Maria Grazia Chiuri Receives Legion of Honor

HONOR ROLL: “I can’t believe it!” Maria Grazia Chiuri exclaimed in Italian as she bounded up to her former boss, Valentino Garavani, at the Dior headquarters in Paris on Monday night.
The veteran designer was one of several hundred people gathered at 30 Avenue Montaigne to watch Chiuri receive the Legion of Honor, France’s highest civilian distinction, from France’s gender equality minister Marlène Schiappa.
About to close for renovations, the building had been decked out in an immersive installation by feminist artist Penny Slinger for Chiuri’s haute couture show earlier in the day, giving the proceedings a surrealist twist.
Flanked by her husband Paolo, son Nicolo and daughter Rachele, Chiuri was swarmed by well-wishers, including fellow designer Alber Elbaz; influencer Chiara Ferragni; Pathé Ouédraogo, the Burkina Faso-born designer better known as Pathé’O, with whom she worked on her recent resort collection, and author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who inspired her “We Should All Be Feminists” T-shirt.

Valentino Garavani and Maria Grazia Chiuri. 
Aïtor Rosas Suñe

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the luxury conglomerate which owns the Dior label, was out in force. Antoine Arnault, head of communication and image, was joined by his partner, model Natalia Vodianova; his sister Delphine Arnault, executive vice president of Louis Vuitton;

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Topic Studios Hires HBO Veteran Maria Zuckerman

Topic Studios has hired veteran HBO executive Maria Zuckerman as executive vice president to lead overall strategy including development, financing and production of films, documentaries, TV, podcasts and digital programming. Zuckerman worked for nearly 20 years at HBO, where she most recently served as senior VP of HBO Films. She oversaw production of more than […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

The Challenge’s Cara Maria Won’t Call Paulie Her Boyfriend — But Talks About Their Sex Life

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The hottest couple to come out of MTV’s The Challenge: Final Reckoning is about to take the next step in their relationship: tattoos.

Current Challengers Cara Maria Sorbello and her Big Brother alum beau Paulie Calafiore took a break from scaling walls and doing puzzles to appear on MTV’s new series, How Far Is Tattoo Far?, hosted by Jersey Shore queen Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and Younger‘s Nico Tortorella.

On the show, each pair designs and selects a tattoo for the other person, only to be revealed after they’ve already been permanently inked.

Sitting on the couch before ink is put to skin, Cara Maria attempts to define her five-month relationship with Paulie: “We’re seeing each other. I guess we’re dating, but it’s not exclusive. It’s not commitment. We’re just enjoying each other while we have each other.”

Snooki isn’t fooled and asks outright, “How’s your sex?”

“It’s… the best I’ve ever had,” Cara Maria confesses. (Wonder what her Challenge exes, Abram Boise and Kyle Christie, think about that!)

While the new couple doesn’t exchange “I love yous,” Paulie hints that he has something he wants to say with that tattoo he’s going to have inked onto Cara Maria. “We tiptoe around a lot of things when it comes to our feelings,” he says. “I’ve got a secret and I’m going to reveal it in this tattoo.”

How Far Is Tattoo Far? airs Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. on MTV.


PEOPLE.com

Fashion Deals Update:

EXCLUSIVE: Aldo Maria Camillo to Unveil Namesake Brand at Pitti Uomo

MILAN — Aldo Maria Camillo will unveil the first collection of his namesake label at Pitti Uomo, running in Florence Jan. 8 to 11.
The designer was selected by the international men’s wear trade show at its Pitti Italics Special Event.
“Aldo Maria Camillo works exclusively and with great focus on men’s fashion studying the masculine silhouette, with the aim of giving a new imprint and freshness to men’s wear. His cultural references belong to an intimately classical background, supported by solid stylistic training and an acute sensitivity to current worldwide events — which goes beyond fashion. He has talent, imagination, and a sense of material,” said Pitti Immagine director of communications and events Lapo Cianchi. “The new project of Aldo Maria is very personal and immediately engaged us, because we believe that in men’s wear it is essential to return to the standards of elegance nonetheless, re-read and renewed in a modern key. We want to join him in this adventure — the launching of his self-named brand — which now more than ever before requires courage and determination.”
A graduate from the New York Fashion Institute of Technology, Camillo kicked off his career in 2003 as an assistant fashion designer at Valentino. Three

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Maria Menounos Shares Wedding Photo & Honors Her Parents in Emotional Post: ‘I Feel So Blessed’

Maria Menounos is feeling major gratitude toward her parents following her glamorous wedding in Akovos, Greece.

