important

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Nabil Ayouch Discusses Latest Movie Project ‘Positive School’

Moroccan-French writer-director Nabil Ayouch, whose last film “Razzia” was Morocco’s entry for the foreign-language film Oscar, is completing principal photography on “Positive School.” He spoke to Variety about the project. “Positive School” is a realistic drama set in the cultural center he set up in Casablanca’s Sidi Moumen neighborhood, a poor suburb that became infamous […]



Melissa McCarthy Discusses Playing Author Lee Israel in ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’

Vintage typewriters and forged letters might seem like unusual decor for New York’s SVA Theatre, but there could be no better tribute to Lee Israel, the subject of the new Melissa McCarthy-led biopic “Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” which premiered there on Sunday. Israel was a biographer of celebrated women who turned to forging and selling […]



Tilda Swinton Discusses ‘Suspiria’ at Haider Ackermann

HIDDEN MESSAGE: Guests at the Haider Ackermann show were asked to tiptoe around a white chalk drawing on the floor of the Palais de Tokyo. “My name is on the floor!” marveled jewelry designer Delfina Delettrez, who immediately took a picture with her phone.
Model Farida Khelfa noted with dismay that hers was half wiped off. She has a role in Jean Paul Gaultier’s “Fashion Freak Show” at the Folies Bergères, but one that doesn’t require her to be on stage. “I play Dominique, the woman who helped him start in the business when he was very young. But it’s a filmed sequence.”
Sitting next to an elaborate “Tilda and Sandro” drawing, Tilda Swinton discussed the importance of color in her upcoming film, a remake of Dario Argento’s horror movie “Suspiria” directed by Luca Guadagnino out Nov. 2. She plays Madame Blanc, a teacher at the Markos dance academy in Berlin.
“All of us are affected by the colors we wear,” said Swinton, adding that Madame Blanc’s outfits are a variation of orange, brown, gray and purple. “There is a very iconic dress Madame Blanc wears that is just brown, and it made me think that she looked like a tree. When you’re making a

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Avengers: Infinity War Co-Director Discusses The Hulk Issue

Spoiler warning: This post contains major plot details for Avengers: Infinity War, so proceed with caution. For more on Infinity War, here’s what happened to the Infinity Gauntlet at the end.

The Hulk might actually just be tired of smashing — not necessarily scared — in Avengers: Infinity War, according to co-director Joe Russo.

Speaking on the Happy Sad Confused podcast (via ComicBook.com), Russo revealed why the green guy doesn’t pop up through most of Avengers: Infinity War — even as Bruce Banner pleads for him to come out. “I think people have interpreted it as Hulk’s scared,” the co-director said. “I mean, certainly, that’s not a … I don’t know that the Hulk is ever … he’s had his ass kicked before, and he loves a good fight. But I think that it’s really reflective of the journey from

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San Sebastián: Glenn Close Discusses ‘The Wife,’ Finding Inspiration, How to Celebrate Award Wins

SAN SEBASTIAN — There are few careers that boast the diversity and longevity of that of Glenn Close. There is neither medium nor genre that the actress has not worked in on some level. Typically recognized for her dramatic roles, think “Fatal Attraction,” Close has appeared in comedies: “The Stepford Wives,” “Louie,” animation: “Family Guy,” […]



Marc Bouwer’s President and Influencer Paul Margolin Discusses Fleeting Online Fame

IN AN INSTANT: While many know Paul Margolin as the president of Marc Bouwer Inc., even more know him from Instagram. That was until Wednesday when his account was hacked — and gone with it, 46,000 followers.
That was unwelcome news for Margolin, who has worked as a social influencer with such brands as The Underwear Expert, Morphine Lips and the Chappy dating app, among others. When not working in Bouwer’s Fulton Street studio and office, he has been fielding requests from Musefind and WeTrend. More often than not, Margolin posted images with his fiancé Sergio Zapata. The 360-degree drone-shot video of Zapata proposing to Margolin near Bethesda Fountain in Central Park helped to make them a popular InstaCouple.
“My Instagram stories were getting 4,000 views on a story. There is a value to all of it,” Margolin said. “Plus, I just disappeared to everybody. I only followed 350 and I was followed by 46,000.”
In his 20s Margolin ditched a short-lived modeling career to help Bouwer start his company from the designer’s Greenwich Village apartment. A regular at one of Equinox’s downtown club, Margolin often posted photos of his shirtless self. The favorable responses to his fitness-related posts made him consider getting

