Saigon Food Tour - Ho Chi Minh Food Tour

Best Vegetarian Banh Mi Saigon

How To Have A Golden Time At This Year’s Gaytimes

How To Have A Golden Time At This Year’s Gaytimes

by Stephen A Russell @ The A List | The Urban List

What better way to celebrate Australia’s long-overdue embracing of marriage equality than by escaping two hours north east of the city to the lush surrounds of Marysville’s Lake Mountain Alpine Resort for the third annual Gaytimes festival?

Taking the term ‘camp’ to the next level, the three days, two nights-long celebration of all things LGBTIQ encourages you to pack a tent, let it all hang out and sleep under the stars (or wuss out and opt for fancy pants glamping).

Organised by the team that brings you Melbourne’s monthly Closet party, the Gaytimes music line-up is unsurprisingly slick. New York producer and rapper Le1f, who slew with ‘Wut’, has never shied away from singing out loud and proud in a hip-hop scene that’s infamously homophobic.

He’ll be joined by homegrown legends including Sydneysider Alex the Astronaut, who came out spectacularly with track ‘Not Worth Hiding’, penned while she was on a soccer scholarship in New York.

Dapper ‘Free to Love’ singer Brendan Maclean raised more than a few eyebrows with his seriously NSFW video for Funbang1 single ‘House of Air’ (we dare you to check it out, prior warning given). He’ll no doubt bring his irreverent charms to Gaytimes.

With Bec Sandridge, Tigertown, Froyo and Ladyhood all on board, Sydney’s Stereogamus and US star Chrissy will be pushing house and disco beats that will see you through the eve in Gaytimes’ late-night club.

We’re also massively psyched for Brisbane-based rapper and trans woman of colour Miss Blanks.

Last year she told last year told i-D magazine, “For so long, women of colour, especially trans women of colour, have been seen as an inconvenience and for the first time in Australian music I get to be highly visible. I get to say what I wanna say.”

We can’t wait to hear her roar. And it’s not just the live music that will have Gaytimes rocking, there will also be self-love master classes run by sexperts (and cousins) Rural Ranga and burlesque queen Strawberry Siren, bringing their handy guide that won rave reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Speed dating, fortune telling and life drawing classes will also contribute to the gay abandon, and yoga session to limber up. Gay Stuff, the monthly LGBTIQ-made goodies marketplace usually held at Fitzroy institution Hares & Hyenas, will also decamp to Gaytimes for the weekend, so you can stock up on t-shirts, stylish homewares to pimp out your tent and add a bit of bling to your fierce festival look.

With the festival serious about welcoming folks from across the rainbow spectrum, there will also be a dedicated Transgentle space for gender diverse campers and their allies who just want to chill out. LGBT giving circle The Channel will have volunteer safety ambassadors on site all weekend to make sure everyone’s doing a-ok.

You won’t go hungry either with Taco Truck and Toasta on hand to feed the masses, washed down with Brunswick mob Wide Open Road’s coffee, or Coldstream cider and cold tinnies of Sample Brew beer. A volunteer-run breakfast bar Canteen will help raise funds for LGBTIQ charities.

There will also be a dedicated cocktail bar, Priscilla’s, serving up espresso martinis, Aperol spritz, peach Bellinis and blackberry sours because when in the country, queer folks need to stay suitably lubricated. Emergency Bloody Marys will be available for recovery sessions.

If you’re planning to drive home, safety campaign Vanessa will breath test happy campers as well as sponsoring the Gaytimes Shuttle Bus to get you to and from the fest if you’re minus wheels. But get in quick because final tickets, glamping tents and bus seats are flying out the door faster than a drag queen spurned.

Single and wondering what to do on Valentine's Day? Check out this anti-Valentine's Day singles party.

Image credit: supplied

Top Must-eat Dishes & Dining Spots In Saigon for Foodies

by Phuoc Le @ Innoviet Travel

You are a foodie and want to explore the best street food in Saigon but aren’t sure where are the best places in town? Then this what you will love. Let’s put my recommendation of  the Top Must-eat Dishes & Dining Spots In Saigon for Foodies in your pocket and start exploring the Saigon food haven. * STREET FOOD 1. Cơm

The post Top Must-eat Dishes & Dining Spots In Saigon for Foodies appeared first on Innoviet Travel.

Alec Baldwin Accuses Colbert, Oliver of Being “Grand Juries,” While Finalizing Details for His Own Talk Show

Alec Baldwin Accuses Colbert, Oliver of Being “Grand Juries,” While Finalizing Details for His Own Talk Show

by Rachel Withers @ Brow Beat

Alec Baldwin—Trump impersonator, political lightning rod, and probable soon-to-be talk show host—tweeted his disapproval early Wednesday of the politicization of talk shows, comparing the style of John Oliver and Stephen Colbert to “grand juries” and seemingly longing for the days when talk shows were apolitical:

Baldwin insisted in a later comment that he wasn’t expressing a preference, though it’s clear his comment was a response to Oliver’s searing confrontation of Dustin Hoffman, which came not on his talk show but at a panel he was moderating. Baldwin, back from his latest Twitter hiatus, Tuesday retweeted criticism of Oliver’s questioning, including this tweet from actor Michael Rapaport.

Baldwin’s talk show “criticism” (or whatever it is) comes at an interesting time, with Baldwin currently in talks with ABC for a talk show of his own. Details are scarce, though sources say the show will be based on his WNYC radio show, Here’s the Thing. His recent interviewees have included Bernie Sanders, Steve Erickson, and Tina Brown, with whom Baldwin discussed the post-Weinstein moment.

Is Baldwin’s talk show really going to be like the apolitical shows of old, “promotional pit stops for some blithe chit chat”? It seems unlikely that the man whose recent tweets have suggested that a Republican representative must be oxygen-deprived (“the air must be thin in Utah”) and condemned Bernie Sanders supporters who failed to vote for Clinton, and who has long considered running for political office, would wind up with a talk show that avoids taking a political stance.

It may not be Oliver’s political style that Baldwin objects to, but his content, specifically his decision to call out sexual harassment. (Colbert, too, has been highly critical of sexual harassment, even within his own network.) Baldwin recently suspended use of his Twitter account after getting into a fight with Weinstein victim Asia Argento over comments he made about Rose McGowan, in which he appeared to blame McGowan for taking a settlement. While critical of Weinstein, Baldwin is openly wary of stretching this moment of sexual reckoning too far, calling allegations of groping against George H.W. Bush “low-hanging fruit” in this “tidal wave of accusations.”

While Baldwin is very open about his left-leaning politics, his gender politics leave something to be desired. It’s likely his show won't be “blithe chit chat,” but don’t expect it to be fiercely calling out sexual harassment allegations either.

We’ll leave that to John Oliver.

The 2017 Traveler’s Holiday Gift Guide Part One

by Izzy Pulido @ The Next Somewhere

Three years and counting! The third annual “Traveler’s Holiday Gift Guide” is here for the year of 2017 with twenty brandspanking new holiday gifts to fill our hearts with good tidings for our fellow neighbors, fill our homes with one-of-a-kind ornaments, and fill our bellies with foods from around the world. There’s more coming your […]

The post The 2017 Traveler’s Holiday Gift Guide Part One appeared first on The Next Somewhere.

Vegan Flautas

Vegan Flautas

by Ben Dawson @ Munchies

Just because you're vegan doesn't mean you can't dig into some fried goodness.

How to Have a Hot Dinner Date with Yourself

How to Have a Hot Dinner Date with Yourself

by Alison Stevenson @ Munchies

Why go through the experience of an awkward first date, worrying about whether or not your suitor might be a serial killer when you can date yourself? Who says you can't have a romantic meal all alone?

One of the “Best Sandwiches in NYC”! Who? Us?

by admin @ Saigon Vietnamese Sandwich

urray! We got a “Best Sandwiches in NYC” write-up on REFINERY29!   “The house special (bánh mì đac biêt ), spicy, from Saigon Vietnamese Sandwich Deli. It was the first non-American sandwich I ever had when I moved to New York, and the combo of fresh herbs, fatty pork, and the perfect roll (with a […]

Shopping in Chiang Mai: The Best Markets, Boutiques and Malls

by Joanna @ The Blond Travels

One of the reasons why tourists visit Chiang Mai is shopping. The city is known mainly because of the Sunday and Saturday markets and the Night Bazaar, which spread across the main streets. These are usually very busy and crowded affairs. It is worth going to one of them to see the great selection of […]

This Conservation Expert Is Keeping L.A. Connected to Nature

by Zoie Matthew @ Los Angeles Magazine

Joe Edmiston of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy has protected thousands of acres from development

The post This Conservation Expert Is Keeping L.A. Connected to Nature appeared first on Los Angeles Magazine.

Lucky Charms Is Discontinuing What Is Objectively Its Least Identifiable Marshmallow

Lucky Charms Is Discontinuing What Is Objectively Its Least Identifiable Marshmallow

by Mayukh Sen @ Munchies

It will be missed by the three people in the world who could tell what it was.

Top Picks For Foodies: The Best Vegetarian Food In Nha Trang, Vietnam

Top Picks For Foodies: The Best Vegetarian Food In Nha Trang, Vietnam


Beef noodle soup, chicken with rice, grilled pork, and fried squid are but a few of the mouthwatering options of Vietnamese cuisine. Yet, for those who steer clear of eating animals, a Vietnamese vacation can contain a surprising amount of delectable delicacies. Nha Trang is known for its long, broad beaches and its laid-back party vibe, but did you know that the city also has an impressive selection of vegetarian-friendly restaurants and dishes to boot? In between long walks on the beach and day trips to surrounding natural spectacles, Nha Trang’s dining scene will make the vegetarian traveler feel like royalty.

Hello world!

by banhmiuser @ Banh Mi Zon – NYC – Official Website

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start writing!

The post Hello world! appeared first on Banh Mi Zon - NYC - Official Website.

Bill Murray Just Announced He’s Touring Australia This Year

Bill Murray Just Announced He’s Touring Australia This Year

by James Shackell @ The A List | The Urban List

Pinch us, because we might be dreaming. Bill Freaking Murray, AKA the greatest legend ever to grace God’s green earth, has just announced he’ll be touring Australia this November.

Yep, really.

The tour sounds pretty interesting actually. In classic Murray style he’s opted for something a bit stranger than a simple ‘Night With Bill Murray’ Q&A sesh. He’ll be touring with German-born classical cellist Jan Vogler, mixing Vogler’s classical music with readings from literary greats like Ernest Hemingway and Walt Whitman to create some sort of Murray-esque meta-performance.

There’ll be a small classical ensemble on stage, including Vogler’s wife, the famous violinist Mira Wang, plus pianist Vanessa Perez. The whole thing is being spruiked as a ‘spirited night of music and literature’. We might just die.

Want to get your greedy mitts on tickets? You and every other sentient being in Australia. There’s a pre-sale this Wednesday which kicks off at 9am SHARP. Tix will go on sale to the general public on Monday 19 February at 9am.

This probably goes without saying, but don’t play coy. These will sell out faster than your browser can refresh.

The Details

What: New Worlds, featuring Bill Murray & Jan Vogler When: Perth, November 7. Sydney, November 9 & 10. Wellington, November 14. Brisbane, November 16. Melbourne, November 17. To register for pre-sale tickets, head here. Cost: $99.90 - $249.90, depending on how close you get to Murray’s earthly essence.

Image credit: Caddyshack 

The 10 Best Dive Bars in Washington, DC

The 10 Best Dive Bars in Washington, DC

by Munchies Staff @ Munchies

From blues bars to Midwest-vibes watering holes to low-ceilinged cellars with top-notch jukeboxes, here are the best places to get divey in DC.

The Year in Pho: Recipes, Cooking Tips, and Family Stories from 2017

by Andrea Nguyen @ Viet World Kitchen

| Wouldn’t you know it, there was a lot of pho fervor this year, especially at Viet World Kitchen! Instead of doing a year-end summary of the most popular recipes on the site, I decided to round up all the pho-related content that published during the past twelve months. I published tips, tricks, and recipes...

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Here Are Melbourne’s Best Wood Fire Pizzerias

Here Are Melbourne’s Best Wood Fire Pizzerias

by Millie Lester @ The A List | The Urban List

If you’ve ever been on a ‘gahp yah’ to ‘Europa’, you know what it’s like to return home from Napoli, where you paid four euros for an authentic wood-fired pizza the size of a tractor wheel, and now have to pay $25 for a ‘deep dish’ meat lovers Dominos pizza. Admit it, you know the pain I’m talking about. Fortunately, Melbourne has a crazy good Italian food scene (as well as whispers of a crazy Italian mafia…), which means you don’t have to travel far for an authentic Napoli pizza. You will, however, typically have to fork out an alarming amount of money to do so. But you can’t win them all.

Here are Melbourne’s best wood-fired pizzerias.


Fitzroy North

Joining the ranks of some of Melbourne’s best pizzerias is Supermaxi in Fitzroy North. Owned by the OG chef and co-owner of Ladro, Rita Macali, this place serves wood-fired pizza that looks fresh off a pizza peel in Naples. While their cheesy slices are downright delicious, their menu also features some equally enticing homemade pasta which makes a visit to this simplistic and modern Italian restaurant an absolute must.


Brunswick East

One of three venue locations these days, Brunswick East’s local pizza institution is none other than Woodstock, which was one of the first to bust out the wood fire pizza oven in Australia. The family behind the name have not only been tossing bases in Melbourne since the nineties, but they’ve been mastering authentic wood-fired pizzas for three generations. Their bases use four different kinds of flours and very precise positions in the oven, which means there’s no way you can recreate bad boys of this calibre at home.



Looking for a little slice of Italian and not a deep pan Aussie pizza with bacon stuffed crusts? Then it’s time to hit up Carlton-based pizza institution, D.O.C. Here, pizza is the crown jewel of the menu. They have the thinnest and crispiest bases (but with the right amount of bend) and the freshest authentic Italian ingredients, plus a freaking mozzarella bar in-house that has an incredible selection of cheese that’ll put you into a dairy coma within minutes. The venue is usually packed and buzzing, because the secret’s well and truly out, so try popping down for a weekday lunch if possible.

400 Gradi


Just around the corner is another faultless Italian haven, 400 Gradi, which churns out some of the best wood-fired pizza in the entire city (you HAVE to try their margherita). Named after the former reigning monarch of Italy, this pizzeria has been cleaning up Melbourne pizza awards for years, in fact, it was once voted the world’s best pizza! With a focus on authentic Napoli-style pie, as well as its extensive menu of pasta and nibbles, 400 Gradi is literally the only excuse you’ll need to leave the house these days.

Shop 225

Pascoe Vale South

Lorenzo Tron and Roberto Davoli’s Pascoe Vale South pizzeria has a straight-up down-to-business vibe about it. They know pizzas, and they know how to make them damn well. When they first opened, Shop 225 didn’t even offer salads or pasta via the logic that it wasted precious stomach room (YES YES YES). While they do now have a selection of non-pizzas, don’t do it to yourself, not when it means digesting a smaller portion of their incredible pizzas. The fare is very much Neapolitan style with its thin and crunchy crust, plus they have gourmet toppings like truffle oil, stracciatella di bufala and artichokes. They even have a killer vegan and vegetarian selection so no one has to miss out.

SPQR Pizzeria


With a convenient CBD location, SPQR is the obvious choice for an authentic Italian lunch in the city. Leading the charge towards more authentic-styled pizzas in Melbourne is their enormous custom-built wood fire oven, converting ~basic~ Hawaiian pizza lovers to authentic margherita admirers each and every day. In fact, this bad boy can cook a pizza in under sixty seconds flat. They offer all the traditional toppings, like salumi, calabrese and margherita, but they also have a jazzed-up selection that includes the more gourmet variants. If you’re looking to spice up your life even further, there’s live music every Wednesday to Saturday evening.



Over on the East Side, Peel Street pizza parlour, Lazerpig, is stacking up to be one of our favourite all-rounder pizzerias of the age. It’s a casual diner with a killer atmosphere, plus incredible wood-fired pizzas (get your taste buds on the Queen Margherita ASAP) and deliiiish chargrilled meats that are sliced to order. You can also choose to enjoy a slice of pizza (or eleven) with one of Victoria’s best local craft beers. Helping yourself to a slice at Lazerpig is helping small local business, or at least that’s what you’ll tell yourself when you eat their four nights in a row.


Ascot Vale

Do yourself a favour and head out west-ish next time you have a hankering for wood-fired pizza. This Ascot Vale pizzeria offers truly authentic and traditional style pie (think: thin and crispy hand-stretched bases oozing with fresh napoli sauce), alongside yummy pasta and a crazy good wine list. Tick this one of the bucket list toot sweet, you won’t regret it.

+39 Pizzeria


The name of this pizzeria may ring a bell, mainly because it’s the OG creator of the Nutella donut (shiiiiiiit), but also because it dishes up some of the tastiest wood-fired pizza in the CBD. Boasting a long list of authentic pasta, desserts, cheese boards and Italian style cocktails (spritz, anyone?) there’s little wonder why the place is always so damn packed. The pizza bases are divinely thin, the toppings are fresh and flavoursome and even the service is authentic and friendly. Plus, they deliver. It’s a yes from me.

If you're not picky and love a pizza out of a gas-fired oven just the same, check out our full list of Melbourne's best pizza.

Image credit: Shop 225 | Jenna Fahey-White

What Should We Make of The Shape of Water’s Mysterious Ending? We Discuss Del Toro’s Latest.

What Should We Make of The Shape of Water’s Mysterious Ending? We Discuss Del Toro’s Latest.

by Sam Adams @ Brow Beat

On the Spoiler Special podcast, Slate critics discuss movies, the occasional TV show, and, once in a blue moon, another podcast, in full, spoiler-filled detail. In this week’s episode, Slate’s movie critic, Dana Stevens, and Slate senior editor Sam Adams spoil Guillermo del Toro’s newest film, The Shape of Water. Is this Del Toro’s best film since Pan’s Labyrinth? What should we make of its mysterious ending? And how hot is that fish-monster sex?

Listen to them discuss these and other questions below. You can also check out past Spoiler Specials, and you can subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts. Note: As the title indicates, each installment contains spoilers galore.


Podcast production by Daniel Schroeder.

Voters Would be Crazy to Select Anything Other Than Get Out as 2017’s Best Picture

Voters Would be Crazy to Select Anything Other Than Get Out as 2017’s Best Picture

by Julia Turner @ Brow Beat

On Thursday, the New York Film Critics Circle gave out its annual awards. The NYFCC nods, along with other critical awards like them, tend to kick Oscar prognostication into a higher gear, providing the first hard evidence of how a voting body might rank the year’s cinematic offerings. I’m sorry to report the evidence so far suggests that movie-award givers this year are poised to make a woeful mistake. For the NYFCC has given its Best Picture award to Lady Bird.  

Now, Lady Bird is a wonderful movie, a subtle portrait of a high school senior in Sacramento and her fitful separation from the people who raised her and the place where she grew up. It’s full of stunning performances—particularly from Saoirse Ronan, who stars, and Laurie Metcalf, who plays her complicated mom.

But anyone who cares about the movies should be rooting for a different film to win Best Picture this year—at the Oscars and everywhere else: Jordan Peele’s Get Out. The director’s “social thriller” is considered to be in the running, but it’s a long shot for several reasons. It’s both a horror movie and a comedy, and neither genre is known for racking up awards. And it came out in February, long before the buckets of plump Oscar bait currently angling for voter attention.

However, voters—including those at the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, who make their elections on Sunday—should give Get Out a serious look. Not just because it’s a masterpiece, although it is—a perfectly calibrated cinematic experience that explores whether America has come as far as it thinks it has on race, arguably the central topic of our cultural and political life right now. No, voters should choose Get Out for a much more craven reason: Get Out made movies matter again.

Think back on what it was like when Get Out arrived last winter. One of our most beloved comedians, late of the dearly departed sketch show Key & Peele, had a new film. His previous outing, Keanu, was goofy and honestly pretty bad. But Get Out proved to be electrifying. Taut, funny, smart as hell. Audiences flocked to it, earning it more than $250 million. Everyone was talking about it. It felt like the nightmare surprise of Trump’s election had been perfectly synthesized into a single, brilliant, popular piece of art. And it seemed—crucially—like movies might have something important to say to us once again.

When was the last time a popular cinematic masterpiece had something important and topical to say about the world? Wonder Woman was popular and topical, but not a masterpiece. Moonlight was a topical masterpiece, but not really popular outside movie aficionado circles. You can play this game for a while, but it’s hard to think of another recent film that hits this trifecta. Get Out would be the highest-grossing Best Picture winner in a decade.

The people who vote for movie awards are for the most part people who have a stake in the movies: the critics in their various circles; the writers, producers, actors, and directors in their various guilds. These are people who must feel, in their bones, that cinema is under threat. Television is the medium that has people buzzing. Television is the medium that is growing. In movies, the current economic model supports the making of dreck and occasional, precious, award-seeking gemstones. 2017 is a year that produced, in Get Out, a knockout counterargument to film’s decline: Proof that a movie can be a sturdy, audience-pleasing hit, excellent, and important at the same time.

That’s why any vote for Lady Bird (or Call Me By Your Name, or The Post, or the seamstress movie) is a vote against self-interest. A vote for Get Out is a vote for the relevance of movies. A vote for Lady Bird is tantamount to saying, “OK, fine, let’s just be jazz.”

Don’t let movies go the way of jazz, people. Get Out is 2017’s best picture, and it should be 2017’s Best Picture. It’s up to you to make that so.

Jimmy Kimmel Teaches Roy Moore a Thing or Two About “Christian Values”

Jimmy Kimmel Teaches Roy Moore a Thing or Two About “Christian Values”

by Marissa Martinelli @ Brow Beat

Jimmy Kimmel’s Twitter war with Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore is heating up. It all started when Jimmy Kimmel Live sent Jake Byrd, a fictional character who has appeared on the show before, to crash Moore’s speech at the Magnolia Springs Baptist Church, posing as a fake fan. “Does that look like the face of a child molester?” heckled Byrd in mock-support, before being escorted from the premises.

Moore, who is known as a possible child molester but is not known for having a great sense of humor, responded to the speech-crasher by tweeting at Kimmel, which led to this back-and-forth:

As it turns out, the “Christian values” route was probably not the right approach for Moore to attack the late night host. Kimmel responded to Moore’s invitation on his show on Thursday night, offering to meet the Republican candidate at the mall with some high school cheerleaders in tow: “If, when the girls and I show up, if you can control yourself, if you can somehow manage to keep Little Roy in your little cowboy pants […] you and I will sit down at the food court, we’ll have a little Panda Express, and we’ll talk about Christian values.”

Kimmel went on to explain that he’s a confirmed Catholic who prays, attends church, and is best friends with a priest. “Christian is actually my middle name—I know that’s shocking, but it’s true,” he said. He then schooled Moore on what his “Christian values” look like compared to Moore’s:

If you’re open to it, when we sit down, I’ll share with you what I learned at my church. At my church, forcing yourself on underage girls is a no-no. Some even consider it to be a sin. Not that you did that, of course. Allegedly. But when you commit a sin at our church, we’re encouraged to confess and ask forgiveness for the sin. Not to call the women you allegedly victimized liars and damage them even more. But maybe your church is different. Let’s figure it out together.
Or maybe when you say, “Come down to Alabama and we’ll do it man to man,” that means you’re challenging me to a fight, which is kind of what it sounds like. And if you are, I accept, by the way. There is no one I would rather fight than you. I would put my Christian values aside just for you and for that fight. Here’s what we’ll do, we’ll find a place to do it, I’ll wear a Girl Scout uniform so you have something to get excited about, and the winner will give all the money we charge for tickets to charity. My charity will be the women who say you molested them.

As for the accusation that Hollywood hates the south? “We don’t hate Alabama,” said Kimmel. “We love Alabama so much that we sent Reese Witherspoon to make a movie about you. We just don’t like alleged child molesters, and we just hope you can see your way clear to not electing one to the senate of the United States of America.”

Discovering Sapa: A Comprehensive Guide to Visiting Vietnam’s Northern Hill Station

by Juliana Hahn @ The Christina's Blog

Sapa is famous for its beautiful landscapes full of verdant rice paddies, rolling hills, Vietnam’s highest mountain, and hidden trails in overgrown valleys. While the idea of coming here for a trek far off from the noise and pollution of the big cities inspires wanderlust, organizing it all can be a bit daunting, especially for […]

The post Discovering Sapa: A Comprehensive Guide to Visiting Vietnam’s Northern Hill Station appeared first on The Christina's Blog.

Vegan Guide to Hanoi

by Vegan Food Quest @ Vegan Food Quest

Our Vegan Guide to Hanoi was put together during a trip to the Vietnamese capital in September 2017. Despite having spent many months in Vietnam over the last few years this was our first visit to Hanoi since 2010 and we were blown away by the amount of vegan options in town and the obvious […]

The post Vegan Guide to Hanoi appeared first on Vegan Food Quest.

Genius Chocolate Chip Cookie Brittle Is the Instant Gift We All Need

Genius Chocolate Chip Cookie Brittle Is the Instant Gift We All Need

by Kristen Miglore @ Brow Beat

This post originally appeared in Genius Recipes on Food52.

This chocolate chip cookie variant should get its own special bookmark in your brain right now, for the next time you need a last-minute party snack or cookie swap entry or a gift for pretty much anyone (including yourself).

It's speedier, easier, and—especially for us crispy cookie devotees—leaps and bounds better than the standard back-of-the-bag chocolate chip experience.

The reason why is so simple: This is just what happens if you take out any trace of leavener in chocolate chip cookies—no eggs, no baking powder or soda, no airy creamed butter—and mash the dough into a thin layer on a baking sheet.

It sounds like something curious kids would make by mistake and has all the makings of a terribly ill-fated idea. But instead, thanks to a generous proportion of melted butter and raw sugar, this dough turns into an addictive, crunchy brittle that falls somewhere between candy and cookie.

Cookbook author and blogger Shauna Sever developed this naturally sweetened recipe for her cookbook Real Sweet based off a version she had found in The American Country Inn Bed and Breakfast Cookbook. After her recipe was pinned a half million times on Pinterest, she ended up demoing it on the Today Show to an incredulous Al Roker.

I first learned about Sever's mystical recipe from Luisa Weiss of The Wednesday Chef. "It is so addictive and so good and so insanely easy that you'll never want to make choc chip cookies again (well, not really, but you know what I mean)," Weiss wrote to me. "It's worth the price of the book."

Conveniently, the brittle packs up well in a big jar for holidays, birthdays, and sugar-fueled road trips and plane rides. It's also quite friendly to swap-ins for the nuts and chocolate—coconut? chile? pretzels?—if you need a place to set yourself, Al Roker, or other curious kids free.

Shauna Sever's Chocolate Chip Cookie Brittle

Makes about 3 dozen 3-inch pieces

·       3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (200g) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons

·       1 cup (200g) turbinado sugar

·       2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

·       1 teaspoon fine sea salt

·       2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour

·       3/4 cup (90g) coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts

·       3/4 cup (130g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips (60% to 70% cacao)

See the full recipe on Food52.

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The Teaser for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Looks Shockingly Beautiful

The Teaser for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Looks Shockingly Beautiful

by Matthew Dessem @ Brow Beat

As someone who has not been optimistic about past efforts from Sony Pictures Animation (see, e.g., Smurfs: The Lost Village, The Emoji Movie, Smurfs: The Lost Village again, The Star, Smurfs: The Lost Village yet again—loved The Pirates! In an Adventure With Scientists!, though!), I have a special responsibility to point out that the trailer for Sony Pictures Animation’s upcoming animated Spider-Man movie, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, looks fantastic. That’s despite the fact that it’s called Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The film, coming to theaters next Christmas, is directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman—yes, the “My Glorious Publishing Empire”/ “My Fake Job” Rodney Rothman—from a script by Phil Lord. Lord and Chris Miller, the duo behind The Lego Movie (and formerly behind the upcoming Han Solo movie) are producing, along with Avi Arad, Amy Pascal, and Christina Steinberg. Shameik Moore from The Get Down will play Miles Morales, the black Spider-Man Marvel added to their comic book roster in 2011, while Moonlight’s Mahershala Ali will play his uncle Aaron.

But honestly, the talent involved here is not the main attraction: superhero movies have a long and proud tradition of taking distinctive artistic voices and turning them into mush. But this looks absolutely gorgeous, miles ahead of live-action superhero films. While even the best of the MCU movies—essentially animated films in their action sequences anyway—all get turned into the same photorealistic overlit CGI sludge, this takes Roger Deakin’s neon blue palette from the Shanghai sequence in Skyfall and seamlessly moves it to New York City. Some of the street shots must have involved rotoscoping, but every frame has intelligently chosen comic book art touches. Check out the motion lines on the subway car and the touch of halftoning on Morales’ shorts in this frame:

Or the flipbook effect in the shot of Morales falling, which also has striking halftoning on the neon:

Or these two shots of a car accident, a frame apart. The first has extraordinarily complex photorealistic lighting—check the water beading on the taxi—and then out of nowhere we get a few frames of wildly abstracted pop art:

Unfortunately, the least interesting thing in the frame is Miles Morales, who looks like a standard Dreamworks/Sony/Disney computer-animated human: giant eyes, smirk, cocked eyebrows, utterly unconvincing skin:

If you’re going to relegate the black Spider-Man to animated films, you should at least make him look better than Barry B. Benson. Still, like the title says, this film is meant to be about the Spider-Verse as much as it’s about Spider-Man. And the Spider-Verse looks beautiful.

*Correction. Dec. 11, 2017: This post originally misidentified Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse as Spider-Man: Enter the Spider-Verse.

Everything You Should Be Binge Watching This Month

Everything You Should Be Binge Watching This Month

by Ben Tyers @ The A List | The Urban List

We’re currently knee deep in awards seasons, but while everyone’s going mental for the latest film to hit the big screen, there’s plenty to watch on the small screen from the comfort of your couch as well. And the best part is, nobody is judging your snack choices at home.

February is going to be hot, so why bother sweating it out at the beach? Work your way back into that couch groove and get watching.

Here’s everything worth streaming this February.



Season 3

UnREAL is switching it up this season with a Bacheloret…….’Suitress’, so who knows what scandal will unfold.

Ash VS Evil Dead

Season 3

Bruce Campbell is back as he takes on the Evil Dead. Get ready for the usual amount of blood and guts here.


Season 3

What on earth is Mary Queen Of Scots up to this season? Keep an eye out for when she goes head to head with Queen Elizabeth.

Everything else worth catching:

Will & Grace Taxi Driver RuPaul's Drag Race | Season 3 Inside Llewyn Davis


Altered Carbon

Season 1

Based on a novel by Richard K. Morgan, Altered Carbon is about a prisoner who’s consciousness is brought back after laying dormant for 250 years to solve a murder. Some sharp looking sci-fi.

Seven Seconds

Season 1

Follows the story of the hit-and-run of a black teenager by a police offer and the following cover-up.

Ugly Delicious

Season 1

Momofuku owner—and noted Australian burger hater—David Chang travels the world eating weird and wonderful dishes.

Black Lightning

Season 1

A school principal leaves his life behind to return to a life of fighting crime in New Orleans. Interesting?

Coach Snoop

Season 1

Follows Snoop Dogg as he coaches a team of teenagers in the Snoop Youth Football League.

Other shows worth catching:

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction | Part 2 Everything Sucks! | Season 1 Damnation | Season 1 Queer Eye | Season 1 Riverdale | Season 2 The Joel McHale Show | Season 1

Image credit: Netflix

Awestruck! Paul Giamatti in Da House!

by admin @ Saigon Vietnamese Sandwich

  ritically acclaimed actor Paul Giamatti filmed a scene of the hit show “Billions” in our deli!  Always been a fan.  (Sideways!)   He was neighborly.  He was sociable.  He was classy!   Don’t miss this Wall Street drama on Showtime!

This Faux-Swedish Pop Song About Penises Was the Best Part of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s Midseason Finale

This Faux-Swedish Pop Song About Penises Was the Best Part of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s Midseason Finale

by Marissa Martinelli @ Brow Beat

What did we do to deserve Donna Lynne Champlin? She’s a Broadway-caliber performer, an unbelievable singer, and, as Paula on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the ideal ride-or-die best friend. Paula has long outgrown her role on the show as Rebecca’s sidekick—last season saw her decide to have an abortion, start law school, and fix her crumbling marriage—but she’s still the most reliable person in Rebecca’s life, which this season has meant helping Rebecca through her breakdown and the first steps of her recovery. Now that it’s underway, though, the show has found more time to devote to Paula’s own arc.

Paula returned to her hometown of Buffalo on this week’s episode to take care of her father (Eddie Pepitone), a man we’ve only heard about through terrible anecdotes. (“You’re a breeder, not a leader,” was one of his mantras for his daughter when she was growing up.) Sure enough, Paula hasn’t been home more than five minutes before he starts to insult her and make racist remarks, so she escapes to the supermarket to get more supplies. There, Paula sees her high school sweetheart, and we get a fun recreation of the scene from Season 1 where Rebecca runs into her beloved Josh at the supermarket: There’s a puff of smoke as this stranger opens the freezer door, a curious employee with an afro looks on, and Paula uses Rebecca’s preferred phrase to describe the encounter, “like glitter is exploding inside me.”

Paula’s “Josh Chan” is even named Jeff Channington, with the result that the episode, “Getting Over Jeff,” has the distinction of being the first Crazy Ex-Girlfriend episode ever without Josh’s name in the title. After all that build up, when Paula bursts into song at the sight of this long-lost crush, you’d expect something romantic, right? Well …

It’s an ABBA parody about penises! Or at least, one very special penis in particular. The “Mamma Mia” imitator, “First Penis I Saw,” is so marvelous and unexpected that it’s hard to know where to start doling out the praise. Kathryn Burns’ jaunty choreography is a gift. Props to the props department for making it look like every cereal box and bottle of laundry detergent in the entire store says “Jeff!” (And of course, for the very suggestive vegetables, complete with the sign that says “Suggestive Vegetables” overhead.) The writers, of course, deserve hearty congratulations, too—it’s almost as though they were sitting around the table trying to see who could come up with the most surprising penis rhyme: seen his, mean is, cleanest, greenest, keenness, ingenious.

And Donna Lynne Champlin. Oh, Donna Lynne Champlin. “First Penis I Saw” is one of the best songs of the season, but it’s also one of the best the actress has ever delivered on the show, right up there with “After Everything I’ve Done for You (That You Didn’t Ask For)” and “Maybe This Dream.” Every single one of her facial expressions is just waiting to be gif-ed.

After the giddy highs of hearing someone say penis so many times in a row on network television, the episode’s other song, “My Friend’s Dad,” is a comedown. While Paula is off having her own adventures, Rebecca, who has tagged along on this excursion, gets to know Paula’s father better and finds she’s unbothered by his drunkenness, bigotry, or general grossness, because, hey, he’s not her dad. This leads to a Shirley Temple-style tap number:

This song is a bit of a bummer! It doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know about Rebecca or Bob, and I don’t think the relationship being described here, “girl and girl’s friend’s elderly, racist father,” is universal enough to warrant a musical number otherwise. I guess we’re supposed to be shocked by the combination of the wholesome genre and grossness of the subject matter, but Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has already done that this season much more successfully, with “Maybe She’s Not Such a Heinous Bitch After All.” All in all, not a strong note to go out on for the midseason finale.

Oh, well. At least we’ll always have the penis song.

Best Song of the Week: “First Penis I Saw” blows “My Friend’s Dad” out of the water.

See also:

Singapore Travel Guide | What To Do with a Stopover in Singapore

by Luke Nicholson @ Charlie on Travel

In this Singapore travel guide, we share the best travel tips for a stopover in Singapore that takes in all of the city’s best sights without breaking the bank. Known as the gateway to Asia, Singapore is a popular stopover destination for travellers taking connecting flights to and from other countries in Asia. This unique […]

The post Singapore Travel Guide | What To Do with a Stopover in Singapore appeared first on Charlie on Travel.

In a West Adams Backyard, the Duo Uno+Ichi Is Creating L.A.’s Cutest Ceramics

by Gwynedd Stuart @ Los Angeles Magazine

Hana Ward and Joanna Lee's tiny indie operation has gone worldwide

The post In a West Adams Backyard, the Duo Uno+Ichi Is Creating L.A.’s Cutest Ceramics appeared first on Los Angeles Magazine.

Ready for It? Taylor Swift’s Reputation Is Now Streaming

Ready for It? Taylor Swift’s Reputation Is Now Streaming

by Rachel Withers @ Brow Beat

Ready for it? After an impressive first three weeks of sales, Taylor Swift’s Reputation is now streaming on most major music services. And not a moment too soon: “Look What You Made Me Do” was a terrible Thanksgiving road trip playlist option.

Swift’s sixth studio album became available in full Thursday night on Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, Tidal, and others, with a staggered midnight release that saw the lucky people of Australia and New Zealand, who live the furthest into the future, get it first.

Sales for the album—which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, and remains atop the album-ranking chart—had started to slow. (Before you start to feel too sad for Tay Tay, Reputation’s 1.238 million equivalent units in the first week—including 1.216 million in album sales, the highest for any album since 2015—was always going to be a hard pace to maintain.) The strategically timed streaming re-release should give Swift a fresh boost, keeping her on top of the world/chart for weeks to come.

Here Are All the Easter Eggs in the New Ready Player One Trailer

Here Are All the Easter Eggs in the New Ready Player One Trailer

by Matthew Dessem @ Brow Beat

Warner Bros. released a new trailer for their upcoming adaptation of Ernest Cline’s epic pop culture circle jerk on Sunday, and it looks like their intellectual property lawyers have crafted the most amazing series of licensing agreements since the birth of cinema. (Steven Spielberg was reportedly also involved.) Even more than the first trailer—itself an extraordinary collection of unrelated cultural touchstones, chewed up, spat out, and molded into a big grey wasp’s nest—the new trailer rewards close inspection.

Did you ever wish the Batmobile from the 1960s Batman TV series (Greenway Productions, 20th Century Fox Television, ABC, DC Comics, Warner Bros. Television Distribution) could find a way to legally race against the Mach Five from Speed Racer (Tatsunoko Productions, Yomiko Advertising, Fuji Television Network, Alan Enterprises, Funimation)? Did you ever wish the RX-78-2 Gundam from Mobile Suit Gundam (Sotsu Agency, Sunrise, Bandai Entertainment, Cartoon Network) could fight alongside—or possibly against, it’s not clear—Chucky from Child’s Play (United Artists), without attracting the wrath of copyright lawyers? Did you ever wish that, instead of introducing you to new characters, someone would make a movie where the Iron Giant, the most pacifist robot in history, leads a goddamned army into battle, spurred on by a Final-Fantasy-looking guy holding up Lloyd Dobler’s boombox? Congratulations: you’re everything that’s wrong with art. Anyway, here are the Easter eggs.

That’s a very familiar silhouette at 1:54! You guessed it, it’s a Curtiss F8C-5/O2C-1, a military biplane that saw service in the United States from 1925 to 1934!

No, you’re not hallucinating: that’s a Sharp Stereo Radio Cassette GF-7600, complete with five-band graphic equalizer, 2-way, 4-speaker system, AM/FM/SW1/SW2 band radio, dual voltage, metal tape capability and soft-touch controls. According to the Pensacola News Journal of Oct. 24, 1983, this exact model was available for sale at the Gayfers department store at the Cordova Mall for $199.00, plus tax. Now it’s in a movie!

There’s a lot of licensed content visible in this crowded bar scene at 0:54, but the most intriguing cameo by far comes from a familiar round shape barely visible in the background. Yep: that looks like a bottle of Wild Turkey’s “Kentucky Legend” single barrel bourbon whiskey, known among collectors as the “Donut” for its distinctive silhouette. This special release bourbon dates from the late 1990s, and its appearance in the Ready Player One trailer is a valuable reminder that literally any human pursuit, including heavy drinking, is a better use of time than trying to identify the individual flavors in this licensed content casserole. So let’s do that instead.

Alec Baldwin on Canceling Harassers’ Projects: “A Lot of the Innocent People are Going to Suffer”

Alec Baldwin on Canceling Harassers’ Projects: “A Lot of the Innocent People are Going to Suffer”

by Rachel Withers @ Brow Beat

Last month we spoke to the “other victims” of the sexual harassment rife in the arts and media: those actors and writers who have lost time, work, opportunities, or potential breaks as a result of the cancellation of the projects of the powerful men who have been rightfully taken down.

Between Louis C.K.’s I Love, You, Daddy (pulled from release), James Toback’s The Private Life of a Modern Woman (future unclear), and Leon Wieseltier’s pending magazine, Idea: A Journal of Politics and Culture (canceled), hundreds of innocent people have been affected by this long-overdue sexual reckoning, by the fact that these harassers had grown so big that they brought down entire projects with them when they fell. While all those we spoke to said they were glad that justice was being served, this moment is bittersweet for new actors like Billy K. Peterson, who is disappointed his break as the logo of C.K.’s production company won’t be seen, while Nick Mathews—Sal in Toback’s The Private Life of a Modern Woman—lost a project that was “kind of a big deal for me.”

Alec Baldwin, a friend of James Toback, also worked on The Private Life of a Modern Woman. When asked what he felt should happen with Toback’s film and projects like it during an NYU journalism class on Monday afternoon, Baldwin referred me to those financially impacted by the repudiation of Stephen Collins’ 7th Heaven, saying innocent people lose out when we overpunish their projects.:

The idea that, to the extent that you can explain to people that a property like Stephen Collins is accused of being a pedophile, and they’re going to take his show off the air and they’re not going to distribute it and all earning potential and the residuals for that cast, that large cast, they all lose income stream as a result of that. I think that’s a very important question, whether that’s right. The art vs the artist you know. This with Woody Allen, is always very painful, because Allen is one of the few men who was accused of a sex abuse who was examined by two child services entities and their forensic psychiatrists in two states, because he live in New York and Connecticut, and his ex-wife who was really wanted to make her case, he was examined and found not guilty by both of them… Did he marry his stepchild? Yeah. He married his wife’s child, but did he molest the other child? Both the state of Connecticut and New York ruled no. So when people sit there and say “you should never, shame on you”… Ellen Page, who came out and renounced, and said I’m so humiliated that I worked with Woody, I did that movie with her, To Rome with Love, and when she said that, I mean I like and admire Ellen, but I was kind of taken aback that she said that, I thought, “Be specific. You hate and you renounce working with Allen, because of which part? That he married Soon-Yi or that he molested his step-daughter? Because he wasn’t guilty of the one as far as everybody knows…
But erase the work of the person? I don’t know because a lot of the innocent people are going to suffer. I think it’s different from like, when they said, “oh we’ll cancel the movie, we’ll cancel the show,” because then that person continues to earn and make money. But I thought it was a shame to deny all those people the residuals from that 7th Heaven program when Collins got nailed, and I’m not quite sure how I feel about that with other people. Like, should Louis C.K.’s whole menu come off of HBO? Maybe I don’t know, that’s really not for me to say. But I think it’s unfortunate for people who rely on residual income. …A lot of people, you know, they get a check for $6000 at the end of the year, it makes a big difference in their lives.

Baldwin also clarified that he did not expect to be hanging out too often with “Jimmy” in the future.

PSA: Vegan Camembert Exists And No, We’re Not Kidding

PSA: Vegan Camembert Exists And No, We’re Not Kidding

by Ange Law @ The A List | The Urban List

What is the number one thing people say when you tell them you’re vegan? Say it with me team: ohhhh, I could never give up cheese. Well, guys, now you don’t have to give up cheese because a couple of geniuses have gone and invented camembert that looks exactly like, well, camembert. 

We know vegan cheese isn’t really a new thing, but vegan cheese that’s genuinely good? Now that’s something worth talking about. It looks like this bad boy is only available in France but we still see this as a sign that the tides are a-changin’ and it’s really only a matter of time until this beauty is available in Australia. Right? Not only does Les Petits Veganne sell camembert (although, that’s clearly what we’re most amped for), they also boast an entire range complete with blue cheese, turmeric cheese, and a fresh garlic cheese too. 

What are you still doing here? You have a cheese board to make (and a flight to book). 

Meanwhile, these Japanese foot-long fries just landed as well. 

Image credit: Jez Timms

One Day in Kuala Lumpur

by Luke Nicholson @ Charlie on Travel

In this Kuala Lumpur travel guide, we share our favourite things to do in Malaysia’s capital city, including the best temples, Chinatown and the best vegetarian restaurants in the city. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital city, wasn’t on our original travel itinerary. But we’re so glad we went there! Kuala Lumpur is a city with towering skyscrapers, […]

The post One Day in Kuala Lumpur appeared first on Charlie on Travel.

How to Make a Day of the 4-Mile Stroll From Manhattan Beach to Redondo Beach

by Marielle Wakim @ Los Angeles Magazine

There will be barhopping

The post How to Make a Day of the 4-Mile Stroll From Manhattan Beach to Redondo Beach appeared first on Los Angeles Magazine.

The Academy Board Now Formally Requires Members to Behave Like Decent Human Beings

The Academy Board Now Formally Requires Members to Behave Like Decent Human Beings

by Marissa Martinelli @ Brow Beat

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has made good on its promise to establish a code of conduct for members after expelling Harvey Weinstein in October. After a meeting of the board of governors on Tuesday night, the academy’s CEO, Dawn Hudson, sent an email to members laying out the new standards of conduct, which were put together after consultation with “professors of ethics, business, philosophy, and law […] as well as experts in human resources and sexual harassment.”

Though Weinstein has become the face of sexual harassment in Hollywood, he’s hardly the only academy member to come under fire for alleged predatory behavior. The new rules of conduct are a way for the organization to affirm that talent is no longer the only qualification for membership, but they also suggest there’s at least a possibility of action being taken against other current members, like Bill Cosby, Roman Polanski, or Brett Ratner.

The standards of conduct themselves are on the vague side, requiring that members “behave ethically by upholding the academy’s values of respect for human dignity, inclusion and a supportive environment that fosters creativity” and affirming the academy’s stance against “abuse, harassment or discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability, age, religion, or nationality.”

I guess “don’t show your penis to your unsuspecting colleagues” would be a little too direct, although a lot of people seem to need the reminder.

The full statement, which was available to members who received the email, is below, via IndieWire:

Academy membership is a privilege offered to only a select few within the global community of filmmakers. In addition to achieving excellence in the field of motion picture arts and sciences, members must also behave ethically by upholding the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity, inclusion and a supportive environment that fosters creativity. The Academy asks that members embrace their responsibility to affirm these principles and act when these principles are violated. There is no place in the Academy for people who abuse their status, power or influence in a manner that violates recognized standards of decency. The Academy is categorically opposed to any form of abuse, harassment or discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability, age, religion, or nationality. The Board of Governors believes that these standards are essential to the Academy’s mission and reflective of our values.
If any member is found by the Board of Governors to have violated these standards or to have compromised the integrity of the Academy by their actions, the Board of Governors may take any disciplinary action permitted by the Academy’s Bylaws, including suspension or expulsion.

This Saturday Night Live Spelling Bee Goes to Some Dark Places

This Saturday Night Live Spelling Bee Goes to Some Dark Places

by Matthew Dessem @ Brow Beat

This week’s Saturday Night Live featured a hilarious horrorshow of a spelling bee, in which host James Franco, as an uptight announcer named Kevin Black, takes a group of tween contestants on a tour of the dark recesses of his psyche. Normally, spelling bees only give viewers a chance to look at life-long psychological problems at the exact moment they develop—kids cracking under pressure, losers visibly loathing themselves when they miss a word, the winner realizing his or her life just peaked at 14—so it’s refreshing to see a spelling bee where the damage is old and well-established. The structure’s smart, too—the opening makes it seem like this is going to be a sketch about Kate McKinnon and Alex Moffat covering the spelling bee. Then, a full minute into things, Melissa Villaseñor asks Franco to use her spelling word—“berate”—in a sentence. Here’s the sentence he gives her:

Berate. I’m dead inside because my stepfather used to berate me with insults and emasculate me with feminine nicknames. Berate.

There are two ways the sketch could go from here. The obvious one is for Franco to continue using random and wildly inappropriate words and definitions, maybe aware of and embarrassed by what he’s doing, maybe not, along the lines of the teleprompter gag in Anchorman. But it’s funnier by far for him to keep obsessively circling the same traumas as more of his backstory comes to light—not to mention much, much creepier. Here’s the definition he offers Villaseñor for, again, “berate.”

Berate: To use insults and feminine nicknames, such as “Stupid Suzy Tampon Princess” to emasculate your stepson and make him dead inside. Berate.

Things don’t get better for the hapless spelling bee contestants from there. It must have been greatest hits week in the Saturday Night Live writer’s room, though: just as Franco’s bloody turn as a gift-wrapper echoed Dan Aykroyd’s famous French Chef sketch, this wasn’t the first time Saturday Night Live did a sketch about a dark, disturbing spelling bee presided over by a joyless, psychologically damaged authoritarian:

‘Hamilton’ kicks off six-week run at Orpheum in August

‘Hamilton’ kicks off six-week run at Orpheum in August

by Kathy Berdan @ Twin Cities

A really, really big deal, a big deal last year, and a couple of big deals from years ago are the core of Hennepin Theatre Trust’s 2018-19 “Broadway on Hennepin” season. The really, really big deal is — of course — the local debut of the blockbuster musical “Hamilton.” While it’s no secret that a […]

One Day in Da Nang: The Essential Guide

by Joanna @ The Blond Travels

My digital nomad life led me to Da Nang – one of the rapidly developing cities in Vietnam. I chose it mostly because it was by the sea and the internet was supposed to be good. I expected it to be different than Thailand, but I didn’t expect it to be so fascinating and beautiful. […]

11 famous alleys for food lovers in Sai Gon

by Ha Nguyen @ Innoviet Travel

Saigon Alleys are food heaven for those who want to discover the authentic cuisine of Sai Gon. Just a short visit to one of these alleys, you will see why locals love to eat in those small alleys. 1. 52 Cao Thắng Alleyway, District 3 51 Cao Thắng Food alleyway has been a popular spot

The post 11 famous alleys for food lovers in Sai Gon appeared first on Innoviet Travel.

Complete guide to avoiding taxi scams in Saigon

by Phuoc Le @ Innoviet Travel

Being as local in Saigon, a tour guide (well, I used to) also a Traveler. I’m very sad to know that very few visitors to Vietnam want to return to this magnificent country. One of the major reasons that contribute to this problem is tourist scams. Although there have been so many topics discussing around

The post Complete guide to avoiding taxi scams in Saigon appeared first on Innoviet Travel.

Vegan Guide to the Maldives

by Vegan Food Quest @ Vegan Food Quest

Ah the Maldives! Possibly one of the most beautiful places on earth with crystal clear waters, wildlife, white sand beaches and sunsets to die for. Heading to the Maldives is often a trip of a lifetime, perhaps for your honeymoon or to celebrate something special, or maybe just for an indulgent trip to paradise. But no […]

The post Vegan Guide to the Maldives appeared first on Vegan Food Quest.

My Immigrant Family’s Obsession with Paul Bocuse’s Soup with Truffles Recipe

by Andrea Nguyen @ Viet World Kitchen

“If you want to impress jaded Vietnamese guests, make French food,” my mom frequently told me while I was growing up. That’s among the reasons she made puff pastry when we came to the United States. It was as if she had been waiting all her life to knead excess moisture out of butter to...

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The New Yorker’s “Cat Person” Story Is Great. Too Bad the Internet Turned It Into a Piping-Hot Thinkpiece.

The New Yorker’s “Cat Person” Story Is Great. Too Bad the Internet Turned It Into a Piping-Hot Thinkpiece.

by Laura Miller @ Brow Beat

The last time I can remember a short story in the New Yorker being as enthusiastically talked-about as Kristen Roupenian’s “Cat Person” was when Annie Proulx’s “Brokeback Mountain” was published by the magazine in 1997. That autumn it seemed that every literary gathering had to reserve at least 15 minutes to rhapsodizing over the story. At present, “Cat Person” has been dominating my feeds to a degree that a New Yorker story never has before, and of course because this is the age of social media, countless people have also found countless sententious reasons to dislike it.

Both “Brokeback Mountain” and “Cat Person” are about coupling, but unlike Proulx’s story, Roupenian’s is utterly unromantic. Proulx wrote about how two people who love and desire each other deeply can end up separated, while Roupenian—a relative unknown—describes how two people who don’t know or seemingly even really like each other can end up in bed. It describes a truly miserable sexual encounter from the point of view of a young woman, Margot, who realizes late in the game that she would rather not be participating at all. After she finally summons the nerve to reject Robert—or rather, when a friend does it for her via text—the story ends on a poisonously bitter note.

Like so many great short stories, “Cat Person” is about a failure of communication and like so many stillborn romances, the relationship between Margot and Robert is no relationship at all, but two imaginary constructs colliding with each other until they fall apart. As with Sally Rooney’s 2017 debut novel Conversations With Friends, the story depicts the way texting supplants more organic methods of getting to know someone. In Roupenian’s story, Margot and Robert, after three very brief meetings, conduct a bantering, rom-com courtship on their cellphones during the winter break of her sophomore year. When they finally spend an evening together, it’s instantly obvious that they have no real connection, but Margot agrees to a nightcap largely because “she’d had such high expectations for him over the break and it didn’t seem fair that things had fallen apart so quickly.” It isn’t until after they’ve had terrible sex that Margot doesn’t want but doesn’t know how to get out of without seeming “spoiled and capricious,” that she gets an inkling of the elaborate and erroneous fantasy that Robert has concocted about her.

Much of the online appreciation for “Cat Person” testifies to how “relatable” and painfully “real” it is in its meticulous charting of the fluctuation of Margot’s feelings as the evening progresses and one piece of information after another shifts her view of Robert. There’s even a subset of social-media discussion of the story in which readers argue about its genre: Some apparently thought it was nonfiction or some kind of personal essay and others are bemused or disgusted about the former group’s inability to distinguish the difference. As Roupenian told the New Yorker’s fiction editor, Deborah Treisman, in an interview, Margot doesn’t really know anything at all about Robert, and only receives incontrovertible evidence of his character in the story’s last line.* Seen through her unseasoned eyes, he is nearly a blank. This has prompted at least one impressive Twitter thread that builds a profile of Robert as an isolate whose understanding of relationships is based entirely on a “combination of romantic idealization found in movies, anime and the like, and the objectification and violence found in porn,” a theory at least partially supported by the fact that his cats (never seen, and perhaps nonexistent) are named after the pets of the celebrated horror manga artist Junji Ito.

Ours is an age where the reductive aesthetics of the broadsheet prevail, so it’s inevitable that some readers view “Cat Person” as weighing in on a timely issue and offering up lessons, the way personal essays are so often inclined to do. It’s easy to get into the habit of thinking that every imaginative literary work must be made to carry an unambiguous moral. But adamant takes on the rights and wrongs of gender relations are a dime a dozen. “Cat Person” has galvanized its readers precisely because it refuses to be so tendentious, even if their response to it might be the immediate urge to fit it to the procrustean bed of their personal convictions. The story’s power comes from the way it allows for the oceanic complexity of the encounter between Margot and Robert, which feels like both a perennial confusion between human beings and very much a product of its times. Even Robert’s last, nasty text to Margot could be read as an aberration, the heat-of-the-moment lashing out of a lonely, stunted person, genuinely bewildered by a rejection he doesn’t understand. Some of the readers who mistook the story for an essay or “thinkpiece” say they overlooked the New Yorker’s “Fiction” heading because, following a shared link, they read it on their phones. Margot could have told them how much you miss when the window you’re looking through is so small.

*Correction, Dec. 11, 2017: This post originally misspelled Deborah Treisman’s last name.

How To Eat Vegetarian In Vietnam - Food Republic

How To Eat Vegetarian In Vietnam - Food Republic

Food Republic

With affordable prices and delicious eats, there's no going wrong with eating vegetarian in Vietnam.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Dominates SAG Nominations, But No Love for Globes Fave The Post

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Dominates SAG Nominations, But No Love for Globes Fave The Post

by Rachel Withers @ Brow Beat

The 2018 awards season field continued to take shape Wednesday morning with the announcement of the nominees for the Screen Actors Guild Awards. It was a good day for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which scored the most nominations at four, while Lady Bird wasn’t far behind with three.

The SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast is considered a strong predictor for the Oscar Best Picture race—it’s been 22 years since a movie won the Academy Award without getting at least a nomination for the ensemble award—meaning the category is likely to include The Big Sick, Get Out, Lady Bird, Mudbound, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, though some critics are pushing back against this. (As Mark Harris points out, SAG voters and Oscar voters do not consist of the exact same pools of people.)

The Post, which on Monday morning received Golden Globe nominations for Best Drama, Actor, and Actress, received zero SAG nominations, while Oscar-hopefuls Call Me By Your Name and Dunkirk also failed to pick up any acting nominations. (The latter is nominated only in the stunt category.) Get Out is nominated for Best Ensemble, but because SAG rules require an actor to have their own title card to be included in the “ensemble,” Betty Gabriel and Lil Rel Howery aren’t included. Tiffany Haddish was also snubbed again, potentially putting an end to her already long odds of scoring an Oscar nod for her performance in Girls Trip.

Over on the TV side, Big Little Lies continues to dominate every field it enters, with four nominations, though it can only pick up two at most—three of its four nominations are for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie (Laura Dern, Reese Witherspoon, and Nicole Kidman). GLOW also picked up four—Marc Maron and Alison Brie both received nods in the comedy series actor categories, while the whole ensemble was acknowledged for the stunt and comedic categories.

The ceremony, hosted by Kristen Bell, will air live on Sunday, Jan. 21, on TNT and TBS.

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

The Big Sick
Get Out
Lady Bird
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

Timothée Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
James Franco, The Disaster Artist
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

Judi Dench, Victoria & Abdul
Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

Steve Carell, Battle of the Sexes
Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
Hong Chau, Downsizing
Holly Hunter, The Big Sick
Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird

Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture

Baby Driver
War for the Planet of the Apes
Wonder Woman

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series

The Crown
Game of Thrones
The Handmaid’s Tale
Stranger Things
This Is Us

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series

Curb Your Enthusiasm
Orange is the New Black

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series

Jason Bateman, Ozark
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
David Harbour, Stranger Things
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series

Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things
Claire Foy, The Crown
Laura Linney, Ozark
Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale
Robin Wright, House of Cards

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series

Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
Aziz Ansari, Master of None
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Sean Hayes, Will & Grace
William H. Macy, Shameless
Marc Maron, GLOW

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series

Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black
Alison Brie, GLOW
Jane Fonda, Grace and Frankie
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie

Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock
Jeff Daniels, Godless
Robert De Niro, The Wizard of Lies
Geoffrey Rush, Genius
Alexander Skarsgard, Big Little Lies

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie

Laura Dern, Big Little Lies
Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies
Jessica Lange, Feud: Bette and Joan
Susan Sarandon, Feud: Bette and Joan
Reese Witherspoon, Big Little Lies

Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Television Series

Game of Thrones
Stranger Things
The Walking Dead

There’s An Anti-Valentine’s Day Singles Party On Next Week

There’s An Anti-Valentine’s Day Singles Party On Next Week

by James Shackell @ The A List | The Urban List

Staying home and watching Bridget Jones with a bottle of gin is tempting, but we have a better Valentine’s Day solution for singles. Presenting the Bumble Single Mingle at Hawker Hall.

This thing is basically a big middle finger to Hallmark. From 6:30pm next Wednesday, Hawker Hall on Chapel St is going to be turned into one giant cauldron of sizzling sexual potential. There’s going to be kissing booths, speed dating round robins, a photo-booth (with obligatory props), matchmaking experts and ‘Super Like’ drink cards.

And for tunes? Hawker Hall has booked DJ CC Babcock (great name), who’ll be making sweet musical love to your earbuds throughout the night.

Because the night is sponsored by Bumble, ladies get a free drink voucher and must use it to buy a potential suitor a drink (it’s all about making the first move). We’re not sure what the guys do in the meantime—probably stand next to whatever door canapés emerge from.

Here’s the cherry on top: your $45 ticket includes entry and food, and everyone goes in the draw to WIN a night for two at St Jerome’s in the CBD. Score.

The Details

Where: Hawker Hall, 98 Chapel St Windsor When: 6:30pm – Late, Wednesday 14 February For more info, click here. 

Did you hear? Kylie Jenner confirmed she is pregnant and we have a lot of feelings. 

Image credit: Matty Adame 

The Honest Trailer for Star Wars: Return of the Jedi  Dares to Defend the Ewoks

The Honest Trailer for Star Wars: Return of the Jedi  Dares to Defend the Ewoks

by Marissa Martinelli @ Brow Beat

Ahead of the release of The Last Jedi, revisit the third leg of the original Star Wars trilogy with the new Honest Trailer for Return of the Jedi. Be warned, though, that there are some harsh criticisms ahead as Screen Junkies poke fun at the 1983 film's childish antics and comparatively low stakes, which all add up to “a finale that’s almost silly enough to make you question why your identity is so tied to a soap opera about space wizards.”

That said, the Honest Trailer clearly has a lot of affection for Return of the Jedi, even going so far as to defend the cuddly Ewoks, which have long been a point of contention among fans. Haters might complain that the little bearlike creatures were only there to sell toys and were no match for the Empire in battle, but the trailer has an answer for that, too. “There’s no way the mighty Empire would struggle against a smaller, poorly armed force,” the trailer’s narrator explains sarcastically. “What do you think this is, Vietnam? Afghanistan? Little Bighorn? The American Revolution? The Maori? Ethiopia? Afghanistan … again?”

There’s one thing we can all agree on, though, and that's a shared contempt for the special editions and their awful, conspicuous CGI. It’s just that in the Honest Trailer, that contempt comes with a surprising dose of nostalgia for the long-lost “Yub Nub” song.

See also:

Scarlett Johansson Stops by Saturday Night Live to Hang an Ornament on Donald Trump’s Tree of Shame

Scarlett Johansson Stops by Saturday Night Live to Hang an Ornament on Donald Trump’s Tree of Shame

by Matthew Dessem @ Brow Beat

This week’s Saturday Night Live started off with a visit to the Trump White House, where Alec Baldwin’s Trump was celebrating Christmas with his staff. Or, more accurately, forcing the remaining members of his administration to hang an ornament on Trump’s “Tree of Shame” with the face of one of his enemies, which sort of counts as a Christmas celebration.. The gang’s all here, from outright enemies like James Comey to friends-turned-enemies like Mike Flynn to recently-minted enemy Omarosa, who doesn’t rate an ornament, but shows up in person outside the windows, trying desperately to get back into the sunlight of Trump’s love.

The highlight is an unexpected visit from Scarlett Johansson as Ivanka, a role she memorably inhabited in an ad for the Trump daughter’s signature fragrance (“Complicit”) when she hosted in the spring. That part didn’t require much of an impersonation, which is exactly how much of an impersonation Johansson does this week. Still, she gets the best line, revisiting Ivanka’s statement about Roy Moore shortly before her father endorsed him:  “As I said, there’s a special place in hell, and we’re all there.” Second place goes to Trump’s recap of the Moore campaign, one of those things that would be funny if it weren’t exactly what happened:

Poor Roy. I thought for sure he would win. Until he lost. Then I said I always knew he would lose. But at least America knows that I finally supported an accused child molester.

Besides Johansson, it’s a highlight reel of the Saturday Night Live cast’s impersonations from Trumpland: Alex Moffat and Mikey Day as the Trump boys, Aidy Bryant as Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Beck Bennett as Mike Pence, and, above all, Kate McKinnon in dual roles as Kellyanne Conway and Jeff Sessions. It’s also something of an in memoriam tribute all the Trump hangers-on who fell off the gravy train this year, from Sebastian Gorka to Carter Page. God willing, we’ll never have to see Sean Spicer again, but it’s kind of sad to realize we’ll never see Melissa McCarthy’s Sean Spicer impersonation. Or maybe we will. Unfortunately, Jeff Sessions’ Christmas message has the ring of truth:

Merry Christmas! Everybody is going to get away with everything!

Falafel Burgers

by Julia @ Orchard Street Kitchen

Although San Francisco has a great food scene, I still daydream about my two favorite quick lunch spots in Chicago, Pret a Manger and Roti. Between Pret’s falafel wrap and Roti’s falafel salad, I was pretty set for life. Notice a trend? I’ve got quite an obsession with falafel. Enter these falafel burgers, which are... 

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The post Falafel Burgers appeared first on Orchard Street Kitchen.

5 Awesome Things To Do In Melbourne This Week

5 Awesome Things To Do In Melbourne This Week

by Gen Phelan @ The A List | The Urban List

Now that Melb’s has had its mandatory mid-summer hissy fit, it’s time to get back to business. The call to action: dismiss the brollies, grab those togs, assemble your mates, deploy the bevs. We’ve got a lineup of free concerts for the musos, plant sales for the green thumbs, and prime destinations to watch (imbibe and pretend to understand what's going on) Superbowl showdown. Get ready to reclaim the sunshine season.

Here’s 5 awesome things to do this week in Melbourne.

Monday 5 February

Superbowl at the Waterside Hotel

It’s game time at the Waterside Hotel. We’re talking live and loud coverage of America’s favourite match of the year, ever-flowing booze and free half-time wings (!!). For more viewing hotspots check out this definitive Melbourne Super Bowl guide.

Where: 508 Flinders St When: From 9am, Monday 5 February For more info, click here.

Wednesday 7 February

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Free Concert Series

Move along, Coachella. The Sidney Myer Music Bowl is hosting a series of free concerts for all the classical cats out there. Bring a picnic blanket, get cosy and indulge in the string-centric score of this Summer.

Where: Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Kings Domain Gardens, Linlithgow Ave When: 7:30pm (Gates open at 4:30pm), Wednesday 7 February, Saturday 10 February, Wednesday 14 February For more info, click here.

Thursday 8 February

Cooking with Food Waste at the Queen Victoria Market

If you’ve just thrown out your fourth carton of milk for the New Year, the Queen Victoria Market’s Cooking with Food Waste demonstrations are your one-way ticket to ending a guilty conscience and getting the most bang for your weekly shopping buck.  

Where: The Queen Victoria Market, A Shed, Corner of Peel St and Victoria St When: 1pm-2pm, every Thursday, from 1 February-22 February For more info, click here.

HWKR Launch Party

A devilishly tasty lineup of Asian-style cuisine is in store as Melbourne’s CBD cuts the ribbon on our newest foodie haven: HWKR Food Centre. It's gonna change the foodie game in the city, and they're throwing the launch party open to the public! Cut the red ribbon and unbutton those jeans.

Where: Eq. Tower, Ground Floor, 137 A’Beckett Street, Melbourne When: 8pm-late, Thursday 8 February For more info, click here.

Friday 9 February 

Taco & Tequila Festival

Whatever you were gonna do on Friday night, cancel that sh*t. Preston's Food Truck Park is throwing a huge taco & tequila festival. Entry is free, puppies are welcome, and there may or may not be a mariachi band. 

Where: The Food Truck Park, 518 High St Preston When: From5pm, 9 - 11 February For more info, click here

Deep in a food coma? Claim the couch and make your way through these docos

Image credit: Polymu Photography 

Banh Mi Zon - Official Website | Order Online Direct

Banh Mi Zon - Official Website | Order Online Direct

Banh Mi Zon - NYC - Official Website

Banh Mi Zon - Official Website - Order Online Direct - Avoid Unnecessary Fees - Apply Instant Coupons During Order - It Pays To Click Local

Interview with teachers in Thailand: Bob and Corona from the States

by Joanna @ The Blond Travels

It’s been almost 5 years since I did my TEFL course with SEE TEFL in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Wow! I can’t really believe it. Time goes fast. I still think that the month I spent training to become a teacher was one of the best times in my life. I really got to learn a […]

Now That Roy Moore Has Lost, Laugh Along With Jimmy Kimmel at His Dumb Spokespeople

Now That Roy Moore Has Lost, Laugh Along With Jimmy Kimmel at His Dumb Spokespeople

by Matthew Dessem @ Brow Beat

There hasn’t been much opportunity to kick back and laugh at the mind-bogglingly stupid things Donald Trump and the Republican Party have been doing lately, at least not without feeling simultaneously demoralized by the fact that these boneheads are in power. Tonight was an exception. Doug Jones won his Alabama senate race, defeating Roy Moore, who was comically loathsome even before the allegations that he preyed on teens surfaced. Not electing a child molester isn’t a high bar for a nation to clear, but by God we cleared it.

Which means that we can all snicker at Moore’s clown car of a campaign without the sickening feeling that he’s going to get elected anyway! Jimmy Kimmel didn’t know that his jokes would be guilt-free when he taped his segment about Moore tonight, but he’d already made up his mind about the race, as he explained:

Anyway, I don’t know the results yet, the polls just closed. But I do know that Roy Moore—Roy Moore shouldn’t even be in the race. And I’m not talking about the Senate race, I mean the human race is what he should not be in.

We can’t do anything about Moore’s place in the human race, but it turns out he’s not going to Washington. So please enjoy Kimmel’s retrospective of the Moore campaign’s greatest hits: Kayla Moore confessing that “one of our attorneys is a Jew,” Roy Moore saying his wife had “closer contact with kids than I do,” Moore’s Vietnam buddy defending him by telling a story about their trip to a child brothel, and, most of all, Moore campaign spokesperson Ted Crockett rendered completely speechless by the news that you don’t have to use a Christian bible to be sworn into office. Wait a minute: Those aren’t the Moore campaign’s greatest hits. Everything Kimmel is talking about happened in the last day or so. Imagine the kind of stunts Moore would have pulled with a few years in the Senate! Now that he’s lost—even if he hasn’t conceded—Roy Moore and his supporters have moved from “genuine threat” to “guy stepping on a bunch of rakes,” so watching Kimmel make fun of him is an unalloyed delight. Good riddance.

BonBon Residence

by admin @ Eating Saigon!

BonBon Residence 2C8 Trường Sa Street P. 19, Bình Thạnh District **************************************** Let’s get this out of the way right up front.  I hate the name BonBon Residence.  Sounds like an assisted-living home for expired frozen treats. And, I want to be clear that Eating Saigon! is not in the business of reviewing the Saigon hotel/housing [Read on ...]

New Saigon Bakery & Deli offers sweet and savory treats for veggie-eaters

New Saigon Bakery & Deli offers sweet and savory treats for veggie-eaters


Federal Boulevard is a great adventure if you love ethnic food -- but it's not always easy to tell what's vegetarian-friendly. And if you're a vegan, you'll have an even more difficult time separating the fish cakes from tofu. At New Saigon Bakery & Deli, though, you can enjoy a...