The TV personality, who remarried Keven Undergaro on Saturday after initially saying “I do” in an impromptu New Year’s Eve ceremony last year, paid tribute to her parents Constantine and Litsa on Instagram.

On Tuesday, Menounos, 40, posted a sentimental black-and-white snapshot with her dad at the wedding. In the picture, the father-daughter duo have their arms wrapped around one another as Menounos shows off her billowing Celia Kritharioti gown.

“Love my dad so much,” she captioned the post. “This was a dream for him. He was born and raised in Akovos. Though he’s the proudest American you will find, he is also equally proud of his roots.”

“Growing up we saved all the spare change we found on the nightclub floors we cleaned in Boston to save up and visit Greece,” Menounos continued. “It meant so much to him for us to be connected to our heritage, to know the language and the traditions. Both my parents wanted that. It took years but finally we visited in 1988 when I was 10. I loved it. We spent almost a month in Akovos and it always held a special place in my heart. Returning to get married there was my wildest dream come true. All of our friends and family helped make it truly the most special moment of all our lives.”

RELATED: Maria Menounos Says ‘I Do’ Again in Greece, Plus More Celeb Couples Who Got Hitched More Than Once

Menounos also revealed that her father had health problems right before the wedding: “My poor dad got so sick a week before the wedding and we almost lost him. Luckily my friends and family helped him get better all while keeping me in the dark. This is why I feel so blessed.”

RELATED: Gina Rodriguez Reveals Why She Won’t Be Posting About Her Wedding to Joe Locicero on Social Media

With her wedding hashtag #mariaandkevensbigfatgreekwedding, she concluded, “To have my parents at my wedding I know wasn’t easy between dad’s diabetes and mom’s cancer. I know many who weren’t as lucky and I will never take that for granted.”

Menounos has shared all the details of her gorgeous nuptials on Instagram, which included a multi-layer cake, cheerful lemon centerpieces, yellow plants, yellow-hued drinks and pastries and almost 1,500 decorative lemons.

She also gave her fans peeks at her impressive arrival at the church — she rode in on a carriage surrounded by a swarm of people — and the celebration that followed the vows.


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Truly a magical fairytale. Huge Thanks to @catering.dipnosofistirion @dimitrisskarmoutsos for the most amazing food and for making every dream come true. Everything I had hoped for you took to a level I couldn’t even imagine. Thank you to both Dimitris! #mariaandkevensbigfatgreekwedding

A post shared by MARIA MENOUNOS (@mariamenounos) on Oct 7, 2018 at 10:18am PDT

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We had the most beautiful flowers last night. Thank you @studio7flowers for everything you did to make our night so special!

A post shared by MARIA MENOUNOS (@mariamenounos) on Oct 7, 2018 at 4:39am PDT

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Thoughts…#mariaandkevensbigfatgreekwedding #akovos

A post shared by MARIA MENOUNOS (@mariamenounos) on Oct 6, 2018 at 4:47am PDT

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Before the wedding, she took a moment to reflect.

“I’ve been planning this for maybe a month but really been planning this for a long time in my heart because I always wanted to return to Greece and do our wedding here,” she said on Instagram. “Greece means so much to us and our village and our roots and I’m so beyond thankful to all of our friends who put this together.”


