‘I Stand Behind These Women 1000%.’ Lady Gaga Apologizes for Working With R. Kelly

Lady Gaga apologized Thursday for working with R. Kelly on a 2013 song, and said she believes the women who have accused the singer of sexual misconduct.

“I stand behind these women 1000%, believe them, know they are suffering and in pain, and feel strongly that their voices should be heard and taken seriously,” Gaga wrote in a statement posted on Twitter. “What I am hearing about the allegations against R Kelly is absolutely horrifying and indefensible.”

Gaga, who has identified herself as a victim of sexual assault, issued her statement in the wake of the Lifetime documentary Surviving R. Kelly, which reignited public conversation about sexual misconduct allegations against the R&B star. The film includes interviews with people — both alleged victims and people who worked with him — who allege that Kelly preyed on underage girls and kept women and girls locked in his homes.

In an interview with Billboard, Kelly’s lawyer dismissed the claims in the documentary as “another round of stories” used to “fill reality TV time.” Kelly and his camp have denied the allegations against him for years, including after the release of a video that appeared to show Kelly having sex with and urinating on a teenage girl in 2002. (Both Kelly and the girl denied that they appeared in the video.) He was acquitted on child pornography charges in 2008.

Despite the long history of allegations against Kelly, he has continued to enjoy a successful music career — even working with popular artists like Gaga, who featured Kelly on her 2013 track “Do What U Want (With My Body).”

In the new statement, Gaga said she made the song and video “at a dark time in my life,” following her own sexual assault, and called her thinking around its production “explicitly twisted.” She apologized for working with Kelly and said she will remove the song from iTunes and other streaming platforms.

“I can’t go back, but I can go forward and continue to support women, men, and people of all sexual identities, and of all races, who are victims of sexual assault,” Gaga wrote in the statement. She continued, “I’m sorry, both for my poor judgment when I was young, and for not speaking out sooner. I love you.”


Entertainment – TIME

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TV special glosses over the truth behind JFK Jr.’s doomed flight

This year marks the 20th anniversary of John F. Kennedy Jr.’s fatal flight. Three days in and already the hagiographic retellings have begun. “The Last Days of JFK Jr.,” a two-hour special promising new details and new interviews under the ABC News banner, aired Thursday night. Not only did the program soft-pedal Kennedy’s complete and…
Opinion | New York Post

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How Reddington Being Behind Bars Affects ‘The Blacklist’ Season 6

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Dr. Hans Koehler” and “The Corsican,” the two-part Season 6 “Blacklist” premiere. When “The Blacklist” wrapped its deadly fifth season last spring, it did so with the reveal that the real Raymond Reddington is dead, and the man claiming to be him (James Spader) […]

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Exclusive Podcast: Go ‘Behind the Curtain’ with Lee Roy Reams Remembering the Legends we Lost in 2018

This year we lost so many legends from Marin Mazzie to Gary Beach, Neil Simon to William Goldman, Rick McKay to Craig Zadan. We end our year celebrating their life and legacy with a legend who called many of these artists friends, colleagues, and companions the incomparable Lee Roy Reams.
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The Designers Behind the Chopra-Jonas Wedding, and More

MUMBAI, India — Two high-profile couples, two extravagant Indian weddings, two Instagram-frenzy inducing events — but behind them both, one design duo: Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla, who not only created the brides’ opulent wedding outfits, but also the decor of both weddings.

The weddings of Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas in Rajasthan and Isha Ambani — the daughter of Mukesh Ambani, one of the world’s richest men and chairman and managing director of the $ 60 billion Reliance Industries — to billionaire Anand Piramal in Mumbai generated a slew of publicity for both couples (so much so that Chopra and Jonas were criticized for the estimated $ 800,000 cost) and attracted social media junkies worldwide who had never followed an Indian wedding before. Part of the fascination was the sheer flamboyance of the events, as well as the celebrity guests and performers — Beyoncé flew in for the Ambani wedding, for example. And Jani and Khosla dressed many of those guests as well, including one in a red tulle mirror sheet dress embellished with tiny mirror pieces and beads and an organza shoulder drape for the sangeet function, and separately a traditional dress in navy blue, with a low-waisted, embroidered multipanel skirt.

But

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The Not-So-Funny True Comedy Story Behind the Movie Stan & Ollie

Laurel and Hardy fans who rewatch the legendary comedians’ 1934 take on Babes in Toyland every Christmas now have the opportunity to see them in another movie: the new biopic Stan & Ollie, starring Steve Coogan as Laurel and John C. Reilly as Hardy, out Friday.

The movie is a fictionalized take on the comedians’ British tour in 1953 and 1954. Their third such tour, it which would end up being their last tour together, due to the declining health of the duo TIME once described as “two of America’s few genuinely creative comedians.”

The funnymen were introduced to the public in the mid-1920s by Hollywood film and TV producer Hal Roach, who thought putting together a skinny Englishman and a rotund American would be comedic gold, says Simon Louvish, author of Stan and Ollie: The Roots of Comedy: The Double Life of Laurel and Hardy and a visiting lecturer at the London Film School. Laurel (born Arthur Stanley Jefferson in Ulverston, England) had been an understudy for Charlie Chaplin and a member of the London Comedians troupe run by Fred Karno, who is credited with having a role in launching Chaplin. Hardy was the son of an Atlanta politician, and studied law at the University of Georgia before he decided to pursue a career in singing.

Together, as TIME put it, they became Laurel — “slim, sad-eyed master mime” and “the brain behind the gags and the on-screen butt of them all” — and Hardy, “the master of mime and the bowler-bouncing doubletake” and “the withering glare.” They made dozens of silent film shorts in the late 1920s, such as Duck Soup, and began doing talkie shorts in 1929 and feature-length talkie films in the mid-’30s. Their seamless transition from silent to sound pictures was notable, winning them recognition as “virtually the only silent comedy stars to repeat their phenomenal success in talkies, probably because their miming spoke louder than words.” And the hard work that Laurel & Hardy put into lugging a piano up a staircase in The Music Box clearly hit the right note with the Academy, as the film won a 1932 Oscar.

