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Meet the Women of Pretty. Strong., Oxygen’s New Show About the Legends Football League

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Meet ‘Beirut’s Banksy,’ The Artist Who’s Transforming The City One Wall At A Time

Artist Yazan Halwani peels political banners and posters off Beirut’s walls to make room for his murals. Born in the Lebanese capital, Halwani, 22, grew up against the backdrop of political logos stenciled on city walls and faded posters of politicians plastered on street corners, some left over from the civil war that lasted from 1975 to 1990.

In Lebanon, “people usually identify with sectarian or political symbols,” Halwani said. Frustrated with the political fragmentation and sectarian strife on and off the walls of Beirut, he decided to draw the public’s attention to cultural figures that “reunite Lebanese, and Arab citizens, without any divisions.” On walls and buildings in East and West Beirut (which were separated during the civil war), he paints large-scale portraits of Arab poets, musicians and actors, encircled by intricate Arabic calligraphy.

Born a couple of years after the war, Halwani is part of a generation of Lebanese youth pushing, in various ways, for greater unity in Lebanon. With his artwork, he strives to offset decades of political polarization that has resulted in cultural divisions and “a weakening of national identity.”

Referred to as “Beirut’s Banksy” by Arab media outlet Al-Arabiya, Halwani has also produced artwork for international street art events, and his work has appeared in Germany, Singapore and Paris. By taking his calligraphy outside the Arab region, Halwani says, he wants to instigate “cross-cultural conversations” and to inspire a “positive view of the Arab world.”

But it’s his work in Beirut that’s garnering the world’s attention.

Political paralysis is nothing new in Lebanon’s government, which is tenuously balanced according to the country’s religious factions. But it has reached new heights: The country’s parliament has failed to pick a president for more than one year, and its inaction and corruption leaves much of the country without regular access to services like electricity and water. This summer, more than 20,000 tons of garbage has accumulated on Beirut’s streets after a major landfill closed and the government failed to agree on an alternative dump or a new contract for its garbage collection company.

Residents began to protest, resulting in the YouStink campaign decrying their officials. Public frustration peaked last month, with the recent wave of protests in the capital being described as “the biggest show of civil disobedience” in a decade. 

Halwani marched in a mass YouStink rally in downtown Beirut on Aug. 22. 

“I think the current problem and the main motivation behind my artwork stem from the same reason,” says Halwani. “Sectarian political forces that are working in their own self-interest.”

Halwani won’t write political slogans on Beirut’s walls, though. By painting much less polarizing figures, he subversively proposes an alternative cultural and political narrative: one of unity and harmony.

“I think that what needs to be done on a political level cannot be summed up with a wall tag,” he says.  

Along the side of a building in the vibrant district of Hamra, Lebanese singer-actress Sabah peers out onto the street, smiling disarmingly, surrounded by a halo of interwoven Arabic letters that look like snowflakes from afar. Across an orange wall in the lively residential district of Gemmayzeh, Halwani painted beloved musical icon Fairouz, in black, white and grey.

“I want to replace corrupt politics with more positive cultural elements that show the real face of the country,” he says.

Halwani’s street art hasn’t always been propelled by such lofty ambitions. At the age of 14, he was drawn to French hip-hop songs and gangster films. “Everyone wanted to grow up to be a soldier or an actor, but I wanted to be a gangster like these taggers in New York,” he says. He started tagging his name on Beirut’s walls, in bright colors and big letters. Later, however, he experienced what he calls a “critical response” toward his own work. “I realized that what I was doing did not have a shred of identity. It had no relationship to Beirut. That’s why people ignored or destroyed it.”

Around the same time, Halwani borrowed a calligraphy book from his uncle. He quickly discovered that there was a discrepancy between the essence of calligraphy and that of tagging; the former was less about the artist and more about the words (often Quranic verses or folkloric proverbs.). “I was no longer interested in writing my name,” he says.

In fact, he was no longer interested in writing anything at all. The Arabic letters he places around his portraits often don’t make up legible words; they’re more like ornate crossword puzzles. “What I try to do is I try to evoke meaning without having to use the actual word … I use calligraphy to create an Arabic visual language which can be understood by Arabic and non-Arabic speakers alike,” he noted.

Often, he seeks to paint murals that start conversations. On one of the walls in Concord Street is a portrait of a gray-haired man, his eyelids on the verge of caving in, his gaze despondent. His creased forehead is crowned with tufts of white and grey hair. The portrait is of Ali Abdullah, a homeless man who for years had set up residence in the nearby Bliss Street. In January 2013, Beirut’s harsh weather reportedly led to his death. The incident mobilized hundreds of Lebanese youth to launch initiatives to help the homeless.

“After two weeks, everybody forgot about him,” says Halwani. “I decided to repaint him, just to tell people that you do not need to help the homeless only when you hear a tragic story on the news.”

As Halwani was standing in a shopping cart, with blotches of black paint on his shorts and T-shirt, a worn out taxi pulled up by the curb. A teary-eyed driver called Halwani over, and said, “When I saw what you’re doing, I was really touched. I used to see this homeless man on the street.”

Three years later, Halwani is still touched by what happened next: Desperate to give something, anything, back to the artist, the driver offered him a ride. “All I have is this car. If you need to go anywhere, I’m ready to take you,” the driver told him.

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




Arts – The Huffington Post
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Meet Joe Wong, China’s Funniest Export

I have a particular fondness for comedians, and have had close personal friendships with some of the great ones over the years. Even as a teenager in the 1960s, my favorite reading material was not comic books, but rather biographies and autobiographies of comics– W.C Fields, Jack Benny, George Burns, Steve Allen, Groucho Marx, Red Skelton, Woody Allen, and many others, all of which I still have in my library. I also have maintained a collection of volumes of one-liners by Robert Orben, Joey Adams, and other comedy writers.

I want to introduce you to a comedian who I have never met, but with whom I have frequently communicated with since he first gained my attention about 5 years ago. Joe Wong is Chinese, and came from Beijing to the U.S. as a student in 1994. He ultimately obtained a PhD in Molecular Biology from Rice University in Houston– and he looks exactly like a guy who holds such a degree. In spite of this impressive accomplishment, he went into stand-up comedy, a decision I am sure thrilled his Chinese parents.

2015-08-29-1440823092-5375505-JoeWong.jpg

How he transformed himself from an egghead to a comic is remarkable. He went to a comedy club in Houston, where he understood nothing and loved everything about it. He joined Toastmasters International to help him with his English and public speaking. Later he moved to Boston to accept a job with a pharmaceutical firm and at night took a comedy class at a local high school. He read dictionaries, and honed his English and comedy. Eventually he qualified for the Boston Comedy Festival, and ultimately was spotted by David Letterman’s bookers.

Joe became a favorite of David Letterman and Ellen Degeneres, having made multiple appearances on both of their shows. He received a standing ovation at the White House Radio/Television Correspondence’s Dinner in 2010– a notoriously tough room.



He has a unique style, pace, delivery, look, and material. But, most importantly, he has something going for him that most comics wish they had– a stance. Like Jack Benny or Phyllis Diller, his comedic characteristics make him stand out from the crowd. He’s like a deer in the headlights, a bit surprised he’s in the spotlight, slightly reserved with a touch of socially awkwardness.

One of my favorite moments was after he finished his first national television appearance on The Late Show in 2009, Letterman approached him to shake his hand. Joe seemed unsure as to where to go or what was expected of him. It was a Wally Cox, Don Knotts, or Woody Allen moment, and the audience loved him for it.