PEOPLE.com

Fashion Deals Update:

Zero + Maria Cornejo RTW Spring 2019

“It’s all about strong women,” said Maria Cornejo backstage at her spring runway show. Her inspiration was epitomized in the collection by a print reproducing a work by Chilean artist Gracia Barrios, an abstract pattern consisting of sketched faces of extraordinary international female personalities. The motif was printed, for example, on a fresh cotton top worn with a draped skirt crafted from organic denim, as well as on a maxishirt paired with relaxed cropped pants.
In keeping with her quintessentially chic aesthetic, the designer delivered a beautiful collection where an unfussy urban mood was warmed up by Cornejo’s Latin sensibility, expressed particularly in the color palette of earthy, neutral tones juxtaposed with bright shades of coral red and vivid blue.
By choosing an inclusive casting of women of different ages, Cornejo wanted to highlight the timeless spirit of the collection, one designed to transcend seasonal trends and provide longevity and continuity among generations. While the oversized striped suit that opened the show and a sharp-cut denim jacket worn with matching pants looked more rigorous and infused with a certain mannish feel, the frocks and tops with plunging necks and the satin long dresses and revisited pajama sets revealed the very feminine side

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Maria Cornejo to Serve as Brand Ambassador at Première Vision New York

CORNEJO’S CRYSTAL CLEAR VISION: Première Vision and the Council of Fashion Designers of America have crowned Maria Cornejo as the brand ambassador for next month’s Première Vision New York.
The designer is crafting a selection of exclusive designs for the show, putting to use textiles from the Swiss company Schoeller Textil. She said of the collaboration, “First, I am a total fabric nerd. I start always with fabric, draping. That’s the way we design the collection, designing the fabric. Secondly, the collection is going more and more toward sustainability.”
The show will run Jan. 16 and 17 at Pier 94 in New York.
The opportunity to work with Schoeller, the 2017 Fashion Smart Creation prize at the last PV Awards, was a selling point for Cornejo who also commended the company’s avant-garde reputation in this arena. The Swiss textiles maker was honored for its double-face fabric with a color-contrasting back in ECONYL yarn. “This was an amazing opportunity. There was no reservation for me to do it because it was also about spotlighting sustainability, showing that it doesn’t have to be boring,” she said. “It can be design. It doesn’t have to be granola or look beige. There are different ways to approach

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Maria Grazia Chiuri Designs Costumes for Guggenheim Dance Performance

When “Falls the Shadow,” a new dance production commissioned by Works & Process and created by American Ballet Theatre principal Daniil Simkin, debuts in the famous rotunda of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York on Sept. 4, the dancers will be wearing costumes specially designed for the performance by Maria Grazia Chiuri of Dior.
To some extent, the rotunda is where the design process began, nearly a year prior, when Chiuri cochaired the Guggenheim International Gala, hosted by Dior. “Basically, we approached Maria Grazia at the gala,” said Simkin. “Obviously Dior was the primary fashion house we wanted to work with.”
The choreography and staging required special considerations, as “Falls the Shadow” will be performed in the rotunda with the audience standing on the ramps surrounding it for an aerial view. Additionally, the dancers’ movements will be captured in real-time by motion sensors, generating 3-D, mapped projections on the rotunda to connect technology, music, fashion and dance.
Chiuri attended a rehearsal in New York and Simkin and the production team sent her videos of the choreography and 3-D mapping to give her an idea of what the costumes would require. “What’s special about the piece is that it’s going to be

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Costume Jewelry Brand Melinda Maria to Collaborate With Sarah Michelle Gellar, Petra Flannery

Los Angeles-based costume jewelry brand Melinda Maria is finding its groove with a slew of collaborations and an expansion on QVC. The brand, which has a celebrity following that includes Selena Gomez, Alessandra Ambrosio, Taylor Swift, Chrissy Tiegen and Victoria Justice, is known for fashion-forward pieces that retail from $ 38 to $ 298, with a median price of $ 78.
This summer, founder and designer Melinda Maria Spiegel launched her first collaboration with Rebecca Gayheart and Kelly Oxford to benefit the Chrysalis foundation — a pair of butterfly-shaped earring jackets, a bracelet and a necklace. That was followed last month by a capsule with celebrity hair colorist Tracey Cunningham to benefit Nanci Ryder’s ALS charity.

Melinda Maria earrings 

“We design the pieces together and only the strong pieces will survive the cut. It’s not a traditional way of doing a collection for me; it’s very item-driven more than a ‘collection’ because the purpose is to create pieces so customers feel like they are wearing a beautiful piece of Melinda Maria and feel good about giving back,” Spiegel said.
Next month she will link with Sarah Michelle Gellar to benefit the World Hunger Organization, and in September, she will tie up with Kelly Sawyer and Norah Weinstein

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Rodial’s Maria Hatzistefanis Releases Book in the U.K.