Have Your Own Super Bowl: Host a Cookbook Club Pho Party!

by Andrea Nguyen @ Viet World Kitchen

Meet Kristin. She’s sitting in front of four (4!) bowls of homemade pho. How did she manage to score that kind of jackpot? She and her husband Eric, along with a group of friends, have a private cookbook club. “Most of us went to college together so it’s a great way to stay connected,” she...

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24 Geelong Brunch Dishes You Need To Try This Summer

24 Geelong Brunch Dishes You Need To Try This Summer

by Millie Lester @ The A List | The Urban List

Sometimes our readers like to *kindly* request we explore ‘happening’ food scenes a little further outside of the inner Metro Melbourne bubble. Well, how do you like us now?? We’ve fuelled up the car, popped a pack of Allen’s Strawberries & Cream in the glove box, and driven no less than 75 kilometres from the CBD to taste test the thriving metropolis of coastal Geelong.

And here are 24 brunch dishes worth leaving Fitzroy for this summer.

The Green Breaky with seed toast, kale pesto, wilted spinach, avocado & poached eggs & pepitas at the James Street Bakery. The Brekky Nasi Goreng with fried eggs, chilli, spring onions, peanuts & housemade nam jim from Go Cafe. The peanut butter waffle with peanut butter mousse, strawberry jam, salted peanuts, chocolate crumble & strawberries at Freckle Duck. The Benedict Trio with three golden muffins, three poached eggs & house-made hollandaise, topped with smoked salmon, spinach & champagne ham at Sailors’ Rest. The Bear Bowl with coconut oil, sauteed Asian greens, kale, purple cabbage, lemon, asparagus, chilli, free range fried egg, sesame seeds & pickled pink onion at Bear & Bean. The Okonomiyaki with Japanese-style savoury cabbage & vegetable pancake, topped with a fried egg, nori, pickled ginger, kewpie mayo, okonomiyaki & sriracha sauce from Down The Alley. Persian waffles with yoghurt cream, Turkish delight, pistachios, rosewater honey & fairy floss at A Spot For Joe. The Brekky Panini with ham, cheese, tomato & seeded may from Fuel: Coffee + Food. The vegan Choc Lamington Waffle with coconut, strawberry jam, chocolate sauce & raspberry sorbet from The Backyard. The Spring Vegetable Omelette with miso & bacon from Little Green Corner. The BBQ Pulled Pork Eggs Benedict at John Doe Speciality Coffee. The Spanish Baked Eggs with tomato concasse, roast capsicum, cannellini beans, onion & chorizo, served with Zeally Bay Sourdough at Black Cup Cafe. The Haloumi & Corn Fritters with avocado, yoghurt, dukkah & poached eggs at Chapel On Little Ryrie. The Matcha Vegan Waffle with fruit sorbet, strawberry compote, banana chips & pana chocolate at King Of The Castle Cafe. The Oreo Pancakes with whipped vanilla bean creme, dark chocolate biscuit, vanilla ice cream, warm fudge syrup & strawberry compote at 63 Degrees. The Cinnamon Crumpets with roasted pears, walnut granola, maple & mascarpone at Three Little Figs. The Brioche French Toast with seasonal poached fruit, mascarpone, maple syrup & roasted almonds at Two Sugars on Pako. The Warm Almond & Brown Rice Pudding with poached rhubarb, chia, sunflower crunch & Alpine Coconut Yoghurt from The Pickers Union. The Sri Lankan Eggs Benedict with two poached eggs on hoppers, ham, spinach & hollandaise sauce at Rook: Sri Lankan Fusion. The Spanish Churros with fresh berries & rich chocolate sauce at Wharf Shed Cafe. The Burrito Bowl with wild rice, sweetcorn & onion fritters, cucumber & tomato salad, seeds, raita & grilled lime at Sticks & Grace. The Eggs Benedict on potato rosti with bacon & hollandaise sauce at Eddy & Wills. The Ricotta Hotcakes with blackberry mascarpone, seeds, pistachio, berries & maple syrup at Winter’s Cafe. The Corn & Black Bean Fritters with avocado, tomato & radish salad, ricotta salata, mojo verde & poached eggs at House Iberia.

While you're down in Geelong you should check out Rone's latest work.

Image credit: A Spot For Joe

10 Bold Recipes For A Japanese Fusion Feast

by Food Republic @ Food Republic

Feel like Japanese food tonight but aren’t so great at making sushi? We gathered up our favorite Japanese fusion recipes — no sushi-making skills required — for a dinner that hits every flavor note you’re craving. Soy and yuzu? Check. Uni and rice? You bet! Noodles, rice bowls, salads and tasty fried things? Right this […]

The post 10 Bold Recipes For A Japanese Fusion Feast appeared first on Food Republic.

These Fancy Hush Puppies Are More Than Just Fried Cornmeal

by Garrett Snyder @ Los Angeles Magazine

Your mouth is about to head to the South

The post These Fancy Hush Puppies Are More Than Just Fried Cornmeal appeared first on Los Angeles Magazine.

Hàn Phố – Mì Quảng at its Best

by admin @ Eating Saigon!

Hàn Phố 14/40d Kỳ Đồng Street P.9, Q.3 08.22470550 0913106700 ******************************** SETTING: It’s a new year (2018 Western calendar). It’s Hai’s birthday (he won’t let me give you his exact age, but he’s not in his 30’s anymore). It’s just 24 hours into our return to Saigon after many months away.  And now, it’s time [Read on ...]

The Five Best Things to Do in L.A. This Weekend

by Marielle Wakim @ Los Angeles Magazine

Starting with free entry to more than 30 museums

The post The Five Best Things to Do in L.A. This Weekend appeared first on Los Angeles Magazine.

Warm up with this Thai tilapia dish

Warm up with this Thai tilapia dish

by Linda Gassenheimer @ Twin Cities

Thai peanut sauce and coconut milk add an intriguing flavor to tilapia. For this recipe they are simmered together creating a flavorful sauce to gently coat the fish. Peanut sauce is the base for many Thai dishes and is made from roasted peanuts, soy sauce and spices. There are several types in the supermarket. I […]

Where to Find the Best Bánh Mi In Eden Center - Falls Church News-Press Online

Where to Find the Best Bánh Mi In Eden Center - Falls Church News-Press Online

Falls Church News-Press Online

The Little City’s Eden Center is home to more bánh mì per square foot than just about anywhere else on the east coast.

7 of the best banh mi around metro Atlanta

7 of the best banh mi around metro Atlanta


I love the little rebellion that is the banh mi, a Vietnamese sandwich built on a French baguette.

The most popular Saigon street food – Bánh mì

The most popular Saigon street food – Bánh mì

Eating Saigon!

Bánh Mì Huỳnh Hoa 26 Le Thi Rieng Street District 1 ***** Where is the best Bánh Mì in Saigon? I think I know. Bánh mì is among the most popular and ubiquitous street foods in Saigon. Walk any stre…

Overland from Chiang Mai to Vientiane: A cheap and easy way to get from Thailand to Laos

by Joanna @ The Blond Travels

Travelling overland from Chiang Mai to Vientiane is an easy and cheap way to get from Thailand to Laos. It is a very popular way of doing visa and border runs for many backpackers and expats, who want to stay in the Land of Smiles a bit longer. Ticket prices are reasonable – for only 750 […]

Tracee Ellis Ross Reads a Children’s Book About Our Current Cultural Monster: Sexual Harassers

Tracee Ellis Ross Reads a Children’s Book About Our Current Cultural Monster: Sexual Harassers

by Marissa Martinelli @ Brow Beat

Jimmy Kimmel is taking the week off to spend time with his family after his son’s surgery, but Jimmy Kimmel Live! has continued to air new episodes with a roster of celebrity guest hosts filling in. On Tuesday, Tracee Ellis Ross took the reins and used the opportunity to talk about sexual harassment in the news. “First of all, let’s start with the fact that it isn’t a sex scandal. It isn’t a Hollywood scandal,” she said. “It isn’t even a scandal. It is a systemic problem about the abuse of power that takes place across all industries.”

Since some men seem to be confused about what does or does not constitute harassment, Ross decided to explain it to them in the simplest possible way, using a children’s book that she wrote about—and for—sexual harassers. “There is a guy, with ten long fingers/ creepy glares, and hugs that linger./ If you’re a woman, you’re not a fan./ I speak, of course, of The Handsy Man.”

Ross went on to explain, in rhyme, which behaviors are unacceptable in the workplace and elsewhere, for all the Handsy Men out there:

You may not compliment my butt
You may not call me “ho” or “slut.”
And even if you’re stoned or drunk,
Do not expose me to your junk.
And if I am your employee
Don’t rest your hand upon my knee.
No, I won’t sit on your lap.
I shouldn’t have to say this crap.

That sound you just heard is a dozen publishers picking up the phone to try to snap up the rights.

The Trump Era Has Taken Some of the Fun Out of The Book of Mormon

The Trump Era Has Taken Some of the Fun Out of The Book of Mormon

by Lila Thulin @ Brow Beat

The most satisfying moment in The Book of Mormon might be when a disillusioned and rumpled Elder Price, a formerly straight-laced and pompous Mormon missionary, says the word fuck. The savage catharsis of that line is what the political hell (H-E-double-hockey-sticks, if you ask the musical’s proselyting characters) of 2017 demands. But all the profanity in the world—and Book of Mormon, the brainchild of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, delights in being foulmouthed—can’t make the critically acclaimed musical as riotous a piece of satire as it was before last year’s election. After all, when Book of Mormon made its Tony-winning Broadway debut in 2011, Donald Trump was firing celebrities from The Apprentice, not threatening North Korea with “fire and fury.” But as it’s performed in today’s political context, Book of Mormon has become a tangle of Trumpian echoes, offering incomplete escapism and blunted commentary.

This fault line was evident at the touring production of the musical I attended at the Kennedy Center last month. (The tour is currently making its way through Florida, then heads west in the new year, and the New York production is still one of the highest-grossing shows on Broadway.) The audience still guffawed, the tunes were as catchy as ever, but I couldn’t sink into the sheer escapist absurdity of the satire the way I had when I first watched Book of Mormon in San Francisco two and a half years earlier; I was constantly reminded of the political reality of the Trump White House just one mile away.

From the curtain lift, Book of Mormon emphasizes the religious fervor of its missionaries; the first big musical number sees a host of ever-friendly Elders persistently ringing doorbells. But these days, religious fervor appears not just on our doorsteps but in policymaking, and when birth control coverage is being stripped away, the missionaries’ zealotry feels a lot less laughable. In this setting, the chorus of self-serious, squeaky-clean missionaries brings to mind the image of a dozen Mike Pences, pre-Mother. “Turn It Off,” a number about the repression of same-sex desire, has gained a sinister veneer in a world where the president jokes that his hyperdevout second in command “wants to hang” gay people. Lyrics like “When you start to feel confused/ about thoughts inside your head/ don’t feel those feelings!/ Hold them in instead,” could also make a very good anthem for the GOP congress people singing about squashing their consciences. (Just imagine Paul Ryan leading McConnell and the other rank-and-file conservatives in the tap routine.) It’s harder to giggle at religion when it’s become a political force to be reckoned with.

To be fair, a musical about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not exactly interchangeable with a song-and-dance story the evangelical right and the uneasy bedfellow it’s found in Trumpism. Mitt Romney won 28 percent more votes in the deep-red and majority-Mormon state of Utah than Trump, whose Islamophobia, lack of decorum, and anti-immigration sentiment many Mormons find off-putting. Mormon politicians have proven to be some of the president’s more outspoken conservative critics (see: Jeff Flake, third-party candidate Evan McMullin, Romney). But data from a 2014 Pew study showed that Mormons are the most consistently Republican-leaning religious group in America, and slightly more of them disapprove of abortion and homosexuality than even evangelical Protestants. These are the same faith-based, socially conservative views influencing this administration’s policy.

Beyond nagging reminders of the religious right, Book of Mormon is laden with unintentional Trumpian overtures. Of course, that’s partially because everything nowadays is Trump-saturated. (When was the last time you saw a tomato-red baseball cap or heard the word tremendous without cringing a little?) But you can also credit it to Stone and Parker’s brand of comedy, which lambasts political correctness. “The things that we do—being outrageous and taking things to the extreme to get a reaction—[Trump]’s using those tools,” Trey Parker told the Los Angeles Times. The braggadocio of “You and Me (But Mostly Me)” could easily have been a Saturday Night Live riff on Trump’s “I alone can fix it” bluster, staged as a buddy song between him and Pence. But like Alec Baldwin’s caricature of Trump on SNL, an onslaught of one-note Trump imitation grows exhausting.

That’s not to say Parker and Stone’s satire has wholly lost its edge; indeed, jabs at the LDS Church’s racist past got some of the loudest laughs, perhaps due to how glaringly applicable Charlottesville and a race-baiting president have shown them to be today (or more cynically, maybe because for an audience of white liberals, calling out racism through humor relieves the conscience and avoids some of the harder, privilege-dismantling work). But in other moments, jokes that apply Trump-adopted techniques—like the lark that “God’s favorite prophet was all-American” (referencing New Yorker Joseph Smith)—feel inadequate given how charged the notion of “all-American” has become in the midst of open xenophobia and endless respect-the-flag debates.

Besides, we go to musicals for an escape from reality, not a million stinging paper-cut reminders of it. That’s why the more outlandish numbers, like “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream,” where Elder Price gets taunted by Genghis Khan and also dancing Starbucks cups, are still fun. Even dressed up in sparkles and sharp choreography, the other numbers felt like garish versions of what we see with every push alert. So much for escapism; the marble halls of Washington are now a real-life spooky hell dream of your own.

But it’s Book of Mormon’s grand conclusion that shows how much the political ground has shifted. The overarching message—that for all its flaws, faith in something that can’t be proven is good—is better suited to the hopey-changey Obama presidency, not this post-truth Trump world where facts have become a more precious commodity. Like our president, the musical’s protagonist, Elder Cunningham, is prone to fibbing and underprepared for his job; when his limited knowledge of the Book of Mormon fails him, he tells outlandish half-truths that blend doctrine with Star Wars: “In ancient New York, three men were about to cut off a Mormon woman’s … clitoris. But … right before they did, Jesus had … BOBA FETT turn ’em into FROGS!” Yes, Stone and Parker wink at the idea that these lies aren’t too much more ludicrous than some of the Mormon beliefs they ridicule, like the prospect of the Nephite people leaving ancient Jerusalem to live in North America two-plus millennia ago. But by the final song, the cast holds out a new holy book: the Book of Arnold. To me, it was an uncomfortable remembrance of how Trump’s base supports him with borderline religious fervor, of how the evangelical right has found its morals flexible when it comes to politically expedient partnerships, of just how eagerly people can embrace untruths.

Reviewing the musical in 2014, the New York Times critic Ben Brantley wrote, “The Book of Mormon is about the triumph of faith in fantasy.” Faith in fantasy—be it the liberal fantasy of the first woman president or the Trump-peddled notion that his “great” response to Hurricane Maria was twisted by the media—does not feel like something to sing about; it’s been weaponized. “I Believe,” a soaring ode proclaiming faith in the stranger points of LDS doctrine, is a song for 2008 Obama, for Bill Clinton gleefully batting balloons at the Democratic National Convention and feeling confident Hillary would win. But now, cynicism feels more apt than sincerity. Perhaps that’s why I found the smaller, interpersonal numbers that pay more attention to the characters than their stereotypes or the songs that voice frustration (like when the Ugandans cuss out God) the most enjoyable this time around. Faith feels foolish, but protest is in style.

Horoscopes | Your Co(s)mic Week Ahead

Horoscopes | Your Co(s)mic Week Ahead

by Marina Nazario @ The A List | The Urban List

The universe is going absolutely apesh*t this week, and we don’t blame it. Did you happen to see that Super Blue Blood Moon last week? Yeah, it’s getting a lil weird up in here.

You may be feeling moody, romantic, energetic or all of the above. It’s all the Stars’ fault, so you just have to deal with it. Here’s what your horoscope has in store for you this week.


The first week of February has you feeling pretty cheeky, Aries, and you should WERK. IT. Use this attitude to your advantage and get shit done. Set up a Tinder date and don’t cancel, commit to a work deadline (for once) and feed your cat. You’re doing great, sweetie.


This is your week to embrace Rihanna's words and work, work, work, work, work. Get the point? Keep your eye on the prize and get shit done. Make that cash monnnaayyy.


You’re turning up the heat, Gems! Feeling a little saucy, are we? Ow, owww. Your focus is on romance and travel this week, so why don’t you plan a little trip with your lover and hit the road. Spice things up a bit, eh?


Feeling a little all over the place, Cancer? Aw, it’s all good. Just write out down your priorities for the week and take a little ‘me’ time. But don’t totallyyyy cut yourself off, we wanna hang out!  


The Cosmos think this is going to be a love-filled week for you. LUCKY YOU. If you’ve been thinking about taking your relationship to the next level, now’s the time to do it. So why not look into where to find some new lingerie and get freakyyy.  


Oi! Calm down, Virgo. What has your pants in a ruffle this week? Whatever it is, why don’t you put that angsty energy into something productive like taking a sweaty cycle class or telling Karen at work that her top looks nice (it’s okay to stretch the truth).  


Whoa, trim the sails! You’re feeling pretty on top of the world right now, Virgo! If you’re single, let your freak flag fly this Thursday and Friday night. If you’re in a relationship, maybe take date night to a new level *wink, wink*. This week is all about you doing you. We’ll try to keep up.  


The cosmos thinks you’ve been going out and having too much fun recently. Time to reel it in (their words, not ours). Enjoy a few nights in this week and catch up on Netflix. Although, we won’t stop you if can’t control this fun streak. Hey, maybe invite us out every once in a while, Scorp?


Ugh, Sag you’re caught in a routine and we know you’re squirming. The Stars think you should keep at it *sigh* (but we’re here for you if you wanna let loose). Knowing you, you’ll probably defy the Stars and break free of your day-to-day work. We’ll play the demon on your shoulder and support you.


In the words of this year’s Hottest 100 winner, Kendrick Lamar, money trees is the perfect place for shade. And you are balliiinnnn in the green stuff this week, Cap. The Cosmos don’t think you should make it rain but rather make some investments instead. (It’ll pay off in the long run.)


Your energy and charisma are at its peak this week so use it wisely. Put that ambition into achieving an important goal, like eating your way through your city's best chicken wings. Duh.


Roll up your sleeves and get shit done this week, Pieces. Soz to break it to you, but there’s no time for rest. You have deadlines to meet and Tinder dates to cancel. Take it as a positive that your boss is piling work on your desk. That means they like to think you’re really good at what you do. Grab a coffee and keep at it.

Image credit: Gabrielle Stjernqvist

Banh Mi Pacific West Coast

Banh Mi Pacific West Coast

Banh Mi Battle

Share your favorite place so that if any of us are far away from home, we can satisfy our yearnings for a good sandwich in any part of the country. Difference of opinions will arise, but remember t...

Saturday Night Live Discovers the Secret Ingredient to Staging the Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Saturday Night Live Discovers the Secret Ingredient to Staging the Best Christmas Pageant Ever

by Matthew Dessem @ Brow Beat

Christmas pageants are an inevitable, inevitably terrible part of the holiday season, but as Barbara Robinson knew, they can sometimes be tolerable if—and only if—everything goes horribly wrong. That’s just what happened in this Saturday Night Live sketch, in which a llama saves Christmas by appearing in a nativity pageant in the role of a camel, then saves Christmas again by getting a gigantic llama-sized erection. It’s great to see a Saturday Night Live llama graduate from running gag to featured player, and host Kevin Hart and the rest of the cast do a great job of playing off their new co-star.

But just what was going on behind that blanket? To find out, I consulted Llama and Alpaca Care: Medicine, Surgery, Reproduction, Nutrition, and Herd Health, where I discovered the following facts about llamas:

The camelid penis is fibroclastic and is retracted into its sheath via a prescrotal sigmoid flexur. The length of the penis ranges from 35 to 45 cm in llamas and alpacas. The penis is cylindrical, gradually decreasing in diameter from its root at the ischiatic arch to the neck of the glans penis (collum glandis, preputial reflection). The penis originates…

Ok, we’re just going to throw a blanket over that block quote and move along like it never happened. As you have probably noticed, Slate articles rarely incorporate clinical descriptions of llama penises, and I am coming to realize that this lack of llama penis articles was less a “grave oversight” and more of a “sensible editorial stance,” so I hope you’ll forgive this error. There are many articles on Slate that do not include facts about llama penises, and I’d encourage you to read them, lest you draw mistaken conclusions about Slate’s editorial focus. In the meantime, let’s talk about something other than llama penises. How’s politics? Do you like reading about politics? How about we make a little deal: you tell anyone who asks that this article was about politics, and I won’t tell anyone you ended up reading an article about llama penises.

Be The Best Valentine And Make Your Own Chocolates

by Tiffany @ Food Republic

Strap on your heart-shaped apron, it’s time to get romantic. And what could be more romantic than making sweets for your sweet with your own two hands? Our friends at ChefSteps wrote in this week with tips to tempering chocolate to ensure ultra smooth silkiness. This recipe is a little more involved than the usual sous vide […]

The post Be The Best Valentine And Make Your Own Chocolates appeared first on Food Republic.

25 Things to Make Your Valentine for Breakfast — Recipes from The Kitchn

by Dana Velden @ Kitchn | Inspiring cooks, nourishing homes

Celebrating Valentine's Day over breakfast can be a special thing. Even if you're getting the kids ready for school or heading out at dawn for an early work meeting, a special breakfast can still happen. You can make it even more special if lingering is possible!

So instead of going out to dinner, start with a rosé Champagne cocktail and whip up something special like a roasted radish and herbed ricotta omelet. Or maybe it's just a really gorgeous piece of avocado toast. The point is to make a little fuss over breakfast. It's a charming way to sweeten your day.


All the President’s Men Took Katharine Graham Out of the Washington Post’s History. The Post Puts Her Back In.

All the President’s Men Took Katharine Graham Out of the Washington Post’s History. The Post Puts Her Back In.

by Jason Bailey @ Brow Beat

All the President’s Men is famous for its accuracy. Whenever possible, director Alan J. Pakula shot the story of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s Watergate investigation on the locations where the real-life story took place, and when the Washington Post’s newsroom wasn't available, the production built a meticulous recreation, even importing trash from the Post’s wastebaskets to fill their own.

The Post’s publisher, however, wasn’t accorded the same respect as its garbage. For all that it gets right, All the President’s Men steps flagrantly wrong in its treatment—and, frankly, its erasure—of Katharine Graham. But she’s the central figure, played by Meryl Streep, in Steven Spielberg’s new drama The Post: a lesser film, to be sure, but one that does a great to deal to correct the popular perception of this important woman.

Graham was the daughter of Eugene Meyer, who bought the bankrupt Post in 1933 and restored its finances and reputation. Thirteen years later, Meyer retired and handed the reins to Katharine’s husband, Philip Graham, who battled alcoholism and depression even though the paper continued to thrive. When he ended his own life in 1963, Katharine took over, overseeing not only the paper’s turn to profitability but its ascension from local publication to national investigative force—first via their publication of portions of the Pentagon Papers and then by breaking the story of the Watergate burglary and its cover-up.

And yet, Graham is barely represented in the film version of All the President’s Men. She’s never seen, and mentioned only once, in a scene in which Bernstein calls Attorney General John Mitchell for comment, and his furious response includes the growled warning, “Katie Graham’s going to get her tit caught in a big fat wringer if that’s published.” In the next scene, Bradlee decrees that the quote will run, but without the words “her tit,” because “this is a family newspaper.” That, according to the film, is the extent of Graham’s participation in the Watergate investigation.

All the President’s Men was bound to its source material, and Woodward and Bernstein’s book mentions Graham a mere nine times—10 if you count the acknowledgements. But in fact, she was the first person the Post’s managing editor, Howard Simons, called on the morning of June 17, 1972, acting on a tip from Joe Califano (lawyer for both the Post and the Democratic National Committee). He spoke to Graham and not Bradlee that morning—the executive editor, according to Graham’s autobiography, Personal History, “was at his cabin in West Virginia, with a phone that didn’t work”—before calling metropolitan editor Harry Rosenfeld, who called city news editor Barry Sussman, who assigned the story.

From there, Graham writes, it went to Bob Woodward and eventually Carl Bernstein, whose "extraordinary investigative and reporting efforts" she duly credits. But she also adds, carefully, “the cast of characters at the Post who contributed to the story from its inception was considerable.” Graham does not detail her own day-to-day involvement in the story, but in his own book A Good Life, Bradlee does. “Katharine’s support was born during the labor pains that produced the Pentagon Papers,” he writes. “She was coming down before she left almost every night, and generally once or twice more every day. What did ‘we’ have for tomorrow, and what were ‘the boys’ working on for the next day or two?”

He notes, of the ultimate triumph of the story, “We had been supported by the publisher every step of the way, and she had withstood enormous pressures to stand by our side. Pressures from her friends as well as her enemies.” That dramatic element—the stern warnings she received from friends and acquaintances in her Beltway social circle like Nixon’s Secretary of Commerce Peter Peterson, Henry Kissinger, and even John Ehrlichman—is entirely absent from All the President’s Men, as are the public, personal attacks from Republican attack dogs like Senator Bob Dole. (“Oh, you know,” he later told her, “during a campaign they put these things in your hands, and you just read them.”)

The simplest rejoinder to these complaints is that Graham, as an executive, fell outside the purview of the on-the-ground reporting that was the focus of Woodward and Bernstein’s book and its film adaptation. By her own admission, within the time frame covered by the film (its Teletyped postscripts aside, it concludes with Nixon’s second inauguration, in January of 1973), she had “hardly any contact with the reporters.” But even her minimal interactions had juice; in their book, Woodward and Bernstein conclude, of the “big fat wringer” story, “At the Post the next morning, Mrs. Graham asked Bernstein if he had any more messages for her”—a grace note that’s repeated in both Bradlee’s and Graham’s books but not in the movie.

What The Post ultimately dramatizes, and ATPM skips, was the public validation of the paper’s key figure. After the Watergate dam broke, Bradlee writes, “Katharine Graham, God bless her ballsy soul, was going to have the last laugh on all those establishment publishers and owners who had been so condescending to her, and all those Wall Street types turned statesmen who warned her every day that we were going too far.” That conflict gives The Post much of its soul and its substance. It details this powerful woman’s struggle to claim her place among men who don’t even have the courtesy to lower their voices when issuing slags like “Katie throws a great party, but her father gave the paper to her husband"—and eventually her triumph in her field.

The Post has its own accuracy issues—most notably, it overstates Graham’s initial naïveté at the service of her dramatic arc—and a few of its moments of empowerment, like the gaggle of young women gazing upon her visage as she descends the Supreme Court steps, are more than a little corny. But it takes pains to set the record straight about Graham in particular and the place of women in journalism in general, in sharp contrast to ATPM, in which the only women in the newsroom are secretaries and reporters who are only able to help our heroes via their personal/sexual interactions, rather than their investigative acumen.

The Post ends with an homage to ATPM that is the newspaper-movie equivalent of a Marvel post-credits crossover scene. But the dialogue between the films surpasses just explicit echoes. In Bradlee’s book, in the midst of his Watergate chapter, he goes off on a long tangent about Duke Ziebert’s, “an extremely exclusive and sexist club” where he frequently dined with attorney Edward Bennet Williams and columnist Art Buchwald; “Kay would eat with us from time to time,” he writes, but they childishly teased and withdrew the possibility of Graham becoming a member. When she wasn’t there, they would entertain themselves thus: “From time to time during our meals—liberated as we all were—we would play quick games of ‘Wouldya’ as persons of the female persuasion crossed our fields of vision.”

That was the atmosphere in which Katharine Graham was operating, a boys’ club, in which women were either objects of aesthetic gratification or invisible. And perhaps from this distance, that’s the best lens through which to view All the President’s Men: as a contemporaneous example of exactly the kind of casual sexism that Graham battles in The Post and, frankly, battled throughout her life.

Useful Tips And Suggestions for Going Vegetarian in Saigon

Useful Tips And Suggestions for Going Vegetarian in Saigon

The Christina's Blog

If you're a vegetarian and worried that there will be no diverse food options for you in Saigon, fret no more! Here are our top picks for you to dine in!

Jada Pinkett Smith Goes Off on the Golden Globes for Failing to Nominate Tiffany Haddish

Jada Pinkett Smith Goes Off on the Golden Globes for Failing to Nominate Tiffany Haddish

by Aisha Harris @ Brow Beat

The Golden Globe nominations were announced on Monday, and among the biggest head-scratchers from the list was the absence of movies and performances like The Big Sick and Tiffany Haddish’s standout role in Girls’ Trip, and nominations for directing for Jordan Peele (Get Out) and Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird). Perhaps(?) coincidentally, those critically acclaimed crowd-pleasers all prominently involved women and/or people of color, as many have noted.* After vaguely expressing her own disappointment yesterday, Jada Pinkett Smith, one of Haddish’s co-stars, revisited the subject in more depth on Twitter today.

Even though the Golden Globes are generally regarded as less “serious” and far more unpredictable than other awards—they’re voted on by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a small organization made up of under 100 members, in comparison to the academy’s 8,000-plus membership bloc—there is something to be said for the structural barriers that still exist for women and people of color in the industry writ large, as Pinkett Smith points out. The Golden Globes, like the Oscars and other award shows, are a reflection of that.

A source with knowledge of the Golden Globes process tells me that there was a screening for HFPA members held on July 18. And as Variety’s Kristopher Tapley tweeted, they were also sent screeners, so it seems like they had ample opportunity to see it, which has also been available to stream and rent since the fall. (Tapley does also confirm that they were unable to get a press conference together for Girls Trip and Get Out, due to conflicts.) It’s unclear how many members have actually seen the film, which has made far north of $100 million at the box office. But it’s hard to imagine which potential backstory might be worse—that they didn’t bother to see this excellent comedy that happened to star four black women, or that they did, and were somehow immune to the uproarious charms of Haddish.

Dec. 12, 2017: This post originally misspelled Jordan Peele's last name.

Jason Mraz to play Minnesota State Fair Grandstand

Jason Mraz to play Minnesota State Fair Grandstand

by Ross Raihala @ Twin Cities

“I’m Yours” hitmaker Jason Mraz will headline the Minnesota State Fair Grandstand on Aug. 28 with support from Brett Dennen. Tickets are $49 and $39 and go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday through Etix and by phone at 800-514-3849. The State Fair’s ticket office will also open from 10 a.m. to noon that day […]

Danny Masterson Written Out of Netflix’s The Ranch Following Rape Allegations

Danny Masterson Written Out of Netflix’s The Ranch Following Rape Allegations

by Marissa Martinelli @ Brow Beat

Netflix has announced that actor Danny Masterson is no longer working on The Ranch as of Tuesday. Masterson, who is also known for appearing on That ’70s Show, has been accused of rape and sexual assault by four women and is currently under investigation by the Los Angeles County District Attorney and the LAPD. Masterson has denied the allegations, which he calls “outrageous.”

“As a result of ongoing discussions, Netflix and the producers have written Danny Masterson out of The Ranch,” a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement. “Yesterday was his last day on the show, and production will resume in early 2018 without him.”

Netflix has faced mounting pressure to act on the Masterson allegations over the past several days, especially after taking action against Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K. The news of Masterson’s departure comes shortly after a HuffPost report in which one of his alleged victims approached a Netflix executive on the sidelines of a children’s soccer game in Los Angeles to ask him why Netflix had not taken action against Masterson. According to her account and that of a witness, the executive, who was not aware the woman was one of Masterson’s accusers, told her, “We don’t believe them.”

Netflix confirmed that the executive was Andy Yeatman and called his comments “careless” and “uninformed.”

The fourth installment of The Ranch is set to premiere on Netflix on Dec. 15. “I am obviously very disappointed in Netflix’s decision to write my character off of The Ranch,” Masterson said, according to a statement provided to HuffPost. “From day one, I have denied the outrageous allegations against me. I have never been charged with a crime, let alone convicted of one. In this country, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, in the current climate, it seems as if you are presumed guilty the moment you are accused. I understand and look forward to clearing my name once and for all.”

At least three of the women who have accused Masterson belonged to the Church of Scientology, of which Masterson is a longtime member.

Ladyboys: The third gender in Thailand

by Joanna @ The Blond Travels

What comes to your mind when you think of Thailand? I know what you will say. You will probably tell me about paradise beaches, palm trees, good food, temples, Buddha statues and scooters. Then, with a bit of irony and humour, you will mention go – go bars and ladyboys. You might even wink at […]

Thornbury’s Getting A Cinema In An Old 1920s Motor Garage

Thornbury’s Getting A Cinema In An Old 1920s Motor Garage

by James Shackell @ The A List | The Urban List

Man, have we ever written a more northside headline than that? Well, it’s true, guys. The news just broke this week that Thornbury Picture House will be opening in March.

What is Thornbury Picture House? It’s a new boutique cinema and bar that’s opening inside an old 1920 motor garage. It’s the latest project from independent cinema guru Gus Berger (the guy responsible for the 2013/14 George Revival Cinema in St Kilda—remember that one?)

Anyway, this one promises to be even more ambitious. We’re talking 57 seats, a big 6m screen, state-of-the-art Krix 5.1 sound system and loads of aesthetic touches scattered around the place. Stuff like old film canisters, classic Cuban film posters, 8mm and 35mm film cameras, set-lights and 16mm projectors.

The program is obviously a bit hush hush at the moment, but Gus says there’ll be a good mix of well-known faves, docos, late night cult films, kids’ classics and some more niche, local independent stuff.

The bar is being designed by Julian Beattie of Makestuff (AKA the brains behind Saving Grace, Uncle Joe’s Bar, Cure Bar). Expect the usual summery smash of G&Ts, craft beers and locally sourced wine. You’ll also be able to nibble on shared plates of calamari and antipasto from nearby Umberto Espresso Bar.

Watch this space. We’ll be covering the opening in more detail come March.

The Details

What: Thornbury Picture House Where: 802 High St Thornbury When: Bookings will be available from early March For more info, click here

Heads up—there's a secret rooftop foodie party in Melbourne this month. 

Image credit: Jake Hills 

Minneapolis woman ordered detained on St. Kate’s arson, terror charges

Minneapolis woman ordered detained on St. Kate’s arson, terror charges

by The Associated Press @ Twin Cities

A Minnesota woman who authorities say had hoped to kill people when she set fires on a college campus has been ordered detained by a federal judge. Nineteen-year-old Tnuza Jamal Hassan of Minneapolis was arrested last month after allegedly setting nine fires at St. Catherine University in St. Paul. No one was hurt in the […]

Egg Coffee

by saigononbikes @ Saigon on Bikes

Coffee was first introduced to the Vietnamese people by Catholic French priests in 1857 and was gradually adopted by the Vietnamese people across the entire country. And because Vietnam is the second largest coffee producer in the world, a cup of coffee is the last thing you want to miss when you visit this beautiful […]

The post Egg Coffee appeared first on Saigon on Bikes.

Treat Yourself to The Best Pizza in Oaxaca At La Matatena Pizzeria

by Jodi Ettenberg @ Legal Nomads

A profile of a new restaurant serving the best pizza in Oaxaca, with both gluten free and vegan pizzas in addition to regular thin crust, crunchy pies.

The post Treat Yourself to The Best Pizza in Oaxaca At La Matatena Pizzeria appeared first on Legal Nomads.

French Rock Star and Actor Johnny Hallyday Dies at 74

French Rock Star and Actor Johnny Hallyday Dies at 74

by Matthew Dessem @ Brow Beat

Johnny Hallyday, the singer whose French-language covers of American songs helped bring rock ’n’ roll to France, has died of cancer at the age of 74, Variety reports. He had been ill for several months.

Hallyday, whose real name was Jean-Phillipe Smet, was born in Paris. An Elvis movie inspired him to start studying music and performing, and he released his first single, “Laisses les Filles,” in the spring of 1960. By fall of 1961, his cover of Chubby Checker’s “Let’s Twist Again” was topping the European charts. Here’s Hallyday performing it on French television in 1961:

Although he never achieved the same levels of fame in the United States as he did overseas—an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show notwithstanding—Halliday was a fixture on the European music scene throughout the 1960s. Highlights include a music festival in Paris in 1961 that got wild enough to lead to a temporary ban on rock ’n’ roll shows, and a 1966 show where he gave The Jimi Hendrix Experience their first gig, opening for him.

Halliday’s breakout film role was a musician named “Johnny” in 1963’s Where Are You From, Johnny?, but later in life he tackled more challenging roles, starring in Jean-Luc Godard’s Détective in 1985 and Johnnie To’s Vengeance in 2009. His personal favorite was his appearance in Patrice Leonard’s 2002 film The Man on the Train. He also appeared in The Pink Panther 2.

Hallyday, who was married four times, is survived by his wife of 21 years, Læticia, and four children: two he adopted with Læticia, one from his first marriage to singer Sylvie Vartan, and one from his four-year relationship with actress Nathalie Baye.

The Easiest Vegetarian Curry

by Julia @ Orchard Street Kitchen

I went through a phase as a teenager where I was obsessed with everything related to India. From requesting trips to Devon Avenue in Chicago to making my dad watch Lagaan with me (an epic Bollywood musical/drama/comedy/sports film about cricket that is almost 4 hours long…), I was utterly fascinated with the country.  I still am... 

Read More »

The post The Easiest Vegetarian Curry appeared first on Orchard Street Kitchen.

The Definitive List of Where to Get Flowers for Valentine’s Day—Or Any Day

by Kari Mozena @ Los Angeles Magazine

Your guide to the best in blooms

The post The Definitive List of Where to Get Flowers for Valentine’s Day—Or Any Day appeared first on Los Angeles Magazine.

8 Best Vegan Dishes You Need to Try in Houston

8 Best Vegan Dishes You Need to Try in Houston

Houston Press

Despite Houston's image as a city famed for luxurious meat and cheese-drenched offerings, the city's diverse and burgeoning food scene also lends itself to a wide spectrum of quality vegan options. Read on to learn about eight vegan dishes around Houston that you need to sample whether you're a die-hard...

Jenny Slate Is Writing a Feminist Essay Collection, Is Back With Chris Evans, Is Everything That Is Right and Good in the World

Jenny Slate Is Writing a Feminist Essay Collection, Is Back With Chris Evans, Is Everything That Is Right and Good in the World

by Rachel Withers @ Brow Beat

What would we do without Slate? No, I don’t mean Slate Magazine. I mean Jenny Slate, actress, comedian, and—today at least—queen of our hearts. In a week of news ranging from the gross to the harrowing, Slate has gifted us with not one but two pieces of objectively good news.

Earlier this week, People revealed that Slevans—aka Slate and her former boyfriend, Chris Evans—are back together, to the joy of people overly invested in adorable celebrity relationships everywhere. (More than two hearts broke when the pair broke up in February.) The adorable pair was spotting apartment hunting in Tribeca, though before you freak out, they were allegedly hunting for Evans, not for the both of them. Please proceed to freak out anyway.

Friday, Entertainment Weekly reported that Slate has signed a deal with Little, Brown and Company to write a book of feminist fables due for release in 2019. The allegorical feminist essay collection will tell stories from the perspectives of preyed-upon creatures from deers to, er, fruit, celebrating the power of vulnerability and openness.

Slate, who is an outspoken feminist, released a statement, saying:

There is so much natural magic to being a human, and in feminism as a movement and a way of life. I’m thrilled that Little, Brown, and Co. has given me a chance to explore and explain where I find this magic, and how it feels to be alive and a woman in today’s wild world. Let’s get going!

Things to do with Kids in Saigon

by saigononbikes @ Saigon on Bikes

Planning a vacation with young children may seem like an arduous task but with the right itinerary and preparation, it can be an enjoyable experience for every family member. Contrary to what most would think, Saigon does offer a range of activities that travelers with children can participate in. Here are the top 4 things […]

The post Things to do with Kids in Saigon appeared first on Saigon on Bikes.

The Best Movies and TV Shows to Stream on Netflix Before They Expire in January

The Best Movies and TV Shows to Stream on Netflix Before They Expire in January

by Marissa Martinelli @ Brow Beat

Every month, Netflix adds dozens of new titles to its growing collection of streaming movies and TV series. At the same time, it rotates out some of its older titles. Below, we’ve chosen the best movies to watch before they’re removed from Netflix Instant in January. (All titles expire Jan. 1 except where otherwise noted.)

Must Watch

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Pulp Fiction

Good Watch

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
Dressed to Kill
Fantasia (Jan. 5)
Fantasia 2000
(Jan. 5)
The Manhattan Project
Miss Congeniality
Three Coins in the Fountain
Young Mr. Lincoln

Binge Watch

Lost: Seasons 1–6 (Jan. 4)
Sirens: Seasons 1–2 (Jan. 15)
Futurama: Seasons 7–10 (Jan. 30)

“Dun Dun” Watch

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: The Fifteenth Year
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: The Fourteenth Year
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: The Seventeenth Year
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: The Sixteenth Year

Nostalgia Watch

The Addams Family
Daddy Day Care
The Parent Trap

Family Watch

Free Willy
The Mighty Ducks
Pokémon the Movie: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction
Pokémon the Movie: Hoopa and the Clash of Ages
Pokémon: Indigo League: Season 1
Pokémon: XY: Seasons 1–2
The Secret Garden

“Grool” Watch

Mean Girls

One and Done Watch

Requiem for a Dream

If You’re Bored

Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood
Forrest Gump
Four Brothers
I Am Sam
License to Drive
Made of Honor
Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous
Mona Lisa Smile
Police Academy
Saw II
Saw IV
Saw V
Saw VI
Saw: The Final Chapter
Someone Like You
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel
The Inn of the Sixth Happiness
The Man With One Red Shoe
The Switch
White Chicks
(Jan. 3)
The Host (Jan. 5)

Indian Stuffed Eggplants (Bharwan Baigan)

by chefpriyanka @ Chef Priyanka

Indian Stuffed Eggplants or Bharwan Baigan is a household staple in most South Indian homes. Each family has their own recipe. I am obviously partial to my moms delicious Indian Stuffed Eggplants – wait did I mention they’re BABY eggplants?! Yup, super cute baby eggplants are stuffed with a spicy onion and garlic mixture, pan […]

What’s Fact and What’s Fiction in Darkest Hour

What’s Fact and What’s Fiction in Darkest Hour

by John Broich @ Brow Beat

Joe Wright’s Darkest Hour is a piece of historical fiction that undertakes a serious historical task: to present Winston Churchill and the British people’s choice to stand up to Hitler as just that … a choice. In hindsight, after eventual victory, the decision to fight against the Germans can appear a foregone conclusion. Since we all like to imagine that we personally would never fold to the Nazis, it can be hard to understand that reasonable people, most of whom had no love for Hitler, seriously considered a truce in spring 1940, during the days depicted in the film. To their eyes, fighting on after the approaching fall of France would only delay the inevitable at the cost of mass civilian slaughter. Better to come to terms now while they still had the leverage of an army and aircraft factories.

However, the film does invent a few details in order to make this very dramatic time even more dramatic. As a British historian who teaches and writes about World War II, I break this all down below.

The decision

In late May 1940, the situation was just as desperate as it is in the film. In the dark, subterranean nerve center where the British War Cabinet assembled, under White Hall in Westminster, bad news constantly flowed in. The Belgians, Danes, and Dutch had been defeated by the Germans. British defenders were nearly beaten in Norway, and France was rapidly collapsing before Blitzkrieg. The British force stationed there was being surrounded, while the French were sorely tempted to make a separate peace with Germany. Meanwhile, the overwhelming majority of Americans wanted no part of Europe’s war, despite Roosevelt’s maneuvering to get the U.S. ready for it. A moving scene from the film depicts the Prime Minister appealing directly to the president, on the edge of begging (though that direct scrambled phone line didn’t exist until 1943).

The real-life sources don’t depict the on-screen shouting matches that occurred in the War Cabinet. It was more that, in some corners, voices emerged suggesting the prudent—horribly regrettable, but from a certain perspective sensible—option of coming to terms with the Germans. Among them were Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden himself, and the ambassador to Australia, whose countrymen would have to do so much of the fighting in this war. A few well-placed German bombs could end Britain’s aircraft industry, and what then? If it turned out that the Germans were willing to leave the British Empire intact, what purpose was served in fighting for an already-defeated Europe? Even Churchill guardedly admitted that he would indeed consider terms offered by Nazi Germany—admitted so behind closed doors.

But the historical sources don’t suggest that Churchill was on the edge of seeking terms, as is hinted at in the film. If the British ultimately had to fight a resistance campaign—on the “hills,” “beaches,” and “landing grounds”—against German occupation, it would be far better that she had never considered capitulation. Beside the moral surrender in such a step, Churchill felt more strongly that Hitler could not be trusted to respect any terms to which the countries might agree.

Churchill’s ride on the London subway

There’s a perfectly fantastical scene in the film in which a doubtful Winston Churchill takes a ride on the Underground in order to commune with “the people.” The good people of London tell him to fight on, that they would never surrender. In the film, this St. Crispin’s Day speech from District line commuters to the Prime Minister steels him for the fight, and all that remains is to tell the Commons that “we will never surrender.”

Would the British people ever have done so? In those disastrous days, might they, say, have supported a snap election and voted in a government ready to make peace with the Germans? It is impossible to know, but George Orwell—a prescient observer if ever there was one—thought it possible. As a journalist observing his fellow Englishmen, he sensed that working people who did not feel represented by the Westminster elite already felt subordinated. Why would it matter if a fascist New Order swept away the plutocratic as embodied by Churchill? Orwell asked an influential newspaper editor whether he thought the public would accept negotiations with the Axis. “Hell’s bells,” the editor replied, “I could dress it up so that they’d think it was the greatest victory in the history of the world.”

It didn’t go that way, but not because District line commuters, to a man, woman, and child, snarled unthinkingly that they would never stop fighting! Historian Richard Toye undertook a massive archival dragnet that found the British did not, in fact, snarl along with Churchill’s speeches. Upon hearing them, some were inspired, many were dubious, and many looked to their family and neighbors to assess what they’d just heard. They didn’t cheer like Minnesota Vikings fans; they, in fact, thought pretty hard about what the speeches meant. This is another heartening example from history: Not only did Britain make the hard choice, they didn’t make it in a fit of rhetoric-induced adrenaline.

His speeches

The same goes for Members of Parliament. In his semi-fantastical memoir of the war years, Churchill offered the version of his late May speech to the 25-member outer cabinet pretty much as depicted in the film. According to the diaries of politician Hugh Dalton, he offered the terrific line, repeated in the film, “if this long island story of ours is to end at last, let it end only when each one of us lies choking in his own blood upon the ground.” Churchill, in his memoir, claims this was followed by a standing ovation.

There’s very good reason to believe that the historic event was very different. Churchill might have spoken the line about choking on blood, but his words, according to Dalton, won him “a murmur of approval round the table.” George Orwell, meanwhile, heard from his editor friend the same thing. Again, this doesn’t diminish the resolve of Churchill or the MPs as much as highlight that they were thinking people who believed they’d invited disaster on their families but still chose to fight with a grim nod, not a ticker-tape parade.

Once he was sure about his decision, and had outflanked Halifax and others in the War Cabinet by appealing straight to the outer cabinet, Churchill sought to convince the Germans that it was set in stone and that invading Britain or bombing it would not repeat the results in France. So, on the fourth of June, 1940, Churchill took the fateful step of absolutely committing Britain to a fight-to-the-death in a speech in the House of Commons (it was not broadcast over radio, as depicted in the film, though many people invented the memory of having heard it). The moment to make the hard choice had come, and the British chose to stand alone—or, more accurately, to stand with the Indian Army.

Churchill at home

Churchill was a professional politician, but he was also a professional writer. He first made his name with his book on his experiences as an army officer in Sudan in the 1890s. And it was through his work as a war correspondent that he ended up a prisoner of the Boers as a young man, something mentioned in the film. The film has many scenes of him writing and rewriting and sweating over words, which nicely capture an important part of his make-up.

In Darkest Hour, Clementine Churchill is shown upset over the couple’s poor finances. That hews close to the truth, since the Churchills did not have the aristocratic income of those with whom they mixed—certainly not enough to support Winston’s luxurious habits. His writer’s income was strained.

Clementine also calls Winston insufferable in this scene, and the real-life Elizabeth Layton, his longtime secretary, agreed that Churchill was often exhausting. In her memoir, she called him mercurial, at best, and sometimes simply mean. Yet she became devoted to him. The film does, however, take some liberties with her character. The real Layton was born in South Africa and raised in Canada, so she probably sounded quite a bit different from Lily James. She did not have a brother killed in the retreat to Dunkirk. And she began working for the Prime Minister one year after the events of the film.

Was Churchill really a “drunkard” as one of his critics calls him in the film? He seems to always have a glass of Scotch in his hand. In real life, he claimed to always have it precisely watered down, whereas in the film he seems to drink it neat. So while he wasn’t a drunkard, Churchill seemed to have been a high-functioning alcoholic who self-medicated throughout his days.

Churchill’s opponents

There’s no conclusive evidence to suggest that Lord Halifax and Neville Chamberlain were making concrete maneuvers to hold an imminent vote of no confidence in Churchill and end his government. The threat was ever-present, certainly, until the British—with utterly requisite service of the Indian Army—started winning some battles in Africa and the Middle East in spring and summer 1941. (After losses to German commander Erwin Rommel in North Africa in late spring 1942, on the other hand, he had to beat back a serious “no confidence” motion.)

Was Churchill really that doubted and suspected by his fellow MPs, even fellow Tories? Yes, he certainly was. The film correctly depicts them suspecting he was a sort of “brilliant failure,” better at words than deeds. The man behind the bloody Gallipoli debacle, the backer of the abdicated king, the son of a madman. He literally embarrassed MPs around him with his emotionality. They feared him for being invariably pugnacious, that his answer to everything was to fight. The filmmakers might also have cited his disastrous attempt to reverse the Bolshevik Revolution at the end of WWI with the failed 1919 invasion of Russia at the cost of hundreds of British lives.

Churchill and the King

Sources such as King George VI’s diary suggest his relationship with Churchill did seem to get off to the awkward start depicted on film. The King, who truly was a strong Chamberlain supporter, saw the same baggage everyone else did in Churchill. George (or “Bertie”) had also watched Churchill completely misplay the politics around his brother King Edward’s marriage and abdication. Churchill, meanwhile, had to find a way to be deferential to the King while not yielding on his commitment to be aggressive.

The same sources also suggest that King George grew to respect and genuinely like Churchill. Churchill always remained devoted to the King.

It’s true that many recommended the King and his family flee Britain for Canada, but he decided to stay. When the Blitz started in later 1940, Buckingham Palace was repeatedly bombed. Many of those weekly lunches between the two men who supported each other took place in the palace bomb shelter.

What the movie leaves out

So, the film embodies a good historical lesson, while veering from the historical sources. Besides NFL-style shouting and an imaginary tube ride, where else does it veer?

It’s worth remembering that Churchill opposed Nazism as thuggery, as naked expansionism, even a “soul-destroying tyranny,” as he said in his first radio broadcast as Prime Minister. But Churchill doesn’t get high marks as a democrat. That’s because he was committed to preserving the British Empire, regardless of what the people who lived there thought. This didn’t endear him or the British to many U.S. observers. And it certainly didn’t endear him to many Indian observers—most of India’s politicians, including Gandhi, called for Indians to sit the war out.

This enraged Churchill, who expected India to get in line. Lucky for Churchill, the professionals of the Indian Army went where they were told. They had already made their choice to make their livings and provide their families welfare as soldiers. Also, many of those soldiers and other Indian contributors to the war effort believed there was an unspoken quid pro quo in the offing: pull Britain’s feet from the fire in exchange for eventual home rule. So, like Churchill, they made a difficult decision of their own.

Socially Responsible Travel in Hanoi (Travel and Give Back to the Community)

by Sue Nguyen @ The Christina's Blog

The phrase “socially responsible travel” is a new trend followed by travelers all over the world, in the context that traveling and experiencing new cultures is popular nowadays. Hanoi, renown for the chaotic Old Quarter, many little temples, Dong Xuan Market that sells household goods and street food, already has so much to offer. However, […]

The post Socially Responsible Travel in Hanoi (Travel and Give Back to the Community) appeared first on The Christina's Blog.

The 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees Include Nina Simone, Bon Jovi, and the Cars

The 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees Include Nina Simone, Bon Jovi, and the Cars

by Aisha Harris @ Brow Beat

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced its 2018 inductees:

Performer Category

Bon Jovi
The Cars
Dire Straits
The Moody Blues
Nina Simone

Award for Early Influence

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

The list was narrowed down from 19 nominees announced in October, which included Radiohead, Kate Bush, LL Cool J, and Depeche Mode. It looks like fans might look forward to a mini–Bon Jovi reunion next year, as the frontman has told Rolling Stone he’s open to performing alongside former members Richie Sambora and Alec John Such at the ceremony. (No word yet on the chances of a reunion for Dire Straits, who haven’t performed together in 25 years, or the Cars.) The ceremony will take place on April 28.

How Pixar Made Coco the Biggest Hit in Mexico’s History

How Pixar Made Coco the Biggest Hit in Mexico’s History

by Daniel Krauze @ Brow Beat

It’s official: Coco is the biggest blockbuster in Mexican history. Pixar’s story of Miguel, a small-town kid who longs to become a famous artist in spite of his family’s curious aversion to all things musical, has now earned more than a billion pesos—over $50 million—at the Mexican box office, well more than previous record-holder The Avengers. Mexicans usually appear in American cinema either as killers, bandits, migrants or, well, the help. Coco is something else entirely: a movie set in rural Mexico, rooted in Mexican popular culture, and in which there is not one single mention of crime or migration (other than toward the afterlife). It is a highly accomplished interpretation of a version of Mexico made in the United States, a neighbor with which Mexico has a rather complicated history—all the more so now. “Unlike most if not all other Pixar films,” co-director and co-screenwriter Adrian Molina (who is Mexican American) told me in an interview, “this was a film based in a real tradition and a real place and a whole set of people who exist. That required us to be very thoughtful.”

For viewers in Mexico, Coco’s authenticity begins with the way the characters speak. Coco’s use of Mexican Spanish is subtle and, obviously, devoid of the Spanglish the English-language version scatters through the film. To dub the characters’ dialogue, Pixar picked singers and actors, both locally famous performers like Angélica Vale, César Costa, and Víctor Trujillo, and household names like Gael García Bernal (whose voice appears in both versions)—as well as other more unexpected choices, like renowned author Elena Poniatowska, who voices Coco herself. But they deftly steered mostly clear of local slang like the prodigious loquacity put on display by Mexican comedian Eugenio Derbez in his version of Shrek’s Donkey. Coco’s characters have no need for that sort of narrative grandstanding to convince the audience that they are thoroughly believable as Mexicans. Its sense of Mexicanness seems organic rather than a Hollywood studio’s ploy for the Hispanic audience.

Coco never needs to sell its authenticity to the viewer because the Mexico it represents feels as if it was created by people who have taken the time to get to know the country, not only its colorful traditions but some of its darker intricacies as well. Yes, the references to Mexican pop culture are great. (Frida Kahlo, El Santo, and Pedro Infante are all there; a character even wears the bright green soccer jersey of Mexico’s beloved El Tri). But it’s the film’s production design that makes it feel as though it truly takes place in Mexico. The town plaza, the chaotic alleyways, the dusty streets, the bright orange of the marigold, even the street dogs roaming free. Molina told me that his team drew inspiration from the urban landscapes of Mexico City and colonial Guanajuato, but found towns in Oaxaca and Michoacán in southern Mexico particularly inspiring. (It was in Oaxaca where Molina met a family of shoemakers who had practiced the craft through generations, just like Miguel’s family.) Miguel’s village is, of course, a somewhat Disneyfied version of the country’s rural towns, where poverty and scarcity are often overwhelming. But the colorful fiestas, the close-knit families, and the joy of music on display are also Mexican.

What has truly made Coco resonate among Mexican audiences, I reckon, is the way Mexicans can see themselves in its characters. Mexico, a country of migrants, is full of families like the Riveras, where mothers heroically head the household while fathers are absent or, if present, sometimes repressive or violent. In many cases, the job of raising a family is shared with that other Hispanic archetype: the courageous grandmother. Mexican abuelitas are powerhouses of resiliency, fighting to make ends meet even if it takes (as in Coco) learning a new craft midlife. Molina acknowledges that this family dynamic—absent men, hardworking women—is no coincidence in the movie’s narrative. “That was definitely on the radar,” he says. “In my own family my mother tells stories about how her father had to separate from his wife for 10 years so that he could provide and send back money.” That is the world Coco portrays in an unflinching, if tender way.

Films made in Mexico tend to be either serious-minded endeavors that tackle the more sinister side of our society—like the work of Amat Escalante, Michel Franco, and Carlos Reygadas—or the broad and silly comedies that dominate the box office, which (like telenovelas) take place in a country where everybody is suspiciously blond and blue-eyed, living large in one of Mexico City’s cool neighborhoods. Coco falls between those two poles. Its Mexico is sweet but recognizable, and its characters look and live like many Mexicans do, practicing a modest trade outside of Mexico City. Even viewers in the capital know that version of Mexican life, one key to the nation’s self-image but often forgotten by our film industry.

It was to be expected that Coco would be greeted with some degree of skepticism: Is it accurate? Is it pandering? Is it Mexican? And Coco has engendered debate. One pundit argued that the Day of the Dead, an invention of the 20th century, is not truly a Mexican tradition. Gerardo Fernández Noroña, a well-known Mexican politician and independent presidential candidate, rejected the film, writing on Facebook, “Coco stinks. It has nothing to do with our traditions.” In response, others, like the film critic Mauricio González Lara, have defended the movie, saying, “Coco distills and embraces the history of the country, its myths and most popular icons,” adding that the designs of the characters and the places they live in reveals an almost anthropological precision. The fact that the movie is being discussed by intellectuals, politicians, and critics alike suggests that Coco is more than a hit—it has truly become a touchstone for Mexican moviegoers.

The Best Parks To Eat Cheese And Drink Wine At This Summer

The Best Parks To Eat Cheese And Drink Wine At This Summer

by Millie Lester @ The A List | The Urban List

Warning: VERY important list.

Now that sitting in an open-air field in Melbourne won’t give you pneumonia, it’s time to make use of its flora-rich spaces for some good old fashioned picnicking. Because when the weather isn’t putting on a tuneful medley of reasons to stay indoors (think Melbourne’s greatest hit single: ‘It Was 38 Degrees 5 Minutes Ago, Why Is It Hailing Now?’), the only thing to do is pull up a patch of grass, smear some Mersey Valley cheese on a piece of Baker’s Delight herbed focaccia and sip from a plastic cup of Oyster Bay Chardonnay.

So, here are the best parks to eat cheese and drink wine at this summer.

Town Hall Reserve

South Melbourne

If you’re more of a secret garden person than a ‘so packed people are literally laying picnic rugs on other people’ kinda person then the Town Hall Reserve is the place for you. This little patch of turf is just outside the South Melbourne Town Hall and it has just enough room for you, several wheels of cheese, an esky of wine and half a dozen of your closest friends and cheese platter accompaniments.

Edinburgh Gardens


If you’re an Offspring (the TV show) fan, you’re going to love settling into one of the Proudman’s favourite filming locations. It makes frequent appearances on national telly for one reason and one reason only—it’s a bloody good park. Edinburgh Gardens has a tonne of open space for little kiddies and adult kiddies to roam, as well as an abundance of prime picnic-blanket-laying lush grass. There’s also picnic tables, playgrounds and barbecue facilities if you like your camembert crumbed and fried.

Carlton Gardens


The Carlton Gardens are an absolute classic and you’ve no doubt sunken a few tinnies under its sprinklers in the past. This tidy little stretch of greenery is home to the Melbourne Museum AND the Royal Exhibition Centre, plus it has tennis courts! There are heaps of beautiful trees to park under as well as a stunning pond and infinite beautiful garden beds. Each picnic comes with a bonus life-affirming epiphany in this little park haven.

Heide Museum Of Modern Art, Sculpture Park


You probably haven’t heard of the Heide Museum which is the exact reason it needs to be near the top of your outdoor wine and cheese tasting list. This gorgey park isn’t only the perfect spot for a picnic but it’s also home to an art museum—bonza! You can trot around the grounds admiring some spectacular sculptures by Australian artists in between kilos of Brie and litres of savvy b.

Fawkner Park

South Yarra

This big ol’ park is so yuge you could picnic there every day and lay your rug down in a brand new spot each time. Fawkner Park is filled with activewear and #fitspo galore gals and boys, this park may make you feel a little guilty for shovelling all those cheesy carbs, but the shade-bearing oaks make for the best picnic spots. There are barbecue facilities available as well as complimentary games of cricket and tennis to watch if you park yourself in the right location.

Women’s Peace Garden


Need an excuse to head west? Look no further than the adorable hidden Women’s Peace Garden in Kensington. This little beauty is framed in olive trees and colourful garden beds, not to mention it is literally set out in a peace sign. You can’t see it from the road, which means people on the road can’t see you because this little hot spot is completely secluded.

Werribee Park


If you head even further west you’ll hit Werribee Park, home to the glorious Werribee Mansion. This guy is often referred to as an ‘Australian pastoral empire’ and you can see why when you park yourself on a sweet patch within its ten outrageously beautiful hectares. This is truthfully perhaps the most spectacular park on the list, and as it’s only a thirty-minute drive from the city, it would be insane not to put it at the top of your cheese-nibbling wine-tasting summer list.

Need to know where to buy the best cheese in Melbourne? This list will help you out.

Image credit: Carlton Gardens | Visit Melbourne

Being Vegetarian In Yellowstone Country

by vegetariantourist @ The Vegetarian Tourist

Yeah, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect either. I mean, when I think of Montana and Wyoming, fresh vegetables aren’t the first thing that pop to my mind. So, as a vegetarian, what could there possibly be for me to eat when I finally head to Yellowstone Country? The answer is A LOT!!! Honestly, […]

The post Being Vegetarian In Yellowstone Country appeared first on The Vegetarian Tourist.

Greensboro Dance Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This

by Julie Joyce @ Avant Greensboro

ShareTweetGrowing up in a town without any dance classes, I still dreamed of becoming a ballerina, despite the fact that I can barely walk in a straight line, routinely open cabinets into my face, and am about as graceful as Big Bird after a few martinis. I was absolutely convinced that I’d marry Mikhail Baryshnikov
[continue reading...]

The post Greensboro Dance Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This appeared first on Avant Greensboro.

Best Photos of 2016 & Plans for the Coming Year

by Jodi Ettenberg @ Legal Nomads

11 of my best photos this year, as decided by readers.

The post Best Photos of 2016 & Plans for the Coming Year appeared first on Legal Nomads.

Woody Allen’s New Movie Isn’t a Confession. It’s Something Much More Damaging.

Woody Allen’s New Movie Isn’t a Confession. It’s Something Much More Damaging.

by Sam Adams @ Brow Beat

When the long-circulated rumors about Louis C.K.’s sexual misconduct finally became reported (and then confirmed) allegations, his movie, I Love You, Daddy went from seeming like a coy attempt to skirt the issue to the equivalent of a clue left behind by a remorseful killer. Preparing to watch the film, Slate’s Dana Stevens wrote, was “like waiting for the other shoe to drop,” to which the New Yorker’s Richard Brody responded, “The film is itself a shoe.”

I Love You, Daddy was also a feature-length homage to and subtweet of Manhattan, the movie by C.K.’s idol, Woody Allen, in which Allen’s 42-year-old comedy writer dates Mariel Hemingway’s 17-year-old high school student. Although it was nominated for two Academy Awards and revered for years as a romantic masterpiece, that movie took on a sinister edge when it was revealed that Allen had been having an affair with Soon-Yi Previn, the adopted daughter of his longtime partner, Mia Farrow, that began when Previn was about the age of Hemingway’s character. And it became downright unwatchable, at least for many, when Dylan Farrow, Allen’s adopted daughter, came forward in 2014 to publicly accuse Allen of sexually assaulting her when she was 7. That allegation first emerged in 1993, but it was largely dismissed at the time, or at least filed alongside the great unknowables, and Allen was allowed to continue making movies unscathed. (In a custody battle, the court found the evidence against Allen “inconclusive” but found the testimonies against him credible enough to prove that his behavior was “grossly inappropriate” and denied him custody.) With the help of Time magazine, Allen was able to position his sexual relationship with Previn as a case of love triumphing over all. “The heart wants what it wants,” Allen told Walter Isaacson in a Q&A teased on the magazine’s cover. “You meet someone and you fall in love and that’s that.”

That’s also a good description of the plot of Allen’s Wonder Wheel, which played the New York Film Festival last month and arrives in theaters this weekend. The film is centered on Ginny (Kate Winslet), a former small-time actress who, as she puts it, is now “playing the part of a waitress in a clam house.” But it’s narrated by Mickey (Justin Timberlake), a Coney Island lifeguard who is working his way towards a master’s in theater. In Wonder Wheel’s first shots, the camera drifts past bathers in 1950s swimwear and finds Mickey’s face, as he warns us that what we’re about to see may not be entirely based in reality: “As a poet, I use symbols, and as a budding dramatist, I relish melodrama and larger-than-life characters.”

The most sympathetic reading of Wonder Wheel is that it’s deliberately staged as the work of a novice playwright, populated with overdrawn characters and overheated situations. The scenes in Ginny’s apartment, which she shares with her husband, Humpty (Jim Belushi), and, eventually, his estranged daughter, Carolina (Juno Temple), play like a regional production of Tennessee Williams, often filmed in long, mobile takes as if Vittorio Storaro’s camera has just wandered onstage. At one point, Belushi brushes his fingers along the underside of his chin and flicks them forward as if he’s just come from a seminar on working-class gestures.

Enter Mickey, as Mickey himself would write. Timberlake plays him as a guileless dope, one who’s oblivious to the way first Ginny and then Carolina look at him until he’s involved with the one and verging on a relationship with the other. In other words, Wonder Wheel is about a man who’s sleeping with a woman and starts being attracted to her stepdaughter. That man, further, is an aspiring playwright who might have been born in the 1930s (he is played as substantially younger than Timberlake’s 36) and who totes around a copy of a book called Hamlet and Oedipus, both frequent touchstones for Allen’s movies. (Like Allen, whose movies are sometimes the equivalent of an “Ask Me About Ingmar Bergman” T-shirt, he sometimes seems better at displaying his intellect than employing it.) Although he says he one day hopes to write a “profound masterpiece,” Mickey seems more in love with the idea of being an artist—and the freedom from societal norms that would allow him—than the work of becoming one. He doesn’t love Ginny, although she’s increasingly obsessed with him, but he’s flush with the idea that their affair “somehow fits into the romantic narrative of the writer’s life.” The heart wants what it wants—or, as the bohemian friend Mickey asks for advice counsels him, “The heart has its own hieroglyphics.”

The overlap with Allen’s life only gets more pronounced as Wonder Wheel proceeds to its climax. (The following contains spoilers, if it is possible to spoil something that is rancid to begin with.) Ginny, whose tether to reality has grown dangerously thin, begins to suspect that something is afoot with Mickey and Carolina, and after a broad gesture to demonstrate her affection triggers Mickey’s fear of commitment, she sees the mob goons who have been searching for Carolina throughout the entire movie about to close in on her and does nothing to prevent her death.

It’s not the first movie Allen has made in the past few years about a woman who betrays her husband, and it’s as if he were frustrated that not enough people saw Mia Farrow in Blue Jasmine’s delusional, disloyal socialite. (That movie, if you need a refresher, ends with the revelation that Cate Blanchett’s Jasmine took vengeance on her husband, after discovering that he cheated on her, by turning him in to the FBI. The final shot shows her alone on a park bench, rambling incoherently to herself.)

Wonder Wheel all but draws you a schematic: Actress with shaky grip on reality, enraged by her romantic partner’s affair with her younger stepdaughter, commits unforgivable crime to sabotage their relationship, and winds up bereft and alone. Substitute in manufacturing charges of sexual assault and indoctrinating a child to corroborate them—Allen’s account of Farrow’s behavior—for sending a young woman to her death, and it’s a snug fit.

In that sense, Wonder Wheel is the opposite of a mea culpa. Allen has constructed an entire world, including an elaborate replica of Coney Island’s boardwalk, for the purposes of once more indicting his former partner and exonerating himself. But the fact that he has to construct that world himself, and not only that, but to filter it through a thick layer of theatrical artifice, feels strangely like an admission. He’s not changing his story, but even its most careful presentation—and, to the extent it is possible to separate form from content, Wonder Wheel is a beautiful movie, elegantly designed and shot—still seems like a hollow, trumped-up fraud. It’s telling that Mickey, so eager to get the audience on his side at the beginning of the movie, is absent from its ending, replaced by Ginny and Humpty’s young son, whose only defining characteristic is that he’s fond of starting fires. The last thing we see is him down by the ocean, watching a pile of wood scraps burn. The creative spirit is gone. All that remains is the compulsion to destroy.

Home sweet home: Find your dream place in Thailand

by Joanna @ The Blond Travels

The first thing which you need to do when you come to live in Thailand is to find a good place to stay. It’s a stressful process for those, who want to settle here for the first time, but despite what you might think, finding an apartment, or a house in the Land of Smiles […]

Sitting In Saigon, Dreaming Of New York City

Sitting In Saigon, Dreaming Of New York City

The Vegetarian Tourist

You might think that while I have been to Vietnam, the best vegetarian banh mi sandwich I’ve ever had would have been there. Right??? Wrong!!! Truth be told, I sought out what was reviewed as the b…

Where To Go in Malaysia

by Charlie Marchant @ Charlie on Travel

In this Malaysia travel guide, we explore where to go in Malaysia and the best travel destinations. We’ll take you to the towering skyscrapers of Kuala Lumpur, the lush green tea fields of the Cameron Highlands and the bustling art-laden cultural city of George Town. We loved Malaysia. But I should say up-front that we’re […]

The post Where To Go in Malaysia appeared first on Charlie on Travel.

The 5 Best Things to Do in L.A. This Weekend

by Marielle Wakim @ Los Angeles Magazine

A history class on chocolate where you get to eat the chocolate? Yes, please

The post The 5 Best Things to Do in L.A. This Weekend appeared first on Los Angeles Magazine.

