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Oh No They Didn't! - LiveJournal.com

older | 1 | .... | 95 | 96 | (Page 97) | 98 | 99 | .... | 4830 | newer

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    Heterosexual Actor Reconciles His Homophobia In Piece Decrying Homophobia. Or Something.

    By Nicholas Brown

    I am not gay. I have no shortage of gay friends. My uncle is gay. I've marched in a gay pride parade. More than half of the roommates I have lived with are gay. I support marriage equality.

    So it comes as a shock to me when I realize that, actually, if I am honest with myself, I'm not comfortable with kissing another man on camera. I really don't want to book this part.

    The effect of multiple strangers asking you to take off your clothes is uncomfortably intimate—like walking around a doctor's office with a glass of your own urine.

    That's what I'm thinking when, for the third time in a day, a woman asks me: "So, you are comfortable taking your shirt off?"

    I nod and hand her a headshot.

    The script she gives me in exchange is for an AIDS awareness advertisement for Logo, Viacom's gay-targeted network. It has two lines: 1. "Did you hear that? We have chemistry!" and 2. "When were you last tested?"

    The woman says "And you know that, if you book this, you'll have to kiss another man?"

    "Yes," I say.

    "And you're comfortable with that?"

    "Yes," I say.

    I have worked as a model and an actor for eight years now. Part of the job is making yourself comfortable in situations that are not familiar.

    The casting director, another woman, emerges from inside the studio where they are filming the audition, and she asks me to take my shirt off and stand in front of a blazing white light. I am reminded that I really ought to work out more. It's as if my metaphorical glass of urine spilled a bit and we can all see the carpet stain.

    I am not gay. I have no shortage of gay friends. My uncle is gay. I've marched in a gay pride parade. More than half of the roommates I have lived with are gay. I support marriage equality. (I hear that he also has a black friend)

    So it comes as a shock to me when I realize that, actually, if I am honest with myself, I'm not comfortable with kissing another man on camera. I really don't want to book this part.

    I don't want people to think I'm gay. And I'm even more uncomfortable because that isn't a thought that I want to have.

    Acting is a curious profession. The Oscars tend to award actors who transfigure themselves. Think of Charlize Theron in Monster or Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Capote. And most actors actively want to stretch outside of themselves. That is, after all, why we tried to make a career out of pretending. But people tend to assume things about you after they have seen you onstage. The character and the person are conflated.

    Still, I wouldn't turn down a commercial that required me to pretend to slap a child, or one where I played a Nazi. And—assuming the ad wasn't advocating child abuse or Nazism—I don't think I would feel odd about the audition.

    I ask my theatrical agent if there is any industry stigma about doing a gay role."No," he says, "not since Will and Grace in the '90s."

    I call my commercial agent to ask him the same question. "No," he says. "Ikea was doing ads with gay couples in the '90s. Will and Grace really changed things." "But you had to ask me two times if I was comfortable," I protest. "We would do that on any spot where you have to kiss," he tells me.

    Gigi Nicolas, the director of on-air promotions at Logo, tells me that at least I was not alone in my discomfort. "We had to do a second round of casting," she says. "Far fewer people auditioned than I expected. Most of my top choices just didn't show up."

    If you ever want to feel really wretched about what a big jerk you are, there are worse ways to do it than logging onto Harvard's Project Implicit. Psychologists at Harvard created a series of tests that measure your reaction time when you associate positive and negative concepts with different social groups. The results give you an indication of how racist or sexist or agist or generally prejudiced you are on a subconscious level.

    My implicit association scores tell me that I have a moderate subconscious preference for lighter skinned people (like 27 percent of all test takers, 70 percent of whom show a slight, moderate, or strong automatic preference for lighter skin). I also moderately prefer young people to old people (like 29 percent of all test takers; 80 percent prefer young people to old). And I moderately prefer straight people to gay people (like 27 percent of test takers; 68 percent show some preference for straight people.)

    I take some solace in the fact that my preferences are only moderate. But even if it's temperate about it, my subconscious is essentially racist, agist, and homophobic. It is the backwater redneck of my brain. And, apparently, I'm prejudiced against backwater rednecks.

    My uncle spent 20 years of Christmases leaving his partner at home while he visited my grandparents. He pretended to be single. At my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary, my grandfather tried to introduce my uncle to single women. My uncle came out of the closet only a few years before my grandfather died. There were tense days, but then he was accepted.

    Christianity imagines the period leading up to Christmas as one of great joy. It encourages us to offer good will towards men, which is a start, but it seems to me that the Jews have it right to place the emphasis of Yom Kippur, their big holiday, on just apologizing.

    The essential, uncomfortable, flaw with all the progress on gay rights is that even after legislation is passed and everyone's rights are equal on paper—which still sometimes seems a long way off—there is the longer, trickier work of trying to divest each person of the ugly human prejudices we all inherited when we were born.


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    The left-leaning actor/activist/Hugo Chavez BFF has been adding a new title to his résumé: journalist. Michael Moynihan takes a read.

    In 1997, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck presented to America, via the lead character in their film Good Will Hunting, a shared political worldview. Will Hunting, a wicked smaht South Boston janitor with a talent for mathematics and humiliating his social betters—especially pampered, right-wing Harvard elites unfamiliar with radical historian Howard Zinn—was a Dalton Trumbo character with a Massachusetts accent. The film’s message was blindingly simple: the establishment is lying to you and the rich are screwing over the working class.

    Fifteen years later and both actors are still steeped in bourgeois radicalism—Damon’s latest film is a didactic drama about fracking—though according to an interview in the January issue of Playboy, Will Hunting has finally given up on organized politics. “[T]he game is rigged,” Damon told the magazine. “And no matter how hard you work to change things, it just doesn’t matter.”

