Part Batman, Part Superman and All Green: The Unexpected Appeal of Martian Manhunter

J’onn J’onnz, the Martian Manhunter, isn’t exactly the most mainstream superhero in the DC Universe. Despite a relatively top tier booking in the Justice League roster, a handful of animated features, and a live action incarnation courtesy of the CW’s Supergirl and actor David Harewood, he’s not exactly the sort of character you could show to anyone on the street for immediate recognition — but what J’onn lacks in Batman or Wonder Woman level fame, he makes up for with a very specific level of relatability, unique to him among his peers. And that’s exactly what co-creators Steve Orlando and Riley Rossmo hope to tap into with his brand new limited series, Martian Manhunter, out now.

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Artists and Fashion Designers Team Up in Some Unexpected Places

Several arts-related shows and exhibitions are cropping up in fashion-friendly places.
As part of an ongoing effort to showcase artistic programs, Spring Place will be staging “Infoxication” Monday night.
The 50-minute multidisciplinary performance will feature art, music, dance and technology. The theme is technology’s presence in our lives. Infoxication is the latest arts-related collaboration at Spring, with the American Ballet Theatre and the Water Miller Center being others. Monday’s will be the first full production, and the largest one to date, with more than 20 collaborators, according to Spring Place’s art director, Roya Sachs. The full immersive experience includes product support from Google — Pixelbooks and Pixel phones. “It’s definitely in the vein of trying to create these more impactful and interactive programming and performances,” Sachs said.
The four-part experience is meant to take audience members on a visual, physical and mental journey. Ticket holders will learn the story of “waking, working, wanting and withdrawing.”
Collaborators include choreographer Dusan Tynek, a world premier composition by Danielle Eva Schwob, live body art by Heather Hansen, and performances by PubliQuartet and cellist Inbal Segev. Schwob said Friday, “Our goal has been to provide an even-sided take on people’s daily lives. It’s very easy to talk about

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5 Unexpected Things We Learned On The ‘Harry Potter’ Studio Tour

You can go to London without visiting the Warner Bros. studio, where cast and crew brought J.K. Rowling’s expansive magical world to the screen. But if you’re a Harry Potter” fan, you really shouldn’t.

HuffPost had the pleasure of touring the corners of Hogwarts and beyond that have been carefully set up for fans to lovingly gaze at, obsessively photograph, and even consume ― the Butterbeer is delicious ― in Leavesden, England.

Awash in “Harry Potter” nostalgia, we walked through the Great Hall, where professors McGonagall and Snape stand at attention on either side of Dumbledore. We peered into the surprisingly compact Gryffindor common room and brushed by the magnificent Fat Lady, sans password. We saw Harry’s Hogwarts acceptance letters strung up to cloud the Dursleys’ living room with a flurry of paper whizzing motionless out of the fireplace. We nipped into the Hogwarts Express, where cars representing Harry, Ron and Hermione’s many years of rides are littered with candy wrappers, books and copies of the Quibbler. We admired a wall of newspapers, envelopes, cereal boxes and every other array of printed prop, all blessed with the wizarding world’s unique typography that screams in block letters at one turn and appears calmly serifed at another. We passed the Knight Bus and the infamously well-manicured Privet Drive. We forgot our Put-Outer, so the street remained illuminated. 

In a new section of the studio, we witnessed the Whomping Willow in destructive action and strolled along a trail through a forest full of meticulously handcrafted trees that obscure one special hippogriff and too many arachnids. And that’s not even half of all we saw.

Among the many bits and bobs along the way, we picked up some trivia on the “Harry Potter” film series. Our list doesn’t give away everything to be discovered on a visit, and certainly can’t replicate the whimsical wizarding atmosphere culled from the thoughtful work of prop developers and costumers over 10 years of filming. Nevertheless, we’ve shared a few pieces of knowledge below. 

1. Some of the Hogwarts castle portraits actually depict muggles.

Although the depth and breadth of Rowling’s wizarding world could surely have produced enough famous magical faces to fill the halls of Hogwarts ― the set included nearly 350 enchanted portraits ― producers allowed many of the film’s crew to pose for portraits to fill in the gaps. On view, for the sharp-sighted, are Barry Wilkinson the prop master, David Heyman the producer and Stuart Craig the production designer, among others. All look as if they know just the precise way to inflect “leviosa.”

2. There’s a picture of a young Professor McGonagall hanging in the Gryffindor common room.

Her dark hair is greying, and she displays a very prim expression, gazing slightly down her nose at the painter, but the witch pictured bears only a slight resemblance to Dame Maggie Smith. Or the witch described in the book, with her affinity for emerald green and tartan robes; this McGonagall is in blue, with a gold pendant around her neck. (Yes, you’ll have to make a visit to see her.)

3. Some of the potions ingredients in Snape’s classroom are actually zoo souvenirs. 

Professor Snape is a closet fan of muggle zoos, it seems. Among the more than 500 of bottles stashed along the walls of the dungeon classroom, some with handwritten labels, are plastic animals from the shop at the zoo in London’s Regent’s Park. That’s a significantly cuter way to illustrate pickled animals, like the ones the dungeon is meant to house, than some of the other things in those jars ― namely, baked animal bones from a nearby butcher. 