And their popularity went even deeper than their talent. They rose to fame at a period in history when Americans needed a good laugh. “During the Great Depression, people are so desperate, and they need comedy,” says Louvish. “Here are two bums wandering about. They come from nowhere. They have no money. They’re always trying to do the right thing, but get into a fine mess. They take failure and make it into something you can laugh about.

Their relatability was a key part of what made them funny. They were “interested more, as Hardy once said, in ‘human appeal’ than in ‘straight clownish antics.’” Describing what made them special in 1965, TIME noted that “they were lovable caricatures of the dolt in Everyman, a bow and fiddle striking delightfully dissonant chords in a mad world. Witless innocence was their hallmark.”

But when their health was failing, they had trouble being funny.

Stan & Ollie is based on that point in their career, during the post-war period.

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While filming the movie originally entitled Atoll K in 1950 (later released as Utopia in 1954), Hardy’s general health worsened, exacerbated by his obesity, and Stan Laurel’s pre-existing diabetes was worsened by prostate issues and colitis. And yet they continued to tour.

“They embraced these demanding tours which were quite physically exhausting,” says Louvish. The film depicts the period as one of intense disagreement between the two; when asked whether they had a notable falling out, Louvish, who has not seen the film, says that if they argued in real life it was probably less because they didn’t like each other anymore and more because they were running on fumes. “They were both very ill in their later years,” says Louvish.

Even then, Laurel and Hardy never lost their commitment to self-deprecating humor, as opposed to put-downs. At an appearance in Newcastle, England, in 1952, they “looked down their noses at the modern generation,” TIME reported. “Present-day comedians, particularly those in America, gain laughs at the expense of someone else’s discomfort. Insult gags are a crudity we avoid,” they said.

And yet, they were determined to keep performing. “They had run out of stuff, yet they’re trying to do material and buoyed up by the fact that people love them,” says Louvish. “They can’t make more movies, yet they want to continue until death.”

Montifraulo Collection—Getty ImagesStan Laurel (left) and Oliver Hardy (right) shortly after performing at the Empire theater in Nottingham, England, in Aug. 1953 during their U.K. tour.

It wasn’t just for their own benefit, though. Their British tours came during the difficult period of post-war shortages in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and the laughter they provided was able to serve the same purpose it had served during the Great Depression.

And yet the recognition they received was more honorary than monetary. “The two men did not own their films, and thus did not reap any income from reruns,” TIME reported in 1967. “During their last years—Ollie died at 65 in 1957, Stan at 74 in 1965—neither was independently wealthy.” When Laurel received an Honorary Academy Award for “creative pioneering in the field of comedy” in 1961, he was too ill to accept it himself.

“They made us laugh because in them we kind of saw ourselves – ridiculous, frustrated, up to our necks in trouble, but nevertheless ourselves,” Danny Kaye said, accepting the award on his behalf. “Oliver Hardy delicately tipped his derby hat with his pudgy little fingers and left us a little while back. But the thin, sad-faced one, the one from whose fertile mind sprang many of the universally humorous notions that have been borrowed so freely by the comedians who have followed is still with us.”

Indeed, Jonathan Winters, Dick Cavett, Dick Van Dyke and Soupy Sales were all members of Sons of the Desert, a Laurel and Hardy appreciation society founded by fans in 1965. In light of the biopic, it’s recently been fielding an increased number of membership inquiries from young people. Before he died, Laurel had some parting advice to such fans, advising them to “have a hell of a lot of fun,” and avoid taking themselves too seriously — even when things get tough.

“Don’t sit around and tear comedy apart. It is like a fine watch, and you’ll never get it together again,” he said. “And don’t ask me why people laugh—that is the mystery of it all.”


Entertainment – TIME

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The alarming lesson behind that video of vagrants attacking a cop

New Yorkers just got a valuable lesson on why their streets and subways have become so chaotic — and may grow worse. Asked why Manhattan DA Cy Vance initially declined to prosecute five drunken vagrants who attacked a cop, a spokesman gave two troubling excuses:  The DA hadn’t seen an online video of the attack…
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Behind the biggest holiday sales increase in years

Traders on Wall Street were full of doom and gloom this holiday season. Shoppers on Main Street, meanwhile, were busy buying stuff. Retailers delivered their biggest holiday sales increases in six years, as shoppers shrugged off the stock market’s swoon and instead shelled out for everything from cashmere sweaters to kitchen sinks. Boosted by fatter…
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The True Story Behind the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Movie On the Basis of Sex

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is having quite a year at the movies: In May, the documentary RBG offered a new look at Ginsburg’s life through interviews with the “notorious” Supreme Court Justice herself as well as family members and scholars. And on Dec. 25, a new movie dives into another chapter of her career. On the Basis of Sex, directed by Mimi Leder and starring Felicity Jones as a young Ginsburg and Armie Hammer as her husband, Martin Ginsburg, hones in on her early years as a mother, student, professor and, finally, lawyer. Though the film spans more than a decade, it focuses on Ginsburg’s first gender discrimination case, Moritz v. Commissioner. In the case, which took place in 1972, the Ginsburgs argued as a team that Section 214 of the United States tax code—which denied Charles Moritz, a never-married man, the right to deduct expenses for the care of his ailing mother—was unconstitutional.

On the Basis of Sex is an origin story,” Leder said at the New York premiere of the film, with an audience that included former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Gloria Steinem (whose work has a few hat-tips in the film) and Ginsburg herself. “But Ruth Bader Ginsburg is not a superhero. She’s a woman.” Mortal though she may be, the Ginsburg Leder depicts is certainly a woman who is super: she takes care of her young daughter, Jane, while acing her own Harvard Law School classes and making sure her husband passes his, even after he is diagnosed with testicular cancer.

Viewers might be surprised to find that for a biopic whose subject was involved in its development, On the Basis of Sex is somewhat fictionalized. “This film is part fact, part imaginative—but what’s wonderful about it is that the imaginative parts fit in with the story so well,” Ginsburg told NPR’s Nina Totenberg following the New York screening. The screenwriters, who include Ginsburg’s nephew, Daniel Stiepleman, clearly decided that strict adherence to fact didn’t always serve the story.