Everything We Know About the “Lego”-Themed Pop-Up Bar Coming to L.A.

by Brittany Martin @ Los Angeles Magazine

Because nothing says “childhood nostalgia” like cocktails

The post Everything We Know About the “Lego”-Themed Pop-Up Bar Coming to L.A. appeared first on Los Angeles Magazine.

Black Women Came Through With Both the Votes in Alabama and the Jokes on Late Night

Black Women Came Through With Both the Votes in Alabama and the Jokes on Late Night

by Marissa Martinelli @ Brow Beat

On Tuesday night, Doug Jones became the first Democratic candidate to win a Senate race in Alabama since 1992. This was thanks in large part to massive black voter turnout—and in particular, to black women, who made up 17 percent of voters and overwhelmingly chose Jones over opponent Roy Moore. Late-night comedy is still an overwhelmingly white and male scene, but on Wednesday night, Seth Meyers and Trevor Noah stepped back and let their black, female contributors seize the limelight for a victory lap—and some advice about what to do next.

Dulcé Sloan over at The Daily Show accepted Trevor Noah’s thanks on behalf of Alabama’s black women (even though she isn't from Alabama) and pointed out just how thoroughly they came through compared to other demographics: “The only thing 98 percent of black women agree on is: No Roy Moore, Idris Elba is fine as hell, and do not get our hair wet.”

Sloan was also happy to accept the gratitude of white people, though she stressed that black voters voted for Jones out of self-interest. “You’re welcome, white people,” she said. “You’re welcome. But let’s be honest, we didn’t do it for you—we did it for ourselves. No black woman cast her vote going, This one’s for Scott! Fuck Scott.” If white people really want to say “thank you,” she suggests they do so in a language that matters—maybe by eliminating those voter suppression laws?

Amber Ruffin, a writer for Late Night With Seth Meyers, had another suggestion for white people: that they follow black women's example in a rare, positive example of cultural appropriation. “So while you’re busy appropriating our music and our fashion and our big fat booties, try appropriating our common sense,” she said. “Stop trying to rap and start getting up on a Tuesday to go vote.”

Like Sloan, Ruffin was more than ready to say “you're welcome” for saving Alabama, but added, “when you’re done thanking us, why don’t you try voting for us and putting a few of us in office so we can run this shit?”

Celebrating Tet in Saigon (Including What to Do & A List of Places That Are Open)

by Eleanor Nguyen @ The Christina's Blog

Tet is just around the corner! To the Vietnamese, Tet (A.K.A Lunar New Year) is as important as Christmas is to Westerners. However, because Tet is a family holiday, many people will leave the big city like Saigon to return to their hometown for a reunion. As a result, many restaurants, shopping malls, and attractions […]

The post Celebrating Tet in Saigon (Including What to Do & A List of Places That Are Open) appeared first on The Christina's Blog.

Another Bingo Rave Is Coming To Melbourne And This Time Boyzlife Is Coming Too!

Another Bingo Rave Is Coming To Melbourne And This Time Boyzlife Is Coming Too!

by James Shackell @ The A List | The Urban List

Yes, you read right Melbourne—another bingo rave night is coming, and this time they're bringing the Boyzlife boyz Brian McFadden and Keith Duffy to P-town! In case you missed the first Bongo's Bingo last year, we’re here to teach you what a bingo rave actually is. You’re probably picturing your nan right about now, but put that out of your mind, because poor nan probably wouldn’t enjoy this one.

The concept is pretty simple: it’s a bingo night slash rave. So you play bingo...while you rave to those sweet Boyzlife tunes. Or perhaps rave while you bingo. We’re not 100% sure. What we DO know is that the last shows in Australia sold out in under five minutes flat, so you’ll probably want to hover over that ‘Buy’ button like a vulture over a wildebeest when the tickets go on sale.

There’ll be rave intervals, dance-offs, cash prizes, non-cash prizes and a hell of a lot of bingo. Bongo’s hosts will preside over the game, calling out numbers, playing sing-a-long tunes, and generally getting into mischief. Food and booze will both be flowing with the show kicking off at 6:00pm. Basically, grandma’s bingo night down at the RSL this is NOT.

Tickets will be available online on Monday 5 February at 6pm, so you'd better bookmark this link and put a reminder in your calendar. You can get a taste of what you’re in for here


What: Bongo's Bingo Down Under When: Thursday 5 April Where: St Kilda Town Hall, 99A Carlisle Street, St Kilda

In the meantime, you might want to check out this ball pit party that's coming to Perth this year.

Image credit: Bongos Bingo UK

Disadvantages of teaching English online

by Joanna @ The Blond Travels

Teaching English online has many advantages. You can live anywhere you want, travel and earn money at the same time. Thanks to it I’ve managed to live in Thailand, Vietnam and Poland and soon I’m going to be travelling again. So far I’ve only told you about the good side of online teaching, but what […]

War Remnants Museum Saigon

by saigononbikes @ Saigon on Bikes

A place to learn about the war War Remnants Museum is currently one of the most popular museums in Vietnam. Every year, it attracts approximately half a million visitors, two-thirds of whom are foreigners, coming to study about the Vietnam War. History of the War Remnants Museum Opening on September 4, 1975, the museum was named […]

The post War Remnants Museum Saigon appeared first on Saigon on Bikes.

Tofu Banh Mi Bowl - The Foodie Dietitian

Tofu Banh Mi Bowl - The Foodie Dietitian

Kara Lydon

Inspired by my recent trip to Vietnam, this Tofu Banh Mi Bowl is packed with Vietnamese flavor and nutrition!

Vegan Rose Lassi

by chefpriyanka @ Chef Priyanka

Have you tried a Lassi before? Its a yogurt-based cold drink that’s usually served at the end of a meal or drank as a snack. Lassi’s are simple – they come in 4 flavors – plain sweet, plain salty, mango, or rose. My favorite has always been rose. I grew up drinking these when we […]

Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It Got a Modern-Day Update. Crooklyn Should Be Next.

Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It Got a Modern-Day Update. Crooklyn Should Be Next.

by Aisha Harris @ Brow Beat

Like pretty much every narrative he’s ever produced, Spike Lee’s Netflix adaptation of his feature debut She’s Gotta Have It has proven to be polarizing. It’s been deemed “a boring rehash of the original” and “buoyant, funny … and un-Spikeishly restrained”; “as fresh as a flip phone” and a depiction of Lee’s “most feminist heroine yet.” That last point especially is debatable, even if one thing everyone can agree on is that this new version is decidedly aware of the ways in which perceptions around black female sexuality have evolved since 1986. Yes, Nola Darling 2.0 (DeWanda Wise) is a vast improvement over her previous incarnation as an elusive, one-dimensional figure (Tracy Camilla Johns) for the men in her life to project their fantasies and desires on. But when looking back on the filmmaker’s fascinatingly varied career, I can’t help but echo other critics’ sentiments that She’s Gotta Have It’s tale of a black, single young adult woman juggling a complicated love life and a career isn’t exactly groundbreaking when stronger representations like Insecure and Being Mary Jane currently exist, and Living Single and Girlfriends preceded it by decades. What’s still largely missing from the screen, is a nuanced, studied narrative built around young black girls. Perhaps a more interesting and fruitful return to the well for Lee would have been a series adaptation of Crooklyn instead.

Released in 1994, Crooklyn tends to be overshadowed by Lee’s splashier, more controversial efforts like Do the Right Thing and School Daze, or critically acclaimed crowd-pleasers like 25th Hour and Malcolm X. It’s a “small” and innocuous film by comparison, loosely inspired by his childhood and co-written with his siblings, Cinqué and Joie, largely unconcerned with institutional racism, the criminal justice system, or morality tales. But that’s an inherent part of its charm. Set in the early 1970s, the first half plays out in loosely connected slice-of-life vignettes, the camera weaving along a single bustling block in Bed-Stuy where black and brown kids play freely among Vietnam war vets, druggies, an oddball who owns dozens of dogs in his garden-level apartment, and other colorful neighbors. Carolyn (Alfre Woodard), a school teacher, and her husband Woody (Delroy Lindo), a struggling musician, are raising their five kids in a beautiful brownstone, and while they certainly don’t live within the tax bracket of the Huxtables (at one point their electricity gets cut off and for a period of time they have to rely on food stamps), they aren’t living The Struggle, either—the family dynamics, of stressed out parents and squabbling siblings, are nearly universal.

The second act of the film zeroes in more acutely on the family’s lone daughter, nine-year-old tomboy Troy (Zelda Harris), and her entry into adolescence. In one scene, she enters the bodega in her neighborhood and comes upon one of the male workers dancing seductively with Connie, a tall, gangly person in a leotard, hot shorts and gigantic blond afro wig, played by RuPaul. It’s clear Troy has never seen anything like this before, but she’s entranced, and the camera follows her perspective as she stares at the couple—there’s no judgement, just wonder. This moment and others capture beautifully what it’s like to be a kid discovering something new for the first time, and how living in such a richly diverse and bustling environment like Brooklyn provides that kind of exposure sooner than it might for kids who do not.

Crooklyn also explores intimate moments in which the body of a young black girl is scrutinized both internally and externally, whether it’s through her inquisitive examination of her self in the mirror, or when she’s sent to spend the summer with her well-to-do aunt, uncle, and slightly older cousin Viola in the suburban south. (Aunt Clem’s a haughty woman, and her racialized digs at Troy’s appearance—“You ain’t have good hair like my baby,” she remarks—don’t seem to hurt Troy so much as annoy her, and make her yearn for a return to the familiar comforts of Brooklyn and city life.) She’s Gotta Have It digs into the ugly, misogynistic societal pressures put upon black women, too, particularly through one of Nola’s best friends, Shemeka. While that character is wonderfully played by China Layne, her storyline functions more like a capital-M Message than a revealing character study. (The scene in which she gets butt injections on the black market is relentless in its depiction of the horror she’s inflicting upon herself, as is the bizarre, unnecessary fictional game show that seems to be playing or advertised all over Brooklyn, “She Ass’ed For It.”)

The new She’s Gotta Have It’s Nola feels more like a more complete character than her predecessor and many other female characters within Lee’s oeuvre (Tina in Do the Right Thing, the sorority girls in School Daze, etc.) have not. But her fascinating relationship with sometime-lover Opal aside, there’s still something that feels, “been there, done that” about it all. Her friendships with the other women in her life don’t resonate as deeply as that of Issa’s and Molly’s on Insecure, or Mary Jane’s and Kara’s on Being Mary Jane, or any of the complex relationships on Orange Is the New Black. The mother-daughter relationship in Crooklyn, on the other hand, is built around one of the most heartbreaking and beautiful character dynamics Lee has given us (no doubt in large part due to the co-writing of Joie, herself the only daughter in the family), and Troy and Carolyn are his best-written female characters, even when you consider Nola 2.0. Carolyn is presented in more than just broad strokes, especially as her strong bond with Troy, different from the one she has with her sons and Woody, unfolds—she affectionately refers to her daughter as “Ladybug,” and guides her spirit even while she’s at Aunt Clem’s, via loving, hand-written updates from home. It’s Spike at his most personal, and it would be fascinating to see how he might’ve expanded upon this story for a new generation, rather than venturing too far afield into the fantastical love life of a 20-something woman, as he does with She’s Gotta Have It. (As Mic’s Erin Evans noted in a recent episode of my podcast Represent, while the credited writers on She’s Gotta Have It include an illustrious array of female writers like Pulitzer Prize-winner Lynn Nottage, they are all in their 40s or older.)

A new Crooklyn, set in the present day, could still tackle the filmmaker’s most pressing concern, which She’s Gotta Have It also deals with: gentrification. In fact, it would have to. But to see gentrification through the eyes of a young black girl would likely be a totally different experience than what we see with Nola, or even Insecure’s Issa. And it’s difficult to conjure up other examples of TV characters like Troy who take center stage of the narrative—the diabolical tween Diane on Black-ish recently had a great episode in which she dealt with getting her period for the first time, but that show is still at its core a true ensemble comedy. Imagine what Lee could create, if he took a page from Chris Rock’s underrated mid-’00s sitcom Everybody Hates Chris, which was also semi-autobiographical, and set in the comedian’s home borough, Bed-Stuy—that, too, was an ensemble show, but the young Chris (played by Tyler James Williams) was our way into the world, just as Troy eventually becomes in Crooklyn.

Spike Lee’s feature debut was groundbreaking in 1986, for its aesthetic and portraiture of black urban life, in a way one could argue Crooklyn was not. But had both movies come out today, it seems like the reverse would be true. I enjoyed and can appreciate the ways in which the new She’s Gotta Have It improves upon its source—there is something to be said for Lee recognizing that aspects of the original film (particularly his depiction of Nola’s sexual assault by one of her romantic partners, for which he’s since expressed deep regret) don’t hold up in the present day. But perhaps Lee, who’s been a trailblazer for so long, would have done better to return to a work that wouldn’t need as much of a tonal and spiritual overhaul in the first place.

Why Did Netflix Decide to Move Forward With a Final Season of House of Cards?

Why Did Netflix Decide to Move Forward With a Final Season of House of Cards?

by Josef Adalian @ Brow Beat

This article originally appeared in Vulture.

When Netflix’s House of Cards resumes production next month on its final, Kevin Spacey–free season, the cast and crew won’t be picking up where they left off. Producers plan on scrapping most, if not all, of the footage shot during the roughly two weeks of season-six production that had taken place in October, two people familiar with the situation have told Vulture. The two episodes filmed will now be tossed, as will most of the five or six scripts that had been written with Spacey’s Frank Underwood character still part of the show. It’s a dramatic—and costly—decision, but it was probably also the only logical way forward if Netflix and Cards studio Media Rights Capital wanted to continue post-Spacey. And to be sure, there was a brief period last month when the prospect of Cards collapsing completely was very much on the table.

While Netflix and MRC execs declined to comment on the record about how they got to this week’s decision to continue with a shortened, eight-episode final season, an industry source not connected with either company confirms that simply walking away from Cards was given at least some consideration by Netflix executives in early November, just as the flood of sexual-assault and harassment allegations against Spacey began pouring out. It’s not all that surprising Netflix mulled this course of action: It would have been the simplest path forward. Remember, unlike so many of its more recent hits, Netflix does not own or produce Cards. The streamer essentially leases episodes from MRC, an independent production studio. By canceling Cards, Netflix could have made a clean break from Spacey and the now-tarnished series. Netflix “wanted the stink off them,” as our source explained.

What’s more, cancellation would have probably been cheaper. Sure, there would have been costs associated with permanently halting production, but both Netflix and MRC could have taken a write-down on the losses, the way big movie studios do when they produce a box-office bomb. Instead, Netflix will spend at least $50 million—and likely much more—to acquire the season-six episodes from MRC, not to mention millions more to market and promote the final season. Neither Netflix nor MRC have talked recently about the price of Cards, but given the first two seasons of the show cost the streamer $100 million, according to multiple reports at the time, the show’s season-six budget is almost certainly significantly higher now. Even before the Spacey scandal, our source notes, Netflix “had mixed feelings” about Cards, as evident in the decision—made months ago—to wrap the show after six seasons. “There were diminishing returns,” he explains.

Still, despite the advantages to making a clean break, it’s not much of a stretch to assume Netflix and MRC didn’t want to allow Spacey’s bad behavior to determine how the series came to an end. Plus, Cards will always hold a special place in the (ever-expanding) Netflix canon. It was the first original series specifically commissioned for the service and, along with Orange Is the New Black and the short-lived Hemlock Grove, part of the first big wave of shows the streamer used in 2013 to herald its arrival as a legit competitor to linear networks such as HBO. It’s one thing to send off the Naomi Watts drama Gypsy without so much as a press release. But even a not-particularly-sentimental Silicon Valley-based company like Netflix understands the value in making sure such an important part of the company’s long-term legacy gets a proper burial.

Weeks of social media rallying from fans of the show may also have helped convince Netflix execs that a final season would be valuable in erasing some of the aforementioned “stink” Spacey’s actions had left on the show’s legacy. After all, there’s a sort of poetic justice in having Cards continue with a woman (Robin Wright’s Claire Underwood) as the show’s lead. “House of Cards killing off Frank and focusing on Claire is an absolutely flawless metaphor for the ideal outcome of men being outed as predators,” writer/editor Jessica Blankenship noted on Twitter the day Sarandos announced the new game plan for the show. “She was always superior by every measure, and now we can stop paying attention to him entirely.” Or, as writer Meredith Clark noted in an essay this week for NBC News, “Even in fiction, women can be trusted to clean up a man’s mess.”

With Netflix and MRC staying mum, it’s hard to know exactly how tense the talks over moving forward got, and just how close Netflix got to pulling the plug. But one industry source says Netflix and MRC, following some early jitters, actually decided weeks ago to try to make things work. The delay in making it official revolved around two things: A desire to see how the Spacey situation played out, and giving the show’s creative team time to figure out how to bring the show in for a landing without Spacey onboard. Netflix and MRC suits “wanted to make sure they weren’t going to get hit by more bullets,” the source says, referring to the possibility of new allegations against Spacey related to his work on the set of Cards. “Barring something else coming out or the writers not being able to figure it out, the plan was to bring it back.” Spacey’s troubles did multiply as November wore on, but nothing emerged that made continuing Cards without him an issue. Meanwhile, Cards co-showrunners Frank Pugliese and Melissa James Gibson have been back in the writers room for weeks now; Netflix and MRC never stopped paying them, or the show’s crew. It’s likely the two showrunners pitched their new direction for the show before Netflix officially signed off on resuming production.

The one last hurdle to overcome in figuring out whether to proceed with season six of Cards was coming to an agreement over how many episodes the show’s swan song would be. Netflix originally ordered 13 episodes, consistent with the previous five seasons. But with the Spacey drama forcing what will end up being a more than two-month production delay, continuing with 13 episodes would have pushed filming and post-production of Cards well into next summer. Assuming all of the show’s remaining cast would still be available so late into 2018, such an extension would’ve added tens of millions to the budget of an already expensive series. By limiting season six to eight hour-long episodes, sources say it’s likely the show’s production end date won’t be that much later than originally anticipated. The show’s writers also probably welcomed the smaller order: Spacey’s absence opens up some creative possibilities, sure, but it also removes a central source of conflict and plot. The good news, of course, is that the end of season five perfectly set up the notion of a sixth season focused on someone other than Kevin Spacey’s Frank Underwood. In the final moments of the fifth season finale, Wright’s Claire turned to the camera and said, simply: “My turn.”

See also: Being on House of Cards Was One of the Highlights of Patricia Clarkson’s Career

The Best Chicken Wings in L.A. Make Our Sauciest Snack Dreams Come True

by Brittany Martin @ Los Angeles Magazine

Gather the wet wipes

The post The Best Chicken Wings in L.A. Make Our Sauciest Snack Dreams Come True appeared first on Los Angeles Magazine.

6 Adventurous things to do in Chiang Mai

by Joanna @ The Blond Travels

Chiang Mai, the second largest city in Northern Thailand, is truly rich in culture, nature and food. Attested by more than 300 Buddhist temples, numerous historical sites, 4 colourful festivals and uncountable markets, Chiang Mai cannot be missing on your Thailand itinerary. It’s also a playground for adventurers, thrill-seekers, and adrenaline junkies. Chiang Mai will […]

The Best Things to Do in L.A. This Week

by Brittany Martin @ Los Angeles Magazine

Your best bets for January 29 to February 2, 2018

The post The Best Things to Do in L.A. This Week appeared first on Los Angeles Magazine.

Vegan Guide to Saigon - Vegan Food Quest

Vegan Guide to Saigon - Vegan Food Quest

Vegan Food Quest

Here is our vegan guide to Saigon with the favourite places from our last visit to Ho Chi Minh City.

Scooters in Chiang Mai: How to drive safely around the city

by Joanna @ The Blond Travels

Scooters are everywhere in Chiang Mai. Just like anywhere else in Thailand, they are used for transportation of people, goods and even animals. For expats living in Chiang Mai they are a necessary tool to get to work quickly and to see places further away from the city, which often cannot be found in any […]

One Day in Saigon

by saigononbikes @ Saigon on Bikes

Ho Chi Minh City a.k.a Saigon is a vibrant and hectic city. To really absorb the culture and lifestyle of Vietnamese people in this city requires travelers to spend at least a month here. However, not everyone has that kind of time and sometimes, visitors can only spend a day in this urban jungle. Fear […]

The post One Day in Saigon appeared first on Saigon on Bikes.

Colorado’s Milkshake IPAs Sweeten Up The Craft Beer Scene

by Jess Kapadia @ Food Republic

Milkshake IPAs may not sound like a beer genre you’d gravitate towards, but this new craft style out of Colorado successfully straddles both worlds. Grab a long straw (if you have to), because this marvel of chemistry just might be here to stay. What is a milkshake IPA exactly? It’s a beer brewed with milkshake flavors like chocolate, vanilla and […]

The post Colorado’s Milkshake IPAs Sweeten Up The Craft Beer Scene appeared first on Food Republic.

6 Things We Know (and Don’t Know) About the Disney-Fox Merger

6 Things We Know (and Don’t Know) About the Disney-Fox Merger

by Josef Adalian @ Brow Beat

This article originally appeared in Vulture.

With the Walt Disney Company’s announcement Thursday that it had reached a megadeal to buy most of the assets of 21st Century Fox for $52.4 billion (plus another $13.7 billion in assumed debt), Hollywood watchers have been working overtime trying to parse the merger’s overall entertainment-industry impact. Will it yield a Reese’s “Your chocolate’s in my peanut butter” corporate synergy between two behemoth TV-movie-internet companies—or mark the birth of a terrifying new media monopoly? And will the FCC, which under the Trump administration has turned a surprisingly cold shoulder to mergers, put a stop to the whole thing? There are plenty of unanswered questions, but there are few broad areas where certain outcomes seem more likely. Let’s break down what we (think) we know so far:

Avatar joins the Mouse House, along with all Marvel properties.

Thanks to long-standing, immensely complex licensing deals, Fox has had exclusive access to a number of beloved characters from the Marvel comics canon that do no appear anywhere in the Marvel Cinematic Universe already controlled by Disney. But in a development Vulture explores in greater depth here, Disney chief Bob Iger has been quick to point out the new pact provides the company “with the opportunity to reunite the X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool with the Marvel family under one roof and create richer, more complex worlds of inter-related characters and stories.” (Or, as Ryan Reynolds tweeted yesterday, “Time to uncork that explosive sexual tension between Deadpool and Mickey Mouse.”)

Moreover, the merger means Disney grabs the rights to a number of other Fox-controlled film franchises, including Alien, Planet of the Apes, Predator, even Independence Day. But chief among them will be director James Cameron’s envelope-pushing, $3 billion–grossing Avatar(and its impending sequels), which the new Disney-Fox can exploit across all media platforms, as well as its theme park divisions. In what now seems like a presciently preemptive move, in May, Disney’s Animal Kingdom resort in Florida opened The World of Avatar, an immersive, 12-acre fantasyland based around the film’s bioluminescent forests, floating mountains, and otherworldly, Smurf-hued Na’vi aliens that has already become one of the park’s hottest attractions.

And over the last two years, Disney has dominated the year-end box office with 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens and last year’s Rogue One estimated to have pulled in 40 to 60 percent of around a billion dollars in ticket sales from that time frame. So with the next three Avatar installments set for release in the Decembers of 2020, 2021, 2024, and 2025, Disney could continue to dominate winter holiday movie fare for years to come.

Disney will now own all the Star Wars movies.

Fox’s earlier incarnation—20th Century Fox—distributed the original two Star Wars movie trilogies. And for generations, the studio’s snare-drum-and-horn fanfare has become as inextricable a part of the viewing experience as John Williams’s score. While Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4 billion, Fox held on to the home-video and digital distribution rights of those original films in perpetuity, as well as complete and permanent distribution rights to 1977’s first Star Wars installment (a.k.a. Episode IV: A New Hope).

All of that goes to Disney in the deal. So for Star Wars obsessives, the most significant development of the new Disney-Fox will be an all-but-inevitable release of what’s been called the “total package”: a complete Blu-Ray DVD box set of all the Star Wars films. Pent-up fan demand for a product like this can’t be overestimated. And it’s set to become a significant revenue stream come the 2019 release of Star Wars Episode IX—the conclusion of the long-running sci-fi serial’s third trilogy.

Hulu will probably get a lot bigger.

Until now, Hulu has operated as a joint venture, controlled by three big conglomerate stakeholders (Comcast’s NBCUniversal, Fox, and Disney) and one smaller partner (TimeWarner, which last year bought 10 percent of the company). But once the Disney-Fox deal is done, Disney will have a controlling stake in Hulu and an incentive to dramatically bulk up the streamer’s offerings—and turn it into an even bigger rival to Netflix. During the buildup to the merger, there’d been some uncertainty as to whether Disney might simply ditch its previously announced plan to build a family-focused version of Netflix and instead concentrate on making Hulu its big streaming play. But Iger today said he wants to do both. “Our goal on the direct-to-consumer front in the United States is to go out with essentially a family-oriented product with Disney and Pixar and Marvel and Lucas that’s going to launch in 2019; a sports product from ESPN in 2018; and [what will] probably be a more adult-oriented product from Hulu,” Iger told CNBC’s David Faber, adding Disney would “give consumers the ability to buy all three, or to buy them individually.”

Iger’s comments offer the tantalizing possibility that Hulu could become not Netflix—a service which aims to offer something for everyone—but a more focused streamer aimed at delivering the sort of premium, awards-bait content seen on HBO, FX, and, to a lesser degree, ABC (think American Crime or Modern Family at its peak). In fact, with FX and FX Productions headed over to Disney as part of today’s deal, it’s not hard to imagine the brain trust that has made FX so successful—headed up by FX Networks chief John Landgraf—taking over creative control of Hulu. Think of it: The first streaming outlet to win a best series Emmy (The Handmaid’s Tale) essentially merging with the first basic-cable network to win a best actor Emmy (Michael Chiklis, The Shield). Landgraf has already been moving FX toward a future where consumers pay directly for its content, this year partnering with Comcast for FX+, which lets folks pay $6 a month to watch current and past FX shows sans commercials. Giving him control of an even bigger playground, one with a proven digital infrastructure able to better monetize shows like You’re the Worst and The Americans better than old-school cable, seems like a no-brainer.

There are plenty of roadblocks to such a scenario, however. Landgraf may have no desire to take on a bigger footprint with Hulu, or to dilute the brand he’s spent so long building.  It’s also not entirely clear Disney can do whatever it wants with Hulu, even if it will have a controlling stake in the streamer. Analysts such as BTIG’s Rich Greenfield argue Comcast, for example, could veto any major shift in direction. “Disney will not be able to make major structural changes to Hulu following the closing of the Fox transaction without Comcast/NBC’s consent,” he wrote in an analyst’s note this week. In his interview with Faber, Iger admitted “it’s still a bit early right now what direction we’ll take” with Hulu, perhaps a concession to the complexities of the streamer’s current ownership deal. Still, Iger suggested Hulu’s other owners might be convinced: “We think it’s going to provide Comcast with an interesting opportunity, as well, as we seek to grow Hulu in even more compelling ways.”

It should also be noted Hulu’s current management had already been anticipating future changes. Even as it’s been adding more library content from partners like Fox and NBC, it’s also been beefing up its own slate of originals with an eye on the possibility that, a few years from now, it might not be able to offer consumers next-day episodes of shows from ABC, NBC, and Fox. This year also saw Hulu morph from a straight-ahead streamer to a more full-service video provider: Hulu with Live TV essentially makes it a digital cable company, on par with YouTube TV or DirecTV Now. These changes should allow Hulu to survive even if Iger can’t fully realize the vision for Hulu he hinted at today.

Award-season player Fox Searchlight could make Disney more prestige-y.

Less on-brand for Disney is Fox’s specialty film division Fox Searchlight, which has developed into an awards-season hothouse over the last few years, releasing such best picture Oscar winners as 12 Years a Slave, Birdman, and Slumdog Millionaire. Earlier this week, Searchlight scored multiple Golden Globes nominations for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water, as well as seven SAG Awards nominations for its 2017 releases.

A respected player in the indie sector and dominant acquisitions force at the Sundance Film Festival, the specialty label is known for finding and cultivating quirky low-budget films into cultural sensations. This is well outside what has been Disney’s normal purview up to this point: tentpole fare and four-quadrant crowd-pleasers in the Pixar-Marvel-Lucasfilm vein. Toward that end, Disney has largely removed itself from the awards scrum, aside from animation (best animated feature Oscars for Big Hero 6, Brave, Frozen, Inside Out, etc.) and technical achievements (a best makeup Academy Award for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe).

Difficult as it may be to imagine Disney releasing Searchlight’s lo-fi, Sundance-certified hits like Patti Cake$ and Step, however, the most obvious upside would be to the company’s streaming service, set to launch in 2019, which will need a steady supply of prestige product if it wants to make a viable run at Netflix. That said, Iger has refused to say whether Searchlight will continue to function as a distinct division under Disney management.

The Fox network as we’ve known it is (probably) over.

A few weeks ago, when the Fox-Disney deal was still in the rumor stages, we argued such a pact could mean drastic changes to Fox Broadcasting Co., a.k.a. the Fox network. Nothing Murdoch said today changes our theory. Sure, the Fox founder talked about the idea of FBC buying entertainment programming from an independent studio such as Sony, Lionsgate, or Warner Bros. (Some Hollywood insiders are already speculating the new Fox could snap up a smaller outlet such as Sony, or perhaps strike an output deal guaranteeing scripted content.) But Murdoch and his sons Lachlan and James also emphasized, over and over, that the new Fox would be focused on sports, news, and live events. That seems to be a broad hint they know an FBC without a major studio partner such as 20th Century Fox TV doesn’t make much sense in a world where the major value of scripted programming is the back end, something that requires a network to own the shows it airs.

This doesn’t mean FBC won’t have any scripted shows a couple years from now. Its NFL, World Series, and other sports rights will give it a great platform to promote a couple of big, male-focused original series every season. It could also snap up or produce some low-cost scripted programming (think something like Syfy original movies or BBC America’s Orphan Black), content that pays for itself via ad revenue and helps maintain the value of Fox’s local TV stations. Reality shows will also have a place on the new FBC, even more than now. And without having to worry about pissing off the prestige advertisers who sponsor premium scripted shows, the new FBC might not think twice about programming, say, The Sean Hannity Good-Time Conspiracy Theory Hour every Friday night. But, as one top network exec told Vulture Thursday, “The days of a full schedule of full-priced Fox programming? That seems to be dead and buried.”

The Simpsons, Family Guy, and Bob’s Burgers could be on the moveor on their way out.

Ratings for FBC animated stalwarts The Simpsons and Family Guy have fallen sharply over the last few years—like most everything else on TV—even as the shows’ production budgets remain sky-high. Fox has dutifully renewed the shows, however, because its 20th Century Fox TV unit owns them and is able to extract millions of dollars in profit from selling reruns to cable networks and local stations, more than making up for the losses at the network level. Once FBC and 20th are divorced, however, it’s hard to see how the new FBC makes the economics work—or why Disney would want two of its new crown jewels airing somewhere else.

In the short-term, not much will probably change. The Simpsons has a deal in place with FBC keeping it on the network through the 2018–19 season, which happens to coincide with the show’s 30th anniversary. At that point, it’s possible Disney will find a way to move the show to either ABC or one of its new streaming services, perhaps producing fewer than 22 episodes each year. (FXX, which is also headed to Disney, already airs reruns of the show and operates a Simpsons streaming app.) Or maybe the creative team behind the show will simply decide 30 years is (finally) enough, and walk away, perhaps working with Disney on a new way to keep the Simpsons brand alive. (Side note: NBCUniversal currently has a deal for the theme-park rights to The Simpsons, so don’t expect a Simpsons ride at DisneyWorld any time soon.) As for Family Guy and Bob’s Burgers, they are much younger shows, and less expensive, with Bob’s actually turning into something of a powerhouse on basic cable in recent years. Disney would have plenty of incentive to keep making originals of both, either for ABC or one of its new streaming services.

See also: Why a Murdoch Sale Could Spell Doom for the Fox Network

The Best Things to Do in L.A. This Week

by Brittany Martin @ Los Angeles Magazine

Your best bets for January 22 to 26, 2018

The post The Best Things to Do in L.A. This Week appeared first on Los Angeles Magazine.

The Feed | All The News You Missed This Week

The Feed | All The News You Missed This Week

by Marina Nazario @ The A List | The Urban List

This week flew by faster than Ricky Bobby in a racecar. And we’re okay with that, because that means it’s the weekendddd. Time to crack open a beer.

In case you’ve been a good employee and haven’t been distracted by the deep, dark depths of the Interwebs, we made a list of everything you missed this week. Hey, we get it. If you ain’t first, you’re last.

ICYMI the Altman brothers, aka stars of the TV show Million Dollar Listing, are coming to Australia. So California Burgers created a limited edition, all-American burger just for them (where’s our burger?!). Let’s give ‘em a big Aussie welcome.  

Laneway is keeping the party rolling with Sommersby cider by giving us Musical Shares. Get amongst it.

Sound the alarm! Frank’s Cafe just dropped a Golden Gaytime pannacotta. Beat you there!

CBD's premier fine dining hot spot, Ôter is hosting legendary chef Sebastian Myers, fresh from his residency at Paris’ Fulgrance l’Adresse, for two days. Be there or be square.

Yoooo! Asahi Premium Beverages just launched Nikka Whisky’s Coffey Range in Australia. You’re gonna wannna to try this. Pro tip: take the Nikka Coffey Grain and pour it over vanilla ice cream. Officially NUTS. 

Write this in your diary with big bold letters: There’s an ice cream festival coming to the Yara Valley next week.

We got to check out a new Aussie gin bar, and you need to try the Sheila Margarita before summer ends.

THIS IS NOT A DRILL: There’s a pop-up carnival coming to Melbourne this weekend!

We turned into mad scientists to figure out how to make the best damn goon punch in Australia.

After looking into the magic, crystal ball, we predict that this will be your new, Saturday morning breakfast spot.

A pup-friendly outdoor cinema is coming to Melbourne so you don’t have to experience separation anxiety from your dog. 'Bout time.

The next best thing to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory just opened in Cremorne and we just gained 5 kilos.

Dust off the dancing shoes. A mussel and jazz festival is coming to South Melbourne Market

Pssttt. There’s a top-secret Rose rooftop party happening this month #TrendyAs

Eat your weight in weiners at Wurstfest this weekend for no reason at all.  

Looking for something to do? Here're 20 things happening in Melbs this weekend

Image credit: California Burger

Kylie Jenner Finally Confirmed She Was Pregnant & We Have A Lot Of Feelings

Kylie Jenner Finally Confirmed She Was Pregnant & We Have A Lot Of Feelings

by Ange Law @ The A List | The Urban List

After months of every single person in the entire world speculating that Kylie Jenner was pregnant, we finally have answers. And thank God for that—seriously, we’re tired. It started with an Instagram post (that’s already had a cool 6.2 million liked by the way) where she basically apologised for keeping us in the dark and fiiiiiine we’ll forgive her.



A post shared by Kylie (@kyliejenner) on Feb 4, 2018 at 12:27pm PST

Now there’s a video documenting her entire pregnancy and we have a lot of feelings. The video starts with Kris giving birth to Kylie and I don’t care what this says about me, but I had chills. It’s also a little chilly in Sydney this morning but really, we know it was the DRAHMA. 

The story of her pregnancy is then told by her two best friends. Cue cute footage of Travis (AKA baby daddy) showing his mate an ultrasound image and all of us wondering how the hell they kept it all so quiet. We’ll admit, it’s all a lot cuter than we thought it’d be. 

Seriously, Kardashian home videos get us every freaking time. 

Image credit: YouTube account | Kylie Jenner

The Legal Nomads Guide to Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca

by Jodi Ettenberg @ Legal Nomads

A Puerto Escondido guide, including where to eat, the best spots to swim, where to stay, and how to get there and away from Oaxaca and elsewhere.

The post The Legal Nomads Guide to Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca appeared first on Legal Nomads.

Sriracha Pimento Cheese Recipe

by Andrea Nguyen @ Viet World Kitchen

Many people from the American South are familiar with pimento cheese but I didn’t try it until 2013. It was so fun and addictively good to eat that I been making it ever since. The cheese was properly cut into small dice so you could taste its flavor. I’ve made it from a recipe in...

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Best Airbnbs in Reykjavik for a Winter Break

by Charlie Marchant @ Charlie on Travel

Let me share my Airbnb wishlist for Reykjavik, Iceland. Read my list of the best Airbnbs in Reykjavik, including budget rooms, perfect apartments and luxury rental homes.  Winter season has got me dreaming about white snow and cold countries. I was just sixteen when I went on my first trip to Iceland – it was short […]

The post Best Airbnbs in Reykjavik for a Winter Break appeared first on Charlie on Travel.

Here’s How a Former Bachelor Contestant Could Make $1 Million This Year

by Marielle Wakim @ Los Angeles Magazine

From reality TV personalities to animal celebs, Instagram influencers are making bank

The post Here’s How a Former Bachelor Contestant Could Make $1 Million This Year appeared first on Los Angeles Magazine.

This Local Denim Line Invited Real L.A. Girls to Try Out as Models

by Brittany Martin @ Los Angeles Magazine

Over 20,000 women responded to a Kardashian's open call

The post This Local Denim Line Invited Real L.A. Girls to Try Out as Models appeared first on Los Angeles Magazine.

GoNOLA Tops: Banh Mi

GoNOLA Tops: Banh Mi

New Orleans has an illustrious Vietnamese dining scene: here are 11 places to find the delicious banh mi Vietnamese po-boy in New Orleans.

Cost of living in Thailand: Can you afford it?

by Joanna @ The Blond Travels

Thailand is not only popular because of its weather, food and smiling people, but also because of relatively low prices. You can live here comfortably on around $500 a month. It all depends on which part of the country you want to live in and what kind of lifestyle you prefer. Expats, who have been […]

How To Be A Dinner Hero

by vegetariantourist @ The Vegetarian Tourist

As a busy professional and/or if you are raising a family, there is always one question that lingers in the back of your mind on a daily basis; what’s for dinner? I’ve recently come across one awesome option that I know will help you out in the dinner department; it’s called Dinner Hero. Imagine a […]

The post How To Be A Dinner Hero appeared first on The Vegetarian Tourist.

A Fact-checked Guide to I, Tonya

A Fact-checked Guide to I, Tonya

by Jordan Crucchiola @ Brow Beat

This article originally appeared in Vulture.

The upcoming biopic I, Tonya is a darkly comedic rendering of the life of figure skater Tonya Harding—from her early days at the ice rink in Portland, Oregon’s Lloyd Center mall to the Nancy Kerrigan incident and her subsequent flameout at the Lillehammer Olympic Games in 1994. Breaking form with typical Hollywood biographies, I, Tonya is packaged as a kind of documentary, with contradictory confessional interviews by Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan) and Harding (Margot Robbie) driving the story forward. The format gives the movie a true-to-life feel while trafficking in events that feel too absurd to be real. So what in I, Tonya, is accurate, and what can be chalked up to artistic license? For your convenience, Vulture has assembled a fact-checked guide to most significant moments in I, Tonya, a movie that manages to be as sensational as it is faithful to historical events.

Was Harding really forced to pee on the ice because her mom refused to give her bathroom breaks?
According to a woman who took lessons at the same rink as Harding during that time, Tonya’s mother, LaVona Golden, did shout at her daughter, “I paid for you to practice, so you’re going to stay on the ice and practice.” In a Chicago Tribune article from 1994, this policy did mean that Harding was sometimes was forced to urinate on the ice, according to people who knew her then.

Did LaVona hit Harding with a hairbrush?
A woman named Antje Spethmann, who skated with Harding until they were 13, told the New York Times in 1994 that she did see that take place. This was also corroborated in the ESPN documentary The Price of Gold by a childhood friend named Sandra Lucknow.

Did LaVona throw a knife at Harding during a fight?

Did LaVona make Harding get her class picture taken in her skating costume for competition photos?
Yes. As Harding says in her autobiography, The Tonya Tapes, “She sends me to school in my skating outfit with my hair up in French braids with a tiara, so I could have [skating] pictures. Believe me. I have proof of that one, too.”

Did a young Harding wear a homemade rabbit-fur coat?

Did Shawn Eckhardt really claim to be a counterterrorism expert?
Oh, yes. The interview with Diane Sawyer from 1994 is as weird as you’d expect, with Sawyer explaining to viewers that, “Eckhardt has a résumé that makes him out to be a cross between James Bond and Oliver North, and before the attack on Kerrigan he reportedly bragged about dangerous exploits, including the fact that he had hit men.” Sawyer asked Eckhardt if he was the one who was “power mad” and “megalomaniacal,” and if he actually manufactured the entire scheme to fulfill a “deranged fantasy.” Eckhardt assured her, “My training and education has been in the areas of counterespionage and counterterrorism. I’ve done extensive research in the areas of terrorism trends and profiles. I’ve been quoted as an expert in terrorism trends and profiles.” He attributes that quote to a “travel magazine a couple of years ago during the Gulf War.” Sawyer’s incredulity at Eckhardt’s is outstanding to watch, especially when he says he got started in his “trade” at the age of 17.

In the movie, Eckhardt is presented as reveling in the footage of Kerrigan’s attack being broadcast on TV, but in his interview with Sawyer, he says that footage was what made him flip on Gillooly, because he was filled with so much guilt about participating in her attack. Eckhardt also claimed that he basically protected Kerrigan by insisting to Gillooly she didn’t need to be murdered to solve their problem. “There’s other things you can do to disable somebody,” he told Sawyer. “You don’t need to kill them.”

Did Tonya tell a judge to “suck my dick” after the judge criticized her outfit?
No. Robbie said in a late-night interview that the line was made up, but that when Harding saw the movie, she apparently wished she had said it. Harding did, however, tell the judge who criticized her outfit that unless she could come up with $5,000 to buy Harding a new costume she could “stay out of my face.”

What happened with Tonya and her half-brother?
Harding’s half-brother, whom she calls “creepy Chris” in the movie, was actually named Chris Davidson, and he did sexually assault her in their home when she was 15 and he was 26. In the movie, Harding quickly fends him off and leaves him on the ground, but the real-life events are much more frightening. As Harding prepared for her first date with Gillooly, Davidson tried to kiss her, and she threatened to burn him with her curling iron if he kept advancing. Davidson continued to force himself on her, so she set the iron to his neck, ran to the upstairs bathroom, and locked herself inside. According to Harding’s account, he then followed her and beat the door down, but she was able to get away and call the police. He continued to pursue her, though, so she hit him with a hockey stick and ran to a neighbor’s house. Davidson was arrested later that night and spent several years in jail. Shortly after his release he was killed by a hit-and-run driver, and Harding told Sports Illustrated in 1992 that she did not attend the funeral. Of the incident, Harding’s mom said, “I wouldn’t put it past Chris to try and get a kiss. Tonya has a vivid imagination. She has a tendency to tell tall tales.”

Did Gillooly slam Harding’s hand in a car door?
According to Harding, yes. In the movie, it happens fast, when the two are having an argument by their car, but in The Tonya Tapes, Harding says she was fleeing the house to escape Gillooly beating her up when he ran to their car and pulled a coil out of the engine to keep her from driving away. As she was exiting the car, Harding says Gillooly kicked the door shut and it completely closed with her hand in it. At that point, Harding says she grabbed the bag she had brought outside with her, and ran from Gillooly.

Did Harding chase Gillooly out of their house with a shotgun?

Robbie’s version of Harding breaks the fourth wall in I, Tonya to assure the audience she did not fire a gun at Gillooly as he ran away from her, and while the real Tonya does not reference that event specifically, she does say in The Tonya Tapes that Gillooly once threatened her with a shotgun. So overall, this one will have to stay unverified.

Did LaVona pay a heckler to harass Harding before a competitive skate?

Was a death threat called in against Harding?
Yes, before a regional competition in the Pacific Northwest.

Did Tonya really dramatically fire her coach, Diane Rawlinson, after exiting the ice in competition?
No. Harding’s second coach, Dody Teachman, was a former student of Rawlinson’s and had already been working with Harding as a kind of assistant coach when she moved into the top role. Rawlinson described the transition to Sports Illustrated as follows: “The bottom line is, it wasn’t working.” She added, “Tonya wasn’t training, and wasn’t meeting the goals she had set for herself. So I delegated her to Dody.” In The Tonya Tapes, Harding also makes it sound like an amicable arrangement, saying, “I thought I knew more. It wasn’t working out. We both decided I would go over to Dody, who was Diane’s very first student, and let her work with me.”

Is the scene behind the diner with Rawlinson and Harding really how the latter started coaching her again?
No. Harding says in The Tonya Tapes that she approached Rawlinson and asked her to come back and coach her again, and that she did it at the behest of Gillooly. “I went to her and asked her to take me back. And it took a lot, too,” Harding said, adding that in a meeting with Rawlinson and Gillooly she promised, “I will do this, and do this, and do this, and this—twist myself into a pretzel for you,” to convince Rawlinson to come back. Based on accounts given in ESPN’s The Price of Gold, Rawlinson did indeed dislike Harding’s blue nail polish.

Did Harding and Kerrigan room together on tour and get wasted in hotels?
It doesn’t seem like it. Harding does talk in The Tonya Tapes about occasionally bunking with Kerrigan on the road, but only mentions activities like shopping or eating or watching TV together.

Did Gillooly threaten to kill himself and accidentally fire a gun at Harding?
Based on Harding’s version of events, yes. In The Tonya Tapes, she describes a similar incident to what happens in I, Tonya, even if it’s not exactly the same. According to the book, Gillooly had broken into Harding’s apartment and taken her purse to coerce her into talking to him. She unsuccessfully tried to get it back from him outside her building, and Gillooly chased her back into her apartment, where she says he threatened to shoot himself and shoot her. She then left her home, walked to the parking lot, and Gillooly shot in her direction, hitting the pavement and causing an errant piece of asphalt to fly up and hit her in the face. The subsequent police encounter is then described as a chase that ended when two cop cars boxed Gillooly in and forced him to pull over. Harding says they were then both forced to get out of the car, and that even though the police confiscated Gillooly’s gun and shotgun, they let him go without charges and allowed him to take Harding home.

Did Gillooly make a marathon drive from Portland, Oregon, to Idaho just to scream “Fuck you!” at Tonya after an argument?
Unverified, but this one seems like artistic license.

Did LaVona try to record Harding making incriminating statements?
According to Harding, yes, but not in her home like it’s presented in I, Tonya. In The Tonya Tapes, Harding says her mom showed up at an ice rink where she was skating shortly before the 1994 Olympics and tried to record her with a microphone hidden in her coat. “They [the press] gave her a mic and turned it on and walked down into the rink to try and get me to say stuff,” Harding said, adding that she admonished her mother after she saw the device: “You can leave this rink and never come back. I don’t want to have anything to do with you anymore. I have put up with this too long.”

Did Harding’s dad really drive away and leave her in the street?
Actually, Harding’s mom left the two of them first, and she stayed with her dad for about half a year until he took a job in Boise, Idaho. Harding then moved back in with her mom, who was by then married to husband number six, James Golden.

Did Shane Stant really move his car every 15 minutes during his two-day stakeout in the parking lot of Tony Kent Arena in Massachusetts to avoid suspicion?
He actually moved it every 30 minutes. But yes. 

Did Stant use his head to break through a glass door while fleeing after the Kerrigan attack?
He really did. Stant and Derrick Smith had cased the Cobo Center in Detroit, where the assault took place, in the days before the attack and decided those doors would be their exit point. But on the day of the crime, they were indeed chained shut, so Stant used his head as a battering ram and plowed through the glass. He also did tackle a man who got in the way as he ran. Stant was, however, wearing “a baseball hat, black leather jacket, black jeans, black gloves and brown hiking boots,” instead of the all-denim ensemble shown in the movie.

Was Harding’s car towed by reporters?
In The Price of Gold, Harding says people from the media would set off the alarm on her car and once had it towed so she would have to leave her house and face the cameras.

Were reporters ordered to stand behind a velvet rope on LaVona Golden’s lawn?

Did Harding have a secret meeting with a skating judge in a parking lot to talk about her scores?
In The Tonya Tapes, Harding says that she reconciled with Gillooly following their 1993 divorce because a rep for the United States Figure Skating Association told her to do it if she wanted “the marks.” According to Harding, “If I wanted to make the Olympic team, I need to make myself a stable life … They said I had a stable life when I was with him—married, settled down … And they wanted to make sure I was still going to be that way to go to the Olympic Games.”

Did Eckhardt publicly brag about the attack on Kerrigan?
Yes. In the documentary The Price of Gold, the Multnomah County district attorney at the time of the Kerrigan attack told ESPN that Eckhardt “couldn’t stop bragging to everybody that he had planned the attack.” One of the people he talked to about the “success” of the mission was a close friend named Gene Saunders; he even played him a poor-quality tape of the planning meeting in his house. Saunders encouraged his friend to turn himself in, and eventually went to the FBI with what Eckhardt told him. Like in the movie, real-life Eckhardt did actually plan to use the attack to try and raise the profile of his company, World Bodyguard Services, so he could provide protection services for more skaters.

An anonymous woman also called police in Detroit to say she believed Harding, Gillooly, and Eckhardt were behind the attack, because Eckhardt’s father had bragged about it to her. She also sent an unsigned letter to a TV news station in Portland, and they eventually turned it over to the FBI. The woman is believed to be an acquaintance of Eckhardt’s father. In addition to his boasting, she also apparently heard the tape of the planning meeting as well.

Did Eckhardt invite Gillooly to a Chinese restaurant at midnight while wearing a wire for the FBI?
According to Saunders, the FBI actually asked him to wear a wire and meet up with Eckhardt at a restaurant called Carrow’s, where agents would be during their meeting. According to Saunders, this is what they told him before he went into the sting operation. “[The agent] said, ‘We are watching his car. Whatever you do, do not get into that car with him,’” Saunders told Bleacher Report in 2013. “I said, ‘OK.’ He walked over again and said, ‘We just observed him loading a weapon and putting it in the car. Do not get in the car. We cannot protect you if you get in that car.’ OK. I’m trying to play it cool, but what do I know? First thing Shawn does when he walks into the restaurant is say, ‘Let’s go for a ride.’” Saunders ended up staying out of the car, and the FBI picked up Eckhardt for questioning the next day, at which time he confessed.

Did Harding think Kerrigan practiced at Tuna Can Arena?
According to the incriminating notes found with Harding’s handwriting that contained Kerrigan’s practice location, she did scribble “Tunee Can Arena.” So, not really Tuna Can, but close.

See also: Best Actress Watch: Can Margot Robbie Skate to Gold As Tonya Harding?

Salma Hayek Writes NYT Op-Ed Revealing How Harvey Weinstein Turned the Making of Frida Into a Nightmare

Salma Hayek Writes NYT Op-Ed Revealing How Harvey Weinstein Turned the Making of Frida Into a Nightmare

by Marissa Martinelli @ Brow Beat

Salma Hayek became the latest high-profile actress to share her #MeToo story about Harvey Weinstein on Tuesday in an intense New York Times essay. Hayek opens the essay, in which she recounts her alleged experiences with the producer while filming Frida, by explaining that she was approached by reporters earlier in the fall but chose not to speak out about the producer at that time: “I didn’t consider my voice important, nor did I think it would make a difference.”

Now, though, Hayek is speaking up, and her accusations against Weinstein include not only sexual harassment but also fits of rage and manipulation. Hayek alleges, as other women have, that Weinstein asked her to shower with him or watch him shower, offered to give her a massage, suggested he give her oral sex, and showed up at her hotel room on multiple occasions in the middle of the night. “And with every refusal came Harvey’s Machiavellian rage,” she writes, recalling how Weinstein allegedly threatened to give the role of Frida Kahlo to another actress even though the project had been conceived by Hayek. She also says he forced her to meet strict, often unreasonable criteria in order to move forward, such as rewriting the script on a tight deadline, finding A-listers to act and direct, and raising $10 million to finance the film.

Things got worse, according to Hayek, once filming began, culminating in Weinstein allegedly insisting that the only way Hayek would be allowed to finish the film would be to shoot a sex scene with another woman, with full-frontal nudity:

I arrived on the set the day we were to shoot the scene that I believed would save the movie. And for the first and last time in my career, I had a nervous breakdown: My body began to shake uncontrollably, my breath was short and I began to cry and cry, unable to stop, as if I were throwing up tears.
Since those around me had no knowledge of my history of Harvey, they were very surprised by my struggle that morning. It was not because I would be naked with another woman. It was because I would be naked with her for Harvey Weinstein. But I could not tell them then.
My mind understood that I had to do it, but my body wouldn’t stop crying and convulsing. At that point, I started throwing up while a set frozen still waited to shoot. I had to take a tranquilizer, which eventually stopped the crying but made the vomiting worse. As you can imagine, this was not sexy, but it was the only way I could get through the scene.

It was already known that Weinstein had clashed with Frida director Julie Taymor over a test audience’s reaction to the film. In a 2004 New York Magazine profile, Weinstein attributed his reaction at the time to his diet. In her essay, Hayek gets at part of why Weinstein’s alleged outrageous behavior went unchallenged for so long: “I have to say sometimes he was kind, fun and witty—and that was part of the problem: You just never knew which Harvey you were going to get.”

You can read Hayek’s full essay in the New York Times.

Update, Thurs., Dec. 14: Weinstein released a statement to USA Today via a spokesperson saying "all of the sexual allegations as portrayed by Salma are not accurate and others who witnessed the events have a different account of what transpired."

You Can Now Stream Thousands of Free Movies Thanks to the L.A. Public Library

by Brittany Martin @ Los Angeles Magazine

Excuse us while we curl up and watch documentaries for the rest of time

The post You Can Now Stream Thousands of Free Movies Thanks to the L.A. Public Library appeared first on Los Angeles Magazine.

The MSO Are Chucking A Massive Studio Ghibli Performance

The MSO Are Chucking A Massive Studio Ghibli Performance

by Gen Phelan @ The A List | The Urban List

Good news, guys! Melbourne has a new concert gracing its Hamer Hall stage this April, courtesy of the MSO. It’s a little reminiscent of our fave 2002 anime flick, Spirited Away. Just not in the people-turning-into-pigs sense. (Damn).

Instead, scenes from this movie and other Studio Ghibli classics will spill onto a mahoossive screen. Against this backdrop, master composer Joe Hisaishi is going to corral the MSO into auditory glory. Think of the beats behind Howl’s Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke and My Neighbor Totoro and you'll know what to expect.

As long-term BFFs, Hisaishi and Ghibli legend Hayao Miyazaki have an impressive history of movie-music collaboration—over thirty years’ worth. But hey, who’s counting. They're officially our second favourite kind of m&m.

Melbourne has been chosen for the debut performance of this concert (outside Japanese borders). Cue general cooing and smugness directed at Sydney. Consul-General of Japan, Kazuyoshi Matsunaga, even said he was honoured Melb’s world-class orchestra had been chosen for this gig of gigs.  

"These performances will be the perfect way to showcase Japanese culture here in Victoria. The works of Studio Ghibli and Mr Hisaishi’s iconic scores are already known and loved throughout Australia, and I know this will be a highlight of Melbourne’s cultural calendar this autumn," said Mr Matsunaga.

You’ll be chanting encooore until that curtain levitates just one more time.


What: Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Presents: Joe Hisaishi Symphonic Concert, Music from the Studio Ghibli Films of Hayao Miyazaki When: Friday 27 and Saturday 28 April at 7.30pm Where: Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne For more info (and to book), click here.

Heads up: we just found Victoria's best little-known foodie destination

Image credit: Studio Ghibli 

The 13 Best Banh Mi Sandwiches in SF

The 13 Best Banh Mi Sandwiches in SF


Banh mi: hard to pronounce, not hard to eat at lunch every single day for the rest of your life.

Curried Chickpea Quinoa Veggie Burgers

by Julia @ Orchard Street Kitchen

They always say it’s helpful to have a few standby recipes in your repertoire. They’re those crowd-pleasing recipes that consistently turn out well, are easy to throw together, and don’t require a long list of ingredients. I think a solid veggie burger is probably on every vegetarian’s wish list of foolproof standby recipes; it has... 

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The post Curried Chickpea Quinoa Veggie Burgers appeared first on Orchard Street Kitchen.

The Walking Dead’s “All-Out War” Has Been a Chaotic Mess

The Walking Dead’s “All-Out War” Has Been a Chaotic Mess

by Ian Graber-Stiehl @ Brow Beat

Cogent decision-making under pressure used to be one of The Walking Dead’s strengths. However, as the most recent episode, and the eighth season thus far, shows, that rationale has become what Gregory (in a chuckle-inducing if overlong speech) would call a “Big Scary U” for the show’s writers: An unknown. And the show demonstrates few signs of understanding how to reacquaint itself with it.

There’s a rule that applies to both planning a military engagement and writing a conflict: Have a goal, and take logical steps to achieve it. Having forgotten this torchlight, The Walking Dead has been stumbling around in the darkness, having characters shouting assurances ad nauseam, without giving viewers much reason to have faith.

Case in point: Daryl and Rick’s lover’s quarrel in “The Big Scary U.” On two occasions, Rick tells Daryl some variation of “There’s a plan. We stick to it.” But is there really?

This season opened with Rick declaring that “Only one person has to die.” Great! Mission established: Kill Negan. But how is the “show” part of “Show, don’t tell” going?

Rick rolled up to Negan’s door with dozens of soldiers. From around 25 yards away, his submachine gun somehow missed Negan. Maybe it malfunctioned. Luckily, he had an army with assault rifles. At least one guy’s rifle is even scoped. In most military basic training, trainees have to hit 300 meter targets with old-as-dirt M-16s with iron sights to qualify. It isn’t hard. With 3–4 magazines of ammo, a semi-competent shooter could teach a novice to be reasonably accurate at that distance. Yet Negan escaped unplugged.

But hey, that was plot armor, not logical inconsistency.

Gabriel’s encounter with Negan on the other hand ... Negan has a goal: Self-preservation. He also carries an overly large knife. Yet, instead of subduing and disarming Gabriel with that knife to the priest’s throat, he swaggers out with a crappy one-liner. Gabriel never attempts to shoot him.

But hey, maybe Gabriel was too scared, and Negan was banking on that.

Well, what about Rick trying, again, to recruit the Scavengers? Enlarging your fighting force makes sense on paper, but you don’t go threatening an army alone, when yours doesn’t know where you are.

But hey, the Kingdom just got wasted. Maybe Rick didn’t have time to rally his troops. Plus, it’s not like we’ve seen the garbage people working closely with Negan. Maybe Rick thought their split was amicable, and he could put the moves on them.

Generally speaking, when you’re expecting “All Owut War,” you flesh out POW policies in advance. Yet no one in Rick’s coalition had any idea what to do with prisoners. Granted, we’re trying to manufacture tension here, but Morgan wanting to kill the runaways in “Monsters” still would’ve accomplished that. Moreover, the show is unnecessarily redrawing moral lines here. When Jesus, Tara, Morgan and Maggie hem and haw over their prisoners’ fate, they invoke right and wrong instead of means and ends.

Who cares? What matters is that when people are inducted into despot-ruled society, many don’t want to be there. Kill or crack the facade of their government’s omnipotence, and they’ll rise against it. (See the deaths of Benito Mussolini, Muammar Gaddafi, Nicolae Ceaușescu, etc.)

Kill every surrendered Savior, and word will reach the rest. They’ll fight desperately to death like kamikaze pilots. However, if Rick’s coalition inducts the most compliant prisoners, disperses them as workers among their three groups, and jails or executes Negan’s most loyal lieutenants, they’d incentivize more Saviors to surrender, swelling their ranks at Negan’s expense.

Rick approaches this kind of pragmatism when he argues that Daryl's plan to bomb the Sanctuary could prompt Savior workers to take up arms against Rick’s army instead. Although, if Rick really wanted to contemplate hearts and minds, perhaps he should’ve established POW guidelines before this all-out spectacle. Gregory, meanwhile, also pragmatically evaluates killing captives, but in the believable, self-preservative light of dwindling resources and the danger prisoners pose.

Negan isn’t The Walking Dead’s biggest problem. It’s that when he swaggered onstage, rationale slunk away. It started with worsening dialogue and characters making increasingly bad or uncharacteristic decision last season. Now, with its scope expanded, the lack in logic has bled into every aspect of the show’s production, compromising three tenets central to enjoyable action: clarity, realism, and resourcefulness. The result? “All out war” has just become tedious noise.

Not every action scene has been bad. Ezekiel, Carol, and Jerry’s fight in “Some Guy” was well-done at the hands of first-time guest director Dan Liu. Morgan and co.’s assault on the satellite station was also compelling.

However, take Aaron’s assault on, and Rick and Daryl’s infiltration into, the outpost in “The Damned” and “Monsters.” There’s no clear signal they’re all at the same place. Aaron & co.’s infinite ammo stormtrooper shooting just makes you wonder why no one brought grenades. Rick shooting a fire extinguisher to provide him and Daryl cover comes off less like resourcefulness, and more like Dues ex fire extinguisher.

There’s little clarity, an unrealistic shootout, and unbelievable resourcefulness.

So let’s rewrite that scene. This go-round, we see Rick and Daryl kitting up with Molotov cocktails and a smoke grenade. Daryl mentions that he hates the garlic smell of phosphorous grenades. Rick retorts that if Aaron keeps them covered, they shouldn’t need it—establishing clearly that they’re all at the same place.

Aaron’s assault this time features less full-auto. Instead, suppressive fire covers grenadiers lobbing grenades, pipe bombs, or Molotov cocktails at the Saviors. Now, when the Saviors retreat into the building, it’s because they’re in a convincing kill-box, with their cover getting burnt out.

Rick and Daryl hear Saviors coming, but not before Rick snatches a fire extinguisher. They’re burning this place down. They don’t want the Saviors to put out the fire.

As Saviors approach from both sides, Rick, thinking on his feet, shoots the extinguisher, putting the Saviors at risk of friendly fire, and forcing them to regroup on one side of the hall. As the Saviors press onwards, Rick pops the smoke, and Daryl tosses Molotovs. The hallway becomes a confusing miasma of fire and smoke, making the Saviors back off. However, they keep firing. Rick and Daryl are pinned. Rick has an extension chord in his room. He could try to climb out the window, but Daryl would have to cross a hallway choked with fire and lead. There’s no way out for them both—until Aaron et al save the day.

Clarity? Check. Believable resourcefulness? Check. Realism? Check.

The old Walking Dead would’ve given us a similar scene structured along these lines. Instead, the show has dismissed logic in filming the show’s action sequences, leaving too many moments where at least one of these things is always forgotten.

Rick confronts Negan, and the latter doesn’t come out the door without some cover or workers for human shields. Daryl and Rick take on a truck with a 50 cal, and Rick’s windshield casually tank bullets that chew up engine blocks, so Daryl can make a 30-40 yard pistol shot on a speeding motorcycle.

The old Walking Dead would’ve made Rick duck as the bullets came, and his car stall as they tore through the engine. But hey, Daryl would’ve had a submachine gun—or if he really wanted to be badass, a sawed-off grenade launcher—Yes, that’s a thing—to make that shot. Instead, the show keeps abandoning logic and, unlike Daryl, missing easy shots.

A short guide to Had Rin

by Joanna @ The Blond Travels

Had Rin is a small town, located on thee beautiful island of Koh Phangan, in the south of Thailand. It is mostly famous for its full moon parties – monthly events, frequented by thousands of young people looking for cheap booze, loud music and good fun. I have been coming to Had Rin every year […]

Thailand Travel Costs and How Much to Budget [Infographic]

by Charlie Marchant @ Charlie on Travel

Thailand is a very budget-friendly destination and you will almost always get a lot of bang for your Baht. But what’s a good budget per day for Thailand? Well, it depends on how you’re travelling. If you’re a digital nomad living in Thailand, you can take advantage of long-term rentals and keep costs low. If […]

The post Thailand Travel Costs and How Much to Budget [Infographic] appeared first on Charlie on Travel.


by shoshannah @ AWESOME AMSTERDAM

Oh I love ramen! Don’t you? Make your way to Umaimon at Amsterdam’s Leidseplein for a big warm bowl of yummy chicken ramen. This ramen restaurant is located in the middle of Leidseplein which may make you think it’s a place to avoid, as the area is quite touristy. However if you love ramen, definitely…

The post Umaimon appeared first on AWESOME AMSTERDAM.

Lin-Manuel Miranda #HamilDrops New Track “Ben Franklin’s Song” With The Decemberists

Lin-Manuel Miranda #HamilDrops New Track “Ben Franklin’s Song” With The Decemberists

by Rachel Withers @ Brow Beat

Last week, Lin-Manuel Miranda announced the HAMILDROPS, a new Hamilton project that will see previously unreleased content drop once per month between now and December 2018.

The first of Miranda’s HAMILDROP is upon us, with the Hamilton mastermind overnight unveiling “Ben Franklin’s Song,” with music written recorded by indie rock band the Decemberists.

This is the first new Hamilton content since Miranda released The Hamilton Mixtape one year ago, and it did not disappoint. Miranda said he wrote the “Decemberists-esque lyrics” with the band in mind, and they include references to Benjamin Franklin’s yearly almanac and his inventions, the glass harmonica and bifocal glasses:

And do you know who the fuck I am?
Yeah, do you know who the fuck I am?
Do you know who the fuck I am?
I am Poor-Richard’s-Almanack-writing Benjamin fuckin’ Franklin

(See also: “I am 76-and-I’ll-still-kick-your-ass fuckin’ Franklin” and “I am Poor-Richard’s-Almanack-writing, polymath, bifocal-wearing, hardened glass-harmonica-playing, Benjamin fuckin’ Franklin”).

You can find all the ways to listen to the new track, as well as wait longlingly for future tracks, at the HAMILDROPs website.

10 Day Trips from Amsterdam in Winter

by shoshannah @ AWESOME AMSTERDAM

Are you looking for places to visit in the Netherlands in December, January and February? Would you like to take a day trip from Amsterdam this winter? 10 Day Trips from Amsterdam in Winter The weather might be cold, blustery and wet but that doesn’t mean you can’t go exploring! The Netherlands is a small country so…

The post 10 Day Trips from Amsterdam in Winter appeared first on AWESOME AMSTERDAM.

J.K. Rowling Is “Genuinely Happy” With Johnny Depp Casting Despite Domestic Abuse Allegations

J.K. Rowling Is “Genuinely Happy” With Johnny Depp Casting Despite Domestic Abuse Allegations

by Marissa Martinelli @ Brow Beat

J.K. Rowling is speaking out about Johnny Depp’s casting in the Fantastic Beasts movies, and fans might not like what she has to say.

Depp has been cast as villain Grindelwald in the Harry Potter spinoff franchise, with a cameo in last year’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and a much bigger part planned for the sequel, which is due out in November 2018. The choice is controversial because of domestic violence claims made by his ex-wife Amber Heard, who accused the actor of emotional and physical abuse during their divorce proceedings last year. (Depp has denied the allegations, and he and Heard issued a joint statement after their divorce settlement saying that “there was never any intent of physical or emotional harm.”)

On Thursday, Rowling released a statement of her own, responding to lingering controversy over casting Depp. In that statement, she suggested she is not able to speak frankly about the issue because of “the agreements that have been put in place to protect the privacy of two people.” She did, however, give her approval: “Based on our understanding of the circumstances, the filmmakers and I are not only comfortable sticking with our original casting, but genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character in the movies.”

Fantastic Beasts director David Yates also defended Depp’s casting last week in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “Honestly, there’s an issue at the moment where there’s a lot of people being accused of things, they’re being accused by multiple victims, and it’s compelling and frightening,” he said. “With Johnny, it seems to me there was one person who took a pop at him and claimed something. I can only tell you about the man I see every day: He’s full of decency and kindness, and that’s all I see.”

Rowling’s statement, however, is much more surprising than Yates’, given that she’s established a reputation for herself as a progressive voice on social media. Her “understanding of the circumstances” line is reminiscent of Lena Dunham’s defense of a Girls’ writer accused of sexual assault, in which Dunham touted “insider knowledge” of the situation. (That writer has denied the accusations against him, and Dunham has since apologized for her statement.)

I can't help but wonder if Rowling has seen the disturbing TMZ video that was leaked last year and what other “circumstances” could possibly mitigate its impact:

Here is Rowling’s full statement as posted on her website:

When Johnny Depp was cast as Grindelwald, I thought he’d be wonderful in the role. However, around the time of filming his cameo in the first movie, stories had appeared in the press that deeply concerned me and everyone most closely involved in the franchise.
Harry Potter fans had legitimate questions and concerns about our choice to continue with Johnny Depp in the role. As David Yates, long-time Potter director, has already said, we naturally considered the possibility of recasting. I understand why some have been confused and angry about why that didn’t happen.
The huge, mutually supportive community that has grown up around Harry Potter is one of the greatest joys of my life. For me personally, the inability to speak openly to fans about this issue has been difficult, frustrating and at times painful. However, the agreements that have been put in place to protect the privacy of two people, both of whom have expressed a desire to get on with their lives, must be respected.  Based on our understanding of the circumstances, the filmmakers and I are not only comfortable sticking with our original casting, but genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character in the movies.
I’ve loved writing the first two screenplays and I can’t wait for fans to see ‘The Crimes of Grindelwald’. I accept that there will be those who are not satisfied with our choice of actor in the title role. However, conscience isn’t governable by committee. Within the fictional world and outside it, we all have to do what we believe to be the right thing.

Vegan Guide to Kampot

by Vegan Food Quest @ Vegan Food Quest

If you’re heading to Cambodia then Kampot should definitely be on your list of places to visit. This sleepy riverside town has a great relaxed vibe, some excellent coffee shops, some of the world’s best pepper and a good number of places to eat vegan food. Here’s our Vegan Guide to Kampot to help you […]

The post Vegan Guide to Kampot appeared first on Vegan Food Quest.

This Guy Stayed in SoCal’s Most Haunted Hotels to Separate Fact From Fiction

by Gwynedd Stuart @ Los Angeles Magazine

Hotel Alexandria, Hotel del Coronado, the Mission Inn, and more

The post This Guy Stayed in SoCal’s Most Haunted Hotels to Separate Fact From Fiction appeared first on Los Angeles Magazine.