4. 15,000 glowing prophecy orbs were trashed because director David Yates changed his mind.

Well, not trashed, exactly ― you can see them displayed on the tour. The dusty glass orbs were created to illustrate the Ministry of Magic’s luminescent Hall of Prophecy that contained records of foretold events, including the prophecy made by Professor Trelawney about a child with the power to defeat Voldemort. The props weren’t used in the film, though, because Yates ― who directed “The Order of the Phoenix,” “The Half-Blood Prince” and both “Deathly Hallows” installments ― decided to use CGI to create them. They might’ve been destroyed anyway in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, but imagine being those prop designers.

5. In certain scenes, Hagrid’s head is fake. 

One of the more eerie behind-the-scenes revelations is seeing the bodiless head of Hagrid ― complete with artful wrinkles, rosy veins and individual eyebrow hairs ― that the prop department made for tall stunt doubles portraying him in action scenes and wide shots. Filmmakers used this and many other tricks to make the lovable half-giant appear so much larger than life: Another had Robbie Coltrane, who is only 6-foot-1, seated at a split-level table, one higher and nearer the camera and one lower and further away, to achieve a forced perspective effect that made the actor appear huge across from his companion. You can try it out for yourself on the tour ― photos encouraged.

Tickets can be found on the “Harry Potter” Warner Bros. Studio Tour website.

From June 1 to 30, HuffPost is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the very first “Harry Potter” book by reminiscing about all things Hogwarts. Accio childhood memories.

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Seoul’s Night Markets Yield Unexpected Knockoffs

SEOUL — The Dongdaemun night market — a district of buildings here that sells goods well into the wee hours — has begun shilling the unexpected.
Market buildings like Doota and Migliore are venerable mazes of trendy clothes offered at a cheap-fix price. Other buildings wholesale designs as well, with buyers pouring into the markets past dusk while inventory workers haul weighty, plastic-wrapped bundles of garments over their shoulders as they arrive straight from factories.
While facsimiles of Gucci’s ruffle dresses and Céline’s shirting are on offer, there are also replicas of logo merchandise for sale.
While a visit to Dongdaemun in past years may have yielded copies of megabrands with particular resonance in Asia — Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Christian Dior included — these labels are no longer the market’s sole focus.
Now smaller, high-fashion labels are subject to imitation as well — as evidenced during a visit by WWD this week. At buildings like Maxtyle and Pyeonghwa Fashion Town, T-shirts and accessories bearing the names of Marques’ Almeida, Marni, Margaret Howell, Rochas, Acne Studios, Philipp Plein, Off-White and the skate brand Palace were spotted on racks. Most designs are priced under 50,000 Korean won, or about $ 44.
Some copies, like those of Off-White, take care to replicate the brand’s logo design. Others

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Ten Simple and Unexpected Ways to Boost Happiness

What are some small ways to boost happiness in everyday life? originally appeared on Quorathe knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Raj Raghunathan, Professor of marketing and happiness expert at UT Austin, on Quora:

I once surveyed my students to make a list of three small things that make them feel happy after watching this video. Here’s the Top Ten list from that survey:

Note that not all of them will work equally well for you, so you need to figure out which ones work best:

1. Engage in vigorous physical activity.

The next time you need a mood-boost, try this out: go for a long run or play a game of basketball. Now, what counts as a long run for you may be a mere walk in the park for me (it’s more likely to be the reverse), but the point is that the activity needs to be vigorous enough get your heart pumping and your mind distracted from your negative ruminations. If you are like most people, you are unlikely to want to get off your butt if you are feeling down. But, as the Nike slogan says, “Just Do It!” Here’s a fact to get you going: you are guaranteed to feel better after a workout than you felt before it.

2. Hang out with friends.

When we feel down, we typically don’t want to interact with others. This is partly because we don’t want others to see our negative side, but it’s mostly because we don’t think that hanging out with others is really going to help us feel better. I’m not sure where this intuition comes from, but I can tell you that it is wrong: our mood reliably improves after we socialize, especially if the people with whom we socialize are happy and likeable. Similar to how it’s important to overcome the reluctance to exercise, it’s important to overcome the pessimism we feel about the effectiveness of socializing when feeling down.

If you are wondering where and with whom to socialize, just call one of the “favorites” on your smart phone and make a plan to meet. Tell them about what is troubling you to get you started–even a short chat with a close-friend can significantly improve your mood.

3. Consume a moderate amount of alcohol.

I know, I know, I shouldn’t be encouraging people to drink, but what to do? It turns out that when we desperately need a happiness quick-fix, consuming a moderate amount of alcohol can be effective. The key here is to consume just enough to feel a little relaxed. The very process by which alcohol lowers inhibitions can also lower the tendency to worry. In other words, alcohol can temporarily take your mind off things that are causing you to feel negative and thus, can be useful in situations in which our mind is on a “negativity overdrive.” Needless to say, it is important to consume only a moderate amount of alcohol. If you are one of those who can’t stop after two, don’t try this at home or elsewhere!