There are some moments of the film—namely, sexy scenes between Ginsburg and her husband—that might raise eyebrows. But when Totenberg asked Ginsburg about these scenes, Ginsburg smiled and responded, “My children are in the audience: I think they probably would agree with me that their daddy would have loved it.”

Here’s what’s fact and what’s fiction in On the Basis of Sex.

Fiction: Ginsburg attended her husband’s classes for him while he underwent cancer treatment

Jonathan Wenk—Focus FeaturesFelicity Jones stars as Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Mimi Leder’s ‘On the Basis of Sex.’

In the film, when Martin “Marty” Ginsburg is diagnosed with testicular cancer—a grave diagnosis in the 1950s—he and Ruth agree that they’re going to fight it together. Soon after, Felicity Jones’ Ruth arrives late, briefcase and books in hand, to a class full of men. After explaining that she’d be attending her husband’s classes in his stead, she responds affirmatively to the professor’s incredulous question: “In addition to your own?”

Though the cancer diagnosis and the couple’s reaction to it is true to life, Ginsburg didn’t really attend her husband’s classes during his third year of law school. Instead, their peers helped out. His classmates took diligent notes and sometimes even tutored him. “That’s why I don’t think of Harvard as the fiercely competitive institution it’s sometimes described as,” Justice Ginsburg said in a separate interview with Totenberg for the Academy of Achievement. “When Martin became ill, my classmates, his classmates, they all rallied around us, and made it possible to get through that year.”

Ginsburg did type her husband’s papers and make sure he was able to complete his coursework in time for graduation. Finally, in the last two weeks of the semester, Martin Ginsburg was well enough to attend class, and he earned his best grades that semester.

Fact: Ginsburg graduated from Columbia after transferring from Harvard

After Martin Ginsburg graduated from Harvard Law School in 1958, Ruth still had one year left. But Martin was offered a job in New York City that he couldn’t pass up. Ruth decided that she needed to be in New York with him and their young daughter and couldn’t stay in Boston to complete her degree.

But the Dean of Harvard Law School, played by Sam Waterston in the film, wouldn’t allow her to complete a Harvard JD with courses from Columbia. The film’s depiction of Ruth’s rebuttal—that if students could transfer to Harvard after the first year and earn a degree, surely she could do the same by finishing coursework at Columbia—is in line with how that meeting really went down. Despite her protests, Ginsburg did end up earning her degree from Columbia Law School.

Later in life, after she had achieved great success in her career, the faculty of Harvard Law School wanted to grant her an honorary degree. But she declined: her degree would always be from Columbia, and, as she said about the incident, “You can’t rewrite history.

Partially Fact: Even with her outstanding resume, Ginsburg couldn’t land a job with a law firm

Jonathan Wenk / Focus FeaturesFelicity Jones as Ginsburg.

Once she graduated from Columbia Law School, Ginsburg should have been unstoppable. She was at the top of her class and had been on both the Harvard Law Review and the Columbia Law Review. But she was also Jewish and a woman, and finding work was not easy.

Though the movie shows that Ginsburg couldn’t get a job as a lawyer and joined Rutgers University Law School faculty as her first job, she actually clerked for a few judges before her position at Rutgers, starting with U.S. District Judge Edmond Palmieri. The discrimination Ruth faces in the movie during job interviews is not dissimilar from how Ginsburg has described those experiences. One judge, Ginsburg recalled in the Academy of Achievement interview, wouldn’t consider her for a clerkship because he didn’t feel comfortable swearing in front of a woman.

Once at Rutgers, Ginsburg wasn’t free from discrimination because of her gender, either. When she became pregnant with her second child, James, she did not yet have tenure. Fearing that if she told her colleagues, she wouldn’t be hired for the next year of teaching, Ginsburg hid her pregnancy with baggy clothing until she had received the next year’s contract.

Fact: Martin Ginsburg cooked dinner for the family

Jonathan Wenk / Focus Features—© 2018 Storyteller Distribution Co., LLC. All Rights Reserved.Armie Hammer as Marty Ginsburg and Felicity Jones as Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The picture the movie paints of the Ginsburgs’ egalitarian marriage is true to the life they led. Martin, who died in 2010, loved to cook dinner for the family and supported his wife in all of her professional pursuits—an arrangement that was not particularly common for that time. Ginsburg has said that when she met Martin at Cornell, where they both earned their undergraduate degrees, she was drawn to him because he was the first man who cared about her intelligence.

At the New York premiere, Ginsburg said that the way Armie Hammer’s Marty chops vegetables as though he were on the Food Network was especially touching and representative of her beloved husband. Martin was such a talented cook that he often made dinner for his wife’s law clerks.

Partially Fact: Ginsburg’s first big case was a tax case

On the Basis of Sex suggests that the case the movie follows is Ginsburg’s first. And although Moritz v. Commissioner definitely was the first well-known case Ginsburg tried, it wasn’t her first.

What is true, as Ginsburg told Totenberg, is the movie’s depiction of how she came to discover this case. “I don’t read tax cases,” Ruth tells Marty in the film. But he encourages her to read this specific one about Moritz. Ginsburg says that Marty, who was a tax attorney, really did present her with this case, and she even said those exact words in response.

Once she read the case, she knew they had to take it on. Because the plaintiff was male, Ginsburg knew the judges would be more receptive to the concept of gender discrimination—and the notion that it was harmful.

Fiction: Ginsburg flubbed the beginning of her first opening statement

Jonathan Wenk—Focus Features(l to r.) Armie Hammer as Marty Ginsburg, Justin Theroux as Melvin Wulf, and Felicity Jones as Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

One of the first things Ginsburg wants to clear the record on: she would never flub the opening of an oral argument. When Jones’ Ruth begins her argument for three intimidating judges on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, she pauses uncomfortably. “Whenever you’re ready, Ms. Ginsburg,” one judge goads.

But the real Ginsburg said this is one of the film’s moments of fiction. “I didn’t stumble,” she told Totenberg.

Fact: Ginsburg and her husband split the time when arguing Moritz v. Commissioner

The two Ginsburgs did split the time arguing this case before the judges. First, as the movie shows, Martin argued the tax aspects of the case, and then Ruth argued the gender discrimination aspects of the case.