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Rodd & Gunn CEO Discusses U.S. Rollout Plan

BROOKLYN — It’s been quite a learning curve for Mike Beagley since his brand decided to make the arduous journey from New Zealand to America six years ago.
But the chief executive officer of Rodd & Gunn has embraced that education and now the U.S. market represents close to one-fifth of the $ 100 million annual volume of the privately held men’s wear label.
“It’s been an amazing journey,” Beagley said. “And we’ve learned as much about what not to do as what to do. But we’ve really got momentum now.”
Beagley was in the States on Wednesday for the official celebration of the brand’s first East Coast store on Front Street in the red-hot DUMBO neighborhood in Brooklyn. The 3,200-square-foot store is only Rodd & Gunn’s second in the U.S., following a flagship that opened in Fashion Island in Newport Beach, Calif., in October. There is also a large shop-in-shop at Wingtip in San Francisco.
The brand operates 95 stores in its home market of New Zealand and Australia.
When Rodd & Gunn first decided to test the waters in the U.S., it entered as a wholesaler as it worked through the logistics of developing product for a market with different seasonality while figuring out U.S.

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Katrina Coombs Discusses Her Fetish for Creating Fine-Art Fiber Works, Thread by Thread

It was the first thing you saw as you came through an arch at the National Gallery of Jamaica for the 2014 Jamaica Biennial: Katrina Coombs’s blood red work entitled “Absence.” I remember looking at the work for quite a while, its startling color. The longer I looked at the work the more I found myself wondering what other pieces by this artist might look like and, finally walking away, I made a mental note to look for more fiber-based works from Jamaican artists in general, and Katrina Coombs in particular.

Katrina Coombs was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and was formally introduced to the arts in third form at Meadowbrook High School. “What happened is that there was an art teacher at the school, David Ho-Sang, who introduced us to macramé. That was when my interest in fibers started and soon that interest would grow into a profound love,” she shared. From macramé she would branch out to batiks and other arts techniques, but the love of fibers remained constant. “I guess you could say I have a fetish for fibers,” she confessed. “I love being able to create from threads. I love the idea of taking something from a small strand into something large and elegant. I love the involved process of working with pins and needles.”

From high school Coombs would go on to attend the Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston, which she describes as an eye-opening and very challenging experience. “When I was a student at the Edna Manley College, textile as fine arts was still a relatively new concept. The textiles department had to bring in lecturers from other departments to look at and critique my work. I was getting more and more interested in weaving, which isn’t a traditional Jamaican art form, unless you look at basketry, so I guess there was some confusion in trying to locate and situate my work as a fine artist working with cloth.”

Maybe, she mused, the lack of understanding for fiber and textile as a fine-art art form that she was sensing all around her on the island had to do in part with the demise of a booming textile industry in Jamaica — lost through free trade agreements. “There was just a whole industry of people who made cloth and designed and decorated cloth that went through the window because of free trade agreements,” she said. “A similar thing happened to much of our traditional so-called “craft” industry where much of the local crafts forms today are actually being made in China.”

But the loss of the textile industry, she was quick to point out to me, only partly explains the resistance she faced as a fine-art fiber artist. “While my immediate family members were always supportive of me as a fiber artist, there were a lot of people around me who were confused by what I was doing. They saw me sewing things and would ask aloud about not only what was I going to do with the things I was making, but if indeed I planned on becoming a dressmaker, as if being a dressmaker was the worst thing in the world that someone could be! But that confusion, to an extent, mirrors a larger societal confusion as to what art is. For too many people art is still and will only be drawing, sculpture and painting. There is oftentimes no immediate understanding of textile art as a viable art form.”

Yet her thesis exhibition at the Edna Manley College, “Dancer’s Dream” — a work in which she examined the various elements of fabric movement and how this could be in conversation with the movements of a dancer — was well received. “I guess the reason why my thesis received the warm reception that it did is that so many people were taken with the ‘new’ ways in which I was working with cloth. There was a healthy discussion, for example, as to whether my work was a sculpture or a painting — and there was a new awareness of fiber as fine art,” she said.