How to find an apartment in Chiang Mai

by Joanna @ The Blond Travels

Chiang Mai is the most popular location for expats in the north of Thailand. It is full of hostels, hotels and apartment buildings, which are available to rent in different prices. A room in a condominium can cost only 4,000 Baht per month, plus bills. But how to find an apartment in Chiang Mai if […]

Billy Bush Visits Stephen Colbert to Remind Americans That Objective Reality Still Exists

Billy Bush Visits Stephen Colbert to Remind Americans That Objective Reality Still Exists

by Matthew Dessem @ Brow Beat

You might have lost track of it in all the sound and fury surrounding the Republican tax heist—or decided it mattered less than the President’s recent decision to support alleged 14-year-old-assaulter Roy Moore—but last Sunday, news broke that Donald Trump has been telling people the infamous Access Hollywood tape in which he boasts about women letting him “grab them by the pussy” was a fake. This is not only an obvious lie, it’s a lie that contradicts the apology Trump offered when the story originally broke in 2016. But like the old saying goes, it takes two people to brag about sexual assault and then go on to become the President of the United States: one to brag about sexual assault and go on to become President of the United States, and one to chuckle along and get fired. That second person, Billy Bush, was in a direct position to confirm that Trump was, once again, lying, and did so, writing a New York Times editorial headlined, “Yes, Donald Trump, You Said That.” On Monday night, Bush stopped by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert to confirm that Americans could believe their own eyes and ears: Donald Trump really did boast about sexually assaulting women back in 2005.

Bush’s appearance, like his editorial, was at least partly a plea for forgiveness—he went out of his way to talk about all the work he’s done since the Access Hollywood tape got him fired from the Today Show, and it’s clear that he feels that he was ill-treated in the immediate aftermath of the tape being leaked. This is certainly true in comparison with Donald Trump—at press time, still President of the United States—and it’s hard to argue with Bush’s indignation that Trump has been floating the idea that the tape is fake:

By the way, I would also like to say that’s not me on the bus. You don’t get to say that! Because I was there, and the last 14 months of my life, I have been dealing with it. You dealt with it for 14 minutes and went on to be the president.

This appearance is a step forward from Bush’s unconvincing attempt at a comeback last May. For one thing, he’s finally gotten around to reading about the allegations of sexual assault against the president. But as Colbert points out, the only reason Bush is getting this opportunity to come forward again is Donald Trump’s own stupidity, not some hunger on the part of the American public for Billy Bush’s houghts on the matter:

It’s a well-written editorial, and you make a lot of points in here, which, it’s really worth reading. But you couldn’t have printed this—no one would have printed this—unless this story had come back around again by Donald Trump privately denying it. There wouldn’t have been, the, sort of, the moment to bring this bus back. And I couldn’t show this footage of the bus unless he had denied it again, too. I don’t think CBS would let me. … [Trump] actually brought this particular subject around in conjunction with sort of the cultural moment we’re in right now, where revelations of sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual impropriety are putting a new spotlight on the accusations against the president. He stuck—I’m gonna say his finger—in this door hinge by denying this. It’s really the dumbest thing he could have done. He’s a dumb, dumb person.

Bush maybe should have taken the hint that Colbert hadn’t invited him on to reinvent himself. He didn’t. When Bush said that Trump’s monologue initially struck him as shock humor in the vein of Andrew Dice Clay, Colbert pushed back, first asking, “But the camera wasn’t on; why did it seem like a performance to you?” and eventually going on to ask, “Why were you on the bus with him to begin with again?” Colbert finally had to explicitly prompt his guest to discuss the Access Hollywood bus in moral terms:

You state in here—I don’t know exactly the phrases used--you feel shame when you think of your behavior being associated with Donald Trump. That you gave up some part of yourself to a man that you didn’t respect.

Bush picked this up and seemed genuinely contrite for a moment, but almost immediately pivoted to outlining grandiose plans for elevating the conversation—i.e., elevating it away from specific things Billy Bush did or said—and eventually offered this jaw-dropping complaint that undid any good his earlier focus on Trump’s alleged victims might have done his public image:

Stephen, it’s an unbelievable irony. The very day that [Trump] was swearing in as the 45 th President of the United States, I was checking in to this soul-searching retreat in St. Helena, California. It’s nine days off the grid, no phone, you had to check in your phone, and you just kind of—it was the beginning of me saying, “All right, get up, stop being sorry for yourself, stop worrying, all these things, there’s life to live, let’s go: Get better. Be a better man, be a better person.” So I passed the television in the office when I was checking in, and there’s the—he’s got his hand up, and I’m going in to my little cabin to do the work!

“Tough,” Bush added, looking at Colbert for some kind of sympathetic reaction, which for some reason—probably having to do with the fact that Bush, after making the appropriate noises of support for Trump’s accusers, was complaining about having to go to a luxury resort in Napa because of his own complicity—wasn’t forthcoming. But he still didn’t get that this wasn’t an entirely friendly interview, because he followed up by positively leaping into this not-particularly-difficult trap Colbert set:

You had just been recently one of the co-hosts of The Today Show. Matt Lauer controlled that show. He could have protected anybody, and he did famously protect people from being fired on that show. Do you wish he would have protected you?

To state the obvious, this was an opportunity for Bush to condemn the horrible things Matt Lauer is accused of doing, not to reveal that he tried to get Matt Lauer to pull strings on his behalf. Instead Bush cheerfully walked right into the buzzsaw:

We had a conversation about that, and I was told—he told me—that he went privately to the bosses and took that line, and I said I appreciated it, and I accepted him and thanked him.

At that point, it was kind of redundant for Bush to close out with a story about surviving being hit in the head by a golf club that ended with the Rodney-Dangerfieldesque line, “I’m finally lucky,” as though he were the biggest victim of Trump’s alleged predation. Billy Bush seems to have the idea that his redemption will come from being part of the conversation about sexually inappropriate behavior in the workplace. He gives no indication that he’s reckoned with the fact that he already made an important contribution to that conversation, on a bus, with Donald Trump, in 2005.

Banh Mi Tofu Bowl

by Julia @ Orchard Street Kitchen

When people first started asking me where I got my recipe ideas from, I didn’t know how to respond. I realized that it’s because each idea comes from a different source, and it’s often as I’m going about my daily life. For instance, I recently walked past a colleague’s desk when the most delicious barbecue... 

Read More »

The post Banh Mi Tofu Bowl appeared first on Orchard Street Kitchen.

James Franco Gets in Touch With his Inner Dan Aykroyd in This Bloody Saturday Night Live Sketch

James Franco Gets in Touch With his Inner Dan Aykroyd in This Bloody Saturday Night Live Sketch

by Matthew Dessem @ Brow Beat

There’s no shame in revisiting a classic, and on this week’s Saturday Night Live, host James Franco riffed on one of the show’s most iconic sketches: Dan Aykroyd’s legendary French Chef bit where, as Julia Child, he sliced a finger and merrily bled to death. Franco’s character, a gift-wrapper at Bloomingdale’s, is motivated by Christmas cheer rather than Bordeaux and chicken livers, but the basic premise is the same: blood, blood, and more blood. What’s more, the sketch has absolutely nothing to do with Trump, and, as long as no big story breaks about James Franco or the Saturday Night Live cast, it’s a nice break from the year’s garbage news.

Of course, Aykroyd’s version also had a killer celebrity impression at its center. It’s easy to forget how loopy The French Chef was if you haven’t watched it recently (very loopy) but there’s more going on in that skit than the blood. On the other hand, Franco’s version has a lot more blood, and a lot more cast members, which means he gets to do things like spit blood all over Leslie Jones, who seems like she might have had more lines before Franco got blood right in her mouth. No one in the sketch manages to keep a straight face, Franco botches the bit with the prop foot, and the tubes and pumps spraying fake blood everywhere are visible in almost every shot. But as history has proven, time and again, there’s just no wrong way to do a “cheerfully bleeding to death” skit. Now let’s all kick back with the original (non-Monty Python division), written by the late, great Tom Davis and … recently disgraced Senator Al Franken! And you thought you’d found a fun escape from 2017.

Terrific experience and great young guides. Highly Recommend!

by saigononbikes @ Saigon on Bikes

This is the best way to experience Saigon. Just like all the other locals, on two wheels and Thanh and his crew of young guides couldn’t be better. We went on a customized tour and asked for guides to take us to local shopping boutiques while stopping to experience some of the local street food […]

The post Terrific experience and great young guides. Highly Recommend! appeared first on Saigon on Bikes.

The Best Ways to Celebrate Galentine’s Day—and Why You Really Should

by Brittany Martin @ Los Angeles Magazine

Celebrating female friendship has never felt more essential

The post The Best Ways to Celebrate Galentine’s Day—and Why You Really Should appeared first on Los Angeles Magazine.

A Make-Ahead, Totally Genius Holiday Breakfast Casserole

A Make-Ahead, Totally Genius Holiday Breakfast Casserole

by Kristen Miglore @ Brow Beat

This post originally appeared in Genius Recipes on Food52.

Of course make-ahead breakfast casseroles are genius. They let you knock out all the thinking and doing the day before, when you have time and space to putter. And they feed a hungry crowd much more smoothly than flipping fried eggs or rolling omelettes for eight (don’t do it).

The trouble is: In their ingenious practicality, these casseroles can often feel utilitarian at best. They’re a breakfast you can cut into neat rectangles, with none of the dramatic pouf of a Dutch baby or tactile glee of a pull-apart monkey bread.

This particular casserole, however, is spilling over with glee. It comes from celebrity comfort food lover/known prankster Chrissy Teigen's cookbook Cravings, and she injects some very welcome doses of fun. The most important of these is the topping, which is salted, buttered, toasted Frosted Flakes. You will want to palm this up like trail mix. No surprise Teigen writes, “I am so proud of this dish I could cry.”

This topping takes a cue from the tuna noodle casserole genre of yore, but layers in a modern sensibility that recognizes our sweet breakfasts are better with salt and brown butter and, as it turns out, crunchy, malted Frosted Flakes.

I did my natural foodist due diligence here and it appears that the only unpronounceable ingredients are pretty much just vitamins. But if you prefer an ever more wholesome brand, go nuts—just make sure that the salt and sweet are in good balance, and there’s a bit of fat to help the bits get extra brown and crispy. Or maybe there’s another classic you have a deep affection for: Cracklin’ Oat Bran, Crispix, Life, perhaps? I think Teigen would encourage you to embrace your inner crazed-kid-in-the-cereal-aisle.

Her second blast of fun is quite a generous amount (ahem, half a cup) of rum. Teigen positions this as a sort of hair of the dog after a rowdy night and—even after a tame one—this booziness is delicious for adults who dig a saucy rum cake or Dark & Stormy (raises glass).

But if you’re serving this to a mixed crowd on Christmas morning—children, nondrinkers, etc.—don’t worry: While it's true that inevitably not every drop of the alcohol will bake out, this recipe has enough other good stuff going that I can verify that it tastes just as good with little or no booze at all. Namely: those classic cozy wintry flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and brown sugar.

And of course, there's the sassy topping. With enough of that, your crowd would probably be happy to eat the presents.

Chrissy Teigen’s French Toast Casserole with Salted Frosted Flakes

Serves 8

The Base

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 pound French bread (1 large loaf), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup rum (we used Meyer's dark rum—if you're concerned about the alcohol, feel free to reduce, replacing with another liquid like milk)
  • 1 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

The Topping

  • 3 cups Frosted Flakes cereal
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

See the full recipe on Food52.

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by chefpriyanka @ Chef Priyanka

It’s that time of year – when people begin regretting stuffing 3 donuts in their face every morning during the holidays or going to the movies 3 days in a row and promising yourself that you won’t eat popcorn, but you see a Cheetos popcorn special and order a small, a large, and a nachos. […]

What’s On This Valentine’s Day In Melbourne

What’s On This Valentine’s Day In Melbourne

by Kate Bartels @ The A List | The Urban List

Valentines Day. The day of love, the day of expensive flowers and the day of desperate, last-minute dinner reservations. As much as some of don’t want to admit it, we ALL love the idea of a romantic dinner, mid-week bubbles and being spoilt like a rock star. 

For those hopeless romantics with no idea where to even begin wooing your Valentine, check out this list of what’s on in Melbourne this Valentines Day.

Vaporetto Venetian Bar

Yeah sure, who doesn't want to be whisked away to Venice for V-day (or any other day for that matter), but the chances of that happening are slim to none—so we’ve got the next best thing. Treat your loved ones to a four-course menu and a sneaky glass of prosecco at Vaporetto. Choose from Italian good stuff like basil pesto risotto. Nom. 

Where: 681 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn For more info, click here.

Mr Miyagi

Our favourite Japanese hang has a menu full of all the favourites we know and love, like a salmon nori taco and MFC (Miyagi fried chicken). If there was ever a guaranteed way to keep your bae happy, it’s heading here for their special V Day set menu. You can book your place, too—because there’s nothing romantic about waiting two hours for a table.  

Where: 99 Chapel Street, Windsor For more info, click here.

GALentine's Day 

Wine! Cheese! Fun! Chapel Street Precinct and The Lonely Hearts Club are dedicating this V-Day to your mates before dates mantra. There'll be guest speakers, a life drawing class, and did we mention the wine? 

Where: Market Gallery, Prahran  For more info, click here.

Pizza E Birra

Two words: FREE PIZZA. The guys at Pizza E Birra know that our eternal one true love is the doughy, slathered in prosciutto kind. The only prerequisite to redeem your share? Be single. Herd all of your friends and get them on the mozarella, pronto. 

Where: 60 Fitzroy St, St Kilda  For more info, click here

Gift Flick 

Stuck for V-Day present ideas? It's not too late! Online gift service Gift Flick is doing some pretty snazzy Valentine's specials that will score you major brownie points. Think 3-month 'gin guzzler' gin subscriptions, matching human & dog outfits (yep, really), or even your very own custom street art in Hosier-lane. How's that for thoughtful. 

Mr Ottorino

Have a slice of Amalfi and be wined and dined by your Italian lover, Mr Ottorino. Live La Dolce Vita with a three-course Valentine's feast as your date pours the vino and majorly third wheels it.

Where: 122 Johnston Street, Fitzroy For more info, click here.

The Queen Victoria Market 

Love is in the air at the Queen Vic Market. Picture sitting at a table with your hot date and poring over one of Melb's most iconic foodie hubs. The live stage will be pumping up the romantic jams while you sip on a complimentary bottle of bubbly. 

Where: Queen St, Melbourne  For more info, click here.

Garden State Hotel

This one sounds kind of cool. From 12 Feb to 14 Feb, Garden State Hotel are collab'ing with Mary Mary Studio to create an in-house florist shop inside the bar. The front windows are going to transform into a flower wonderland, and you'll be able to pick up handmade bouquets for your SO. If you can't make it in person, you can pre-order arrangement online too. Check Mary Mary for all the deets. 

Where: Garden Stat Hotel, CBD When: 12 February - 14 February 

El Tumi 

Singles and couples are all welcome at El Tumi this Valentine's Day. In fact they're running two distinct events—one for those who want to impress Bae, and one for people who just want some damn good Peruvian food. Oh yeah, and they've got a live Salsa band. Job done, guys.

Where: El Tumi, 59 Church St Richmond When:Wednesday Feb 14 from 6pm (check event pages for all the deets).  For more info, click here or here

Luna Love at Luna Park

Nothing’s more romantic than a ferris wheel right at sunset, right? Luna Park is offering unlimited rides for Valentine's Day this year, plus fairy floss (to eat extra seductively).

Where: 18 Lower Esplanade, St Kilda For more info, click here.

Manflower Co.

Manflower's motto is pretty simple: give beer, make memories. If you don't know what to get that special man in your life, a boutique bouquet of local craft beer should do the trick. Check out the new range online. There's still time to book!

For more info, click here

St Ali

They say that couples who taste coffee together, stay together. St Ali’s ‘learn to taste coffee’ course is the perfect way to woo the coffee lover in your life. It’s take home, too, so you can do it in your undies.

Where: 12 Yarra Place, South Melbourne For more info, click here.


Fancy spending Valentine's in a rock n' roll 1970s Japanese izakaya bar? Hell yeah you do. DenDeke in Preston is rocking a 5-course set menu, and $20 will get you matching sakes to boot. Save room for dessert too—they're serving up a Yuzu granita.

Where: 51 Plenty Rd Preston For more info, click here


If you’re lucky enough to score a day off, treat yourself and your loved one to a boozy brunch at Lona, which will be sure to leave you feeling all bubbly and gushy on the inside and out. Think poached eggs, crispy pork belly, smashed avo and quince chutney paired perfectly with a Bloody Mary or some Frozé.

Where: 64 Acland Street, St Kilda For more info, click here.


Everyone's favourite floating, pop-up giant fish bar is celebrating Valentine's Day in style this year. There are DJs spinning love tunes throughout the night, plus a range of food specials, designed for two. Think antipasto and wine sets, or a plate or artisan cheeses.

Where: Supafish, Southbank Promenade, For more info, click here. 

Holey Moley

Melbourne's mini-golf maestros are teaming up with Bumble this V Day to offer a buy-one-get-one-free deal. All you have to do is flash your Bumble profile on arrival. There's also gonna be a few custom cocktails on the night, including the gin, honey and ginger-infused ‘Bumble Bee Sting’. Noice.

Where: Holey Moley, 590 Little Bourke St For more info, click here

Rochford Wines

Nothing says “Love ya darl” quite like a bottle of wine from one of our best winemakers. Step it up a notch and head out to the Rochford winery for dinner. The set menu has been designed for the occasion, and you can look out over the vineyards while you sip your vino.

Where: Rochford Wines, Yarra Valley For more info, click here.

Valentines Day On The Mornington Peninsula

Grab your special someone and head down to the Mornington Peninsula for a private soar over the ocean on the Arthurs Seat Eagle. There’s something truly special about dangling from a cable high over the peninsula. There’s also a live band and a glass of sparkling up for grabs.

Where: Arthurs Seat, Mornington Peninsula For more info, click here.


If jetting off to Paris is more your style, the four-course Valentine's menu at Entrecote is the key to your best V Day ever. Paris is the city of love, after all. There are tables overlooking the botanical gardens and a glass of fancy wine on arrival. 

Where: 131 Domain Road, South Yarra For more info, click here.

Lizard Island Tropical Paradise

If you're really in the dog house and looking for a way to redeem yourself, sending you and your bae to the Great Barrier Reef to the uber-exclusive Lizzard Island resort sounds like a good place to start. They are offering up a whopping 500 bucks to spend at the hotel on things like spa treatments and dives.  

Where: Lizard Island Resort, Great Barrier Reef For more info, click here.

Joseph Vargetto's Valentine's Dinners

Much loved Melbourne Chef, Joseph Vargetto, is throwing TWO epic Valentine's dinners this year. One at Mister Bianco and one at Massi. Beautiful set menus, bubbly on arrival and even a chance to WIN a trip for two to New York. Check out the websites for all the deets.

Where: Mister Bianco and Massi For more info, click here or here


We know what you’re thinking, “alone on v-day?” but trust us on this one. If you’re a sucker for a mind-blowing experience that will knock your socks off and freak you the f**k out, you’re going to want to check this out. It’s a cool date idea for those who are sick and tired of expensive dinners. Read all about it here.

Where: Secret Location. For more info, click here.

Flos Botanical Studio & Workshop

You know the old saying ‘It’s the thought that counts’? Well being handed a handmade nugget bouquet is the number one way to win the heart if your valentine, this comes pretty close. Not only does Flos Botanical Studio have some of the best darn flowers, they are offering workshops to teach you how to put together a beautiful bunch.  

Where: 250 Johnston Street, Abbotsford For more info, click here.


Our favourite South Melbourne gastropub is putting on a pretty speccy Valentine's Day feast. $65 gets you a three-course set menu plus a glass of Chandon on arrival. Head chef Tom Brockbank is pulling out all the stops—think dry aged rump cap, lobster ravioli and a decadent chocolate torte. This is why they call them love handles. 

Where: O'Connell's, 407 Coventry St, South Melbourne For more info, click here. 

Daily Blooms

If you’re strapped for time, Daily blooms also have some of the most #instaworthy flowers we've ever seen. If you’re looking for a simple way to knock your valentines socks off, get some of these bad boys delivered.

Where: Delivery all over Melbourne For more info, click here.

Village People

This hawker-style food hall wants to celebrate lurrrve with you this Valentine's Day with some good old-fashioned  South East Asian food. Sounds good to us.

Where: 127 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy For more info, click here.

Upside Rooftop Bar

You didn’t need an excuse for Wednesday cocktails, but since it’s a special day and all, now you have one. The team at Upside have put together a yummy list of V Day cocktails, especially for the occasion.

Where: 127 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy For more info, click here.

Eau De Vie

For those of you in the mood to splash your cash, Eau De Vie is the one for you. On offer is a three-course dinner complete with a specially designed cocktail and a glass of bubbles. You’ll be treated to options like a chocolate fondant vanilla mascarpone with white chocolate. Worth it.

Where: 1 Malthouse Lane, CBD For more info, click here.

Balgownie Estate

Prepare your sick call voice, because you’re gonna need it. Grab your valentine and head to the Yarra Valley’s Balgownie Estate where you’ll be treated to a pretty sweet accommodation and spa deal...with a romantic dinner thrown in.

Where: Yarra Glen, Victoria For more info, click here.

Oriental Teahouse Dumplings For Dating

This one is pretty cool, and a great option for people who have just started getting to know each other.  Oriental's custom 4-stage board game is riddled with questions designed to spice up date night. From icebreakers like 'What is your favourite dessert?' to serious ones like 'How many kids do you want?'. If things get awkward, there’s always the option of stuffing your mouth full of dumplings to break the tension.

Where: 455 Chapel Street, South Yarra For more info, click here.

If you're looking for a more low-key date idea (literally), check out Northcote's new brew bar, Low Key

Image Credit: Mr Miyagi

Geoffrey Rush is Suing an Australian Newspaper Over “Slurs, Innuendo, and Hyperbole” After Sexual Harassment Reports

Geoffrey Rush is Suing an Australian Newspaper Over “Slurs, Innuendo, and Hyperbole” After Sexual Harassment Reports

by Rachel Withers @ Brow Beat

Australian actor Geoffrey Rush has filed defamation proceedings against Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, seeking damages and “vindication” for defamation over an anonymous and unverified allegation the paper has been covering.

Since its “world exclusive” last Thursday, the Murdoch-owned newspaper has been pushing the story of an “inappropriate behavior” complaint made against Rush to the Sydney Theatre Company following a 2015 production of King Lear, covering the story in print at least nine times in print. The Telegraph, which is notorious for its inflammatory front page puns, has labeled Rush “King Leer” and referred his “Bard Behavior” in headlines, comparing him to alleged serial predators such as Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and Australian gardening show host Don Burke. Though the exact nature of the complaint remains unknown, the Telegraph claimed the allegation was so serious that the Sydney Theatre Company would never work with the actor again.

In a statement that is worth watching for Rush’s delivery alone, the Oscar-winning actor accused the paper of “splattering [the claims] with unrelenting bombast on its front pages:”

Rush—who was not informed of the anonymous complaint and has been unable to ascertain its details, but “abhors any form of maltreatment”—stepped down as president of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts on the weekend, before filing his claim on Friday, claiming irreparable damage had been done to his reputation, as well as extreme hurt to his family. Compared to the U.S., Australian defamation law is highly favorable towards plaintiffs, with no requirement to prove malicious intent on the part of the defendent.

The paper’s editor said they would be defending their reporting in court, saying “The Daily Telegraph accurately reported the Sydney Theatre Company received a complaint alleging that Mr Geoffrey Rush had engaged in inappropriate behavior.” Staff at the Daily Telegraph’s Melbourne counterpart were reportedly told not to tweet about the “highly libelous” piece, which was dropped from their front page.

Get Out (Yay!), Twin Peaks (Huh?) Top Sight & Sound’s Best Films of 2017

Get Out (Yay!), Twin Peaks (Huh?) Top Sight & Sound’s Best Films of 2017

by Sam Adams @ Brow Beat

The results of Sight & Sound’s annual film poll—one of the oldest and most venerable of critics’ polls—are out, and it will please Slate’s Julia Turner, among others, to see that Get Out has topped the list. After winning Best First Film from the New York Film Critics Circle and Best Screenplay from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the movie’s showing here is yet another indication that it will be a strong player in year-end polls and next year’s various awards.

Less likely to turn up in most of those venues is the poll’s runner-up, Twin Peaks: The Return, on the grounds that it is, you know, not actually a film. Apparently the poll’s regulations are loose enough for critics to vote it in, as well as allowing Olivier Assayas’ Personal Shopper to make the list for the second year running—how will it do in 2018?—and guaranteeing yet another round in the debate over whether TV is movies and both are novels or whatever.

In genera, the poll goes by U.K. release dates, which is why it includes several movies that were released in the U.S. last year, and a few that either won’t be around these parts until next year or don’t even have proper release dates yet. And as always, the tabulation system allows a goodly number of ties, including a three-way at 12th and a six-film pileup in 19th place.

Here’s the complete list:

1. Get Out, dir: Jordan Peele
2. Twin Peaks: The Return, dirs: Mark Frost, David Lynch
3. Call Me by Your Name, dir: Luca Guadagnino
4. Zama, dir: Lucrecia Martel
5. Western, dir: Valeska Grisebach
6. Faces Places, dir: Agnes Varda, JR
7. Good Time, dirs: Ben and Josh Safdie
8. Loveless, dir: Andrey Zvyagintsev
9. Dunkirk, dir: Christopher Nolan
9. The Florida Project, dir: Sean Baker
11. A Ghost Story, dir: David Lowery
12. BPM, dir: Robin Campillo
    Lady Macbeth, dir: William Oldroyd
    You Were Never Really Here, dir: Lynne Ramsay
15. God’s Own Country, dir: Francis Lee
16. Personal Shopper, dir: Olivier Assayas
    The Shape of Water, dir: Guillermo del Toro
    Strong Island, dir: Yance Ford
19. I Am Not Your Negro, dir: Raoul Peck
     Lady Bird, dir: Greta Gerwig
    Let the Sunshine In, dir: Claire Denis
    Moonlight, dir: Barry Jenkins
   mother!, dir: Darren Aronofsky
    Mudbound, dir: Dee Rees
25. The Other Side of Hope, dir: Aki Kaurismaki
    Silence, dir: Martin Scorsese

Why Are There So Many Flies in Call Me By Your Name?

Why Are There So Many Flies in Call Me By Your Name?

by Eleanor Cummins @ Brow Beat

Call Me By Your Name, which earlier this month won the Los Angeles Film Critics Circle awards for Best Film, Best Director, and Best Actor, is a lovely if straightforward bildungsromance. Set in northern Italy over the course of a single summer, the movie follows the quiet anguish of Elio (Timothée Chalamet), a 17-year-old kid who realizes he’s fallen in love with his family’s houseguest, the older and much taller Oliver (Armie Hammer). It charts Elio’s emotional development during that fateful season and, ostensibly, the challenges of same-sex attraction and coming to terms with one’s own identity. But as Billy Gray and Miz Cracker both pointed out in earlier Slate articles, this tame adaptation of André Aciman’s 2007 novel hardly engages with queer identity or its associated politics at all. So what is creating Call Me By Your Name’s growing buzz?

Flies. That sound you hear is the housefly, the winged poop-walker, the Musca domestica.

Flies permeate almost every scene of Call Me By Your Name. They dance across the pages on which Elio diligently transcribes his music. They buzz around the breakfast table. And, during the much-lauded final scene of the film, which is one long, tight shot on Elio’s emotional face as he peers into the flames in the dining room fireplace, I found myself distracted, then annoyed, and finally amused by a single fly flitting from Elio’s forehead to his shirt to his hair.

Flies certainly aren’t a motif in Aciman’s novel. The closest mention to a housefly is a quip about Cupid, the tiny airborne god of love: “Find Cupid everywhere in Rome because we'd clipped one of his wings and he was forced to fly in circles” is one of several poetic items on Elio’s to do list. Given flies play no role in the book, it seems clear the housefly had some sort of symbolic meaning or strategic purpose for the film’s director, Luca Guadagnino. But… why?

Perhaps flies are just a result of living with so many fruit trees. The film is constantly emphasizing, with the aid of locally-grown produce, the etymology of the word “apricot” and the sexual potential of peaches. It’s reasonable to assume that the family’s little garden of earthly delights came with some pesky side effects, like flies and maybe bees or other insects, too. And, as Refinery29 also pointed out, the humans don’t seem to help: In one scene, Elio eats a peach, sucks the pit, and then spits it across the room onto the floor. On a hot summer’s day, this is basically asking for buzzing houseguests.

But then again, maybe that’s too literal. How often does trash seem to just disappear, without consequence, in film and on TV? According to the Continuum Encyclopedia of Animal Symbolism in World Art, flies, the “bringers of disease,” symbolize “evil, pestilence, and sin” in Christian painting of the second millennium. This interpretation aligns well with my own personal experiences of flies being absolutely disgusting. Guadagnino, who is Italian and therefore born a scholar of art and history, could certainly have been influenced by art that employed houseflies as dark symbols of destruction. But since no one actually dies in Call Me By Your Name, I’d be inclined to think that Guadagnino is using the notion of “rot” differently here. Flies—and more specifically, maggots—are obviously known for eating flesh, whether it’s that of a peach or a human being. In this way, flies might not be about death so much as carnal desire; the fixation on the flesh, the festering of repressed desires.

One of the most interesting aspects of a fly’s life, at least narratively speaking, is just how short it is. The average housefly lives just 28 days. Their cousins, the mayflies, get just a few minutes. This impermanence has inspired artwork from the Dutch vanitas tradition of the early 17th century to the contemporary podcast The Heart, which produced a mayfly-inspired three-part episode called One Days Love. “The mayfly sneaks in through an open window and lives her mayfly life to the fullest—perhaps even finding her true mayfly love,” the short post accompanying the first episode reads. “Before she knows it, death has overtaken her. She lies limply in the windowsill.” I choose to believe that Guadagnino was using these annoying little insects to remind us that no matter how badly the audience or Elio wanted it, his romance with Oliver would always be ephemeral. Because the point of summer is that it ends. And sometimes, the list of summer’s casualties includes you.

Through a press representative, Guadagnino declined to explain why his beautiful movie has flies crawling all over it. And maybe that’s for the best. While the ham-handed symbolism in The Great Gatsby (remember the green light over Daisy’s house? or the breaking of the clock?) works just fine for high school English courses, the best symbols are the ones you can never totally nail down. Like the buzzing of fly, they needle you long after the story is finished.

The Vietnamese Sandwich | Banh Mi in America

The Vietnamese Sandwich | Banh Mi in America

T Magazine

A writer explores the question: who makes the best Vietnamese banh mi sandwich in America?

Minneapolis poet Bao Phi’s ‘A Different Pond’ receives Caldecott honor

Minneapolis poet Bao Phi’s ‘A Different Pond’ receives Caldecott honor

by Mary Ann Grossmann @ Twin Cities

“A Different Pond,” written by Bao Phi of Minneapolis and illustrated by Thi Bui, is a Caldecott Medal Honor Book, one of the American Library Association’s prestigious Youth Media Awards announced Monday at the organization’s midwinter meeting in Denver. Like Bao Phi, Thi Bui was born in Vietnam. She lives in Berkeley, Calif. “A Different […]

What’s Fact and What’s Fiction in The Disaster Artist

What’s Fact and What’s Fiction in The Disaster Artist

by Marissa Martinelli @ Brow Beat

James Franco’s The Disaster Artist is the kind of movie that the phrase “truth is stranger than fiction” was invented for. It certainly doesn’t get much stranger than the story of Tommy Wiseau, the eccentric filmmaker behind the equally bizarre cult classic The Room, a film Wiseau financed, wrote, directed, and stars in. And the story gets even stranger when you tell it, as Franco does, from the perspective of Wiseau’s friend and collaborator, Greg Sestero; Franco’s film is based on Sestero’s memoir The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made, which he co-wrote with Tom Bissell.

The real Wiseau has called that memoir only “40 percent true,” but he recently showed much more confidence in Franco’s film, which he deemed “99.9 percent true.” That’s an odd disparity, considering that The Disaster Artist is mostly faithful to its source material, but percentages aside, Franco does take a few liberties with the story. We’ve used Sestero's memoir, as well as interviews with Wiseau and others from over the years, to separate the The Disaster Artist’s facts from the moments that made us say, “It’s not true, it’s bullshit.”

Greg Meets Tommy

As we see in the film, Greg Sestero and Tommy Wiseau really did meet in an acting class taught by Jean Shelton in 1998. The audience’s introduction to Tommy in The Disaster Artist comes when he performs a scene from A Streetcar Named Desire, which is portrayed almost exactly as described in Sestero’s book. The only real difference is the wardrobe:

Cut to: Pirate Guy in a white tank top, his wild hair in a ponytail, wandering around stage left, crying out “Stella!” many more times than the script called for and occasionally breaking into exaggerated sobs. He wasn’t even bothering to direct his agony toward his partner, the intended focus of the scene. He was just launching his performance out into space. Two girls in the first row were squeezing each other’s hands in an effort to contain their laughter.

Tommy’s character is so eccentric that he can seem like a caricature, but Franco actually nails Wiseau’s accent and distinct speech patterns as well as his mannerisms. (You can see the real Wiseau acting opposite Franco in a brief, silly after-credits cameo.) There are some aspects of Wiseau's identity that are mysterious, but the quirks we see in the film are, by all accounts, perfectly accurate, including Wiseau’s love of Red Bull and his tendency to wear multiple belts at a time.

James’ brother, Dave Franco, plays Greg as a shy kid whose reaction to Tommy’s flailing performance in Shelton’s class wasn’t mockery but admiration. Both in the film and in real life, Sestero proposes that he and Wiseau perform a scene together, the beginning of a memorable, if not necessarily always beautiful, friendship.

The Room’s Influences

Tommy and Greg both become admirers of James Dean in the film, which might seem a little convenient, considering that James Franco won a Golden Globe for playing Dean in a 2001 TV movie. But it’s true that Wiseau and Sestero really did bond over the Rebel Without a Cause actor—in fact, one of The Room’s most famous lines is an homage to that very film.

There was, however, another important film in The Room’s history that is barely even mentioned in Franco’s version of the story: The Talented Mr. Ripley. In his book, Sestero recalls the two watching the film together in January 2000 and wondering if Wiseau would see the parallels between their own friendship and the relationship between Tom Ripley and Dickie Greenleaf. Wiseau, however, had a much more profound reaction to Ripley than Sestero anticipated:

For the first time since I’d known him, maybe for the first time in his life, Tommy insisted on staying in his seat through the entire end-credits crawl. When the lights came up, Tommy looked devastated. His eyes were wet, his mouth slightly pried open. He had the wrung-out look of a man who’d just come to the end of a long, doomed love affair. The movie had bludgeoned him to within an inch of his emotional life.

It was on the drive back from the theater, according to Sestero, that Wiseau realized he was tired of waiting for Hollywood to accept him and decided to make a movie of his own. Franco simplifies things in The Disaster Artist by changing the source of Tommy's inspiration for The Room; he gets the idea to make his own movie from an offhand remark by Greg.

Franco does nod to the fact that The Talented Mr. Ripley also inspired the name of Sestero’s character in The Room, since Wiseau misheard Matt Damon’s first name as "Mark."

The Script

One fact that didn’t make it into the film: The Room was originally intended as a play, which Wiseau explained in a recently resurfaced interview with Entertainment Weekly’s Clark Collis from 2008:

Originally, my idea was actually to present in a theater. But then I concluded that not so many people actually got to the theater, particularly in America. The theater is not as popular as a movie. Even a theater like Broadway. That’s my idea, now, the next one, that I want to show The Room on Broadway. That’s what I want to do. Then I change my mind and I say, “You know what? Let’s just make the movie.”

The plot of The Room is very simple, revolving around Johnny, who is betrayed by his fiancé Lisa (Juliette Danielle, played in this case by Ari Graynor) and best friend Mark (Sestero). The script that Dave Franco’s Greg reads at the diner is full of lines that are well-known to fans of The Room and are 100 percent real, even such implausible ones as, “Leave your stupid comments in your pocket.”

Filming the Room

Strange as it may seem, Tommy Wiseau really did buy all his own equipment instead of renting, despite the prohibitive cost, and yes, he really did shoot in both digital and 35mm film at the same time, even though that goes against all logic. And yes, he really did build a set of an alleyway instead of just using the one across the street from the studio. In depicting the making of The Room, Franco again recreates full passages from Sestero’s book. Take, for instance, the filming of the “Oh hai Mark” scene, which A24 wisely used for the film’s first teaser trailer.

Here’s Sestero’s description of the scene, which, by his count, took three hours and 32 takes to get right:

To establish that Johnny is incapable of abuse, Tommy concocted a new opening for this scene, in which Johnny steps onto the Rooftop saying, “It’s not true! I did not hit her! It’s bullshit! I did not.” After which comes this: “Oh, hi, Mark.”  There are seventeen words in this sequence. Eleven of them are nonrecurring; only one has the burden of a second syllable. In other words, these are not terribly difficult lines to learn.
Tommy couldn’t remember his lines. He couldn’t hit his mark. He couldn’t say ‘Mark.’ He couldn’t walk. He couldn’t find his eyeline. He would emerge from the outhouse mumbling, lost, and disoriented. He looked directly into the camera. He swore.

And here’s how that scene plays out in The Disaster Artist:

Franco’s biggest omission in telling the story of the making of The Room is not showing the production's high turnover rate. The Room went through three different crews during filming, as various members were fired or quit, sometimes en masse, out of frustration with Wiseau’s antics. Wiseau has attributed these departures to “creative differences” such as disagreements about the script, but Sestero describes an almost mutinous atmostphere on set.

Franco does hint at the discord by showing how the crew mocks Tommy behind his back, but he also simplifies things by focusing on two major crewmembers, script supervisor Sandy Schklair (Seth Rogen) and director of photography Raphael Smadja (Paul Scheer), who he treats as composite characters. In the movie, Tommy clashes with both of them, but they stick it out; in reality, neither Smadja nor Schklair made it to the end of filming, with Smadja quitting over Tommy's refusal to hire a real line producer and Schklair leaving for an opportunity to work with Janusz Kaminski.

“I could spend my day shooting Tommy’s naked ass, or go work with a DP with two Oscars,” Schklair told EW in 2011.

Bryan Cranston and Malcolm in the Middle

In Franco's film, Greg gets the kind of opportunity that most aspiring actors can only dream of: a role on a popular television show, at the invitation of the show’s star. During the filming of The Room, Greg and girlfriend Amber (played by Alison Brie) run into Bryan Cranston (playing himself, circa 2001) in a café. Cranston notices Greg’s beard and, after learning that Greg is a struggling actor, offers him the role of a lumberjack in an upcoming episode of Malcolm in the Middle.

Greg jumps at the chance—but Tommy refuses to give him a day off from filming to appear on the show and insists that Greg shave his beard so that Mark can make a dramatic, clean-shaven entrance in the movie. Given the choice between Malcolm in the Middle and The Room, Greg chooses The Room, which leads Amber to leave him. Greg loses both his big break and his love interest in one fell swoop, which sours his already strained relationship with Tommy.

The real story behind the beard is not nearly as dramatic. The real Greg Sestero was reluctant to shave his beard, but it wasn’t because he’d been promised a role on Malcolm in the Middle; in his book, Sestero says he already suspected that The Room was going to be a disaster and he liked having the beard as a disguise so that he could later disassociate himself from the film.

James Franco has worked with Cranston before on In Dubious Battle and Why Him?, which makes this an especially fun cameo.

The Premiere

In the film, Tommy and Greg have a falling out right at the end of filming The Room, and only reunite for the premiere, which turns out to be an unexpected triumph. While Wiseau and Sestero did have falling outs over the years of their friendship, that’s not why they were out of touch leading up to the 2003 premiere, according to Sestero; it’s because Wiseau was busy preparing, editing the final cut of the film, recording PG-rated dialogue for primetime television, and committing to a guerrilla marketing campaign that included the film’s notorious billboard on Highland Avenue.

As for the glowing, uproarious reaction that the film receives at the premiere, that’s not quite what happened, at least according to Robyn Paris, who played Michelle in The Room and was there during that first screening. The Disaster Artist ends with the audience watching the film and applauding Tommy, who has made peace with the fact that his movie is a terrible drama but has comedic value. In her review for EW, Paris recalls the laughter, but not the cheering, and notes that many people walked out of The Room’s premiere within the first five minutes. It took time for The Room to become the cult classic it is today.

Eat This: Le Delights Banh Mi and Pho aka The Return of Saigon Le’s Veggie Spring Rolls

Eat This: Le Delights Banh Mi and Pho aka The Return of Saigon Le’s Veggie Spring Rolls

I Love Memphis

Ed. Note: I’m happy to bring you this blog post from ILM contributor and Memphis foodie Stacey Greenberg.  Look who I found! Tuyen Le, the amazing woman who worked at Saigon Le in the Crossto…

How Far in Advance Can You Make Holiday Cookies?

How Far in Advance Can You Make Holiday Cookies?

by Alice Medrich @ Brow Beat

This post originally appeared in Genius Recipes on Food52.

No! You can’t make all of the desserts and cookies for Christmas at the last minute and still enjoy the holidays.

Fortunately, plenty of cookies keep well—and some actually improve with age. Go ahead and try some of those traditional Scandinavian and German recipes that you’ve ignored all these years; many are made for keeping and delicious, indeed. Or, stay in your comfort zone with butter cookies, meringues, and biscotti.

If you can organize your sock drawer (so trendy right now) you can make a plan and start baking cookies immediately. (And for tips on how to bake a zillion cookies with only two cookie sheets go here.)

Always consult the individual recipe you are using, but here is the general scoop on types of cookies that keep well and/or actually improve with age—as long as you store them properly, in airtight containers or as directed in the recipe you are using. You can find storage times and further details for dozen of other cookies in my book Chewy Gooey, Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies (Artisan Books 2010).

Your Guide to Make-Ahead Cookies, A through T:

  • Amaretti: These keep for at least 2 months, probably much longer.
  • Biscotti: The super dry, crunchy type improve with a few days age and keep for several weeks. The cakier, less crunchy type may keep for 2 weeks.
  • Brandy snaps (unfilled): These keep for 1 week.
  • Butter cookies: Generally these are better a couple of days after baking but keep for at least 1 month (see also spritz, shortbread, Mexican wedding cakes, etc.).
  • Fruitcake cookies: Depending on the recipe, you may be able to make these weeks or months ahead.

Make your pfeffernusse several weeks ahead of time. Photo by James Ransom

  • Pfeffernusse: These should be made at least a few days or up to 2 weeks before serving, depending on the recipe, and they keep for several weeks.
  • Shortbread and shortbread cookies: These keep for at least 1 month.
  • Springerles: These should be made 2 weeks before serving and they keep for several months.
  • Spritz: These keep for 1 month.
  • Sugar cookies: The crispy, crunchy variety (not the light cakey type) keep for at least 1 month.
  • Tuiles: These keep about 1 month.

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Every James Franco Performance, Ranked

Every James Franco Performance, Ranked

by Will Leitch @ Brow Beat

This article originally appeared in Vulture.

It is impossible to rank every movie James Franco has ever been in. This is not just because there are so many (and there are 146 credits in fewer than 20 years, according to IMDb), but because so many of them are beyond classification—as movies, as TV shows, as class projects, as art installations. No actor, for better or for worse, more intensely tests our ability to decipher what, exactly, a “movie” is.

Franco has 17 listed credits in 2017 alone. Not only will most of these never appear on a movie screen, many of them will never be seen at all, particularly those that came out of his film classes at NYU and UCLA (even though they drew major star talent, including Natalie Portman, Kristen Wiig, Seth MacFarlane, and Franco himself). Actually watching these movies requires Herculean feats of research; trying to figure out what Franco performance is “best” in them would be a fool’s errand.

Thus, we decided the best way to rank James Franco’s movie performances was to keep it as simple as possible. Strip away all the art projects—of which there are so, so many—and the bit parts where he plays himself, and focus solely on the traditional released-in-theaters movies that most non-Franco, mortal actors must limit themselves to. Some of these are odd, Franco-directed side projects that may have only played in one theater—but played in a theater they did, so they count.

First off: Let’s omit the art projects and frivolities. Some of these are goofy larks; some of them are larger movies by established directors that went straight to VOD; some of them, well, we have no idea what they are. The thing that all those movies have in common is that we haven’t seen them, and you probably haven’t either. We sort of doubt that even Franco has. They are, on the whole, best thought of as Movie Flotsam. There’s surely some good stuff in there somewhere. But they are, essentially, driftwood, to us (and maybe to Franco himself?). Here they are:

Actors Anonymous (2017)
The Adderall Diaries (2017)
The Ape (2005) (also directed)
As I Lay Dying (2013) (also directed)
Black Dog, Red Dog (2015) (also directed)
Blind Spot (2002)
Blood Heist (2017)
Blood Ride (2017)
Blood Surf (2017)
The Broken Tower (2011) (also directed)
Burn Country (2016)
Camille (2008)
The Color of Time (2012)
Don Quixote (2015)
Everything Will Be Fine (2015)
Fool’s Gold (2005) (also directed)
Good Time Max (2007) (also directed)
The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards (2017)
I Am Michael (2015)
If Tomorrow Comes (2000)
In Dubious Battle (2016) (also directed)
The Institute (2017) (also directed)
Interior. Leather Bar (2013) (also directed, omitted from theatrical release because it’s technically a short)
I Think You Are Totally Wrong: A Quarrel (2014) (also directed)
The Letter (2012)
Maladies (2012)
Of Mice and Men (2014)
Richard Peter Johnson (2016)
Shadows and Lies (2010)
The Show (2017)
The Sound and the Fury (2014) (also directed)
Wild Horses (2015)

(Our favorite curios from that list: more than a dozen movies featuring Franco’s friend Scott Haze—who’s actually excellent in this year’s Thank You for Your Service—three seemingly unrelated movies in 2017 that all start with the word “Blood,” and Franco’s 2005 directorial debut The Ape, which actually has this as its poster.)

Then you have the bit parts in larger movies. Perhaps not surprisingly, several of these feature Franco playing “James Franco.”

Alien: Covenant (2017)
Child of God (2013)
The Dead Girl (2006)
Deuces Wild (2002)
Finishing the Game (2007)
The Green Hornet (2011)
The Holiday (2006)
Interview (2007)
Knocked Up (2007)
The Little Prince (2015)
Lovelace (2013)
Mother Ghost (2002)
Never Been Kissed (1999)
The Night Before (2016)
Nights in Rodanthe (2008)
Sal (2011)
Sausage Party (2016)
The Vault (2017)
Veronica Mars (2013)
The Wicker Man (2006)
You Always Stalk the Ones You Love (2002)

That leaves us with 36 Actual Movies that Franco has appeared in, giving relatively normal, human-actor performances. In these movies, you get some actual clarity as to what kind of an actor Franco really is. He’s smart, he’s daring, but he’s also a little guarded: He can sometimes come across like more of a concept of an actor than an actual actor. Which is why those little moments when he lets himself show are so powerful: There’s charisma and humanity and soul there, and not even Franco can hide it all the time.

With that, here’s a ranking of every James Franco performance, flotsam excluded.

36. Flyboys (2006)
Back when Franco was pursuing a more conventional career—in what was an industry-wide desire to turn him into Josh Hartnett—he had his first big “lead” role in this dull, pretty stupid World War I fighter-pilot drama that does its darnedest to turn the war to end all wars into a showcase for aerial boy bands. Franco took a pretty hard turn away from the traditional movie-star trajectory after that, and as weird as that path got, it’s still hard not to blame him.

35. Whatever It Takes (2000)
This teen comedy hit right as Freaks and Geeks was coming on the air, and it was a good example of the sort of mistakes that show was so smart about avoiding. Franco is a dumb jock who is a front for a nerd (Shane West, who ended up taking his own career turn; he’s now a punk-rock singer and TV actor) in yet another Cyrano knockoff. You can see a little here of Franco’s “heartthrob with a soul” bit that Judd Apatow understood so well on that show … but only a little.

34. Annapolis (2006)
Justin Lin’s follow-up to his terrific Better Luck Tomorrow is a dud in Franco’s trilogy of Waxwork Noble American Period Pieces. Franco plays a wannabe midshipman who ends up crossing his instructor (Tyrese Gibson!) while attempting to survive the first year at the U.S. Naval Academy. The movie is obsessively masculine in an overcompensating way, and you can see Lin trying too hard, and Franco not trying hard enough. Lin and Franco would go in opposite directions, but each found considerable success—enough success, anyway, to forget about this movie.

33. About Cherry (2012)
This sloppy, bizarre coming-of-age story about a girl named Cherry (Ashley Hinshaw) who stumbles into the world of pornography is nonsensical and weirdly distant; Roger Ebert amusingly said it was “a movie that suggests prostitution is something that just sort of happens to you, like Lyme disease.” (It also features a bad Dev Patel performance, right in the middle of his awkward phase.) Franco shows up as a wealthy lawyer who romances Cherry but also introduces her to cocaine and porn, and it’s a measure of how sort of gross this movie is that Franco is the straight-laced older suit guy. He also has some curious facial hair for a high-powered lawyer.

32. Why Him? (2016)
Released as a comedic alternative to all the “serious” fare last Christmas, Why Him? was mostly ignored by audiences, and that’s for the best: Franco hams it up in excruciating fashion as Bryan Cranston mugs all around him as the father trying to deal with Franco dating his daughter. This is one of those high-concept comedies that figured out the cast and then just assumed everything else would fall into place. It didn’t. This was a waste of time for everyone involved.

31. The Interview (2012)
We know many people who think this is one of Franco’s best performances—a big, brash turn as a soulless, sensationalist celebrity interviewer who decides to prove his journalistic bona fides by landing an interview with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un (Randall Park). None of those people are writing this capsule, however, and we’re here to say that we find him absolutely grating in The Interview, a spectacular misfire of a satire that never finds the right tone. And Franco has a lot to do with that: As Dave Skylark, he’s meant to be the film’s so-terrible-you-love-him comic relief, but the character’s insufferable ego is never rendered in a funny way. Because of the controversy that enveloped this film before its release, The Interview remains more of a curiosity than something folks actually saw, which was good for Franco and everyone else involved.

30. Good People (2013)
One of the strangest things about Franco’s film career are odd movies like Good People, a standard, boring “thriller” that has no reason to exist and passes by so pointlessly that you wonder why he even bothered. He co-stars with Kate Winslet as a couple with money problems who come across a bag with $200,000 in London, take it, and then watch as their lives are complicated by the people looking for it. You’ve seen this movie a hundred times, and so has everyone in it: The movie barely musters up enough energy to rouse anyone from slumber. Franco could have made at least six Scott Haze movies in the time it took him to do this one.

29. Queen of the Desert (2017)
Remember that Werner Herzog–Nicole Kidman movie that came out earlier this year that everyone agreed was terrible and then no one ever mentioned again? Well, James Franco was in that, though not for very long and not to much effect. In fact, Franco looks a little bewildered by the stateliness and decorum of the whole enterprise, as if he thought he was signing up for Bad Lieutenant: Morocco Port of Call and ended up stuck diddling around in the sand. Werner Herzog and James Franco could, theoretically, do something pretty wild together. This ain’t it.

28. Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)
Did you ever wonder what the man behind the curtain was like before Dorothy showed up? Well, according to Oz the Great and Powerful, he was James Franco, looking thoroughly out of his element in this stunningly garish green-screen prequel to The Wizard of Oz. It would be so easy to dismiss Great and Powerful as a Franco stunt—the serious actor dabbling in blockbuster cinema to expose its artifice and commercialism—but that wouldn’t do justice to how dull he is in this strained piece of fantasy storytelling. As Oscar Diggs, Franco perfunctorily plays a bumbling magician who gets swept up in a tornado and lands in Oz, where he encounters a cast (including Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz, and Mila Kunis) that actually seems to be trying. Thankfully, it didn’t make enough money to necessitate a sequel.

27. The Great Raid (2005)
The story of a World War II rescue mission (directed by John Dahl before he became a heralded television director) is a little more pedestrian than you’d like, particularly when it comes to Franco’s performance, which is mostly checked out and even a little bored. These sort of real life stories of heroism don’t lend themselves well to Franco’s meta approach: Playing a real person—a prisoner of war, no less—makes it unusually difficult to deconstruct stardom. Franco has a tendency, in films like this, to disappear in plain sight.

26. City by the Sea (2002)

Franco gets to play the son of Robert De Niro—and there is no way those two are in the same gene pool—in this by-the-numbers, perfectly acceptable crime thriller about a cop (De Niro) who has to save his junkie son (Franco) after he gets involved in a drug killing. This is a New York movie through and through, which leaves Franco a little on the outside looking in: Franco is one of the least New York actors we can think of. (There is no way he was raised in any outer boroughs.) He does his best, and it’s fun to catch him in movies like this when he feels like he has something to prove, but there’s not much there there.

25. Tristan & Isolde (2006)
General rule: When James Franco shows up with flowing, clean, freshly brushed long hair … he’s not in control of the project. This Kevin Reynolds Dark Ages romance isn’t actually terrible—you can see an alternate universe here where Franco turns into Richard Gere—but it’s just another jacket Franco was trying on during this period of Hollywood misfires and odd fits. Also: There are moments in this when he looks disturbingly like Hayden Christensen.

24. Third Person (2013)
Franco’s third collaboration with Mila Kunis took place in this negligible Paul Haggis ensemble drama, in which he’s a New York artist who’s fighting for custody of his son with his unstable ex-wife (Kunis). There’s a third-act twist awaiting anyone who bothered seeing Third Person—don’t worry, all the different plot strands, including one involving Liam Neeson’s soulful author, will come together—and Franco is stuck in the same moody, somnolent funk that infects everyone else in the cast. Franco can do smoldering sensitivity without breaking a sweat, but that doesn’t mean he should.

23. Sonny (2002)
Did you know Nicolas Cage once directed a movie? He did! It’s not great, and in retrospect, completely insane that Cage would make it. Franco plays the titular Sonny, the son of a New Orleans prostitute who raised her son to be a gigolo, and it follows his desire to find a new life for himself. The movie is full of strange tonal shifts and odd asides, and it’s reasonable that Cage never directed again, but Franco still gives this strange character a grounded, mysterious presence. You can see why Cage wanted to build a movie around him; even when he is just sitting and staring wistfully into the distance, you look.

22. Your Highness (2011)
This Lord of the Rings spoof never entirely works, but Franco (reuniting with his Pineapple Express director David Gordon Green) seems amused playing the impossibly dashing and heroic Prince Fabious, whose brother is the uncouth, cowardly Prince Thadeous (PE costar Danny McBride). Your Highness has one joke—it’s like Dungeons & Dragons, but with nudity, swearing, and pot jokes!—and while sometimes that joke is really funny, more often it’s really not. Same goes for Franco’s performance, which is a clever riff on a Prince Valiant type, until it’s clear that that’s all it is.

21. Homefront (2013)
This weird little movie:

  • Stars Jason Statham, who is on the movie poster wearing an American-flag jean jacket, even though he has a thick English accent throughout
  • Co-stars Winona Ryder and Chuck Zito
  • Was written by Sylvester Stallone (but does not feature Sylvester Stallone)

Franco plays a scary meth dealer named “Gator” in what feels like leftover detritus—sort of the remainder after a division problem—of his Spring Breakers performance. It’s not altogether unpleasant, and you do get to watch Jason Statham and James Franco get in a fight. Still: What in the world is going on with this movie?

20. The Iceman (2012)
Franco was originally supposed to play the role that Chris Evans ended up playing (quite well, we might add) in this real-life story about the eponymous contract killer who tries to have a normal family life and … fails. Michael Shannon is strong as the Iceman, even if the movie doesn’t quite hold up its end, but Franco has a nice, frightened scene as one of the Iceman’s victims. We tend to like a scrambling Franco: He’s more fun weaselly than as the hero.

19. Yosemite (2015)
Another of Franco’s experiments: Launching a 2013 Indiegogo fundraising campaign for him to executive-produce three adaptations of his short story collection Palo Alto. (This is maybe the most Franco thing ever.) The results were Yosemite, Palo Alto, and Memoria, and the nice thing is, all three movies are pretty good, and Franco’s pretty good in all three of them. Here, he plays the recovering alcoholic father of one of the movie’s three fifth-graders; he and his son find a dead body in the woods in the most moving of the three stories. Franco is better at playing grown-ups, even dorky dads, than he is often given credit for.

18. Palo Alto (2014)
The second of the three movies based off Franco’s short-story collection, this one is the most professionally directed (by Gia Coppola) and features the most traditional Franco performance, as a teacher named simply Mr. B who has some inappropriate moments with Emma Roberts’s protagonist. He’s creepy in an ingratiating way that, quite understandably, evinces considerable comfort with the material.

17. Date Night (2010)
This is a good place to mention that Franco was really funny in “Klaus and Greta,” a season-four episode of 30 Rock in which he plays a fictionalized version of himself who pays Jenna to pretend to be his girlfriend so as to dispel tabloid rumors that he’s secretly involved with “Kimiko,” a Japanese body pillow. A few months after that episode, he appeared with Tina Fey again for Date Night, a perfectly passable After Hours–style comedy-thriller about a staid married couple (Fey and Steve Carell) who get mistaken for thieves by some violent mobsters. Franco is one of the actual thieves—he’s a two-bit con man who sells stolen wheelchairs—and his scenes with his equally pervy wife (Mila Kunis) very much look like they were improvised on the set. None of this ever gets to the level of loony inspiration that Franco brings to his Judd Apatow–Seth Rogen work, but it’s a decently fun cameo that doesn’t overstay its welcome.

16. In the Valley of Elah (2007)
Around the time that his Spider-Man movies were drawing to a close, Franco did a brief bit in Paul Haggis’s follow-up to Crash. In Elah, he’s a sergeant who shows Tommy Lee Jones’s concerned father around the barracks of his son, a soldier who has mysteriously gone missing after returning from a stint in Iraq. It’s a small part, and Franco doesn’t try to fancy it up—his solid, stripped-down approach matches his character’s shorn head and stoic manner.

15. Harry Osborn in the Spider-Man movies (2002, 2004, 2007)
It’s strange to think that, after all this time and all the different projects Franco has tackled, more people have seen him in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films than in anything else he’s ever done. He’s certainly not bad as Harry Osborn, the friend to and eventual rival of Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker, but he plays the character with such pin-up earnestness that, in hindsight, the performance is almost distractingly straightforward. Also, it’s not remotely representative of what makes him such a fascinating and, oftentimes, incredibly frustrating figure. Spider-Man gave Franco a film career, and for better and for worse he’s consistently used that cachet to challenge himself, rarely doing the safe or even smart thing commercially.

14. Memoria (2016)
The final film on this list based on short stories from Franco’s Palo Altocollection, this is the best one, about a high-school kid named Ivan (Sam Dillon) who spends most of his time hanging around Palo Alto with his skater friends (including Keith Stanfield), talking about sex but never actually having it. It’s another tale of disassociated youth, and it’s not half-bad. Franco’s small turn as a teacher who attempts to inspire Ivan is filled with warmth and light in a movie that has little of either.

13. Eat Pray Love (2010)
This much-derided (but ultimately, you know, just fine, as much a fantasy film as Lord of the Rings that does its job just as well) Julia Roberts vehicle gives Franco a bit part as the dreamy young actor who our heroine dabbles with after her divorce. Franco smiles and tries to look like the perfect young thing in a way he rarely does, and it’s actually sort of freeing. It’s as if, in the presence of another, bigger star, he no longer feels constrained by being a movie star and thus simply is one. It’s a small part, but a winning one. We don’t think Franco will ever let himself play a part like this unreservedly, but in a small dose, it’s refreshing.

12. King Cobra (2016)
This is the real-life story of former gay porn star Brent Corrigan (real name Sean Lockhart), who ended up disliking the film. His massive success in the industry led to rival producers killing his primary director (Christian Slater), and King Cobra makes for an occasionally fascinating, cognitively dissonant drama. It’s alternately serious and campy in a way that doesn’t always work but is never not compelling. Franco’s actually pretty fantastic as one of the “Viper Boys” who want to take Corrigan away from Slater and end up murdering him; he’s dumb machismo in an increasingly scary way. Franco is playing a different kind of scuzzy jerk here than he usually does, and it works.

11. True Story (2015)
Franco and buddy Jonah Hill went dramatic for this true-life tale of a disgraced New York Times journalist, Michael Finkel (Hill), who discovers that a man (Franco) arrested on suspicion of killing his wife and family used his name when authorities tracked him down. Based on Finkel’s book, True Story chronicles what happens when the writer and the prisoner meet and get to know one another. Franco plays the convict with restraint and sensitivity—all of which make us wonder if he really could have done such terrible things. This is a more measured turn from Franco, but the movie ends up being too superficial in its examination of identity and the slippery nature of “truth” to fully connect. It’s a committed performance in search of a stronger story.

10. The Company (2003)
Featuring one of Franco’s best hanging-out-in-the-margins roles, Robert Altman’s underrated ballet drama focuses on Ry (Neve Campbell), who’s part of Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet, putting in demanding hours with the troupe while trying to carve out a little room for a relationship. That’s where Franco comes in: He’s Josh, a chef who’s an artist in his own right. We’ve all seen hundreds of male-driven films in which the female love interest is relegated to the sidelines, but in The Company, the genders are swapped. Josh doesn’t entirely register, but he’s not supposed to—Altman and Campbell understand that, for someone like Ry, everything else will always take a back seat to dance. Still, Franco is awfully appealing as a bright, talented young man who recognizes that this romance can’t last—he plays Josh as a fond memory Ry will think back on one day.

9. Howl (2010)
C’mon, was it that surprising that Franco would eventually play Allen Ginsberg, one of the most revered poets and thinkers of the 20th century? An I’m Not There–esque study of the man, Howl jumps around chronologically, but it’s anchored by Franco’s admirably restrained performance. He nails Ginsberg’s cascading, halting speaking style — his performance of “Howl” is a marvel of oft-kilter cadence—and he also captures the poet’s sensitive, slightly distant manner. But it’s never showy, prompting one to wonder if the actor respected Ginsberg so much that he was a bit intimidated by the responsibility of playing him and didn’t want to screw it up. Howl was Franco’s first big dramatic starring role, and it sets the stage for the more high-profile ones that would follow.

8. Goat (2016)
Because Franco loves to cultivate the persona of a refined renaissance man, a change-of-pace turn like the one he gives in Goat is even more striking. This college drama dives deep into the macho mind-set of fraternity hazing, starring Ben Schnetzer as a sensitive young man who joins his brother’s (Nick Jonas) frat, only to discover how dehumanizing and ugly the experience can be. Franco has a small role, but it’s crucial: He plays Mitch, an alum who’s treated a little bit like a golden god by the current members—this guy was really fuckin’ crazy back in the day. But when Mitch returns to campus, he’s just another overgrown frat bro who may have reluctantly embraced domesticity but will happily return to his childish asshole behavior in front of the new guys to prove he hasn’t lost a step. Franco is believably awful as Mitch, who’s the grown-up version of the boys-will-be-boys jerks you see too often in your lifetime.

7. Milk (2008)
Sean Penn received most of the attention—and his second Oscar—for his portrayal of the slain activist Harvey Milk, but like a lot of love stories, Milkis only as strong as its main character’s significant other. Thankfully Franco is spot-on as Scott Smith, Milk’s longtime partner who is supportive but also tough on him, helping him to become the leader he was before his tragic murder. Franco radiates such uncomplicated warmth in Milk that you can see instantly why Smith and Milk would fall for one another. Smith swears he doesn’t want to get involved with an older guy, but Franco slowly strips away his character’s resolve. This is one of the actor’s least-fussy—and, therefore, most effective—performances.

6. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)
When the first chapter of Fox’s Planet of the Apes reboot slash prequel hit theaters in late summer 2011, not many people were excited about a movie starring James Franco. Who could blame them? Franco had recently scuttled the goodwill accrued from his Oscar-nominated turn in 127 Hoursby delivering a wretched performance as co-host of the Academy Awards, which only underlined the cultural impression that he was a dilettante trying to performance-art his way through life. What a pleasant surprise, then, that he’s so good and so understated in Rise, in which he plays Will, a scientist trying to find a cure for Alzheimer’s by working with chimps—specifically, a young ape named Caesar (Andy Serkis). Something of a star-crossed love story, Rise requires Franco to dial back his ironic detachment to portray a good man who realizes too late that the monkeys are about to take over. Will’s farewell with Caesar at Rise’s finale has no right to be as affecting as it is, and Franco deserves his share of the praise for the moment’s poignancy.

5. This Is the End (2013)
Made by a bunch of Hollywood buddies playing off their established personas, This Is the End is a horror-satire that doubles as a surprisingly touching story of male friendship. But it’s also a great platform for Franco to do a gonzo version of himself as a pretentious, condescending artiste who is spectacularly ill-equipped for the Rapture. What makes the performance work so well is that Franco knows what you think of him, and he leans into that negative impression, giving us a really satisfying variation on every entitled Hollywood hot-shot actor with too much money and not enough sense. But, seriously, though, treat his porno mags with respect.

4. Pineapple Express (2008)
Franco might have been the biggest star heading into this David Gordon Green comedy, but he certainly wasn’t thought of as primarily a comedic actor. How surprising it was then that Franco was so hilarious as Saul, Seth Rogen’s stoned-beyond-belief pal who slowly stumbles into perilous situations but never loses his inherent sweetness the whole way. He and Rogen are so perfect together that they’ve been trying, with decreasing success, to replicate the magic. We could watch these two talk to each other for days.

3. The Disaster Artist (2017)
Lots of people can do impressions of Tommy Wiseau, the talentless eccentric who wrote, directed, and starred in the ghastly cinematic train wreck The Room. But it took Franco to really understand him. In The Disaster Artist, which Franco also directed, the actor nails Wiseau’s unfathomable accent, bizarre behavior, and inhuman laugh, all in service of trying to expose the crippling insecurity underneath this would-be auteur’s bullying bluster. The Disaster Artist encourages you to laugh long and often at Wiseau—the performance is an inspired bit of mimicry—but Franco very gradually complicates our relationship with this utter failure. There’s real pathos to Franco’s portrayal—an unshakeable worry of being exposed as a fraud—that feels bitingly autobiographical. It’s fair to say that Franco senses a kinship with Wiseau: Both men want to stretch themselves beyond the levels of their talent, which is a scary place to be, leaving them open to ridicule. The Disaster Artist is a comedy that’s also a confessional, and Franco brilliantly hides inside the guise of a public punching bag to reveal his own worst fears about himself.

2. 127 Hours (2010)
The film that gave Franco his only Oscar nomination also gave him nowhere to hide. As Aron Ralston, a climber and outdoorsman who, in 2003, got his arm trapped under a boulder in the middle of nowhere, the actor is mostly delivering a solo act in 127 Hours, which builds to the excruciating moment where he’ll have to sever his own arm in order to escape. This is one of those all-in performances that demands everything of an actor—it’s a physically and emotionally draining experience for the audience, let alone him—and Franco capably chronicles the sequence of emotions that bring Aron to his fateful decision. 127 Hours may be the quintessential “difficult sit” of a movie, but it’s his intense and empathetic turn that keep us along for the ride, no matter how brutal things get.

1. Spring Breakers (2012)
Seriously, look at his shit. The accurately named Alien is the otherworldly centerpiece of Harmony Korine’s neon-tinged celebration/condemnation of youth culture, and Franco plays him with such gleeful menace that you’re not sure whether to be entranced, amused, or repulsed. Spring Breakersbrought together two outsider artists who enjoy mixing sincerity with irony, so it’s no surprise that Franco gets Korine’s antagonistic, WTF aesthetic. His performance is a stunt and a put-on—a cartoon creation that insists it’s real—and yet Alien somehow becomes the personification of small-town America’s greatest fear of the imaginary trashy reprobate who will corrupt its innocent daughter when she meets him over spring break. Mocking hip-hop’s bling-y excess and guns-and-hoes gangster fantasy, Franco goes beyond shtick to arrive at something genuinely hypnotizing and troubling in Spring Breakers. We’ll never hear Britney Spears’s “Everytime” the same way again.

See also: The Disaster Artist: An Oral History

Top 10 Vegan Eats in Sydney

by Vegan Food Quest @ Vegan Food Quest

Having explored South East Asia for nearly 20 years and lived here for 4 years we have a good understanding of vegan travel in this region. We are currently looking for new countries to visit and Australia is on that list for sure; therefore when Olivia from Great Lost asked could she write about her […]

The post Top 10 Vegan Eats in Sydney appeared first on Vegan Food Quest.

This Is How You Taste All L.A.’s Best New Restaurants in One Night

by Brittany Martin @ Los Angeles Magazine

We've curated an event no food-lover should miss

The post This Is How You Taste All L.A.’s Best New Restaurants in One Night appeared first on Los Angeles Magazine.

Chiang Mai Vegetarian & Vegan Guide

by Charlie Marchant @ Charlie on Travel

Chiang Mai is a hot spot for vegetarian and vegan food. In this vegetarian and vegan food guide, I share all my favourite places to eat in Chiang Mai. Expect Thai curries, pad Thai, Burmese tea leaf salads and more smoothies than you can shake a bamboo straw at. When our flight to Bali was cancelled […]

The post Chiang Mai Vegetarian & Vegan Guide appeared first on Charlie on Travel.

Broken Rice

by saigononbikes @ Saigon on Bikes

Cơm Tấm [kʌm tɑm] is how you say Broken Rice in Vietnamese. The Viet live on rice Should you ever have a chance to come to Vietnam, try asking the locals what kind of food they are proud of. We assure, 90% of the answers you get will be RICE. Because Vietnam is an agricultural country, […]

The post Broken Rice appeared first on Saigon on Bikes.

[HCM] Banh Mi Crawl in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh)

[HCM] Banh Mi Crawl in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh)

Eat with Eva

Do not tell people that you’ve been to Vietnam if you did not have, at least one, banh mi! “Bánh mì” means bread in Vietnamese, but people used it to refer the banh mi sandwich, w…

Places to eat in Ho Chi Minh City: Don't miss these 5 restaurants - The Blond Travels

Places to eat in Ho Chi Minh City: Don't miss these 5 restaurants - The Blond Travels

The Blond Travels

I love food and local cuisines always shape my opinion about places I visit. My experiences with Vietnamese food wasn’t always great and I decided that before I leave Vietnam I will find places, where I can really enjoy local dishes. In Ho Chi Minh City I managed to find a couple of bars and restaurants, …

Which Doug Jones Is Which? A Handy Guide.