One night I took a DVD of some of Joe’s television work to show my pal Phyllis Diller. We sat in her den watching, but Phyllis was both hard of hearing and had difficulty understanding foreign accents. After 5 minutes, Phyllis said to me “Is he speaking Chinese? I don’t understand a word he has said– but he is FUNNY!” Although she couldn’t figure out what he was saying, she did comprehend that his very essence was comical– a nerdy and nervous Chinese guy doing American style stand-up.

Ironically, Joe was discovered in and returned to China because of his U.S. television appearances. Over 50 million people in China have watched him on various internet sites, both in English and with Chinese subtitles. He was offered a gig hosting a comedy/investigative reporting show on a Chinese TV network CCTV2, and returned there to do so– with 5 to 7 million viewers per episode. In the meantime he is also performing American style standup comedy in Chinese venues and has garnered international attention, including being featured on the CBS Evening News and in the New York Times. He can perform 2 hour standup comedy shows in either English or Mandarin Chinese!

My friend, Emmy award-winning comedic actor Fred Willard, shares my passion for books on comedy and comedians, and we often exchange them with each other. He recently gave me Fred Allen’s 1954 book “Treadmill to Oblivion.” Fred Allen concludes his publication with this bittersweet observation, “When a radio comedian’s program is finally finished it slinks down Memory Lane into the limbo of yesterday’s happy hours. All the comedian has to show for his years of work and aggravation is the echo of forgotten laughter.”

I have a hunch Joe Wong’s best laughs are yet to come. It wouldn’t surprise me if he returns to the U.S. with his own sitcom that would be watched worldwide. Stay tuned.

— 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.




Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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Meet the Woman Behind Beyoncé’s Street Style Transformation

2015-08-21-1440178778-8853572-beyoncestreetstyleevolution2.jpg
Photo: courtesy Beyoncé/@beyonce

by EDWARD BARSAMIAN

“She wears the crown for all the work that she’s put into the industry,” says Beyoncé’s personal wardrobe curator, Zerina Akers. “But I also want her to have fun. After all she is a woman.”

Over the past year, Akers has worked with the multiplatinum superstar analyzing the right cuts, fits, and silhouettes solidifying Queen Bey’s place in fashion royalty–one which the consummately best-dressed singer maintains through not only her own wardrobe, but a forthcoming partnership with Topshop, too. But there’s another, equally stylish side of the pop icon, and anyone who visits the 33-year-old’s Instagram or website will notice: Recently she has been upping her fashion game with seemingly impromptu shoots no matter where in the world she happens to be. We’ve also seen Bey sport some names outside the runway regulars including Harbison, Marco de Vincenzo, and Romeo Hunte–courtesy of Akers. “I really wanted to bring in some new designers, some younger kids to see what they’re doing,” Akers told us recently, adding, “and then incorporate more international designers and underground streetwear designers out of London.”

It’s been a masterful evolution for the singer who has lately taken to bold color, feminine prints, and punchy accessories. For the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, Mrs. Carter slipped into a cardinal Harbison jumpsuit, while another occasion saw her opt for a tailored, canary yellow Zadig & Voltaire suit emphasizing the star’s renewed focus on rainbow-like shades. “I wanted to be a little more experimental with color,” says Akers, adding, “like the orange Cushnie et Ochs top and pink Dsquared2 shorts. She’s such a bright person and I feel like in fashion today everyone strays away from color.”

However, one outfit that Akers references as a favorite was an all-cream look Beyoncé wore earlier this summer, which hinted at the shift in wardrobe that’s sophisticated and clean, but accessible: Pairing a topper from Barneys New York with Frame Denim jeans, her ensemble was a study in how to approach neutral dressing at all price points. “High-low is all about color selection, shape, and fabrication of the garment,” explains Akers. “I can get a skirt for $ 50 in matte jersey. It’s going to move and hug the body in a similar way as a skirt that’s $ 795.” Akers says the secret to her A-list client’s style comes down to the fit: She and Bey have been gravitating toward asymmetrical and bias cuts.

But the best part of her role, the stylist maintains, is being able see Beyoncé excited about the looks. “That’s the reward,” says Akers matter-of-factly. “That she’s enjoying herself and feels beautiful and confident.” How else, after all, to run the world?

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— 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.




Style – The Huffington Post
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Meet the First Transgender Real Housewife and More Major Moments for Women in Hollywood This Week

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Meet Fall’s Buzziest New Stars in Music, Movies, and TV

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Meet the Very Stylish Royal Family of Belgium

There’s a very well-dressed flock you might not have heard of before: Meet Princess Astrid of Belgium and the rest of her family. From daughters to new daughter-in-law (whose husband had to give up his chance at the crown in order to wed her), there’s a lot of style happening.

princess-astrid-green-sequin-gown
Princess Astrid is the younger sister of Belgium’s current ruler, King Philippe. She’s a frequent face at international events—much in the same way Queen Elizabeth dispatches relatives to attend functions on her behalf. Astrid always cuts a sleek figure while representing her people, wearing anything from classic Chanel suits to sparkly evening gowns we could see Kate Middleton choosing.

princess-maria-laura-belgium
As Astrid’s oldest daughter, Princess Maria Laura has grown into a stylish young woman. Like all of the royal family’s children, she was kept sheltered from the public eye for much of her childhood, but recent snaps, often taken at family weddings and events, show that she’s got a penchant for bright, cheerful colors. We love how a traditional sparkling tiara was replaced by a bold headband that matches her dress here.

princess-Luisa-Maria-laetitia-belgium
Meet the two youngest daughters: Princess Laetitia Maria and Luisa Maria (Astrid also has two sons, making for a total of five children). Luisa Maria is currently attending college in Montreal and typically picks trendy pieces that would look at place on any co-ed. Laetitia Maria might be a little too young to have fully developed her own style, but with two chic big sisters as examples, there’s little doubt she’ll wind up looking flawless too.

Lili-Rosboch-wedding-dress
The newest member of the clan, Elisabetta Maria Rosboch von Wolkenstein (a.k.a. Lili) married Princess Astrid’s son last summer. The bride is a reporter and lives with her royal hubby in New York City. The couple doesn’t veer much from the family’s overall low-key vibe, but the few events where Lili has been snapped show her to be a fan of timeless, elegant pieces (as evidenced by her wedding dress choice).

queen-mathilde-belgium
And, of course, there’s Astrid’s sister-in-law, Belgium’s Queen Mathilde. She’s proved to be a classic fashion plate, stepping out to official engagements in outfits that could have been plucked from any decade. Case in point: the elegant off-white dress she chose for her husband’s inauguration (finished off with calfskin gloves, another ladylike princess favorite).

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You Know That Waxy Turquoise And Purple Cup That’s So ’90s? Meet Its Genius Designer

You may not know its name, but we know you’ve seen the classic squiggly design that’s most recognizable from paper cups.

Yeah, you know what we’re talking about — that purple and turquoise pattern that hits you with giant pangs of nostalgia. The “Jazz” design began showing up on paper cups about 23 years ago. Recently, an AMA request came in from a Reddit user who wanted to know who the designer was. That pushed reporter Thomas Gounley of Missouri’s Springfield News-Leader to do some digging.

cup
The iconic design.