Coombs would go on to do her master’s degree at Transart Institute in Berlin and New York, which, she admits, radically altered how she saw her work. She credits Transart with engendering in her a more expansive definition of being an artist. “In a sense, going to Transart freed me. What I mean by this is that, here in Jamaica you are often defined by the medium that you work in. For a long time I considered myself, for example, a textile artist. It was at Transart that I came to understand that I was an artist first and foremost and fiber was the medium that I created in,” she told me.

At Transart her work became increasingly autobiographical, culminating in a thesis exhibition that explored various notions of the “other”. This work — a compilation of thirteen characters — sought to answer several questions, namely: Who is the other, and why do they impact us as much? What form does the other take? How can an artist use fibers to signify the other that she is in pursuit of?

It is a complex and engaging body of work.

Given that Katrina Coombs works almost exclusively in fibers, I engaged her in a discussion on the gender dimensions of artists on the island who work specifically with textiles and fibers. Specifically, I wanted to know why there seemingly were no male textile and fiber artists on the island.

“It is not that there are no male textile artists on the island or that men are not interested in textiles and fibers,” Coombs pointed out to me. “It is the mode by which men approach the work that they do in textiles and fibers. You will find, for example, that you have a large group of tailors. There are also very sharp and pointed distinctions made between fine and applied arts on the island. Once you are working with textiles, you are often relegated to crafts. Maybe why there aren’t more male fine artists who work in textiles on the island is that they are trying to obviate being relegated to the crafts.”

She paused for a moment before continuing.

“In addition to which, in general fiber art is a very complex medium to deal in. The medium requires a lot of focus, a lot of technical skills, the tying of knots, and working with all those threads. There is a lot of monotony in working in fibers, which, for me, is a commentary on female labor and the fact that women are constantly repeating things. The home space, which to a large extent is still the female space, is one of endless repetition with specifically female tasks. Furthermore, at this time on the island, I am not sure if there is an infrastructure in place to safeguard and protect fibers and textiles as art forms. Handling and restoration are a particular challenge. My thinking is that more male artists might be making the calculus to choose art forms that are more financially lucrative and less repetitive and less problematic than is required for working in textiles and fibers.”

But the very reasons why fiber art forms might be off-putting for some is in large part why Katrina Coombs enjoys so much working within this medium. Textiles, Coombs noted, are a constant throughout the many moments and journeys of our lives. Shortly after we are born we are enveloped in cloth, and for most of our lives we have the most intimate relationship to clothes. When we die, once again, we are wrapped in cloth. In some ways it is the most obvious and accessible of all the art forms.

Katrina Coombs’s work will be on view at the Young Talent 2015 exhibition at the National Gallery of Jamaica in Kingston, which opens on August 30th. “I am very excited to be part of this exhibition,” Coombs shared. “For many years, as a curatorial assistant, I promoted the work of other artists. Right now I am taking some time to pay more attention to my own work. My goal now is to keep pushing myself as an artist, and to get more of an audience for my work.”

Until next time.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Arts – The Huffington Post
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Donald Trump Discusses Ties With David Herzka at Campaign Event

ONLY IN AMERICA: Opportunistic designer David Herzka really tied one on with Donald Trump Sunday morning, but not in the colloquial sense. During a rise-and-shine breakfast at the Long Branch, N.J., home of his daughter Ivanka’s in-laws Seryl and Charles Kushner, Trump mingled with 100 or so of their inner circle. “It was pretty low-key. But he’s very serious and believes in what he’s doing,” Herzka said. “Everyone felt he’s really a potential contender.”
The Kushners’ enterprising son, Jared, made the rounds with Ivanka, but another power couple — his venture capitalist-skilled brother Joshua and Karlie Kloss — were not on the scene. Trump’s son-in-law no doubt has his reserve of potential campaign supporters as owner of Kushner Properties and the New York Observer.
Herzka, who started his direct-to-consumer online neckwear line David Fin earlier this year, showed his own moxie by having a word with The Donald and giving him a tie in what he thought would be the candidate’s favorite colors — red, white and blue. Herzka told Trump about the Battery Park-based start-up that makes all of its ties in the U.S. and donates $ 5 of each $ 85 sale to Hiring Our Heroes, a nonprofit that helps veterans find