Which Doug Jones Is Which? A Handy Guide.

by Marissa Martinelli @ Brow Beat

Doug Jones is currently running for office in a high-profile race that has made him the talk of the national political arena. But Doug Jones is also making a splash in the entertainment world, starring in the latest TV installment of a major sci-fi franchise and promoting his new film, in which he plays an amphibious creature. And if that wasn’t enough, years ago, Doug Jones had a respectable career in the major leagues. Where does the guy find the time?!

Obviously, these are all different Doug Joneses, but you could be forgiven for not being able to keep up. According to census data, there are 329 people named Doug Jones in the United States. Here are a few we think you should know about.

The Alabama Senate candidate

Born Gordon Douglas Jones but better known by his nickname, this Doug Jones is a 63-year-old attorney and the Democratic candidate in the special election for Alabama’s vacant Senate seat. In 2002, he was the lead prosecutor in the case that put two Ku Klux Klan members in jail for the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, which killed four black children. Jones’ chances of winning the election in what would otherwise be a reliably red state have improved dramatically since his opponent, Republican Roy Moore, has been accused by multiple women of targeting and molesting teenage girls. (But he probably shouldn’t get too comfortable.)

This Doug Jones has the distinction of being the only one on our list who has been attacked by the president of the United States on Twitter—at least, to our knowledge, anyway.

The actor

You’ve probably seen more than one movie featuring actor Doug Jones, yet you still might not recognize him if you passed him on the street. Jones, previously a contortionist, currently plays Lt. Commander Saru on Star Trek: Discovery, where he’s buried, as he so often is, under layers of makeup and prosthetics. The actor is also a favorite of director Guillermo del Toro and has appeared in the Hellboy movies, Pan’s Labyrinth, The Strain, and the new The Shape of Water.

The athlete(s)

They’re all retired now, but there have been plenty of Doug Joneses in the world of sports. There’s the baseball player Doug Jones, a relief pitcher who played for a number of MLB teams including the Milwaukee Brewers, the Cleveland Indians, and the Oakland Athletics. The NFL’s Doug Jones played for six seasons in the 1970s. And there’s the former boxer Doug Jones, who was active in the 1950s and 1960s and went up against the likes of Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier.

The hypothetical

It was Jim Hightower, the former commissioner of the Texas Department of Agriculture, who came up with the “Doug Jones Average,” an economic litmus test for the country. Rather than rely on the Dow Jones Average, Hightower suggested judging America’s economic health by looking at how the imaginary American everyman, Doug Jones, is faring at a given moment: “We need a real-life measure of ‘How ya doin?’ for the 80 percent of Americans who don’t own stocks and bonds, who’re just trying to get their wages and monthly bills to shake hands and be friends again.” If this Doug Jones can pay his bills and afford Spam for lunch, the country is in good shape.

The fictional character

OK, so technically this one isn’t a Doug Jones, but he’s off by just two letters, so we’ll let it slide. In Twin Peaks: The Return, FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper is trapped in the body of Dougie Jones, an insurance agent whose pastimes include gambling and prostitutes. But Dougie turns out to be more than he first appears; he’s actually a tulpa, a mystical being created through the power of thought, willed into being so that Cooper’s evil doppelgänger won’t have to return to the Black Lodge.

Yeah, it’s a pretty weird show.

The best places to live in Thailand

by Joanna @ The Blond Travels

You have been thinking of living in Thailand for a long time now. You read forums, reviews, take part in discussions on Facebook groups, calculate the costs of living and wonder how to live in Thailand permanently. This type of decisions is not easy. Among of all other things, you need to make a decision […]

Melbourne’s First Rooftop Hotel—St. Jerome’s—Is Shutting Up Shop

Melbourne’s First Rooftop Hotel—St. Jerome’s—Is Shutting Up Shop

by Ben Tyers @ The A List | The Urban List

Sad news just across the desk, Melbourne’s OG rooftop glamping hotel St Jerome’s is shutting up shop in April.

If you’ve been living under a rock for the past 3 years and don’t know anything about this amazing hotel, here’s a rundown.

St Jerome’s – The Hotel opened up back in May 2015 on the roof of Melbourne Central—setting the scene for other rooftop hotels to follow their lead. The world-first concept has 21 excellent canvas bell tents which were filled to the brim with luxe items, including a double bed, air con, and even a stocked Esky for you to tear into on a perfect night.

The site also features a General Store that doubles as a bar exclusive to campers, as well an infrared sauna and 24-hour reception.

The last day the hotel will be taking bookings is April 25, 2018, so you better get in fast to get an experience you won’t forget.

Australia's first ever streetwear expo is coming to Melbourne, find out all about Ego Expo here.

Image credit: supplied

I Won The Lottery; No Really, I Did

by vegetariantourist @ The Vegetarian Tourist

Living in a great city like Chicago affords you the constant opportunity to see and do so much. I sometimes get FOMO (fear of missing out) because I can only be in one place at one time! I want to do it all, ha ha. I’ve recently had the chance to check out some unbelievable […]

The post I Won The Lottery; No Really, I Did appeared first on The Vegetarian Tourist.

Playwright Paul Rudnick and Times Theater Critic Jesse Green on How Gay Theater Evolved—and Where It’s Headed

Playwright Paul Rudnick and Times Theater Critic Jesse Green on How Gay Theater Evolved—and Where It’s Headed

by Studio 360 @ Brow Beat

The ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s saw a rise in plays about gay life—first addressing issues of identity and discrimination, and then the decimating AIDS epidemic. Plays like Boys in the Band, The Normal Heart, and Angels in America shattered taboos and brought gay characters into the mainstream. And now several of these groundbreaking plays are now returning to Broadway.

But, a generation later, will they hold up?

That’s one of the questions that theater critic Jesse Green tackled in an article for the New York Times, “Will the Old Gay Play Have Something New to Say?”

For the podcast that is now part of the Slate family, Studio 360, Green and playwright Paul Rudnick sat down with host Kurt Andersen to talk about their favorite plays from this era, and how gay themes have evolved on the stage. Hear the segment here or read an edited version of the transcript with some clips that they watched together below.

You can also subscribe to the show on Apple podcasts.

Kurt Andersen: So we're going to talk about a bunch of the plays especially from the ’80s and ’90s that you wrote about, Jesse. But let’s go back: Before there were plays overtly about gayness, there were obviously gay playwrights writing that certainly since have been regarded as elliptically, cryptically gay plays. Like Tennessee Williams’ Streetcar Named Desire or Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; or Edward Albee's Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? It’s the first time I remember hearing as a child, like, “Oh, that’s really about homosexuals, Kurt.”

Green: He will strike you down from the grave for that comment.

I know he will.

Rudnick: His estate will go after you.

I know he will. And Williams didn’t like the idea of writing for a gay audience particularly.

Green: That was a less credible position.

Yeah. So Albee objecting to that, and Williams not wanting to be considered a gay playwright: Was that legitimate? Was it a function of when they were writing?

Rudnick: There was a lot of gay baiting that went on back then because Albee and Tennessee Williams, two of the great iconic American playwrights, were often criticized and accused of disguising gay characters.

At the time?

Rudnick: At the time. And so also remember, the cost of being openly gay then was unthinkable. They would not have had the careers they had—they would not have had any careers at all.

Were there advantages do you think for writers not being able to deal explicitly with gay themes? Was that an interesting constraint in the 1940s and ’50s?

Rudnick: Especially in the case of Williams, it was interesting the way he managed to work gay characters and especially in something like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. So clearly these guys did want to write about topics but it was forbidden, so I can’t think of it as an actual helpful constraint.

Green: I both agree with that and disagree with that. And Paul you’re a working playwright so you should know. But there is a way in which I think all writers thrive under constraints, any kind of constraint—whether it’s word length or how long your play can be or how many sets you have money for in this production.

Or the Nazis occupying Paris. I mean that is a thing, right?

Green: That’s a good example. So you could argue that had some of these playwrights been free to say everything they wanted in exactly in the form they wanted, they may not have found such fabulous workarounds.

Rudnick: But again, you would have to say, “Oh, gee, would August Wilson have been better off had he been forced to write about white people,” you know...

Green: I think he'd have been better off if he’d been forced to write about gay people! I just think, you know, this is his real métier.

I think you’re joking.

Green: Yes, I am.

So let’s move forward in time to the ’60s and especially the ’80s and ’90s. I want to go through a few of these and talk about which ones you like more and less. How they struck you when you first saw them. How well you think they hold up now. So, Boys in the Band written by Mart Crowley (who’s still alive, by the way) and first staged in 1968. Jesse, give a brief synopsis introduction to this classic.

Green: A bunch of extremely unhappy gay men meet for a party in which they play a devastating game and basically reveal the emptiness and tragedy of gay life. Do you think that’s fair, Paul?

Rudnick: It’s interesting. I think it is completely valid but I would also say that my early experience of that play and the movie—probably how I first saw it was at like a college film society. I thought of it as far more joyous than that, but I think it is absolutely true that it is a kind of a tragic vision. It’s also a very funny play, very smart, and it doesn’t advocate for the tragic vision. I think by the end of it it says, no we have to stop hating ourselves. Sometimes it gets an unfortunate rap that’s being anti-gay which it isn’t.

Kurt : Let’s watch a clip from Boys in the Band.

Green: Wow. The split between the straights and the Marys was already so well established.

And by that we mean what, Jesse?

Green: The straight-acting gays and the effeminate-acting gays.

I remember seeing it, and it was the first explicitly gay anything I’d ever been aware of.

Green: It terrified me. I saw the movie first and if I had been out of the closet it would have scared me back into it. I agree with Paul that it’s not endorsing anything anti-gay, but it is presenting such a tragic picture of the current state of affairs, probably fairly accurately at that time, but it wasn’t exactly, you know, welcome and rainbow flag.

Right. How did it play to gay audiences and straight audiences at the time in the late ’60s and early ’70s?

Rudnick: Well it was an enormous success—both the play and the movie—they were considered explosive and scandalous but also very highly praised. So there was a slight sense of a forbidden glimpse at a subculture. But on the other hand, because it was written by a gay man and written very knowledgeably and wisely, that it wasn’t just a lurid peek. There was really a sense of, OK these lives exist. Take a look. So it was a breakthrough. I always say that what can’t be diminished is that Mart Crowley did something that was—especially at the time—incredibly brave. It’s going to be revived next season directed by Ryan Murphy I believe or at least produced by him.

Green: Directed by Joe Mantello.

Rudnick: Oh Joe Mantello, on Broadway! But produced by Ryan Murphy, who directed the HBO version of The Normal Heart, is someone who includes massive amounts of gay straight characters, you name it.

Up next, let’s talk about Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song Trilogy. Paul, you were a fan.

Rudnick: Oh enormously so. That was—and was and is a magnificent play. I remember Harvey starring in it which was magnetic. And it’s being given from everything I’ve heard a top-notch revival starring Michael Urie, who is just a world-class actor.

So did you see it when you were a young man?

Rudnick: I was, I did indeed.


Rudnick: Yeah I adored it because both because it was wonderful to see gay material on stage. But even more so because it’s such a terrific play and was so funny and so beautifully performed.

Remind us of the basic idea of Torch Song.

Rudnick: Torch Song was I think taken somewhat from Harvey’s own life. It was about a drag queen making his way in the world and his romantic life—his relationship with a bisexual partner. And ultimately in the third act with his mother, who was not forgiving and not accepting. So it becomes quite explosive by the end. But it was a very wonderfully positive portrait of gay lives and of this outsized irrepressible, irresistible guy.


Green: And yet still a portrait of gay lives that were struggling with basic identity questions. This would gradually change so that gay characters could appear without having to argue their right to exist or to be out of the closet. But at this time Fierstein really zeroed in on those issues.

Are you old enough Jesse to have seen it when it was playing the first time?

Green: I saw it when it was put together as the trilogy. It had originally been done as a series of one acts off off-Broadway at La Mama and elsewhere and then was put together as a one-evening, very long event.

Do you expect that it will hold up and be perfectly relevant in 2017-’18?

Rudnick: Oh absolutely because I think it was interesting how prescient a lot it was. Because Harvey and that play deal with the possibility of gay marriage, gay adoption, how you create a family.


Rudnick: Yep. And that play also won the Tony for Best Play.

Green: So it’s so character-based it’s really about—

Green: And the relationship between him and his mother, which is you know—will that ever not be topical?

So tell me if I’m completely wrong about this but it seems to me that period of a dozen years is kind of continental divide in gay culture, gay theater. Suddenly out, suddenly the horrors of AIDS. I mean that was the before-and-after moment. Is that true? Fair?

Green: Well AIDS certainly was the dividing line for many things in gay life including what happened to gay theater. I mean of course using the phrase “gay theater” or “gay plays” is a problem in itself.

Rudnick: And often redundant.

Green: Well perhaps in your case.

Kurt: You had it in your headline!

Green: I am not responsible for my headlines. The way AIDS functioned in the larger questions of gay life was that it was a terrible tragedy that affected pretty much everyone in the community one way or another. But also, sad to say, was the first thing that fully convinced non-gay people that there were real lives worth mourning and treasuring behind, you know, those shadowy figures they had heard about for years. And so, through plays about AIDS the doors came open for other plays. But at the time we’re talking about that was just beginning to happen with plays like The Normal Heart and Falsettos and Paul’s play, Jeffrey.

We are next going to Larry Kramer's play The Normal Heart in 1985.

Rudnick: It was shattering and it was important on so many levels because at that time in the early years of the AIDS crisis, the media was not covering any of it.

It’s really early years. It came out in 1985. I mean the first New York Times article was 1982 I believe.

Rudnick: Exactly. And even that was relatively minor. There was an electricity when you went to see that because nobody knew what was going on. There were certainly no medical answers and there was no government attention whatsoever. So it was making a difference on so many levels. And I think what especially the most recent revival revealed, although this was pretty much acknowledged already, is that it’s also a terrific play. It really works. It cooks.

Here’s Mark Ruffalo starring in the film adaptation of The Normal Heart.

Green: One of the signal tones of The Normal Heart is the rage that represents a perfect meeting at a particular time of topic and playwright: Larry Kramer.

Who was a big loud activist and remains so.

Green: And founded Gay Men’s Health Crisis and ACT UP before being kind of pushed to the sidelines of both of them because of his large personality, shall we say. But in this play, there was no one to push him aside and he successfully channeled a kind of Biblical rage into a dramatic form that still holds up. I think that’s what actually continues to make it viable as a play. Had it been less political, I don’t think it would continue to hold up.

And what about the fact that AIDS can now be managed very differently than we had any idea back then that it ever would be or could be? Does that change dramatically the way that play is watched today?

Rudnick: Well, see, when people say, “Oh, it’s dated,” I find it irritating to say the least. First of all, AIDS is still prevalent all over the world and thank God the play’s dated to the extent it is. And aside from that, the minute you say, “Oh a play was set in an earlier age therefore we should have no interest in it,” well let’s erase all of Shakespeare then. What I’ve experienced is when younger audiences experience these plays they’ve thankfully not had to live through that particular tragedy, but they are fascinated and it is also historical information for them and they had no idea.

Because it’s like a war movie made during the war.

Green: It is a war movie, that’s exactly right.

Up next, the great Angels in America, which many people have seen on stage or the HBO mini-series. But for the people who missed it or have forgotten—Paul?

Green: Summarize that, Paul!

Rudnick: Oh my lord.

What is Tony Kushner’s play about?

Rudnick: Well all you need to basically know is that it’s a masterwork. It’s one of the truly great American plays and it’s an epic. It was set in the age of AIDS with wild flights of fantasy and beyond. It involves everyone from Roy Cohn to Ethel Rosenberg to the lives of a central gay couple, one of whom is suffering quite terribly from AIDS and the other of whom is running away from him. So it’s both a very personal story and deeply emotional and it’s about everyone and everything.

Let’s watch a clip of the 2003 HBO miniseries version of Angels in America with a scene with Justin Kirk and Meryl Streep.

Did you both see it when it openedthe two parts of it on Broadway in 1993?

Rudnick: Oh absolutely. I mean you couldn’t not see it. It really was thrilling. And it was also the introduction of the genius that is Tony Kushner. So that you’ve got the action of the play and also the lyricism and the poetry and the humor and everything else. So you thought, “Oh my god this is a major writer who’s arrived in full flower.” So it was beyond an event.


Green: As Paul said, a new voice—new to most of us—had emerged but also a way of looking at the content that had been bubbling around in a lot of the plays that we’d been talking about, reorganized toward a different purpose and with an enormous vision that went way beyond AIDS and gayness to encompass really the whole—

Green: Modern history and future history because, looked at now, I find myself very drawn to the part of the story—and amazingly it’s just one part of the story—that is about the future of the planet.

Rudnick: And also that Roy Cohn, who is a central character and a personification of evil in the play, of course he’s one of Donald Trump’s godfathers.

His mentor.

Rudnick: Yeah exactly.

And so we all agree it’s the great play of its era.

Rudnick: It’s that good.

And not a great gay play but it’s a great American play.

Green: Oh it is a great gay play.

Rudnick: Yeah it’s both! I imagine it Tony Kushner would insist that it is a gay play as well, but it certainly is in the canon, and you know when you talk about Death of a Salesman and Streetcar Named Desire you put Angels in America right up there.

And interestingly compared to most of the other plays, all the other plays I guess we’ve been talking about, it is not thoroughly realistic. It has these poetic flights of fancy and angels and dead people and so forth. Does that make it less dated?

Rudnick: Yeah, it’s not dated in the slightest because even though a lot of it is a particularly specific attack on Reagan and those years that doesn’t date either when you look at, OK, how did those years inform what’s happening right now?


Green: And the central story which is about betrayal of one character for his lover and his having to figure out how to make his life OK after he betrays his lover. That’s another story that will never go away.

Paul, let’s look at one of your best-known plays.

Rudnick: Uh oh.

The previously mentioned Jeffrey. Here is a clip from the movie version:

Green: Oh thank god. Thank god for that play. Really I remember—

Rudnick: Aww thank you.

Green: No, in the midst of—

Rudnick: That was Steven Weber and Bryan Batt. Bryan originated that role in the original production.

Green: But Paul, you’re interrupting your own compliment.

Rudnick: Go, go, by all means!

Green: You know in the midst of all these plays we’ve been talking about, not a one of them a comedy, mind you. And also in the midst of a time of terrible sadness came a play which was—an AIDS comedy? Possibly? Can we call it that? I mean I don’t know if you ever called it that.

It’s a genre now.

Green: A genre of one, I think. That really did one of the things that theater can and should do. And it was something no one else was, I want to say, daring to do. I don’t know if it felt daring to you though.

Rudnick: It was only possible because of plays like The Normal Heart because the subject matter had been treated with that weight that it deserved. But I was a comic writer. For a while I thought maybe there was no way into this material and into the subject, but I couldn’t help myself because all the people around me were so funny. And before there were any medical possibilities, a sense of humor was kind of the only weapon anyone had.

So are gay characters being more mainstreamed now, and the fact that they’re gay is becoming secondary?

Rudnick: To a certain extent but there’s one funny thing that’s kind of going on in theater right at the moment because of gay marriage being legalized, which is a big win for the LGBTQ world. It makes gay people no longer underdogs and a lot of writers have been wrestling with, OK we can now write plays about the trouble of gay marriage and gay relationships but that seems a little beside the point after you’ve had that particular victory. So it’s an interesting challenge. But there’s still a sense, especially when you leave the coasts, that if you have a play where there’s a central character, where there is an LGBTQ hero or heroine, then it will still be questionable. It will be seen as a niche item. That yes, you can still had plenty gay best friends and gay aunts and uncles. But if it’s a meaningful central character, it will still be produced but without the frequency of August: Osage County, which is a fantastic play. But there could still be marginalized things going on.

Green: But on the other hand, you have the surprising success of musical like Fun Home which is the story of a young lesbian discovering her identity. And this is a musical that not only succeeded on Broadway, but also did very well on the road. So go figure that one.

Well I was just going to ask about that, and I think of the play Indecent, and suddenly you have lesbian stars characters on Broadway but only in the last few years. Why such a lag in terms of lesbian and gay?

Rudnick: Exactly. Because also Lisa Kron who did the book and lyrics for Fun Home and won a Tony for both is a superb writer who had a wonderful solo show and another great play on Broadway called Well that she appeared in. And so, yeah, I think there is a lag because I think the culture, also because AIDS was seen as affecting gay men directly. There was a natural output there.

More dramatic.

Rudnick: Yeah.

Do you think if we gathered here and in 25 years that we wouldn’t look back at this age of the gay play as a kind of specific golden age, that like 1970 to 2000 will be a period of the great theater, partly as a result of dealing with AIDS?

Rudnick: Yeah I think there was a natural flowering. That is indisputable that you often have art in response to a world crisis. And also because the art was very restricted at that time—there were not a lot of movies that dealt with AIDS and no TV shows—or very few. And theater also because AIDS was affecting the theatrical community so immediately.

And pre- and post-legal gay marriage, seems to me to be a huge cultural thing.

Rudnick: Absolutely.

Green: Perhaps what will happen is that gay playwrights—whether or not they’re writing about gay characters—will have their work just sort of flowing into the mainstream of all works at that time. And you know one day I think you’re right: We will look back at this as a time when plays about gay characters flourished because gay people were not flourishing elsewhere.

The A-Z Of Awkwardly Responding To Valentine’s Day

The A-Z Of Awkwardly Responding To Valentine’s Day

by Hilary Simmons @ The A List | The Urban List

Valentine’s Day is probably one of the most awkward holidays in existence. If you’re single, it’s annoying. If you’re loved-up, it’s stressful. And if you’re someone who finds it hard to articulate their exact position on capitalist scams, rampant commercialism and exorbitantly overpriced floral arrangements – because while all that Valentine’s Day criticism is probably valid, flowers are nice, aren’t they?—it’s exhausting.

Whatever your position on Valentine’s Day, we’re here to help you respond awkwardly to it. Because life isn’t all roses, chocolates and sexually-suggestive cards. It’s also uncomfortable conversations, complicated relationships and insensitive f*#kwits.

Yes, we mean of both the male and female persuasion.

is for “Awkward together or awkward alone, I’m still awkward.” is for “I don’t have a bae, my baeloved is a baegel.” is for commitment-phobes, co-dependents and chocolate. Only one of these will never let you down. is for delicate dance of protocol for those in undefined relationships. Or divorce, always a great topic of conversation on Valentine’s Day. is for eligible. “I’m one of Australia’s most eligible bachelors or bachelorettes and Osher Gunsberg told me not to say any more at the present time.” is for forced laughter. “Hahahahaha, yep, forever alone”—*cries in the corner* is for “Good luck with focusing on every little thing that’s not perfect in your relationship today.” is for “Holiday created by Hallmark? Actually, no. Valentine’s Day has roots in an ancient Roman fertility festival called Lupercalia, which involved wine, nudity and slapping women with strips of goat hide drenched in sacrificial blood. Sexy, huh?” is insult to one’s dignity or “I don’t like you in that way.” is for Jabberwocky. Start to recite this nonsense poem by Lewis Carroll if you find yourself trapped in a conversation you don’t want to have. is for Kanye, the ultimate example of self-love. Tell people, “I’m taking my inner Kanye out for Valentine’s Day” and get yourself some tasty Uber Eats. is for ‘like’, the low-maintenance term for people in a relationship tiptoeing around that big four-letter word. Unfortunately, it looks pretty shit on a greeting card. is for messy. “My room, my weekends, my love life.” is for Netflix and kill the next person who asks about your relationship status. is for “Okay, cupid, you psycho.” is for putting up with intrusive questions and impossible pressure. Also pizza. Delicious pizza. is for quaffing wine. In response to, “What are you doing for Valentine’s Day?” Works a treat for both single and coupled-up. is for roses. Not the flower, this song. Consider it your anthem if you’re single and apply it to a suitable ex. is for ship. If you’re not being ‘shipped’ with anyone right now, dedicate this day to your friendSHIPS and remind your mates you love them. is for “Tis a pity he’s/she’s a whore.” It’s a quote from a sixteenth-century play AND a song by David Bowie. is for untag, e.g., when the person you’re seeing tags you on Facebook but you’re not really comfortable taking your relationship public just yet. is for “Vomiting in my mouth a little bit listening to you talk incessantly about your bae.” is for “Will you accept this rose?” is for “X-tremely sorry but I have a date at the X-treme screen for a viewing of Jumanji.” is for “You’re not bad!” Repeat it to yourself or give it as a backhanded compliment to your lover on Valentine’s Day. is for zzzzzz aka pretending Valentine’s Day is over already.

If you're looking for the perfect date night for Valentine's Day, this list will help.

Image credit: Bruce Mars

You Can Now Watch the 25 Best Movies of 2017 in a Single, Gorgeous Montage

You Can Now Watch the 25 Best Movies of 2017 in a Single, Gorgeous Montage

by Marissa Martinelli @ Brow Beat

It’s December, which means ’tis the season for critics to release their best-of lists, looking back at the year in cinema and ranking the movies that stood out. And while these lists tend to reshuffle the same few contenders, IndieWire’s David Ehrlich’s countdown always stands out, not necessarily because of his choices but because of how he presents them: in a gorgeous video montage.

As he did last year, Ehrlich distills each movie on his 2017 list to “a single memorable moment,” from the now-infamous pie scene in A Ghost Story to Get Out’s terrifying first glimpse of “the sunken place.” The result is a supercut of the kinds of scenes you were left thinking about after leaving the theater, all set to a soundtrack of the year’s most memorable movie music, including “Never Gonna Give You Up” (from the Lego Batman Movie), “I’m Every Woman” (from Girls Trip), and plenty of Sufjan Stevens as a nod to Call Me by Your Name.

You can read Ehrlich’s explanation for his choices over at IndieWire.

David Ehrlich’s Top 25 Movies of 2017

1. Call Me by Your Name

2. Dunkirk

3. A Ghost Story

4. Personal Shopper

5. The Florida Project

6. Columbus

7. Lady Bird

8. Faces Places

9. The Post

10. Phantom Thread

11. A Quiet Passion

12. Okja

13. Wonderstruck

14. Good Time

15. The Beguiled

16. Get Out

17. Thelma

18. The Big Sick

19. Foxtrot

20. A Fantastic Woman

21. Lady Macbeth

22. Mother!

23. Baby Driver

24. The Lure

25. All These Sleepless Nights

The Spice Girls Have Announced A World Tour!

The Spice Girls Have Announced A World Tour!

by Urban List Writers @ The A List | The Urban List

We’re getting what we want, what we really really want. When we heard the worldwide phenomenon that is The Spice Girls was getting back together we couldn’t contain our excitement, and you can only imagine the full-on frenzy following the announcement by TMZ of a world tour.

Yes, you read that correctly, they’ll be spicing up our lives—IN PERSON. Though still in the planning stages, we can rest assured knowing all members are fully committed to a tour going ahead—let's just hope they put Down Under on their list of places to visit!


Love my girls!!! So many kisses!!! X Exciting x #friendshipneverends #girlpower

A post shared by Victoria Beckham (@victoriabeckham) on Feb 2, 2018 at 8:27am PST

So what are you waiting for? Dust off the old platforms, whip out the crop tops, lollipops, U.K. flag attire, and scrunchies—Spice mania is officially taking over and we are not complaining.

Be sure to check back as we bring you all the latest and greatest on the tour. We are living in a spice world after all! 

In the meantime, relive the girl power for a minute or two. 

The Spice Girl reunion may not be the only thing making you feel old. Here are 29 things that will make you feel old AF. 

Dave Grohl, Who Used to Be in Nirvana, Plays Crowd-Pleasing Christmas Ditties With the Foo Fighters on Saturday Night Live

Dave Grohl, Who Used to Be in Nirvana, Plays Crowd-Pleasing Christmas Ditties With the Foo Fighters on Saturday Night Live

by Matthew Dessem @ Brow Beat

Dave Grohl, who many lifetimes ago was in a band called Nirvana, stopped by Saturday Night Live with his new band the Foo Fighters, and he brought some Christmas cheer with him! After starting off with “Everlong,” from 1997’s The Colour and the Shape, the Foo Fighters turned in a rocking performance of “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” by Darlene Love (off Phil Spector’s 1963 Christmas album) and a guitar arrangement of the Vince Guaraldi classic, “Linus & Lucy,” which first appeared on A Charlie Brown Christmas in 1965.  It’s everything you’d ever want from a Saturday Night Live musical guest during the holiday season: a respectful treatment of some treasured Baby Boomer Christmas classics, with something for everyone to enjoy!

Here, incidentally, is a little number from Dave Grohl’s first Saturday Night Live appearance, 25 years ago. He played a song with the crowd-pleasing title of “Territorial Pissings,” which begins with bass player Krist Novoselec howling a lyric from boomer-favorite “Get Together” by the Youngbloods, not respectfully at all, and ends with Grohl smashing his drum set while Kurt Cobain beats up a stack of amplifiers until someone at NBC cuts to commercial.

Which isn’t to say Grohl never sang Christmas carols back in the day. Here he is claiming to not know “Silent Night” or “Joy to the World,” before half-assing his way through a chorus of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” with the rest of Nirvana.

Twenty-five years is a long time!

Laugh at This Hilarious Video of Trump Mispronouncing Words, and Then Despair, Because He’s the President

Laugh at This Hilarious Video of Trump Mispronouncing Words, and Then Despair, Because He’s the President

by Marissa Martinelli @ Brow Beat

Remember during the presidential campaign, when Trump claimed to have “the best words”? Hoo boy, that was funny, because the president actually mispronounces words all the time. (By the way, Trump made that claim during a speech on Dec. 30, 2015, one in which he also attacked the media, made blatantly inaccurate statements about Obamacare, and said, “They’re chopping off Christians’ heads in Syria and other places and they want me to have a nice tone.” OK, just wanted to point that out, now let's get to the hilarious video!)

Trump’s claims to have the best words sure backfired on him, as The Daily Show laid out with a supercut of Trump’s, uh, unique pronunciations. Nazzeez? U-licious? United Shates? Ha! Some of these mispronunciations can be chalked up to Trump’s Queens accent, like how Utah became “Utaur” in a speech just a few days ago. (Incidentally, and I really don't want to distract from the comedy here, but that speech came moments before Trump signed an executive order that removed two million acres from protected national monuments, angering Native American tribes and environmental activists.)

Other pronunciations seem to be just a matter of style, like when Trump referred to the southern half of the Korean “penin-shula.” (Sorry, butting in just one more time to say, that was during the same trip where Trump told a gaggle of reporters that his plan for dealing with North Korea was “it always works out.”)

Yep, the things that come out of Trump’s mouth sure are wacky! So let’s all forget our troubles for a minute to chuckle at Trump’s pronunciation of “Jaroozum.” (Ack, this is the last time, I swear, but I feel like maybe I should mention that he said that while officially recognizing the city as the capital of Israel, a huge setback toward peace in the region that actually endangers lives.)

In any case, the video should at least be a nice distraction from Trump’s new, abominable travel ban, or from the fact that he retweeted posts from Britain First’s Jayda Fransen, an anti-Muslim bigot who has been convicted of a hate crime, or from the president throwing his support behind a senate candidate accused of being a child predator. Missuria, am I right?!

Australia’s First Streetwear Expo Is Coming To Melbourne

Australia’s First Streetwear Expo Is Coming To Melbourne

by Kate Bartels @ The A List | The Urban List

Calling all lovers of streetwear. If high fashion runways have you scratching your head or yawning, you’ll be thrilled to know Australia’s very first streetwear runway, Ego Expo, is coming to Melbourne.

On February 17 and 18, streetwear lovers can check out the designs of twelve labels like Diamond Kicks and AS colour, who'll be bringing their threads to the runway and showcasing the best of their season's collection. You can then buy the clothing through Brauz App, an app designed to help you shop online using geo-location technology. Nice.

The guys behind Ego Expo have teamed up with heaps of other awesome Melbourne groups to bring you an exclusive shopping-spree experience, live street art, street food, skateboard and basketball action. Even a few break dancers and hip-hop performances.

Bonus: the event will sponsor Beyond Blue, with founder Mel Yu telling us, “Ego Expo will also be the platform where we explore the culture of the streets and address all the underlying issues the streets face, including suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, anxiety and depression.” 

So let’s get this straight—awesome street clothes, delish food AND raising awareness for a good cause? Where do we sign?

The Details 

Where: Shed 14, Harbour Esplanade, Docklands When: Saturday 17 & Sunday 18 February For more info, click here.

Heads up: we just found the coolest General Store in Melbourne. (Trust us on this one.)

Image credit: Ego Expo

Here’s Why “Duel of the Fates” Transcends the Star Wars Prequels

Here’s Why “Duel of the Fates” Transcends the Star Wars Prequels

by Tim Greiving @ Brow Beat

This article originally appeared in Vulture.

Darth Maul is one of the few elements in George Lucas’s Star Wars prequels to be almost universally admired. The badass Sith lord—red-and-black war paint obscuring his entire head, which is protected by a crown of dinosaurian horns, girded in a billowing black cloak and armed with a red, double-bladed lightsaber—cuts a terrifying figure from the moment he’s introduced in The Phantom Menace, brooding next to the future Emperor Palpatine. He gets one of the best lines of the movie, delivered in Peter Serafinowicz’s British baritone: “At last we will reveal ourselves to the Jedi. At last we will have revenge.”

Another element that (almost) no one complains about is John Williams’ music, three epic scores added to his soon-to-be eight-cycle space opera. The prequels are chock-full of now-classic melodies, including Anakin’s innocent theme (with its hidden references to Darth Vader’s march), the bittersweet love theme (“Across the Stars”) for Anakin and Padme, and the epic choral showdown “Battle of the Heroes” from Revenge of the Sith. But the theme that came closest to achieving the pop-culture invasion that “The Imperial March” did in the previous Star Wars cycle was the one Williams boldly dubbed “Duel of the Fates.”

You know the one. As Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) lead a heist into the occupied palace of Naboo, the giant doors of its hangar bay open to reveal Maul in all his demonic glory—his appearance heralded by a dark brass fanfare pumping out the opening notes of Williams’s pagan anthem for orchestra and choir. This Lucasian liturgical mass accompanies the lightsaber duel that ensues, motored along by a rippling string ostinato, with low woodwinds, then French horns stacking gravity on the melody before it erupts into a tiered, almost frenzied chorale. But as the theme’s title indicates, it’s about much more than a single sword fight.

Why this theme works so well, and why it transcends the film it was written for, speaks to the composer’s genius at writing earworm tunes that feel like primal, eternal music echoing from the beginning of time. He accomplished this earlier with Luke’s theme, the Force theme, the Imperial March, Han and Leia’s theme—to say nothing of the hundred other melodies he’s written for films that most people could hum from memory. The Star Warsfilms have given Williams an ideal canvas for these catchy, orchestral folk songs: Lucas’s operatic series is overtly larger-than-life, inspired by grandiose antecedents in film, classical music, and literature. The creator has often spoken of them as “silent films,” and he gave Williams the keys to let music drive the story—and, consequently, tell its own.

The Darth Maul duel provided a showcase for score usually reserved for religious ceremony. The piece was “a result of my thinking that something ritualistic, and/or pagan and antique might be very effective, and that the introduction of a chorus at a certain point in the film might be just the thing,” Williams said in a 1999 interview. He figured it needed a text, and looked to one of his favorite books, The White Goddess by English poet Robert Graves, which he had recently used portions of in a very modern, very non–Star Warsian concert work called “The Five Sacred Trees.”

“I remembered the great Celtic epic poem ‘The Battle of the Trees,’ in which two fields of trees are animated by a Druidic priest and they become warriors,” Williams said. “And they do the battle, and on command from the Druid the trees again freeze and become trees. And there’s a stanza in the poem, translated by Graves from the early Celtic into modern English, which is roughly, ‘Under the tongue root a fight most dread, while another rages behind in the head.’ And for no conscious, sensible reason, the idea of a fight, something raging and imagined in the head more than anywhere else, seemed to be a good, mystical, cryptic piece of business.”

Williams had “some friends at Harvard” translate that line back into Celtic, as well as other ancient languages, and he settled on Sanskrit for its exotic and “beautiful sounds.” “Basically what I’ve done, in this case, is … reduced the stanza, which was translated literally, and used either single words or syllables or combinations of these things—the words ‘dreaded fight’ or this kind of thing—and put them together, repeatedly and melismatically, which is to say repeating syllables. (Everybody knows what that is from the ‘Hallelujah’ chorus, where you sing the word ‘Hallelujah’ for 20 minutes, you know.) And it gave an atmosphere, I think, to the music that was at once mysterious and old and dramatic, and I hope effective.”

“Duel of the Fates,” belted out by an 88-piece choir and the full weight of the London Symphony Orchestra, further elevated Nick Gillard’s quicksilver, ferocious choreography and almost made you forget about Jar Jar Binks dribbling Bantha poodoo out of his digital Gungan mouth. (Almost, because Lucas kept cutting away from the magnificent duel inside Theed’s cavernous power generator to Muppet Baby Anakin’s exploits in space and Jar Jar’s unfunny “comic relief” in the land battle outside.) Taken on its own terms, the duel is one of the true high points of the prequels—expertly visualizing Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan’s master-apprentice relationship and revealing Maul as one of the most formidable villains in the Star Warsuniverse, culminating in the still-gut-punching death of Neeson’s endearing Jedi. (Before he even reached act two of this new trilogy, Lucas foolishly killed off his best new characters.)

“I just felt the way that George has staged that, the top of that great stage or stairway—I don’t even know what to call it—the way it’s done is so dramatic and so like a great pagan altar, you can imagine, that the whole thing seemed like a dance, a ballet, a religious ceremony of some kind,” Williams explained in his sage, professorial way, “probably ending in the death of one of the combatants, you know. A ballet about that, super-real—or unreal even—and that the medium of chorus and orchestra would give us a sense that we’re in a big temple. The drama is the contrast and the contest between good and evil.”

Which is why “Duel of the Fates” is so good—not just because it’s infectious, but because it is so deep. It certainly works as an action set piece, but Williams really composed an oratorio that captures the spiritual combat for the soul of Anakin Skywalker. In fact, back in 1999, Lucas envisioned this piece reprising in a big way for the climactic clash between Anakin and Obi-Wan in Revenge of the Sith. “You didn’t realize this,” Lucas told Williams in the Abbey Road recording booth at the Phantom Menacesessions, “but it really goes into the third film very well. … It definitely has the quality of the inevitable fate of doom, you know, with larger hands at work.” (For some reason, by the time they got to Sith they decided to go with the related but new choral anthem, “Battle of the Heroes.”)

“Duel of the Fates” far outlived its corny context. It did so right out of the gates, when it landed (in the form of a music video) on MTV’s Total Request Live—the only “classical” piece to do so—where it remained for 11 days. As of 2015, it was the most-streamed of all of Williams’s Star Wars themes on Spotify. YouTube is littered with remixes and covers (from a cappella tolittle kids on keyboards to heavy metal), and a video that loops the piece for ten straight hours has 2.6 million views. It has the honor of accompanying a parody duel on The Simpsons, and it has underscored countless duels in a variety of sports. It clearly speaks to people, as so many of Williams’s film themes do, as pure music.

See also: Every Star Wars Movie, Ranked

Mooncakes: Celebrating The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival

by Izzy Pulido @ The Next Somewhere

Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, known as “Tet Trung Thu,” is Vietnam’s second most popular holiday. In Ho Chi Minh City, the appearance of pop-up yellow and red stalls announces the coming of the Moon Festival, a lesser-known holiday to foreigners, yet the second most widely celebrated Vietnamese holiday. Traditionally falling on the 15th day of the […]

The post Mooncakes: Celebrating The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival appeared first on The Next Somewhere.

Three Billboards Centers Female Vengeance, But It’s Really About the Salvation of Men

Three Billboards Centers Female Vengeance, But It’s Really About the Salvation of Men

by Inkoo Kang @ Brow Beat

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri opened last month to wide acclaim, especially for its timeliness. National conversations about the endemic nature of sexual harassment and assault, punctuated staccato-style by the abrupt downfalls of famous men, have reflected the disorientation many of us feel about this sudden shift in the cultural atmosphere, as well as the confusion about the correct response to accused artists, the charges against whom range from uncomfortable comments in the workplace to rape. In bracing contrast, writer-director Martin McDonagh’s third film proffers clear-eyed determination. With an unblinking, unflinching Frances McDormand at its center, Three Billboards channels the anger of the current moment through its Molotov cocktail-hurling anti-heroine, Mildred Hayes. But the film ultimately sacrifices its feminist bona fides to run-of-the-mill Hollywood sexism and McDonagh’s cartoonish vision of female rage. Those seeking a break from real-life misogyny will find no respite here.

Three Billboards takes its name from the trio of signs that McDormand’s Mildred commissions to provoke the local small-town police into investigating the rape and murder of her teenage daughter Angela, which has gone unsolved for seven months. In stark, all-caps red and black, the billboards read, “Raped while dying,” “And still no arrests?” “How come, Chief Willoughby?” Like many other people in the town, Mildred knows that the police chief, played with aw-shucks charm by Woody Harrelson, has terminal cancer, and she displays compassion for Willoughby as a fellow citizen, but as a victim’s mother, she’s furious at him. She advocates for her daughter to the point of unreasonableness, because no one else will. When Mildred’s priest (Nick Searcy) stops by her house to tell her that the billboards are eroding the goodwill the congregation accorded her after Angela’s death, the scene makes for one of the script’s most empathetic observations: People expect women to grieve in ways deemed decorous and unchallenging to the status quo.

Such feminist moments have allowed McDonagh to call Mildred “an iconic, new type of female hero” on a press tour that’s doubled as a victory lap after largely rapturous film-festival reviews (from, it must be noted, a mostly white, mostly male critical corps). Mildred is rarely seen out of her Rosie the Riveter-inspired overalls and bandanna, even donning the workwear on a first date with Peter Dinklage’s besotted James. McDonagh says he created Mildred in part as a corrective: He was “conscious” that his previous films, In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths, were bereft of meaty roles for women. (McDonagh’s theater work fares moderately better in this regard.) And so, in language echoing recent discussions about female representation on screen, most recently about Wonder Woman, he, rather hubristically, imagined Mildred as an icon that “little girls” could look up to and emulate.

Three Billboards’ initial appeal lies in its tonal slipperiness between a somber drama of small-town intimacy-bordering-on-claustrophobia and a chatty fantasy of Tarantino-esque hyperviolence. Likewise, Mildred shifts between those two modes: the mother who’s finally had enough and the vigilante who’ll break any law to right the wrongs done to her. But as the film progresses, McDonagh loses track of the tricky balance necessary to make Mildred both a recognizable human being and a cinematic badass. An early instance of her increasingly questionable judgment is the entirely preventable pain that the words “RAPED WHILE DYING” causes her high-school-aged son (Lucas Hedges), who has to look at the billboards every day. Similarly, the bullying he suffers at school because of the signs’ unpopularity around town is only acknowledged in passing. (One of the many indications that McDonagh wrote Three Billboards eight years ago is that all of the bullying is in person and offscreen; there isn’t a cell phone or computer anywhere, let alone a fervent discussion board on Topix.)

Mildred might be justified in taking a drill to her disapproving dentist’s thumbnail after he sadistically punishes her for the billboards with his Novocaine needle. But her accusation to her priest that he’s complicit in pedophilia because the clergyman joined the Catholic Church is wholly nonsensical. More horrifying is her reaction to someone throwing a soda can at her windshield during a school drop-off. She demands from the first two children she spots that they identify the culprit, and when they can’t, Mildred kicks them both in the crotch. By the time she throws a half-dozen Molotov cocktails into the police station as vengeance for her billboards being set on fire, Three Billboards hasn’t just stripped Mildred of her sympathy, but her humanity as well. Her unhinged rage—expressions of which are framed as invitations to spout you-go-girl-isms at the screen—makes her look silly instead, and the righteousness of her cause suffers as a result. Going around town like a caricature of a bad cop, assaulting children and destroying property with impunity, makes her just like the worst person in town after Angela’s killer: Sam Rockwell’s Officer Jason Dixon.

That McDonagh seems to have no idea how awful and cartoonish Mildred becomes is supported by the filmmaker’s conviction that Jason deserves a substantial redemption arc. Known around town as a torturer of black citizens (with shrugging tolerance from Chief Willoughby), Jason makes for the film’s most artificial and tone-deaf component. The ne’er-do-well officer initially blames the billboards for Willoughby’s suicide (actually a response to his rapid physical decline, not Mildred’s goadings). In the vilest scene, a drunk Jason pistol-whips the signs’ owner (Caleb Landry Jones), throws him out of a second-story window, punches his secretary, walks downstairs and then kicks the bleeding Red once again in the middle of the street. Later, he returns to the station in the middle of the night to retrieve a post-mortem letter from Willoughby encouraging the officer to embrace goodness, which happens to be right when Mildred decides to burn down the police station. The station goes up in flames, but Jason escapes with Angela’s case file and sets out to crack the case, badge or no badge. (The fire begs yet another question about Mildred’s credibility as a feminist icon: Does she care that her act of violence will deny justice to every other victim of a crime in Ebbings, including possibly other victims of sexual assault?)

The fact that McDonagh wrote the film nearly a decade ago, before the Black Lives Matter movement, is telling. In Three Billboards, the terrorization of black citizens can apparently end by plucking a bad apple from the bunch and changing hearts and minds with a heartfelt letter. The film’s focus on first Willoughby’s absolution for not solving Angela’s case, then Jason’s for repeatedly abusing his power as a police officer, increasingly pull attention away from the victim, so that a teenage girl’s rape and murder eventually becomes the springboard for a pair of bad cops’ redemption. Women suffer, often spectacularly, so that men can better themselves—a trope that’s come to be known as “fridging.” And as long as we’re pointing out hypocrisies, Three Billboards’ condemnations of police brutality against black people are attenuated by the film’s lack of any substantial black characters. In fact, one of the film’s three black characters, Mildred’s friend and coworker, played by Amanda Warren, even looks cheerful and eager to help out after yet another abuse of power by the police lands her in a multi-day jail stay over a bullshit marijuana charge.

As film critic April Wolfe pointed out in her review, there’s far bloodier hijinks in McDonagh’s first two films than in Three Billboards. But both In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths concern the double-crosses between hitmen, who for all their disposability might as well be dots in a Pac-Man maze. Hitmen may be mournful or charismatic, but they lack moral weight. In contrast, nearly all the violence in Three Billboards is institutionally based, and presented as such. Angela’s rape and murder are part of a larger pattern, as are the domestic abuse that Mildred’s ex-husband (John Hawkes) inflicts on her and the beatings and intimidations that Jason visits on those who get in his way. In the end, though, Mildred’s deranged fancies and Jason’s unconvincing absolution reduce those all-too-real horrors to an impetus for male salvation.

The sting from the diminishment of the issue of gendered violence is salted by the objectifying or mean-spirited treatment that nearly every other significant female character receives from McDonagh. McDormand appears without makeup, her male co-stars are similarly deglammed, and Ebbings is portrayed as the town equivalent of a hole in the wall, but every woman under 40 seems to have been transported from a casting call in Century City. The age and attractiveness difference between 56-year-old Harrelson and 36-year-old Abbie Cornish, who’s costumed like a J. Crew model, is substantial and distracting. At least Cornish isn’t asked to be both eye candy and a punching bag. Such is the fate of Samara Weaving’s 19-year-old Penelope, whose reaction to watching her older boyfriend choke his ex-wife, while his son holds a knife to his dad’s neck, is an empty-headed smile and a matter-of-fact request to use the bathroom. Later, in a scene when Mildred finally gives her blessing to the May–December couple, Penelope asks whether the sport with the horses, about which she’s currently reading a book, is called polo or polio. I’d call the character sitcomish, but that’s insulting toward sitcoms. The sign store’s secretary (Kerry Condon) is likewise revealed as a beautiful idiot.

Penelope is around Angela’s age, but Mildred leaves the teenager dating a man she knows to be violent without a single warning. The shot of McDormand walking away from the bewildered but relieved couple in a restaurant is “cool,” I guess, but the abdication of any responsibility toward another woman who might be in the same dangers she faced is demoralizing—and McDonagh doesn’t know it. The lack of relatable female characters, combined with the ethical indifference toward violence against women, makes Three Billboards already feel like a relic. And it’s not as if all of the elements that McDonagh’s working with can’t add up to something powerful and morally consistent. The BBC/Netflix series Happy Valley also centers on a middle-aged woman in a small town reeling from her daughter’s rape and death (here, from suicide), while managing to be funny and suspenseful and compassionate and brutal. But Happy Valley treats violence against women like the scourge it is. For McDonagh, it’s merely a plot device and an opportunity to #NotAllMen.

Bánh mì Saigon vs Saigon Vietnamese Sandwich

Bánh mì Saigon vs Saigon Vietnamese Sandwich

The Carnivore and the Vegetarian

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Vegetarian Tofu Banh Mi

Vegetarian Tofu Banh Mi

Chef Priyanka

I’ve been recently introduced to the wonderful Vietnamese sandwich – Banh Mi. Its a classic Vietnamese sandwich thats traditionally made with pulled pork, vinegary and crisp veggies, an…

Celebrating Vietnamese Lunar New Year In Hanoi – A Comprehensive Tet Guide

by Phuong Thuy @ The Christina's Blog

You might have heard that most businesses close during Tet in Hanoi, and that you won’t find a place to enjoy a slow dinner over the grill, let alone the charms of the city. But take it from a local, don’t worry! This thousand-year-old capital can show you a traditional Tet in Vietnam if you […]

The post Celebrating Vietnamese Lunar New Year In Hanoi – A Comprehensive Tet Guide appeared first on The Christina's Blog.

An Aussie Island Is Throwing A Crayfish Festival

An Aussie Island Is Throwing A Crayfish Festival

by Ange Law @ The A List | The Urban List

Deep breaths team. We’ve just found the food festival of your dreams. This April, some of Australia’s best chefs (and foragers, we might add) are heading to Flinders Island. Where the heck is Flinders Island? Let us tell you. It’s a small island off the coast of Tasmania and if fresh seafood, native produce and a cheeky tipple sounds like your ideal weekend situation, you’ll want to buy tickets to this one right now.

Longsong chef, David Moyle has enlisted some of Australia’s best native chefs for the island’s inaugural Food and Crayfish Festival which will culminate in a beachside long table lunch on 14 April. We’re talking about James Vile (Biota), Mark LaBrooy (Three Blue Ducks), and Matt Stone and Jo Barrett (Oakridge Wines). They’ll even be showing up a week early to source the local ingredients personally. 

Oh, and by the looks of things, you’ll even be able to glamp on the island and yeah, this festival just got even more beautiful (we weren’t sure it was possible either). Also (yes, there’s more), because the islanders are just all ‘round great humans, they’ll be lending chairs from their own dining tables so you have somewhere to park it while you feast. 

There is literally nothing more Australian that heading to a secret beach on a lush island and scoffing shellfish all day long. You know it’s true. More details here

The Details

What: Flinders Island Food & Crayfish Festival When: 14 – 15 April Where: Flinders Island Cost: $240 pp

We also just found a luxe doggy high tea (we know).

Image credit: Michelle Tsang

Dave’s Hot Chicken Has a Welcoming East Hollywood Space and Really Good Nashville-Style Chicken

by Gwynedd Stuart @ Los Angeles Magazine

Three buddies are serving up mammoth chicken tenders that'll leave a red ring around your mouth

The post Dave’s Hot Chicken Has a Welcoming East Hollywood Space and Really Good Nashville-Style Chicken appeared first on Los Angeles Magazine.

What It’s Like to Watch The Disaster Artist If You’ve Never Seen The Room

What It’s Like to Watch The Disaster Artist If You’ve Never Seen The Room

by Jeffrey Bloomer @ Brow Beat

James Franco’s new movie The Disaster Artist has gotten much better reviews than the “Citizen Kane of bad movies” that is its subject—but how does it play if you’ve never seen The Room? We sent two Slate writers who have never seen Tommy Wiseau’s disasterpiece to find out.

Jeffrey Bloomer:
Oh, hi Aisha. We’ve just seen The Disaster Artist, and I think I’m slightly closer to understanding the enduring obsession with The Room, which neither of us has seen. I may also be redeveloping feelings for James Franco. But first: How have we avoided The Room for so long? I know several evangelists, but I think their inability to describe the movie without breaking down into deranged laughter kept me away.

Aisha Harris: Oh hai, Jeffrey. (I’ve been informed by a Room evangelist that that is the movie’s canonical spelling of “Oh hai,” btw.) I have no idea how I’ve gone this long without indulging in what appears to be a glorious, delirious monstrosity of filmmaking, the results of completely misplaced ambition and an utter lack of self-awareness.

For one, I’d somehow never even heard of this movie until maybe four years ago? And also I think it’s because, since it’s become such a cult classic associated with participatory midnight screenings, I’ve been waiting to see it for the first time in that exact environment. It’s the same reason it took me until college to finally see Rocky Horror—and it did not disappoint. I still want to wait until the right setting to see The Room now, but after watching The Disaster Artist, it may be harder for me to do that. For me, too, the movie seemed to help crystalize why it’s so bad and simultaneously considered so “good.”

But yeah, let’s talk about James Franco. His laugh was amazing.

Bloomer: In a weird way, I think this movie is as much about James Franco as it is about his real-life character, Tommy Wiseau. There is a meta sheen that goes much deeper than the constant winks at The Room’s midnight faithful, and watching The Disaster Artist, it’s not hard to understand why Franco—who has had his own disastrous ups and downs—cast himself in the title role.

We’ll come back to that! I think our animating question here is whether a Room virgin can see The Disaster Artist and really enjoy it. I think my answer is: Yes? At our screening, one of the film’s writers said he didn’t even see The Room until after he turned in the first draft of the script. Our audience was constantly giggling at jokes I don’t think I got, but the movie works simply as a very sweet—and at times very uncomfortable—buddy comedy about the pain of friendships growing apart over time. And also as a love letter to that one old friend you keep even though no one else understands why.

Harris: So true! I’m pretty sure I had at least a grin on my face throughout the entire screening. That theme of the old friend you keep around to everyone else’s confusion was such an interesting aspect of the film. The opening scene, in which Tommy and Greg (played by James Franco’s brother, Dave) meet in acting class, does a really good job of making us understand, in such a short amount of time, why Greg would be drawn to a dude like Tommy in the first place: He’s failing to connect with his own work, and then sees this wild, off-his-rocker older guy give an indescribable, balls-to-the-wall interpretation of Brando in Streetcar that makes zero sense. But he’s going for it, man! And that’s the spark.

Bloomer: The “acting class scene” may be a lazy way to introduce characters, but here, it was perfect. Let me ask you this: Having watched this movie, do you think you can reconstruct the plot of The Room?

Harris: Nope, not a bit. Zac Efron makes a very funny appearance as a cast member who is supposed to rob another character in an alley? I think that character was supposed to know him, because there’s a funny moment where Tommy directs him to call him “Chris R.” and he’s like, “Can’t I just call him Chris?” (No, you can’t.) I have no idea what Efron’s character is doing there.

I also have no idea why that same kid who was not played by Zac Efron was carousing in bed with Tommy’s character and the leading lady. I’d actually be curious to know if Disaster Artist somehow managed to make the original even more confusing than it already is, if that’s even possible.

Bloomer: Josh Hutcherson was the kid! I didn’t even recognize him. So many essential cameos. I think my favorite was Sharon Stone, not that I’m ever mad at Efron. And yes: I still do not at all get the weird incest thing.

Harris: Do you have any idea what the plot of The Room might be? Or what could possibly drive Tommy’s character to shoot himself in the end? (The writhing on the floor with the red dress right before he does it was … something.)

Bloomer: I gather that Mark has an affair with Lisa, Johnny’s beloved, and that leads to the pageant of the red dress and the gun? I’m not sure where the breast cancer and the horny teenager and “Chris R.” fit into all of that, but it seems like the gist.

Harris: Was there any point where you thought, This can’t be real? or, How did anyone let this go on for as long as it did? For me, it was probably when Tommy kept laughing in response to one of Greg’s super serious lines (I can’t recall what it was, because that laugh was just so distracting).

Bloomer: I believe it was in response to the story of a woman beaten by a man for sleeping around, which was … disturbing in a way I’m not sure the movie reckoned with.

I think I most got caught up on the real-life details about Tommy—the “bottomless” bank account, the multiple apartments, the idea of this guy living his own self-created myth in real life. It’s incredible to me that no one’s really figured out what’s going on with him.

Harris: Maybe hindsight is 20/20, but even just watching The Disaster Artist made it clear how all the signs were there that something was amiss. Even when it got to the point where people were fainting on set due to there being no A/C and no water, in clear violation of the law, they still kept shooting! Not that we needed a reminder, but it’s still amazing what someone with that much money can get away with.

Bloomer: Yes, in that way, this is also simply a great industry movie in that slightly exaggerated showbiz parody mode, heightened here because the end result was The Room. Beyond all the Wiseau winks and nods, there are endless Easter eggs for Hollywood lovers.

Harris: What did you think of the final scene, the weirdly triumphant unveiling of The Room on opening night? Clearly that was the trajectory of the film’s road to cult status compressed significantly for dramatic effect, right? There’s no way the audience, including the cast who had already been put through hell, was that enraptured and willing to laugh it off.

Bloomer: I wonder how true to life that was! It’s a testament to The Disaster Artist’s strange, sneaky power that the scene is so emotional and genuinely touching. Even though Tommy is, by the movie’s own telling, kind of a maniacal jerk, I felt genuinely hurt for him when the screening started to unravel. And that fleeting moment of self-awareness when Greg convinces him that he made something special—even if it wasn’t, uh, what he intended—was very satisfying. There’s got to be an oral history of that screening out there, right?

Harris: Well, it’s based on the real Greg’s book The Disaster Artist, so I imagine it’s mentioned in there?

Bloomer: I confess I know as little about The Disaster Artist as I do about The Room.

Harris: I can’t say I felt bad for Tommy, though I sympathized with him a bit—honestly, I was too busy cracking up at the romp in the bed, and Tommy’s bare ass.

Bloomer: Yes, James has been working out.

Harris:  Good lord, he has. What did you think of his accent? I still have at this point only heard bits of the real Wiseau speaking, and that’s during the end credits of the movie, when they show the side-by-side scenes of the original film and The Disaster Artist’s version. Franco’s voice sort of drowns it out, but then we also get a cameo from scenes at the very end, post-credits. It did sort of seem like there was a bit of exaggeration in the accent happening, right? Or was that just me?

Bloomer: That credits side-by-sides seemed like fan service, but it was also a helpful reference for people like us who had never seen The Room. I did worry the sequence made the film’s many great performances (from a pretty incredible cast) seem like crude caricatures that further hammed up some of the hammiest performances in movie history. Like: No need to exaggerate, guys! It’s already there. That was especially true for Franco and his gait and accent.

I still thought he was perfect for the movie. One more way The Disaster Artist works for non-Room fans is director James Franco’s ideal use of James Franco. His endless, self-indulgent creative tangents over the years eventually turned off even his most loyal fans, including unwisely devoted ones like me, who used to DVR General Hospital when he played an assassin. He brings soul to the role, and I couldn’t help but imagine the movie’s events as a transformation both for Tommy on screen and, on another level, for Franco as a Hollywood figure. He amplifies the personal dimension by casting his brother Dave as Greg and making the entire cast a grab bag of performers and filmmakers (Seth Rogen! Judd Apatow! Bryan Cranston!) he’s worked with throughout his career.

Harris: I can count myself as one of Franco’s unwisely devoted fans, though I’ve fallen off in recent years. Interestingly enough, he first caught my attention when I was a freshman in high school and in my peak James Dean obsession phase, which coincided fortuitously with Franco’s Golden Globe-winning turn as the rebel in the 2001 TV movie James Dean. I don’t know if Greg and Tommy’s interest in Dean as seen in Disaster Artist was a real-life coincidence or if it was added for the movie, but if it’s the former, that parallel is telling. Dean is considered such a pioneer of a certain style of acting, and also of being an outsider who challenged the system (even though the three movies he made were firmly in the system mold), Wiseau and Franco have both tried to emulate that to wildly varying degrees of success. (Oh wait, how the heck could I forget “YOU’RE TEARING ME APART, LISAAAAAAA”? Yeah, Tommy admired Dean.)

So Jeff, after watching The Disaster Artist, do you think you’ll finally give in and watch The Room?

Bloomer: It’s strange: I feel like I don’t need to! The Disaster Artist’s eagle-eyed view of the phenomenon and the forces behind it sort of solidified my feeling of being an outsider to the cult. I “get it” now, I guess, but I don’t think I can ever fully experience the WTF magic knowing the backstory. I wonder if this movie could actually tamp down the midnight fervor for The Room, since it sort of has the effect of over-explaining the monster in a horror movie: The mystery of how this happened in the first place is kind of the point!

Harris: I definitely have my concerns now that when I finally do see it, my reaction will be more tempered, especially since we see those side-by-sides at the end. Before The Disaster Artist, I hadn’t even watched a single clip of it on YouTube, so it was completely new to me. Now that I know what to expect, and how they apparently designed a set made to look exactly like the real alleyway just a few feet away from their set, the element of surprise is gone. And I do think The Disaster Artist is probably more of an awe-inspiring experience for those of us who haven’t seen The Room than those who have already.

That said, I still really want to watch it, preferably with a few friends and lots of booze. And spoons. That’s a thing people do at midnight screenings too, I’m told. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Bloomer: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Banh Mi Tofu Bowl

Banh Mi Tofu Bowl

Orchard Street Kitchen

When people first started asking me where I got my recipe ideas from, I didn't know how to respond. I realized that it's because each idea comes from a different source, and it's often as I'm going about my daily life. For instance, I recently walked past a colleague's... #asian #glutenfree #quinoa

In L.A. Times Op-Ed, Dylan Farrow Wonders Why the Weinstein Fallout Continues to Evade Woody Allen

In L.A. Times Op-Ed, Dylan Farrow Wonders Why the Weinstein Fallout Continues to Evade Woody Allen

by Aisha Harris @ Brow Beat

As the fallout from October’s Weinstein allegations continues to trickle down throughout Hollywood and beyond, and the women and men who have come forward receive deserved praise for being ready and willing to share their experiences with the world, it can sometimes be all too easy to forget the people before them who have done the same. In a 2014 New York Times open letter, for instance, Dylan Farrow wrote publicly for the first time of her allegations against her adopted father Woody Allen, who she says sexually assaulted her when she was 7 years old. (Allen has always denied the accusations against him. While a judge denied Allen custody and visitation rights of Dylan, the case was dropped because a prosecutor—who stated he had “probable cause” to charge Allen—deemed Dylan too young to handle a long, drawn out trial.)

She described the alleged molestation in detail, and near the end of her piece, turned her attention to the actors who had recently worked with Allen despite the accusations being well-known throughout Hollywood: “What if it had been your child, Cate Blanchett? Louis CK? Alec Baldwin? What if it had been you, Emma Stone? Or you, Scarlett Johansson? You knew me when I was a little girl, Diane Keaton. Have you forgotten me?”

And yet, in our current #MeToo moment—and even as Louis CK sees his own star swiftly fall after making an homage to Allen that seemed to blatantly implicate his own misdeeds—Allen remains generally unscathed in the public eye. His own terrible, bizarrely revealing movie, Wonder Wheel, was released last week and is in the midst of an awards season campaign. And so, in a new op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, Farrow asks the question that’s been on the minds of many of us:

Why is it that Harvey Weinstein and other accused celebrities have been cast out by Hollywood, while Allen recently secured a multimillion-dollar distribution deal with Amazon, greenlit by former Amazon Studios executive Roy Price before he was suspended over sexual misconduct allegations?

Farrow answers that query for herself, accusing Allen of using his public relations team and lawyers to create a “deliberate fog” around the details of the case, which have been misreported in many stories over the years. She turned again to actors who have continued to work with Allen—Kate Winslet, Blake Lively, and Greta Gerwig—only this time, she used their public statements about the Weinstein effect and contrasted it with their comments on working with Allen, to highlight their incongruence.

Discussing Weinstein, Wonder Wheel star Kate Winslet said, “The fact that these women are starting to speak out about the gross misconduct of one of our most important and well-regarded film producers, is incredibly brave and has been deeply shocking to hear.” Of Allen, she said “[…] As the actor in the film, you just have to step away and say, I don’t know anything, really, and whether any of it is true or false. Having thought it all through, you put it to one side and just work with the person. Woody Allen is an incredible director.”

The effect is damning, but Farrow also seems to suggest that she can understand why some still defend their associations with him, writing, “For decades, Allen has used the same defense-through-intimidation techniques that Weinstein allegedly did.” (She also admits she’s still hesitant to speak out herself, because Allen’s affiliates tend to direct their attacks at her mother whenever the allegations resurface.) Later, she expresses her appreciation for actors like Jessica Chastain, who have gone on the record to say they would never work with him, and Ellen Page, who have expressed regret for having worked with him. And then, she points to the heart of the problem that remains within this swift sea change, even as Weinstein and others fall down around Allen: “It is also our collective choice to see simple situations as complicated and obvious conclusions as a matter of “who can say”? The system worked for Harvey Weinstein for decades. It works for Woody Allen still.”

South-metro bus ridership was up slightly in 2017

South-metro bus ridership was up slightly in 2017

by Nick Ferraro @ Twin Cities

South-metro riders took just over 2.9 million rides in 2017 with the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority, up about 1 percent from the year before. The figure was the second highest annual ridership in MVTA history, according to numbers released this past week. MVTA is the public transit provider for Apple Valley, Burnsville, Eagan, Prior Lake, […]

The Case for Midi-Chlorians

The Case for Midi-Chlorians

by Abraham Riesman @ Brow Beat

This article originally appeared in Vulture.

In the lead-up to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, we look back at the first Jedi (narratively speaking) with a series of stories about the much-beloved and never-disparaged prequel trilogy.

There is precious little that makes my experience and enjoyment of Star Wars special. I like the films everyone likes, and am ambivalent about the other ones. I thought The Force Awakens was fun, if derivative. I’ve dabbled in various spinoff-media products, but have never been anything resembling a completist. I have standard-issue opinions about the mythology’s politics (the Rebel Alliance’s multiculturalism is nice, the Jedi concept is troublingly aristocratic, Jar Jar Binks is a racist abomination, and so on). All of that said, I do have one take so hot that it’s been searing a hole in my brain for nearly 20 years. Okay, deep breath. I’m ready.

The midi-chlorians aren’t that bad.

Indeed, I’d even go so far as to say they’re fascinating, albeit not necessarily in the way they were intended to be. This stance puts me into a tiny minority. Ever since George Lucas first introduced the world to these tiny organisms in 1999’s Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace, they’ve been one of the leading bugaboos for prequel skeptics. In that film, we learn about them from noble Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn. Perhaps I should just let the dear, departed Qui-Gon explain them to you as he does to wee Anakin Skywalker, after the latter has learned that he possesses an abnormally high midi-chlorian count:

ANAKIN: I heard Master Yoda talking about midi-chlorians. I’ve been wondering: What are midi-chlorians?
QUI-GON: Midi-chlorians are a microscopic life-form that resides within all living cells.
ANAKIN: They live inside me?
QUI-GON: Inside your cells, yes. And we are symbionts with them.
ANAKIN: Symbionts?
QUI-GON: Life-forms living together for mutual advantage. Without the midi-chlorians, life could not exist and we would have no knowledge of the Force. They continually speak to us, telling us the will of the Force. When you learn to quiet your mind, you’ll hear them speaking to you.

This felt like a radical change from the conception we’d previously had of the mysterious Jedi-powering entity known as the Force. In the original trilogy, it had been described in more ethereal terms. “It is an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together,” an aged Obi-Wan told Anakin’s son Luke. As Yoda put it in the movie after that one, “Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us.”

For decades, that was about it, as far as explanations of the Force went. Then, all of a sudden, per the first prequel, it seemed that Force abilities were caused by little bugs in your bloodstream. To make matters worse, Qui-Gon at one point suggests that Anakin’s mom may have been impregnated by midi-chlorians. Ersatz God had been abruptly trumped by garbage science in the eyes of dejected fanpeople.

“One word ruined Star Wars for me, and probably for a generation of fans, too,” wrote Evan Narcisse in Time, still ticked off more than a decade after the movie’s release. “That word wasn’t Jar Jar or Watto. It wasn’t a character. It was ‘midi-chlorians.’ With that one word, the mechanisms of the Force became less spiritual and more scientific. Major bummer.” Another luminary of the geek commentariat, Charlie Jane Anders, called them “a clumsy retcon that screws up an explanation we already had.” Lost and The Leftovers co-creator Damon Lindelof railed against them while describing why he didn’t want to get into the science of Lost’s island: “I feel like you have to be very careful about entering into midi-chlorian territory,” he said. “Never once did anyone ever say to me or did it occur to me to say, ‘What is the Force, exactly?’” Trawl message boards and you’ll find blunter assessments: As a user of the Ars Technica forum put it, “Star Wars - the force is a mystical energy = fantasy. Star Wars - the force is caused by mitichlorians [sic] = fuck you.”

Okay, so, first off: Yes, the Star Wars mythos would have been just fine, if not better, if it lacked the handful of bits in the prequel flicks that talk about midi-chlorians. There wasn’t anything wrong with the way the story had presented the Force previously. I’m not going to say the critters were a net positive for the franchise. Writers have struggled with them in canonical and quasi-canonical Star Wars spinoff stories ever since: There was a tale having to do with mapping the Jedi genome; an in-universe manual talked about how rock creatures without organic cells might interact with midi-chlorians; and some dude named Darth Tenebrous created things called maxi-chlorians, about which the less is said, the better. All of that could go out the window and we would, for the most part, be better for it.

But we live in a world with midi-chlorians, and it’s one where people are altogether too angry about them. That anger comes from a pair of misconceptions. For one thing, just because midi-chlorians exist doesn’t mean the compellingly airy-fairy nature of the Force goes away. Look at what Qui-Gon says: “They continually speak to us, telling us the will of the Force.” That in no way means midi-chlorians are the Force, just that they help connect us to it. The Force is still vaguely defined, allowing you to map whatever meaning you want onto it—it just so happens that there might be little creatures that help us become more sensitive to it, and some people have more of them than others. Ask yourself: How different is it from our other notions of the Jedi? It had already been established that they’re people who are somehow born with greater sensitivity to the Force, meaning we already accepted the idea of the Force as a birthright reserved for a chosen few, fundamentally different from the rest of us. Is it that big of a leap to say that their differences show up in biology, too?

