David Foster and Katharine McPhee Are All Smiles as They Pose Together at Oscars Party

David Foster and Katharine McPhee can’t resist the glitz and glamour of the Oscars.

Foster, 68, and McPhee, 33, spent Sunday together at the Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards viewing party sponsored by Bulgari.

Although the pair didn’t walk the red carpet together, they were all smiles as they posed side-by-side inside the event.

The American Idol alum looked chic in a semi-sheer lacy black dress. The Grammy-winning producer was also dressed for the occasion, wearing a classic black suit with a partially unbuttoned white shirt underneath.

Be sure to check out PEOPLE’s full Academy Awards coverage to get the latest news on Hollywood’s big night.

Although McPhee and Foster have yet to comment publicly on their relationship, the musical pair first sparked romance rumors in September 2017, after the latter’s daughter Erin Foster shared photo of them together in Los Angeles.

While McPhee and Foster have been friends for years — first meeting on the set of American Idol when McPhee was a contestant in 2006 —  Erin captioned the photo, “Excited about my new step mom.” (A source close to the situation told PEOPLE at the time that the social media posts were a joke.)

RELATED: Oscars 2018 Nominations: Get Out and Lady Bird Score Big

Asked about the relationship rumors, McPhee previously told PEOPLE that she had “zero desire” to address them. “It’s great that they want to do that. I think it’s so amusing that people are amused by my love life,” she added.

“Here’s how I look at it: I’m not doing anything wrong, so whether people think it’s true or false, I don’t, you know, there’s nothing bad happening in my life, so people can just say whatever they want,” she said.

The 2018 Oscars were held at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 4 and were telecast live on ABC.


PEOPLE.com

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Smiles Mean Money in France, But Hidden Benefits Are Even More Enriching

“A person who smiles a lot is either a fool or an American.”
— Russian adage

The French government has launched a new  campaign  to make its citizens smile in an effort to promote a more welcoming environment for tourists. But science tells us that French authorities will be beating their heads against the wall if they really think they can coax aloof Parisians to put on a happy face.

Because, well, there’s no smiling in France.

Or so say psychologists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who have found that the most expressive nations —  those with citizens who are quickest to crack a smile – are those with heavy immigrant populations. That puts the homogeneous France near the bottom of the list with Russia and Japan. Among the leaders: Canada, Brazil and the good ol’ U.S.A.

So, what is it about living in the world’s melting pots that puts smiles on the faces of their citizenry? Simply put, a smile is the mother tongue. It bridges language barriers, predicts trust and signals friendly intentions among people of disparate origin.

And conversely, it is a lack of smiles, among other things, that has given France a reputation for being a difficult place to visit, especially if you don’t speak the language.

This isn’t the first time the French have tried to legislate smiles to convey warmth to tourists. The current effort is similar to campaigns in  2003  and 2009 , when the tourism board set up “smile ambassadors” at the nation’s most-visited spots. But by all accounts, the efforts of the police du sourire fell flat. Those smiles turned – or stayed – upside down.

What Happens to Our Brains When We Smile

There is fascinating research about the power of an upturned mouth. Smiling activates the release of neurotransmitters, including dopamine and serotonin, that help  fight off stress. Having  too little of these brain chemicals has been linked to depression. When we smile, we also trigger the release of “happy hormones,” including  endorphins, the same chemicals that give us that “runner’s high” after exercising. Even aping a smile can spark a feeling of  happiness  and  reduce stress. Charles Darwin was the first to suggest that one’s emotions could be enhanced by one’s expressions, positing that just the  act  of smiling produces positive emotion.

Fast forward more than 100 years and “positive emotion” leads off renowned positive psychologist Martin Seligman’s five-sided PERMA model of the traits that foster well-being. According to Seligman, there are two kinds of smiles, the “Duchenne smile” and the “Pan American” smile. The Duchenne smile (named for neurologist Guillaume Duchenne) is involuntary and genuine. It is a broad smile that forms wrinkles on the outer edges of the eyes (i.e. crow’s feet). On the other hand, the Pan Am smile (the forced smile of flight attendants from the long-defunct airline), is inauthentic. It involves only the muscles of the mouth. (To see if you can spot the fake from the real smile,  take this quiz  from the BBC.)

But back to our poker-faced friends around the world: In the UW-Madison study, researchers examined the psychology of smiling in 726 people from nine countries and compared the results for each country with its immigration numbers. Participants were asked what constituted a good reason to smile, with options like, “is a happy man,” “to sell you something,” or “feels inferior to you.”

The results? Countries with more immigration over the last 500 years were more likely to interpret the smile as a happy or friendly gesture.

In countries with less diverse pasts, such as France, Russia and Japan, the act of  smiling  is more complex. Japanese people will grin to  mask negative feelings. The Japanese tend to control their expression of emotion so much so that people there have been  given instruction in the art of the smile. Meanwhile, the French are so notorious for not smiling that the British tourism group VisitBritain released a guidebook with tips for U.K. hoteliers to avoid offending guests from other nations. “Don’t exchange a smile or make eye contact with anyone from France who you do not know,” the guidebook states.