    For his part, Affleck ended speculation that he would run for John Kerry’s vacated Massachusetts Senate seat, writing on Facebook that he would instead devote his energy to “using filmmaking to entertain and foster discussion about issues like our relationship to Iran.” And there I was, thinking that Argo was just a bit of fun.

    But fear not, handful of people who take political cues from actors. Because while Damon and Affleck have spurned Washington, there are still plenty of politically engaged thespians to guide us through the thicket of global politics. Indeed, it seems that everywhere one turns these days the craggy face of Sean Penn appears, ready to offer another boring bit of political heterodoxy.

    In an interview in the January edition of Esquire, the Shanghai Surprise star complains that America has become “pussified” and says that his movie work is inextricably linked with his political activism (“I don’t separate my movie career from [my work in] Haiti … It’s all one fucking thing”). When Venezuelan autocrat Hugo Chavez was carted off to Cuba this month for cancer treatment, Penn informed the world of his deep emotional distress. With a warbling voice, his long hair cinched back in a ponytail, and clad in an absurd “Bolivarian” tracksuit, he offered a pre-eulogy for Chavez. From a candlelight vigil in La Paz, Bolivia, Penn blubbered that el comandante is “one of the most important forces we’ve had on this planet, and I’ll wish him nothing but that great strength he has shown over and over again.” His praise was delivered “in love” and “gratitude”—and in English.

    It might seem odd that a fabulously wealthy American was expressing gratitude to the leader of one the most corrupt (ranking 172 out of 182 in the latest Transparency International index) and violent (with a record 21,000 murders this year) countries on Earth.
    But then again, according to Penn, I’m merely a foot soldier in America’s media war against the “progressive” autocracies of Latin America. Because when he isn’t miming chavista talking points, Penn is sounding suspiciously conservative in his criticism of the dreaded “mainstream media.”

    Those who report critically on the Chavez regime are variously guilty of “demonizing,” “demonization,” and “manufactur[ing] demons.” The mustache-twisting American media works overtime to “demonize perceived enemies” like Chavez and Fidel Castro (The Castro brothers are “demonized” in the American press for, among other outrages against decency, neglecting to have a free election since they seized power in 1959).

    So what should one do about this ceaseless propaganda campaign against Venezuela? In a 2010 appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher, Penn again complained that the media is addicted to lying about Chavez, frequently referring to him as a “dictator” who is contemptuous of the democratic process. “Truly,” Penn said, “there should be a bar by which one goes to prison for these kinds of lies.”

    No one can accuse Penn of not learning from his mentors.

    But perhaps I should give Penn a measure of credit. Rather than merely complaining that “corporate” journalists are corrupt handmaidens of imperialism, he has attempted to fix journalism by becoming a journalist; a sort of reverse George Plimpton.

    Indeed, the actor now also self-identifies as a writer. In his 2009 paean to Raul Castro and Hugo Chavez published on the Huffington Post, Penn begins with typical humility: “The disadvantages of being a writer, who is often written about, are numerous.” And another disadvantage is that, because you are often written about, certain editors allow you to write.

    Reading Penn’s journalism is not unlike consuming a Castro speech: it’s unbearably long, always rambling and tedious, and frequently incoherent. Take this latest dispatch from Penn’s Huffington Post blog, where he coughs up this furball: “Ostreicher, whose innocence was maligned by an arrest where only vague illusions to money laundering have been shown to be fabricated by corrupt officials within the Bolivian judiciary, whose motivation has proven to be extortion.”

    Or how about this stew of words, which is apparently related to the shootings in Newtown, Conn.: “This can, and is, being very easily exampled with newly invigorated discussions with attention on the recognition and treatment of mental health, and certainly that is a priority. And to be responsible to that priority, we too have to recognize its applicability to the mental health of our American community at large.”

    It’s difficult to improve upon the brutal verdict of New Yorker writer George Packer, who wondered why “someone like Penn think[s] he can do this job [journalism], which isn’t his job?” Criticizing his sycophantic dual profile of Castro and Chavez, published in The Nation, Packer concluded that “Perhaps because he can write down and relay the words of famous people to whom his own fame gives him access, and because certain thoughts pass through his mind while he’s writing them down.”

    While the media occasionally give Castro and Chavez a rough time, Penn might acknowledge that they play slow-pitch softball with him. Bill Maher didn’t flinch—or ask a followup question—when he demanded journalists be sent to the gulag for questioning Chavez’s democratic bona fides. In conversation with Penn’s chum and Gangster Squad costar Josh Brolin, Charlie Rose offered this insight into the actor’s curious choice of international friends:

    JOSH BROLIN: People perceived him as being too cool. But he’s not too cool. He’s open. He’s a true humanitarian.

    CHARLIE ROSE: And curious.

    JOSH BROLIN: Very curious.
    CHARLIE ROSE: …and curious and curious and curious. He goes off to Venezuela and Cuba.
    JOSH BROLIN: Exactly.

    This is exactly backward. If anything, champagne chavistas like Penn suffer from a distinct lack of curiosity, mixed with a heavy dollop of Hollywood orientalism. One can’t help but wonder how Penn would react if a female blogger wrote of her opposition to President Obama’s drone strike policy and was subsequently arrested by the FBI and threatened with gang rape. Or if President George W. Bush packed the Supreme Court with loyalists (and arrested judges who ruled against his cronies), withheld passports and other public services to those who voted against him, and fined or effectively shuttered media outlets that opposed his rule.