This idea that midi-chlorians are a kind of baseline prerequisite, but not anywhere near the full explanation of the mystical nature of the Force, has recently become the canonical method of sewing them into the Star Wars legendarium with as few seams as possible. They’ve been addressed and explained most prominently in a pair of 2014 episodes of the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. In “Voices” and “Destiny,” Yoda grapples with questions about the nature of life and death, specifically as they relate to the soul. What makes up a person’s essence, and what happens to it after the body is felled?

He is visited by the disembodied voice of long-dead Qui-Gon (shockingly, Liam Neeson returned for the performance), who tells him that the Force has two components: the Living Force and the Cosmic Force. “Living beings generate the Living Force, which in turn powers the wellspring that is the Cosmic Force,” he tells the little green Jedi Master. “All energy from the Living Force, from all things that have ever lived, feeds into the Cosmic Force, binding everything and communicating to us through the midi-chlorians.” Later, Yoda travels to a planet where the midi-chlorians first emerged. Some ghosts appear before him and talk about how the midi-chlorians are what “connects the Living Force and the Cosmic Force” and that “when a living thing dies, all is removed; life passes from the Living Force into the Cosmic Force and becomes one with it.” Doesn’t that leave the Force, itself, as something sufficiently metaphysical?

Yoda’s journey in Clone Wars also brings us to the second misconception that bedevils midi-chlorian haters: the belief that the Jedi have any idea what they’re talking about. He goes on his quest because he realizes that, even after 900-odd years of existence, there’s still a wealth of information that he doesn’t grasp. The Republic-era Jedi Order is certain that there is no life after death, but Yoda discovers that there is. Who’s to say the Jedi aren’t wrong about, well, everything?

If you look at the prequels from that perspective, they become far more engaging than if you assume these self-confident men (and they are usually men) have all the answers. It’s not that big of a stretch, to be honest. Take, for example, the prophecy of the Chosen One. Qui-Gon believes that young Anakin’s destiny was foretold by ancient Jedi who predicted the advent of a person who would bring balance to the Force. The audience is supposed to have enormous respect for Qui-Gon, but Jesus, given the whole “Anakin turning into Darth Vader and committing genocide” thing, was he wrong about that. Or think about the Jedi’s participation in the Clone Wars. These supposedly wise analysts of the world became unwitting warriors in the service of the Sith Lord Palpatine, helping to throw the entire Galaxy into bloody mayhem. If they’re so smart, how’d they miss that?

Same goes for midi-chlorians, in one possible interpretation. Maybe midi-chlorians are as stupid an explanation of the Force as their real-world critics say they are. What if high midi-chlorian counts had a loose correlation to Force sensitivity, but weren’t actual causes of it, and the Jedi just misinterpreted their data? What if this was something like medieval doctors rambling on for centuries about humors and leeches—a faux-scientific delusion that was wholeheartedly embraced by a guild of people who loved to preach their own greatness to the hoi polloi? Perhaps the Jedi had thunk themselves into utter stupidity on an array of matters. Midi-chlorians were just one manifestation of their high-minded idiocy. From that point of view, the prequels are a tragedy about well-intentioned intellectuals whose myopic condescension led them onto a path of war and self-immolation.

Which leads us to my personal fan theory about these loathed microorganisms. You’ll note that Obi-Wan and Yoda don’t tell Luke—the first of the new Jedi, who presumably should have as many facts as possible if he’s going to start up the old traditions again—anything about midi-chlorians. You may think that’s because Lucas hadn’t come up with his dumb idea yet when he made the first Star Wars picture. Oddly enough, you’d be wrong. According to J.W. Rinzler’s The Making of Star Wars, Lucas saw them as part of the mythos as early as 1977. “It is said that certain creatures are born with a higher awareness of the Force than humans,” the progenitor wrote in a guide on the rules of the universe. “Their brains are different; they have more midi-chlorians in their cells.” He didn’t feel there was enough time to effectively explain the organisms in the original trilogy, but he had them in the back of his mind. So how do we explain the fact that Luke’s trainers don’t mention them?

I like to think it’s because they realized in their old age that midi-chlorians aren’t worth worrying about. Yoda and Obi-Wan had decades to ponder the nature of the Force and refine their conception of it down to its essence. Maybe, in looking back on the downfall of the Jedi, they realized that hewing too closely to specific explanations of the Force was a fool’s errand, a pseudo-intellectual distraction from what’s really important: spiritual contemplation and selfless deeds. As such, they may have thought Luke had the opportunity to build a future Jedi Order that wouldn’t repeat their mistakes. Like their decision to hide Leia’s familial relationship to him, they felt that Luke was better off without certain tidbits—and, unlike their dissembling about his sister, this was a worthwhile sin of omission. A condescending one, yes, but hey, old Jedi habits die hard.

In making that choice, we can see Obi-Wan and Yoda doing what we all have to do with Star Wars: choose what works and ignore the rest of it. To say midi-chlorians ruined the franchise for you is to avoid the fact that you have to turn a blind eye to a ton of Star Wars stuff in order to enjoy the good parts. Even in the original trilogy, the writing and acting is often stilted and wooden. There are way too many coincidences and plot holes to make for a sensical plot. The heroes are, arguably, uncompromising terrorists. And so on and so on. But none of that really matters. As is true of the midi-chlorians, you either forget that those problems exist, or you engage with them in a constructive way. This is how one teaches a Jedi—or enjoys flawed fiction. Even in a Galaxy far, far away, it’s OK if your fave is problematic.

See also: All the CGI Characters in the Star Wars Prequels, Ranked From Tolerable to Inexcusable

The Official Portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama Are So Stunning

by Brittany Martin @ Los Angeles Magazine

L.A. native Kehinde Wiley depicted the former president in grand style

The post The Official Portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama Are So Stunning appeared first on Los Angeles Magazine.

This Boozy Stroll Through Old Hollywood Is a Must for History Buffs

by Chris Nichols @ Los Angeles Magazine

See Hollywood like Hemingway did—sloshed

The post This Boozy Stroll Through Old Hollywood Is a Must for History Buffs appeared first on Los Angeles Magazine.

Comedian Hannibal Buress Arrested in Miami, Charged With Disorderly Intoxication

Comedian Hannibal Buress Arrested in Miami, Charged With Disorderly Intoxication

by Matthew Dessem @ Brow Beat

Hannibal Buress, the comedian whose 2014 stand-up routine about Bill Cosby was, in many ways, the opening bell for the current wave of sexual harassment scandals in entertainment, was arrested early Sunday morning in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood, the Miami Herald reports. According to the police report, Buress approached an officer standing on a street corner and asked him to call him an Uber. When the police officer turned him down, Buress reportedly became “angry and belligerent,” so much so that the officer followed him into a venue—the neighborhood is hosting events for Art Basel Miami Beach—and brought him outside, having made a judgement that Buress was too intoxicated to remain in the neighborhood (but not, apparently, so intoxicated that the police would help him get a cab). A confrontation reportedly followed, ending with the comedian’s arrest. A YouTube video shows Buress, in handcuffs, repeatedly asking the officers why he is being detained; at first, they tell him it’s for trespassing:

“You don’t have probable cause for anything, and you’re looking hella stupid right now,” Buress tells the officers before they push him into their squad car. Buress wasn’t charged with trespassing, however: by the time he was booked into a jail, his crime had become disorderly intoxication. Buress posted bail just before 6:00 A.M. local time, marking the occasion by tweeting the following gif:

Buress’ next show is at Chicago’s Civic Opera House on Dec. 29.

Melbourne’s Best Bagels

Melbourne’s Best Bagels

by Ellen Seah @ The A List | The Urban List

If you’re afraid of carbs, cold cuts and/or cheese, look away now. Some of Melbourne’s best bagels are loaded with carbs and sandwiched between one of the most calorie-heavy bread options in the world. Needless to say, this isn’t diet-friendly food (but we don’t care). Here are Melbourne’s best bagels.

5 & Dime


A hop away from Southern Cross station, 5 & Dime cafe is a pint-sized bakery. Bagel varieties are plentiful, with most sold out by the end of the CBD lunch rush. Spreads vary from seasonal fruit to bacon maple chipotle, and pre-designed bagel combinations are available for those overwhelmed with hole-y choices. You can watch these chewy, dense breads as they’re handcrafted, boiled and baked in the glass-walled kitchen.     

Mile End Bagels


You could argue Melbourne’s demand for bread doesn’t have room for another bagel-specialised bakery, but owners Ben Vaughn and Michael Fee aren’t scared of a little competition. There are no shortcuts here: Mile End Bagels are baked in a wood-fired Canadian stonemason and boiled in honey water for a slightly sweeter aftertaste. We’ve got a hole-lotta love for the bacon, egg salad, butter lettuce and tomato combo. It’s like the childhood lunch we never had.

Glick’s Bakery

Balaclava, Bentleigh, Caulfield South & Malvern

Glick’s Bakery produces some of Melbourne’s best bagels, hands down, full-stop. Operating for over 40 years, their five locations (and persistent lines) are a testament to Melbourne’s love for these gloriously chewy goods. Prices will barely make a dent in your purse, but if you’re too lazy to gather bagel supplies, head to Five Points Cafe in the CBD for Glick’s Bakery bagels with ingredients like pulled pork, Asian slaw and tangy BBQ sauce.

Bowery To Williamsburg


If you’re in need of a hump day morning boost, make a beeline for Bowery To Williamsburg. Home to the inaugural haloumi bagel, with a fried egg, swiss chard and salsa verde, no one can have a bad day when it starts off this delicious. DIY bagels like pumpernickel and the “everything” bagel are also available, with a wide spread of schmear options.

Schmucks Bagels


Despite America’s borderline obsession with bagels, these circular baked goods are widely considered to have origins from a Jewish community in 17th century Poland. For traditional Polski bagels, head to Schmucks Bagels. The menu reads like a classic Melbourne cafe—with the addition of bagels (of course). Take the Avo Our Way, with smashed avo, lemon, picked red onion, capers and herbs. 

Brown Bagels


This small cafe has just two communal tables, but patrons don’t seem to mind come lunch hour. With lines stretching onto the pavement, Brown Bagels keeps their menu short ‘n sweet for a focus on takeaway. From the never-fail smoked salmon and chive cream cheese, to a classic BLT bagel, Brown Bagels is some hole-y takeaway. 

Huff Bagelry

Carnegie & Mentone

They keep it pretty simple at Huff Bagelry, and with stores in both Carnegie and Mentone, you're pretty well covered in the south east. With a massive range of house-made bagels, and tons of ingredients to throw on them, you'll never go wanting after a visit.

Brunswick is a micro cafe doing good things for the community, and it's brought to you by the team from Crêpes For Change. Get a load of their stuffed-to-the-brim bagels, which cop a schmear from a rotating selection.​

Round The Way


If you like your bagels with a side of good old-fashioned truck-stalking, Round The Way bagels is for you! This four-wheeled food truck dishes out some of the freshest New York-style bagels in Melbourne. Fillings are unapologetically rich, like their double trouble Czech 1-2 bagel burger (goodbye diet), served with Cevapi beef and lashings of American cheese. The permanent Round The Way cafe is located in Ballarat, when you’re inevitably addicted.

Want more bagels? Search our directory!

Image credit: 5 & Dime via Instagram

Trekking to Wat Pha Lat in Chiang Mai

by Joanna @ The Blond Travels

Wat Pha Lat, also known as Wat Sakithaka, is a small gem on the map of Chiang Mai. This quiet temple is hidden in the forest and is very often omitted by travellers, who head straight to the nearby Wat Phra That Doi Suthep – one of the most famous temples in the north of […]

The Coffee House

by admin @ Eating Saigon!

The Coffee House 14B1 Ngô Tất Tố, Phường 19 Bình Thạnh District 02871 087 088 ********************** OK, so I was ready to strangle someone at my apartment house. Today’s plan was to relax, enjoy my jet-lag in the quiet air-conditioned comfort of our new apartment here in Saigon; update some Eating Saigon! posts; and [Read on ...]

The Best Things to Do in L.A. This Week

by Brittany Martin @ Los Angeles Magazine

Your best bets for February 5 to 9, 2018

The post The Best Things to Do in L.A. This Week appeared first on Los Angeles Magazine.

Vegetarian Street Food in Vietnam - Charlie on Travel

Vegetarian Street Food in Vietnam - Charlie on Travel

Charlie on Travel

Yes, there is vegetarian street food in Vietnam! What to know what vegetarian street food in Vietnam is like? My favourite was definitely the sticky rice.

8 Signs a Bachelor Contestant Is Losing It

by Gwynedd Stuart @ Los Angeles Magazine

From feigning an injury to becoming violent, there are all sorts of tells

The post 8 Signs a <i>Bachelor</i> Contestant Is Losing It appeared first on Los Angeles Magazine.

PBS Suspends Distribution of Tavis Smiley Indefinitely After a Sexual Misconduct Investigation

PBS Suspends Distribution of Tavis Smiley Indefinitely After a Sexual Misconduct Investigation

by Matthew Dessem @ Brow Beat

PBS has suspended distribution of late-night talk show Tavis Smiley after an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against host Tavis Smiley, Variety reports. Smiley has denied the allegations. The network released the following statement:

Effective today, PBS has indefinitely suspended distribution of Tavis Smiley, produced by TS Media, an independent production company. PBS engaged an outside law firm to conduct an investigation immediately after learning of troubling allegations against Mr. Smiley. This investigation included interviews with multiple witnesses as well as with Mr. Smiley. The inquiry uncovered multiple, credible allegations of conduct that is inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS, and the totality of this information led to today’s decision.

According to Variety, the investigation was conducted by Sarah Taylor Wirtz of the venerable Los Angeles law firm MSK, who interviewed ten witnesses, primarily former staffers, about their interactions with Smiley. Although Wirtz declined to comment, Variety reports that sources close to the investigation said that she had uncovered credible claims that Smiley had had sexual relationships with more than one subordinate, that witnesses were concerned Smiley was tying employment status to sexual relationships with him, and that they feared retaliation from the host. Additionally, Variety reports, witnesses said that Smiley had created “a verbally abusive and threatening environment” for his employees.

Smiley responded on Facebook, posting a video and statement denying claims of any sexual misconduct and criticizing PBS for the manner in which it conducted its investigation:

I have the utmost respect for women and celebrate the courage of those who have come forth to tell their truth. To be clear, I have never groped, coerced, or exposed myself inappropriately to any workplace colleague in my entire broadcast career, covering 6 networks over 30 years.
Never. Ever. Never.
If having a consensual relationship with a colleague years ago is the stuff that leads to this kind of public humiliation and personal destruction, heaven help us. …
Put simply, PBS overreacted and conducted a biased and sloppy investigation, which led to a rush to judgment, and trampling on a reputation that I have spent an entire lifetime trying to establish.
This has gone too far. And, I, for one, intend to fight back.
It’s time for a real conversation in America, so men and women know how to engage in the workplace. I look forward to actively participating in that conversation.

Smiley, the one-time host of BET’s BET Tonight, has hosted Tavis Smiley since 2004; he also hosted “The Tavis Smiley Show,” for Public Radio International, from 2005 to 2013. He has a deal at Warner Bros. Television, where he is developing an adaptation of his book Before You Judge Me: The Triumph and Tragedy of Michael Jackson’s Last Days. Smiley is the second high-profile personality PBS has cut ties with in the post-Weinstein era, after pulling The Charlie Rose Show on Nov. 20 in the wake of a Washington Post article alleging Rose sexually harassed women. Unlike Smiley, Rose did not deny misconduct; he apologized for his behavior but said in a statement that he did not believe all of the allegations against him were accurate.

How Do You Look Back?

by Matt Amick @ Avant Greensboro

ShareTweetThe mind can create nightmares of horror if you let it. The past as a vulture circling above you reminding you of your eventual suffering. Memories clasp onto your past while talons drag remnants along the roadside. The scavenger always picks at but never carries away the remains.   The mind can also paint masterworks
[continue reading...]

The post How Do You Look Back? appeared first on Avant Greensboro.

20 Awesome Things To Do This Weekend In Melbourne

20 Awesome Things To Do This Weekend In Melbourne

by Marina Nazario @ The A List | The Urban List

Ready to blow off some steam this weekend? Us too. As always, there's A TON of events happening in Melbourne—most of which are either free or have something to do with music. So, like...pass the Champagne.

Prepare your liver, gather your mates and put on your dancing shoes. We found 17 awesome things to do this weekend in Melbourne.

All Weekend

Falsettos Chapel Off Chapel

Wanna see something really moving? Head to Chapel Off Chapel to catch a glimpse of the Tony award-winning Broadway show, Falsettos. StageArt is partnering with the Victorian Aids Council to tell the story of the life of a neurotic gay man named Marvin, his wife, his lover, his about-to-be-Bar-Mitzvahed son, their psychiatrist and the lesbians next door. Whoa, dude, that’s a lot to wrap our head around. 

Where: 12 Little Chapel Street, Prahran When: All weekend For more info, click here.

Movies Under The Stars

We’re all about outdoor movies and we’re all about free things (like, duh). Our friends at MIRVAC are hosting a weekend of “Movies Under The Stars” at Yara’s Edge. FOR FREE. Yasss. They’ll be playing movies from the big screen like The Greatest Showman, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 and Ferdinand. It's just a short stroll from CBD, but if you’re feeling lazy, they’re offering FREE return ferry rides from Fed Square starting at 6pm. Pack a picnic and get there early. They’ll also be providing free bean bags to the first 100 moviegoers. Beat ya there!

Where: Point Park Crescent, Melbourne Docklands When: 6:30pm, Thursday 9 February - Saturday 11 February For more info, click here.

Vinomofo's Perfect Match 

Looking for some good value vino for Valentine's Day? The guys at Vinomofo have got you covered. They've put together a limited-edition case called 'The Perfect Match'—basically a combo of reds/ whites/ blends and everything else delicious. You get 12 bottles for $135 (RRP $320). The special is going live tomorrow, so check The 'Fo's website for all the details.

When: From Friday 9 February Where: Available online For more info, click here


Calling all wiener lovers! There’s a month-long salute to the sausage happening at Munich Brauhaus and The Bavarian from 5 February to 4 March! Their menus will be stacked with TWENTY different sausages, including beef, chilli and chocolate (um….), beef, Vegemite and cheese (getting worried…), a two-foot Bavarian wiener (yikes), and the ‘hottest sausage’ incorporating a mix of pork and habanero (pass the milk). They’ll also be hosting tons of specials, plus an eating competition for the meat lovers out there. Why don’t you check it out for yourself…

Where: Munich Brauhaus and The Bavarian When: All weekend For more info, click here.

Big Weekend Sustainable Living

Alright you Earth lovers, this one’s for you. As part of the National Sustainable Living Festival, Big Weekend is a huggeeee program featuring workshops, talks, and performances on the topic of—you guessed it—sustainability. They’ll be hosting over 100 events to challenge your eco-thinking. Go celebrate the planet this weekend. It's giving us life after all.

Where: Fed Square and Birrarung Marr When: All weekend For more info, click here.

Cobs Peninsula Film Festival

More free movies? What a weekend. Check out Australian filmmakers showcasing their work in front of a panel of judges, and watch them win money and awards (just like at Sundance). Yes, it’s free but soz, no BYO wine (darn it).

Where: Rosebud and Queenscliff When: Friday 9 February and Saturday 10 February For more info, click here.

Doggie Dress Up Nights

Dress up your pup and take them out for date night at Queen Victoria Cinemas this Friday and Saturday. They’ll be screening Red Dog 2 and A Dog’s Purpose, so ask your pup what they’d rather see. They’re also offering free pet photography over the two nights, so you can take the perfect pic with your pooch and frame it on your wall. And on Friday, they’re hosting singles mingle, so you can meet the next love of your life in the form of a dog. 

Where: Queen Victoria Market When: Friday 9 February and Saturday 10 February For more info, click here.

Waterfront Festival

Hop on the train to Frankston this weekend and celebrate summer at the annual Waterfront Festival. They’ll be throwing down two full days of food, rides, market stalls, a beer garden and live music. Plus fireworks on Saturday night! They’ll also be celebrating the 2018 Commonwealth Games, as local legends carry the Queen's Baton through Frankston on it’s way to Gold Coast. Pretty epic.

Where: Pier Promenade, Frankston Waterfront When: Saturday 10 February and Sunday 11 February For more info, click here.

Friday 9 February

Collins Place Design Market

We lovessss a good market, and lucky for us, the Collins Place Design Market is on this weekend. Sift your way through handmade treats and crafty gifts while trying not to spend your entire paycheck. (We know it’s not easy at these things). Can’t help it when it looks like Pinterest threw up on the place.

Where: Collins Place When: 10am - 6pm, Friday 9 February For more info, click here.

Saturday 10 February

Caulfield Racecourse Carnival 

Just when you thought 2018 couldn’t get any better: Caulfield Racecourse dishes out its line-up for C.F. Orr Stakes Family Day on Saturday 10 February. Chauffeuring in a line-up of rides, activities and family-friendly entertainment all day, you can expect superhero strength tests and fresh goodies from local favourite The Royale Brothers. Check out all the details here.

St Kilda Festival

If you haven’t had this in your diary for the past month, here’s your last reminder. ST KILDA FEST IS HAPPENING THIS WEEKEND. And you’ll get a chance to catch live music FOR FREE. Bless our souls. There will be 8 stages (including a kidz stage, what's up nuggets), over 60 bands and DJs sets, and 40,000 of your closest Aussie mates (yeah it’s going to be packed). Check out the full lineup here.

Where: Next to the Sea Baths, Jacks Blvd St Kilda When: Sunday 11 February For more info, click here.

The Classics at Stonnington

More Broadway! Head to Ardie Park to swing your hips to songs from classic Broadway shows like Hamilton, The Producers, Wicked, and Billy Elliott. This is an outdoor event in the park, hosted by theatre star Rob 'Millsy' Mills, so you know it’s going to be entertaining. Grab your mates and check it out!

Where: Ardrie Park, Malvern East When: 7:30pm, Saturday 10 February For more info, click here.

Yoga at Queen Vic Market

Nothing like a good Savasana to start your day. Melbourne-based wellness hub, Twosix Wellness, are encouraging healthy habits (drop the doughnut) with a FREE yoga sesh this Saturday morning. They've also curated a self-guided Market Wellness Trail to show you where to find all those gewd wholesome products at QVM. Spaces are limited so arrive early...and BYO mat. Namaste, friends.

Where: Queen Victoria Market When: 9am – 9:30am and 10am – 10:30am For more info, click here.

More Than A Mile Screening

What’s with all these FREE movie events this weekend?! We must have done something right. Drumroll please! This Saturday is the screening of Australia’s first beer mile doco. What does that mean exactly? We aren’t quite sure. We’ll make a far-flung assumption that it has something to do with one man, four beers and four laps around a track *shrugs shoulders* Whelp, in any case, it’s free (the first 40 RSVPs get seating plus a free beer) and you know it’s gonna be entertaining if it involves beer. Wouldn’t hurt to take a gander.   

Where: Temple Brewing Company When: 6pm, Saturday 10 February For more info, click here.

Sunday 11 February

Launchfest at The Hack Bar

You know that anything with the word “fest” in it is worth your time. March on over to Launchfest at the newly opened Hack Bar for a wild Sunday Funday. To celebrate its opening, they’re giving us live music by local blues musician, T.K. Reeve, and while keeping the drinks flowing with $16 jugs, plus Pimms and Espresso Martinis on tap. That’s dangerous.

Where: The Hack Bar, Port Melbourne When: 2pm-5pm, Sunday 11 February For more info, click here.

Piknic Electronik

Bob your head to some sick beatz at Sidney Myer Music Bowl this Sunday. It’s the second of nine events throughout February and March. This weekend will be kicking off with headliners Steve Rachmad, Deetron, Katie Drover and Scott Freedman. They’ll be throwing down rad dance music that will seriously increase your step count. Groovyyyy.

Where: Sidney Myer Music Bowl When: 2pm - 9pm, Sunday 11 February For more info, click here.

Suitcase Rummage

Eager to make a few quick bucks? Pack a suitcase full of stuff you don’t want and bring it to the Suitcase Rummage at Princes Walk. As another part of the Sustainable Living Festival, you can bargain, swap, or haggle for other peoples’ vintage, artwork, records, jewellery and bags. If you want to sell your things you gotta register here, otherwise it’s free to attend and it’s up to your bargaining skills to get the best price for that old Beatles record.

Where: Princes Walk When: 11am - 4pm, Sunday 11 February For more info, click here.

Oter Kitchen Takeover 

Here's one for you fancy foodies. You know Oter? The CBD's premier fine dining hot spot? Well it's hosting legendary chef hosting Sebastian Myers, fresh off his residency at Paris’ Fulgrance l’Adresse, for two days (11 Feb & 12 Feb). Sebastian is whipping up an exclusive, limited-edition a la carte menu. Swing by for a long lunch (12pm – 3pm) or a dinner sesh (from 5:30pm).

Where: Oter, 137 Flinders Ln When: 11 & 12 February For more info, click here

For The Diary

Irvin Yalom On The Meaning of Life

WTF is life? Actually, save the life-pondering questions for globally-renowned existential psychotherapist, Irvin Yalom. He’ll be speaking at the Melbourne Convention Centre next weekend as part of a School of Life special event. What's on the agenda? The greatest fears of humanity: isolation, meaninglessness, freedom and mortality (yikes). You’ll need to snag tickets to the event, so get them here before they sell out. 

Where: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre When: 12:00pm, Sunday 18 February 2018 For more info, click here.

GALentine's Day

Mates before dates? Celebrate being single this Valentine’s Day with wine, cheese and your best gal pals at The Lonely Hearts Club. They’ll be teaching you how to get date-fit (didn’t know this was a thing) and how to deal with being ghosted in the super choppy waters of dating. Whatever your status may be, come drink wine with girls and talk about how great it is to be single *hair flip*.

Where: Market Gallery, 205 Commercial Road, Prahran When: 6:30pm - 9:30pm, Wednesday 14 February For more info head to The Lonely Heart Club or Chapel Street Precinct website.

Did you hear? Real-life Mario Kart is coming to Melbourne! 

Image credit: St Kilda Festival

Jimmy Kimmel Once Again Points Out That Obviously Evil Things Are Evil

Jimmy Kimmel Once Again Points Out That Obviously Evil Things Are Evil

by Matthew Dessem @ Brow Beat

Jimmy Kimmel returned to his show after a week’s absence on Monday night, and he brought his adorable son Billy with him. His son’s heart condition was the impetus for Kimmel’s abrupt plunge into the national conversation about health care this spring, and his follow-up segments detailing exactly what was so vile about Republican plans for health care did a lot to help kill the disastrous Graham-Cassidy bill. Kimmel was gone last week because Billy was having heart surgery again—he’s fine, as his appearance on the show makes clear—but once more, his son’s fragile health has gotten the late night host concerned about the health of children who aren’t fortunate enough to have a television star for a father.

Kimmel’s empathy and compassion are, of course, completely alien to the modern Republican party, which has failed to fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in favor of working on their big, dumb tax cut. So Kimmel patiently walks his audience through exactly what congress is doing (letting kids, including kids with life-threatening conditions, lose access to health care) and why they’re doing it (they’re too busy making rich people richer to find the time). It’s a moving segment, not least because his love of his son is visible in every frame. Then he moved on to Roy Moore:

Again, a great, funny way of making the point that Roy Moore is unfit to serve as a mall security guard, much less a United States Senator. But let’s recap. Kimmel makes two moral propositions here:

  1. It’s wrong to let children die so rich people can get richer.

  2. It’s wrong to give more power to a man who is credibly accused of preying on teenage girls.

One would think that these would be pretty uncontroversial positions. Instead, we’re at a point where a TV host who says these things out loud is hailed by half the country as the nation’s conscience, and reviled by the other half for being too political. It’s a brave new world.

A Vegetarian Guide to Vietnamese Food - The Next Somewhere

A Vegetarian Guide to Vietnamese Food - The Next Somewhere

The Next Somewhere

Vietnam is a paradise for herbivores. Our vegetarian guide to Vietnamese food will help you navigate the menus for the most animal-friendly dishes around!

Did Daniel Day-Lewis Really Freak Out His Co-star on There Will Be Blood?

Did Daniel Day-Lewis Really Freak Out His Co-star on There Will Be Blood?

by Nate Jones @ Brow Beat

This article originally appeared in Vulture.

Box-office records inevitably get broken and Oscars can go missing; perhaps the surest mark of a great film is how many urban legends spring up in its wake. (Just ask that munchkin.) Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood is only ten years old, but it already has its own defining myth. As the story goes, Daniel Day-Lewis was so committed to the madness of his Method that the young actor who was supposed to play Eli Sunday got freaked out and quit the film—which required Paul Dano, who was already playing Eli’s brother Paul, to step in and take the dual role. It’s one of those anecdotes that makes the rounds in lists like “7 Famous Actors Who Were Genuinely Terrified On Set,” each of them linking to the ones that come before.

As far as anyone can tell, the rumor dates to single line in a New York Times Magazine story from November 2007. Writer Lynn Hirschberg reports that the original Eli had to be replaced a few weeks into production, and after outlining some of the pressures that Day-Lewis has been known to put on his co-stars, she notes that “there are reports that the first actor suffered from intimidation.” Hirschberg also included the official line—that the actor just “wasn’t the right fit,” as Anderson put it—but the hint of behind-the-scenes psychodrama proved to be irresistible gossip.

“There’s something about that story that I understand is super compelling,” says Kel O’Neill, the man who originally played Eli. He chalks up its persistence to the hunger we have for stories about great artists. “It gets at something that we collectively want to believe about Daniel, or anybody who is really good at what they do,” he says. “That they’re somehow remote from us. They’re special and different, and in a way they deserve to be held to a different set of standards, because what they give to the world is so incredible.”

O’Neill is skeptical that, ten years later, there’s anything he can do to correct the record, and he’s probably right. But if you’re curious, here’s what actually happened—at least, as far as O’Neill can remember.

O’Neill didn’t dream of becoming an actor. He describes it as something he fell into; he did some plays as a kid and then just kind of kept doing it. “Acting was like an assumption on my own part about who I was, and what I did,” he says. After supporting roles in XX/XY and Domino, he taped an audition for There Will Be Blood, but didn’t hear anything back for a year.

After getting the part, he arrived on the West Texas set a few weeks early at Anderson’s instruction: “The idea was to soak up the isolation.” As soon as production began, it was clear that something wasn’t working. “You know,” he says. “You just know.” But it’s hard for him to put his finger on.

“Filmmaking is so alchemical that sometimes certain factors don’t add up,” he says. “Some directors I’ve worked with—who very few people would say are better directors than Paul—just had a way of making me feel comfortable. For some reason, even though every other actor I know had a relationship with Paul that was super positive and where they did their best work, that just didn’t happen with me. I would attribute that primarily to a failure on my side: An actor should, with every ounce of their humanity, be attempting to give the director what he or she wants. And I recall going in and out on whether I could really do that.”

Two or three weeks in, O’Neill saw that he’d been removed from the upcoming shooting schedule. His days were suddenly empty. “I remember a good deal of solitude, thinking a lot about what I was gonna do next,” he says. “I knew that this was a critical juncture in my life and if there were any goals that I had been sublimating to pursue acting, I had to go after those.” His premonition was correct: He was called into a meeting with Anderson and producer JoAnne Sellar, and fired.

He reiterates that his departure had nothing to do with Daniel Day-Lewis. “It wasn’t drinks every night with Daniel on set, but there’s a fundamental decency to the way he comports himself in those environments that gets lost in the shuffle of these rumors,” he says. “After we did our first scene, he came over, shook my hand and said—sort of in character and sort of not—‘Welcome.’ And that sets a tone where that person isn’t your enemy. I would be cautious now, especially when he’s not going to do this anymore, about making him so mythical that there’s no acknowledgment of the human being there.”

O”Neill acted in a few films after There Will Be Blood, but in retrospect, getting fired was the thing that proved he needed to find something else to do with his life. “There’s a lot of fun to be had in acting, but it’s not a craft I wake up with the desire to do everyday,” he says. “Daniel Day-Lewis, there was no question what that guy was gonna do: He’s 100 percent an actor. He lives and breathes for it. It’s not just about joy, it’s about hands in the muck.”

For O’Neill, that muck turned out to be experimental filmmaking. He spent his late 20s putting himself through an unofficial film school; now he and his wife Eline Jongsma are an award-winning duo who describe themselves as “working at the intersection of documentary film, art, and technology.” They’re currently a month into a yearlong Sundance residency at the Technicolor Experience Center, where they’re making a new piece of virtual-reality cinema.

“I don’t want to be all TED Talk about it and say that ‘failure is actually necessary for success,’” he says. “Because if I look at where I am in my life, I work in a very specific subsection of a very specific subsection of filmmaking. But anybody should be able to identify with failure. If you meet someone who hasn’t experienced failure, you should immediately run away from them.”

Near the end of our interview, I asked O’Neill if the version of There Will Be Blood that was released was much different than the one he saw being filmed. He couldn’t answer that, he said, because he hasn’t seen it.

“After the firing, I stopped watching anything that was made after mid-period John Carpenter,” he says. “The illusion was popped, and if you can’t be lost in the illusion of a movie … It’s like, I could see the craft-service table.”

O”Neill has since thrown aside his self-imposed limitations, and he says he’s sure he’ll see There Will Be Blood eventually. But he hasn’t been able to avoid the film entirely. A few years ago, he walked into a video store that was playing it on the monitors. “I was like, Looks like a good movie.”

See also: How HBO Got to Yes on Big Little Lies Season Two

Our vegan fine dining experience at the highest hotel in the world

by Vegan Food Quest @ Vegan Food Quest

Can we all just stop for a minute so we can talk about our vegan fine dining experience at the highest hotel in the world? You can probably tell it was exciting for us, right? Being anywhere that is the highest, tallest, biggest, hottest, smallest etc in the whole entire world always makes us a […]

The post Our vegan fine dining experience at the highest hotel in the world appeared first on Vegan Food Quest.

Visiting Yellowstone Country

by vegetariantourist @ The Vegetarian Tourist

For as long as I can remember, Yellowstone National Park has been a dream destination. Growing up seeing the world renown park featured in books and movies and even as the fictional setting as Jellystone Park for the cartoon character Yogi Bear, Yellowstone has been on my mind. It’s unfortunate it took me this long […]

The post Visiting Yellowstone Country appeared first on The Vegetarian Tourist.

All you need to know about Thai spirit houses

by Joanna @ The Blond Travels

Thailand is a country, where Buddhist philosophy blends with mysticism and superstitions. Faithful gather in golden temples to pray to Buddha statutes and offer money and food to different gods to get rid of misfortunes and attract good luck. Thais are very superstitious and they strongly believe in ghosts and mystic energy, which is everywhere and […]

Your Guide to 20 Weird and Wonderful Walks and Hikes in L.A.

by Los Angeles Magazine @ Los Angeles Magazine

Put on some sneakers and start exploring the best city in the world

The post Your Guide to 20 Weird and Wonderful Walks and Hikes in L.A. appeared first on Los Angeles Magazine.

Michelle McNamara’s Book on the Golden State Killer Comes Out This Month

by Marielle Wakim @ Los Angeles Magazine

Read her original story, "In the Footsteps of a Killer," here

The post Michelle McNamara’s Book on the Golden State Killer Comes Out This Month appeared first on Los Angeles Magazine.

8 Hacks For A Better Night’s Sleep

8 Hacks For A Better Night’s Sleep

by Georgia Jayne Young @ The A List | The Urban List

Oh how we love sleep. We would even go so far as to say there is literally nothing better than a great night’s sleep and nothing quite as terrible as a shitty night’s sleep. Waking up feeling refreshed and well rested is the absolute best way to start the day. Try adding these eight super simple sleep hacks into your bedtime routine and prepare to slay the day!

Limit Caffeine

This one’s pretty obvious, to be sure. We all know that drinking coffee right before bed is not conductive to a good night’s sleep, but did you know that you should be avoiding all forms of caffeine four - six hours before bed? Yup, that includes post-dinner special hot chocolates.

Have A Cuppa

We’re talking the herbal kind of cuppa, specifically camomile tea as when you drink this tea your body experiences an increase in the chemical glycine which is known to relax nerves and muscles, acting as a mild sedative. We are obsessing over the delish Lemon & Honey Camomile Tea with Manuka Leaf from Ti Ora, helping us off into a blissful slumber each and every night. 

Control Exposure To Light

So, we know you may be used to scrolling through the entire internet each night while lying in bed but, believe it or not, this is probably not helping you to get the best sleep ever. Try limiting your exposure to light leading up to sleep time and if you aren’t prepared to give up your nightly Insta-stalking regime, at least turn the brightness down on your phone.

Use A Sleeping Mask

Complete darkness is the ideal condition for a great sleep, so channel your inner Audrey Hepburn and find a stylish eye-mask to block out the world and sleep the night away.


We don’t know about you, but our lives are hectic af and sometimes we have approximately 127 thoughts flying around our minds the minute the lights go out. The best way that we’ve found to deal with this annoying phenomena? Write that shit down. You’ll be surprised how much emptier your brain feels.

Avoid Naps

Okay, so naps may be one of our absolute favourite pass time activities (what’s more luxurious than sleeping in the day time?!) but they are definitely not good news when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, sadly.

Take A Supplement

Magnesium is definitely our go-to supplement for a great night’s sleep as the mineral helps to relax muscles and ease nervous tension. We are loving Go Healthy’s Go Magnesium Sleep which has been formulated specifically to support a deep and relaxed sleep—yes please!

Sleep With Your Dog In Your Room

If all else fails, sleep with your dog in your room. Yup, you heard us right: a recent study has shown that people who sleep with their dogs in their room (but not their beds) have a better night’s sleep. We’re assuming that the participants’ dogs didn’t snore.

Want more? Here's how to become a morning person with these ten easy hacks!Image Credit: Breakfast At Tiffanys 

City Guide Singapore

by Izzy Pulido @ The Next Somewhere

The City Guide Singapore gives you a comprehensive guide of the fascinating city-state. Along with Monaco and Vatican City, Singapore is one of three modern day city-states. Located on the tip of the Malay Peninsula and home to 5.5 million citizens, this densely populated country is rich in monetary wealth and diversity. It also boasts […]

The post City Guide Singapore appeared first on The Next Somewhere.

2017 Gift Guide for Curious and Obsessive Cooks

by Andrea Nguyen @ Viet World Kitchen

Looking for last-minute ideas for a favorite cook? That may entail gifting yourself (!), a friend, or family member. This year, I found myself obsessing about certain kitchen tools and cooking appliances. Maybe it was an escape from the political roller coaster that we’ve all been on — no matter what your affiliation or inclination...

Read More

Ask an Expert: Can the Plagiarism Charges Against Emma Cline Hold Up in Court?  

Ask an Expert: Can the Plagiarism Charges Against Emma Cline Hold Up in Court?  

by Lila Shapiro @ Brow Beat

This article originally appeared in Vulture.

They were little-known writers when they fell in love. Then she rose to stardom, and he did not. Now they’re suing each other in a San Francisco court.

Emma Cline, the author of last year’s spectacularly successful debut novel The Girls, and her ex, Chaz Reetz-Laiolo, filed dueling federal lawsuits on Wednesday that tell conflicting stories about the death of their relationship and the birth of a literary hit. Reetz-Laiolo says Cline spied on him and plagiarized parts of his unproduced screenplay to write The Girls. Cline says Reetz-Laiolo abused her and now is trying to extort her and destroy her reputation.

Plagiarism cases can be notoriously difficult to prove, especially between a pair of writers who once collaborated and critiqued each other’s work, as Cline and Reezt-Laiolo did. So will the plagiarism charges hold up if the case goes to trial, as both parties have requested? Orly Lobel, a professor of law at the University of San Diego and the author of You Don’t Own Me: How Mattel v. MGA Entertainment Exposed Barbie’s Dark Side was skeptical, particularly since nearly all of the instances of plagiarism Reetz-Laiolo’s complaint cited were not word-for-word quotations, but rather ideas, images, and fragments of anecdotes from their lives together—none of which are protected under copyright law.

The story begins with a few undisputed facts. They met in 2009, when Cline was 20 and Reetz-Laiolo was 33. Part of what drew them together was their literary ambitions. But the relationship was not without problems, and not long after they started dating, Cline installed spy software on her own computer—a computer that Reetz-Laiolo occasionally used. Her complaint says she did this because she knew he was cheating on her, because he was abusive, because she “could no longer distinguish the truth from ReetzLaiolo’s [sic] constant lies.” His complaint says that they were never monogamous to begin with. In any event, in 2013, after they’d broken up, Cline agreed to sell Reetz-Laiolo the laptop with the spyware. From there, the stories diverge even further. His complaint argues that Cline intentionally left the software on the computer, and suggests that she “may” have upgraded to a more advanced version of the spyware program that would have allowed Cline continued remote access to the computer. Cline’s complaint calls this theory “ludicrous.”

Both agree that after Cline sold her book to Random House, in 2014, she approached Reetz-Laiolo and asked him to read a draft of the manuscript; he declined. Her complaint asserts that he delayed reading the book because “the stakes for Cline would only rise higher as she moved further along in the publication process.” In 2015—according to his complaint, the year he discovered the spyware on his computer—Reetz-Laiolo began to review drafts of The Girls. Over the course of the following year, he sent Cline and her publisher (also named in the suit) dozens of instances of alleged plagiarism.

According to Lobel, most of these examples would not hold up in court. One instance includes the mention of the body brush, a personal grooming implement. In an earlier draft of the book, Cline included this sentence: “My mother spoke to Sal about body brushing, of the movement of energies around meridian points. The charts.” Reetz-Laiolo claimed this plagiarized a sentence that appeared in his short story, “Animals,” in Ecotone magazine: “Laurel in the morning brushing her body on the patio with a body brush, slowly combing it up her legs towards her heart, up her arms towards her heart. Circling her belly. There was something totemic about her out there in the sun.”

But Cline’s complaint stated that she owned a body brush. “The law does not allow you to own those kinds of ideas for art,” said Lobel. “There’s no copyright infringement there. It’s very clear that our whole history of art, of writing, of literature is built on paying homage to previous authors, other authors, being in conversation, and that’s actually part of what art is.”

Regardless of whether these “snippets” amounted to plagiarism, Cline and her publisher removed all the sentences that Reetz-Laiolo identified prior to publication so they could resolve the dispute, her complaint stated. But Reetz-Laiolo had also asked Cline to remove a small section of the text that his complaint alleged resembled a section of his screenplay, a script she could only have read if she did, in fact, remotely hack into his computer. If the case does go to trial, this will likely be at the center of it, since it is the only instance of alleged plagiarism that made its way into the published version of The Girls. Lobel was skeptical of the plagiarism charge here as well, but if Reetz-Laiolo’s legal team is able to prove that Cline hacked into Reetz-Laiolo’s computer, Cline may be charged with something, though likely not plagiarism.

“I discuss in my book the concept of ‘scenes a faire’—the fact that a lot of times there will be elements that are similar in two works but the courts understand that those elements are necessary to the genres so even if there is similarity, it’s not copyright infringement,” Lobel wrote in an email. At the same time, Lobel added, breaking into someone else’s computer and taking “proprietary information” can amount to “theft and unjust enrichment.” “You cannot steal an idea for a story line by hacking into someone’s computer,” she wrote. “So this will be a factual inquiry.”

It’s important to note that Reetz-Laiolo hired Harvey Weinstein’s former law firm, Boies Schiller Flexner, and that the law firm used a trove of Cline’s personal documents—captured by the spyware program she installed on her own computer—to threaten Cline. Reetz-Laiolo’s complaint is threaded with salacious and humiliating details about Cline that are completely unrelated to any charge of plagiarism. (The complaint also alleges that Cline hacked into the email accounts of two other acquaintances, one of whom is Reetz-Laiolo’s ex-girlfriend, also named as plaintiffs in the suit.) According to The New Yorker, an earlier draft of the complaint contained even more salacious details, including naked selfies, explicit chat messages, and a section called “Cline’s History of Manipulating Older Men,” which began like this: “[E]vidence shows that Cline was not the innocent and inexperienced naïf she portrayed herself to be, and had instead for many years maintained numerous ‘relations’ with older men and others, from whom she extracted gifts and money.” The New Yorker also reported that after news broke that David Boies had hired private investigators to discredit an actress who accused Weinstein of rape, Boies’s name was removed from Reetz-Laiolo’s complaint.

As Cline’s complaint noted, this earlier draft of Reetz-Laiolo’s lawsuit “followed an age-old playbook: it invoked the specter of sexual shame to threaten a woman into silence and acquiescence.”

Neither Cline nor Reetz-Laiolo responded to request for comment, but Cline’s literary agent Bill Clegg described Reetz-Laiolo’s lawsuit as a baseless attack “designed to damage her reputation and extract undeserved financial windfall.”

“It has been heartbreaking and enraging to watch a bitter ex-boyfriend whom Emma met when she was still in college—a man thirteen years her senior—try to disgrace her and leverage their shared time for his personal gain,” Clegg wrote in a statement provided to Vulture. “Emma’s success is her own, and any claims that she infringed her ex-boyfriend’s work in her novel The Girls are false. There is a long, documented history showing that Emma’s idea for and work on The Girls preceded and remained completely separate from this person. Before they met, Emma had already won two prestigious literary prizes, been published at the age of seventeen in a national literary journal, and written the story, ‘Marion’, about a young girl’s experience on a commune in California, which would later be published in The Paris Review and prompt her to win that journal’s once-a-year citation, the Plimpton Prize for Fiction. These facts speak for themselves, as do the actions and histories of those who have tried to intimidate and exploit Emma.”

See also: Can Melissa Leo Scream Her Way To Another Oscar?

Seth Meyers Methodically Demolishes the Idea That Republicans are the Party of Law and Order

Seth Meyers Methodically Demolishes the Idea That Republicans are the Party of Law and Order

by Matthew Dessem @ Brow Beat

The Republican party’s willing embrace of Roy Moore, a man who has been credibly accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old (and preying on other teenage girls so openly he was reportedly banned from a local mall) is such an easy slam-dunk for late night hosts, the only thing better would be living in a country where a major political party didn’t support child molesters. Jimmy Kimmel ate Moore’s bullshit “Christian values” shtick alive, Stephen Colbert pointed out how morally bankrupt the Republicans are on the issue, the Daily Show interviewed the rancid Alabamians supporting him (this was back before the rest of Moore’s party endorsed the sexual assault of 14-year-old girls). The details are so disgusting and vile that it’s understandable that, for the most part, no one has pulled back to look at the bigger picture. But the big picture is Seth Meyers’ specialty, and in a blistering segment on Wednesday, he methodically showed how the Republican embrace of Roy Moore puts the lie to their claims of being the party of law and order:

Trump says he wants to stop crime, but he’s backing an accused child molester over a prosecutor who convicted the KKK, which tells you that when he uses the word “crime,” that’s not what he really means. He doesn’t want to stop “crime,” he wants to stop immigrants, refugees, or his political opponents.

It’s a smart angle to take—though it’s certainly not the only Republican lie Roy Moore’s campaign inadvertently exposes—and Meyers goes as far back as 2015 to show then-candidate Trump’s flexible relationship with crime, law enforcement, and the truth. He builds a strong case that Trump and his party are evil men doing evil things, which will, of course, make no difference to the evil people supporting them. But despite the essential pointlessness in calling out Republican hypocrisy, it’s also some of Meyers’ funniest work: he does a loopy reading of a Trump tweet as a beat poem, then pivots to a totally different character with a sort of His Girl Friday cadence. The timing is great, the jokes are funny, and the whole thing exists only because, again, the Republican party is giving political support and campaign dollars—including money raised by Meyers’ home network of NBC—to a man who has been accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old. You gotta laugh, right?

This Mashup of Monsters University and Call Me By Your Name May Forever Change How You Watch Both Movies

This Mashup of Monsters University and Call Me By Your Name May Forever Change How You Watch Both Movies

by Marissa Martinelli @ Brow Beat

The critically acclaimed Call Me By Your Name is hardly the first movie to explore the relationship between two men who understand the value of higher education. Mikey Heller, the writer behind We Bare Bears, has combined clips from another such movie, Disney-Pixar’s Monsters University, with the audio from Call Me By Your Name’s trailer to produce a mashup that is at once ridiculous and oddly compelling.

Heller has managed to pick out the perfect Monsters University moments, whether it’s the flash of a statue, a glimpse of some unconventional dance moves, or a shot of Sully raising an eyebrow, to mirror Oliver and Elio’s own growing bond. Heller also includes some of the real-life raves for Call Me by Your Name to really sell the trailer’s authenticity, but it’s the one that he added, supposedly from Vanity Fair’s Richard Lawson, that says it best: “These clips are from Monsters University.”

12 Best Vegetarian restaurants in Saigon

by Phuoc Le @ Innoviet Travel

Is it possible to find any good vegetarian food in Saigon? Fortunately, it is, now more than ever. US travel website When On Earth has listed Ho Chi Minh City among the ideal cities worldwide for vegans and vegetarians. The city is named one of the ten destinations that “tickle veggie-loving taste buds” as it

The post 12 Best Vegetarian restaurants in Saigon appeared first on Innoviet Travel.

3 Restaurants You Have to Try This February

by Garrett Snyder @ Los Angeles Magazine

Hungry? You will be

The post 3 Restaurants You Have to Try This February appeared first on Los Angeles Magazine.

Orangutans in Borneo | Our Rainforest Adventure

by Luke Nicholson @ Charlie on Travel

The best place to see orangutans in the wild is Tanjung Puting National Park on the island of Borneo. There are said to be 6000 orangutans in the park. Borneo is shared by three countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei. Tanjung Puting is in Indonesian Borneo, which is known as Kalimantan. Wild orangutans are found only on […]

The post Orangutans in Borneo | Our Rainforest Adventure appeared first on Charlie on Travel.

10 #Fitspo Health Nuts To Follow On Instagram RN

10 #Fitspo Health Nuts To Follow On Instagram RN

by Rosie Gregory @ The A List | The Urban List

If we're going to spend five hours a day on our phone, we might as well spend a couple of those stalking some #fitspo bosses and *trying* to get motivated. We're a bit over the photo-shopped, booty shots touting yet another brand of protein shaker, so this year, we’re all about following relatable, positive and uplifting peeps in our feeds.

From the resident big names to micro influencers changing up the online scene, here is our list of the top fitspo Instagram accounts to follow right now.  

Sarah’s Day

Handle: @sarahs_day Follow for: Pure Positivity, Holistic Fitness And Lols.

She’s YouTube's holistic health princess and with a devoted #sezzysquad of 360k following her every move on Insta, this lifestyle and fitness star will make you want to put down the chocolate and reach for a bliss ball. From her HIIT workout e-book to teaming up with The Health Lab to release her own range of protein balls, this is one fit chick on a mission to inspire—all while keeping up a wild sense of humour and refreshingly positive outlook. Always aiming to stay relatable and down to earth, she has also been documenting her struggles with hormonal health issues lately and we love her even more for it.


And this, my sissy’s... THIS is how I maintain my healthy diet. Sure I overeat and struggle with portion control every now and then, but I genuinely LOVE my diet and get excited over food. I hear so many people opening up about their struggles in sticking to their ‘diet’ or trying to eliminate junk food. I used to think that eating healthy just meant chicken, greens and brown rice ����‍♀️ #yawwwwnnn I eat a highly Paleo, plant-based diet which changes with the season and whatever produce is available. I love trying new veggies, fruits and salad combos to keep it fresh and exciting! Pretty much every ingredient here is classified as a superfood in its own right. Purple cabbage and cacao nibs are loaded with antioxidants which fight free radicals and promote cell regeneration. Brazil nuts and pumpkin seeds will help bring a radiant glow to your skin and the salted caramel @loving_earth chocolate which is predominantly virgin cacao butter, an ingredient known to help prevent aging, skin issues and hair loss (I actually use raw cacao butter in the shower as a full body moisteriser ����) If you’re feeling demotivated or bored with your healthy diet, I encourage you to step outside your comfort zone and try a brand new vegetable or fruit. Enjoying your meals and being excited about food is honestly the one major tip I could give you in terms of maintaining a healthy diet✨

A post shared by Sarah (@sarahs_day) on Jan 27, 2018 at 8:43pm PST

Want more? Here's the lazy person's guide to fitspo.

Image credit: Sjana Elise

The Cow Head Taco Philosopher King of Oaxaca

by Jodi Ettenberg @ Legal Nomads

Oaxaca is full of great street eats, including this delightful philosophizing taco vendor who makes tacos de cabeza (cow head tacos).

The post The Cow Head Taco Philosopher King of Oaxaca appeared first on Legal Nomads.

Insider’s Guide to Ho Chi Minh City

by Phuoc Le @ Innoviet Travel

Ho Chi Minh City, commonly known as Saigon, is the mixed reflection of dynamic modern lifestyle and impressing historical architecture. In some ways, Saigon is lovely in the eyes of some people, but dangerous for the others. The difference, I think, lies in how much you understand about this city. It may be unfair for

The post Insider’s Guide to Ho Chi Minh City appeared first on Innoviet Travel.

Stephen Colbert Says What Has to Be Said About Supporting Roy Moore

Stephen Colbert Says What Has to Be Said About Supporting Roy Moore

by Matthew Dessem @ Brow Beat

Did you ever think you’d see the day when a late night host would have to make the point that it’s wrong to support a man who allegedly sexually assaulted a 14-year-old, no matter how politically expedient it might be?

Well, here we all are.

The 5 Best Things to Do in L.A. This Pre-Valentine’s Day Weekend

by Marielle Wakim @ Los Angeles Magazine

Whether you love love or hate love, there’s something for you

The post The 5 Best Things to Do in L.A. This Pre-Valentine’s Day Weekend appeared first on Los Angeles Magazine.

What Would the Original Star Wars Trilogy Look Like if Luke Skywalker Never Abandoned His Dream of Going to Tosche Station?

What Would the Original Star Wars Trilogy Look Like if Luke Skywalker Never Abandoned His Dream of Going to Tosche Station?

by Matthew Dessem @ Brow Beat

Long before he became famous for pummeling Ted Cruz on Twitter, actor Mark Hamill appeared in a little science fiction film called Star Wars. Although it did well at the box office, the narrative has one fatal flaw: the hero almost immediately abandons his original goals. Real heroes stay true to themselves and display perseverance in the face of adversity, but Luke Skywalker drops everything he ever wanted the second a space wizard tells him to. What did Luke want at the beginning of the original trilogy? Well, see for yourself:

Clear stakes, clear goals, clear obstacles: George Lucas promises a film here that he never quite delivers. (N.B.: While it’s true that Lucas shot a scene in which Luke finally gets to Tosche Station, he didn’t use it, leaving the trilogy’s central quest abandoned.) So what would Star Wars have looked like if Skywalker—or Lucas—had had a little more gumption, a little more stick-to-itiveness, a little more integrity, a little more heart? To find out, the Gregory Brothers re-edited the entire original trilogy into a 15-minute long autotuned musical called “Tosche Station (Star Wars but Luke Only Wants To Go to Tosche Station and Doesn’t Care About Politics).” It’s exactly what it sounds like from the title and you will never get it out of your head. After so many years, it’s great to see that the original Star Wars trilogy has gotten a Special Edition rerelease that fans really enjoy.

If that’s not enough “Tosche Station” for you, here it is again in a 10-hour loop:

A Fifty Shades Pop-Up Experience Is Coming to L.A. and We Need a Safe Word

by Lisa Beebe @ Los Angeles Magazine

It's like the Museum of Ice Cream, but BDSM-ier

The post A <i>Fifty Shades</i> Pop-Up Experience Is Coming to L.A. and We Need a Safe Word appeared first on Los Angeles Magazine.

A New Lawsuit Alleges That X-Men’s Bryan Singer Sexually Assaulted a 17-Year-Old

A New Lawsuit Alleges That X-Men’s Bryan Singer Sexually Assaulted a 17-Year-Old

by Rachel Withers @ Brow Beat

X-Men director Bryan Singer, who last week was fired for failing to show up on the set of his Freddie Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, has been accused of sexually assaulting a then–17-year-old boy in a lawsuit filed by Cesar Sanchez-Guzman. (Singer’s representatives have said his absence was due to “a personal health matter.”)

Sanchez-Guzman is claiming damages for “childhood sexual abuse,” accusing Singer of forcing him into oral and anal sex during a yacht party for young gay males thrown by tech investor Lester Waters back in 2003. The lawsuit alleges that Singer—who would have been 37 at the time—offered to give 17-year-old Sanchez-Guzman a tour of the yacht, but once alone, forced him to the floor and demanded oral sex.

“Bryan Singer pulled out his penis, smacked Cesar in the face with it and forced it into Cesar’s mouth,” says the claim. “Cesar pleaded with him to stop, however he continued to force Cesar to perform oral sex, causing Cesar to choke.” Sanchez-Guzman claims that Singer then performed oral sex on him before anally penetrating him while Sanchez-Guzman pleaded for him stop.

The lawsuit claims that Singer later told Sanchez-Guzman that he would help him get into acting as long as he didn’t say anything about the incident. He also allegedly threatened the young man, telling him he could ruin his reputation if he spoke up.

Singer has denied the allegations to the New York Times, with a representative saying he will fight the lawsuit as well as countersuing for malicious prosecution. His lawyer also spoke to TMZ, pointing out that the lawsuit was filed by Jeff Herman, the same lawyer who represented Michael Egan in a similar 2014 lawsuit that was later dropped.

The Last Jedi Revives an Extremely Arcane Bit of Star Wars Lore. Here’s What You Need to Know.

The Last Jedi Revives an Extremely Arcane Bit of Star Wars Lore. Here’s What You Need to Know.

by Lila Thulin @ Brow Beat

The new Star Wars installment is chock-full of references to the space opera’s past, but here’s one allusion that moviegoers, and even many Star Wars buffs, might not be able to place: a pair of tiny golden cubes on a chain, the Millennium Falcon’s space-travel equivalent of fuzzy rearview mirror dice. The dice are the property of the galaxy’s favorite rogue, the late Han Solo, and they’re still dangling in the cockpit when, as glimpsed in a TV spot, Luke Skywalker reenters the freighter. Like everything in the Star Wars universe, the tiny gold knickknack has a backstory, and Slate investigated it.

The golden dice make their first appearance in Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope, the film that introduced George Lucas’ saga. Set decorator Roger Christian, whose team won an Academy Award for the 1977 film, wrote in his autobiography that he added the dice as a finishing touch that helped develop Solo’s character as “reckless” and “a gambler.” Christian took inspiration from actor Harrison Ford’s previous film with Lucas, American Graffiti, in which Ford’s character had a skull dangling off his mirror, but Christian deemed a skull “a little too rock ’n’ roll for Star Wars.” So the dice became a part of the Millennium Falcon. Eagle-eyed viewers can glimpse the dice at the very top of the frame during the scene where the ship is sucked into the Death Star by a tractor beam, for instance. Chewbacca also hits his head on the dice as he boards the Falcon in Mos Eisley, the spaceport where the famous cantina scene occurs.

Speaking to Vanity Fair before the release of The Last Jedi, Pablo Hidalgo, creative executive of Lucasfilm Story Group, said that the production might have forgotten about the dice in the interim; they didn’t appear again until the saga returned with The Force Awakens. Hidalgo said the team behind the 2015 movie re-watched old footage to reconstruct Solo’s ship. (According to the Metro, the art department at Pinewood Studios realized they were missing the dice after filming had started and bought a pair of 24-karat-plated dice from a fan of the franchise on eBay for £22 in June 2014).

Hidalgo, who J.J. Abrams called the “keeper of all arcane details of Star Wars,” spoke about the dice’s origins in that same Vanity Fair piece, and the charm showed up on the magazine’s Force Awakens cover, nestled between the V and A.

“The story that you would hear if you traveled to cantinas or watering holes around the Star Wars galaxy,” Hidalgo says, spinning his yarn, “is that those dice were involved in a game of Corellian Spike—a dice-using version of a card game called sabacc. Rumor has it Han won the Millennium Falcon [from Lando Calrissian] with those dice. Whether or not that’s just bar talk, I can’t say.”

This account is reiterated in Star Wars: The Force Awakens the Visual Dictionary, which Hidalgo wrote. But in the Expanded Universe young readers novel Smuggler’s Run: A Han Solo Adventure, published in 2015, author Greg Rucka seems to suggest an alternate story. He writes, “The Wookiee barked a response to C-3PO, slapped his comm button again, and swung up from his seat, ducking out of habit as he stepped out of the cockpit and knocked the pair of novelty chance dice that he’d hung there as a joke some years ago.” The official Star Wars website references this as a “canonical explanation.” [Very mild The Last Jedi spoilers follow.]

So the origins of the dice are muddy, although perhaps not quite as mysterious as the question of Rey’s parentage at the start of The Last Jedi. But we do know they have sentimental value: Luke swipes them out of the Falcon and gives this reminder of Han over to Leia when the twins reunite. The film lingers on this moment with a close up of the dice resting in General Organa’s hands, but viewers who aren’t eagle-eyed or steeped in Star Wars lore might be left wondering what significance, exactly, the golden dice hold.

Thai charities that are worth supporting

by Joanna @ The Blond Travels

Thailand is an amazing country. Its culture, people, food and weather attract millions of visitors every year. Only here you can sip on an exotic cocktail while laying on a beautiful, paradise – like beach one day and trekking in the mountains, meeting minority tribes and learning how to cook the next day. Holidays in Thailand […]

It’s Time to Do Away With “America’s Dad” as Our Journalistic Standard

It’s Time to Do Away With “America’s Dad” as Our Journalistic Standard

by Kathryn VanArendonk @ Brow Beat

This article originally appeared in Vulture.

Matt Lauer has released an apology, of sorts, for his years of degrading, humiliating, potentially criminal behavior during his time as the anchor of Today. “Repairing the damage,” he writes, “will take a lot of time and soul searching and I’m committed to beginning that effort. It is now my full time job.” His statement is full of the bland PR-tinged nonsense that’s come to define these apologies (“some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth …”), but that line about repairing the damage is the most infuriating sentence.

Like most of these apologies and much of the accounting that’s happened in the past several weeks, Lauer’s statement refuses to acknowledge that there is no “repair” for his actions. There is no fixing it. And when I say that, I’m not just referring to the damages he owes to the women he’s harmed—he should do his very best to give them whatever they think is appropriate, to try to redress the harm he did to them, personally. I’m referring to the years and years of his career as an apparently genial, friendly, anodyne TV personality. That, and the harm it’s done to his audience—that, there is no fixing.

Because as with Charlie Rose and Mark Halperin, repairing the damage done by Matt Lauer is impossible. What I’d like is a redo, a retroactive version of the past two years and all the coverage leading up to Trump’s election—the past 20 years, really—where the seemingly nonpartisan, bias-free men who shaped our national news culture weren’t also men who sexually harassed and assaulted women. What I’d like is a version of the past few decades of American life where men who viewed women as disposable sexual objects were not in given platforms at the Today show and NBC News and ABC News and CBS News and CBS This Morning and 60 Minutes. (And Morning Joe and Dateline and the damn Olympics.)

What I’d like is a mulligan of the past few years in TV news, a chance to start over again. “Whoops,” we’d say. “We’ve discovered that several people who were supposed to be speaking truth to power were actually abusers obsessed with exploiting their own power. Let’s try this again.” There’d be an entirely different presidential interview where Lauer didn’t lob softballs at Trump and ask Clinton questions about her emails. There’d be a different person in Halperin’s commentator chair, someone who didn’t shrug about his gobsmacking disqualifications and leer smugly about how fun he was to watch on TV. Maybe there’d be more female voices, more worldviews from people of color, who might’ve cheerily greeted the freshly awoken morning-show audience with headlines like, “Good morning, America! Thousands of voters are being disenfranchised by punitive voter registration laws!”

But that’s impossible. This is not Lost; we cannot go back. So instead, I’m left wanting some pale, wimpy, insufficient accounting. Just as we’ve needed to reconsider the hidden biases in claiming to separate the art from the artist, I want to reexamine the cultural legacies of these apparently unbiased journalistic voices and try to understand the role they held in shaping how we view the world. When we learn that someone like Rose or Lauer has been systematically harming women behind the scenes of their public platforms, I want us to think about the women whose careers have been obliterated, but I also want us to reconsider the history of their public work.

Lauer’s entire persona was an inoffensive, personable, noncontroversial father figure—as Brian Stelter wrote in his account of Ann Curry’s departure from the show, “Today has sold itself as a family —‘America’s First Family.’” Aside from that particularly terrible Trump interview (the one that seemed to reveal all his most misogynistic leanings), Lauer’s on-air identity seems best summarized by an Onion headline: “Matt Lauer Waits in Parking Garage for Anonymous Source on Parenting Trends.” He was peak puff piece, the height of warm morning banter and friendly, approachable get-the-kids-ready-for-school TV.

But that bland, crinkly-eyed innocuousness was a cover, and an excuse. Clinton’s emails must have actually been a nonpartisan issue, because there was Matt Lauer pushing and pushing her on them as though they were a real scandal. Anne Hathaway must have been at fault for the fact that paparazzi took a photo of her crotch, because there was safe, mild Matt Lauer, implying exactly that. To really repair the damage Matt Lauer has done, we’d need to go back and undo every damaging subliminal message he ever sent in his hundreds of hours on live TV—every slightly too-lusty chuckle, every moment when he complimented a guest on her appearance, every time he negged Ann Curry. We’d need to undo every moment when he hid his misogyny under the cover of being America’s dad and made us believe that it was appropriate for America’s dad to ogle accomplished female athletes on television.

For a long time now, we’ve been questioning and debating and dismantling the idea of a journalist as someone who could be entirely without human bias. The idea of a Cronkite-ian voice that was nonpartisan and straightforward continues to be a lovely abstract ideal, but to even describe that ideal as “Cronkite-ian” already betrays a hidden political stance. With scant few exceptions, the default nonpartisan voice we want to speak to journalistic truth looks like America’s dad. He lives in a vacuum, where his private behavior and his personal preferences mean nothing, and should be completely beside the point. His personal life has no impact on his news coverage, and we should trust that he’s able to separate the two. Matt Lauer’s protective media vacuum looked like a cream-colored sofa and female co-hosts who laughed at his jokes. Charlie Rose’s looked like a literal vacuum—he sat across from his guests in a black void, as though there were an empty abyss of space between the Rose on air and the Rose who harassed women and destroyed their careers. Halperin’s vacuum looked like “I’m the voice of actual news, sitting next to two opinionated hosts.”

To really repair the damage done by Lauer and his ilk, we’d need to reassess the entire idea of America’s dad as an unquestioned purveyor of unbiased truth. We’d need to bring as much consideration to the idea of separating the journalist from the journalism as we have to separating the art from the artist. Ideally we’d need to have done that years ago, and would’ve decided that someone who abused women behind the scenes was not also fit to do a serious interview with the first female presidential candidate with a real shot at winning. But that retroactive undoing is impossible.

So for now, what I want is a continued assessment of exactly how much damage Lauer has done. I want us to cast a gimlet eye on the idea that Lauer could be beamed into our homes every morning, and that for some reason it was fine for America’s dad to also be slightly, mildly pervy. I want us to undo the idea of “innocently pervy.” And I’d like for Lauer, and everyone else in a position of having to write one of these apologies, to dispense with the idea that repairing the damage is something they can accomplish.

See also: Why Some Artists Are Never Separated From Their Work (and Why Louis C.K. Was)

I teach English on Skype: My way to earn money online

by Joanna @ The Blond Travels

Digital nomadism is one of the recent world trends. Many people want to travel, work online and earn money. It is a great option for those, who are tired with the corporate world and want to see and experience more. For a long time I dreamed about working remotely. I wanted to travel and work […]

The Best Homestays in Sapa (For An Authentic & Personal Experience)

by Phuong Thuy @ The Christina's Blog

H’mong, Dao, and Giay people speaking English more fluently than Vietnamese, tremendous natural vistas right outside your balcony, an early morning chill with clouds hovering over the mountains, this and more is what you should expect from Sapa! Located on the northern border of Vietnam, Sapa is the only region of the country that has […]

The post The Best Homestays in Sapa (For An Authentic & Personal Experience) appeared first on The Christina's Blog.

5 of the tastiest banh mi sandwiches in Seattle

5 of the tastiest banh mi sandwiches in Seattle

Seattle Refined

Trying to determine the best banh mi sandwich in Seattle can inspire a lot of debate. Soft bread or crunchy? Meat or tofu? Lots of jalapeños or no? No matter what your favorite style is of banh mi, here are five sandwiches that are sure to leave you satisfied.

Is Cauliflower Carbonara Really Carbonara? Well, No—But It’s Genius

Is Cauliflower Carbonara Really Carbonara? Well, No—But It’s Genius

by Kristen Miglore @ Brow Beat

This post originally appeared in Genius Recipes on Food52.

Though this is a pasta hugged by cream sauce—with all the warm, fuzzy feelings such a thing has to offer—it’s made mostly of vegetables, with no cream or egg. You’d counterintuitively call this cream-saucy pasta lightfresh, even. But would you call it carbonara?

It’s all in the cauliflower. We’ve seen its cooked, whipped up florets perform astonishing feats before, most famously in Paul Bertolli’s vegan cauliflower soup—an impossibly smooth and creamy puree, even though it’s made from little more than cauliflower, an onion, and a lot of water.

The secret is that cauliflower is naturally abundant in pectin, which helps the cooked stuff thicken voluptuously when blended. It’s frankly a wonder we hadn’t been pouring it over our pastas (and everything else) before.

Andy Bennett developed this recipe while he was the executive chef at Rouge Tomate Chelsea—a New York City restaurant with a heavy focus on healthfulness and sustainability.

Bennett simmers cauliflower in vegetable stock till it’s very soft, then blends it all up while streaming in olive oil. The sauce fluffs into a weightless emulsion that you can heat up further and jostle around with your pasta, without risking breaking the sauce like you might with a vinaigrette or mayo.

He initially called the dish Spring Carbonara, tossing in spring onions and fresh peas—but you can take this basic premise and work it into a million different dishes. In the fall, he suggests poking in more roasted cauliflower, or Swiss chard, mushrooms, or celery root. Here, we added frozen peas, because frozen peas require no extra prep and are always in season. If you’re missing the salty smoked meat, you can sprinkle in some smoked salt as Bennett does—though I doubt you will miss the meat at all.

So why even call it carbonara? Most obviously, because it’s similar in its ability to coat noodles luxuriously, though it does so without the weight and richness of the egg yolk and guanciale you’ll find in the traditional Roman dish. If you’re looking for something comforting but not nap-inducing, this change can be quite a good thing.