SUCCESS SECRETS: Maria Hatzistefanis, founder and chief executive officer of the indie British beauty label Rodial — and social media maven — is looking to connect with her growing audience in new ways and has launched her first book.
Titled “How to Be an Overnight Success,” (Ebury Press) the book looks at Hatzistefanis’ journey to create a global beauty brand.
“The aim is to encourage everyone to follow their dreams; whether it’s someone starting their first job, people looking to take their careers to the next level or take a different turn and start their own businesses,” said Hatzistefanis.
The book takes the reader through stages of Hatzistefanis’ career, and each chapter ends with general business advice that anyone can apply to their respective cases.
It also offers up anecdotes about all the mishaps she encountered over the years. She talks about running around the Westfield mall at the last minute, desperate to find a nude bra ahead of a shoot with Kylie Jenner. Jenner had been acting as brand ambassador for the company’s lower-priced range Nip + Fab.
Looking back, Hatzistefanis said she learned how important it was to gain perspective. “I was so stressed, and looking back I realize that whatever I was

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Maria Grazia Severi Pre-Fall 2017

Maria Grazia Severi’s design team looked at the artwork of Lucio Fontana for pre-fall. His distinctive cuts in canvas and the bright color palette he favored served as inspirations for the collection’s clean lines and colorblocking. Its graphic quality was enhanced by the plissé rendered on different fabrics, from silk crafted from comfortable pajamalike pants to the knitted wool of feminine dresses with flared cuffs. Delicate ruffles punctuated an elegant cape and decorated the collar of a simple minidress in a bold red tone. The cute, soft femininity of these pieces was balanced by the more rigorous appeal of coats and suits crafted from mannish fabrics. The lineup offered a complete, commercially savvy wardrobe for women who crave round-the-clock elegance.

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Maria Sharapova and Rafael Nadal Making Store Appearances

The tennis stars will be out in full force tonight.
Maria Sharapova is making a personal appearance this evening at Bloomingdale’s, where she’ll sign autographs and pose for pictures from 6 to 7 p.m. The tennis star is promoting her new pop-up shop at Bloomingdale’s featuring candy, treats and other confections. The shop, called Sugarpova, will be up through Sept. 14.
Meantime, across town, Rafael Nadal will be doing a question-and-answer at Macy’s Herald Square tonight at 5:30 p.m., with Tommy Hilfiger to promote Hilfiger’s new fragrance line, TH Bold.

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Guido Maria Kretschmer RTW Spring 2016

German celebrity favorite Guido Maria Kretschmer is as famous for his decadent red carpet gowns as he is for his TV presence as the face of Actimel yogurt in ads and the host of reality show “Shopping Queen.” This season the designer had shopping kings in mind, too, as he incorporated a well-rounded selection of men’s wear into the collection for the first time.
The show’s title, “Bon Voyage,” was overtly referenced in Breton-striped men’s T-shirts worn under fitted black and navy suits. Thicker stripes were also seen on men’s shorts and in the women’s wear on a puffy blue-and-white-striped tulip skirt and sequined cropped jackets done in pink and blue. Fitted ivory cigarette pants with a matching jacket were the highlights of the women’s wear, but some white dresses suffered too much embellishment and bordered on twee.
Kretschmer devoted the same attention to cut and finishing with his men’s offerings as with his women’s and his slick men’s smoking jackets in black and white looked well-tailored. The silver sequined version, however, was more Las Vegas than Saint-Tropez.
 
See More From Berlin Fashion Week >>

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WWD » Berlin Fashion Week: Bobby Kolade RTW Spring 2016 Review
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Über Lope De Vega's Comedia Famosa De La Reina María: Nach Dem Autograph Des Verfassers ……

Über Lope De Vega's Comedia Famosa De La Reina María: Nach Dem Autograph Des Verfassers ……


This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923. This book may have occasional imperfections

such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact,

or were introduced by the scanning process. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections,

have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works

worldwide. We appreciate your understanding of the imperfections in the preservation process, and hope you enjoy this valuable book.