4. Dress to kill.

As I mentioned in an earlier article, human beings are highly social creatures, which means that we worry a lot about what others think of us. When we believe that others view us positively, we feel good, and when we believe that they view us negatively, we feel bad. So, one way to make yourself feel good is to wear your best clothes and perfume (or cologne, as the case may be) and venture out to your local park or mall. We you look and smell good, or think that you do, you are likely to believe that others view you positively and this will make you feel good.

5. Revisit old (and positive) memories.

Reliving the “good old times” can be a surprisingly effective mood-booster. I say “surprising” because many of us, especially the young among us, rarely engage in reliving fond memories. Curiously, it seems that the more our life has become virtual, the less we are likely to revisit the past. My parents, for example, regularly spend time recalling pleasant past memories, and also routinely pore over the “family album” to relive past memories. Our existence in the virtual world, e.g., on social media websites, should, if anything, allow us to revisit our past even more effectively, given that many of our cherished memories and experiences are merely a “click away”.

A note of caution, however, if you are looking to the Internet to revisit the past: stay away from those who make you feel inferior. That is, stay away from people who are into the game of “keeping up with the joneses”–you know, the ones who frequently post pictures from their vacation in Spain, or engage in name-dropping. Findings show that such “friends” bring you down.

6. Watch a funny or touching video.

Some people prefer funny videos and others prefer heart-warming ones. Regardless, findings show is that even a short exposure to a positive video can significantly boost happiness. (There’s a reason why one of the most popular ways to manipulate mood in experiments is to have participants watch a video.) Here are links to two funny and two touching videos. (Note: the last one is relatively long, at about 15 minutes, but it is well worth it!)

Funny videos:

Dog playing piano:…

The Duck Song:…

Heart-warming videos:

Love Language:…


7. Talk to an older relative.

It’s a bit of a pity that, in many “new” cultures (like the US), the elderly aren’t as respected as they are older cultures (like China or India). Think about it: as you grow older, you get physically weak and mentally less nimble. The one saving grace could have been that you gain in respect. Without it, growing old seems to have no positives. No wonder the US is so “youth crazy”!

As findings on hyperopia show, the elderly do deserve our respect because they have “been there, done that.” They thus have many valuable lessons to share. In particular, no one can put things in perspective like the elderly can. Talking to them will help you discern the important from the merely urgent and will also help you not sweat the small stuff.

8. Tick something off your “to do” list.

Have you ever written down something on your things to do list just so that you can have the pleasure of scratching it out? Well, turns out you are not alone. Findings show that people derive an “efficacy boost” by accomplishing goals and this can, in turn, make them feel good. If you don’t have a things to do list or can’t think of something to write on it to scratch off, don’t worry. Just do something simple and easy, like depositing a check or washing a cup, and you’ll be on your way to feeling good.

9. Do a small act of kindness.

Perhaps the most powerful determinant of how we feel is the story we tell ourselves about who we are. The more we believe that we are efficacious and successful, the better we feel–which is why tip #8 (ticking something off your list) works. Another story you can tell yourself is that a large-hearted, generous person. One way to convince yourself of this story is to act like a large-hearted and generous person. This doesn’t mean that you break your bank to serve someone; all you need to do is to perform a small act of kindness such as, rescuing a kitten from a tree, or giving left-over food to a homeless person. Even merely smiling or saying “good morning!” to someone can pick your mood up.

10. Venture into nature.

Most urbanites don’t recognize it, but human beings are biophiles, that is, we love being out in nature. I take my MBA students on a two day retreat each year to a place out in the boonies. We hike up a hill and swim in the river and do various other “nature-oriented” things. Before going on the trip, most of my students are skeptical that being out in nature is going to do anything good, but many come away making a pledge that they will get out more in nature in the future. (I’m not sure if they actually make good on their pledge, but the pledge is good enough for me.) Turns out you don’t need to go on a two day retreat to reap the benefits of being out in nature: even a short hike or a picnic in a park can help you feel good.

This question originally appeared on Quora – the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

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Special News Bulletin- -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

Pogue's cheap, unexpected tech gifts No. 5: a spectacular dashboard cam

Pogue's cheap, unexpected tech gifts No. 5: a spectacular dashboard camPolice corruption is so rampant that citizens equip themselves with these always-on cameras so they’ll have proof of their own lawful driving. Or search YouTube for “Russian dashcam accident compilations” to see all the accidents these things have recorded. As soon as you turn on the car, the camera starts recording—gorgeous, clear, 1080p hi-def.

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Pogue's cheap, unexpected tech gifts No. 4: The TP-Link Smart Light Bulb

Pogue's cheap, unexpected tech gifts No. 4: The TP-Link Smart Light BulbBulbs you can control from a phone app, like the Philips Hue and the GE Link Bulbs, have been kicking around for years. The drawback: They’re expensive, because they don’t work without a separate hub, a router-looking thing that requires an internet connection and power. Or $ 45 for one (the LB120) whose colors you can change just like the Philips Hue.

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The Unexpected Style Move Every Guy Should Try This Winter

Let Future’s turtleneck-and-suit combo be your inspiration.