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Ivanka Trump Discusses Fashion and Business — But No Politics, Please

With an expanding signature collection of her own, an executive role at the Trump Organization and a father who’s poking the political hornet’s nest with his decidedly non-PC style, it’s safe to say Ivanka Trump has a lot going on.
Accustomed to operating in overdrive, the Wharton grad is now suiting up 3,500 Trump Hotel staffers in uniforms she designed. Trump handles design and the creative vision for the company’s nine existing properties and four yet-to-be-opened ones in Baku, Azerbaijan; Rio de Janeiro; Vancouver, and Washington, D.C. She also serves as executive vice president of development and acquisitions at the Trump Organization. With two young children and an equally ambitious husband in Jared Kushner, the self-described “American wife, mother and entrepreneur” may represent a different sort of bold-faced paradigm in the fashion business. While that alone is something of a feat, it is not a moniker the former model acknowledged in any way during an interview last week.
Speaking about her new uniform designs, Trump very much stayed on message. While she has cheered on her father Donald’s take-no-prisoners presidential bid to her nearly 1.7 million Twitter followers and 582,000 more on Instagram, she wasn’t about to engage on political matters. “I

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David Duchovny Discusses The Difficulty Of Playing A Violent Cop On ‘Aquarius’

In “Aquarius,” David Duchovny plays a cop who isn’t afraid to use violence to get the job done — a tricky line to walk in a time when police brutality has become such a controversial topic. In the video above, Duchovny chats with “The HuffPost Show” host Roy Sekoff about playing a character with a moral code that is “personalized” rather than “dogmatized.”

Watch more from “The HuffPost Show” here.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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Mathew Knowles Discusses Plans For A Destiny’s Child Biopic

Last month’s string of Sony emails that were leaked by hackers brought controversy and unveiled private emails that were made all too public.

Among the once-confidential details the security breach highlighted was a proposed Destiny’s Child biopic presented by the group’s manager, Mathew Knowles. Shortly after the revelation made headlines on the web, the music mogul spoke about the project during an interview with the Wall Street Journal and said he would “absolutely” love to see it happen.

“Destiny’s Child, as you know, is the number one selling female group in the history of music. And their story, which starts at 9, 10-years-old in Houston, is really a story that really engages you,” Knowles explained to Wall Street Journal reporter, Lee Hawkins.

“It talks about their challenges, their successes, their failures. It talks about the death of my partner Ann Tillman. And it also talks about, which I think is one of the great aspects of a Destiny’s Child movie or a play, is the empowerment of the songs and the empowerment that Destiny’s Child has given to women.”

Beyonce’s father, who in the past has publicly expressed future plans of a Destiny’s Child reunion tour, went on to add his current relationship with the group and whether or not they officially “broke up.”

“Most people don’t know that I still officially manage Destiny’s Child. And Destiny’s Child people sometimes use the word ‘broke up.’ Destiny’s Child has never broken up officially,” he clarified. “So don’t be surprised if one day there’s a new record and a tour because the group has never officially broke up.”

“There was a strategy years ago that we had that Destiny’s Child would put out an album, and each one of the ladies would put out their own solo project. And we did that because audience equals sales. Real simple. And the more audience you can build individually, which then becomes collectively Destiny’s Child, the bigger the brand becomes.”

Check out more of Mathew Knowles’ Wall Street Journal interview in the clip above.

Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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Jeffrey Marsh, Vine Star, Discusses Their Work As An Activist

Editor’s Note: Jeffrey Marsh is open to the use of any pronoun but for the purposes of this profile, we are using “they/them/their.”

You may not know who they are — but you’ve no doubt heard their message.

Jeffrey Marsh is a social media star who utilizes Vine to spread messages of positivity and awareness on a massive digital platform. Their Vines have collectively received more than 90 million views, ultimately providing Marsh with the opportunity to take their message outside of social media and speak and perform all over New York City.

Marsh is most notably known for spearheading the viral hashtags #DontSayThatsSoGay and #NoTimetoHateMyself.

In the technological age, the face of activism has evolved along with the way in which we communicate. Marsh is part of a generation of LGBTQ activists who, through social media, are changing minds and perceptions in parts of the world where people may not encounter a queer person in their day to day lives.