    In response to such criticisms, Penn has a predictable—and condescending—defense: the wretched of the Earth do not care for democratic niceties. “[W]hile our own cultural and constitutional conditioning would lead us to serious concerns in the powers of [Chavez’s] office,” he wrote in the Huffington Post, “there must be an informed adjustment to give our analyses a context that may extend beyond our borders” (This is a mirror image of an argument made by defenders of Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet: it would have been impossible to rehabilitate Chile’s broken economy without the Generalissimo’s steady and firm hand, a point not understood by finger-wagging gringo liberals).

    The kulturwelt usually has an acute sensitivity to those who maintain shady political allegiances. Argentinian novelist Jorge Luis Borges was denied the Nobel because of his support of Pinochet. Economist Milton Friedman, whose Nobel was bitterly debated in faculty lounges and feuilletons, was routinely accused of similar sympathies. On the Waterfront director Elia Kazan was persona non grata in Hollywood for testifying as a friendly witness before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Sean Penn’s associations with Castro and Chavez have brought no such professional censure.

    Perhaps there is some truth to his complaint that the press is frivolous. After all, they appear to take him seriously.


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    Ready to learn more about Fox's upcoming series "The Following"? We hope so because the network has released four new videos that go "Inside The Following": "What Is The Following?,""Other Characters,""Research & Style," and "The Thrill Ride."

    "The Following" will premiere on Monday, January 21st, at 9/8c.

    THE FBI estimates there are currently over 300 active serial killers in the United States. What would happen if these killers had a way of communicating and connecting with each other? What if they were able to work together and form alliances across the country? What if one brilliant psychotic serial killer was able to bring them all together and activate a following? Welcome to THE FOLLOWING, the terrifying new thriller from creator/executive producer Kevin Williamson (“The Vampire Diaries,” “Dawson’s Creek,” the Scream franchise) and director Marcos Siega (“The Vampire Diaries,” “Dexter”).


    The buzz on this is great and the more that the cast and Kevin talk about this the better that it sounds. I can't wait.

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    Abrams and Cumberbatch tease his Star Trek Into Darkness villain


    Seems to us that the more we're getting closer to Star Trek Into Darkness' release date, the more we're getting tantalizing bits and pieces about J.J. Abrams' highly anticipated sequel and its extremely enigmatic villain, John Harrison, played by Benedict Cumberbatch.

    The Sherlock actor and Abrams are at it again and are once more teasing us about the upcoming Trek sequel's Big Bad.

    In video interviews from Korea (from the Korean site Naver Movies), brought to us by TrekMovie, both Cumberbatch and Abrams have offered more enticing details about "John Harrison."

    About his villain character, Cumberbatch says:

    He is an extraordinary terrorist of sorts. He uses himself as a warrior with weapons and close hand combat to just reap devastation and havoc wherever he goes and a trail of destruction follows him. What is interesting from an acting point of view — beyond doing the stunts and choreographed fight sequences....was also the psychological warfare that he acts out. He has an incredible ability to control people's minds to his bidding and make them — well confuse the radar of their loyalties and prerogatives, so that was great fun. So it was a great mixture of intense acting scenes and action scenes.

    Trek director Abrams also pondered Cumberbatch's villain and what the actor brings to the role:

    Benedict is an amazing actor. He is someone who brings this incredible intelligence and depth and truth to whatever he does. When I saw Sherlock I thought "here is a guy who is making Sherlock Holmes into a character that I absolutely relate to, love watch, makes me laugh — I really feel for him. It's Sherlock Holmes but someone Benedict Cumberbatch is completely bringing it to life and making it real. We needed someone for this character who is going to ground the character and make him relatable and be frightening and intense and believable. Not because he is raving and insane but because he is rational. And he brought this incredible sense of sophistication and psychological complexity to the role and we were very luck to get him.

    The best and greatest Star Trek villains have always been the ones we've been able to somewhat relate to, such as Khan Noonien Singh (Ricardo Montalban) from the original series' episode "Space Seeds" and The Wrath of Kahn and even Gul Dukat (Marc Alaimo) from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine—villains who always think they're actually doing the right thing and believe that THEY are the heroes of the story.

    We don't know about you guys, but this is making us even more excited for Star Trek Into Darkness to finally hit the screens full warp speed ahead. Are you?

    Star Trek Into Darkness will be released on May 17, 2013.


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    Matthew McConaughey's wife just popped out baby #3 ... TMZ has learned.

    Sources tell us ... Camila Alves gave birth earlier this morning at a hospital in Austin, TX. We're told Matthew was there, he was ecstatic for the new arrival (clearly) ... and even looked like he'd packed on a few pounds.

    You'll recall ... the actor announced news of the pregnancy back in July, tweeting "Happy birthday America, more good news, Camila and I are expecting our 3rd child."

    We haven't confirmed yet, but sources close to the situation tell us ... it's a baby girl!

    FYI -- The duo met in 2006, but didn't get married until June 2012. They have two other children: Levi (4) and Vida (2).

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  • 12/28/12--16:00: FFAF: December 28, 2012

  • [Unknown LJ tag]

    Hello ONTD! Happy Kwanzza! I do hope all holidays that have ended for you were happy as well. Might I warn you to be careful showing what you got, if you choose to do so here, as you might be seen as "privileged bitch" whether or not it is true.

    Anyway! Please enjoy FFAF with your usual comments of twitters, tumblrs, and last eff ems. Please try to refrain from fighting, advertising for monetary gain, spamming, posting lewd photos, or posting comments which might cause havoc on the computers of others who have an outdated machine (i.e. not a privileged bitch.)