After much investigation, Gounley was successful and last week he discovered that 50-year-old Gina Ekiss, who lives in Aurora, Mississippi, is the iconic design’s creator, according to his piece in the News-Leader. Ekiss, who’s now a custom frame shop manager at a Hobby Lobby, was met with Internet acclaim as the discovery spread across social media outlets.

“I’m just still pretty stunned about the whole deal,” Ekiss told ABC News in reaction to her Internet stardom. “I’m thrilled that it’s still popular.”

http://solojazz.tumblr.com/post/121874087614/meet-gina-the-designer-of-the-solo-jazz-cup

The path to finding Ekiss wasn’t an easy one. The reporter only knew the designer’s first name as well as the fact that she had worked for the Sweetheart Cup Company, which was later bought by Solo Cup Company. He eventually found a tweet from a person claiming to be the creator’s daughter, according to his article. After looking through public records and coming across Ekiss’ name and address, Gounley drove to her house and confirmed his suspicions.

Turns out, Ekiss had created Jazz as part of an internal cup design contest at the Sweetheart Cup Company in 1989, after outside design firms had came up with unsatisfying results. Ekiss said that Jazz was among three or four different designs she had submitted, and its colors are just ones she felt meshed well.

“I just did turquoise, or teal, because that’s one of my favorite colors,” she told ABC News. “I wanted another overlapping color that would work well together. I just liked the purple with it and everybody seemed pleased with that.”

The 50-year-old still keeps a few products with the Jazz design in her house, and says it’s “insane” that her artwork has become such a memorable part of ’90s culture.

Phew! We can all breathe easy now that this pressing mystery’s finally been solved.

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



Arts – The Huffington Post
ENTERTAINMENT NEWS-Visit Adults Playland today for the hottest adult entertainment online!

You Know That Waxy Turquoise And Purple Cup That’s So ’90s? Meet Its Genius Designer

You may not know its name, but we know you’ve seen the classic squiggly design that’s most recognizable from paper cups.

Yeah, you know what we’re talking about — that purple and turquoise pattern that hits you with giant pangs of nostalgia. The “Jazz” design began showing up on paper cups about 23 years ago. Recently, an AMA request came in from a Reddit user who wanted to know who the designer was. That pushed reporter Thomas Gounley of Missouri’s Springfield News-Leader to do some digging.

cup
The iconic design.

After much investigation, Gounley was successful and last week he discovered that 50-year-old Gina Ekiss, who lives in Aurora, Mississippi, is the iconic design’s creator, according to his piece in the News-Leader. Ekiss, who’s now a custom frame shop manager at a Hobby Lobby, was met with Internet acclaim as the discovery spread across social media outlets.

“I’m just still pretty stunned about the whole deal,” Ekiss told ABC News in reaction to her Internet stardom. “I’m thrilled that it’s still popular.”

http://solojazz.tumblr.com/post/121874087614/meet-gina-the-designer-of-the-solo-jazz-cup

The path to finding Ekiss wasn’t an easy one. The reporter only knew the designer’s first name as well as the fact that she had worked for the Sweetheart Cup Company, which was later bought by Solo Cup Company. He eventually found a tweet from a person claiming to be the creator’s daughter, according to his article. After looking through public records and coming across Ekiss’ name and address, Gounley drove to her house and confirmed his suspicions.

Turns out, Ekiss had created Jazz as part of an internal cup design contest at the Sweetheart Cup Company in 1989, after outside design firms had came up with unsatisfying results. Ekiss said that Jazz was among three or four different designs she had submitted, and its colors are just ones she felt meshed well.

“I just did turquoise, or teal, because that’s one of my favorite colors,” she told ABC News. “I wanted another overlapping color that would work well together. I just liked the purple with it and everybody seemed pleased with that.”

The 50-year-old still keeps a few products with the Jazz design in her house, and says it’s “insane” that her artwork has become such a memorable part of ’90s culture.

Phew! We can all breathe easy now that this pressing mystery’s finally been solved.

Like Us On Facebook
Follow Us On Twitter

— 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-http://www.acrx.org -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

You Know That Waxy Turquoise And Purple Cup That’s So ’90s? Meet Its Genius Designer

You may not know its name, but we know you’ve seen the classic squiggly design that’s most recognizable from paper cups.

Yeah, you know what we’re talking about — that purple and turquoise pattern that hits you with giant pangs of nostalgia. The “Jazz” design began showing up on paper cups about 23 years ago. Recently, an AMA request came in from a Reddit user who wanted to know who the designer was. That pushed reporter Thomas Gounley of Missouri’s Springfield News-Leader to do some digging.

cup
The iconic design.

After much investigation, Gounley was successful and last week he discovered that 50-year-old Gina Ekiss, who lives in Aurora, Mississippi, is the iconic design’s creator, according to his piece in the News-Leader. Ekiss, who’s now a custom frame shop manager at a Hobby Lobby, was met with Internet acclaim as the discovery spread across social media outlets.

“I’m just still pretty stunned about the whole deal,” Ekiss told ABC News in reaction to her Internet stardom. “I’m thrilled that it’s still popular.”

http://solojazz.tumblr.com/post/121874087614/meet-gina-the-designer-of-the-solo-jazz-cup

The path to finding Ekiss wasn’t an easy one. The reporter only knew the designer’s first name as well as the fact that she had worked for the Sweetheart Cup Company, which was later bought by Solo Cup Company. He eventually found a tweet from a person claiming to be the creator’s daughter, according to his article. After looking through public records and coming across Ekiss’ name and address, Gounley drove to her house and confirmed his suspicions.

Turns out, Ekiss had created Jazz as part of an internal cup design contest at the Sweetheart Cup Company in 1989, after outside design firms had came up with unsatisfying results. Ekiss said that Jazz was among three or four different designs she had submitted, and its colors are just ones she felt meshed well.

“I just did turquoise, or teal, because that’s one of my favorite colors,” she told ABC News. “I wanted another overlapping color that would work well together. I just liked the purple with it and everybody seemed pleased with that.”

The 50-year-old still keeps a few products with the Jazz design in her house, and says it’s “insane” that her artwork has become such a memorable part of ’90s culture.

Phew! We can all breathe easy now that this pressing mystery’s finally been solved.

Like Us On Facebook
Follow Us On Twitter

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

Arts – The Huffington Post
ENTERTAINMENT NEWS-Visit Adults Playland today for the hottest adult entertainment online!

You Know That Waxy Turquoise And Purple Cup That’s So ’90s? Meet Its Genius Designer

You may not know its name, but we know you’ve seen the classic squiggly design that’s most recognizable from paper cups.

Yeah, you know what we’re talking about — that purple and turquoise pattern that hits you with giant pangs of nostalgia. The “Jazz” design began showing up on paper cups about 23 years ago. Recently, an AMA request came in from a Reddit user who wanted to know who the designer was. That pushed reporter Thomas Gounley of Missouri’s Springfield News-Leader to do some digging.

cup
The iconic design.

After much investigation, Gounley was successful and last week he discovered that 50-year-old Gina Ekiss, who lives in Aurora, Mississippi, is the iconic design’s creator, according to his piece in the News-Leader. Ekiss, who’s now a custom frame shop manager at a Hobby Lobby, was met with Internet acclaim as the discovery spread across social media outlets.

“I’m just still pretty stunned about the whole deal,” Ekiss told ABC News in reaction to her Internet stardom. “I’m thrilled that it’s still popular.”

http://solojazz.tumblr.com/post/121874087614/meet-gina-the-designer-of-the-solo-jazz-cup

The path to finding Ekiss wasn’t an easy one. The reporter only knew the designer’s first name as well as the fact that she had worked for the Sweetheart Cup Company, which was later bought by Solo Cup Company. He eventually found a tweet from a person claiming to be the creator’s daughter, according to his article. After looking through public records and coming across Ekiss’ name and address, Gounley drove to her house and confirmed his suspicions.