The pair won the case. The 10th Circuit decided that the tax code was “invidious discrimination,” marking the beginning of Ginsburg’s mission to take down each and every law that discriminated on the basis of gender. (Despite the movie’s title, Ginsburg did use the word “gender” instead of “sex” in her brief for this case.)

Fact: Ginsburg was childhood friends with ACLU legal director Melvin Wulf

Jonathan Wenk—Focus FeaturesJustin Theroux as Melvin Wulf and Felicity Jones as Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

In the movie, Ruth’s childhood friendship with the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Melvin Wulf (played by Justin Theroux), is tantamount to her success in Moritz. This is true. The two attended a Jewish summer camp together, and when Ginsburg told her friend about the case she and Martin had found, he agreed that the ACLU would finance its litigation.

Fact: Moritz led to Ginsburg’s continued work with the ACLU

After winning Moritz, Ginsburg co-founded the Women’s Right’s Project at the ACLU in 1972, where she continued the fight to promote gender equality. Without Ginsburg’s work eradicating the laws that discriminate on the basis of sex, the country may not look how it does today: a country which, in spite of its problems, does have very few such laws that remain federally, according to Emily Martin, the vice president for education and workplace justice at the National Women’s Law Center. “It’s definitely the case that as a result of the work that she led, what was once really common in the law no longer is,” Martin tells TIME.


Entertainment – TIME

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Is Scientology Behind the Paul Haggis Rape Allegations?

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast

Last week, the legal team for Haleigh Breest, an entertainment publicist suing filmmaker Paul Haggis for allegedly sexually assaulting her in his New York apartment in 2013, issued a subpoena that invoked Donald Trump’s $ 130,000 hush payment to adult star Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 presidential election.

Breest’s team served the subpoena to the Hollywood talent agency CAA, which represents Haggis, and is seeking any and all documents and communications concerning the Crash director’s lawsuits and legal settlements, arguing that this is necessary “because settlement agreements involving sexual misconduct are often written to conceal their true subject matter.” Haggis, for his part, denied being involved in any such sexual misconduct settlement agreements, and his legal team has contended that this demand for correspondences is meant to cause his “total ruination.” They also referenced Haggis’ status as a Scientology whistleblower, claiming, “Such tactics call into question whether [Breest] has obtained outside funding for her litigation from parties with an interest in harming [Haggis].” 

This isn’t the first time Haggis has suggested that the Church of Scientology, who’s had it out for him since he became the first high-profile celebrity to defect from (and speak out against) the controversial religion, is somehow involved with the sexual-assault allegations against him—which now includes Breest and three other accusers who have chosen to remain anonymous.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Stephen Webster, Swarovski Stand Behind Cultured Diamonds

CULTURE CLUB: “A diamond is a diamond is a diamond,” said Nadja Swarovski as she unveiled Atelier Swarovski’s latest project, a jewelry collaboration with Stephen Webster who used cultured diamonds and recycled gold.
Atelier Swarovski is the company’s high-end label that produces design-led collections in collaboration with an array of creatives ranging from Peter Pilotto to Zaha Hadid. The brand turned 10 last year and to mark the occasion, Swarovski moved it forward by venturing into fine jewelry and raising its red-carpet profile.
She did so by embracing the still-nascent concept of lab-grown diamonds, at a time when there was much skepticism from traditional jewelers. The products, she said, are aligned with Swarovski’s broader company ethos.
“For us to enter the arena of fine jewelry by really putting sustainability at the forefront of the vision is so important. Not because we don’t like diamonds. We love diamonds as long as they are sourced sustainably, but in this case we are really embracing the sustainable angle of the cultured diamonds, and it’s so great to see that being sustainable does not compromise beauty.”
For Webster — who continues to work with mined diamonds — the appeal was in embracing a fast-moving, new trend and speaking

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Inside Petcon 2018: Meet the Influencer Pets and the Paw-rents Behind the Accounts

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Your favorite social media influencers of the canine (and occasional feline) variety had their best furs on display Saturday at the Javits Center for Petcon 2018.

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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

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The True Story Behind Outlaw King: What to Know About Scottish Independence Hero Robert the Bruce

Warning: Contains spoilers for the movie Outlaw King

Increasing anxiety about the U.K.’s preparations for leaving the European Union has some Scots talking about how, in a world of Brexit, they might be able to actually pull off independence.

And whenever talk of Scottish independence ramps up — not infrequently; a referendum on the topic failed in 2014 — people look for lessons in the story of the legendary king who led Scotland to independence in the 14th century: Robert I, also known as Robert the Bruce (Bruce being his family name). So it’s perhaps fitting that, amid the ongoing political turmoil, a dramatization of his story is in theaters and becomes available for streaming on Netflix on Friday. Outlaw King stars Chris Pine (and, yes, all of Chris Pine) and is based on a pivotal period in Scottish history.

The film begins with the English siege of the Scots’ Stirling Castle in 1304, as a Warwolf — a huge medieval trebuchet — lobs boulders at the stronghold, in a motion similar to “an overarm pitch,” explains one of the film’s historical advisors Tony Pollard, Professor of Conflict History & Archaeology at the University of Glasgow (who also served as historical advisor to the TV series Outlander). At that time, most of Scotland’s castles were already occupied by English garrisons, and the King of England, Edward I, was flexing his power as overlord of Scotland and demanding the Scottish elites give him their fealty.

A succession crisis in Scotland had empowered Edward I. There were no heirs to the Scottish throne left after the death of the King of Scots Alexander III in 1286, so the Scottish nobility put together a committee of guardians to keep the government running. After the death of the Queen of Scots Margaret, Maid of Norway, in 1290, the guardians asked Edward I to come serve as an independent arbitrator to evaluate claims to the Scottish throne. As a result, John Balliol became King of Scotland in 1292.

But his reign didn’t last long. After Balliol sought an alliance with France, England’s enemy back then, Edward I himself came back to invade Scotland and drive out Balliol in 1296.

Now the independent kingdom of Scotland was facing direct rule by the English crown. Hard up for cash after the invasion, having “stretched his resources to a breaking point,” Edward I tried to shake down the Scots — including seizing their wool, the country’s main export at the time, according to Dauvit Broun, a professor of Scottish History at the University of Glasgow, who wasn’t involved in the film.