The Huffington Post chatted with Marsh this week about their work as an activist, the way in which they utilize social media and what they have planned for the future.

The Huffington Post: How did you become a Vine star?
Jeffrey Marsh: By accident! I’m doing what I always did: dress up like Julie Andrews, dance around, tell people they’re awesome as heck, sing them songs and (literally) kick up my heels to some catchy Katy Perry.

The only difference now is the camera, the chance to post those moments for gay kids in Arkansas and Canadian moms. No other form of social media I’ve tried allows me to immediately connect like Vine does. It is very much like a face-to-face social experience. Each day I’m shocked and excited to find messages from people who feel like my videos help them to be themselves. I guess I became a “star” by being myself.

When did you realize that things were really heating up and people were starting to take notice?
That’s the funny thing, it was so gradual — so natural. There are plenty of people in social media who burn brightly and fast, who go viral and get (almost) instant fame. For whatever reason, my journey so far has been consistent and incremental. I picture one friend telling another; a grass roots approach to fame.

It would be hard to argue that my message isn’t popular. But is it the most popular? Not by a long shot. I’m reminded of Joan Rivers talking about some advice she once got: if 0.1% of America thinks you’re funny, you’ll fill stadiums for the rest of your life. I’m not sure I will ever fill a stadium, but I think Joan and I are both talking about quality over quantity. This is most true when it comes to cultivating a relationship with the like-minded people who call themselves fans. And I’m happy to say that those fans are all over the figurative (and literal) map: old, young, black, white, trans, bi — you name it! Everybody is welcome and can hopefully connect with my inclusive message.

jeffrey marsh

Did you have a strategy or a plan in the beginning or were you just creating Vines that felt right to you and putting them out in the world?
Did I have a plan? Definitely not! I always knew I wanted to tell as many people (in as many ways as I could) that there is nothing wrong with them. I just started posting things that brought a smile to my face, that helped me feel excited to post again — to connect again.

I don’t like dwelling on the “larger” implications of what I’m doing. There have been hundreds of messages from people who decided not to commit suicide because of my channel, for instance. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that’s happening! It’s just that all I did was look into my iPhone camera and tell a friend they’re beautiful for being alive. I don’t ever want to lose that connection. Is that simple direct approach a strategy? Maybe it is…

Do you approach your vines differently now than you did at the beginning? What has changed for you?
Maybe part of my success, and the success of Vine overall, is the relatability factor. People can see me; they can look into my eyes, which never happens on Twitter. I’ve shied away from making more polished, “produced” vines because I’m concerned they will lose a personal touch — a humanity that is so essential to one of my missions: showing that LGBTQ folks are just folks. We are all human.

One thing that has changed for me is the recognition of the responsibility I have. I say it in a grandiose way because I don’t think I’m representing just LGBTQ folks. I’ve realized recently that my gender identity is a metaphor. I have the chance to be a voice for many of the voiceless outsiders in the world — the heartbroken people who have felt left out. If my interactions on Vine are any indication, there are a lot of us out there!

What’s it like to see a hashtag campaign you’ve created take off and touch so many people?
It’s ultra-fulfilling and fun. To know that people benefit, to know that people get it and are changed by what I do is a reason to get up in the morning. It’s also a reason to glue on false lashes when I’m a little tired and skim through hate e-mail to answer my followers. #DontSayThatsSoGay and #NoTimetoHateMyself brought out so many different kinds of people; people who would never be in front of a camera, never would be that visible on social media. They felt the message, their participation was that important. And everyone’s participation is that important! It really excites me to see that. Being in front of the camera feels natural for me, but when someone else who might be nervous or shy puts their truth on Vine, it is very inspirational.

If I ever start to have worries about my numbers or how many “likes” I’m getting, I go through those videos from everybody. That’s what’s important: the connection, the changed lives. I often feel like my life has been changed most of all.

When it comes to gender identity and sexual orientation, how would you describe yourself?
I never want anyone to feel bad. Ever. So, I decided a while ago that there is no “wrong way” to refer to me. I know that words and pronouns are really important to a lot of people. I respect that deeply. Several times a week, people ask “what’s your preferred pronoun?” which is nice of them, but I have no idea!