Turns out, Ekiss had created Jazz as part of an internal cup design contest at the Sweetheart Cup Company in 1989, after outside design firms had came up with unsatisfying results. Ekiss said that Jazz was among three or four different designs she had submitted, and its colors are just ones she felt meshed well.

“I just did turquoise, or teal, because that’s one of my favorite colors,” she told ABC News. “I wanted another overlapping color that would work well together. I just liked the purple with it and everybody seemed pleased with that.”

The 50-year-old still keeps a few products with the Jazz design in her house, and says it’s “insane” that her artwork has become such a memorable part of ’90s culture.

Phew! We can all breathe easy now that this pressing mystery’s finally been solved.

Like Us On Facebook
Follow Us On Twitter

— 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.



Comedy – The Huffington Post
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Meet the Girl OINTB’s Ruby Rose Is Engaged to—and See an Engagement Ring Photo

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Meet The People Ensuring Black Lives Matter Isn’t Just A Hashtag

WASHINGTON — Facilitating meaningful conversations about race isn’t an easy feat, but a local collaborative effort is up to the challenge.

Black Lives/White Light and TABLETRIBES, a D.C.-based tech startup, are coupling art and technology to create The Radius Project, which aims to take conversations surrounding Black Lives Matter beyond newsfeeds and comment sections.

The collaborative is setting up three panel discussions in the Washington, D.C., area in hopes of turning online interactions into more meaningful face-to-face conversations .

“A meaningful face-to-face conversation is a singular point of contact that has the power to activate a ripple effect in our communities,” Hosan Lee, the founder and CEO of TABLETRIBES, told The Huffington Post. “If we all work together, how far outwards can we extend the radius of progress?”

Pretty far, it seems. The Radius Project grew from a series of four discussion panels following Black Lives/White Light’s April exhibition showcasing the artwork of eight white artists. Sheldon Scott and Deirdre Darden, two D.C. artists who curated the exhibit, hoped the show would introduce an alternative perspective to the conversation surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement.

“For me, Black Lives Matter — way before it became this social media movement, before it became a hashtag — it’s always been a part of my work,” Scott said. “We’ve been saying these things for years about … mistreatment and injustices.”

Black Lives Matter has achieved global reach, he added. This influence inspired Scott to seek out white artists who may not have been aware of racialized police brutality before seeing the hashtag and see how they would respond to the movement artistically.

It worked. Powerful, conflicting reactions to the April exhibit encouraged Scott and Darden to set up the panels to continue delving into how America confronts race and justice and its relationship with violence.

“We need to be able to have this conversation about race on many different levels simultaneously. We have to be able to talk to people who have a lower understanding of race at the same time we should be able to communicate to people who have a heightened [understanding],” Scott said.

The success of Black Lives/White Light provoked Lee to reach out to Scott and ask if he was interested in letting the conversation continue using TABLETRIBES, a digital platform that brings online conversations into the real world. Their goal is to globally scale empathy development by developing opportunities for users to exchange ideas and information in person.

The Radius Project hopes its efforts will get a better reception than Starbucks’f did. The coffee chain launched Race Together Initiative earlier this year to encourage customers to discuss racial matters, a move that was quickly written off as a marketing ploy and called off by the company.

“Starbucks’ intentions with [Race Together] around trying to start civic conversations felt like they were in the right place, but the execution wasn’t designed to facilitate deeper engagement in a way that was productive or appropriate. For us, it reaffirmed our approach and the need for what we’re building at TABLETRIBES,” Lee said.

TABLETRIBES is a social networking app that allows users interested in similar topics to connect with each other offline. People who RSVP for this month’s events will be helping the startup test the app, which is currently in beta. Lee said the app will help users find others in the room to discuss specific topics relevant to each evening’s civic-minded theme during the event itself.

“We’re gathering people because they want to talk these issues, but what we want to do with the app is allow these conversations to happen beyond the room itself,” she said.

Panels are scheduled for June 9, 16 and 23. Interested parties can RSVP here.

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Arts – The Huffington Post
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Meet The Lovable Couple Who Got Married And Went Viral On The Same Day

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

via Tribune Media

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

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

Credit: BuzzFeed via Field Day/YouTube

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

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

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

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

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Courtesy of the couple

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Courtesy of the couple

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

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

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

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

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

H/T BuzzFeed

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FABRICATIONS: Meet Queer Fashion Designer And Artist Ben Copperwheat

This is the twelfth installment in a miniseries titled “FABRICATIONS” that elevates the work of up-and-coming queer individuals working in the fashion world. Check back at HuffPost Gay Voices regularly to learn more about some of the designers of tomorrow and the way their work in fashion intersects with their queer identity.

Originally hailing from the United Kingdom, Ben Copperwheat is a queer fashion designer and artist living and working in New York City. His clothing is heavily informed by both his background in screen printing and his work throughout a variety of facets of the fashion industry, and his designs have appeared on the likes of Boy George, Liza Minnelli and Pat Cleveland. Read the interview below to learn more.

ben copperwheat

The Huffington Post: What has your journey as a queer artist and fashion designer entailed?
Ben Copperwheat: I was born in Luton, England, 30 miles north of London and lived the first 28 years of my life in the United Kingdom. I had an interest in art at a very young age and drew pictures of Disney characters in my childhood and Madonna in my teens while listening to the pop music my mum would play. At 18 I enrolled in the local art college and, with the nurturing of wonderful tutors, I went on to complete a bachelor’s degree in Creative Arts at Bath Spa University. My aspirations led me to London and the Royal College Of Art of which I graduated with an MA in Printed Textiles in 2001. This jumpstarted my career and since then my journey has been a wondrous ride of exploration and growth.

After graduating I taught textiles for fashion at Northumbria University in England. This was great as I enjoy working with students, but it also enabled me to pursue print design projects with a variety of different people and companies. After two years working in London I felt ready for a big change. It doesn’t get much bigger than New York City! I had visited New York twice before and had fallen in love with its fizzy energy and sky-high possibilities. My cousin was already living in NYC, so this made the transition easier.

ben

Upon arrival in 2003 I applied for jobs, and almost immediately I was offered a position as a print designer at Calvin Klein Jeans. I worked at CKJ for five years and I had a great time. I learned a huge amount about the fashion industry, met some lifelong friends and travelled the world to cities such as Tokyo, Hong Kong, Berlin, Paris, London, Barcelona, Dehli and Jaipur, shopping for inspiration. During my time at CKJ I also designed print collections for Stephen Burrows, Sue Stemp and Peter Som. In 2008 I desired more freedom so I left my job and transitioned to a freelance print designer.