Style – Esquire


An Unexpected Houseguest

I had an unexpected houseguest recently and it brought an incredible gift, in spite of the fact that it was freaking out. It was a beautiful day and I had my sliding glass doors wide open so my dogs could come and go outside. But as soon as I heard commotion and the sound of a panicked bird, I knew we had a problem.

I ran into the living room to see a wren flying frantically around the room. My dogs were engrossed in trying to figure out what this little creature was doing in our home, so they ran around trying to capture it. Of course, this freaked out our little houseguest.

As the bird banged itself up against our glass front door and landed on the floor, I swept it into my hands and cradled it to my chest.

Now, if I’m honest, I love “watching” birds, but that old movie The Birds has always hung out in the recesses of my mind and kept me from wanting to pet them, much less hold them. If you haven’t seen it, it’s the old movie where birds take over a town and peck people’s eyes out!

But for whatever reason, something came over me with this little bird and I just swooped it up without thinking about it. And then I began to sing to it. LOL! We have lots of critters around our home, especially a ton of deer, so when I’m outside and they walk up, I sing. It’s not just any song. It’s the Barney song. You know, the one that says, “I love you. You love me. We’re a hap-py fam-i-ly.” I’m often amazed how the deer will stop and listen. I know it’s not because of my voice, but the love behind the song. And it was no different with the bird.

The wren nestled into my hands and completely relaxed. I massaged its back and it closed its eyes. I couldn’t believe the connection I felt to this little guy.

I continued to sing to it as I walked it outdoors. As I opened my hands, I was sure it would fly away, but it didn’t. Instead it grabbed on tight. I thought it might be hurt, but it wasn’t.


My hubby, Charlie, walked up and stroked the wren’s back and then picked it up to take it closer to a tree. As soon as he did, the bird flew to safety.

I walked away from that moment feeling so connected to that little bird. I knew it felt connected to me, too. I felt the light of God running through my heart and my hands and am sure that this is why the little bird was so relaxed.

I had to think about what’s changed over the years from being fearful of picking up a bird to cradling one in my hands. And the answer I got is, “I feel connected.”

I used to feel so disconnected from God and from everything around me. I felt quite alone. But that all changed when I made a decision to heal and created a connection to my heart.

That meant listening to my feelings, getting to know my truth, and loving myself unconditionally to allow myself to stand in it. And the deeper I moved into unconditional love, the more my heart exploded open. No longer did I feel alone. I began to feel a connection to everything. I’m talking about people, animals, trees, even bears and snakes! Yes, we have those critters, too.

Our society tells us that taking the time to go within is selfish. We should take care of everyone else at the expense of ourselves. But as we stay in a perpetual disconnect from our hearts, we disconnect from God and the world around us. But when we make a commitment to heal, we dive deep into love. And then before you know it, that love is overflowing to the world around us.

When I look at the divisiveness in our country right now, I know it’s because people feel disconnected. They may not know it, but that’s the crux of what’s going on.

If we want our world to feel peaceful and loving, we have to make a decision to go within and heal. We have to create a connection to the love within so that it can expand out into the world.

I’m so thankful that little wren flew into my home. I’m so thankful that I got to mend an old area that was broken in my heart. I let go of my fear of the bird hurting me. I allowed the love to flow through me and was reminded that our connection to all of God’s creatures begins when we create a connection within.

Former Miss USA, Terri Britt, is a Spiritual Coach, Energetic Healer, Award-Winning Author of The Enlightened Mom, and an Inspirational Speaker. Are you ready to create a connection within so you can feel more love and connection to the world? Get the guided meditation, “Grounding in God’s Light,” as a gift. It is the foundational tool Terri uses daily and has for two decades. It will help you be the calm in the storm and create a deep connection within so you can spread more peace and love in the world. Click here to grab it!

— 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.

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin- -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

12 Unexpected Holiday Party Makeup Ideas to Try This Year

Certain holiday makeup has become as predictable as an ugly-sweater party. But this season, the ornament-red lips and glittery-snowflake eyes pair just as perfectly with a leather jacket as they do with a reindeer-embroidered vest.
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For Danes’s second Allure cover, the aim was elegance. “Her character in Homeland isn’t glamorous, so we wanted to capture her in a more elegant way,” says Allure creative director Paul Cavaco of the bold lip color and evening gowns. Here’s what went into the hair and makeup for the shoot.
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The Unexpected Wedding Guest