But in perhaps the truest sense, this dish reflects the spirit of carbonara—of using just the right technique to eke a simple raw egg yolk into a silky sauce. Here, you see another clever massaging of a basic ingredient, the humble head of cauliflower, and turning it to sauce is no less transformative.

Andy Bennett's Creamy Cauliflower Pasta Carbonara

Serves 2

Pasta Carbonara

·       1 tablespoon (12g) olive oil

·       1 cup (100g) sliced spring onions or green onions

·       2 tablespoons (20g) roughly chopped garlic

·       1 cup (200g) Creamy Cauliflower Sauce (from below)

·       250g cooked al dente pasta (from about 125g dry pasta—for the rigatoni we used, this was about 2 cups dry pasta)

·       2/3 cup (90g) fresh or frozen green peas, cooked in salted water

·       Scant 1/2 cup (10g) chopped flat-leaf parsley

·       6 tablespoons (12g) finely grated Parmesan

·       Smoked sea salt, to taste (optional)

·       Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

·       1 tablespoon (4g) toasted breadcrumbs, or more to taste

Creamy Cauliflower Sauce

·       2 cups (200g) cauliflower florets (in roughly 1/2-inch pieces)

·       2 1/4 cups (500g) vegetable stock or broth

·       1/2 cup (100g) olive oil

·       Salt to taste

See the full recipe on Food52

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What Your Favourite Summer Drink Says About You

What Your Favourite Summer Drink Says About You

by Millie Lester @ The A List | The Urban List

As Ghandi once said, Friday knockoffs are the window to the soul. It’s the perfect opportunity to size up a potential date or m8, because you can tell a lot about a person from what bev they choose to wrap their lips around in the warmer months. Something flat? Something bubbly? Something brewed? Something aged? Are they living at home? Do they have a successful career? Would they be comfortable sharing a bowl of beer battered chips? Have they done a murder? We can answer all of these important questions and more.

Don’t believe us? Read on.

Rosé In A Can

When people ask you what three things you’d take to a desert island, you’re the kind of person who says ‘a speedboat, a life jacket and a mobile phone’. You floss twice a day, you stay on the line to answer short customer support surveys and you take coffees back when they’re not made with skim milk. If your dog needed surgery, you’d take a day to first way up if the return on investment was worth it and you once sent a video of a cop car driving through a pedestrian crossing on your street to the Federal Police.

Aperol Spritz

You got back from your gahp yaah four years ago and everyone hates you now because you still can’t sit through dinner without bringing up all the huts you built and ‘theoretical’ lives you saved in 2014. You once took someone else’s dog home from the supermarket because you thought it was yours and you have ‘Not all those who wonder are lost’ tattooed on your collarbone and your friends are too scared to tell you it’s spelt wrong.


In Grade 3 you had the biggest Beanie Kids collection at your school, you once got a lifetime ban from Club Penguin for excessive swearing and you got your belly button pierced at sixteen after seeing Britney Spears’ music video ‘Lucky’. When you’re not calling Telstra to contest phone bills you definitely deserve, you’re either Googling ‘how to get abs in two weeks’ or vehemently defending Taylor Swift on Instagram.

Espresso Martini

You’ve been to court over rental bond disputes on more than three occasions, you once won $300 on Deal or No Deal and you insist on calling your parents by their first names in social situations. When you’re not at home watching Charmed and eating hummus and carrots, you’re misspelling your favourite beverage as ‘expresso martini’ in your Insta-story every Saturday night.

Craft Beer

You can’t tell the difference between a lager and a pale ale, but you once ordered a cappuccino at a Maccas drive-thru and you’re still getting shit for it from your friends. Behind closed doors you enjoy reading tennis players’ autobiographies, playing internet poker and doing ‘girls pushups’ in front of the hallway mirror while your mum’s at the supermarket. Technically your family doesn’t know you dropped out of uni in 2013, but you’re hedging your bets on it being a funny anecdote you’ll bring up at Christmas in fifteen years.

Frozen Margarita

Recently you entered into a new relationship but you’re considering ending it because you miss getting messages from strangers on Tinder. When you go on your annual week-long holiday to the Whitsundays with ‘the girls’, you leave your ragdoll Theresa six cans of cat food in a mixing bowl. Your biggest crime to date is regularly scanning avocados through as white seedless grapes at the Woolies self-checkout. You still haven’t realised that they’re triple the price per kilo.

A Shoey

You’ve had Mi Goreng and a piece of toast for dinner every night for the last four years. Two years ago you were on Today Tonight because you swapped all the welcome mats in your street. You currently hold the Asia-Pacific record for the most cans of Fanta drunk in one hour, you’ve had the chicken pox three times and technically you never received your pen license.

Maybe kombucha is more your thing? Here are some kombucha cocktails worth trying.

Image credit: Nancy Hanna

Is The Last Jedi’s Ending a Travesty—or the Best Part of the Movie? Three Slate Critics Discuss.

Is The Last Jedi’s Ending a Travesty—or the Best Part of the Movie? Three Slate Critics Discuss.

by Sam Adams @ Brow Beat

On the Spoiler Special podcast, Slate critics discuss movies, the occasional TV show, and, once in a blue moon, another podcast, in full, spoiler-filled detail. In this week’s episode, Slate’s movie critic, Dana Stevens, Slate senior editor Sam Adams, and Slate culture editor Forrest Wickman spoil Star Wars: The Last Jedi. What do we make of the big reveal about Rey’s parents? Does the movie do justice to Carrie Fisher? And do the third-act twists make sense, or are there plot holes so big you could drive a Star Destroyer through them?

Listen to them discuss these and other questions below. You can also check out past Spoiler Specials, and you can subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts. Note: As the title indicates, each installment contains spoilers galore.


Podcast production by Daniel Schroeder.

Figs, Cacao Nibs, Super Pigs: 10 Hot Topics On Food Republic

by Tiffany @ Food Republic

We’re psyched about the Winter Olympics this week, so we rounded up some great Korean dishes to enjoy during the opening ceremony. We also showed San Francisco some love with news about chef Dominique Crenn’s upcoming dinner series and Dandelion Chocolate’s guide to using cacao nibs at home. Down South, one of our editors learned to […]

The post Figs, Cacao Nibs, Super Pigs: 10 Hot Topics On Food Republic appeared first on Food Republic.

The 2018 SAG Awards Will Be Presented by an All-Female Lineup, Because Women Are Awesome

The 2018 SAG Awards Will Be Presented by an All-Female Lineup, Because Women Are Awesome

by Rachel Withers @ Brow Beat

The Hollywood Reporter revealed on Wednesday that the 2018 Screen Actors Guild Awards ceremony will be presented by women, women, and more women, as a mark of what womenfolk have been through this year and since the dawn of time.

Like many award ceremonies, the SAG Awards usually pairs a man and a women to announce each winner—but this year, only women will have that honor. The lineup is yet to be announced, but the ceremony, which has never before had an emcee, will be hosted by Kristen Bell. The nominations were also announced by women, with Olivia Munn and Niecy Nash revealing the nominees Wednesday morning alongside SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris, awards committee chair JoBeth Williams, and awards committee member Elizabeth McLaughlin.

Kathy Connell, the SAG Awards executive producer, told the Hollywood Reporter that the decision was in recognition of the idea that 2017 belonged to women. “Beginning with the Women’s March in January, it’s been the year of the woman,” she said. “This is a unifying salute to women who have been very brave and speaking up.”

Men will still be allowed on the stage sometimes, like when they win an award, but with female-heavy ensemble casts nominated for Lady Bird, The Handmaid’s Tale, GLOW, and Orange Is the New Black, hopefully we won’t have to see more than a dozen suits on stage for the evening.

Connell insisted this was not about punishing men for their behavior (even though they definitely deserve it). “We don’t want to slight the men who have given great performances this year,” Connell added. "Knowing our membership, I’m sure our men will embrace the opportunity to honor women.”

Don’t Miss the SNL Girl Group Pop Anthem Welcoming Men to the Hell That Is Being a Woman

Don’t Miss the SNL Girl Group Pop Anthem Welcoming Men to the Hell That Is Being a Woman

by Rachel Withers @ Brow Beat

The behavior of men like Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey may have been an “open secret” in Hollywood, but the last few months have drawn men’s attention to much larger, even more open secret: That the threat of sexual harassment and assault is part of the everyday reality of being a woman.

On Saturday night, the SNL ladies (or SNLadies?), formed another girl group—actually, “this isn’t a girl group, we just travel in a pack for safety”—to sing a song about what it’s like navigating the world as a woman, aptly titled “Welcome to Hell.” It might just be the best thing to come out of this whole sordid mess, packed with news references for those unfortunate enough to have been paying close attention.

“It’s freaky, it’s nasty, it’s button-under-the-desk bad,” sang the band of pop princesses to a background of fun, cartoon buttons. “This is our hometown, we’ll show you around!”

The candy land music video was full of sprinkles and clouds and popsicles and bunnies and potential predators. House of Cards may have been ruined by Kevin Spacey’s actions, but the girls are here to tell you that the list of things that have long been ruined for women is much, much longer: parking, walking, Uber, ponytails, bathrobes, nighttime, drinking, hotels, and vans, to name but a few.

“Hey there, boys. We know the last couple months have been frickin’ insane,” said Cecily Strong.

“All these big, cool, powerful guys are turning out to be—what’s the word—habitual predators?” added Aidy Bryant.

“Cat’s out of the bag! Women get harassed all the time,” said Kate McKinnon.

The song captured the exasperation women feel at the fact that men seem surprised by the prevelance of sexual harassment, something they’ve been talking about since, well, forever.

“I guess it b-b-begs the question,” crooned Kate McKinnon, lying in a field of clouds while channeling Carrie Bradshaw. “Whoa, why didn’t you say something, baby girl?”

“Well dang, Double Daddy, we definitely did,” said host Saoirse Ronan brightly, swinging on a swing. “For hundreds of years,” she added dryly.

The women were joined by their sisters through the ages—a witch being burnt at the stake, a suffragette, Rosie the Riveter, and a ’70s working woman—who all seemed stunned to hear that this shit is still going on in 2017. Leslie Jones also stopped by to remind everyone that it’s a million times worse for women of color, before joining in the chorus herself.

“Yeah it ain’t fair, but pull up a chair, welcome to hell, hey!”

Japanese Foot-Long Fries Just Landed In Australia

Japanese Foot-Long Fries Just Landed In Australia

by Ange Law @ The A List | The Urban List

ICYMI, Japanese food is trending so hard right now. The fact that said trend has delivered gooey cheese tarts, burnt miso ramen, soufflé pancakes and now foot-long fries, makes it one that we want to hang around for a little bit longer. 

Now, back to the foot-long fries that we need in our bellies right now. You can pick these bad boys up at Harajuku Gyoza and they're exactly what you’re picturing, these not-so-little sticks of goodness are created by sending potatoes through a Japanese-imported potato press before being thrown into the fryer. They’re then served with one of their seriously freaking great dipping sauces—think house-made shiitake mushroom and Katsuobushi salt or Japanese mayonnaise. They’re so golden that they kind of look like doughnut fries and honestly, we just need them in our bellies right now. 

And before you ask, yes, these are the same guys that brought Nutella gyoza, the raindrop cake and Japanese soufflé pancakes into our lives. AKA, they’re just legends, alright. 

In other news, this is what your favourite summer drink says about you. 

Image credit: Supplied

This Three-Minute Video Is Probably the Closest You’ll Get to Seeing Lin-Manuel Miranda in Hamilton

This Three-Minute Video Is Probably the Closest You’ll Get to Seeing Lin-Manuel Miranda in Hamilton

by Marissa Martinelli @ Brow Beat

Lin-Manuel Miranda will play the title role in Hamilton again in 2019, but the chances of actually scoring tickets are slim, so here's the next best thing: Miranda performed the entire play in about three minutes for the Ellen Show, boiling the Broadway hit down to its bare essentials. Miranda frantically acts out the life of Alexander Hamilton with lyrics and hasty explanations like, “terrible childhood, terrible childhood” and “history spoiler: Burr shoots Hamilton.” Also, he does a pretty good Angelica Schuyler.

Miranda is assisted in his presentation by young Macey Hensley, an Ellen Show regular who has a near-encyclopedic knowledge of presidents, first ladies, and American history. She spits some bars and drops some presidential knowledge in a tiny Hamilton costume, which is cute, but if you really want to feel your heart grow three sizes, watch this video of Hensley meeting Barack Obama last year:

Horoscopes | Your Co(s)mic Week Ahead

Horoscopes | Your Co(s)mic Week Ahead

by Gen Phelan @ The A List | The Urban List

Hey guys, this just in: following the Last Quarter Moon, the stars are pointing to a serious crisis of consciousness. Ga-reat. With V-Day just around the corner, the cosmos are plotting some total eclipses (of the heart). Wanna know what else is in store? We’ve got a few ideas...


Okay, Aries, enough is enough. It’s time to stop putting off that dentist appointment, and those Euro2k18 accom bookings, and that call you never returned from last month. Procrastination station, so long.


When an opportunity arises, a true Taurus grabs it by the horns. Take a stand, and kiss the spectating duties goodbye. It’s been too long—get your head back in the game.


You can’t be everyone’s everything, Gems. We get it, you’re only trying to help, but what’s ‘helping’ your nearest and dearest is inadvertently bringing you down. Throw a life jacket into the water instead of jumping right in. People treading water will only drag you down with them.  


Nothing seems to be holding your attention span for too long, and TBH, you’re acting kinda Crabby. It’s time to stop fighting the restlessness, Cancerians. Let your hair down. We know you want to.


Leos, put that pride aside. We get that this is no mean feat for you guys. But, if you’d just admit to the emotions that you’re so damn determined to suppress, a flood of relief will come your way.


They’re not worth your time, Virgo. We’re here to remind you that love is a two-way street, not a battlefield. Stop selling yourself short when second-best has never been your style.  


Libra, look at you go! Those New Year’s resolutions are being ticked off at lightning speed. You’re emanating positive vibes right now, and they’re contagious. Just don’t get complacent, keep hustling.


Scorpio, how does a getaway sound? A week, a weekend, or perhaps even a night away from the hustle and bustle of Big City Life could give you the fresh perspective you’ve been so wistfully longing for. Roaaaaad trip.


You’re lacking inspiration, Sags. Settling back into the groove of work this year has left you feeling a little uninspired. You’ve maxed out on your coffee intake by 10am each day for the past fortnight. It’s time to chase a new perspective.


Tidy space, tidy mind. It’s a mantra you’ll need to adopt if there’s any hope of making it through that colossal to-do list you have mounting. Inhale. Exhale. Ensure your surroundings are in top shape before embarking on your next day of work.


Ctrl + Alt + Del the negative opinions bringing you down. If you keep listening to what everyone else is telling you to do/say/feel, you’re going to lose sight of what really matters to you most. March to your own drum, Aquarius. 


Pisces, you’re all work no play. Get back into the groove of that favourite hobby. Your ‘pause’ turned into fully-fledged retirement from doing what you love. The call to action? Find a new outlet, or rekindle an old passion. 

Image credit: Gabrielle Stjernqvist

Vegan Food Quest in Vegan Life Magazine

by Vegan Food Quest @ Vegan Food Quest

Did you know that as well as writing our blog and vegan travel guides, we also write a regular vegan travel feature in the leading vegan lifestyle magazine in the UK and USA? Since late 2015 we’ve been writing about our vegan travels in Vegan Life Magazine which also happens to be our favourite vegan magazine, ever. […]

The post Vegan Food Quest in Vegan Life Magazine appeared first on Vegan Food Quest.

Enjoy a Cultural Tet in Central Vietnam: Hue, Da Nang, & Hoi An.

by Phuc Nguyen @ The Christina's Blog

The North celebrates the Spring of 2018 with many unique festivals such as the Hai Ba Trung Festival, the beautiful pink peach-blossoms that line the streets, and a slight breeze that is both warming and reminiscent of home. The South, on the other hand, greets Tet with the charming yellow apricot-blossoms and joy in the […]

The post Enjoy a Cultural Tet in Central Vietnam: Hue, Da Nang, & Hoi An. appeared first on The Christina's Blog.

Why Home-Based Recording Studios Are Becoming an L.A. Cottage Industry

by Chris Martins @ Los Angeles Magazine

With equipment and budgets shrinking, studios like Ricky Reed's in Elysian Park are booming

The post Why Home-Based Recording Studios Are Becoming an L.A. Cottage Industry appeared first on Los Angeles Magazine.

What Does It Take to Be Seattle's Best Banh Mi?

What Does It Take to Be Seattle's Best Banh Mi?

The Stranger

Five Seattle Locals Put Nine Vietnamese Sandwiches to the Test

Chè Chuối Nướng Út Lúa

by admin @ Eating Saigon!

Chè Chuối Nướng Út Lúa 115 Phan Đăng Lưu Street, P.7 Phú Nhuận District DT: 0915 762 076 DT: 0121 547 3763 Facebook:Chuối Nếp Nướng Nam Bộ *************************************************** If you’re in Saigon, and can’t quite make it to the Mekong River Delta countryside, don’t despair. There’s still a way to find yourself inside a Mekong [Read on ...]

Thai Red Curry with Tofu

by Julia @ Orchard Street Kitchen

This post is part of a blog collaboration on healthy comfort foods and recipes, as well as thoughts on comforts beyond the kitchen. Links to the other participants’ articles are below my recipe.  With the end of the holiday season comes a return to the daily grind, and with that, higher stress levels. What do you do to find comfort... 

Read More »

The post Thai Red Curry with Tofu appeared first on Orchard Street Kitchen.

Bánh mì Saigon Sandwiches & Bakery - Avant Greensboro

Bánh mì Saigon Sandwiches & Bakery - Avant Greensboro

Avant Greensboro

ShareTweetBánh mì sandwiches were first introduced into my diet when I was visiting a friend in New York City. Low on cash my friend insisted I go try these curious little Vietnamese sandwiches. After returning to Greensboro I did much research to find my new favorite meal. All signs (reviews) pointed to High Point Road’s[continue reading...]

Vegan Guide to Taipei

by Vegan Food Quest @ Vegan Food Quest

Our vegan guide to Taipei was easy to write as Taipei is heaven for vegans. In fact, we’d go as far to say that there are few cities in Asia where the vegan options are so plentiful, close to each other and downright good. If you haven’t been before, then stick it on your travel […]

The post Vegan Guide to Taipei appeared first on Vegan Food Quest.

Why Beyoncé Needed Ed Sheeran to Score Her First No. 1 Hit in Nine Years

Why Beyoncé Needed Ed Sheeran to Score Her First No. 1 Hit in Nine Years

by Chris Molanphy @ Brow Beat

If living well is the best revenge, perhaps charting well is the best Grammy clap-back? For Ed Sheeran, our premier polymath pop troubadour, this holiday season really has been the ultimate in bad news–good news whiplash. Within the space of two weeks, Sheeran was shut out of every top Grammy category—by a Recording Academy that seemed destined to bolt Sheeran’s name onto all the golden gramophones—and then, days later, he laid waste to the Billboard charts again. “Perfect,” the fourth official single from Sheeran’s ÷ (Divide) album, becomes his second Hot 100 No. 1 song of 2017, eight months after his first, “Shape of You,” completed a dozen-week run on top. The very same day Billboard announced this, the magazine also revealed that “Shape” was the No. 1 Hot 100 hit of the year, outgunning 2017’s record-setting Song of the Summer “Despacito,” which ranks second for the year. And by the way, it’s the second year in a row that Sheeran has been the author of the top Billboard hit, and the third year in a row that he’s had one of the top two: The No. 1 song of 2016, Justin Bieber’s spiteful kiss-off “Love Yourself,” was co-written by Sheeran, and on Billboard's list of the biggest songs of 2015, his “Thinking Out Loud” came in at No. 2.

Pretty quickly, in the press, Sheeran’s attitude toward the Grammy nominations has turned from sad-sack to modestly cheerful and maybe even a bit shady—his comments veering from two weeks ago’s “maybe this year wasn’t my year” to this week’s, “You know, I'm not dying.” He has even started redirecting the media toward his renewed chart prowess: “The week after [the Grammy snub], I get an MBE from the palace, I go No. 1 on Spotify, …I’m about to have my second ever Billboard No. 1—like, there’s so many things in the mix that counterbalance it.” It is hilarious to consider an Ed Sheeran who now turns to the love of the people as compensation for his underrating by the eternally middlebrow tastemakers in the Recording Academy—particularly when the latter camp gave him a Song of the Year Grammy just 22 months ago.

However its creator spins this, the success of “Perfect” on the Hot 100 wasn’t a foregone conclusion. In fact, in America, it was actually a minor comeback. If 2017 has felt like the year Ed Sheeran finally became inescapable, that’s mostly due to one song, the perky, faux–tropical-house “Shape of You.” After landing in January, “Shape” became even more absurdly ubiquitous than the average big hit. It broke a record for the longest run in Billboard’s Top 10—an unprecedented 33 weeks, from January through early September (this is basically how it topped “Despacito” for the year)—and it’s still sitting in the Top 30 in this, its 48th week. The problem for Ed was following it up. “Shape” arrived paired with a second hit, the wistful, windy “Castle on the Hill,” but after a big Top 10 debut in January, “Castle” plummeted and only managed to crawl back toward the Top 20 by midsummer. Third single “Galway Girl,” a risible blend of Irish jig and thumping pop, must have seemed like a good idea for Sheeran’s huge global audience but was an all-out flop in America, peaking outside our Top 40. By the fall, Sheeran had a unique problem: He was pop’s biggest star of the year—especially before his pal Taylor Swift came back—but he needed another real, actual, omnipresent hit.

Sheeran addressed his emergency by breaking some industrial-strength glass: He called in Beyoncé. To be fair, the idea long predated Sheeran’s late-summer search for a single. The two had met and even sung together at the 2015 Grammys, and Ed began courting Bey to sing on the ballad as far back as last spring, while “Shape of You” was riding high. Finally recorded in September—Sheeran said the mighty Knowles-Carter needed only one take (shocker)—the new “Perfect” remained a secret for a few more weeks while Sheeran issued his original album cut as a single. His solo version managed to climb into the Top 10 by late November.

With or without Beyoncé, “Perfect” was fated to be some kind of hit: It’s schlock, if ruthlessly effective. As Alfred Soto points out at The Singles Jukebox, even those of us who find Sheeran noisome have “had to reckon with his considerable craft. He can write hooks and melodies—facts are facts, people.” In addition to orchestration by classical composer Matthew Sheeran, Ed’s brother, “Perfect” boasts an instantly familiar melody and a ’50s slow-dance arrangement. You half expect the Five Satins to show up and start doo-wopping “In the Still of the Night” over the chorus.

This throwback technique can produce magic—witness the 2015 country-to-pop crossover hit “Girl Crush” by Little Big Town, which paired a vintage trad-pop arrangement with creative, gender-flipped lyrics for something fresh and modern. But that’s where “Perfect” falls down—in its banal sentiments. The lyric is basically a mumblecore version of Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight”: “When you said you looked a mess/ I whispered underneath my breath/ But you heard it/ Darling, you look perfect/ Tonight.” The duet version improves things slightly but is mostly a case of Lord-giveth-and-taketh, as Queen Bey strips away the orchestration—her suggestion—to leave only Sheeran’s sturdy melody but also his awkward lyrics, which often resemble Max Martin in their syllable-filling nonsense but without the bracing lift of a Martin production.

The most Beyoncé thing about the duet was how Sheeran finally deployed it: a surprise reveal. Officially titled “Perfect Duet”—a full acoustic rerecording, yet close enough to the original Ed-only “Perfect” that Billboard counts the two versions together for chart purposes—version deux instantly gave the song a kick to go the last mile. After the Bey duet had been on sale only a few hours, it amassed enough points to hurtle “Perfect” into the Hot 100’s Top Three. The following week, with a full week of sales and streams, “Perfect” leapt to No. 1, ejecting Post Malone’s “Rockstar” from the penthouse after an eight-week run on top. “Perfect” is doing well at radio, too, currently ranked third in airplay. In the 2010s, pop radio hasn’t always warmed to slow romancers, unless they’re by Adele or the people imitating her, but after the smash success of 2015’s “Thinking Out Loud,” radio programmers appear to have placed Sheeran in a bulletproof Adele-like category.

The same week “Perfect”/“Perfect Duet” reached the summit, Billboard officially added Beyoncé’s name as a coequal credit on the single, since nearly two-thirds of “Perfect’s” digital sales were tallied by the duet. It’s the second time this year Bey was added to a single’s artist credit mid-run. Just two months ago, she turned J. Balvin’s “Mi Gente,” a post-“Despacito” crossover reggaetón hit, into a No. 3 smash by Bieber-izing it with new English verses. While the “Gente” remix gave Bey her first Top Three hit in more than three years, Bey’s teamup with Sheeran is an even bigger career milestone. “Perfect Duet” is Beyoncé’s first Hot 100 chart-topper since—perhaps you’ve heard of this one?—“Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It),” which topped the Hot 100 in December 2008, a month after Barack Obama was elected president.

Let’s pause and reiterate this point, which might stun you if you haven’t been paying close attention to the Hot 100 for the last decade: This is Beyoncé’s first No. 1 song in nine years—her first of the 2010s, period, and she got it via Ed Sheeran. For all of the hashtags, concert grosses, political activism, critical acclaim, awards-show and Super Bowl–halftime dominance, and even jokey memes about the indestructability of Beyoncé’s fame, this whole decade the most famous pop star in America has had no pop-chart toppers. She came closest with “Drunk in Love,” the surfbortin’ lead single from her 2013 self-titled masterpiece, which reached No. 2 in early 2014. But “Drunk” peaked largely on the strength of Beyoncé’s massive download sales; it never ranked higher on Billboard’s airplay chart than No. 6. Other chattering-class phenomena like her Bey-squad banger “7/11” or her Black Lives Matter anthem “Formation” have fallen well short of the Top 10 (or, in the case of her delirious, boof-boofingCountdown,” simply missed the Top 40 entirely). Now four years away from her 40th birthday, Bey seems to have regarded Sheeran’s “Perfect” the way Justin Timberlake leveraged “Can’t Stop the Feeling” last year—as a late-career insurance policy.

So, who needed whom more, between the Ginger Hobbit and the Queen Bey? The short answer is each needed the other—but for different reasons.

Sheeran’s needs were simpler. He had to revive a hit-bound but dormant track on a nine-month-old album. In other words, he had to give the public—even diehard fans—a reason to consume “Perfect” again. So he did what pal Taylor Swift did two and a half years ago with her album cut “Bad Blood,” the fourth single from 1989, which only became a smash after she got Kendrick Lamar to rap on it. As I said in this series when “Bad Blood” hit No. 1, all Lamar had to do for Swift was show up—in the digital era, when all songs are available for single-song purchase or streaming the moment an album drops, the music business no longer has scarcity at its command when it comes to picking the third, fourth, or fifth radio single from an album. Those songs have been out a la carte for months, and even if the artist is a superstar and the album’s a smash, turning a late single from it into a chart-topping hit is tougher now. That is, unless you can get a starry guest to reboot the track—preferably, if you are a white pop star, a cultural-cred–having black artist. (This trick also worked six years ago for Katy Perry on the fourth and fifth No. 1 hits from her record-setting Teenage Dream album, remixed with Kanye West and Missy Elliott, respectively.)

But Beyoncé needed Sheeran, too—as absurd as this sounds, he made Bey more radio-friendly. The 2010s has been a decade of exploration for Beyoncé as she’s, admirably, tested pop’s political and sonic boundaries. Truthfully, Bey has been cutting-edge her whole career, even back when she was a regular chart-topper: helping to reinvent R&B singing around rap cadence on the 1999 Destiny’s Child hit “Say My Name,” breaking the genius sample-deploying producer Rich Harrison on 2003’s start-stop smash “Crazy in Love,” and more. But this decade, she’s really pushed it to the limit, as much as a culturally dominant megastar can, from “Run the World (Girls)” to “Partition” to “Daddy Lessons.” At some point early this decade—probably around the time her 2011 album 4 did solid black radio business but tanked at Top 40—Bey decided that, like her husband’s sometime-friend Kanye West, she wasn’t necessarily going to try for pop hits anymore. Artistically, critically, and on the album chart, she’s pulled this off. At a time when albums don’t shift traditional units anymore, both Beyoncé and Lemonade sold at double-platinum levels (sold, not streamed) and commanded critics’ year-end lists. But sooner or later a pop deity needs a regular-ass radio hit to remind her global following why, exactly, she lives on Mt. Olympus. Sheeran’s wedding-ready weeper jump-started that process—kind of a genius move, when you’re not working on your own album and on de facto maternity leave.

As for Ed Sheeran, “Perfect” puts a button on the biggest year of his career and rights the ship after the Grammy story nearly ruined his narrative. And he’s not done milking the song yet: Late this week, Sheeran confirmed the rumor that’s been swirling for a couple of weeks and dropped “Perfect” version three: a duet with popera demigod Andrea Bocelli. Yet again, Ed’s singing partner might benefit as much from the teamup as Sheeran—Bocelli even more than Beyoncé. Despite two decades of gold and platinum albums and prior duets with everyone from Céline Dion to Mary J. Blige, the Italian tenor has never scored a U.S. Top 40 hit. Literally the only time Bocelli’s name has even appeared on the Hot 100 was the single week in 2010 that his duet with Blige on “Bridge Over Troubled Water” debuted and peaked at No. 75. Two chart weeks from now, when the data rolls in, it will be interesting to see whether in a three-way contest between solo Sheeran, Beyoncé, and Bocelli, the latter racks up enough sales and streams to have his name instantly added to a No. 1 hit. And hey, Bocelli has also—oddly—never won a Grammy. Maybe, by the time of the 2019 awards, “Perfect” will get him to the podium, and get Sheeran back there. Sound craven? You have to suspect this idea crossed somebody’s mind.

Everything Glitter That You Need For Music Festivals

Everything Glitter That You Need For Music Festivals

by Marina Nazario @ The A List | The Urban List

As you may bloody well know, we're in the midst of festival season here in the great land of Oz. And we're well aware that it’s social suicide if you don’t rock up to an Aussie festival without looking like Tinkerbell threw up on you.

We love glitter and sparkle just as much as the next unicorn, mermaid or fairy princess, and we live for the excuse to wear it on a daily basis. So if you want to be seen from space, here’s every glitter item you need for festivals to help you shine from head to toe.

Sequin Bodycon Dress

Alright, ladies, we know you secretly want to be mermaids. Who wouldn’t want to have perfectly long, flowing hair that doesn’t seem to tangle while mysteriously being able to breathe underwater without gills? That’s what we thought. Lucky for you, we found a sequin, sparkly, mermaid-approved bodycon dress from Pretty Little Thing that’s perfect for festival season. Ain’t losing your friends in this flashy outfit!

Glitter Bass Speaker

Alright, you can’t technically wear this one, but it’s still part of the look. We know you want to keep the party going after the festival, so might as well keep with the theme and use the most shimmery speaker that you can shimmy to. (Too much?) Anyways, check out this glitter bass speaker from Cotton On. Go on, shake it like a salt shaker.

Frank Body Magic Shimmer Oil

Forget the Insta filter, Frank Body magic shimmer oil will make your skin shine bright like a diamond. Lather this stuff allllll over your body to get a better glow than J.Lo. PSA: Go easy on the free hugs. We know that festivals make you feel some type of way…but your glow could end up on someone else. AS IF.

I Scream Nail Polish

You can’t rock up to a festival without a proper manicure (even though it's bound to be ruined anyways). I Scream Nails polish offers heapppsss of different glittery, magical, sparkly, unicorn-like colours to paint on your nails for your next festival pass. If you’re anything like us, you’ll paint each nail a different, obnoxiously bright colour. Go big or go home.

Yippy Whippy Zig Earrings

Ladies, it’s alllll about the earrings. Like, we know this can make or break the festival outfit. Do yourself a favour and get these gold glitter acrylic earrings from Yippy Whippy to show off at your next bumpin' gig. Can you handle all that funkiness? Of course, you can.

Black Milk Bralet

It seems like no one wears bras nowadays (not that we’re complaining), but if it’s a teal sequin bralet from Black Milk that a mermaid might wear, then maybe make an exception. You’ll be doing a lot of jumping and dancing at festivals (if you’re not, check yourself), and this baby will keep the tatas in place. Pair it with some high waisted black denim shorts and this sparkling kimono and we’ll nominate you best dressed at the next festival.

Swell Water Bottle

You know as much as we do that it’s important to stay hydrated at festivals. So why not bring a glimmering, shimmering (running out of adjectives here!) gold Swell water bottle to match your dazzling outfit. Just, you know, EMPTY it before entering the festival or they might take it away. That would be an absolute tragedy.

Big Sequin Mini Skirt

We know, we know. Looking like a rainbow fish is the ultimate goal at a festival. We get you. So we found a mini skirt that will rival the bright coloured, cute little sea creature with this Missguided big sequin outfit. Pretty rad, amiright? Ugh, you are SO welcome.

Glitter Cat Eye Sunglasses

Sunnies are just as much of a statement as the earrings, and you want a pair of hater blockers that will turn heads and get you hella noticed. Fear not! We found these Dolls Kill glitter cat eye sunglasses that are fierce, fun, flirty, fantastic, fabulous and freakkkkyyyy. Mmmhhmm, throw us some shade. We’re too busy blockin’ out the haterzzz.

Dr Martens Boot

You don’t know annoying until your friend Amber is crying during The Jungle Giants set because her heels are too painful to wear. Ugh. Skip the sob sesh and just bloody wear Doc Martens. THEY HAVE A GLITTER COLLECTION. That’s right. Jump around, run around, be comfortable and enjoy looking like a unicorn ready for combat.

Rainbow Sequin Fanny Pack

You know what you’re really missing in your life? A rainbow sequin fanny pack that a Leprechaun would approve of. You need your hands-free during festivals so you can wave them around, do the Jersey Shore fist bump, raise the roof, all that good stuff. And a fanny pack is the way to go. Make this baby part of your insanely luminescent attire.

Feeling a little wanderlusty? Book a flight to one of these Insta-worthy destinations.

Image credit: Michael Benz 

Meet Melbourne’s Richest, Most OTT Burger

Meet Melbourne’s Richest, Most OTT Burger

by James Shackell @ The A List | The Urban List

Want to know how the other half live? Specifically the half that puts expensive, ridiculously OTT, uber-rich stuff on their burgers? Take a gander at this monstrosity.

It’s called the Foie Gras Goldger (oof), and you can get it at any White Mojo cafe in Melbs. Remember, these are the guys who gave us the Croissant Burger, so they know what they’re doing when it comes to unconventional stacks.

But let’s break this bad boy down. Long story short: this is probably the richest thing you will ever put in your mouth. Every pound weighs approximately 10 pounds. The only thing missing are crushed up diamonds. It starts with two Wagyu patties, then a hefty slab of Foie Gras (if you know how to pronounce this properly, please DM us), then Avruga caviar, saffron aioli, a truffle oil snow, fresh tomato, onion rings, cheddar cheese aaaaaaand a 24K gold sesame seed bun. Jonathan Livingston Seagull...

If you want to say you’ve eaten Melbourne’s most ridiculous burger, get on down to White Mojo in Glen Waverley, Balwyn or the CBD. They’re all slinging this thing on the 16th Feb.

The Details

What: We don’t even know... Where: White Mojo Balwyn, CBD & Glen Waverley When: 16 February 2018 For more info, click here.

Did you hear? Thornbury's getting a new boutique cinema inside an old motor garage

Image credit: White Mojo 

National Pizza Day: This Week In Food Events

by Tiffany @ Food Republic

Happy National Pizza Day! While we would like to argue that you can celebrate pizza on any day you please, we can’t argue with the idea of a special occasion prime rib pizza. Need last-minute plans this weekend? Check out some of the events below! Dale Talde’s Massoni in New York is celebrating National Pizza Day with a Detroit-style […]

The post National Pizza Day: This Week In Food Events appeared first on Food Republic.

Bun Dau Mam Tom

by saigononbikes @ Saigon on Bikes

BUN DAU MAM TOM (Vermicelli with Fried Tofu) Have you ever wondered what to eat when first coming to Vietnam? Probably, popular dishes like Pho, Banh Mi or spring rolls, will pop up in your head but then you decide to get out of your comfort zone, looking for something new. Perhaps, friends, Bun Dau […]

The post Bun Dau Mam Tom appeared first on Saigon on Bikes.

5 Awesome Things To Do In Melbourne This Week

5 Awesome Things To Do In Melbourne This Week

by Gen Phelan @ The A List | The Urban List

This week goes out to the lovas. For some, the idea of the ultimate V-Day is wining and dining with a dreamboat SO. And for the rest of us, nothing beats rounding up the gang and celebrating singledom over some good grub and grog. Whatever the verdict, we’ve got your Feb 14 plans covered.

If you blatantly refuse to embrace the occasion, there’s a bunch of other things to beef up the agenda this week. Ice-cream by the truckload? A Docklands-based event series? Yes pa-lease. It’s gonna be a big one.

Monday 12 February

Food For Thought At Arbory Afloat 

Our favourite floating bar is whipping up a funky cocktail shindig to raise awareness and funds for mental health. As if we needed another reason to go and have a few (okay 10) pomegranate G&Ts on the dock, they’re about to break down stigmas, serve up canapés and just generally kick all of the goals.

Where: Arbory Afloat, 1 Flinders Walk When: 6pm-9pm, Monday 12 February For more info, click here.

Wednesday 14 February 

The Ice Cream Festival

It’s back again. The Chocolaterie's annual Ice Cream Festival—or as some may know it, Christmas in February. There are over 144 artisanal different scoops set to kick your sugar cravings, from Chocolate Crackle to Match Chai. Even G&T ice-cream for us big kids. Get spooning.

Where: Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery - 35 Old Healesville Rd, Yarra Glen When: Wednesday 14 - Sunday 25 February For more info, click here.

Summer By the Dock

City of Melbourne knows how to summer. This week they’re throwing a series of sun-soaked, waterfront activities in the Docklands precinct to do the season justice. Four whole days of festivities are coming in red hot.

Where: Docklands waterfront precinct When: (Times vary) 14-15 & 21-22 February For more info, click here.


BAFTA-approved and Academy® Accredited, this short film fest has got it going on. The National Tour of Flickerfest is holding Melb’s screens hostage for two blockbuster nights, and we’re not mad about it. Popcorn at the ready, people.

Where: Palace Kino Cinemas, 45 Collins St When: From 7pm, 14-15 February For more info, click here.

Valentine's Day Done Your Way

Forget the foiled choccies. Drop the red roses. We’ve Melbourne’d the hell out of your Feb 14. There’s dumpling dating games, free pizza and a lotta pinot noir. You can lust over our definitive guide to the big day right here. Single, taken or it's complicated, there's something in here for every Hopeless Romantic.

Big bagel fan? Have a read of Melbourne’s crème de la crème of the hole-y feed here.

Image credit: Arbory Afloat 

Doug Jones Ended His Victory Speech to the Tune of “Teach Me How to Dougie”

Doug Jones Ended His Victory Speech to the Tune of “Teach Me How to Dougie”

by Rachel Withers @ Brow Beat

On Tuesday night, C-SPAN2 viewers who tuned in past the end of Doug Jones’ victory speech were treated to an extra dose of the ecstatic mood in the room as his team celebrated his close win over Republican and alleged sexual assaulter Roy Moore.

Doug Jones—not to be confused with Doug Jones or Doug Jones—had just finished thanking his supporters at an election night gathering at the Sheraton Hotel in Birmingham, Alabama. C-SPAN2 appears to have been broadcasting the mixer feed from the victory party, and when he wrapped up his remarks —with a “God bless the state of Alabama and the United States of America”—Cali Swag District’s “Teach Me How To Dougie” instantly kicked in, as viewers pointed out.

Looks like he’s already got his campaign song should he decide on a presidential run in the future.

Drop Everything: Lush Just Dropped A Bunch Of New Fragrances!

Drop Everything: Lush Just Dropped A Bunch Of New Fragrances!

by Catherine Blake @ The A List | The Urban List

Purveyors of soaps, bath bombs, and that sleepy-time lotion that became a viral sensation, Lush are in the business of pretty things that smell nice. In keeping with that mission statement, Lush are also master perfumers and have just released a slew of new fragrances. 

The new spritzables are available in a White Label Range and a Black Label Range, totaling 26 perfumes all up. Each scent is inspired by different art, experiences, emotions or memories of the perfumers and are designed to be gender neutral.  

Besides a reputation for good-smelling things, Lush is also one of the more ethical cosmetic companies in Australia and New Zealand, with all vegetarian, cruelty-free, handmade products cluttering up their shelves, and their perfume is no different. Made using pure essential oils and mixed in small batches in Sydney you can rest easy knowing your new scent isn’t a soulless potion.

Because mass-produced fragrances are usually made using solvents, you’ll generally find yourself forking out a packet in order to get a fragrance made with proper essential oils. But in Lush’s case, you can get yourself a premium bottle of fragrance made with bona fide essential oils for a super affordable price.

And in case you hadn’t noticed, this new release of fragrances has landed just in time for Valentine’s Day. Throw in a lip scrub and a long-stemmed rose and he/she’ll be yours for life.

Unfortunately, digital platforms do not lend themselves to sharing olfactory sensations, so you’re just going to have to trust us that this is worth checking out and make sure you linger at the tester bottle. If there’s any left by the time you get there…

All Lush scents are available all year round and via their online store

If you have NFI what this sleepy lotion commotion is, check it out. Your sleep life will thank you...

How To Shop Like a Local In Saigon?

by Phuoc Le @ Innoviet Travel

Shop like a local in Saigon, why not? Ho Chi Minh City, or much commonly known as Saigon, is a real mecca for shopping enthusiasts, but it is crazy, to tell you the truth. If you do not take some information or tips in hand, you will find yourself lost among stalls and stalls of

The post How To Shop Like a Local In Saigon? appeared first on Innoviet Travel.

Meet Phil, the man behind Thailand’s #1 TEFL website

by Joanna @ The Blond Travels

Before I moved to Thailand I had done a lot of research about the country and teaching opportunities. I was a complete newbie. All I knew was that I really wanted to live in the Land of Smiles. I had no idea how much a teacher could earn, how to find a job and what […]

Who Is Keeping Track?

by vegetariantourist @ The Vegetarian Tourist

If you’ve been following along on my adventures, you know by now that I love my indoor cycling and yoga classes. I’ve finally found forms of exercise that I enjoy and have been sticking to on a weekly basis for the past several years. It’s nice to have found my groove! I’ve tried various activity […]

The post Who Is Keeping Track? appeared first on The Vegetarian Tourist.

12 Best Vegetarian restaurants in Saigon | Insider Travel Tips | Innoviet Travel

12 Best Vegetarian restaurants in Saigon | Insider Travel Tips | Innoviet Travel

Innoviet Travel

Is it possible to find any good vegetarian food in Saigon? Fortunately, it is. Saigon is one of the ten veggie & vegan-friendly destinations.

Siem Reap Vegan Villa

by Vegan Food Quest @ Vegan Food Quest

Back in January 2014, we gave up our lives in the UK and set off on an indefinite vegan travel adventure which without a doubt, turned out to be awesome. We visited multiple countries in Asia and then seemed to get happily stuck in Cambodia, where we set up Siem Reap Vegan Villa. We love to […]

The post Siem Reap Vegan Villa appeared first on Vegan Food Quest.

Jai Thep Festival in Chiang Mai: A day filled with fun, love and music

by Joanna @ The Blond Travels

Jai Thep Festival is the newest addition to Chiang Mai’s event calendar. A group of like-minded people got together and decided to do something amazing – they created a music festival unlike any other that has taken place in Northern Thailand before. I love everything about music festivals: the happy atmosphere, crazy people dressed up especially for […]

A Quest For the Ultimate Vegetarian Meal in Ho Chi Minh City

A Quest For the Ultimate Vegetarian Meal in Ho Chi Minh City


Vegetarians and vegans can find the city also known as Saigon difficult to navigate, but it all becomes much easier after a guided foodie tour…

Where’s The Place For The Best Stress-Free Siesta?

by Izzy Pulido @ The Next Somewhere

The classic siesta originates from Spain, it’s where you just take a step back from hectic life and wind down. After all, that’s what a traditional holiday is all about right? The Spanish culture links a siesta to a long sleep or a nice nap. As the country itself can get quite hot, people get […]

The post Where’s The Place For The Best Stress-Free Siesta? appeared first on The Next Somewhere.

Why Did a Texas School District Ban the Year’s Most Popular YA Book, The Hate U Give?

Why Did a Texas School District Ban the Year’s Most Popular YA Book, The Hate U Give?

by Kat Rosenfield @ Brow Beat

This article originally appeared in Vulture.

In the age of social media, only the most foolish and digitally un-savvy censor would attempt to unilaterally yank the year’s most buzzed about, critically acclaimed, best-selling YA novel from shelves. But one superintendent at a Texas school district tried it—and so far, seems to be getting away with it.

The novel is The Hate U Give by author Angie Thomas, which spent a remarkable 38 weeks at the top of the New York Times’ best-seller list this year and is currently being made into a feature film starring Amandla Stenberg. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and the 2009 shooting of Oscar Grant, the book was released in February to massive praise, including an unprecedented eight starred reviews.

But in the city of Katy, Texas, one parent was unimpressed by Thomas’ frank portrayal of her teenage characters—and Katy Independent School District superintendent Lance Hindt appears to have flouted his district’s own policies to pull the book from shelves. The complaint dates to November 6, 2017, at a board meeting for the district; in a recording on the district website, a man who identifies himself as Anthony Downs holds a copy of The Hate U Give and says, “I did read some of the pages. I read 13 pages, and was very appalled.”

Downs’ complaint centers on the book’s discussion of drug use and explicit language—and in the video, the school board president can be heard promising that the district’s textbook review committee would look into the situation. Had they done so, a panel of educators and administrators would have been required to read and consider the novel in its entirety before determining whether to keep it in the collection—which, it’s worth noting, already includes plenty of books that contain frank depictions of drug use (Go Ask Alice, Crank), racism (Dear Martin, All American Boys), and sexuality (Two Boys Kissing, Looking for Alaska). But some time in the intervening two weeks, Hindt reportedly made the unilateral decision to skip the review process and ban the book district-wide.

“There’s a specific policy, and it’s clear that they did not follow it, that the superintendent made a unilateral decision,” said James LaRue, director of the American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF). “The school board has great latitude and superintendents do as well, but skipping over your own policy is something for which they should be held accountable.”

According to LaRue, those concerns are shared by librarians in the Katy school district, 19 of whom signed a letter protesting Hindt’s decision to pull the book. But despite both internal pushback and an ongoing outcry on Twitter, where Thomas began tweeting about the ban last Thursday evening, no explanation from the superintendent’s office has been forthcoming. Hindt did not respond to multiple requests for comment, which sources within the district say has been par for the course internally as well. One employee who spoke to Vulture under the condition of anonymity said most teachers are “saddened” by both the censorship and the superintendent’s silent treatment.

“We feel that it’s just a missed opportunity for our students to be able to have an open discussion about something that is a reality—about something that many of our students and even our faculty face,” she said. “I bought the book on my own, and we’re trying to reach out to the superintendent just to start an open dialogue. We’re not trying to demean his decision, but start a conversation.”

It remains to be seen whether Hindt’s decision will stand in the face of both internal pressure and external challenges, including the looming possibility that it runs afoul of the First Amendment. As LaRue explained, “This has gone all the way up to the Supreme Court—you can’t remove a book just because you don’t like the perspective. And what we see in the [OIF] is that people use the excuse of vulgarity to suppress the ideas being talked about.”

In the meantime, however, the ban is still in place—at the expense of any teens who might have hoped to find Thomas’s book in any of the schools’ libraries. As of Monday morning, the libraries of all 25 of Katy Independent School District’s junior high or high schools had been stripped of their copies of The Hate U Give. And while booklovers on Twitter have mobilized to flood the area’s local public libraries with additional copies, they may not be able to keep up with demand; the waiting list for the next available copy in the Harris County Public Library system is currently ten-people deep.

See also: Amandla Stenberg to Continue Being a Very Woke Teen in Black Lives Matter Movie

Vegan Junk Food Bar

by shoshannah @ AWESOME AMSTERDAM

Vegans and vegetarians as well as carnivores will likely enjoy this tasty shop with branches across Amsterdam. Get your plant based comfort food here! Some people might think a vegan food is always healthy, rich in green vegetables and teeming with vitamins. Well, this is not that type of food. This is hearty, crunchy, salty,…

The post Vegan Junk Food Bar appeared first on AWESOME AMSTERDAM.

Recipe: Bánh Mì with Lemongrass Tofu

Recipe: Bánh Mì with Lemongrass Tofu


If you happen to live in Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City, Southern California, New York, or anywhere with a Vietnamese population, I hope you have experienced the wonders of bánh mì – baguettes filled with pickled carrots and daikon, fresh cilantro, and meat or tofu

Where to get a banh mi done right in the Twin Cities

Where to get a banh mi done right in the Twin Cities

Twin Cities

During trips to visit family in Vietnam, one of my favorite food traditions is grabbing a banh mi sandwich. They can be found easily at market stalls or roadside carts, making it convenient to pull…

Saigon Vegetarian

Saigon Vegetarian

Saigon Vegetarian

A vegetarian in Ho Chi Minh City shares his veggie experience

The best vegetarian banh mi in Ho Chi Minh City (PHOTOS) | Coconuts Travel

The best vegetarian banh mi in Ho Chi Minh City (PHOTOS) | Coconuts Travel


Before you say it, we know a vegetarian banh mi is not a true version of the sandwich but we found something pretty impressive nonetheless.

Best Banh Mi in Saigon - 3 Places You Must Try!

Best Banh Mi in Saigon - 3 Places You Must Try!

Migrationology - Food Travel Blog

If you're looking for the best banh mi in Saigon, the famous Vietnamese baguette sandwich, here are three street food stalls you don't want to miss.

An Early Look at All the Artwork Coming to the Metro Crenshaw Line

by Neal Broverman @ Los Angeles Magazine

Westchester, Inglewood, and Hyde Park are getting more than a train

The post An Early Look at All the Artwork Coming to the Metro Crenshaw Line appeared first on Los Angeles Magazine.

Andrea Nguyen shows what makes banh mi so special

Andrea Nguyen shows what makes banh mi so special


Somewhere around the 11th sandwich in an afternoon's tour of Bay Area banh mi shops, it's clear that Andrea Nguyen is a little obsessive about what makes this Vietnamese staple great or not. Fingers plunged deep into the bun, she's pulling out excess meat, rearranging the cucumber, spreading pickles and herbs evenly across the bread. Nguyen, the Santa Cruz author of "Into the Vietnamese Kitchen" and "Asian Tofu," has spent months developing recipes for "The Banh Mi Handbook" (Ten Speed Press, $16.99), published this month. Few people pack for a road trip by slipping a bottle of Maggi Seasoning into their purse, but Nguyen figures that if she's going to hit a half dozen places with a reporter, she needs insurance. "Most banh mi shops in America forget the Maggi sauce," she says of the hydrolyzed vegetable protein condiment, ubiquitous in Vietnam, which delivers a more potent jolt of salt and umami than soy sauce. The guardians of the gate nod to Nguyen as she enters the cafe, where the back room rings with the slap of cards against tables, and an altar presides over a refrigerated display of sandwich fixings - pale steamed-pork sausage called gio lua, leopard-spotted panes of headcheese and slow-roasted pork belly with edges tinted pink. Cook Dung Tran takes her time making each sandwich, earning a nod from Nguyen; so does the savory blend of soy sauce, mayonnaise and pate smeared on the bun. [...] you'll understand, perhaps, why she dissects her lunch, or why she hunted around two countries for a baker willing to teach her how to replicate the light rolls with paper-thin crusts that mopeds deliver to banh mi shops in Vietnam many times a day. Tradition overratedOver lime-doused "shaking beef" and tuna salad sandwiches at Dinosaurs in the Castro, she points out that American cooks are getting most creative with the protein at the core of the sandwich.

Vegan’s Guide to Saigon Visitors

by saigononbikes @ Saigon on Bikes

A Vegan’s Guide to Saigon Vegetarian/Vegan in Vietnam On the surface, Vietnam – famous for her pork and beef dishes – doesn’t seem like the friendliest of destinations for vegan travelers. However, one might be surprised to learn that Vietnam is actually one of the more vegan-friendly destinations in Southeast Asia.  Though infrequently marketed to […]

The post Vegan’s Guide to Saigon Visitors appeared first on Saigon on Bikes.

The best western food in Chiang Mai

by Joanna @ The Blond Travels

If there’s one thing in the world everyone can mutually agree on it’s this: Thai food is delicious! And while every tourist who visits Thailand to devour pizza, steak and other western dishes should be ashamed of themselves – as an expat it’s good to know where to go when that craving for western food […]

The Cult of Tonya Harding

The Cult of Tonya Harding

by Viviana Olen @ Brow Beat

This article originally appeared in Vulture.

We’re Matt and Viviana, best friends, roommates, and co-curators of the Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan Museum (THNK1994 Museum, for short), in Brooklyn, New York. We weren’t born museum owners, like the Guggenheims or the Whitneys or the great MOFAD dynasty—rather, we sort of fell into it. One cold winter’s day in 2015, in our newly leased apartment that boasted a 25-foot-long hallway in lieu of a living room, several holes in the floor, and a scrawl on the wall from the previous tenant that warned “Get over it, it’s time,” we sat down to watch Nanette Burstein’s 30 for 30 ESPN documentary The Price of Gold.

The story of Tonya shook us to our very core. It was the most American story ever told. In short, for those unfamiliar (or who have yet to see her upcoming biopic, I, Tonya): After being born into an impoverished and abusive household managed by chain-smoking, parrot-taming, fur-drenched matriarch LaVona Golden, young Tonya pulled herself up by her own skate-straps to reach the pinnacle of athletic success. She became an Olympic athlete, and the first American woman to land the triple axel in competition, only to lose everything after a few poor decisions made on the world stage: namely, choosing to marry some guy named Jeff Gillooly, who we’re sure seemed hot at the time, and who thought it’d be a good idea to club Tonya’s competitor, Nancy Kerrigan, in the kneecaps. Stripped of her titles, Tonya became America’s punch line; every deli across this great nation thought it was clever to name a sandwich the “Tonya Harding Club.”

But to us—and to many others, who you’ll meet shortly—Tonya is more than a punch line. She’s a record-breaking all-star who skated to the Jurassic Park theme and Tone Loc’s “Wild Thing.” She wanted to be judged on the fact that she could do things nobody else could, not her outfit or her manicure or the profound lack of hair technology that existed in the early ’90s. Tonya had world-class talent—and a world-class chip on her shoulder—but no matter how hard she tried to play the game, America wouldn’t let her forget where she came from, or how much she didn’t fit into the mold. Most inspiringly, though, she never stopped trying. Even after the Kerrigan Incident, when the United States Figure Skating Association placed a lifelong ban on Tonya participating in (or coaching competitors) in all official USFSA events, Tonya was undeterred; she tried to start a singing career as a member of a Spice Girls–esque girl group, and later, became a boxer.

When we first watched Tonya’s 30 for 30, one of us had just left an abusive relationship (think Gillooly, but no ’stache) and the other had just spent three months in a wheelchair after getting hit by a car (it was more fun than it sounds). Neither one of us was in what we would describe as a “confident place.” But we found passion and joy, for the first time in forever, every time we talked about how unfairly Tonya was remembered by the world. (It didn’t matter whether or not you had asked us to do so, we were going to shout about Tonya into your face until you admitted you did her dirty just by watching the endless stream of news about her.) We related to how, when Tonya made mistakes, she made them aggressively. We were inspired by Tonya’s strength, talent, and the fact that she’s—as Samantha Jones once described Aleksandr Petrovsky, Carrie’s Russian beau—“a little cocky, but with the goods to back it up.”

We didn’t realize at the time, but this passion is one that’s shared by countless other people—people ready to shout with us, at random, into the ether, about Tonya Harding. After we turned our 25-foot-long hallway into the official space to do just that, these people showed up in droves. We’d unknowingly built a space for an existing community to come together. Some people came to pay homage, some to learn; a few wanted to see a stranger’s apartment, and while they were there, charge their phones. Most were women or gay men—we can count the straight men who came on one hand. But everyone related to Tonya’s imperfect perseverance. And everyone we value today came into our lives after passing through that hallway, engaging in a discourse about Tonya and Nancy, and remembering to follow us back on Instagram. We joined the Cult of Tonya at the time in our lives when we needed it most.

In honor of I, Tonya’s release, we caught up with a few of Tonya’s most die-hard fans to discuss what keeps the Cult of Tonya going strong—and adding new members every day.

The Impersonator: Lynn Harris, former preeminent Tonya Harding impersonator seen on the Ricki Lake show, current women’s advocate, and founder of Gold Comedy. Lynn came into our lives via Facebook message, and gave a riveting speech at our original opening gala. Since then, she’s been an important fixture at all of our key social events. You can’t miss her—she used to look just like Tonya Harding.

How did you become the “premier Tonya Harding look-alike”? Some are born Tonya, some achieve Tonya, and some have Tonya thrust upon them. I’m the latter.

Would you agree that Tonya is a feminist icon? If so, why?
Yes. I mean, there’s no set definition of “feminist icon,” but even if she wouldn’t define herself that way, I would. First of all, she’s a straight-up icon. No money, no love, no support: She had no reason to dream big. But she saved bottle caps to pay for her ice time, sewed her own skating costumes, practiced like a machine, and became the first American woman to perform a triple axel at an international event. Come ON. If that’s not the great American story, I don’t know what is. And it should have been for her.

She’s like this glittering, spinning supermagnet for all the terrible things we project on women. She was a goddamn great athlete—against more odds than others—and we laughed at her, called her ugly, and blamed her for being preyed on by douchey morons (I firmly believe that those boneheads concocted the plan to take Nancy out as a way to take THEMSELVES out of their shitty going-nowhere lives in Shittytown, USA. They were hitching themselves, shittily, to her star. They had no reason to tell her they were doing it. She had no reason to want or need them to. If our default cultural impulse was to trust women, rather than the opposite, that would have been the narrative from day one). Nevertheless, she persisted. She sometimes lashed out, but she never backed down. She still hasn’t.

Dear Tonya, We owe you a massive apology. Signed, America.

The Obsessive: Terry Hall, founder of The Portlandian and resident of the still very active Tonya Harding Fan Club. Based in New Zealand, Terry coined the phrase “Tonya-phile,” and although we’ve never met IRL, he sends us a Christmas card every year, which we very much appreciate.

How would you describe yourself?
I’d like the focus to be on Tonya—talking about me is just a distraction.

Why do you think Tonya is so iconic?
Her life has all the ingredients of gripping story. It’s got sex, violence, glamour, revenge, greed, mystery, tragedy, and comedy. There’s comic relief in the form of the bumbling antics of what Christine Brennan called “the Gang That Couldn’t Whack Straight.” There’s mystery—we still don’t know how much Tonya REALLY knew, and probably never will. Then there’s the whole commentary on the tabloidization of our media, not to mention a strangeness factor that sends the weirdometer right up to 11. People who have never heard it before—like —think it’s got to be fiction when they first encounter it.

But mainly it’s a tragedy in the form of someone who managed to overcome poverty and snobbery to become one of the world’s best figure skaters, only to have it come crashing down in a heap due to the stupidity of others. She’s a classic Greek anti-hero who nearly succeeded in having it all, but ultimately, the gravitational pull of the trailer park was so strong that even she couldn’t jump high enough to reach escape velocity. I think that Shakespeare would have given his right arm to have stuff like this to work with.

The Hermit: Duke Todd. Maybe the coolest person we’ve met through the museum. He found us on Twitter and wanted to donate a Mad magazine–esque comic from 1994 that had a repulsive drawing of Jeff Gillooly on the cover. We met him outside of his East Village apartment and he was in a hurry because he had to watch the season finale of Empire. We totally understood. He then took to DM’ing us at 3 a.m. while under the influence of Ambien—sometimes brilliant and sometimes half-written sentences (see below). Since then, whenever we have a question about art, fashion, or the general camp aesthetic, we turn to him. He also introduced us to iconic moments in pop-culture history, like a fabulous clip from a Lifetime moviewhere Kirstie Alley teaches her foster daughter how to shoplift, and a must-see introduction to who Joey Heatherton is. Don’t expect to see him at the museum though—he RSVPs to every event, but never leaves the house, because it might rain.

How would you describe yourself and what is your age?
Urban hermit/nightwalker, 54.

Why is Tonya so iconic?
DIY aesthetic prevails.

Why do you think there is so much Tonya-inspired art out there?

An alien has landed on Earth. He’s a white, straight, middle-aged real-estate agent who doesn’t know the first thing about anything, but he’s come here to find out who Tonya Harding is. What do you tell him in one sentence, because he’s about to get back on his spaceship and you’re the only one he’s going to ask.
Competitive ice dancing was once a blood sport on this weird planet, & Tonya was a gladiator.

The Artist: Zackary Grady, playwright, creative director, and creator of Toe Pick! The Complete Ice Capades of Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding.

What inspired you to create Toe Pick?
I remember watching the ’94 Olympics live on TV, and the event has stuck with me my entire life. I grew up playing ice hockey and would memorize all the figure skaters’ routines when they’d practice before me, so naturally the idea to write Toe Pick came when I was 16.

Why did you decide to make every word of the script transcribed dialogue from televised media in 1994?
In 2013, I was compiling research materials like a madman in the basement of the NY Public Library, and after a few days of it, I sat back and realized I could never make up the things that were actually said about these figure skaters. Some of the Jane Pauley and Connie Chung quotes are so insane! So I transcribed everything and then worked like a film editor, using words and interviews, and the play slowly came to shape.

Why is Tonya a gay icon?
She reminds me of Little Edie from Grey Gardens in certain ways. They’re both poor, disenfranchised women who have a lot to say and don’t care what people think of them. I think a lot of gays relate to that feeling, and want to celebrate them.

The Former Nancy: Jenny Raynor is “more of a Tonya—a little rough around the edges, Scorpio, Taurus rising, age 33” and a part-time figure-skating coach, art educator, photographer and self-described “former Nancy.” She was one of the first to visit the hallway museum and recently made her own artistic contribution.

What brought you to the Tonya Harding museum, originally?
I love figure skating, art, and hallways. I remember reading about the museum and immediately planning a pilgrimage from Kansas City.

How has your perspective about Tonya evolved since you were a child?
I always related to Nancy as a child, because we both had dark hair. However, I quickly grew tired of the whining, experienced society’s ways, visited the museum, and today I empathize with Tonya.

An alien has landed on Earth. He’s a white, straight, middle-aged real-estate agent who doesn’t know the first thing about anything, but he’s come here to find out who Tonya Harding is. What do you tell him in one sentence, because he’s about to get back on his spaceship and you’re the only one he’s going to ask.
I wouldn’t even speak. I’d simply take him into a dark room and turn on Tonya’s long program from the 1991 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. The volume is loud and there is no commentary. He would watch the moment where Tonya Harding became the first American woman to land a triple axel during competition. I want him to draw his own conclusions when “Send in the Clowns” fades out and Tone Loc’s instrumental version of “Wild Thing” begins. Either way, that’s all he needs to know.

See also: Hear Sufjan Stevens’s Extremely Emotional Musical Tribute to Tonya Harding

The best motorbike tour in Saigon

by saigononbikes @ Saigon on Bikes

This is in regards to the night food tour. Also, this is a completely honest and unbiased review. I did this tour last night and it blew my mind. I have done other companies and other cities and this was certainly the best without a doubt. We were taken to parts of Saigon that you […]

The post The best motorbike tour in Saigon appeared first on Saigon on Bikes.

A Visit To Yellowstone National Park

by vegetariantourist @ The Vegetarian Tourist

Having finally visited one of my dream destinations, Yellowstone National Park, I won’t claim to be any sort of expert. But, I will say that I have a better grasp of the geography and the sheer vastness of this remarkable gift from Mother Nature. If I can give you just one piece of advice, it […]

The post A Visit To Yellowstone National Park appeared first on The Vegetarian Tourist.

New York City’s Late-Night Hosts Were Not Impressed by the Subway Bomber

New York City’s Late-Night Hosts Were Not Impressed by the Subway Bomber

by Marissa Martinelli @ Brow Beat

On Monday, a 27-year-old man tried to blow up a pipe bomb at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, but really he only succeeded in inconveniencing a lot of people, since he was the only one to sustain serious injuries. Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah, both of whom tape their shows in New York, were not impressed with this attempt to bring chaos down on the city’s transit system, which is already pretty chaotic.

“Nice try,” said Colbert on The Late Show on Monday night, addressing the bomber directly:

New York commuters don’t even flinch when the subway break dancers kick two inches away from their face. They have to battle rats for the seat—which, for the record, you should only give up if the rat is pregnant. Come on. Come on. You tried to sow chaos and confusion in the Port Authority bus station? That is the normal state of affairs at the Port Authority bus station. There’s a pretty good chance your little explosion may have scoured some of the grime off the wall—thanks.

Colbert also got in a joke about New Yorkers’ priorities. “Now you’re going to jail for a long, long, long time, and all New Yorkers want to know is—does that mean your apartment is free? And is it rent-controlled?”

Trevor Noah also got in on the fun, telling the bomber, “you might be the best terrorist in your little-ass town, but this is New York City, beyotch.” The screw-up was so embarrassing, he suggested, that ISIS would do better to claim credit for a masturbator on the F train.

Sara Moulton films an episode of her show

by admin @ Saigon Vietnamese Sandwich

amous cookbook author and TV personality Sara Moulton featured our sandwich on her show.   Sara to her brother Judge Moulton:   “the best restaurant … the most incredible banh mi.” Aww, thanks Sara!  

Time’s 2017 Person of the Year Isn’t Trump. It’s a Rebuke of Trump.

Time’s 2017 Person of the Year Isn’t Trump. It’s a Rebuke of Trump.

by Rachel Withers @ Brow Beat

One year ago, a man widely accused of sexual misconduct was interviewed by a man who has now himself been accused of widespread sexual misconduct on the Today show about being named Time’s 2016 Person of the Year. A few days later, at a rally in Des Moines, Iowa, the former lamented the fact that he had been named person instead of man of the year.

What a difference a year makes. On Wednesday, Time named “The Silence Breakers”—those who have publicly spoken out about and taken action against sexual harassment and assault—the 2017 People of the Year. The award has gone not to Donald Trump, as he bragged it might have, but to the women (and some men) who have broken the kinds of silences and norms that have allowed men like him to thrive.

The Time cover features six women who have spoken up against harassment this year: actress Ashley Judd, singer Taylor Swift, former Uber engineer Susan Fowler, Californian lobbyist Adama Iwu, strawberry picker Isabel Pascual (whose name was changed in the story to protect her family), and an anonymous hospital worker from Texas. But the piece makes clear that the movement is bigger than any individual person and that the award is for all those who have done so. Time interviewed dozens of people, from professors to hospitality workers to entrepreneurs to senators, from famous actresses like Rose McGowan and Selma Blair to the women who have sued New York’s Plaza Hotel for normalizing and trivializing harassment in the workplace. There are conversations with Tarana Burke, who started the #MeToo movement in 2006, and men like Terry Crews, who has come forward with stories of man-on-man harassment.

In a note explaining their reasoning, Time editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal said that the actions of silence breakers had “unleashed one of the highest-velocity shifts in our culture since the 1960s.”

The roots of TIME’s annual franchise—singling out the person or persons who most influenced the events of the year—lie in the so-called great man theory of history, a phrasing that sounds particularly anachronistic at this moment. But the idea that influential, inspirational individuals shape the world could not be more apt this year.

Donald Trump undeniably influenced the events of 2016, and in a way, the 2017 award is still about him. His name comes up multiple times in the cover story, from references to the Access Hollywood recording to the Women’s March, with one expert calling him a “visible precipitating factor” to the movement: his presidency and his blatant misogyny that have galvanized women more than almost anything else this year. One can’t help but read Time’s choice as a direct rebuke to the man sitting in the Oval Office. It’s a small, but powerful, consolation prize.

Where To Find Vegan Ice Cream In Melbourne

Where To Find Vegan Ice Cream In Melbourne

by Marina Nazario @ The A List | The Urban List

Listen up vegan plant-lovers, we just upgraded your summer. No, not with Melbourne's best secret vegan menus or a dedicated vegan pub, but with dessert! Just because all your non-vegan friends are cooling off with ice cream, doesn’t mean you can’t either.

We understand your need for a creamy dessert, especially during those hot summer days, so we made a list of where to find vegan ice cream in Melbourne. You're bloody welcome. 

Ms Bean

Box Hill

Our homegirl, Ms Bean, is all about being vegan. So she opened a completely vegan dessert shop, devoid of all animal products. That’s commitment. Ms Bean uses a fancy Italian gelato machine to churn fresh vegan ice cream daily. So you can bet that sh*t is as creamy and delicious as the traditional stuff. If you don’t believe us, ask your non-vegan friends to do a blind taste test. 

Fritz Gelato

Various locations

Um, did you know that most vegan varieties are also gluten-free? So what would such a product look like, you ask? It'd look like the best damn gelato in Australia, duuuhhh. Fritz is known for getting wild and crazy with their flavours, and if you’re vegan, they’ll give you 37 flavours to choose from. THIRTY-SEVEN. Who knew? We have our eye on Tequila Sunrise.


Carlton & Windsor 

The crew at Pidapipo churn out some of the best damn ice cream in Melbourne, and there's no reason vegans can't join in the fun. Just stick to the sorbet range—it's 100% animal-friendly, and comes in tangy summer flavours like peach (nom) and watermelon (double nom). 


St Kilda

Why go to Italy for perfectly good gelato when you can just go to 7apples? The owner of this shop lived in Tuscany for a few years, learning all the tricks of the ice cream trade. After soaking up all that Italian knowledge, he opened up shop in St Kilda and brought us creamy artisan gelato, complete with vegan flavours so we can all indulge. That’s amore!  

Billy Van Creamy

Fitzroy North 

Yep, it's true. The guys from legendary food truck Billy Van Creamy just created a 100% vegan ice cream range, made from housemade cashew milk and organic coconut milk. The flavour range isn't as extensive as your cow varieties (yet), but damn do they taste good. 


Hawthorn & Collingwood

It's worth dropping into Piccolina every now and then to check on the vegan goodness. Most of their range does include dairy, but they usually have at least one or two plant-based flavours rotating through the mix. FIngers crossed they're churning the famous vegan, gluten-free chocolate brownie ice cream. That sh*t is the bomb. 