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The below data was compiled from various identification fields in the bibliographic record of this title. This data is provided as an additional tool in helping to ensure edition identification:

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<title> Über Lope De Vega''s Comedia Famosa De La Reina María: Nach Dem Autograph Des Verfassers …<author> Ferdinand Wolf<publisher> Aus der K. Hof- und Staatsdruckerei, 1855<subjects> Literary Criticism; European; Spanish & Portuguese; De la Reina María; Literary Criticism / European / Spanish & Portuguese
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Kylie Jenner Talks Beauty Rituals With Maria Hatzistefanis

24-HOUR FASHION PEOPLE: For most, it was a quiet weekend, two days’ respite after four weeks of runway shows. Not for London. On Saturday afternoon, Kylie Jenner took to the stage at Westfield London to talk beauty with Maria Hatzistefanis, while on the previous night Alexandra Shulman hosted a party in honor of Lucinda Chambers.
Some 150 Kylie Jenner fans crowded into a cinema at Westfield London to hear a conversation between the new Nip + Fab ambassador, and the brand’s founder, Hatzistefanis.
“When she Instagrammed our products nine months ago, our fans went crazy, so it was a really easy choice for the role of ambassador,” said Hatzistefanis as she introduced Jenner to the crowd.
In addition to plugging Hatzistefanis’ products, Jenner revealed bits of her beauty routine. “Everyone always thinks I have this one specific lip color but I have, like, 10 different nudes. And I can’t live without my strip lashes. For night I usually add a lot of glitter,” she said, adding that her half-sister, Khloe Kardashian, told her always to put sunscreen on her hands.
On the contents of her handbag, she said, “I have so many lip liners. I can’t leave the house without lip liner.” There’s also

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Maria Thompson Daviess, Collection

Maria Thompson Daviess, Collection


Maria Thompson Daviess (November 25, 1872 – September 3, 1924) was an American novelist and artist, best known for her popular novels written with a “Pollyanna” outlook. Daviess was born in Harrodsburg, Kentucky in 1872. After her father died when she was eight, her family relocated to Nashville, Tennessee. She studied one year at Wellesley College, and then went to Paris to study art. Returning to Nashville, she continued to paint and also took up writing. Her first novel, Miss Selina Lue and the Soap-box Babies was published in 1909. The Melting of Molly, published in 1912, was one of the top best-selling books for the year. She published sixteen novels between 1909 and 1920. In this ebook: The Melting of Molly The Heart’s Kingdom Andrew the Glad Rose of Old Harpeth The Tinder-Box Over Paradise Ridge Phyllis The Road to Providence The Golden Bird Blue-grass and Broadway The Daredevil

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Ana Maria in Novela Land Official Trailer 1 (2015) – Luis Guzmán Comedy HD

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Ana Maria in Novela Land Official Trailer 1 (2015) – Luis Guzmán Comedy HD

Ana Maria in Novela Land is the fun-filled story of how one super fan, Ana Maria, switches places with her favorite telenovela star, Ariana Tomosa.Starring EDY GANEM (Devious Maids), in a breakout, dual role as both Ana Maria and Ariana Tomosa, the film centers around Ana Maria, a typical 20-something who is living life on her own terms but frustrating her family and friends all the while doing so. As she journeys inside a world of seemingly limitless opportunities in “Novela Land,” things get heated during a love affair with a wealthy businessman and his younger, sexy son. Meanwhile, Ariana is forced to deal with the harsh realities of living in Los Angeles with an over-protective but loving family. As each of these women navigate their new lives, they come to the realization that love and true faith in themselves is all they really needed to have the life they dreamed of.

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Kristen Stewart Addresses The Irony Of ‘Clouds Of Sils Maria’

“Clouds of Sils Maria,” the latest film from French filmmaker Olivier Assayas, is one of the most meta, layered films on this year’s festival circuit. Not only is the story about a revival of a play within a movie, but the casting itself plays a big part in how we perceive the characters.