The Unexpected Wedding Guest

Wellington Estate, the Hamptons Reese stood On the small platform in the elegant sitting room furnished in eighteenth-century antiques, smoothing her hands down the satin. The wedding gown fit her waist just right, hugging her body to her hips before flaring in a dreamy swirl of tulle that floated to the floor, one hundred yards total. She had only one issue with the dress, and, unfortunately, the problem was getting bigger. Or technically, smaller. With a frown, she reached into her strapless bodice and adjusted her right breast. “Don’t bother.” Amber met her gaze in the full-length mirror, her words muffled by the pins in her mouth, her hands fingering the bodice at the seam. “We need cream puffs.” With a sigh, Reese dropped her hand to her side, staring at her reflection. Proof positive that God was indeed male. Because there could be no justice in a world that declared a woman must lose weight in her boobs first. “Is that the best my seamstress, bridesmaid and future sister-in-law can come up with?” She sent Amber a dry look. “Your breasts are shrinking so bring on the cream puffs?” The redhead’s face flushed with pleasure. “Your brother and I aren’t engaged.” “Yet,” Reese said with a smile. Amber removed the pins from her mouth. “We’re here to talk about your wedding,” she said. “And at this rate, you won’t have anything left to fill out your dress. Do you want the bodice looking like the empty bucket of a bulldozer as you make your way up the aisle?” Her friend stabbed a pin through the fabric under Reese’s left arm before she went on. “I told you to stop stressing about the wedding and let the event planner do her thing.” “She’s driving me crazy.” “You hired her to do a job,” Amber said as she continued to work, her voice firm. “So let her do it.” “But she keeps forgetting it’s my wedding,” Reese said. “Why else would she act as if she has such a vested interest in the bride and groom’s first dance?” She blew out a breath. “I swear I spend more time defending my choices to her than anything else.” Amber shot her a concerned look. “Keep this frantic pace up and I’ll be altering this dress the day of your wedding. Which, I might add” she jabbed the last pin into place “is only six days away.” The knot of anticipation tightened in Reese’s belly. Six days to ensure every detail was just right. But as she stared out of the second-floor window at the manicured grounds of Bellington Estategrounds that included several formal gardensa sense of peace rolled through her body. June in the Hamptons was gorgeous. Spring showers had done beautiful things to the one hundred acres that surrounded the twenty-five-bedroom, historical home, the closest thing to a castle that Reese could find. The perfect place for her fairy-tale wedding. But it wasn’t the antique-adorned rooms, the priceless artwork, or the towering stone turrets that had sold her on the location. Yes, the grounds were perfect fo
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7 Unexpected Color Combinations That Will Take Your Summer Outfits to the Next Level

Black and white, pink and green—are your go-to color combinations feeling a little tired or boring? If so, spice up your summer wardrobe with one of these fresh pairings.


Stuff She Likes

Sky blue and bubble-gum pink: Wear these two hues together after a summer vacation to highlight your sun-kissed, glowy skin.


With Love From Kat

Lilac and silver: Set against pale purple, this metallic creates a softer contrast than gold.


Gabi Fresh

Terra-cotta and black: A subdued twist on the pink-and-black color combo that’s been so popular the past few seasons.


Cupcakes and Cashmere

Cobalt blue and sky blue: Color-block two different shades of blue, wearing the darkest one where you want to draw attention.


Atlantic Pacific

Ice blue and bubble-gum pink: The crisp carnation adds a sophisticated touch to the pale pastel hue.


Fashion Bomb Daily

Canary yellow and crimson red: Flash some leg to break up the bold primary-color pairing.


Gal Meets Glam

Teal, brown, and orange: Ground the fruit-inspired colors with a dash of earthy brown or sand.

What are some of your favorite unexpected color pairings this season? Which one of these do you think you’ll try?

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Pras Explains The Unexpected Outcome Of Wyclef Jean’s Failed Presidential Bid

The 2011 Haitian presidential election of was full of surprises. Grammy Award-winning artist Pras Michel had convinced his good friend and well-known Haitian singer Michel “Sweet Mickey” Martelly to run for office, then he heard that another famous Haitian musician had thrown his hat into the ring — his former Fugees bandmate Wyclef Jean.

“That was a bombshell,” he told host Roy Sekoff during Friday’s episode of “The HuffPost Show.”

While Jean’s camp had millions in his campaign fund, Sweet Mickey was getting by with much less, Michel explained.

“He’s the biggest Haitian international superstar, so he came in and we were the little train that could,” Michel said. “Wyclef came in with $ 20 million just to register. We had just $ 17,000.”

Michel said the competition from Jean gave Martelly an unexpected boost in the race. Once news outlets heard that Michel and Jean were on competing campaigns, the press coverage started flowing in.

“Actually, he helped us because his weight was so huge. Then everyone made it ‘ex-bandmate not supporting Wyclef,’ which helped Michel Martelly get some international coverage,” he said.

In the end, Martelly beat the odds, winning the election in a landslide vote after Jean was disqualified from the race — though no official reason was made public, press speculated it was because he had not met the residency requirement for the role.

Michel’s new documentary “Sweet Micky for President,” which chronicles Martelly’s road to victory, is slated to be screened at the L.A. Film Festival this year.

Watch more from “The HuffPost Show” here.

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Expect The Unexpected

Like many people, I look forward to certain consistencies in life. Since moving to San Francisco in 1972, certain culinary treats became such personal favorites that I inevitably ordered them whenever I visited the restaurant where they were served.

  • The cheese calzone at Marcello’s?
  • The enchiladas suizas at Los Cazos?
  • The chicken yakitori at Jun-Jun’s?
  • The sweet and sour liver at the Neon Chicken?


As Sarah Palin would say, “You bet’cha!”