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    It appears that Eli Roth and director Nicolas Lopez hit it off during their collaboration on the upcoming Aftershock, because Roth is flexing his thespian chops once again under his tutelage.

    Lopez has a comedy opening in Chile next week called Que Pena Tu Familia, and the characters in the film watch a Telenovela entitled “Ataque Al Corazon” (“Attack The Heart”). So, in ongoing the tradition of fake TV shows being shot in order to give movie characters something to watch, we’ve got a trailer from the show. It brings the gore and more than a little bit of “Grey’s Anatomy” style sexual friction.

    Warning. Bloody.


    "MY HEAD IS FiNE!"

    my homey fwee_prower will be the judge of that.

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  • 12/29/12--11:07: Book Post!

  • Books to Look Forward to in 2013

    If there's a common moral that binds together some of the most exciting releases of 2013, it's that it's a small world after all.

    Khaled Hosseini's welcome return brings with it a family story set in several parts of the world; David Sedaris bumbles around the globe, collecting tales of both the poignant and the absurd. And other novelists and scholars give voice to planet-spanning stories especially pertinent in the age of globalization: Tracy Chevalier and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie tell intimate accounts about immigration, Marie Arana delivers the authoritative account of Simón Bolivar's map-altering political revolutions in South America, and Ruth Ozeki offers a sad, lovely tale about the accidental, intercontinental connection between a teenage author in Tokyo and her only reader.

    Meanwhile, foodie extraordinaire Michael Pollan takes on the anthropology of cooking, and Stephen King revisits the universe of The Shining for the first time since he created it 36 years ago. In other words, it's about to be a big year in books. Below, read more on what these and other notable authors are up to in 2013.

    The Last Runaway
    by Tracy Chevalier

    The best-selling author of 1999’s acclaimed Girl With a Pearl Earring makes her first foray into historical fiction set in America. When Honor Bright, a young English Quaker woman, moves to Ohio in 1850, she’s disappointed by the lack of commitment to equality in America—until she gets drawn into the mysterious activities of the Underground Railroad.

    Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong
    by Dave Walsh

    2012 must have been a year of redemption for Dave Walsh. For 12 years, the London-based Sunday Times journalist chased a hunch that Lance Armstrong’s success story was too good to be true. Seven stripped Tour de France titles later, it turned out to be more than a hunch. Seven Deadly Sins tells the story of Walsh’s struggle to make the truth about Lance Armstrong’s steroid use known.

    See the rest here

    Books to Help You Write the Next Contagion

    The germs have been busy. In the United States this year alone, we’ve lost people both to old enemies such as whooping cough and to relatively new spillovers from other animals, such as hantavirus and West Nile virus, which killed more than 240 Americans this year, a record. Diseases we've come to think of as utterly foreign, such as dengue fever, are spreading through the United States. Meanwhile, further afield but far too near, we’ve seen two separate Ebola outbreaks; one of Marburg; alarming blips of Q fever; an unsettling and unsettled game of whack-a-mole in the Mideast with a new SARS-like coronavirus; and the news that because gonorrhea has now developed resistance to yet another antibiotic, we possess just one that still gives pause to this old intimate. If that drug stops working before we develop a better one, expect a steady drip of ugly cases.

    More bad-bug news pops up almost weekly, and it stands to get worse for a while, maybe for decades. More bacterial strains will develop antibiotic resistance, and our continuing disruption of virus-rich and fungus-rich ecosystems worldwide will invite yet more pathogens to make us part of their life cycles. We will live increasingly in a world where you might die because a bat happened to sleep in a certain tree in Tanzania or a particular robin landed in your backyard.

    Pandemic diseases hold an irresistible allure for both writers and readers, as they involve threats both universal and personal, deep scientific mysteries from cellular to ecosystem levels, and urgent scientific sleuthing with high stakes. If the subject sometimes lends itself to oversimplified and sensationalistic journalism, it has also inspired a bounty of writing that is riveting while being thoughtful, nuanced, and deeply informed. And this work comes in every form and length, from 140-character tweets to 600-page global tours.

    Here I offer a guide to the best of this work. I’ve drawn from my own reading and from the suggestions of top infectious-disease writers (more on them shortly). We’ll start long, with books, and end, as we should, with tweeted expirations of germ-inflected wisdom.

    Best Books
    We face an embarrassment of riches here, and if it’s hard to know where to start, it’s easy to name a fivesome that will immerse you in the drama of pandemics both past and future while giving a fine understanding of the science.

    Leading the way almost 20 years ago, and still absolutely trenchant today, is Laurie Garrett’s The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance, which vividly and judiciously reports the global forces creating a new infectious age. It remains essential reading, with astounding prescience.

    Warm from the presses, meanwhile, comes David Quammen’s Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic—one of the year’s best books of any kind. This rich, engrossing work entrances as much with its darting literary elegance and deep humanity as with its exquisitely measured, layered reveal of the global strands binding us to a world of beauty and death.

    Equally riveting is Maryn McKenna’s way-too-close-to-home SuperBug: The Fatal Menace of MRSA. This bacterium (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is everywhere these days, including, perhaps, on your keyboard and almost certainly on your nose. As McKenna makes vivid, its spread and its increasing resistance to antibiotics can turn a routine cut or hospital visit into a deadly saga.

    Finally, there are the classics Microbe Hunters, Paul de Kruif’s 1934 account of how the bug-hunters got started, and John Barry’s The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, which makes scary reading anytime near flu season.

    "The First Alert," from Maryn McKenna's SuperBug, tells of a 13-year-old boy's battle with MRSA. “Where Will the Next Pandemic Come From? And How Can We Stop It?,” in Popular Science, opens the puzzle box that David Quammen explores at more length in Spillover. In “The Hunt for the Origin of AIDS,” in the Atlantic, Jon Cohen sifts through AIDS-origin theories both well-founded and weird.