Assayas’s film, which screened as part of the New York Film Festival this month, follows Maria Enders (Juliette Binoche), a famous French actress whose big break was playing the young lead role in a play 20 years prior. Now she has the opportunity to star in the revival of the play, only this time as an older woman opposite the character for which she became known. As Maria runs lines with her personal assistant, Valentine (Kristen Stewart), their relationship begins to mirror and complicate that of the women in the play.

clouds of sils

The fictional play, which Assayas described during a press conference as a “condensed, brutalized version” of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s “The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant,” follows a fatal attraction between an older woman and her manipulative young assistant. As the film progresses, the lines blur between Maria’s relationship to the play 20 years ago and the dynamics between Maria and Valentine, Maria and Jo-Ann Ellis (Chloe Grace Moretz), the actress playing the younger role, and Maria and her past self.

The plot deepens as Assayas’ story becomes dense with thick layers of intertwining relationships. The actresses who star in the film are equally important to its concept. On one level, Binoche’s relationship to her character is very connected to her own relationship to Assayas, as she starred in 1985’s “Rendez-vous,” a film that he co-wrote and which launched her into the spotlight.

stewart

Kristen Stewart, though, embodies the fascinating real-life connections. Multiple instances in the film wink at the actress’ celebrity status and some prior scandals. In one scene, Valentine asks Maria whether the actress had a romantic affair with the play’s director when she was younger. “You wouldn’t understand,” Maria says to Valentine. But the audience might: Stewart had a highly-publicized affair with filmmaker Rupert Sanders while the director was still married. Valentine also helps Maria evade the paparazzi multiple times, which her character angrily calls “cockroaches.” The irony is hilarious and makes Stewart’s great performance even more enjoyable to watch.

“I had to reign in the glee on my face. I had to make sure my cheeks weren’t turning red and I wasn’t in hysterical laughter when I said some of the lines that I said in the movie,” Stewart said during a press conference on Wednesday. There are other moments in the film where Moretz’s Jo-Ann, who is constantly in the tabloids for DUIs and affairs, is a clear commentary on celebrity culture and the media. “I think that my position — just the life that I’m living and my experience — sort of gave [the film] this irony,” Stewart said with a laugh. “[It] just made it a bit more relevant and interesting.”

Stewart was originally cast in the role of Jo-Ann, which may have made for some all too obvious allusions. But Assayas revealed that he initially pictured Stewart in the role of Valentine, and ultimately gave her the part once they met. Unlike many films, “Clouds of Sils Maria” is a work of art that begs audiences to be aware of its internal references to Hollywood and celebrity culture. “It’s a movie where you ultimately never forget that you’re watching those actresses,” Assayas said. “It’s part of what the film’s about.”

“Clouds of Sils Maria” opens in March 2015.
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Maria Von Trapp Dead: Last Surviving Member Of Famous Musical Family Dies At 99

STOWE, Vt. (AP) — Maria von Trapp, the last surviving member and second-eldest daughter of the musical family whose escape from Nazi-occupied Austria was the basis for “The Sound of Music,” has died. She was 99.

Von Trapp died at her home in Vermont on Tuesday, according to her brother Johannes von Trapp. “She was a lovely woman who was one of the few truly good people,” he said. “There wasn’t a mean or miserable bone in her body. I think everyone who knew her would agree with that.”

Maria von Trapp was the last surviving member of the seven original Trapp Family Singers made famous in “The Sound of Music.” She was portrayed as Louisa in the 1959 Broadway musical and a 1965 film, which won the Oscar for best picture.

She was the third child and second-oldest daughter of Austrian Naval Capt. Georg von Trapp and his first wife, Agathe Whitehead von Trapp. Their seven children were the basis for the singing family in the musical and film.

“The Sound of Music” was based loosely on a 1949 book by von Trapp’s second wife, also Maria von Trapp, who died in 1987. It tells the story of an Austrian woman who married a widower with seven children and teaches them music.

In 1938, the family escaped from Nazi-occupied Austria and performed concert tours throughout Europe and then a three-month tour in America. The family settled in Vermont in the early 1940s and opened a ski lodge in Stowe.

Von Trapp played accordion and taught Austrian dance with sister Rosmarie at the lodge.