Some of my favorite restaurants disappeared years ago, leaving me to relish the memory of their beloved specialties while searching out new delights. The same rule pretty much applies to my experience in the arts. One can always anticipate and enjoy returning to a beloved opera like Lohengrin or Madama Butterfly while relishing the opportunity to attend a provocative new production or find something radically different to delight one’s palate.

Some people expect that arts reviewers will only want to see certain works performed the same way they’ve always been done — or that certain types of stories will adhere to traditional, formulaic structures. Such an artistic diet can be as frustrating as the dilemma faced by the Duke in Gilbert & Sullivan’s 1881 comic opera, Patience, or Bunthorne’s Bride. The following clip includes a radically updated set of lyrics for “If You Want A Receipt For That Popular Mystery Known To The World as a Heavy Dragoon” followed (at the 4:10 mark) by the Duke’s poignant observations about toffee.

Four shorts screened during the 2014 Frameline Film Festival deftly deviated from cinematic standards. Each offered a new twist on a cinematic cliché, occasionally delivering a punch in the gut to viewers.

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In the Spring of 1968, when I was summoned to Fort Hamilton for my draft physical, I remember worrying what would happen during the process. This was at a time when the mere thought of showing up for one’s draft physical filled many a young man with the fear that he could soon find himself being shipped off to Vietnam.

At one point that morning, about 50 of us were seated in a classroom as a very macho Sergeant briefed us on how to fill out a military questionnaire. He obviously relished the opportunity to strike terror into the hearts of impressionable young men. As he explained:

“I’m sure there are one or two of you who’ve given some thought to checking off the box that indicates homosexual tendencies. If you do, you’ll be taken to a room where a psychiatrist will interview you to determine whether or not you’re really a queer. It’ll just be the two of you alone in that room, and that psychiatrist is a really nice man (if you know what I mean). But at the end of the interview, he’s going to whip it out and put it on the edge of his desk. If you go down on it, you are. And if you don’t, you ain’t.”

I was dying to ask the man if what he was describing qualified as soliciting on Army grounds but decided to keep my mouth shut. To my utter surprise, the psychiatrist turned out to be a little old lady with white hair who was not much taller than Dr. Ruth Westheimer. I left Fort Hamilton a free man, confident that I had tickets to a performance of Handel’s Giulio Cesare at the New York City Opera that night.


Firat Erol gets interrogated by Czech military
personnel in a scene from Das Phallometer

Interrogation scenes are a key plot point in many war films and episodes of police procedurals like Law & Order. Written and directed by Tor Iben, Das Phallometer was inspired by a true story. For many years, refugees who sought asylum in the Czech Republic and claimed they were persecuted in their homeland for being homosexual were subjected to a bizarre entrance exam.

In Das Phallometer, Firat Erol plays an Iranian refugee who has been on the run. When he is captured by military guards near the Czech border, he is taken to an interrogation room where he must prove his sexual orientation. The Czechs apply electrodes to his genitals and start to screen gay porn in front of him. His reliably turgid response is met with nods and sounds of approval from his interrogators.

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Written and directed by Dennis Shinners, Barrio Boy is set in a barber shop in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn. When a handsome hipster named Kevin (Dan Leonard) enters the shop looking for a haircut, he immediately gets the once-over from Cuz (Peter Olivera) and Rafa (Andrew Flores), two unemployed macho Latino men who hang out there.

Cuz and Rafa are completely unaware of the thoughts racing through the head of their friendly barber, Quique (Dennis Garcia), who is still in the closet. Quique’s good looks and attentive scissor work are nothing compared to the erotic thoughts he’s having about what he’d like to do to Kevin, thoughts that make his voice-over sound like it’s being performed at a poetry slam.

While Cuz and Rafa don’t hesitate to telegraph their scorn for the white boy, the fact that Kevin has accidentally left his hat in the barber shop leaves hope springing eternal — and in Quique’s pants — that the two men might meet again. Here’s the teaser.

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It’s easy to watch the following trailer for Mexican filmmaker Julián Hernández’s short, Wandering Clouds, and think it was all about underwater ballet. But so much more happens in the full version.

Ignacio Pereda, Alan Ramirez, and Mauricio Rico portray three athletes practicing their dives and swimming routines in a campus pool.

  • One is a bully.
  • One is the target of his homophobic taunts.
  • The third shows up suddenly and takes sides (but not in a way the bully ever anticipated).

Hernández (who also directed I Am Happiness On Earth) finds just the right touch with which to take the bully down and surprise his audience with a delicious turn of events that adds power to the youthful eye candy in his short film.

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Based on what happened to director Carl Byrd on his 41st birthday, one of the bitchiest shorts to come along in several years features a winning cast with vocals by Klea Blackhurst and a guest appearance by none other than Lady Bunny. Writer Peter Macklin (who also appears as The Waiter) serves up some choice one-liners.


Chuck (Sean Dugan) and Cody (Rich Ceraulo) try
to celebrate Chuck’s 40th birthday in Dinner at 40

Chuck (Sean Dugan) is the nervous birthday boy whose lover, Cody (Rich Ceraulo), has obviously grown accustomed to weathering Chuck’s frequent meltdowns. Abby (Joanna P. Adler) is a close friend (and fag hag) while another friend, Nick (Craig Baldwin), has shown up with his newest flame – a young gym bunny named Duane (Marcus Callender).