    The Flu Hunters,” a classic piece by Gretchen Reynolds in the New York Times Magazine, follows the hunt, far from over, to figure out how to prevent future flu pandemics on the scale of the one that killed 20 million to 50 million people in 1918. “Undead: The Rabies Virus Remains a Medical Mystery,” in Wired, an excerpt from the new book by Monica Murphy and Bill Wasik, Rabid, shows how bizarre this old affliction is; some of the comments are as unsettling as the story. Bruce Barcott's "Death at Yosemite,” in Outside, shows how zoonotic diseases such as the much more obscure hantavirus can pop up, suddenly and fatally, even in the most sublime settings.

    Finally, “The Rise of Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea,” by Jerome Groopman at The New Yorker, has some unsettling news about the human pharynx. And his colleague Michael Specter, in “A Deadly Misdiagnosis,” shows how misguided attempts to fight tuberculosis—possibly the disease that most threatens us—may actually strengthen its hand. Don’t read this while you have a cough.

    Source & the rest

    10 Things Kvothe Absolutely Needs to Do in Day 3 of Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicles Books 

    If you're a fan of Patrick Rothfuss' wonderful The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear, the first two books of The Kingkiller Chronicles, you know two things: 1) it's a wonderfully grounded tale set in an elaborate world of high fantasy, and 2) it seems like it's going to be completely impossible for Rothfuss to finish Kvothe's story in just one more book.

    Kvothe is a young magician and troubadour who's already a legend in his world, but has since mysteriously retired to become a humble innkeeper with the name of Kote. He is reluctantly telling his life history to a Chronicler over the course of three days (one day per book), but at the end of The Wise Man's Fear, Kvothe seems to have barely begun his story. But unlike other authors (*cough*GRRM*cough*) Rothfuss is sticking firm to his three-book structure — meaning Kvothe has so much he needs to do in the eventual final volume The Doors of Stone, a.k.a. "day 3."

    Here are the 10 things we hope Kvothe crosses off his "To Do" list whenever The Kingkiller Chronicles finally concludes. Spoilers ahead...

    1) He's got to kill a king.

    The books are called The Kingkiller Chronicles after all, and now that Kvothe has told two-thirds of this story — although he's only up to his late teens — he hasn't met a single king yet, let alone killed one. The popular rumor on the internet is that Kvothe's archnemesis at the University, the noble brat Ambrose, will end up being king, although as it stands Ambrose is so far the way down the line of succession Kvothe can fight him pretty significantly and not get himself beheaded (not that Ambrose wouldn't like to).

    2) He has to figure out the mystery of the Amyr and the Chandrian.

    In a story about a story about stories, there are tons of tales that remain half-told, but the one that has to reach some sort of conclusion is what is going on with the Chandrian, the mysterious, seemingly cursed, possibly immortal group of seven who serve as the Chronicles' main antagonists — as well as the Amyr, the order of church knights that had fought them until they also seem to have inexplicably disappeared. While most people regard the Chandrian as legends, Kvothe has first-hand knowledge of them — so it stands to reason the Amyr exist, too. But what happened, and where did they go?

    3) He has to confront Cinder.

    Kvothe's search for the truth behind the Chandrian isn't just out of curiosity. He and his parents were Edema Ruh, a gypsy-esque, wandering people who often travel from town to town as wandering minstrels and entertainers. Kvothe's father began composing a song about the fall of the ancient hero Lanre, who lost his love, went mad and became the first of the seven Chandrian. But since the Chandrian are determined to erase (violently, if need be) almost all mention of themselves, Kvothe's entire troupe was murdered by them, and his parents killed specifically by than Chandrian named Cinder. Kvothe has been hunting him down ever since - only to randomly defeat a group of bandits who he later learned was led by Cinder. But for what possible purpose?

    4) He has to talk to Gods (probably).

    In Kvothe's famous quote to the Chronicler at the beginning of his story, he says:

    "I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs to make the minstrels weep. You may have heard of me."

    So far he's burned down the town of Trebon (more or less; he actually stuffed a dragon full of heroin accidentally, and the dragon burned down the town), he's been expelled from the University (the bastion of education and magic on Kvothe's world, although the expulsion was almost instantly repealed) and slept with the faerie queen Felurian (not a metaphor, he went to the Faerie realm and did a lot of sex). But talking to Gods? We're not sure that's happened yet. Unless Kvothe is referring to the time he talked to Ctaegh, the hateful faerie tree that destroys the lives of everyone it speaks to (you really need to read these books).

    The rest

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    Lord Julian Fellowes has admitted he would have loved to keep Matthew Crawley in Downton Abbey, after he was left with no choice but to kill off the nation’s favourite character at Christmas.

    Lord Fellowes, who writes the award-winning series, has disclosed he “didn’t really have an option” but to make Matthew Crawley die in a motoring accident, after actor Dan Stevens chose to leave the show.

    After trying to persuade him to stay, Lord Fellowes said he would have kept the central character alive “without question” had there been any alternative.

    Since Stevens was determined to pursue his acting career elsewhere, no other way of leaving the show during the ITV Christmas Day special would have been believable enough, he added.

    “We would have loved to keep him,” he told th Daily Telegraph. ldquo;We would have loved to keep Jessica [Brown Findlay] too.

    “We have always tried to persuade him to stay. He had done fantastically well for the series and his creation of Matthew was terrific.

    “But this is life. Dan felt that this was right thing for him, and the right moment to move on to different areas.”