In 2009, in partnership with my cousin Lee Copperwheat, came the formation of the clothing label COPPERWHEAT. We produced five seasons for New York Fashion Week in a variety of venues including Soho Grand Hotel, the Maritime Hotel and Cappellini store in SoHo. This was a huge learning curve, a tumultuous ride, the outcome of which was some beautifully made, very cool clothes. Ultimately, this label and partnership was not meant to be. In 2012 we went our separate ways, at which point I threw my creative energy into what I know best: screen printing. This juncture felt like a new beginning, and came with it a freedom of expression more vibrant and unrestrained than I had previously experienced. With a print area built into my duplex apartment in Bushwick, I went for leather and printed clothing, wallpaper and interior fabrics. I started selling pieces in Patricia Field’s store on the Bowery and producing commissioned outfits for clients.

liza

Where have your designs appeared?
Through my work with Stephen Burrows, my prints have adorned the bodies of Liza Minnelli, Pat Cleveland, Gail O’Neill, Alva Chinn, Anna Cleveland and Lily Cole. With the label COPPERWHEAT we were featured in Dazed, Surface Magazine, Vogue Italia, Style.com, collaborated with Palladium Boots, Singer Miguel and Bruno Mars. For my own brand, Ben Copperwheat, my prints have been worn by NBA star Russell Westbrook, commissioned for Will Sheridan, Rod Thomas of Bright Light Bright Light and, most recently, I designed the stage outfit for the Boy George/Culture Club reunion tour and merchandise T-Shirts. Boy George debuted this outfit on “American Idol” in March 2015.

boy george

What does it mean to you to be a queer designer? How does your queer identity intersect with your work?
Queer has always been a tough word for me to embrace, as growing up in England I was bullied for my sexuality from as early as I can remember to the age of 8. Queer was one of the words I was called, along with “bent” and “puffter.” I feel, as time goes on, the word “queer” is becoming more of a friend. So, therefore, to be a queer designer, living in New York City is a gift. I feel incredibly grateful to have the freedom to express myself through my clothing, art and interactions in such a vibrant culture — especially when there is so much oppression and suffering throughout the world. I have been openly gay/queer for over 20 years, so my queer identity is without a doubt synonymous with my work. Bright color and graphic pattern are predominant features in my designs, which is not the norm in current fashion and art. I feel “queer” represents that which is not the norm.

Who does Ben Copperwheat design for? Who is your audience and how do your designs cater to them?
I design for anyone who is looking for something different and visually exciting. My designs are a cross between artistic streetwear and high-end fashion. Whomever wears them brings their own personality and dimension to the prints. I have fans and clients of all ages and backgrounds. I wear my designs daily as I find this to be the most comfortable form of self-expression and I am regularly stopped on the street by a cross-section of admirers. I am inspired by the world around me — in particular New York City — and I feel my work reflects this.

Historically the fashion world has been extremely queer friendly — what role do you think the fashion world has played within mainstream acceptance of LGBT identity?
I feel it definitely has played a part in mainstream acceptance, especially Vivienne Westwood, with her embracement of all things queer. Also, other designers in tandem with popular music, specifically artists such as Madonna working with Jean Paul Gaultier, Lady Gaga with Alexander McQueen, Pet Shop Boys with Jeffrey Bryant to name a few. On the other hand, designers such as Dolce & Gabanna and Giorgio Armani are trying to turn the clock back with recent comments. Such is the push and pull nature of progress.

ben

What does the future hold for Ben Copperwheat?
With 15 years working as a designer and turning 40 this coming September, I feel that I am only just starting to realize my full creative potential. To be an artist/designer is a lifelong vocation, so with, I hope, at least another 40 years left on this planet I have many great things to come. I am currently in a group show curated by my friend Walt Cessna, “#INTERFACE Queer Artists Forming Communities Through Social Media” at the Leslie-Lohman Museum in New York. I am also planning work for a solo art show in NYC. I would like to show solo again at NYFW when the time feels right — branch out more into interiors (wallpaper/murals/fabrics). I am turning my apartment into a “museum” of my work, where every surface is printed/painted. Design costume and sets for theater. Get back to painting — I started out as a painter while at art school. Continue to nurture relationships with recording artists and performers and design more stage outfits. My ethos is that prints can be applied to anything. The nature of my work is very versatile, and I intend to continue to evolve in this way.

Want to see more from Ben Copperwheat? Head here to check out the website. Missed the previous installments in this miniseries? Check out the slideshow below.

— 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.

Style – The Huffington Post
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Meet ‘Etch A Sketch Picasso’ Bryan Lee Madden

There are a lot of strange jobs out there, but Bryan Lee Madden may have the sketchiest of all. After pursuing a career in comedy writing and a college degree in computer science, Madden is now living out his “Plan C” dreams as an Etch A Sketch artist.

We caught up with Madden at his Connecticut home, where he sketched Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington, talked about his technique and his goals, and shared how competitive it is in the Etch A Sketch community. Check out the interview and some of the artist’s amazingly detailed work in the video above.

We’d say Madden has what it takes to shake up the art world, but we’re afraid that would erase all his hard work.

Video by Oliver Noble and Sam Wilkes

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Meet Your New, Adorable Athlete Crush: Jordan Spieth

By no stretch of any imagination am I a golf fan. In fact, I can think of about a million things I'd rather do than watch a professional golf tournament (get a cavity filled, watch…




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Meet the TV Leading Ladies You’ll Be Obsessed With This Fall

Joining the Olivia Popes, Mindy Lahiris, and Alicia Florricks of the television world this fall are a whole new crop of female star characters, and I'm thrilled to report there's not a hot mess, bitchy…




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Meet Your New Style Icon: Marilyn Monroe, Circa Her College Years

marilyn-monroe-coat-picture-1950

The show notes for Max Mara‘s fall 2015 collection taught me something I didn’t know: that Marilyn Monroe attended college classes (and loved reading, leaving behind a 400-book library when she died). The above snap of Marilyn is from a 1950 photo shoot in the backyard of a Hollywood agent, one of the years right before her career really took off, and, according to The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe by J. Randy Taraborrelli, a time period when she was taking literature classes at UCLA.

marilyn-monroe-suit-outfit-1950-personal-style-picture

The majority of photos we’ve all seen of Marilyn are either movie stills or promotional pics and they all play to her sex-bomb persona. There’s a whole other strata of her personal style though—less documented but worth paying attention to—where she’s off the clock and wearing classic basics that are less curve-hugging.

marilyn-monroe-sweatshirt-1953-picture

I dug through a lot of vintage snaps, and these were the most inspiring I saw. If you’re craving more, Life shared images from a shoot 24-year-old Marilyn did when she was still relatively unknown (so much so that the magazine declined to publish them). Her clothes, monogrammed shirt included, hinted at that bookish side, as did the photographer’s note that the images were taken when “we’d go out to Griffith Park and she’d read poetry.”

max-mara-marilyn-monroe-fall-2015-fashion-show

I’m a big fan of the way the star’s cerebral side has been reinterpreted for now. “Marilyn’s ‘me’ time menswear classics are reinvented…silhouettes are shrunken or maxi-sized,” the Max Mara notes read. “A vision which is brainy, sexy, and modern.” The show opened with Gigi Hadid, a modern-day bombshell of Marilyn caliber, pulling a camel coat around her. Joan Smalls followed in a chunky cardigan sweater that was inspired by one Marilyn wore in an iconic 1962 beach photo shoot, and Lindsey Wixson wore a camel set that turned the sweatshirt into something any sex kitten would covet.


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A photo posted by Carine Roitfeld (@carineroitfeld) on

Which Marilyn is more in line with your style: the sexy siren she’s classically known as or this more bookish, reserved version?

PS: Love style icons from decades past? I’ve got a read you’ll love!





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Meet Baton Rouge’s Young, Rapping Catholic Priest

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The youngest priest in the Diocese of Baton Rouge has a few confessions about his faith and his music: He didn’t like the Catholic Church as a youth, tried for years to run from his calling as a priest, and doesn’t want to be known only as the “Rapping Priest.”