N2 Extreme Gelato


Our friends at N2 Extreme Gelato are seriously committed to surprising your taste buds. And they go to dangerously great lengths to do this—using liquid nitrogen to freeze the ice cream (yes, it’s safe to eat). It adds a nice bit of theatre to your vegan ice cream experience. The scientists at N2 change up their flavours every two weeks and always include one vegan offering. Get around it, science nerds. 

Ben & Jerry’s


Of course the OGs of ice cream do vegan! And they make four extremely Ben & Jerry flavours that have us frothing at the mouth, including peanut butter and cookies, caramel almond brittle, coffee caramel fudge and coconut seven layer bar. Winning! You can get these glorious vegan flavours in-store at their digs on Flinders lane, or just grab a pint from 7-Eleven and take it home with you while you binge watch Suits.

Mister Nice Guys

Ascot Vale

Our friends at Mister Nice Guys definitely live up to their name. They’re an all-inclusive bakery whose products are 100% egg-free, dairy-free, lactose-free, cochineal & gelatine-free, with soy-free, gluten-free, wheat-free and corn-free options. Phew. Love a good vegan bakery. But they also make the meanest vegan freakshakes around, with flavours like Chocolate Lochness, Salted Caramel Pretzelstein and Boo-Nana Split. Yum.

Girls & Boys


Obviously, Fitzroy has its fair share of vegan eats. And Girls and Boys is the place to go if you’re a vegan craving dessert, especially ice cream. And none of that sorbet crap either, we mean real, creamy, soft serve ice cream and gelato made for vegans. They make their ice cream and gelato with a blend of coconut and soy milk, sweetened with rice syrup. And then they go crazy with the flavours. Bless our souls.

Gelato Messina

Various locations

The ice cream at Messina may not be vegan, but the sorbets sure as hell are. Who needs white stuff that comes out of cows when you've got all-natural, plant-based flavours like salted coconut and mango salsa, blood orange, chocolate sorbet and pandan & coconut? 

In case you're dying from the heat, here are 20 life hacks to get you through the summer

Image credit: Billy Van Creamy

Things you need to do before you move to Thailand

by Joanna @ The Blond Travels

I know that you’re dreaming of moving to Thailand. No wonder! A lot of people want to live in a country where the sun always shines, people are nice and costs are low. Moving to the Land of Smiles isn’t difficult at all. That is when you prepare accordingly, of course. I lived in Thailand […]

Chinese New Year Festival at Jackson Middle School

by @ Falls Church News-Press Online

The 11th Annual Chinese New Year Festival, hosted by Asian Community Service Center, will be held for one day only on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018 at Luther Jackson Middle School (3020 Gallows Rd., Falls Church) from 10 a.

Read Chinese New Year Festival at Jackson Middle School on Falls Church News-Press Online.

These Classic Photos Capture the Feel of Vintage L.A.

by Brittany Martin @ Los Angeles Magazine

The upcoming art fair Classic Photographs Los Angeles includes some choice snaps of the L.A. of yore

The post These Classic Photos Capture the Feel of Vintage L.A. appeared first on Los Angeles Magazine.

What the “Plums” Meme Has to Say About How Poetry Can Work on the Internet

What the “Plums” Meme Has to Say About How Poetry Can Work on the Internet

by Mark Sussman @ Brow Beat

Last week saw a surge of tweets that mash up William Carlos Williams’ 1934 poem “This Is Just to Say” with ’90s (and a few early ’00s) pop songs. Here is Williams’ poem: “I have eaten/ the plums/ that were in/ the icebox/ and which/ you were probably/ saving/ for breakfast/ Forgive me/ they were delicious/ so sweet/ and so cold.”

And here is what Twitter has done to it.

Unbelievably, this is not the first time Twitter has had its way with Williams’ poem. But why cold plums again? And why now? Character restrictions have something to do with it. At 149 characters, including spaces and line breaks, Williams’ poem in its entirety didn’t fit within the old character limit. 140 characters gave us another, even shorter modernist meme: Hemingway’s baby shoes. The new 280-character limit makes room for Williams’ poem with space left over for Lou Bega.

While Twitter poetry has been a thing for several years, short poems in English have a long history. Given Twitter’s robust literary communities, it’s surprising that we don’t see more short poems going viral. Perhaps cold plums is just another weird Twitter non sequitur, the chance meeting of workday boredom and a desire to put that English degree to use. Whatever the reason for its existence, I want to claim that the memeing of “This Is Just to Say” presents us with an opportunity to think about poetry on the internet, one that doesn’t simply think of character limits as an Oulipo-like constraint.

Modernist poetry often gets identified with long, intimidating works like T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land,” Ezra Pound’s Cantos, and Williams’ own Paterson, which took him at least 12 years to complete. But there is a parallel tradition of very short poems by modernists, some of them written by the same poets. Pound’s “In a Station of the Metro” (1913) is the ur-example of short modernist verse. Here it is in its entirety:

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.

Pound’s short poems were inspired by the austere, concise imagery he claimed to find in ancient Chinese and Japanese poetry. Though his equally concise imperative for modern literature—“Make it new”—stressed innovation, he seemed to think of newness as a novel approach to whatever was historically available, from Eastern poetic traditions to medieval Provençal troubadour verse to classical Greece and Rome.

While, as the scholar Zhaoming Qian has shown, Williams’ work was also influenced by readings of Chinese literature, he stressed his poetry’s American origins. Paterson is his homage to the town where he lived and worked as well as the source of one of his most famous adages: “No ideas but in things.” His day job as a family doctor afforded him the opportunity to absorb the texture of local life, and he recorded it in the short fiction collected in The Doctor Stories. “This Is Just to Say” emerges from an even more specific locale, Williams’ house, as it appears that it may have been a note to his wife Florence. It’s also possible that Florence wrote a reply and that Williams appropriated that response as a poem in its own right. “The only universal,” he wrote, “is the local, as savages, artists and — to a lesser extent — peasants know,” and what’s more universal and local than rooting around in the fridge and eating something your partner was saving for later?  

The poem’s brevity isn’t the only thing that makes it memeable. In some sense, Twitter is the perfect environment for Williams’ poem. Twitter is a kind of place, a “Twitterverse,” with different provinces and states, “academic Twitter,” “media Twitter,” “national security Twitter,” and so on. While anyone can visit these places, it takes a while to pick up the dialect and speak without an accent. When you’re a digital native, it can seem like everything is local. In affectionately vandalizing Williams’ poem, cold plums tweets translate it into the local dialect. They normalize it.

This is all in keeping with another modernist tradition. In his essay “The Metaphysical Poets,” Eliot wrote that the poet’s mind “is constantly amalgamating disparate experiences.” Ordinary men experience the world as “chaotic, irregular, and fragmentary,” with no way to unify the reading of philosophy and falling in love, “the noise of the typewriter or the smell of cooking,” into a single, coherent experience. “In the mind of the poet,” on the other hand, “these experiences are always forming new wholes.” Williams was often quite critical of Eliot, so we can imagine that he might take some satisfaction in seeing Eliot’s elitism shown up by ordinary people forming new wholes out of whatever raw material—pop, poetry, evil puppets—comes their way.

Probably not, though. It seems unlikely that he would have approved of his spare, unadorned lines being embellished with the likes of Smash Mouth. For all of its ordinariness, “This Is Just to Say” is a poem, locked into its form in a particular way for a particular purpose. The poem concentrates our attention on ordinary language until it no longer sounds ordinary. Its line breaks turn a routine act of husbandly insensitivity into a drama of desire and transgression. Like dog owners who transform typical canine mischief into a parody of ritual humiliation, the cold plums meme amplifies this banality until it’s bizarre. Pop music does much the same thing, amplifying and appealing to supposedly universal experiences, like falling in love and mamboing.

Poets and English teachers sometimes lament that poetry isn’t popular. What they seem to mean is that not a lot of people buy books of poetry or read poems at all outside of the classroom. But the cold plums meme suggests that “poetry in the age of Twitter” may not mean 280 character poems. In an essay on poetry and pop music, Michael Robbins writes that, “A pop song is a popular song, one that some ideal ‘everybody’ knows or could know. Its form lends itself to communal participation.” In that sense, the cold plums meme is poetry going pop. Not in the sense that you’ll hear it on the radio. You’ll hear it in the street, but only if you live on the internet, and only if you sing along.

The Trick to Smooth, Melty, Austin Diner–Worthy Queso

The Trick to Smooth, Melty, Austin Diner–Worthy Queso

by Katie Macdonald @ Brow Beat

This post originally appeared on Food52.

There’s a difference between the jarred queso I pop into the microwave as guests walk through the door and the ooey, gooey appetizer gracing Tex-Mex restaurant tables. The former usually congeals untouched; the latter, I’m tempted to lick out of the bowl.

Great homemade queso takes a little longer than a twirl in the microwave. And while we're fans of making dinner a little speedier, that’s one shortcut you definitely shouldn’t take. No matter what cheese you decide to melt, it’s very important to buy chunks or blocks and grate the cheese yourself, says Homesick Texan creator Lisa Fain. “Pre-packaged shredded cheese is mixed with non-clumping agents, [which] prevent the cheese from melting into a smooth sauce,” she writes in her latest book, Queso!, which is chock-full of delicious dairy recipes and bits of Lone Star State history.

The James Beard Award–winning writer shares the recipe for one of her home state’s most famous recipes: the Austin Diner-Style Queso, with a more viscous texture perfect for coating tortilla chips. “In Austin, inviting places such as Kerbey Lane and Magnolia Cafe have long been popular spots for people to get their queso fix in the darker hours,” Fain writes.

The recipe calls for American cheese; its low melting point makes it ideal for smooth dips. However, you’re not likely to find a chunk of American in the dairy aisle, because it is usually sold pre-packaged in individual slices. Your cheapest and easiest option is to get a pound from your deli.

While Texans rabidly defend their favorite restaurants' quesos, Fain’s recipe isn’t specific to any particular place. Instead, this dip is meant to remind you of all those great times with friends, and fuel you for many more.


Austin Diner-Style Queso

Makes 6 to 8 servings

·       2 tablespoons unsalted butter

·       1/4 cup diced yellow onion

·       4 jalapeños, seeded and finely diced

·       2 cloves garlic, minced

·       2 Anaheim chiles, roasted (see above note), peeled, seeded, and finely diced

·       2 tablespoons cornstarch

·       1 cup whole milk

·       1 cup water

·       1 pound white or yellow American cheese, shredded

·       2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

·       1 teaspoon ground cumin

·       1/4 teaspoon cayenne

·       1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

·       Guacamole (for topping)

·       Pico de Gallo (for topping)

·       Tortilla chips (for serving)

See full recipe on Food52

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Sponsored: Coconut Masala Chai

by chefpriyanka @ Chef Priyanka

Ahh Chai – probably the most interpreted beverage globally (notice, I intentionally left out the “mis”). Chai is a milk-based tea drink with hints of cinnamon, clove, pepper, cardamom, and ginger. And its generally served very sweet in India – we like our sweets and drinks diabetic-ally sweet ;). As you know, I’ve been creating […]

More Women Accuse Dustin Hoffman of Sexual Assault, Indecent Exposure

More Women Accuse Dustin Hoffman of Sexual Assault, Indecent Exposure

by Rachel Withers @ Brow Beat

Dustin Hoffman—the man who has said of previous misconduct allegations against him that this is simply how members of a “family” treat one another on set—has been accused of sexually assaulting two women and exposing himself to a minor. The three women spoke to Variety about their experiences with Hoffman, with details that line up with multiple previous allegations against him.

Cori Thomas was a high school friend of Hoffman’s daughter Karina in 1980 and, as an aspiring actress, a huge fan of Hoffman. After an innocent Sunday spent with Hoffman and Karina in Manhattan, Hoffman suggested that they wait for Thomas’ parents to pick her up at his hotel, according to Thomas’ account. When Karina went home to the house of her mother (whom Hoffman was in the process of divorcing), Hoffman took a shower before returning to the room wearing nothing but a towel.

“He came out of the bathroom with a towel at first wrapped around him, which he dropped,” Thomas said. “He was standing there naked. I think I almost collapsed, actually. It was the first time I had ever seen a naked man. I was mortified. I didn’t know what to do. And he milked it. He milked the fact that he was naked. He stood there. He took his time.”

Hoffman put on a robe and asked Thomas, then 16, for a foot massage, which she then did. (Hoffman allegedly asked Anna Graham Hunter, a 17-year-old intern on the set of Death of a Salesman, to give him a massage on her first day.) While massaging his feet, Hoffman kept telling Thomas, “I’m naked. Do you want to see?” Thomas said she was only able to extricate herself from the situation when the phone rang, announcing her own mother’s arrival. Thomas said she was humiliated and unable to tell her mother until decades later. (Her mother recalled being concerned about her daughter having been alone with Hoffman.)

The other women, Melissa Kester and a woman who requested anonymity, told Variety about different incidents that occurred during the making of Ishtar, which was released in 1987. Kester, a recent college graduate at the time, was dating a man working on the music for the film. She met Hoffman multiple times at the studio where he was recording vocal tracks for the film. On the third such occasion, struggling with a take, Hoffman “jokingly” called for Kester to be sent into the booth with him.

“I’m standing there, and it’s kind of a small room, and he grabs me, so we’re both facing out so we’re both facing the people in the studio. I’m thinking that it’s kind of flirtatious and funny, like he’s holding onto me, because I’m going to help him sing better. I felt awkward. It’s a little weird. He’s hugging me while he’s singing. But ha ha ha, it’s all a joke. My boyfriend is right there.”
Hoffman continued with the take.
“And as he’s doing that, he literally just stuck his fingers down my pants,” Kester said. “He put his fingers inside me. And the thing I feel most bad about is I didn’t know what to do. I just stood there. I just froze in the situation like ‘Oh my god, what is happening?’ It’s shocking when that happens to you.”

The incident described is reminiscent of accusations by Kathryn Rossetter, Hoffman’s Death of a Salesman Broadway co-star, who said Hoffman would regularly grope her while she was waiting in the wings—on mic and unable to protest—before an entrance, one night even sticking his fingers inside her. Kester said she never told her boyfriend about the incident.

The third woman said Hoffman approached her while she was an extra in a nightclub scene in the film. He invited her back to the set for the final day of the shoot, insisting she stay for the wrap-up party. After offering her a ride home, Hoffman started touching her without her consent, and she froze.

“There are people inches from us,” she said. “And he just took his hand and stuck his fingers right up inside of me. I didn’t know what to do. He’s smiling at me. I was frozen. I was outside of my body.”

After the car dropped her off, Hoffman handed her $20 and told her to take a cab to his home, which she did, describing herself as being in “a kind of fugue state.” She then engaged in consensual sexual activity with Hoffman but says the incident in the car was nonconsensual.

Hoffman was not available to comment on the story, but his attorney wrote a letter to Variety calling the accusations “defamatory falsehoods.”

The Shape of Water Leads the 2018 Golden Globes Nominations, With The Post and Three Billboards Close Behind

The Shape of Water Leads the 2018 Golden Globes Nominations, With The Post and Three Billboards Close Behind

by Rachel Withers @ Brow Beat

The full list of nominees for the 2018 Golden Globes was announced Monday morning, with The Shape of Water, The Post, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri dominating the film categories, while Big Little Lies looks big again on the TV side.

The Shape of Water leads movies with seven nominations while The Post, which has six, was the only film to receive nominations in all the big four categories—Best Drama, Director (Steven Spielberg), Actress (Meryl Streep), and Actor (Tom Hanks). Three Billboards also got six nominations, and All the Money in the World pulled down three despite the fact that Ridley Scott was still shooting replacement scenes with Christopher Plummer as recently as three weeks ago.

The TV categories saw Emmy winners Big Little Lies and The Handmaid's Tale recognized again, with nods for Best Limited Series and Best Drama, respectively, along with multiple acting nominations. Feud: Bette and Joan also did well, scoring four nominations, though it will be competing with the Big Little Lies juggernaut in every category.

The 75th Golden Globes awards ceremony will be hosted by Seth Meyers and will air live on NBC on Sunday, Jan. 7.

Here is the full list of nominees:


Best Motion Picture – Drama
Call Me by Your Name
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
The Disaster Artist
Get Out
The Greatest Showman
I, Tonya
Lady Bird

Best Motion Picture – Animated
The Boss Baby
The Breadwinner
Loving Vincent

Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language
A Fantastic Woman
First They Killed My Father
In the Fade
The Square

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game
Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Meryl Streep, The Post
Michelle Williams, All the Money in the World

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
Tom Hanks, The Post
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Judi Dench, Victoria & Abdul
Helen Mirren, The Leisure Seeker
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
Emma Stone, Battle of the Sexes

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Steve Carell, Battle of the Sexes
Ansel Elgort, Baby Driver
James Franco, The Disaster Artist
Hugh Jackman, The Greatest Showman
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture
Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
Hong Chau, Downsizing
Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture
Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Armie Hammer, Call Me by Your Name
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Director – Motion Picture
Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water
Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Ridley Scott, All the Money in the World
Steven Spielberg, The Post

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
The Shape of Water
Lady Bird
The Post
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Molly’s Game

Best Original Score – Motion Picture
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
The Shape of Water
Phantom Thread
The Post

Best Original Song – Motion Picture
“Home,” Ferdinand
“Mighty River,” Mudbound
“Remember Me,” Coco
“The Star,” The Star
“This Is Me,” The Greatest Showman


Best Television Series – Drama
The Crown
Game of Thrones
The Handmaid’s Tale
Stranger Things
This Is Us

Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Master of None
Will & Grace

Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Big Little Lies
Feud: Bette and Joan
The Sinner
Top of the Lake: China Girl

Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Jessica Biel, The Sinner
Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies
Jessica Lange, Feud: Bette and Joan
Susan Sarandon, Feud: Bette and Joan
Reese Witherspoon, Big Little Lies

Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Robert De Niro, The Wizard of Lies
Jude Law, The Young Pope
Kyle MacLachlan, Twin Peaks
Ewan McGregor, Fargo
Geoffrey Rush, Genius

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama
Caitriona Balfe, Outlander
Claire Foy, The Crown
Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Deuce
Katherine Langford, 13 Reasons Why
Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama
Jason Bateman, Ozark
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Freddie Highmore, The Good Doctor
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Pamela Adlon, Better Things
Alison Brie, GLOW
Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Issa Rae, Insecure
Frankie Shaw, SMILF

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Anthony Anderson, Blackish
Aziz Ansari, Master of None
Kevin Bacon, I Love Dick
William H. Macy, Shameless
Eric McCormack, Will & Grace

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Laura Dern, Big Little Lies
Ann Dowd, The Handmaid’s Tale
Chrissy Metz, This Is Us
Michelle Pfeiffer, The Wizard of Lies
Shailene Woodley, Big Little Lies

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
David Harbour, Stranger Things
Alfred Molina, Feud: Bette and Joan
Christian Slater, Mr. Robot
Alexander Skarsgard, Big Little Lies
David Thewlis, Fargo

10 Movies From Your Childhood That You’ve Completely Forgotten About

10 Movies From Your Childhood That You’ve Completely Forgotten About

by Millie Lester @ The A List | The Urban List

Once upon a time you actually had to leave the goddamn house just to have talking animals trot around your 20” Panasonic flat screen. Now that Blockbuster has gone A over T and you don’t even need to leave the couch to cast something from your phone onto the 70” curved-mirror-3D-smart-HD-interactive TV that takes up a whole wall in your bedroom, it’s easy to forget about the cheeky flix that first made you fall in the love with the silver screen.

So, here are 10 movies from your childhood that’ll have you hunting for your old Girlfriend magazines before you can say talking-cats-wearing-human-clothes.

The Adventures Of Milo & Otis


This absolute tear-jerker was the anthem of our childhood. The story revolves around an unlikely pair of friends—an orange tabby cat and a smol pug—who go on a series of adventures after the box Milo is playing in falls into a gushing stream. After a few close calls involving ten-foot mammals, the two are reunited with their animal lovers, because it was the 80s. Whatever you do, DO NOT Google how many kittens were killed in the making of this film.



This bad boy is a little closer to home. Filmed in Sydney, a little pupper called Muffin (BE STILL MY BEATING HEART) lives with his human family and rejects his sweet dessert name, insisting on referring to himself as Napoleon. It’s basically a coming-of-age story for Labradors and it’s the cutest bloody thing anyone has ever seen. Twelve stars.

The Indian In The Cupboard


This family fantasy drama film is a bit of stretch in terms of plot line but basically follows the narrative that a boy gets a cupboard as a sort of shit birthday prezzie from his brother and later discovers that if he puts toys in it, the cupboard brings them to life. It’s your classic Harry met Cupboard scenario. The fine line between fantasy and reality adds the main rift in the storyline as Omri tries to hide the full grown Native Indian from his dad. While there are many things wrong with this movie, it’ll slap you with a fair whack of nostalgia.

Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey


Basically in the nineties, there were no humans, which is why every protagonist was a golden retriever. It was a simpler time. Anyways, this little kid flick is no different. Narrated by a naughty American Bulldog called Chance (and voiced by Michael J. Fox), Homeward Bound is the story of learning to love the family you’re in, while also learning to swim and not drown in a river. A common plot point in nineties dog movies apparently. Moral of the story: don’t try and befriend a porcupine.



You probably have thought about Casper in the last decade, but have you really *thought* about it? This little computer-animated fantasy number was ahead of its time. Set in the town ‘Friendship’, two small boys are scared out of a mansion by a ghost called Casper and you know the rest. Casper falls in love with a chick on telly and hatches a plan to get her into his ghost dungeon and basically it was the soundtrack to many birthday sleepovers.

Fly Away Home


Released the following year was non-dog film, Fly Away Home. Loosely based on a true story, the film follows a young Anna Paquin, who recently lost her mother, as she finds a bunch of geese eggs, raises them to lil hatchlings and teaches them to follow planes. Classic. This feel-good sad-com probably wasn’t at the top of your Blockbuster pile but it definitely got a fair run in the VCR in its heyday.



If you don’t remember this classic, you didn’t live through the nineties. To refresh your memory - basically, the master and overlord of string dies and leaves his dilapidated old factory to his two sons. They are literally the most incapable human beings in the entire world and eventually the house is destroyed by a small rat. It’s kind of a painful movie to watch but it’s worth it for the #mems.



If, like me, the trailer to this movie gave you nightmares well into your teens, then you’re still a little frightened to hit it up on Youtube so I’ll give you a brief rundown. This early-nineties science fiction comedy is based on the old SNL sketches and features real-life aliens who are stranded on earth with MASSIVE heads. It’s literally what nightmares are made of and it’s probably not worth a re-watch but enjoy a few mental throwbacks before you put that back boy to bed for another two decades.

A Bug’s Life


Another animated classic that probably filled your fair share of afternoons is A Bug’s Life. This insect extravaganza is some tidy little subliminal messaging about standing up to your bullies and not dropping your lunch in the river. It’s also the most recent movie in this list and will probably trigger memories of the other bug movie released in the same year - Antz.

The Swan Princess


Speaking in pure bias, this is the only movie on the list that matters. If you weren’t shipping Odette and Derek from the ripe old age of three, then you don’t believe in true love. And if you weren’t mimicking Jean-Bob’s accent until your mum locked you in your bedroom and confiscated your Baby Born, then you weren’t living your best life. Bonus points for also having the soundtrack memorised and written on the inside of your year one maths book.

Looking to watch something a little more current? Here's everything you should be binge-watching this February.

Image credit:

This Banh Mi Sandwich Is Possibly The Best in L.A.

This Banh Mi Sandwich Is Possibly The Best in L.A.

Los Angeles Magazine

Annnnnd it’s under $4

Melbourne’s Coolest Gift Delivery Services

Melbourne’s Coolest Gift Delivery Services

by James Shackell @ The A List | The Urban List

Brownie points. We’re all searching for them. Little gestures that stamp our names in the good books (and mean we won’t have to touch the vacuum for at least two weeks). Well good news, guys—we found a way to score the brownie points mother load. And the only finger you’ll need to lift is the muscular one that controls your mouse. Introducing Melbourne’s coolest gift delivery services.

Gift deliveries are appropriate for the following occasions: anniversaries, apologies, getting busted skipping ahead on Netflix seasons you promised to watch together, the birth of your first child, world peace, snoring too loudly, leaving tiny amounts of milk in the bottle and then putting it back in the fridge, or because you want a foot massage. Let's do this:

Hello Botanical

Everyone loves a good old-fashioned indoor plant, and that's where Hello Botanical comes in. Hello Botanical deliver for free Melbourne wide, and you can select from indoor plant hits such as the Monstera, Umbrella Tree, Variegated Jade, or String of Beans. It all turns up beautifully presented in a hessian pot holder. Ideal for the home, or even to brighten up that office space for someone.

As a special for Valentine's Day the Hello Botanical Team are offering $10 off their large plants. All you have to do is enter the code HELLOVALENTINE.


Manflowers’ tagline is “beer delivered to babe”, which pretty much sums up their business model. You get online and order a rotating bouquet of Australian craft beer (at the moment it’s four varieties of Sample), and Manflowers delivers it to your babe, who then drinks the beer and loves you for all time. The packaging is all class, and you can even attach a little message.

Daily Blooms

There are a bunch of flower delivery services in Melbourne (see what we did there?) but our pick is Daily Blooms. Owner and entrepreneur Courtney hits Melbourne’s finest flower markets early each morning, picking what’s in bloom, and then sculpts an original flower arrangement based on her daily finds. Flowers plus delivery will set you back $30, and you can check today’s arrangement each morning on Instagram.


The guys that took the stuffiness out of wine, Vinomofo are one of the fastest growing companies in Australia (they’ve actually just expanded into Singapore). Their ethos is pretty simple: delicious wine, zero wank, and cheap deliveries from some of Australia’s best vineyards to your mouth. There’s a range of prices and varieties, but the guys at ‘the ‘Fo’ only sell the wines they love, so you know you’re getting a curated selection. Love the attitude too.

Magnum & Queens

Another online wine merchant that’s popped up in the last few months. Magnum & Queens is run by top Melbourne sommelier Virginia Selleck, so you know they’re only stocking the good stuff. Each month they release a beautifully packaged selection under a new theme, boxed up and delivered to your nearest and dearest. You can order three, six or a mighty 12-bottle pack, and each wine comes with a handy cheat sheet, detailing any relevant tasting notes (if you’re lost, just say ‘oaky’) and a wine-based recipe.

Little Cupcakes

Gorgeous cupcakes with same day delivery? F*ck yes. Little Cupcakes do little cupcakes (go figure), and the flavour range is pretty impressive. You can order a simple selection, or pick out individual sweets like Belgian Chocolate, Cherry Ripe, Oreo and Dark Horse Coffee. Gluten intolerants can cheer up too—there’s a stodge-free range on offer, along with brownies and cookies if cupcakes aren’t really your jam. There’s even a couple of vegan flavours (think Black Velvet or Blueberry Pistachio).


Beauty sample boxes are all the rage at the moment, and Bellabox is probably the best of the bunch. You can sign up your partner for a monthly pamper pack that includes five or so beauty samples from various on-trend brands. If you like what you try, you can shop Bellabox’s online store and buy the real deal. You can tailor a plan to suit your giftee, and they’ll deliver the box wherever you want. It’ll sit you back just $17.95 a month, which is a steal when you consider the number of brownie points on offer.

Sorry Thanks I Love You

Says it all, doesn’t it? Whether you’re apologising for eating the last slice of cheesecake or expressing love through the medium of buying expensive stuff, Sorry Thanks I Love You has you covered. You can everything delivered through this thing. A selection of Bruny Island cheeses? Done. Smoked Tasmanian salmon? Sure thing. Gorgeous homewares, bespoke flower bouquets, craft beer—the sky’s the limit. The site helpfully arranges their gifts into different categories, depending on the power of your love, or the size or your f*ck up. Nice one.

Sweet Mickie

Love this idea. Delicious home-baked cinnamon and ginger cookies, covered in icing and stamped with any message you can think of. That’s the thinking behind Sweet Mickie, a tongue-in-cheek cookie delivery service based right here in Melbourne. You can order cookies with pre-prepared messages (‘Oral pleasure’ and ‘I f*cking love you’ caught our eye) or tailor your own cookie-message (you have to order 30+ cookies to get a custom quote, but hey, having too many cookies is low on the list of life’s Big Problems).


Socks and jocks have become a bit of a gag gift in recent years, but that's only because we didn't have Manrags. They're a premium socks and undies subscription service, and the only one that uses 100% Egyptian cotton. You can order a combo of socks and jocks, or just focus on the one (if, like us, your socks disappear regularly into some mysterious dimension beyond the regular boundaries of time and space). The colourful goods come packaged and delivered right to your man's door, and you can sign him up for month-by-month, 6-month or yearly packages. Nice.


A new bouquet delivery service that hooks you up direct with florists all over town. Apparently a lot of online flower sites just use stock photos and you don't really know what you're getting. Not these guys. Flowerfox also stock everything from $8 soaps and $25 succulents through to $100+ hampers and bouquets (you fancy fox, you). 


These guys have a motto: no more cellophane. Brewquet are an online beer delivery service that's trying to shake up the traditional 'gifting' industry (you know, the one that uses cellophane). The team handpicks some craft beers, throws in a pack of jerky or two, wraps the whole thing in a classy hessian bag, and delivers it straight to your loved one. You can even attach a cut note for that personal touch. 

Sweet Bouquets

Prepare to become an office legend. Just imagine how your significant other will react when a giant bouquet made from nothing but doughnuts arrives at their work? You'll go down in history as the greatest partner of all time. Sweet Bouquets can pick n' mix you a bespoke doughnut bouquet, or you can just sign up for a half dozen Nutella. Everyone loves Nutella, right?

Little Box Happiness 

Seasonal gift boxes full of happy products. That's kind of the thing at Little Box Of Happiness. There's a bunch of different themes and sizes to choose from, ranging from Bridesmaids packs to French drinking chocolate bath salts and organic basil seeds. All the things that make you go mmmm. 

Need some more inspo? (Or have a LOT of apologising to do?) You need our Ultimate Melbourne Gift Guide.

Image credit: Manflowers

Spiced Persimmon and Ginger Muffin Recipe

by Andrea Nguyen @ Viet World Kitchen

My parents adore bargains, especially the ones at their local Salvation Army on Wednesdays, when seniors receive a 25 percent discount. On October 12, 2016, they scored a charming set of English Royal Wessex Red Willow dishes for about $22 (discounted from the original $29.50). They bought it with the intention of gifting it to...

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5 World Nutella Day Creations You Need To Eat In Melbourne Today

5 World Nutella Day Creations You Need To Eat In Melbourne Today

by James Shackell @ The A List | The Urban List

If you didn’t know (and why would you, really) today is World Nutella Day. The one arbitrary day of the year that we celebrate the sweet, spreadable goodness that is Nutella. AKA The God Condiment

You can celebrate Nutella Day however you want. Go down to the supermarket, buy a big tub and smear it all over your body. Bake Nutella brownies. Dilute with water and bathe in it. We don’t really mind. But there are a few Melbourne venues who are getting in on the hazelnut action. Here are 5 Nutella celebrations happening in Melbourne today.

Free ‘Nutella Creations’ At Brunetti


If you haven’t checked out Brunetti’s new CBD cafe yet, this is a good excuse. They’ve created a custom menu of Nutella treats to celebrate World Nutella Day, and they’re giving them all away for FREE (to the first 1000 customers). We’re talking pancakes (with Nutella), croissants (with Nutella), Boombe (with Nutella), even Nutella cannoli (shotgun those). The giveaway starts at 7:30am and runs until they’re out of stock (so probably, 8am). Leave the gun, take the cannoli.

Where: Brunetti, 250 Flinders Ln When: From 7:30am For more info, click here.

Nutella Gelato At Piccolina

Collingwood & Hawthorn

This one isn’t free, but it IS delicious. It’s Piccolina’s cult favourite, Better Than Nutella gelato. A gluten-free ice-cream made from roasted hazelnuts, chocolate and cocoa powder. You can get it today at either the Hawthorn store or the new Collingwood digs. If you drop by Collingwood, you can even get liquefied Better Than Nutella, which is constantly flowing from the chocolate tap behind the pozzetti bar.

Where: Piccolina Gelateria, Collingwood & Hawthorn When: Monday 5 February For more info, click here.

Nutella Doughnuts At Doughnut Time


Doughnut Time celebrates World Nutella Day like it’s a religious experience. Last year their Montella Jordan sold out in hours, and this year they’ve created something new—Tella She’s Dreaming. A Nutella-filled, chocolate glazed, Nutella drizzled, Nutella brownie, with red, white and black sprinkles, topped with gold leaf and a mini Nutella jar. This thing sounds like it should be illegal. You can get them in-store until EOD today. Check Doughnut time’s website for various locations.

Where: All Doughnut Time stores When: Monday 5 February For more info, click here.

Free Nutella Hot Cross Buns At Oasis Bakery


Three words: ‘brioche Nutella hot cross buns’. Two more words: ‘totally free’. Yep, that’s what’s happening at the famous Oasis Bakery in Murrumbeena today. The first 100 people through the door will get their hands on a fresh-baked brioche Nutella hot cross bun. These things sold like hot cakes last year (very like hot cakes really....exactly like hot cakes) so get in quick. Don’t stress though—if you miss out on a freebie you can still buy a pack to take home. Oasis are baking plenty.

Where: Oasis Bakery, 993 North Rd When: From 8am, Monday 5 February For more info, click here.

Nutella Martinis At Hu Tong


Hu Tong Prahran have taken a slightly different tack for World Nutella Day. They’ve decided to combine Nutella with booze to create a Nutella-tini. Basically, Nutella mixed with Frangelico, vodka and Baileys, complete with a hazelnut rim. Nutella for adults, essentially, and further proof that adding ‘tini’ to anything makes it at least 60% more delicious. The Nutella-tini is best enjoyed with a small plate of dumplings, and then several more plates of dumplings.

Where: Hu Tong, 62 Commerical Rd, Prahran When: Monday 5 February For more info, click here

Feel like some health after all that Nutella? You can get these Kombucha cocktails at the Garden State Hotel. 

Image credit: Hu Tong


by shoshannah @ AWESOME AMSTERDAM

Amsterdam has a great selection of vintage clothing stores for men, women and kids. Here are a few shops we like! Do you love the style of vintage clothing? Or maybe you just like a good deal on pre-worn quality clothing? Either way, Amsterdam has a good selection of vintage clothing stores for you. In…


The Moulin Rouge's Sexy Floorshow Now Includes Good Food in Addition to Tasteful Nudity

The Moulin Rouge's Sexy Floorshow Now Includes Good Food in Addition to Tasteful Nudity

by Vivian Song @ Munchies

Also, inexplicably, a tank full of giant snakes.

Greta Gerwig on Lady Bird, John Hughes, and Being “Ready” to Step Behind the Camera

Greta Gerwig on Lady Bird, John Hughes, and Being “Ready” to Step Behind the Camera

by Aisha Harris @ Brow Beat

The recent release of Lady Bird makes Greta Gerwig one of several directorial debuts this year to strike a resonant chord with audiences—it's self-assured and absent of clichés, and if you’ve seen it already, you’re probably aware that it’s the kind of movie that will make you want to go and call your mom as soon as its done. Saoirse Ronan stars as the titular character, a precocious Sacramento teen who’s desperate to escape her hometown and move to the East Coast for college, “where culture is.” The film follows her senior year of high school from 2002–03 and her evolving relationships with her best friend, her crushes, and her tough but loving mother Marian, played by Laurie Metcalf.

On the latest episode of Represent, Gerwig talks to Aisha Harris about how she crafted the contentious mother-daughter bond, the current wave of coming-of-age films emerging from female filmmakers like herself, and how she prepared to step behind the camera for the first time. Here is a lightly edited excerpt from that conversation. You can listen to the full interview in the audio player below.

Aisha Harris: You’ve worked as a writer and all these other jobs behind the scenes. Around the time of Frances Ha, you talked about the way in which you tried to make the scenes feel new every time. But you also have this desire with whatever you do first—the first impulse is the one that you connect with the most. Did that translate at all into what cues you took from your actors and how you directed them?

Greta Gerwig: Yeah. Well, I think so much of who I am as a director is my experience as an actor and as a writer and producer and other things I've done. Really, those years became my film school. I didn't go to film school, so I learned on set and I tried to keep my ears and eyes open to what was going on around me and seek out mentors and people who would give me advice and tell me how they were lighting a shot and what were we doing exactly. I was very lucky to find those people.

Then when I got this cast, which is truly a phenomenal cast—every single actor is extraordinary, and I had this intention when I wrote the script, but I needed great actors to do it. I wanted the audience to feel like they could follow any one character and there would be a whole movie there, and almost that you got this quality of leaning forward for everybody because you think, “What's that life? Who is that person, really? How did they get there? What was that decision?”

I needed actors who could bring that sense of complete life with a few brushstrokes, in a way, and to really fill out the reality of that life. Something that I tried to do was give actors as much information as I possibly could. I made lots of playlists and gave them books to read and talked to them about what I thought was going on, but also because I wrote it and was directing it, I also have this deep sense of needing to pass on. The little candle of the character needed to go to them.

As soon as I cast them, I almost symbolically was like, “Now, I don’t know. I don’t know. You know. You know the character better than I do, so now you start telling me, because I don’t want you to ever feel like I’m looking over your shoulder and fixing your work.” I think that so much of my job as a director is to create a safe, calm, free environment where people feel free to make mistakes. And that I hold the perimeter and that I say, “This space, once we’re rolling, once you’re working, there are no wrong answers. I want your biggest, craziest idea,” and really allowing them to reveal to me what it is that I was making. That is because I feel like the best work actors do is when they feel empowered.

Was there any character in particular who changed a lot from what you envisioned to what finally wound up on the screen? Or surprised you?

Yeah. I guess in a way, they all did. Once they’re embodied by an actor, they stop being the thing in my head. I felt this with every single character. As soon as the actor started performing the roles, it was as if a third person had entered the room. It wasn't me and it wasn't them—it was the character. I would get goosebumps and I would know instantly.

For example, Laurie Metcalf, I just offered her the part because she's a genius. Anyone in their right mind should work with Laurie Metcalf if they have a part and a chance. But some people auditioned for me and I felt, like, the hairs on my arms stand up. I was like, “That’s it!” Sometimes it was different, but it always felt exactly right.

In the last few years we've seen quite a few films that center around a coming of age story with a female character, directed by a female director. We have Lady Bird, obviously, but also Edge of Seventeen, Pariah from a few years ago, Diary of a Teenage Girl.


We have all of these, but I feel like when you and I—we’re close in age—when we were growing up, I'm not sure I can think of any that really spoke in the way these movies are speaking. Was there anything for you that you can recall from that time that might have inspired you now?

First of all, I wanna say those movies have all meant a lot to me. I remember when I watched Dee Rees’ Pariah, I was like, “Oh, great! Good! This is great. I've not seen this film ever before.” I felt the same way about Diary of a Teenage Girl and Edge of Seventeen actually came out just after we had finished principal photography. I, for one, selfishly am so pleased that these movies are being made because I'm interested in young women occupying personhood. It's something that I didn't see, actually, growing up. There were films that had some edge of it, but it didn't have the fullness of it. I felt like I was missing that. I loved John Hughes movies. I mean, I loved Pretty in Pink, I loved—

Was there an homage to Pretty in Pink in [Lady Bird] with the dress?

With the hair and the dress, yeah. I did think of that. I mean, something Saoirse and I had talked about a lot was this idea of, "What is the movie playing in her head, which is not the movie that she's in?" She would think that she is in a movie where she is going to find “the one.”

And go to prom.

And go to prom with her hot boyfriend who is “the one,” which you can totally empathize with that viewpoint, especially if you grew up like I did, watching movies where there was a "one." That was a big part of what it seemed like you were supposed to be doing as a young woman, was looking for “the one.” That's the structure of the universe that these films would set up. But definitely, of those movies, I would say Pretty in Pink is my favorite. There was an Australian movie I really loved, Flirting.

Oh, I haven't seen that one.

Oh, it's great. It features a very young Nicole Kidman and Thandie Newton.


Yeah, it's about a fancy boarding school in Australia and the kids who are on scholarships are otherwise ostracized. It's very tender and it's very good. I remember that was a movie where I was like, "Oh, you could do it but it could be real?" Even though I've never been to an Australian boarding school, I have no idea whether that's real or not. But yeah, certainly I think it's a very exciting time as a viewer to see these movies.

You've said that you feel as though you've put in your 10,000 hours, your Malcolm Gladwell practice, to get to where you are now. But when I think about men, especially young and up and coming male directors—obviously this translates to all industries, not just Hollywood—but men tend to jump in even when they're not “ready,” whereas women seem to think they need to be ready.

That's right.

Can you elaborate a bit more on that? Do you feel as though that was something you were consciously doing, or did it just feel like at this time, this was the right time to do it? Do you feel as though you were saying to yourself, "I'm not ready yet to make this?"

Well, I would say when I decided to make this movie, I guess I'd been working on the script, 2013 to 2014. By 2015 I was trying to get producers on and raise money and figure out how to make it. Looking back, I probably could have jumped in sooner, but I didn't have a script that I felt was ready. I felt like I wanted to be sure of myself. I don't regret any of the time that I spent. It was enormously useful, all of the time that I spent working with different directors.

I do think it's notable that I worked with the filmmaker Rebecca Miller. I worked with her right before I kicked into high gear on trying to get this film made. I don't think that's an accident. It wasn't conscious in terms of saying, “Oh, now I've worked with a female director and now I must really do this.” But the timeline is so close that you're like, “Well, clearly there's a connection here that I had worked with her.”

I had worked with other female directors, but I think for whatever reason, I was ready to hear it at that moment. Seeing her on set and that she'd written and directed this, I think it was something. It was a leading by example that I really responded to.

Which film were you working on?

I worked on Maggie's Plan with her.

Ah, right. Yes.

Yeah. I just adore her and we're very good friends now.

Was there something she said in particular or—just watching her, the way she directed, that might have kicked something or sparked something?

I spent a lot of time with her because I was one of the leads in the film. We had a lot of time to prepare. Just watching how she moved through the world and took control and commanded respect, but without ever trying to not be a woman. There was something about that—I had a professional crush on her. I started to dress like her, as you do with people you really like.

She's a mother. She has two sons and a stepson and she's an incredible writer and thinker and filmmaker and just being around her and seeing her occupy all these roles, but doing so—not effortlessly, because it is so much effort—but doing so with so much grace and humor. That thing I think you recognize in another person when they really have their power within, not power over, it's just emanating from them and they're not looking to put it on other people. They just have it inside them. That was very inspiring to see.

But this need to feel like you're perfect before you do anything, and the thing, just to go back to what you were saying before, that worries me about that with women is this not wanting to speak up if you don't understand something. Then you'll never learn it. That's the thing, particularly with filmmaking. It is such a long process to take something from the page all the way through to it being released. If you can't say, “Wait, I don't understand. What are we doing now?” and you're not in an environment where you feel like that's safe or that will be accepted, that that would prevent certain women from learning what they need to learn or moving forward because they're so scared to say that they don't know ’cause they're so worried they're gonna get kicked off or told that they don't know or, “See, she doesn't know what she's doing.”

I've talked to all of my particularly younger actress friends who've expressed some inclination to direct and they say, “Could I come shadow you?” It's like, “Come! Please! All of you, come. Ask me all the questions and find the people who will never make you feel stupid.”

Hong Kong’s favourite places for banh mi  – Vietnamese sandwiches

Hong Kong’s favourite places for banh mi – Vietnamese sandwiches

South China Morning Post

Vietnamese bakers took the French baguette, adapted it to the humid southeast Asian climate, and filled it with local flavours. For Hong Kong’s burgeoning banh mi brigade, success is all about the quality of the bread

Melbourne’s Third Burger Invitational Is Back This Weekend

Melbourne’s Third Burger Invitational Is Back This Weekend

by James Shackell @ The A List | The Urban List

It’s the question that keeps us up at night: who makes the best burger in Melbourne? We’ve actually recruited a professional burger eater to try and find out—but every year Melbourne’s burger scene evolves. New burgers emerge, old burger favourites bite the dust. It’s a never-ending quest.

But this weekend, Welcome To Thornbury are going to settle the issue once and for all. The annual Burger Invitational is back. And you’re all invited.

This is your chances to try burgers from Melbourne’s most famous burger bars. Guests can taste a little of everything, vote on their favourite stacks, and go in the draw to win a cool $300 Welcome To Thornbury voucher. (Think how many food truck burritos that could buy...)

The Burger Invitational battle will run over two days, and so far the line-up is looking pretty nuts. On Saturday you’ll taste the best from Betty’s Burgers, LA Burger, St. Burgs (we hope they bring their Doughnut Burger), Skipping Girl Takeaway and Benny Burger. On Sunday, you’ll get Leonard’s House of Love (represent), Burgertory, Gorilla Grill, Between 2 Buns and Betty’s Burgers.

Bonus: the guys from Bluebonnet BBQ will be slinging their famous ice-cream sandwiches across the two days. There will also be the usual range of craft beers and cocktails available from the bar.

So who will it be, Melbourne? Who’s cuisine reigns supreme? Only you can decide.

The Details

What: Melbourne Burger Invitational When: Saturday 10 February & Sunday 11 February For more info, click here

Hungry for more? Here are all the burgers you need to eat in Melbourne

Image credit: Gorilla Grill | Michelle Jarni

Celebrity Chef and Host of The Chew Mario Batali Has Been Accused of Groping by Four Women

Celebrity Chef and Host of The Chew Mario Batali Has Been Accused of Groping by Four Women

by Rachel Withers @ Brow Beat

Politics, film, journalism, comedy, the arts, and now, food. No high-profile industry is immune from the scourge of powerful sexual harassers, it seems.

Today’s alleged perp: Mario Batali, celebrated TV chef and head of restaurant empire Batali & Bastianich, whom at least four women have accused of sexual misconduct spanning decades. On Monday, Eater revealed the stories of four women, three of whom worked for Batali, who say the restaurant titan touched them inappropriately and without their consent.

The women’s stories are depressingly similar, and all revolve around some form of groping. One former employee says the chef would often grab her from behind, holding her tightly against his body, while another says he once made her straddle him. Batali did not confine his harassment to the workplace: Another former colleague, who had ceased working for Batali at the time, says he groped her breasts at a party, while the woman who has never worked for Batali was also groped by the “creepy” restauranteur she had just met after her wine spilled on her chest.

If there’s one thing that can be said for Batali, it’s that he may have offered the least despicable apology yet, following a range of high-profile apologies that have ranged from dismissive to deranged. In a statement to Eater, Batali said that the allegations matched up with his behavior and apologized for the hurt he had caused. (Note: had caused, not might have caused, Dustin Hoffman.)

I apologize to the people I have mistreated and hurt. Although the identities of most of the individuals mentioned in these stories have not been revealed to me, much of the behavior described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted. That behavior was wrong and there are no excuses. I take full responsibility and am deeply sorry for any pain, humiliation or discomfort I have caused to my peers, employees, customers, friends and family.
I have work to do to try to regain the trust of those I have hurt and disappointed. For this reason, I am going to step away from day-to-day operations of my businesses. We built these restaurants so that our guests could have fun and indulge, but I took that too far in my own behavior. I won’t make that mistake again. I want any place I am associated with to feel comfortable and safe for the people who work or dine there.
I know my actions have disappointed many people. The successes I have enjoyed are owned by everyone on my team. The failures are mine alone. To the people who have been at my side during this time — my family, my partners, my employees, my friends, my fans — I am grateful for your support and hopeful that I can regain your respect and trust. I will spend the next period of time trying to do that.

Batali will be stepping away from the day-to-day operations of his businesses, as well as his role as co-host of ABC’s The Chew, for an unspecified period of time. Eater is also reporting that the Food Network is canceling the release of six new episodes of Molto Mario, the show that made Batali famous in the late ’90s. “Food Network takes matters like this very seriously and we are putting relaunch plans for Molto Mario on hold,” said a representative from the network.

Update, Dec. 11, 2017, at 12:30 p.m.: The article has been updated to reflect the Food Network’s decision regarding Molto Mario.

The Daily Show Says the GOP Tax Plan Rewards People Who Made the “Good Choice” to Be Rich

The Daily Show Says the GOP Tax Plan Rewards People Who Made the “Good Choice” to Be Rich

by Rachel Withers @ Brow Beat

Very late into Friday night, millionaires got their first big win of the Trump administration—and for those among the struggling working class who supported Trump, their next big loss—with the passage of the GOP’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which included sweeping tax cuts that “make all those clenched smiles next to Trump totally worth it,” said Trevor Noah on Monday’s Daily Show.

Noah never stops smiling, but he was smiling through outrage at the GOP’s blatant favoritism toward those at the top. From slashing the corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent, to tax breaks for owners of private jets, wineries, golf courses, and those paying private school tuition, the bill lends a helping hand to the very, very, very rich. Noah congratulated the rich on their choices: “If you’re flying your kids to their private school on your personal jet from your golf course–winery, then your problems are finally over.”

Noah laid into the process by which the bill had been passed: Hurriedly, secretively, and with last-minute, handwritten additions that were hardly legible. The GOP finished their tax bill the same way Noah finishes exams: cramming in more details even after the teacher has said “pens down!” The 400-plus-page bill might matter a tiny bit more than Trevor Noah’s exams, though: “Instead of the difference between a B and the B minus, this is the difference between does the oil business get an extra $50 billion?”

Noah also lampooned Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, who seems to think that rich people didn’t just need but deserved a tax break. Grassley says they should be rewarded for their investments and that those who aren’t rich must have wasted money on “booze or women or movies.” That’s right, women.

“For people who decided to be rich instead of poor, good call,” added Noah. “ ’Cause this is going to be great for you, man. It’s a good choice. More people should make it.”

L.A. Weekly’s New Owners Fired the Staff in Favor of Unpaid Contributors, So I Contributed

L.A. Weekly’s New Owners Fired the Staff in Favor of Unpaid Contributors, So I Contributed

by Matthew Dessem @ Brow Beat

Things have been going pretty badly at L.A. Weekly! In October, Voice Media Group sold the paper to a shadowy corporation known as the Semanal Media Group, whose ownership was kept secret. Then, the new owners—still anonymous at the time—appointed Orange County Register opinion editor Brian Calle, a man who described his mission at his last position as “advancing the cause of free markets and free minds,” to run their new, historically left-wing, outlet. Last Wednesday, when the deal closed, Semanal and Calle abruptly fired the vast majority of the paper’s editorial staff; in the aftermath, contributor Keith Plocek published an article headlined “Who Owns L.A. Weekly?,” which was a strange question to ask in the pages of L.A. Weekly.

Things didn’t look up on Friday, when some of the paper’s new owners finally stepped forward. Calle, wildly misreading the room, answered Plocek’s article with his own, “And the New Owners Are …,” in which he took a giant dump on the people he’d just fired (L.A. Weekly “was once a richly influential and important cultural force in Los Angeles,” he lamented) and reassured readers that the paper had not fallen into the hands of “some Trumpista.”

In fact, as the O.C. Weekly reported, it had fallen into the hands of at least one “Trumpista”:  Mike Mugel, who donated $25,000 to the Trump Victory Committee. (Additionally, investor Andy Bequer is reportedly a member of a Facebook group called “CUBANS FOR TRUMP.”) L.A. Weekly’s new owners, it turned out, were mostly men from Orange County, many with right wing ties and at least one with a certain amount of contempt for the city whose newspaper he’d just bought. Attorney and investor Steve Mehr, who lives in Dana Point, told the Los Angeles Times, “We don’t have a cultural scene on par with New York and San Francisco. We want L.A. to rise to that level…” Inspiring!

The new L.A. Weekly, its owners revealed, had an incredible plan for bringing culture to Los Angeles: not paying the writers. But the search for unpaid contributors hit a snag over the weekend, when whoever was running the paper’s social media feed started headhunting by posting a since-deleted Tweet with this stock photo:

The word for the city’s residents is usually spelled “Angelenos,” which is exactly the sort of trivia you might expect a local alt-weekly to master. And the hits keep coming: columnist Henry Rollins quit in solidarity, former writers, including Jeff Weiss and April Wolfe, are calling for a boycott, celebrities like Mark Ruffalo and Ava DuVernay are supporting them, and advertisers are pulling out of the paper’s upcoming events. In short, it’s been a rough transition so far.

Which is why I’d like to help! As someone with a little experience in the “content business,” I can confidently predict that the biggest challenge for a newspaper with no writers is going to be the writing. And there’s only so much writing you can buy when you’re not willing to pay any money for it, no matter how many passionate, passionately stupid “Angelinos” you can trick into working for free. But! Although it’s probably not a big topic of study at the Claremont Institute, the right-wing think tank where Brian Calle worked before beginning his adventures in journalism, there’s a wide variety of written work in the public domain that belongs to all of us. Anyone can publish any of it, at any time, without paying a single writer a single thin dime!

For example, L.A. Weekly could publish Upton Sinclair’s The Brass Check, a book from 1919 about the way capital inevitably corrupts journalistic institutions, limiting the range of ideas presented to the American public in the service of shoveling more money into the pockets of the country’s richest people. That’s right, Upton Sinclair—excuse me, Pulitzer-Prize winner Upton Sinclair—is available to write for L.A. Weekly right now, today, for the decidedly non-princely salary of zero dollars and zero cents. I think the paper’s new owners will find Sinclair’s view of journalists, including himself, to be pretty compatible with their own:

We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping-jacks; they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men.

It’s true that it’s not a perfect work for L.A. Weekly, given that Sinclair hates the situation he’s describing, and hates the money men behind the scenes most of all. And as a piece of writing, it’s honestly not his best work: Sinclair seems to think that every time a newspaper declined to publish one of his letters to the editor, it did so as a deliberate blow against the working class, and he’s kept track of—and quotes from, extensively—those unpublished letters, as well as a dizzying collection of his own press clippings, good and bad. As a result, he cuts a sort of Ignatius J. Reilly figure, particularly in the first section of the book, a memoir in which he settles countless arcane scores with journalists and publishers. He spends an entire chapter defending himself in excruciating detail against the charge that he caused a scene at a hotel restaurant over a 10-cent discrepancy on the bill, and the less said about the section about his divorce, the better. It’s the kind of thing that would be hailed as brilliant if Nabokov wrote it on purpose, but the Kinbotian persona Sinclair sometimes presents here seems to have happened by accident. There’s also the occasional whiff of the prevailing social attitudes about gender, sex, race, and religion you’d expect in a book from 1919. But “unintentionally hilarious” still counts as hilarious, and with all its flaws, The Brass Check is a million times better than anything L.A. Weekly is going to get anyone to write for free. And since L.A. Weekly is currently providing the public with an object lesson in Sinclair’s central idea, it might as well print it word-for-word:

The thesis of this book is that our newspapers do not represent public interests, but private interests; they do not represent humanity, but property; they value a man, not because he is great, or good, or wise, or useful, but because he is wealthy, or of service to vested wealth.

I’ve emailed the complete text to and am also publishing as much of it as Slate’s content management system can handle without choking (thirty chapters—the full book is available online here) right here in this very blog post. Best of luck to the new owners of L.A. Weekly as they endeavor to bring culture, at long last, to the nation’s second-largest city!


A Study of American Journalism

By Upton Sinclair


The social body to which we belong is at this moment passing through one of the greatest crises of its history, a colossal process which may best be likened to a birth. We have each of us a share in this process, we are to a greater or less extent responsible for its course. To make our judgments, we must have reports from other parts of the social body; we must know what our fellow-men, in all classes of society, in all parts of the world, are suffering, planning, doing. There arise emergencies which require swift decisions, under penalty of frightful waste and suffering. What if the nerves upon which we depend for knowledge of this social body should give us false reports of its condition?

The first half of this book tells a personal story: the story of one man’s experiences with American Journalism. This personal feature is not pleasant, but it is unavoidable. If I were taking the witness-chair in a court of justice, the jury would not ask for my general sentiments and philosophic opinions; they would not ask what other people had told me, or what was common report; the thing they would wish to know—the only thing they would be allowed to know—is what I had personally seen and experienced. So now, taking the witness-stand in the case of the American public versus Journalism, I tell what I have personally seen and experienced. I take the oath of a witness: the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God. After this pledge, earnestly given and earnestly meant, the reader must either believe me, or he must exclude me from the company of civilized men.

My motive in writing this book is not to defend myself. We live in a time of such concentrated agony and peril that a man who would waste ink and paper on a defense of his own personality would be contemptible. What I tell you is: “Look! Here is American Journalism! Here is what it did to one man, systematically, persistently, deliberately, for a period of twenty years. Here are names, places, dates—such a mass of material as you cannot doubt, you cannot evade. Here is the whole thing, inside and out. Here are your sacred names, the very highest of your gods. When you have read this story, you will know our Journalism; you will know the body and soul of it, you will know it in such a way that you will not have to be told what it is doing to the movement for industrial freedom and self-government all over the world.”

In the second half of the book you will hear a host of other witnesses—several score of them, the wisest and truest and best people of our country. They are in every part of our country, in every class and every field of public life; and when you have heard their experiences, told for the most part in their own words, you must grant my claim concerning this book—that it is a book of facts. There are no mistakes in it, no guesses, no surmises; there are no lapses of memory, no inaccuracies. There are only facts. You must understand that I have had this book in mind for twenty years. For twelve years I have been deliberately collecting the documents and preserving the records, and I have these before me as I write. In a few cases of personal experiences I have relied upon my memory; but that memory is vivid, because the incidents were painful, they were seared into my soul, and now, as I recall them, I see the faces of the people, I hear their very tones. Where there is any doubt or vagueness in my recollection, or where there is hearsay testimony, I state the fact explicitly; otherwise, I wish the reader to understand that the incidents happened as I say they happened, and that upon the truth of every statement in this book I pledge my honor as a man and my reputation as a writer.

One final word: In this book I have cast behind me the proprieties usually held sacred; I have spared no one, I have narrated shameful things. I have done this, not because I have any pleasure in scandal; I have not such pleasure, being by nature impersonal. I do not hate one living being. The people I have lashed in this book are to me not individuals, but social forces; I have exposed them, not because they lied about me, but because a new age of fraternity is trying to be born, and they, who ought to be assisting the birth, are strangling the child in the womb.



Once upon a time there was a little boy; a nice little boy, whom you would have liked if you had known him—at least, so his mother says. He had been brought up in the traditions of the old South, to which the two most important things in the world were good cooking and good manners. He obeyed his mother and father, and ate his peas with a fork, and never buttered the whole slice of his bread. On Sunday mornings he carefully shined his shoes and brushed his clothes at the window, and got into a pair of tight kid gloves and under a tight little brown derby hat, and walked with his parents to a church on Fifth Avenue. On week-days he studied hard and obeyed his teachers, and in every field of thought and activity he believed what was told him by those in authority. He learned the catechism and thought it was the direct word of God. When he fell sick and the doctor came, he put himself in the doctor’s hands with a sense of perfect trust and content; the doctor knew what to do, and would do it, and the little boy would get well.

The boy’s grandfather had been a Confederate naval officer, drowned at sea. The boy’s father had spent his youth in Virginia during the agonies of the Civil War, thus missing most of his education. After the war the family was ruined, and the father had to enter into competition with Yankee “hustle,” handicapped by a Southern gentleman’s quaint notions of dignity, and also by a Southern gentleman’s weakness for mint-juleps. So the last week’s board bill was generally a matter of anxiety to the family. But always, no matter how poor the family might be, the little boy had a clean white collar, and a copy of the New York Sunevery morning. This paper was beautifully printed, smooth and neat; the little boy knew all its peculiarities of type, and he and his father and his mother accepted every word they read in it, both the news-columns and the editorial page, precisely as they accepted the doctor’s pills and the clergyman’s sermons, the Bible and the multiplication table and Marian Harland’s cookbook.

The New York Sun was edited by one of the bitterest cynics that ever lived in America. He had been something of a radical in his early days, and had turned like a fierce wolf upon his young ideals. He had one fixed opinion, which was that everything new in the world should be mocked at and denounced. He had a diabolical wit, and had taught a tradition to his staff, and had infected a good part of American Journalism with the poison of his militant cynicism. Once every twenty-four hours the little boy absorbed this poison, he took it for truth, and made all his ideas of it.

For example, there were women who were trying to be different from what women had always been. There was a thing called “Sorosis.” The boy never knew what “Sorosis” was; from the Sun he gathered that it was a collection of women who wanted to have brains, and to take part in public affairs—whereas the Sun acidly considered that woman’s place was the home. And the boy found it easy to agree with this. Did not the boy’s grandmother make the best ginger-cakes of any grandmother in the whole city of Baltimore? Did not his mother make the best chocolate-cake and the best “hot short-cake”—that is, whenever the family could escape from boarding-houses and have a little kitchen of its own. The boy was enormously fond of chocolate-cake and short- cake, and of course he didn’t want women neglecting their duties for fool things such as “Sorosis.”

Also there were the Populists. The little boy had never seen a Populist, he had never been given an opportunity to read a Populist platform, but he knew all about the Populists from the funny editorials of Charles A. Dana. The Populists were long-haired and wild-eyed animals whose habitat was the corn-fields of Kansas. The boy knew the names of a lot of them, or rather the nick-names which Dana gave them; he had a whole portrait-gallery of them in his mind. Once upon a time the Sun gave some statistics from Kansas, suggesting that the Populists were going insane; so the little boy took his pen in hand and wrote a letter to the editor of the Sun, gravely rebuking him. He had never expected to read in the columns of the Sun a suggestion that Populists might go insane. And the Sun published this feeble product of its own “smartness.”

Later on the boy discovered the New York Evening Post, the beau ideal of a gentleman’s newspaper, and this became for years his main source of culture. The Evening Post was edited by E. L. Godkin, a scholar and a lover of righteousness, but narrow, and with an abusive tongue. From him the boy learned that American politics were rotten, and he learned the cause of the rottenness: First, there was an ignorant mob, composed mainly of foreigners; and second, there were venal politicians who pandered to this mob. Efforts were continually being made by gentlemen of decency and culture to take the government away from these venal politicians, but the mob was too ignorant, and could not be persuaded to support a clean government. Yet the fight must be kept up, because conditions were going from bad to worse. The boy witnessed several “reform campaigns,” conducted mainly by the Evening Post and other newspapers. These campaigns consisted in the publication of full-page exposures of civic rottenness, with denunciations of the politicians in office. The boy believed every word of the exposures, and it never occurred to him that the newspapers might be selling more copies by means of them; still less did it occur to him that anybody might be finding in these excitements a means of diverting the mind of the public from larger and more respectable forms of “graft.”

There was a candidate for district attorney, William Travers Jerome by name; a man with a typical Evening Post mind, making an ideal Evening Post candidate. He conducted a “whirlwind” campaign, speaking at half a dozen meetings every evening, and stirring his audience to frenzy by his accounts of the corruption of the city’s police-force. Men would stand up and shout with indignation, women would faint or weep. The boy would sit with his finger-nails dug into the palms of his hands, while the orator tore away the veils from subjects which were generally kept hidden from little boys.

The orator described the system of prostitution, which was paying its millions every year to the police of the city. He pictured a room in which women displayed their persons, and men walked up and down and inspected them, selecting one as they would select an animal at a fair. The man paid his three dollars, or his five dollars, to a cashier at the window, and received a brass check; then he went upstairs, and paid this check to the woman upon receipt of her favors. And suddenly the orator put his hand into his pocket and drew forth the bit of metal. “Behold!” he cried. “The price of a woman’s shame!”

To the lad in the audience this BRASS CHECK was the symbol of the most monstrous wickedness in the world. Night after night he would attend these meetings, and next day he would read about them in the papers. He was a student at college, living in a lodging-house room on four dollars a week, which he earned himself; yet he pitched in to help this orator’s campaign, and raised something over a hundred dollars, and took it to the Evening Post candidate at his club, interrupting him at dinner, and no doubt putting a strain on his patience. The candidate was swept into office in a tornado of excitement, and did what all Evening Post candidates did and always do—that is, nothing. For four long years the lad waited, in bewilderment and disgust, ending in rage. So he learned the grim lesson that there is more than one kind of parasite feeding on human weakness, there is more than one kind of prostitution which may be symbolized by the BRASS CHECK.


The boy, now become a youth, obtained a letter of introduction from his clergyman to the editor of his beloved Evening Post, and at the age of sixteen was given a trial as reporter. He worked for a week collecting odd scraps of news, and when the week was over he had earned the generous sum of two dollars and sixty-seven cents. This was his first and last experience as newspaper reporter, and it confirmed his boyish impression of the integrity of the journalistic profession. His work had consisted of compiling obituary notices about leading citizens who had died. “John T. McGurk, senior partner of McGurk and Isaacson, commission- merchants of 679 Desbrosses Street, died yesterday of cirrhosis of the liver at his home, 4321 George Washington Avenue, Hoboken. Mr. McGurk was 69 years of age, and leaves a widow and eleven children. He was a member of the Elks, and president of the North Hoboken Bowling Association.” And these facts the Evening Post printed exactly as he had written them. In a book which will not have much to say in favor of American Journalism, let this fidelity to truth, and to the memory of the blameless McGurk, have its due meed of praise.

The youth took to writing jokes and jingles, at which he earned twice as much as the Evening Post had paid him. Later on he took to writing dime-novels, at which he made truly fabulous sums. He found it puzzling that this cheap and silly writing should be the kind that brought the money. The editors told him it was because the public wanted that kind; but the youth wondered—might not at least part of the blame lie with the editors, who never tried giving anything better? It was the old problem—which comes first, the hen or the egg?

We have spoken jestingly of the traditions of the old South, in which the youth was brought up; but the reader should not get a false impression of them—in many ways they were excellent traditions. For one thing, they taught the youth to despise a lie; also to hate injustice, so that wherever in his life he encountered it, his whole being became a blaze of excitement. Always he was striving in his mind to discover the source of lies and injustice—why should there be so much of them in the world? The newspapers revealed the existence of them, but never seemed to know the causes of them, nor what to do about them, further than to support a reform candidate who did nothing but get elected. This futility in the face of the world’s misery and corruption was maddening to the youth.

He had rich relatives who were fond of him, so that he was free to escape from poverty into luxury; he had the opportunity to rise quickly in the world, if he would go into business, and devote his attention thereto. But would he find in business the ideals which he craved? He talked with business men, also he got the flavor of business from the advertisements in the newspapers—and he knew that this was not what he was seeking. He cultivated the friendship of Jesus, Hamlet and Shelley, and fell in love with the young Milton and the young Goethe; in them he found his own craving for truth and beauty. Here, through the medium of art, life might he ennobled, and lifted from the muck of graft and greed.

So the youth ran away and buried himself in a hut in the wilds of Canada, and wrote what he thought was the great American novel. It was a painfully crude performance, but it had a new moral impulse in it, and the youth really believed that it was to convert the world to ways of love and justice. He took it to the publishers, and one after another they rejected it. They admitted that it had merit, but it would not sell. Incredible as it seemed to the youth, the test by which the publishers judged an embryo book and its right to be born, was not whether it had vision and beauty and a new moral impulse; they judged it as the newspapers judged what they published—would it sell? The youth earned some money and published the book himself, and wrote a preface to tell the world what a wonderful book it was, and how the cruel publishers had rejected it. This preface, together with the book, he sent to the leading newspapers; and thus began the second stage of his journalistic experiences!

Two newspapers paid attention to his communication—the New York Times, a respectable paper, and the New York American, a “yellow” paper. The American sent a woman reporter, an agreeable and friendly young lady, to whom the author poured out his soul. She asked for his picture, saying that this would enable her to get much more space for the story; so the author gave his picture. She asked for his wife’s picture; but here the author was obdurate. He had old-fashioned Southern notions about “newspaper notoriety” for ladies; he did not want his wife’s picture in the papers. There stood a little picture of his wife on the table where the interview took place, and after the reporter had left, it was noticed that this picture was missing. Next day the picture was published in the New York American, and has been published in the New York American every year or two since. The author, meantime, has divorced his first wife and married a second wife—a fact of which the newspapers are fully aware; yet they publish this picture of the first wife indifferently as a picture of the first wife and of the second wife. When one of these ladies says or does a certain thing, the other lady may open her paper in the morning and receive a shock!

Both the New York Times and the New York American published interviews with the young author. It had been his fond hope to interest people in his book and to cause them to read his book, but in this he failed; what both the interviews told about was his personality. The editors had been amused by the naïve assumption of a young poet that he might have something of importance to say to the world; they had made a “human interest” story out of it, a journalistic tidbit to tickle the appetites of the jaded and worldly-wise. They said scarcely anything about the contents of the book, and as a result of the two interviews, the hungry young author sold precisely two copies!

Meantime he was existing by hack-work, and exploring the world in which ideas are bought and sold. He was having jokes and plots of stories stolen; he was having agreements broken and promises repudiated; he was trying to write worth-while material, and being told that it would not sell; he was trying to become a book-reviewer, and finding that the only way to succeed was to be a cheat. The editor of the Independent or the Literary Digest would give him half a dozen books to read, and he would read them, and write an honest review, saying that there was very little merit in any of them: whereupon, the editor would decide that it was not worth while to review the books, and the author would get nothing for his work. If, on the other hand, he wrote an article about a book, taking it seriously, and describing it as vital and important, the editor would conclude that the book was worth reviewing, and would publish the review, and pay the author three or four dollars for it.

This, you understand, was the “literary world,” in which ideas, the most priceless possession of mankind, were made the subject of barter and sale. In every branch of it there were such petty dishonesties, such tricks of the trade. There were always ten times as many people trying to get a living as the trade would support. They were clutching at chances, elbowing each other out of the way and their efforts were not rewarded according to their love of truth and beauty, but according to quite other factors. They were dressing themselves up and using the “social game,” they were posing and pretending, the women were using the sex-lure. And everywhere, when they pretended to care about literature and ideas, they were really caring about money, and “success” because it would bring money. Everywhere, above all things else, they hated and feared the very idea of genius, which put them to shame, and threatened with annihilation their petty gains and securities.

From these things the youth fled into the wilderness again, living in a tent with his young wife, and writing a story in which he poured out his contempt upon the great Metropolis of Mammon. This was “Prince Hagen,” and he sent it to the Atlantic Monthly, and there came a letter from the editor, Professor Bliss Perry, saying that it was a work of merit and that he would publish it. So for weeks the young author walked on the top of the clouds. But then came another letter, saying that the other members of the Atlantic staff had read the story, and that Professor Perry had been unable to persuade them to see it as he saw it. “We have,” said he, “a very conservative