    Lord Fellowes, who won an Oscar for his screenplay of Gosford Park, disclosed he would have written an alternative ending for Matthew’s character had circumstances been different.

    “If he [Stevens] had been prepared to come back for maybe two or three episodes in a series, that would be different. Then we could have had a foreign posting or invented a career that would have made it possible for him to be away.

    “Otherwise we would have had to make this tremendously successful love affair between Mary and Matthew unhappy, which I didn’t feel would be believable.

    “For them to then separate and Matthew never set eyes on his son again would not be believable either.

    “So we didn’t really have any option. By him dying, their love can remain in tact.”

    He emphasised there had been no “fall out”, saying: “I’m pretty sure he’s got a terrific future. We will miss him.”

    Lord Fellowes, who said he found the popular notion that writers and producers made all the decisions about scripts “charming”, added: “I’m rather amused by the idea that these plot decisions are taken by producers and writers rather than the actors.

    “In truth, they are taken entirely by the actors."

    Despite his reluctance to kill off the heir to Downton, Lord Fellowes promised viewers there would be no miraculous Dallas-style re-appearance for Matthew.

    “Matthew will be dead,” he joked. “Mary will not find Matthew in the shower; that I can promise.”

    The makers of Downton Abbey have already moved to console devastated viewers about the "untimely and tragic death" of character Matthew Crawley, after an outpouring of furious complaints about the Christmas special.

    Viewers complained it was "travasty", a "tragedy" and an "outrage", with some saying the ending had "ruined their Christmas".

    The makers of the programme yesterday released a statement explaining the decision, reassuring fans the death was the only credible exit for the heir to Downton.

    His "solid and loving marriage" to Lady Mary had meant a separation would be inconceivable, they said.

    The explanation follows a barrage of complaints about the plot, which saw character Matthew Crawley killed in a motoring accident as he drove to share news of his happy wife and newborn baby.

    Within moments of the episode being broadcast, thousands of distressed viewers took to social networking sites and forums to complain about the ending.

    One accused the writers of "killing my soul" while another said the plot "shattered my heart". A third noted: "I AM 100% DONE WITH THIS SHOW. I CAN'T BREATHE." Oh Tumblr, you deliver].

    Others were seemingly too distraught to speak, saying: "I don't even want to discuss what happened in the Downton Abbey Christmas special. I just don't."

    One mournful fan wrote "I love Downton Abbey but they have just made me very angry", as another claimed: "Downton Abbey you have just ruined my Christmas Day!"

    Some attempted to put on a brave face, saying: "I'm still not over the Downton Christmas Episode, so I'm just going to rewatch all the happy episodes and pretend everything is swell."

    A spokeswoman for ITV, which broadcasts the award-winning programme, last night issued a statement to explain the decision to kill the character off and comfort fans.

    Saying actor Dan Stevens had chosen not to renew his contract beyond the initial three years, she said the "solid and loving marriage" between characters Matthew and Mary has left writers with no choice about his inevitable departure.

    The relationship between the two was so strong that they could not "simply be estranged or parted", she said, meaning he had to be dramatically killed off in the surprise twist.

    Speaking of his departure exclusively to the Daily Telegraph, Stevens said he had chosen to leave the popular show after the second series to pursue "a desire for freedom".

    "So there is a strange sense of liberation at the same time as great sadness because I am very, very fond of the show and always will be," he said.

    The death of Matthew Crawley in a motoring accident is the second unexpected twist in Downton Abbey this series, with Lady Sybil passing away following childbirth in emotional scenes earlier this year.

    The two surprise deaths have already led to speculation about the future of the show, with some fearing it will struggle to recover from the loss of two popular characters.

    Last night, a spokeswoman for ITV said: "After three successful series and two Christmas editions of Downton Abbey, Dan Stevens decided not to renew his contract beyond the initial three years he had been contracted.

    "We wish him every success for the future. Michelle Dockery will be returning to her role as Lady Mary in series four which begins production in February.

    "Over the last three years, audiences across the world have been captivated by the ups and downs of Mary and Matthew’s relationship, culminating in their wedding.

    "Fans have enjoyed what has become a solid and loving marriage. It is for this reason that the Producers decided Matthew and Mary could not simply be estranged or parted, resulting in his untimely and tragic death at the end of the Christmas episode.

    "In the next series, alongside all the usual drama, comedy and romance involving the much loved cast of characters, viewers will see Mary adjusting to her life and attempting to move on without the man she loved."


    My reaction to Dan's 'career' post DA:

    Whatever, I'll just crack!ship Mary and Thomas now.

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    Gwyneth Paltrow flashes a smile for the cover of her upcoming cookbook “It’s All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great,” out in stores on April 2, 2013!

    For the new book, the 40-year-old actress put together 185 delicious, easy recipes that followed her doctor’s guidelines to lose weight and feel more energized.

    “It’s All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great” follows Gwyneth‘s first cookbook, “My Father’s Daughter: Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family & Togetherness,” released last year.

    No Cup-of-Soup plz

    Can we please get a white celebrities tag?

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    Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, Jonah Hill have gone down under to bring in the New Year early.

    Spotted on a luxury yacht in Sydney on Friday, the Hollywood trio were also joined by Gossip Girl’s Chace Crawford, Entourage’s evin Connolly, My Name Is Earl’s than Suplee, and DJ Samantha Ronson.

    The A-listers were taken around Sydney Harbor Bridge in the yacht, the Daily Mail reports.

    According to Australia’s Daily Telegraph, a casino group — The Star— teamed up with th Marquee nightclub to invite the celebrity guests to Sydney for the New Year. That invitation included the use of a private 747 jet to bring the Hollywood party to the Australian capital on Friday.