To add insult to injury, Flynn (Wilson Cruz) appears at a neighboring table bearing lots of emotional baggage. How so? Flynn was formerly Cody’s boyfriend and Chuck’s best friend.


Poster art for Dinner at 40

What should have been an intimate birthday party where two gay men had hoped to propose to each other is quickly derailed by added guests, unexpected faces from the past, and the kind of gay panic attack that rapidly spins out of control. Carl Byrd and Peter Macklin are obviously on familiar ground as they showcase the crushing insecurity of a handsome gay man who has a good job, a devoted lover, and loving friends but is nevertheless terrified at the prospect of turning 40.


Lady Bunny provides some questionable entertainment
for Chuck’s birthday party in Dinner at 40

Despite Chuck’s severely wounded ego, a ruined birthday party, and a drag queen performing a mock abortion with a plastic doll, it’s refreshing to note that this gay nightmare has a happy ending. Here’s the teaser:

* * * * * * * * * *

Shakespeare’s works often bear the brunt of a director’s need to mark his territory (like a wild cat spraying the perimeter of its turf). The Onion recently published a delightfully snarky piece entitled Unconventional Director Sets Shakespeare Play In Time, Place Shakespeare Intended.

Because every attempt to update, reinterpret, or bastardize one of Shakespeare’s plays does not necessarily score a hit, it’s foolish to insist that All’s Well That Ends Well. Some productions are monstrously misconceived, others are filled with numerous ideas that don’t always succeed but deserve credit for their creative insights.

Bay area audiences who have followed Jon Tracy’s rising star as a writer and stage director have grown to trust the man’s ability to mine his abundant imagination in order to create an evening of engaging (if not always perfect) theatre. Working over a wide range of repertoire, Tracy has shown a remarkable ability to inspire and free up actors to take risks while contributing to the creative process.


Ben Euphrat as Orsino n Twelfth Night (Photo by: Pak Han)

Last year, Tracy was scheduled to work on a new production of Twelfth Night when he and his actors were stopped dead in their tracks. They decided to attempt an Indiegogo crowdsourcing appeal which laid out the goals of Shakedown 12th Night in no uncertain terms:

“Our developmental production of a musical Twelfth Night has lost its home and needs your help to find a new one! We are an ensemble of eleven theatre artists who want to revive a cancelled dream project: a musical production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Our collective skill set contains (but is certainly not limited to) juggling, acrobatics, hand springs, hand-balancing, guitar, mandolin, violin, banjo, bouzouki, didgeridoo, ukulele, drums, tambourine, percussion, piano, accordion, and vocals that’ll make your mama cry. Also, we’re pretty into the language of Shakespeare. Which is a musical instrument in and of itself. BAM.

As artists, we are always trying to envision the best way to tell a story, but how do you tell one of the best stories ever? Jon has looked towards ritual as inspiration. From that kernel came a landscape of musical narrative, powerful physical storytelling and a heightened realism; a dark, turbulent world which blurs the line between the figurative and the literal.”


Jon Tracy (Photo by: Nina Ball)

“In Shakedown, the events of the classic story have already passed but every year the people that lived through it commemorate their shared experience with a ritualized retelling. Each character relives their story, but also serves as the audience, the chorus, and the band for the others; each a part of this community bound together by the events of the play. Our best shot is getting a proper workshop, culminating in a showcase to woo interested theatre companies.

Not everyone can throw cash monies at us and our Shakedown dream, but fear not! Your love is powerful stuff. Sharing this post on your Facebook page or Twitter feed (or just good old-fashioned telling someone about it) will help bring our campaign to more folks’ attention. Even dropping us a line or giving us a call to convey your support would be downright awesome. If you’re especially swamped, telepathy is totally cool, too..i’faith, we can feel it now…To put on said workshop we need $ 3,000. Give us a hand, won’t you?”

Shakedown’s fundraising appeal netted 17% more than their goal and succeeded in attracting the interest of Berkeley’s Shotgun Players (which, over the years, has collaborated with Tracy and many of the artists in Shakedown’s ensemble). Working on a unit set that was intelligently and most economically designed by Nina Ball, the Shotgun Players production offered a fascinating case study in how a community of artists can use crowdsourcing and social media to help their dreams come true. As Tracy notes:

“This production has been alive in workshops, showcases, and Hail Mary passes for some time. The way you tell the story can also be the story itself. At this juncture, looking ahead and behind, it has become a story of perseverance. Twelfth Night’s other title (What You Will) has a different meaning to us here than intended. It has become a sort of mantra about what can be accomplished with collective strength. Play on.”

Although Tracy’s approach to Twelfth Night may not be the stuff of which a traditionalist’s dreams are made, it scores strongly on many fronts (partly because there may be a greater sense of ownership for the actors who participated in the development of this production). With Ben Euphrat doubling as music director and Orsino, there were times when the number of actors playing guitars, ukuleles, and banjo onstage made me wonder why no one had insisted on including a balalaika (certain moments in the show also make one wonder if this could be the Shakespearean answer to the recent musical adaptation of Once).