The Rev. Joshua Johnson, serving at Christ the King Catholic Church at Louisiana State University, is 27, and in his first year as a priest.

“I was raised Catholic, but I just never liked the Catholic Church growing up. I thought it was boring, and I didn’t understand it,” said Johnson, a native of Baton Rouge whose rapping has brought him a measure of renown on YouTube and social media. He hosts the hip-hop show “Tell the World” on Catholic radio.

Johnson’s biggest difficulty with the church was with the Eucharist: “I never believed that it was the body and blood of Jesus Christ that the Catholic Church teaches.”

That changed one summer night before his senior year at Lee High School, during a retreat in Alexandria. He attended “Eucharistic Adoration,” when a piece of consecrated altar bread — the Holy Eucharist or host — is the focus of devotion and meditation.

“That night in adoration, when the bishop exposed Jesus Christ with the Eucharist, all I could say was it was God’s grace that overcame me,” Johnson said. “And looking at the Eucharistic prayer, I knew it was God, that it was Jesus Christ. It was as if I fell in love in an instant. I started crying. I was on my knees worshipping God.”

The long ache in his heart was lifted, he said.

“The first thing I heard him say was ‘I love you,’ and it pierced my heart then and it continues to pierce my heart today, because I was living in pretty serious sin, but he told me he loved me.”

Johnson said he was also told to become a priest. Instead, he said, he enrolled at Southern University.

“I didn’t want to be a priest, and I was trying to run away from it.”

But during his 1½ semesters at Southern, “I could not stop thinking about the priesthood.”

After a stint with the post office and endless days attending a 24-hour adoration chapel, Johnson enrolled in St. Joseph’s Seminary College in Covington in 2006, earning his master’s in theology from Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans.

“Those were some of the best years of my life,” he said. “It was a time of deep intimacy with Jesus because you had a lot of time to pray and a lot of time to study.”

And a bit of time to hone his rapping skills, to the enjoyment of some fellow seminarians.

“I grew up rapping just for fun,” he said. At seminary, “I continued to do it for fun and people started hearing me, and the next thing you know I’m doing it at festivals and youth conferences.”

Rapping is one of the God-given gifts he uses outside of Mass to witness for Christ, Johnson said.

“I’ve had people come to me only after seeing my music on YouTube or Facebook and say, ‘I’m coming to you because I’ve seen this video and I want to give to my life to Christ now.'”

Some people have told him they don’t like it, “but I’m pretty sure all the apostles didn’t appreciate all the other apostles’ gifts,” he said. “I know I got to keep my eyes fixed on God and what God has called me to do.”

Johnson said he’s trying use to his gift to please God.

“Rap in and of itself is not evil; it’s not a sin. It’s part of the culture,” he said. “We can use that. We’re not called to reject the culture; we’re called to go into the culture and promote what’s good.”

Johnson said he can’t recall seeing a black priest during his childhood, so he never thought about growing up to become a priest. Now, he said, “I’m a visible witness to the fact that God calls black men to be priests, too.”

In May, Johnson will be a keynote speaker for a conference about race: The St. Martin De Porres Conference, May 8-9 at the Catholic Life Center in Baton Rouge. It’s named for the patron saint of interracial harmony, born in 16th-century Peru to a Spanish nobleman and former black slave.

“The idea is to bring whites and blacks together from the area to experience the healing power of Christ together,” Johnson said.

Johnson has worked with all kinds of people and cultures all over the world, from New Orleans and Houston to Mexico, Nicaragua and India.

He especially enjoys working with students at LSU, which has 14,000 Catholics.

“I love working with young adults because they have a real fire and a desire to be saints,” Johnson said. “I enjoy working with people on their way to encountering Jesus for the first time and those people who have already encountered him.”

Johnson said he relates well with the students and is honest with them.

“I can’t stand when people make it seem like all you have to do is accept Jesus Christ in your life and everything is going to be easier and holiness is going to a piece of cake,” Johnson said.

Everything important involves struggle, he said.

“Heaven meant a lot so Jesus Christ had to struggle; he had to suffer,” Johnson said. “So if it means a lot to us, we’re going to have to struggle, too. We’re going to fall down at times. God’s grace is going to be there to welcome us.”
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Meet InStyle’s March Man of Style, Ansel Elgort

There’s a lot you might not know about the 20-year-old actor Ansel Elgort, like his side projects as a house-music DJ. But after his swoony turns in last year’s The Fault in Our Stars and the upcoming Insurgent, you’ll want to get to know him a lot better. And we’ve got your primer on the young […]
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MillionaireMatch.com - the best dating site for sexy, successful singles!
MillionaireMatch.com – the best dating site for sexy, successful singles!

Meet Chomps

Meet Chomps


Meet Chomps is about the unlikely friendship between two boys. One being your normal everyday kid and the other being a Zombie. Chomps is the most surprising and friendliest Zombie you’ll ever meet. In Meet Chomps, you’ll learn what really goes on in the Zombie world; from how they live, what they like to eat for dinner, to what their sky looks like. In this story, you’ll meet the Zombie’s family dog Brains, travel through Ole Man Zombie’s backyard and Zombie Falls Ridge. Most importantly you’ll get to experience the beginning of a great friendship. A friendship thats consists of acceptance, trust and courage.

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LeMystere – Beautiful Intimates – Meet Hi-Impact, your new, smarter sports bra. Shop now!

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Meet The Beauty Product With A 12,000-Person Waiting List

If you are into makeup and you don’t know the artist Wayne Goss, here’s a helpful hint: You probably should. He’s YouTube famous — with over 1.8 million followers and counting, he is as sassy as he is talented (which is saying a lot, because he is very sassy), and he has a killer brush line that U.K. vloggers and bloggers have been raving about for ages. (Also: He’s devilishly handsome and has a great accent, but I digress.)
Style – The Huffington Post
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The Interview Final Trailer – Meet Kim Jong-Un

Dave Skylark has landed the Interview of a lifetime as they head to North Korea to interview Kim Jong-un.

Release Date: 25 December 2014 (United States)
In the action-comedy The Interview, Dave Skylark (James Franco) and his producer Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogen) run the popular celebrity tabloid TV show “Skylark Tonight.” When they discover that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is a fan of the show, they land an interview with him in an attempt to legitimize themselves as journalists. As Dave and Aaron prepare to travel to Pyongyang, their plans change when the CIA recruits them, perhaps the two least-qualified men imaginable, to assassinate Kim Jong-un.

Genre: Comedy / Action
Cast: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Lizzy Caplan, Randall Park
Directors: Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg
Screenplay by Dan Sterling
Story by Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg & Dan Sterling

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The Interview: Character Featurette – Meet Sook

Release Date: 25 December 2014 (United States)
In the action-comedy The Interview, Dave Skylark (James Franco) and his producer Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogen) run the popular celebrity tabloid TV show “Skylark Tonight.” When they discover that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is a fan of the show, they land an interview with him in an attempt to legitimize themselves as journalists. As Dave and Aaron prepare to travel to Pyongyang, their plans change when the CIA recruits them, perhaps the two least-qualified men imaginable, to assassinate Kim Jong-un.