    DiCaprio, Foxx, Hill and the rest of the high profile party will reportedly see in the New Year in Sydney before flying to Las Vegas after the midnight countdown at Marquee tomorrow. This will see them arrive just in time to celebrate New Year’s Eve all over again in the US, said the Daily Telegraph.

    Foxx joined Ronson onstage at Marquee on Friday night during her set. He entertained the crowd with an improvised vocal performance, the paper added.

    Foxx and DiCaprio, reportedly became friends on the set of their latest film, Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, while Hill — who also appears in a smaller part in that film — worked with DiCaprio on the banking thriller The Wolf of Wall Street, scheduled for release in 2013.

    Oscar-winning actor Foxx tweeted a picture of the jet on December 28 along with a message that read:

    “Australia bound for New Years. What are your plans?”

    The group are believed to be staying at Sydney’s exclusive “Darling Hotel.”

    What are your New Years plans ontd. Twilight Zone marathon for me since I'm stuck in the house :(

    source | 1& 2

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  • 12/29/12--12:11: FRIDAY BOX OFFICE

  • Daily chart from Box Office Mojo

    Tomatometer from Rotten Tomatoes

    How was your Friday night, ONTD?

    spoiler code:

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    Former X Factor contestants Union J needed a police escort this week after fans trapped them in their vehicle following a concert.

    The boyband performed in front of 1,800 screaming fans at The Buttermarket nightclub in Shrewsbury, England on Thursday night and their car was swamped by hundreds of overexcited devotees when they left the venue.

    The group, who have signed a recording contract with SonyMusic, delighted audience members with their performance and even shocked some fans with their impressive voices.
    One crowd member told the Shropshire Star: “It was amazing and I can’t stop shaking. Their voices are just amazing and they are good looking as well.”
    Another added: “They were really, really good and they sounded really good live – I was a bit shocked. I didn’t expect them to be that good.”

    The boys are set to return to The Buttermarket for another show on January 11 and hundreds of fans have already snapped up tickets.
    After the gig this week, club owner Martin Monahan said: “Last night Union J completely stormed the crowd, it was electric.
    “We’re delighted to announce that they will be returning in just a couple of weeks time to do it all again, although this time all ages can come along and enjoy them as long as under-16s are accompanied.”

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  • 12/29/12--13:09: Roc-A-Fella Reunion?

  • While Hot 97 has been in the news recently for less than exemplary reasons, I’ll be forever indebted to the station for the night Jay-Z brought his newly-formed Roc clique to the station and let his guys rip apart beats for an hour more than a decade ago. Young David D. used to just type “freestyle” in his Napster search box and see what gems came up. My life changed when I found a 14-minute clip of the State Property guys rapping over “Quiet Storm.” To me, the whole session epitomized what it meant to be hungry. Each rapper (H Money Bags’ struggles that night notwithstanding) fought over the mic like a pack of hyenas over Scar’s last limb.

    It sounds odd, but the Roc Hot 97 Session became one of the most inspiring things I ever heard. The freestyles always brought to mind what it meant to seize an opportunity and be fearless at it. Nobody exhibited this quality like Freeway, who thrashed every beat and cut in line to get his verses in. A decade later, it’s no surprise he’s the guy leading the pack, forging his own path to success.

    Here, he reunites with the Young Gunz, Memphis Bleek and Peedie Crakk (who was sorely missed from those rap sessions) to absolutely demolish a Jake One beat. All of this to prepare us for their reunion concert tomorrow night at the Grammercy theater in NYC. Anyone want to fly me up for that?


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    Karrueche Tran is furious about Chris Brown's relationship with Rihanna.

    After the 23-year-old singer rekindled his romance with the Diamond singer and spent Christmas Day (25.12.12) with her, his former girlfriend Karrueche took to her Twitter page to slam the couple.

    In a cryptic post, she wrote: "wishing death upon someone is some weak s**t (sic)."

    While Rihanna, 24, was spotted cuddling with Chris and whispering into his ear as they watched the Lakers basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Christmas Day, the Don't Judge Me hitmaker is believed to have called and text Karrueche to wish her a "Merry Christmas".

    A source said: "Even though he was with Rihanna, he still called Kae and told her Merry Christmas and told her how he misses her and how he hopes she was having a good day and all that s**t.

    "He was texting her throughout the day, too."

    But Chris - who is still on probation for his assault on Rihanna - is said to have warned Karrueche he would be spending Christmas with the Bajan beauty.

    The source added: "Chris told Karrueche he was going to be with Rihanna for Christmas like two days before Christmas. Because he had told her already, she was just like 'F**k it, whatever.'"

    I refuse to believe the D is that good for homegirl to be mad over Fist Brown and Pon De Fo'head

    eat the cake, Anna Mae.

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    Amanda Nathan just lost everything – her first real boyfriend to her lifelong best friend, her half of their shared apartment in St. Louis and her first post-grad job as a receptionist. Forced back under her parents’ roof in Merit, Missouri, the gossipy town she’d spent her life trying to escape, Amanda has but one saving grace – being an anonymous moderator on HDU, the Internet’s largest celebrity gossip community.

    Unemployed and alone, Amanda relishes in the one thing she has control over – Hollywood gossip. Now, her idea of fun is getting lost in the glamorous lives of others and posting nasty rumors about her former bestie’s favorite actor, Liam Brody, a playboy notorious for dumping his model girlfriends on a monthly basis.