That’s when Robert the Bruce decided that enough was enough. He declared himself King of Scotland.

But in order to rule, Robert had to eliminate the competition. Scottish nobles who backed Balliol had been keeping a government going in his name. To be king, Robert the Bruce would have to get rid of anyone who challenged his own claim to the crown. So in February of 1306 at the church of Greyfriars in Dumfries, Robert the Bruce met with John “The Red” Comyn, one of the most powerful nobles in Scotland, who had been spearheading the effort to establish a Balliol kingship. Comyn didn’t walk away from the meeting alive.

There’s debate about whether Robert the Bruce killed Comyn himself or whether accomplices did, but he’s thought to have been in on it — and in the film, he’s depicted as murdering John “The Red” Comyn himself, which is what many people think happened. Robert the Bruce and his wife Elizabeth de Burgh were inaugurated King and Queen of Scots at Scone shortly after. Not a lot is known about de Burgh, and later in the year she was taken prisoner in England.

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But, though the murder of John Comyn secured his power in one way, it also made Robert the Bruce — who by then called himself King Robert I — a toxic figure in Scottish society. Soon enough, he was forced to flee.

“The most powerful nobles of Scotland treat him as a terrorist,” says Broun. “Not only is Robert I trying to establish an independent Scotland, but [also] he’s facing a civil war.”

In June of 1306, he struggled to keep up with the English army in the Battle of Methven, depicted in the film. “He’s basically an outlaw and the English are trying to bring him to book,” says Pollard. “[Robert the Bruce] comes close to being captured and beaten.”

His time as a fugitive is a mystery to historians.

“Nobody knows where he went when he was fugitive, but it looks like he thought hard about strategy,” says Broun. “He stayed out of a battle until he knew he’d have a better chance of winning, and that was controversial because kings were meant to be military heroes. He resolved that every castle he took he would destroy because he reckoned that, for the King of England to win, he would need to garrison Scotland, and you can’t do that unless you’ve got castles. It’s a bit like taking a bomb and destroying Buckingham Palace. But Robert I took the view that if he was going to win, it was only going to be because he had the support of the people, so he didn’t need castles.”

The film aims to depict Robert I’s military genius by highlighting the guerrilla tactics he used to overthrow the superior military force that was Edward I’s English army. One aspect of that involved creating what Pollard calls a “human porcupine” of sorts, with hundreds of men in one big group holding nearly 20-foot-long spears straight out in front of them.

The Scots also had a home turf advantage in terms of navigating the boggy, marshy battlegrounds. “Bruce deliberately picks land where the strength of the English Army can’t be brought into play,” says Pollard. “The English are knights in armor on horses, and Scots were men on foot, who didn’t have much in the way of cavalry.”

Robert’s first victory as king came in May of 1307 at the Battle of Loudoun Hill, close to his longtime family stronghold of Carrick (now part of Ayrshire).

“It’s significant because it means that he’s no longer just a fugitive,” says Broun. “But he’s still only someone who controls a small region of Scotland, his home region, which is not very different from being a noble — except he claims to be king.”

So the most famous and most important battle in Robert the Bruce’s career came even later, after the period of time covered by the film.

It was the Battle of Bannockburn, in June of 1314 that really paved the way for Scottish independence. Edward I had actually died shortly after the battle of Loudoun Hill, but at Bannockburn, Robert I defeated his successor Edward II.

“The Battle of Bannockburn is really the conclusion of the civil war,” says Broun,”[and] shows everyone who isn’t an inveterate opponent of Robert I that he’s in charge, that he can defeat the King of England. The few nobles who are still swithering say, ‘Okay, the reality is Robert I is in charge.’”

Elizabeth de Burgh is said to have been returned to Robert I after the battle as part of a prisoner exchange. Scotland’s independence from England would be official until the two nations signed the Treaty of Edinburgh in March of 1328. Robert I died the following year but Scotland would remain independent until James VI of Scotland inherited the kingdom of England after the death of Elizabeth I in 1603 and became James I of England. Oliver Cromwell conquered Scotland completely in 1650, and the Scottish and English parliaments merged in May of 1707.

And yet Robert the Bruce’s reputation as a national hero endured.

“He was reduced to being a fugitive and yet managed to restore Scotland as a fully-functioning independent kingdom. This makes his achievement even more remarkable,” Broun says. “He had to improvise constantly and had to work really hard to be king, as opposed to being born into it and not having to struggle for it.”


Entertainment – TIME

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How Marvel and Corporate Comics Are Failing the ‘Vulnerable’ Creators Behind Their Superheroes

Last month, novelist Chuck Wendig—the bestselling author of the licensed Star Wars novel Aftermath and its sequels—stood before a crowd at New York Comic Con and announced he’d be working on Shadow of Vader, a miniseries for Marvel Comics. A week later, on October 12th, Wendig made another announcement: he’d been fired. The reason given, Wendig wrote on his personal website, was “the negativity and vulgarity that my tweets bring. Seriously, that’s what Mark, the editor said…It was too much politics, too much vulgarity, too much negativity on my part.”

Wendig, an openly progressive and occasionally combative presence on social media, had been the target of a long-running harassment campaign* fueled by reactionaries in the Star Wars fan community. His books were review bombed; he dealt with SWATing attempts, harassment from bots and sock-puppet accounts, and creepy personal messages. “People have been trying to get me fired from Star Wars since Aftermath came out. Since before it came out, actually,” he told The Daily Beast in an email. “[Lucas Film Licensing] has always had my back, and with Marvel, my politics never came up. And I haven’t been shy about those politics—or about being vulgar, which has been part of my voice so to speak since my first novel, Blackbirds, which is a very vulgar book…I never received any warnings about my behavior.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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10 Terrifying TV Moments That Had Us Hiding Behind the Couch

The small screen can scare you just as effectively as the big screen — television has played home to some truly terrifying moments ever since some wag in 1895 pranked a room full of rubes by showing them footage of an oncoming train. With Halloween fast approaching, we decided to brace ourselves and round up the 10 scariest moments in TV history, featuring jump scares so frightening they’ll put a dent in your ceiling and baddies so horrifying they make the Daleks look like Dilbert.