She wrote in a biography posted on the Trapp Family’s website that she was born in the Austrian Alps after her family fled fighting from World War I and that she was surrounded by music growing up.

“Father played the violin, accordion and mandolin. Mother played piano and violin,” she wrote. “I have fond memories of our grandmother playing the piano for us after meals.”

Her biography on the website also said that she worked as a lay missionary in Papua, New Guinea.

Rosmarie von Trapp, Johannes von Trapp and Eleonore Von Trapp Campbell were born to Georg von Trapp and Maria von Trapp.
Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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Pussy Riot Member Maria Alyokhina Released From Jail In Russia Under Amnesty Deal

NIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russia, Dec 23 (Reuters) – Pussy Riot punk band member Maria Alyokhina walked free from jail on Monday, immediately dismissing the Kremlin’s amnesty that granted her early release as a stunt that would not change her attitude to President Vladimir Putin.

Alyokhina, 25, one of two women serving two-year sentences for a profanity-laced protest against Putin in a Russian Orthodox church in 2012, was released under the amnesty the president has said would show the Russian state is humane.

They were convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred for their “punk prayer” criticising Putin’s ties to the Church, and had been due for release in March.

Alyokhina echoed critics who said the amnesty proposed by Putin was far too narrow and appeared aimed at deflecting criticism over human rights before Russia hosts the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi in February.

“I do not think it is a humanitarian act, I think it is a PR stunt,” she said by telephone in comments to the Russian Internet and TV channel Dozhd. “My attitude to the president has not changed.”

In addition to the amnesty, Putin unexpectedly pardoned Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Russian former oil tycoon who is widely seen by Kremlin critics and Western politicians as a political prisoner.

Khodorkovsky, who was freed after more than a decade in jail and flown to Germany, said Putin is seeking to improve Russia’s image while also showing that he is confident in his grip on power after weathering large opposition protests and winning a third term last year.

Putin wants to send “a signal to society and the world that he feels secure and is not afraid”, Khodorkovsky said in an interview with he Russian magazine the New Times.

Lawyers say the amnesty will also enable 30 people arrested in Russia after a Greenpeace protest against Arctic oil drilling to avoid trial on hooliganism charges, removing another irritant in ties with the West.

Putin said the amnesty was not drafted with the Greenpeace activists or Pussy Riot in mind. Looking confident and relaxed during an annual news conference last week, he described Pussy Riot’s protest as disgraceful, saying it “went beyond all boundaries”.

Human rights activists have said the amnesty is far too limited, estimating will free fewer than 1,500 convicts, a small fraction of the nearly 700,000 Russians behind bars.

“I’M NOT AFRAID”

Alyokhina, bundled in a thick green prison jacket and with her long curly hair loose, smiled as she left detention in the company of her lawyer and told Reuters she was feeling well.

She said that had it have been possible for her to refuse the amnesty, she would done so out of solidarity for those still in jail and that she now planned to lobby for prisoners rights.

“I was keen to reject this amnesty, but the prison had received an order that is why I was brought here,” she told Reuters.

“I would like now to deal with the issue of prison, I would like to engage in human rights … I’m not afraid of anything anymore – believe me.”

Pyotr Verzilov, the husband of fellow band member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 24, who is also due to be freed under the amnesty, which covered inmates convicted of hooliganism and mothers of young children, was awaiting her release outside a jail in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk.

A third band member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was released last year when a judge suspended her sentence on appeal.

Tolokonnikova’s father Andrei told Reuters last week he sees his daughter’s planned release not an act of mercy but “an absolutely cynical game” of public relations ahead of the Olympics. (Additional reporting and writing Alissa de Carbonnel; Editing by Alison Williams)

Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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All Growz Up With Melinda Hill: Maria Bamford

“All Growz Up” explores what popular comedians wanted to be when they grew up and how that’s panned out for them. Join me on this insightful journey into the little minds that became the big minds we love today.

2013-11-07-mariaBam.jpg

Name: Maria Bamford

Occupation: Comedian, actress, voice actress.

Aspired to be: Physician/veterinarian, nun, wanted to have a uniform of some kind.

Advice: “Stay alive.”


Comedy – The Huffington Post
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