For me, connecting is most important. If someone is being respectful, I don’t care what they use. I’d love to have an interaction with someone who says a pronoun that doesn’t seem true for me at that moment, and we talk about it — we connect over it. Excluded from all this is, of course, is hate speech. I just don’t engage that.

I don’t want to deflect the heart of the question though! Personally, I don’t walk around thinking of myself as “her,” “man,” “they” or any other word we’ve currently got going. I guess that’s part of why I love hearing everybody’s stories on Vine — I can relate to men and women and everyone. When we’re talking about being human and having feelings, there is so much that we have in common.

What’s the one thing you hope people take away from what you’re doing? If you could boil everything down into one message, what would it be?
Always, always, always the message is the same: There Is Nothing Wrong With You. With varying degrees of success I’m sure, I keep it all hovering around that theme. Tweets, Instagram and, of course, my Vines are all an effort to help people ditch the self-hate and self-judgement. What could be more important?

What do you want to accomplish in 2015?
Let’s take over the world! I would be very happy if The Message (see above) could reach more people and bring more of us together. Helping one person is a cause for celebration to me, and I plan to keep celebrating that one-at-a-time connection by Vining my heart out.

Want to see more from Jeffrey Marsh? Check out their Vine, Twitter, Instagram or website.
Arts – The Huffington Post
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‘Women In Comedy’ Director Heidi Ewing Discusses The ‘Pretty Isn’t Funny’ Stereotype

Women have always been funny, but it wasn’t until recently that society allowed them to look beautiful and make us laugh.

Filmmaker Heidi Ewing, who directed the documentary “MAKERS: Women in Comedy,” dropped by HuffPost Live on Tuesday to discuss her work on the history of funny females, and she spoke with host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani about the long-held concern among women comics that an attractive appearance would make it harder to win over an audience.

Lucky for comedy lovers, that stereotype is quickly dissipating thanks to hilarious women like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and many more who aren’t afraid to rock a glamorous gown while they rattle off punchlines.

Watch Ewing discuss the “pretty isn’t funny” stereotype in the video above, and see the full HuffPost Live conversation here.

Sign up here for Live Today, HuffPost Live’s new morning email that will let you know the newsmakers, celebrities and politicians joining us that day and give you the best clips from the day before!
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Arianna Discusses ‘Thrive’ On ‘Real Time With Bill Maher’ Overtime Segment (VIDEO)

Arianna appeared Friday night on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher”, and during the online Overtime segment she discussed her new book “Thrive: The Third Metric To Redefining Success And Creating A Life Of Well-Being, Wisdom, And Wonder”.

On the topic of The Third Metric, she explained, “The point is that right now look around and millions of people are completely burnt out, and they think burn-out is the way to success, and they are paying a really high price in terms of their health.”

Arianna went on to recount the accident she had 7 years ago in which she collapsed from exhaustion. The incident started her on a journey of “redefining what success is”.

Watch the clip below (via HBO):

Comedy – The Huffington Post
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Matthew Camp Discusses His Go-Go Past, His Fashion-Design Future and the Power of Smell (NSFW PHOTOS)

Portrait by Daniel Jack Lyons

It’s easy to prejudge Matthew Camp. He’s a beautiful former go-go dancer with an amazing body and a cherubic face. (Read: I kind of assumed he was going to be the kind of guy who skates by on his looks.) When he walked in the door for his interview, I complimented his overcoat. He blushed, shrugged, and said he made it himself. This interaction pretty much set the tone for my afternoon with Camp. Through our conversation I learned that he’s not at all what I’d assumed. He’s kind, independent, hardworking, and gifted, a smart, fascinating guy who lives and works by his own rules. Here’s a snippet of our conversation. Enjoy!

Phillip M. Miner: Most people know you from your dancing career and are probably surprised to find out about the clothing and fragrance design. How did you get into fashion?

Matthew Camp: I’ve been making clothes for such a long time. I started before I was 20. I would make clothes for my sister’s dolls when I was a kid. I took a few classes in a community college and thought, “Wow, this is really easy.” I took a pattern-making class and a sewing class, and that was all I needed. The really interesting thing about making clothing is you learn a process that you can apply to anything. I feel like I can make anything now because I’ve learned the process of making something from scratch.

Miner: Like cologne, for example?