The X-Files — The Eyes of Victor Tooms


The X-Files
The X-Files

If there’s a scarier bile-covered, liver-eating son-of-a-gun out there then we haven’t met him yet. Probably the most effective ‘Monster of the Week’ in the long, weird history of The X-Files, Victor Tooms made his debut in the Season 1 episode ‘Squeeze’, showcasing a grotesque, Stretch Armstrong-like elastic body that, unlike Mr Fantastic, he used for the power of perverted evil. An entire generation of impressionable young minds were irreparably messed up at the sight of Tooms’ eyes burning bright yellow — an image those older minds still subconsciously look for every time they peek through the gaps of a moving escalator.

Ghostwatch — Meet Pipes


Ghostwatch
Ghostwatch

A nation was lulled into a false sense of security on Halloween night 1992, as hosts Michael Parkinson, Sarah Greene and Mike Smith — the TV equivalent of a cheese platter — fronted the BBC’s first, and maybe only, ‘live’ foray into televised horror. If it was sold as a pre-recorded work of fiction it probably wouldn’t have caused much of a stir, but as it was billed as a light-entertainment perusal into the peculiar world of the paranormal, a nation collectively browned its pants when Parky and friends met a poltergeist called ‘Pipes.’ The show quickly devolved from a knockabout lark into seriously demonic territory, showing terrifying glimpses of ‘Pipes’ in the shadows — and at a time where viewers didn’t have Sky+ remotes to rewind. All hell literally broke loose and Michael Parkinson was left wandering around an empty studio, possessed by an ancient ghoul. 30,000 spooked complainers didn’t consider the entertainment ‘light.’

Twin Peaks — Visions of Killer BOB


Twin Peaks
Twin Peaks

Audiences were desperate for the answer to the question: who killed Laura Palmer? When they finally found out who it was, they might have wished they never asked. Killer BOB did the deed, a malevolent spirit who feasts on human sorrow, although set dresser Frank Silva was cast in a happy accident when he mistakenly appeared in a mirror shot — David Lynch liked his look so much, he cast him on the spot. BOB’s most terrifying moment is in the vision by Laura’s doppelgänger Maddy, where BOB silently appears in the frame, then proceeds to climb over the sofa towards the viewer, never breaking eye contact, until he’s climbing into the lens, essentially climbing into your soul, where he’d stay forever. Truly nightmarish stuff.

American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace — ‘Easy Lover’


The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Ryan Murphy may occasionally play fast and loose with the truth, but sometimes fact is just as scary as fiction. This year’s eight-part season of American Crime Story was centred around the brutal murder of fashion icon Versace, but actually focused more on his killer, Andrew Cunanan. The show’s most disturbing flashback saw Cunanan, then a male prostitute, tape up the face of his client with duct tape — including his eyes, nose and mouth — before dancing around in a pair of pink pants to Phil Collins’ ‘Easy Lover.’ As the poor guy struggled for air, audiences may have felt short of breath themselves, unsure whether or not the man would be one of Cunanan’s eventual victims — you weren’t alone if you were feeling American Psycho-esque chills. The callousness of the scene is way more scary than anything in Murphy’s own American Horror Story.

Penny Dreadful — The Séance


Penny Dreadful
Penny Dreadful

There’s nothing like a good séance to get the palms sweaty, and Penny Dreadful — one of the few American shows committed to bona fide classic horror stories — can lay claim to one of the most effective possession scenes in small screen history. While attending a séance to summon an Egyptian goddess, the otherwise composed Eva Green is the designated host for a mischievous demon, who bends her every which way but loose, convulsing her in spastic jerks and speaking through her in tongues as a horrified crowd looks on. The trope is old and predictable — no one ever attends a séance on TV where nothing happens — but the spirited (ahem) performance by Eva Green lends the scene enough edge to give your goosebumps goosebumps.

Stephen King’s It – Pennywise in the Storm Drain


Stephen King's It
Stephen King’s It

The noble art of clowning was all but destroyed overnight when this Stephen King mini-series turned a captive audience into a nation of coulrophobes. Tim Curry’s Pennywise was the original — and some would say superior — Pennywise, the demonic clown with a penchant for eating kids. His very first appearance, popping up from within a storm drain with an effusive “Hiya Georgie!” like it was the most natural thing in the world, remains one of the most indelible images in all of television. All of a sudden, kids didn’t want to be entertained by laughing maniacs wearing sinister makeup any more.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer — Hush


Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy the Vampire Slayer

“You’re gonna die screaming but you won’t be heard…” Joss Whedon’s Buffy always fought the forces of evil with a sense of humour, but no one was smiling during ‘Hush,’ perhaps the most infamous and straight-up horrifying episode of the entire series. The demons of the week were a bunch of gnarly-looking ghouls known as The Gentlemen, who stole the voices of the entire town so no one could scream when their hearts were cut out. There’s something so primal and unsettling about seeing someone die quietly — a silent scream is an image that cuts to the core.

Threads — The Mushroom Cloud over Sheffield


Threads
Threads

Nuclear fallout was a very real and very feasible concern in 1984, and this unforgettable BBC drama pulled no punches in its depiction of the aftermath of atomic war. The entire film is packed full of horrifying images — charred corpses, dead children, panic in the streets, people eating sheep and rats, death, destruction and stillborn babies — but the one that really sticks in the memory, that kicked off the cold sweat to end all cold sweats, was the sight of the enormous mushroom cloud that appears on the horizon, signalling the beginning of the end. The apocalypse never felt so close, or so real.

V — The Lizard Reveal


V
V

Any aliens hovering over Earth in 2018 would probably do well to sack it off and give it a miss, but in 1983 mini-series V, first contact was made. The Visitors touched down on terra firm and came in peace… at least for a while. They looked like us, they spoke like us, and all they wanted was some crummy old minerals: definitely no organ harvesting or enslaving on the agenda here, no sirree. Mild-mannered TV cameraman Michael Donovan, however, managed to sneak on board a mothership, and after an altercation with an alien, discovered they were all wearing human disguises — a fist-full of loose flesh revealed the Visitors as a race of carnivorous lizard people, complete with piercing reptilian eyes, flicking tongues and green, scaly skin. Few scenes have come as close to replicating that shocking trauma since.