Viola (Rebecca Pingree) and Feste (Jeremy Vik) in
a scene from Twelfth Night (Photo by: Pak Han)

As with any of Tracy’s theatrical adventures, the energy level is extremely high with especially hyper performances coming from Nick Medina as Aguecheek, Rebecca Pingree as Viola, Billy Raphael as Sir Toby Belch, and Jeremy Vik as Feste. One of the strongest performances came from Sarah Mitchell (a superb actor whose fine work is often underappreciated).


Sebastian (Will Hand) and Linda Antonio (Sarah Mitchell)
in a scene from Twelfth Night (Photo by: Pak Han)

Will Hand’s appealing Sebastian indulged in some carefully disguised (and fully appropriate) moments of nudity onstage (“Off, off, damned sheet!”) while the heavily tattooed Cory Sands brought a level of hipster chic to the production.


Malvolio (Terry Rucker) soliloquizes while Aguecheek (Nick Medina) hides
beneath a set of couch cushions in Twelfth Night (Photo by: Pak Han)

Twelfth Night’s first act often tends to get dragged down in exposition, with the second act generating more physical comedy to entertain an audience. If there is one weak point in this production, it centers around Terry Rucker’s characterization of Malvolio. Still, that’s a small price to pay for such an enthusiastic evening of theatre which, for the most part, is literally bursting with creativity.


The cast of the Shotgun Players production of Twelfth Night
(Photo by: Pak Han)

To read more of George Heymont go to My Cultural Landscape
Arts – The Huffington Post
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Walkabout: David Garrick and Unexpected Harmony in the Library


I don’t get around much anymore; not like I used to. Age, children and, yes, a diminishing cityscape are all factors. With once-ample opportunities for aesthetic nourishment in steep decline around town (in direct proportion, seemingly, to the ever-encroaching ascendance of sky-high co-op sales), I tend to stick close to home.

This past Saturday, however, I was reminded of what I’ve been missing. My brother Mark, bless him, invited me to a staged reading he was participating in of Catherine and Petruchio, a rarely (like, never) performed 18th Century adaptation of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew by the dimly remembered titan of that distant age in British theater, actor-manager-playwright David Garrick (that’s him up there gamboling with “The Muses”). Presented by an entity that calls itself “New York’s Piney Fork Press Theatre,” the reading took place at a New York Public Library branch I’d also never heard of: the George Bruce branch on West 125th Street.
It was a nice autumn day. I took my kids, Lea and Sara, ages eleven and nine. Our first pleasant surprise was the library building itself, a gorgeous red brick and sandstone edifice designed in 1915 by Carrere and Hastings, I later learned – storied architects of the Main Branch on 42nd and Fifth. Down a flight of stairs, the girls and I found ourselves in the most charming little jewel box of an auditorium (our library system, I long ago discovered, has many) with a vaulted mini-proscenium painted a delicious cherry red.

Things only got better. Johnny Culver, the afternoon’s impresario, introduced an opening act: “The Firth Sisters.” Two unassuming young ladies slipped onstage bearing a guitar and a ukulele, respectively, and proceeded to sing three cunningly disparate songs — “All of Me,” by John Legend; Elvis’s “Love Me Tender;” and “On the Street Where You Live,” from My Fair Lady — in exquisite gusts of intricate, effortless harmony; as organic as it was ethereal. The alchemy of setting, sound and sweet, offhand virtuosity was intoxicating. I mean, they were good! I’m hoping to learn more about The Firth Sisters; I literally had to halt them slipping out the door on the heels of their offstage exit to ask for a business card. Both seemed shocked by my request.

Next up: the main event. I don’t believe I’ve ever attended a performance of anything actually written by David Garrick. The play proved a dead ringer for The Taming of the Shrew but shorter — which was clearly Garrick’s goal; apparently Catherine and Petruchio was so successful in its day that it supplanted Shakespeare’s original for almost a century in England and for even longer in the U.S. I did find myself wishing at times that someone onstage would break into a song from Cole Porter’s Kiss Me Kate — and then Mark suddenly did, tossing out a measure or two from “I’ve Come to Wive It Wealthily in Padua.”

I thought Mark was great. Who knew he could handle iambic Shakespeare-ish pentameter with such élan? His commanding Petruchio was downright scary, in a good way. Mark’s colleagues were a delightful complement. I’m going to name them all because I can, and they deserve it: Kyle Minishew, Rob Lanchester, Yvette Bedsgood, Terri Matassov, Lauren Wiley, Lex Larson and Gary Martins. The director was Deloss Brown.

The library supplied an extra front row of cushy leather beanbag chairs that my daughters doted on. Not nearly enough of the remaining seats were filled. (Sigh.) Maybe next time.

Click here to read more about: The Piney Fork Press Theatre

Click here to learn more about: The George Bruce Branch of the NYPL

Click here to listen on youtube to: The Firth Sisters
Arts – The Huffington Post
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