Camp: Exactly! I take natural and synthetic oils and mix them together using different processes to cure them to create the particular scent I want. Not a lot of people do it; it’s kind of a lost art. When I create a scent, I don’t follow many of the rules that people use. There are lots of books about what you’re supposed to do and the scents you’re supposed to use; I don’t really follow that. For me, smell is connected to memory and emotion. If I smell something and it conjures some sort of memory for emotion, I’ll find another scent that brings up the same memory. After I play around with it, I end up with a fragrance that tells a story. My newest fragrance, “8.5,” is made of smells that reminds me of go-go dancing. I used to wear cocoa butter all the time to grease myself up, so that’s in there. Leather and cigarettes and a bunch of other things that reminded me of those nights also went into “8.5.” To me, it smells like going and being out at a big gay bar. I think that’s why it resonates with gay men.

Miner: I have to ask: Does “8.5” mean what we assume it means?

Camp: It is not referring to my genitalia. I’m a happy 7.5. [Laughs.] Clearly the name is meant to be suggestive, but I chose “8.5” because it suggested a few things. The Fellini film is one of my favorite films; it’s raw and sexual, and it reminds of the scent.

Portrait by Daniel Jack Lyons

Miner: Tell me a bit about your dancing.

Camp: I danced forever. I started at the club 20 VIP, which is a strip club with lap dances and everything. I learned so much at that job. I learned how to socially manipulate people into giving me money, which was very useful when I started go-go dancing — and the rest of my career too, I guess. [Laughs.] When I go-go danced, I actually danced. I miss performing. I don’t necessarily miss being in my underwear all the time, but I miss being on a stage. It’s not necessarily the attention I miss; it’s the performing. When I was dancing at Boy Box at G Lounge, I would do these striptease numbers. One night I had a diaper on that was filled with chocolate pudding. I danced around like a baby, took the diaper off, then had a friend lick the pudding out of my ass. They asked me not to do that performance again. I said, “Why not?! This shit is amazing!” [Laughs.] People had the best reactions. Stuff like that was really fun to do.

Portrait by Daniel Jack Lyons

Miner: I can see why you did so well at go-go dancing. Your body is ridiculous. There are a bunch of nasty things said and written about gay guys who go to the gym frequently. Do you have any comment?

Camp: I can’t speak for an entire group of people, but [going to the gym] keeps me sane. I like to work out because it makes me feel good. My body actually hurts if I go more than four days without working out. I need to go and work out. I’m addicted to the chemicals my body produces when I work out. So I guess I don’t fucking care what people think. [Laughs.] But seriously, it keeps me sane. I’m probably a little agoraphobic; I won’t leave my house for much, usually just work or the gym or grocery shopping. So for me, going to the gym gives me the opportunity to leave my house and do something that feels good. It gives me the opportunity to be social without drinking or stuff like that. I’m trying to streamline as much as I can so it works for me.

Miner: Do you bring the same streamlining philosophy to your work?

Camp: Definitely. I’ve had a few people tell me I should start mass-producing my stuff. I’m not against that, but right now that’s not how I measure success. [Mass production] would unnecessarily complicate my work, because I’d end up trying to fulfill too many people’s desires. The way I work now, I have full control. My designs are mine. I look at my leather pieces as one-of-a-kind pieces of art that I make for one person. My typical client is a collector and the type of person who wears a leather jacket all the time; it’s part of their lifestyle. We collaborate, and the end product is totally unique.

Miner: My job is to make sure we talk about gay stuff at some point. Do you think your need to control your leather pieces comes from being gay?

Camp: I don’t know. When I was reading Stitching a Revolution, I realized gay people used to be total outlaws. They were outsiders and forced to create their own community that included really-fucking-cool cultural phenomena like drag queens. You don’t see that as much now. A lot of gay culture is becoming homogenized and acceptable, which isn’t a good or a bad thing. (I don’t believe in the ideas of “good” or “bad.”) I see both sides. We’re losing that outlaw thing, but it does make it easier for people to come out and also maybe makes [winning] equality easier. I guess I’m trying to say: Fuck it! Just be yourself. Who cares if you’re gay or straight? You don’t need someone else’s approval to do what you want. Do what makes you happy and healthy. It’s about self-improvement.

Portrait by Daniel Jack Lyons

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