Punky Brewster — The Perils of Punky Brewster


Punky Brewster
Punky Brewster

There’s a reason why kids TV shows don’t often do Halloween horror specials, and if the reason is not immediately obvious to you then you probably shouldn’t have kids. None-more-80s moral barometer Punky Brewster took an odd swerve in the episode ‘Perils of Punky’: whereas viewers would normally watch spunky youngster Punky learn important life lessons via the good work of friends and family, this Halloween special thought raw fear was a more effective way of getting kids to pay attention. They were right: as a mysterious evil demon picked off Punky’s friends, young audiences were treated to shots like the one above, of Punky’s friend Alan, deformed with rotten teeth, trapped forever in a rock face. You didn’t get that sort of stuff on Sesame Street.

New Netflix Show ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ is an Instant Horror Classic

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The fascinating story behind the explosive success of Candy Crush — MashTalk

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What does “time well spent” mean for games like Candy Crush?

If you own a smartphone, chances are you know Candy Crush and maybe even the game’s latest incarnation, Candy Crush Friends Saga. What you may not know is the story behind the franchise: How an Italian entrepreneur put all his cash on the line as a co-founder of King, the company behind the game, in the early 2000s, with an idea of how to re-invent gaming for the online world.

That person is Riccardo Zacconi. He’s guided the company through the many phases of online gaming (desktop, Facebook, mobile, and more), taking King public and eventually selling it to gaming giant Activision Blizzard in 2015. In this episode of MashTalk, Zacconi talks about that journey, his thoughts on Mark Zuckerberg, and what the future holds for mobile gaming now that people are starting to question all the time they’re spending on their devices playing games like, well, Candy Crush. Read more…

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The Haunting Mystery of ‘Edwin Drood’ That Charles Dickens Left Behind

Alamy

On June 8, 1870, Charles Dickens spent most of the day working on his latest novel. Normally Dickens would confine his writing to the morning hours, but on this day he met his close friend John Forster for lunch and then returned to his novel in the afternoon.

At 6:10 p.m., shortly after he had joined his family at the dinner table, he had a stroke. Twenty-four hours later, the most celebrated author in Victorian England was dead.

“The loss of no single man during the present generation, if we except Abraham Lincoln alone, has carried mourning into so many families, and been so unaffectedly lamented through all the ranks of society,” Horace Greeley, the founder of the New-York Tribune, said.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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The True Story Behind the Movie Can You Ever Forgive Me?

For a collector, the price of a celebrity letter is as much determined by its content as the name signed on the end. The juiciest letters, the ones that offer some hint of Ernest Hemingway or Dorothy Parker’s inner lives, fetch the highest prices. For Lee Israel, a celebrity biographer by trade and the subject of Melissa McCarthy’s new movie Can You Ever Forgive Me?, the best way to acquire such letters was to buy an old typewriter, do a bit of research and bang one out herself.

Israel had been a moderately successful celebrity biographer through the 70s and 80s, writing books about actor Tallulah Bankhead and journalist Dorothy Kilgallen. But in the late 80s, Israel’s career went into decline and she began selling forged letters of dead writers and actors in order to get by. She was eventually brought to trial by the FBI and sentenced to six months under house arrest and five years probation, but not before she had forged more than 400 letters, some of which remain in circulation to this day.

Can You Ever Forgive Me?, which comes out Oct. 19, is based on Israel’s memoir of the same name. Directed by Marielle Heller (The Diary of a Teenage Girl) and starring McCarthy as Israel, the film tells the story of her transformation from writer to forger after her career as a biographer goes into a tailspin.

Here’s what the movie gets right and what it doesn’t.

Fact: Israel had a former girlfriend named Elaine

Israel, portrayed in the movie as a depressed misanthrope with a drinking problem, refers again and again to what seems to be her one real human connection in the past — her relationship with her (ex) girlfriend Elaine (played by Anna Deavere Smith). Near the end of the movie, Israel and Elaine meet again, and it becomes apparent that Elaine has moved on even if Israel, who had pushed her away in the first place, has not. Like many of the movie’s characters, Elaine is a real person. In her memoir, Israel describes falling in love with “a brilliant, beautiful bartender named Elaine, a lapsed Catholic who now observed only Bloomsday and St Patrick’s — the first with solemnity, the latter with wretched excess.”

Fact: Israel had published a poorly received biography of Estée Lauder

Israel’s published Estée Lauder: Beyond the Magic in 1985. The book ended up contributing to the collapse of Israel’s career as a biographer. Lauder herself had offered to pay Israel not to write the biography, and when the author refused, Lauder published her own memoir, which undercut the sales of Israel’s book. Rushed out to beat Lauder’s book to market, Israel’s biography was poorly reviewed — in the The New York Times Book Review, Marylin Bender wrote that Beyond the Magic “comes off as a cut rate job.”

Fact: Israel began selling letters in order to pay for treatment for her sick cat

In the film, Israel takes her cat to the vet, but is short on cash to pay the bill. In her memoir, Israel also claims that she was unable to pay the vet bills for her cat Doris. While researching an article at the Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, Israel says she stole three letters by Fanny Brice and sold them for $ 40 each. She claimed she felt no guilt for the theft; the letters “were from the realm of the dead. Doris and I were alive.”

Fact: Dealers began to get suspicious of Israel’s letters because they dealt too explicitly with Noël Coward’s homosexuality

In the film, the net begins to close on Israel when a dealer grows suspicious of her Noël Coward letters. In real life, one of Coward’s friends who was also a collector noticed that some of the playwright’s letters that Israel had sold referenced his sexual orientation. While alive, Coward had been extremely discreet about his private life. Many dealers began refusing to buy Israel’s letters after the fakes were exposed.

Fact: After dealers began to catch on to Israel’s embellishments and forgeries, she began stealing real letters

In both the film and the memoir, Israel decides to go into outright theft after her fakes are exposed. “I was going to take a crook’s tour of major university libraries,” she wrote, “replicate some valuable letters in their various collections, and then replace the McCoy with forged copies.”

Fact: A dealer demanded Israel give him money in order for him to not testify against her

In the film, a slimy rare books dealer tells Israel that he was approached by the FBI and demands $ 5,000 to buy his silence. In her memoir, Israel writes that dealer Alan Weiner really did ask for the money. Promising to pay him, she later sold him stolen letters, effectively making him buy his own silence.