Genre: Comedy / Action
Cast: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Lizzy Caplan, Randall Park
Directors: Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg
Screenplay by Dan Sterling
Story by Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg & Dan Sterling

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ANNIE Movie (2014) – Meet Sandy the Dog

Release Date: 19 December 2014 (United States)
Academy Award® nominee Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) stars as Annie, a young, happy foster kid who’s also tough enough to make her way on the streets of New York in 2014. Originally left by her parents as a baby with the promise that they’d be back for her someday, it’s been a hard knock life ever since with her mean foster mom Miss Hannigan (Cameron Diaz). But everything’s about to change when the hard-nosed tycoon and New York mayoral candidate Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx) – advised by his brilliant VP, Grace (Rose Byrne) and his shrewd and scheming campaign advisor, Guy (Bobby Cannavale) – makes a thinly-veiled campaign move and takes her in. Stacks believes he’s her guardian angel, but Annie’s self-assured nature and bright, sun-will-come-out-tomorrow outlook on life just might mean it’s the other way around.

Genre: Musical / Comedy / Family
Cast:
Jamie Foxx
Quvenzhané Wallis
Rose Byrne
Bobby Cannavale
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
David Zayas
and Cameron Diaz

Directed by: Will Gluck
Screenplay by: Will Gluck and Aline Brosh McKenna

Based on the musical stage play “Annie”
Book by Thomas Meehan
Music by Charles Strouse
Lyrics by Martin Charnin

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Meet a Husband Who Says He’s Too Tired for Sex – The Oprah Winfrey Show – OWN

Original airdate: May 13, 1993
Catch up with Alice and Vern on Oprah: Where Are They Now? this Sunday, October 12, at 9/8c.
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Only four years into Alice Grove and Vern Worsham’s marriage, their sex life slowed to a halt. Vern wasn’t up for it. His go-to excuse, according to Alice, was, “Oh baby, I’m so tired.” Find out why Vern was always so tired and why sex therapist Shirley Zussman thought she could save the ailing couple.

About OWN:
Oprah Winfrey Network is the first and only network named for, and inspired by, a single iconic leader. Oprah Winfrey’s heart and creative instincts inform the brand — and the magnetism of the channel.

Winfrey provides leadership in programming and attracts superstar talent to join her in primetime, building a global community of like-minded viewers and leading that community to connect on social media and beyond. OWN is a singular destination on cable. Depth with edge. Heart. Star power. Connection. And endless possibilities.

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Meet Hatsune Miku, The Sensational Japanese Pop Star Who Doesn’t Really Exist

Hatsune Miku is the world’s most famous virtual pop star. And now she’s even more famous, having made her U.S. television debut this Wednesday on “Late Night With David Letterman.” She didn’t come out of nowhere: this summer, the Japanese sensation toured as an opener for Lady Gaga, materializing regularly on stages around the country in a confounding flash.


Hatsune Miku performing live in 2011.

All Miku concert footage makes for strange watching. Legions of fans pump light sticks at every swish of those blue ponytails, as if a virtual star needs the encouragement. The sight is arguably even odder live, as an in-person Miku doesn’t exactly seem worth the fuss. Media outlets routinely mistake her for a hologram, but in fact, she’s less sophisticated than that. She’s a 2D image, rendered onto the stage using mirrors (the technology, called Pepper’s Ghost, is so far from cutting edge, it’s been used for decades at the Haunted Mansion in Disney World). Critics who trek halfway across the world to see Miku rock out invariably leave underwhelmed. She looks more magnificent — and just plain larger — on YouTube than in life, having been enhanced by video editors.

But the deception shouldn’t matter. “People focus on the live show like it’s so bizarre,” says Ian Condry, a professor of Japanese studies at MIT. He blames this preoccupation on a lack of context, coupled with a scenario that requires some explaining — a crowd “cheering at a cartoon on stage.” Without context, the sight, he admits, “doesn’t make sense.”

In fact, fans aren’t cheering for Miku per se, but for everything she represents. “They know Miku doesn’t exist,” Condry says. “But they know people on the other side do.”

Miku is a mascot for a product: a voice synthesizing software, through which users can write songs. In 2007, a company called Crypton Future Media released the software online, freely available, and built using Yamaha’s Vocaloid technology as well as a database of samples recorded by a voice actress. As with most of Japan’s entities (including the country’s police agencies), this offering came with a cartoon mascot. She was 16, liked pop music, and wore her hair in long pigtails. She was Hatsune Miku, a name that translates to “first sound of the future.”

Crypton’s president Hiroyuki Itō realized that Miku was more powerful the less there was to know about her. The company isn’t interested in creating a franchise — no spinoff anime shows, or prequels that tell her story. In an interview with HuffPost, Itō spoke through a translator about his intention to keep Miku “an empty canvas, a plain piece of paper, because only then, people will project their own feelings and use her as an interface.”

The model is revolutionary. Every song Miku sings in concert is written by a user of the software. Most Miku music videos are also the work of fans. Crypton has developed a licensing agreement that allows MikuP, or Miku producers, to use the software mascot’s likeness without paying royalties. If a creator’s work becomes wildly profitable, the company enters into a more traditional licensing agreement.

Condry compares Miku to a sample in a hip-hop track. “If you’re some underground person, you can sample without paying anything. Even if you’re indie level, you can probably get away with it. Girltalk can release albums, even though he can’t put them on iTunes. But if you’re Kanye, you’re going to pay top dollar.”

Writing for Vocaloid software is a bit like pulling the strings of a puppet. Miku does what a composer wants, albeit a little jerkily. The upshot is a sense of freedom: a MikuP can theoretically try anything and see what sticks. One composer, who goes by the name Kz, dedicated himself to writing lyrics about the community of creators that sprung up around Miku, rather than Miku herself. One of his songs, “Tell Your World,” became such a popular anthem for Mikuheads, Google eventually licensed it for a Chrome ad in Japan.

Another Kz song caught the attention of Pharrell, who remixed it for the soundtrack of the recent Takashi Murakami movie, “Jellyfish Eyes.” The attending music video, also directed by Murakami, features Miku, her clan of tertiary Vocaloid avatars, and an animated Pharrell dancing on a high-octane version of the Starship Enterprise.

Speaking to HuffPost through a translator, Kz likened his writing process for Miku to osmosis. “She has no kind of will or ideas herself, so you have the direct message going directly through.”

Plenty of Miku songs are as vapid as any pop hit, with references to her long hair, short skirts, and princesslike demeanor (there’s also a vibrant Miku-based pornographic culture, not sanctioned by Crypton). But the genre has deepened as it’s grown, with narrative lyrics that wouldn’t typically make a top 40 list, from the story of a cancer patient to a set of songs about a single day that unfolds with the gruesome strangeness of a Haruki Murakami novel, complete with an all-seeing cat. In the latter, Miku’s chirps are actually scary, multiplied at moments of high stress into a wall of noise.

Other songs use Miku’s lack of personhood to comment on our own devolution into so many “data packets,” as Condry puts it. “They play with this idea of whether she exists, and how much we exist in comparison,” he says.

He sees the Letterman appearance as a rare misstep in a campaign that’s mostly foregone the old routes to cultural takeover, like late night debuts. “The pathway to Miku’s success in Japan went through a grassroots community before it had a chance to break into the mainstream. If people aren’t impressed by what they see on Letterman, they may have to wait a bit until their kids and grandkids explain what it’s all about.”
Comedy – The Huffington Post
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Meet 3 Women Who Were All Pregnant by Jay at the Same Time – Iyanla: Fix My Life – OWN

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Over the past two decades, 44-year-old Jay has fathered children with 17 different women. As part of the healing process, Iyanla sits down with some of these mothers. As the doorbell begins to ring, Iyanla greets each woman and hands her dolls that represent how many children she’s had with Jay.