But can we equate the act of smiling with true happiness? In a paper called “The French Unhappiness Puzzle,” economist Claudia Senik argues that France’s “cultural mentality” makes the French far less happy than their wealth and lifestyle would predict. Senik’s research suggests that French unhappiness is due in large part to “multi-dimensional” dissatisfaction and a low level of trust in other people. She says policies to address unhappiness in France should start in early childhood.

A smile, real or fake, is a good starting point, and the bigger the grin, the better. Researchers at  Wayne State University analyzed the smiles of 230 Major League Baseball players culled from their 1952 trading cards to test how positive emotions affect longevity. The intensity of the players’ smiles was compared with life data for the men, controlling for body mass index, education, career length and other factors. As it turned out, the players with the broadest smiles lived seven years longer.

The Big Picture

The UW-Madison researchers believe there are public policy implications that come with exposure to, and understanding of, diverse cultures living within the same borders. For example, said lead author Paula Niedenthal, citizens “may be more or less willing to pay for universal healthcare, because they empathize differently with in-group and out-group members.”

So let’s hope the French Smile Revolution is a winner this time around. It’ll build trust among tourists and natives alike, and lift moods all around. Personally, I hope the friendly efforts penetrate deeper than a superficial strategy aimed at fiscal gain, because we don’t have to excavate ancient history to see how the smile has been  used as a  propaganda  tool.

Here in the free world, I highly recommend smiling. And go all the way. You can fake it ’til you make it, but the Duchenne smile is a  more powerful mood changer  than the perfunctory one flashed at the Pan Am jet-setters.

Jason Powers, M.D., is chief medical officer at Promises Austin drug rehabilitation center and The Right Step network of addiction treatment programs in Texas. He is an addiction blogger and the pioneer of Positive Recovery, an approach to addiction treatment that helps people discover meaning and purpose in their lives.

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From Atlanta to Bushwick: A Pink Lady Smiles

The New York art scene isn’t only about New York anymore: across the country, artists are collaborating digitally and virtually; gallerists are looking beyond their own backyards for work; and buyers are venturing to neighborhoods outside of Chelsea and Williamsburg to discover the next art star.

Case in point: Near the railroad tracks on Atlanta’s Westside, artist Karen Schwartz paints in her studio. Through the open window, the sound of birds wafts into the space along with shafts of sunlight. When I meet Schwartz for an interview in April, she is preparing for a one-woman show in Brooklyn, New York, and her nearly-finished work surrounds us. Expressionist yet contemporary, the figurative paintings are dark and deliberate, with a sense of humor and a fluidity marked by bats, bunnies and other animal references that flutter, bounce and stomp through her canvases. Schwartz says it required a lot of deep digging to do the “physical and visceral” work of self-discovery that these emotive paintings transmit.

A native New Yorker who headed South to earn a doctorate in psychology, Schwartz, a practicing psychotherapist, began to fully realize her artistic talent when she attended the Fine Arts Atelier at the King Plow Arts Center. Here she met fellow New York transplant, Michael David, a prominent painter who became her teacher and mentor. David teaches in Atlanta and is also the curator for Life on Mars Gallery in Bushwick, a neighborhood in Brooklyn that’s exploding with art spaces of every size and kind.

Schwartz’s show, titled “Down the Rabbit Hole,” opened at Life on Mars April 24 and runs through May 31. Although it’s not specifically dedicated to the memory of her mother, who passed away while Schwartz worked on the series of paintings, the collection displays an element of feminism disguised as motherhood – that of her mother and her own.

Schwartz admits it was difficult to fly the ATL-LGA route several times per month to be with her mother during her last year. Yet, the cacophony of Manhattan faded each time she stepped into her Atlanta studio. “There’s something freeing about getting out of the center of the action. I think painters have always done this,” Schwartz says.”It’s stimulating to capture something with your mind and then to be alone with it somewhere else.”

The heartache was not erased by the miles nor the Southern train whistle on the nearby tracks, however. The result of the months of back-and-forth travel influenced a show that is full of vibrant hues, edgy lines and vigorous motion punctuated by resolute stillness and sadness. The red lipstick that dances across the mouth of “Pink Lady,” a portrait in Schwartz’s show, says it all: in life and in art, it’s easy to paint on a smile to mask the layers of emotions underneath. What’s more difficult is to convey the nuances as brilliantly as Schwartz has done in her work.

It’s fitting that the exhibition is up during Mother’s Day; last year Life On Mars hung a group show called Motherlove, which also featured Schwartz’s work, along with paintings by Joan Snyder and quilt artists Mary Lee Bendolph and Loretta P. Bennett. This year, the theme of celebrating women artists continues: the gallery continues its nod to “The Women of Ab-Ex” with a May 20 symposium featuring art scholar Eleanor Heartney; Norman Kleeblatt, chief curator of The Jewish Museum; art historian/author Irving Sandler; and critic Phyllis Tuchman.)

For more information, visit Lifeonmarsgallery.com.

2015-05-10-1431288315-4422774-PinkLady_72x60_MixedMediaLinen_2014.jpg
Pink Lady by Karen Schwartz, 2014, Mixed media on linen, 72 x60 inches

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