Fiction: Israel destroyed the evidence of her crimes after being served with a subpoena that forbid her from doing so

In the film, Israel is served with a subpoena that explicitly forbids her from destroying evidence related to the forgery case. She immediately goes home and destroys all the evidence she can find. According to her account, Israel was only confronted on the street by a pair of FBI agents, which prompted her to go home and dispose of her research materials and typewriters. Of course, it might be fair to take this particular detail of Israel’s recollection with a grain of salt.

Fiction: Israel befriends Jack Hock at a bar after first meeting him at a book party several years earlier

The film fictionalizes much of Israel’s friendship with Jack Hock, a likable grifter played by Richard E. Grant. She befriends Hock at a bar shortly before beginning her forging escapades. In real life, the two had been longtime friends until Israel found out that Hock, who had been shopping one of her books in order to make a movie adaptation, had forged her name on an option extension.

Fiction: Jack Hock was homeless

The film strongly implies that Hock is homeless, or something close to it. But in her memoir, Israel describes staying at Hock’s “well-appointed Mitchell-Lama apartment.” After they begin stealing and selling letters together, Hock moved into an apartment on West 72nd Street.

Fact: Israel caught Hock trying to steal from her

In the film, Hock tries to swindle Israel out of her share of their ill-got earnings. This episode played out in real life remarkably similarly to the way it does in the film. Hock, claiming to have sold a collection of stolen letters for $ 1500, gave Israel $ 750. When she asked to see the rest of the money, it was revealed that he had actually been paid $ 2,000 for the letters. After the incident, Israel began accompanying Hock to their sales and waiting to meet him nearby when the deal was completed.


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‘First Man’ blasts off behind ‘Venom,’ ‘A Star Is Born’ in its opening weekend at the box office

The Neil Armstrong film “First Man” settled for a third-place landing at the North American box office in its opening weekend in theaters. The Ryan Gosling-starrer and a host of newcomers, like the family-friendly “Goosebumps” sequel and the neo-noir mystery “Bad Times at the El Royale,” couldn’t…

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Behind the Scenes: What it Really Takes to Launch a Film Career

Thanks to digital technology and social media, it’s easier than ever to start your filmmaking career. But starting a film career is one thing, growing and maintaining it is another. We asked award-winning filmmaker Adisa Septuri for some actionable tips and advice for creating your own path in the film industry. Here’s Septuri’s advice:

4 Ways to Launch a Film Career

 Invest in Yourself and Fail Forward

There’s a tendency to think that because we see lots of people picking up a camera and making films that it’s easy. We live in an instant gratification, YouTube video generation. If you want to excel at a high level, really study the craft, take classes, and watch YouTube videos, which are great but also read books and ask a zillion questions of people already doing it. You don’t necessarily need to go to film school, especially with the exorbitant tuition prices these days. Start making small films and then challenge yourself incrementally. It’s important to take chances and make mistakes in the beginning. My biggest lessons came from making mistakes. The bigger the mistake, the bigger the lesson. By doing this you’ll gain confidence.

Also, don’t rush yourself or feel as if you’re in some kind of race with time or other filmmakers. It will happen to you at the right time. Your main job is to do the work and invest in yourself. If you do that, you will ultimately create an opportunity or you’ll be presented with one.

Connect With Mentors

Find a mentor, it will save you a lot of time and wasted energy. I never really pursued one until much later and I could have really benefited by having one.

Hustle Smart

It took me a long time to get into writing, but besides learning the craft of directing, learning how to write screenplay puts you in a greater position to succeed. It allows you to generate your own material. It will also help you become an even better director. It takes a lot of patience, persistence, and determination to succeed in this business. Find you a hustle where you can pay the bills while you pursue your dream. For me, it was sound mixing. I actually became a union sound mixer. It kept me close to the film set while I pursued my passion of directing. I had to dedicate 10,000 hours to be good at it and it wasn’t always easy and sometimes I felt I was getting nowhere but I kept writing and studying in the meantime and sound mixing kept food on my table and gave me the fortitude to keep going.

Slow Progress is Still Progress

There’s also a tendency to fantasize about coming out the gate and being successful like Ryan Coogler or your first film going to Sundance and getting a big studio deal. I hate to be the one to burst your bubble, but that’s not realistic thinking. It only really happens to a very small few. The other 99% of us—myself included—take it day by day and film by film. Hard work is its own reward and it will eventually pay off.

Even if it takes you 15 years after graduating NYU film school like me to make your first feature film. Not everyone is cut out for it, but if you really want it—don’t just do it for the fame, money, or accolades. Those things are nice but I would suggest doing it because you have something to say. Do it because you want to make a difference and because you feel the call to be great and for a purpose. For me, it was a desire to see black images reflected on the screen and to tell the multitude of stories that exist in our community that never get told.

The post Behind the Scenes: What it Really Takes to Launch a Film Career appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Dear John: If the economy is booming, why is nothing being done for seniors? This group, solidly behind the president, is still suffering from shrinking Social Security benefits and rising food prices. S.W. Dear S.W. You might be happy to know that Social Security’s Cost of Living Adjustment, announced on Thursday, will be 2.8 percent,…
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Jason Garrett ‘talked about thought process’ behind OT punt with Jerry Jones

FRISCO, Texas — At the day-after analysis of the Dallas Cowboys’ 19-16 overtime loss to the Houston Texans, coach Jason Garrett on Monday explained his decision to punt on the first possession of overtime to owner and general manager Jerry Jones. After the game, Jones was critical of the decision to punt at the Houston 42 since the Cowboys did not regain possession and lost on a 36-yard field goal by Ka’imi Fairbairn with 1:50 to play in overtime. "We were being outplayed there, not out-efforted but we were outplayed," Jones said Sunday. "But it’s time for risk at that particular time. That’s not second-guessing, but we were taking some risk too at certain points in the game." After the game, Garrett defended the decision because he was relying on a defense that forced three punts, created two turnovers and gave up just two field goals in the second half. On Monday, Garrett relayed the message to Jones during their Monday meeting. "We…
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