Chantau, the first to arrive, has four children with Jay, ages 9, 6, 5 and 2. Aisha, a woman who has a 5-year-old daughter with Jay, arrives next. Then, Charmaine, the mother of three of Jay’s sons—ages 12, 11 and 5—takes a seat on the couch.
In the clip above, watch to see their reaction when Iyanla calls out the obvious: “All three of you all were pregnant at the same time.”

Iyanla is also teaching a six-week eCourse on forgiveness.
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For more Iyanla: Fix My Life, visit http://www.oprah.com/app/iyanla-fix-my-life.html

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About OWN:
Oprah Winfrey Network is the first and only network named for, and inspired by, a single iconic leader. Oprah Winfrey’s heart and creative instincts inform the brand — and the magnetism of the channel.

Winfrey provides leadership in programming and attracts superstar talent to join her in primetime, building a global community of like-minded viewers and leading that community to connect on social media and beyond. OWN is a singular destination on cable. Depth with edge. Heart. Star power. Connection. And endless possibilities.

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Meet the Worm Dr. Oz Calls the Mother of All Parasites – The Oprah Winfrey Show – OWN

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Original airdate: May 9, 2007

It can grow to 30 feet in length and live inside of you for 20 years. In 2007, Dr. Oz introduced a disgusted Oprah Show audience to the longest parasite in the world. Watch as America’s favorite physician unveils the bloodsucking creature he playfully refers to as “wormzilla.” Plus, learn how another type of parasite may have been the real reason the South lost the Civil War.

About OWN:
Oprah Winfrey Network is the first and only network named for, and inspired by, a single iconic leader. Oprah Winfrey’s heart and creative instincts inform the brand — and the magnetism of the channel.

Winfrey provides leadership in programming and attracts superstar talent to join her in primetime, building a global community of like-minded viewers and leading that community to connect on social media and beyond. OWN is a singular destination on cable. Depth with edge. Heart. Star power. Connection. And endless possibilities.

Discover OWN TV:
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Meet The Lady Who Lives In A Museum

There’s a fine line between collecting 5,000 pieces of art and hoarding them. For Betsy Alexander, it’s all about placement.

“When we buy a piece of art, our friends will say, ‘Where are you going to put it?’… But there’s always a place — it’s just shocking,” says Alexander, who’s been collecting since she was 9 years old.

Her Philadelphia home-cum-museum is the subject of videographer Cory Popp’s latest project (Popp brought us a colorful look at his hometown’s front doors last month), and is filled floor to ceiling with quirky pieces like ray guns and wind-up robots — items that Alexander says mean more to her than going on a vacation or purchasing a fancy fur coat.

Take a closer look at some of her most unique items in the photos below and tour her home in the video above.

cory popp collector

cory popp collector

cory popp collector

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Are you an architect, designer or blogger and would like to get your work seen on HuffPost Home? Reach out to us at homesubmissions@huffingtonpost.com with the subject line “Project submission.” (All PR pitches sent to this address will be ignored.)
Arts – The Huffington Post
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Walmart’s Pledge to Veterans: Meet Steve Smith

Even with 25 years of military service and experience commanding teams of hundreds, Captain Steve Smith couldn’t find a job after coming off active duty. Recognizing the value in his leadership experience, Walmart hired Steve as a Developmental Shift Manager. Walmart pledges to hire 100,000 veterans by 2018. Subscribe for more great videos: http://youtube.com/walmart.
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Meet Your New BFF — The Present Moment

When we treat the present moment, as a stepping-stone to the next moment, we are living out of alignment with life. Life only happens in the present moment. In this video, Eckhart Tolle talks about becoming friendly with the present moment.

All too often, we make the present moment into an enemy, something to overcome or get through as quickly as possible. We seem to believe that the next moment will be better. In our minds, the next moment holds the promise of happiness and fulfillment, but we are chasing a phantom, which never quite materializes. When we live this way we create a negative internal state of resistance that leads to unhappiness. Why not make the present moment your BFF?

For more from Eckhart Tolle, please click here.
GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -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

Work is a Beautiful Thing: Meet Jon

Jon is an Air Force veteran and newlywed working at G&S Metal Products, a Walmart bakeware supplier in Ohio. Walmart is proud to have G&S Metal Products as a supplier and is proud to invest in products that support American jobs. Learn more: www.walmart.com/AmericanJobs. Subscribe for more great videos: http://youtube.com/walmart.
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Work is a Beautiful Thing: Meet Patrick

Work is a beautiful thing. It’s why we’re committed to the American factory, and all the people who work there, like Patrick at Little Tikes. Subscribe for more great videos: http://youtube.com/walmart.
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Meet The Braxtons. Tamar’s Style and Jamaica Jazz & Blues: The Trend with Victoria Recaño on Zappos

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Ka-POW! This week Victoria escapes to the warm island shores for the Jamaica Jazz & Blues festival, where she runs into the entire Braxton family! Tamar Braxton swings by to talk about her personal flair, and Victoria tells you how to rock Toni Braxton’s on-stage look. As always- stay fabulous, stay in the know, and keep up with The Trend.

The Trend is presented by Zappos (http://zapwow.me/pf3C) where you can shop all the brands you saw here today, as well as all the latest trends in fashion. Zappos carries everything you need from shoes and clothing to hats, accessories, beauty, and more!

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Work is a Beautiful Thing: Meet Burt

Burt Hanna started Hanna’s Candles part-time during college and grew it into a company employing hundreds of Americans. Walmart is proud to have Hanna’s Candles as a supplier and is proud to invest in products that support American jobs. Learn more: www.walmart.com/AmericanJobs
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Work is a Beautiful Thing: Meet Artavius

Artavius is a young father and aspiring artist working at Hanna’s Candles, a Walmart supplier in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Walmart is proud to have Hanna’s Candles as a supplier and is proud to invest in products that support American jobs. Learn more: www.walmart.com/AmericanJobs
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Meet 7 Women Who Can Eat You Under the Table

Molly SchuylerA competitive-eating star was born this week: Molly Schuyler, a Nebraska mother of four, who calmly devoured a 72-oz. steak in less than 3 minutes, obliterating the world record. But Schuyler is not the first breaker of the gorgers’ glass ceiling. Let’s meet some more.



Healthy Living | Women’s Lifestyle – Yahoo Shine
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Meet the Elephant Seal: Educational Version

Meet the Elephant Seal: Educational Version


Elephant seals are huge animals that live in the sea. When I say they are huge, I mean huge. The male elephant seal can grow to be as long as a car! They can weigh as much as two cars! That is big!This book is a shortened version of our popular “Elephant Seals: Mountains of Blubber” and is intended for beginning readers. With only 996 easy to read words, young children can experience for themselves the joy of learning about the elephant seal. They will find out the answers to these questions:Why do male elephant seals have such a large nose?Why do elephant seals have such large eyes?How long can an elephant seal stay under the water?How fast do baby elephant seals grow?Why is a baby elephant seal black?And many more!Ages 5 to 8Educational Versions have CCSS Activities.LearningIsland.com believes in the value of children practicing reading for 15 minutes every day. Our 15-Minute Books give children lots of fun, exciting choices to read, from classic stories, to mysteries, to books of knowledge. Many books are appropriate for hi-lo readers. Open the world of reading to a child by having them read for 15 minutes a day.

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