    So who would’ve thought that Liam Brody would be Amanda’s answer to escaping Merit? When the controversial womanizer needs an image boost to land a new role, he turns to none other than HDU for some good press. As it turns out, Liam is as eager to shed his playboy image as Amanda is desperate to move out of Merit. The solution to both problems? Fake a romance in which Hollywood’s biggest playboy falls for an unknown, sweet and shockingly plain Jane.

    With the help of Ian, a fellow HDU moderator and self-developed expert on stardom, Amanda packs her bags for her new life in New York, where the overnight fame and glamour of being a celebrity girlfriend awaits. But Amanda soon discovers that their little ploy is a lot more emotionally complicated than she imagined. And while she finds that life works a thousand times better in her Hollywood circle, so does manipulation.


    Me rn:
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic
    LMAO! I can't stop laughing even as I post this! What is happening?!!
    INDIA LEE girl, please reveal who you are on here, own your shit bb, coz I have some questions...
    If they make a movie about this then Aaron Sorkin should write the script and it should be similar to 'The Social Network' tonally imo

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    Certain things come to mind when you think of the original Star Trek series: Kirk and Spock, of course, and the Enterprise, as well as the Gorn, Klingons, Tricorder, the Vulcan nerve pinch, and, of course, Tribbles. Those cute, cuddly and iconic creatures – as our guest bloggers Jordan Hoffman and Larry Nemecek noted in their most recent columns; click HERE and HERE – are celebrating their 45th anniversary… today. That’s right: “The Trouble with Tribbles” aired on December 29th, 1967

    To celebrate the occasion, StarTrek.com reached out to Leonard Nimoy, Nichelle Nichols and Walter Koenig, to ask about their memories of making “The Trouble with Tribbles” and to ascertain their thoughts on the creatures’ enduring legacy. We also dug into our archives, to our interview last year with Tribbles creator David Gerrold, for some additional perspective.

    “When I read the (“Tribbles”) script, I thought it was lightweight and rather frivolous,” Nimoy told us. “Later, I came to appreciate the episode as a change of pace from the heavier material we were producing. It played very well and became a fan favorite. I thought the ‘prop’ department did a great job providing the creatures. And I did (keep) one -- which has gone to one of my children.”

    Nichols and Koenig had fun responding to three quick questions about their Tribbles experience.

    Actors "act" opposite inanimate objects all the time, but how was it working with… Tribbles?
    Nichols: Tribbles are not inanimate.

    Koenig: I was concerned as to whether it felt that we were playing the scene moment to moment.

    Why do you think Tribbles became such a phenomenon?

    Nichols: There was never anything like them before or since. They were and are unique -- AND born pregnant!

    Koenig: I think the answer lies with Freud. There is obvious sexual symbolism in Tribbles.
    Be honest... did you steal a Tribble once the shoot wrapped?

    Nichols: I didn't wait until the end. I got mine the first day!
    Koenig:I didn't steal a Tribble. I did, however, have several of them burned in what can only be described as a heretical cult ceremony.

    And now, here are the Tribble-centric comments from David Gerrold, which originally appeared in our two-part interview in January 2011.


    Let’s talk Tribbles. You’d originally called them Fuzzies…

    Gerrold: I made the name change, and in retrospect Tribbles is a much better name because Fuzzies is too cute. I don’t think Fuzzies would have developed the same kind of cultural recognition. You wouldn't have had people referring to Fuzzies the same way they refer to Tribbles. And I think because Tribbles was a neutral word – “Here’s this nice little creature and it’s called a ‘Tribble’” – we added a word to the English language. I made a list of silly-sounding words you could call such a creature and crossed off all the ones that were too silly. I wanted people to take them seriously.

    If the crew had not figured out a way to nip the Tribble threat in the bud, they really could have taken over the world. Yet most people think of “The Trouble with Tribbles” as a comedy episode. Was there a part of you that thought, “Hey, guys, there’s a serious story in here and…”?

    Gerrold: Oh, yeah. I wanted to do a sequel where, in order to control the Tribbles, we bring in a predator from their homeworld. And the next thing that happens is that crewmen start disappearing because we have swarms of predators on the ship. But we never got around to doing that.

    To this day, fans still love the episode. It’s considered one of the most popular Star Trek episodes of all-time…

    Gerrold: Paramount says it’s the most popular episode of all time.

    Some people would argue that the best episode is “The City on the Edge of Forever…”

    Gerrold: Harlan Ellison and I have an agreement. “City on the Edge of Forever” is the best episode, and “Tribbles” is the most popular.

    OK, most popular. So, why? Why is “Tribbles” so popular?

    Gerrold: First of all, there’s a visceral level. We like babies, kittens, puppies, white mice, panda bears, rabbits, Teddy bears. We like cute, small, fuzzy creatures. A Tribble is this creature with no face, though it’s got a mouth, right? And it purrs. So it’s the ultimate cat. Even better, it doesn't even give you the snotty look. I think it appeals to that very mammalian instinct to take care of something small and cute, like a child. In fact, I am convinced that the reason we don’t strangle our children in their beds is because they’re cute. Otherwise, they behave like little psychopaths. No, I’m kidding.



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    NO, IT'S NOT OPPOSITE DAY ... Lindsay Lohan will be one of the few people NOT getting sloshed this New Year's Eve ... telling friends she's choosing to stay home instead.

    According to our sources, LiLo is hell bent on starting the year off right -- and making a good impression on the judge hearing her case -- which means no parties, no clubs and definitely no drinking on the last night of 2012.

    It's a far cry from her past NYE extravaganzas ... where LiLo got her party on at shin-digs all over the world, including St. Barts and Italy.

    But this year, we're told LiLo's plans include a small, quiet dinner -- and then it's straight back home before the ball drops to chill with family and friends.

    And in other news ... pigs can fly.


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