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The Hollywood Reporter hosted the inaugural “Raising Our Voices: Setting Hollywood’s Inclusion Agenda” luncheon, presented by Walmart at the Maybourne Beverly Hills on Wednesday, April 20th.

“Raising Our Voices” brings together the industry’s most influential and inspiring executives, storytellers and thought-leaders for a groundbreaking series of discussions on the state and future of Hollywood’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) movement.

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 20: (L-R) Troy Kotsur and Geena Davis attend The Hollywood Reporter’s Raising Our Voices, presented by Walmart, at The Maybourne Beverly Hills on April 20, 2022 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for The Hollywood Reporter )

During the program, keynote speaker Marlee Matlin (Academy Award-winning actor, star of Apple Studios’ 2022 “Best Picture” Oscar-winner CODA and disability advocate) was introduced by Troy Kotsur (2022 “Best Supporting Actor” Oscar-winner, CODA). During the speech, Matlin discussed the lack of representation of the deaf and disabled community within the entertainment industry and the importance of working together to help amplify these authentic and diverse voices.

Additional key moments from the program included:

  • Bird Runningwater (producer and global Indigenous activist) and Crystal Echo Hawk (President and CEO at IllumiNative) opened the program and discussed the importance of inclusion.
  • Nekesa Mumbi Moody (Editorial Director of The Hollywood Reporter) introduced Geena Davis (Oscar-winning actor, Founder/Chair, The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, The Bentonville Film Festival) who recognized the need for more female inclusion within children and family media and made it her career goal to bring about more diversity and inclusion in front of and behind the camera.
  • Geena Davis introduced Jean Batthany (Walmart Chief Creative Officer) who discussed Walmart’s commitment to driving greater equity and the power of Hollywood to inspire systemic change in society.
  • Rebecca Sun (The Hollywood Reporter’s Senior Editor, Diversity and Inclusion) introduced Dr. Yalda Uhls (UCLA assistant adjunct professor and Founder of the Center for Scholars and Storytellers) who shared details regarding data included in the first inclusion report in 2020 and how diversity affects Hollywood production.
  • Stacey Wilson Hunt (award-winning entertainment journalist) led the State of Inclusion in Hollywood panel, which included questions posed to Alex Schmider (Director of Transgender Representation, GLAAD), Dr. Sharoni Little (Head of Global Inclusion Strategy at CAA), Gloria Calderón Kellett (writer, producer, director and actor), Latasha Gillespie (Head of Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Amazon Studios, Prime Video and IMDb), Samata Narra (Senior Vice-President, Equity + Inclusion, Content, Warner Bros. Discovery) and Wilmer Valderrama (actor and activist).
  • Julie Gehrki (Vice President of Philanthropy, Walmart) and Tony Waller (Vice President, Constituent Relations and Racial Equity, Walmart) discussed Walmart’s efforts to advance racial equity and announced a $1 million grant to the Ghetto Film School to create a storytelling training program for Black businesses in partnership with WOCStar Capital.
  • Colleen Bataille (Head of Marketing and Communications, WOCStar Capital) and Ghetto Film School student, Alyse Arteaga discussed how Walmart’s grant allows the organizations to help Black businesses market their companies and secure capital through storytelling, in turn helping to grow their businesses.
  • Carlos Lopez Estrada discussed the Ghetto Film School’s mission to teach its students how to use their voices to tell authentic, impactful stories and how the support from Walmart aligns with this mission.
  • Richie Siegel (Co-founder and President of Inevitable Foundation) and Nic Novicki (Founder and Director of the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge) discussed representation and accommodation for disabled individuals. Novicki also outlined the goals of the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge.
  • Heather Rossi (American Sign Language interpreter and chief ASL consultant on CODA), Jack Jason, Justin Maurer and Rorri Burton acted as interpreters during the program.

Additional notable talent in attendance included Amy Landecker, Daniel Durant and Natalie Morales.

 

ElizaBeth Taylor is a journalist for Times Square Chronicles and is a frequent guest at film, fashion and art events throughout New York City and Los Angeles due to her stature as The Sensible Socialite.Passionate about people ElizaBeth spent many years working as a travel reporter and television producer after graduating with high honors from University of Southern California. The work has afforded her the opportunity to explore Europe, Russia, South America, Asia, Australia and the Middle East. It has greatly influenced the way in which ElizaBeth sees a story and has created a heightened awareness for the way people around the world live today.

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Les Enfants du Paradis, Children of Paradise Gets Shown at MAD

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The Museum of Arts and Design presented a screening of Les Enfants du Paradis. This iconic performance serves as inspiration for several works presented at MAD. For those who are looking for a fabulous theater/screening room, I recommend this highly.

Les Enfants du Paradis, Children of Paradise is a two-part French romantic drama film by Marcel Carné, produced under Nazi war conditions in 1943, 1944, and early 1945 in both Vichy France and Occupied France. Set in the theatrical world of 1830s Paris, Children of Paradise is set in the theatrical world of Paris, centered on the area around the Funambules theatre, situated on the “Boulevard du Crime”.

The film revolves around a beautiful and charismatic courtesan, Garance (Arletty) and the four men who love her. Baptiste Deburau (the brilliant Jean-Louis Barrault) the mime , the actor Frédérick Lemaître (Pierre Brasseur), the thief Pierre François Lacenaire (Marcel Herrand), and the aristocrat Édouard de Montray (Louis Salou). All based on real French personalities of the 1820s and 1830s.  Garance is briefly intrigued/involved with them all, but leaves them when they attempt to force her to love on their terms, rather than her own. The mime Baptiste is the one who suffers the most in pursuit of the unattainable Garance.

Pierre Brasseur, Arletty

Many have called Les Enfants du Paradis“, the best movie ever made”. A 1995 vote by 600 French critics and professionals named it the “Best Film Ever”.

Etienne Decroux, Jean-Louis Barrault, Arletty

The first act is called Boulevard of Crime, where we first meet young actor and womanizer, Frédérick Lemaître, dreams of becoming a star. He meets and flirts with Garance, a beautiful woman who earns her living by modestly exhibiting her physical charms in a carnival show. Garance staves off Frédérick’s advances and goes to visit one of her acquaintances, Pierre-François Lacenaire, a rebel who has an organized criminal enterprises. Garance is accused of stealing a man’s gold watch but a mime Baptiste Deburau acts out that Lacenaire is in fact the guilty party. Baptiste, falls immediately in love with Garance, saving a flower she thanked him with. Baptiste’s father is one of the stars at the Funambules. The daughter of the theatre director, Nathalie, who is also a mime, is deeply in love with Baptiste. A used-clothes peddler named Jéricho reads in her palm that she will marry the man she loves. When a fight breaks out Baptiste and Frédérick manage to calm the crowd improvising a mime act, thus saving the day’s receipts. Later that night, Baptiste catches sight of Garance with Lacenaire. When he invites Garance to dance, he is thrown out of the restaurant by Avril, one of Lacenaire’s thugs. He meets Garance, for whom he finds a room at the same boarding house where he and Frédérick live. After declaring his love, Baptiste flees Garance’s room when she says she doesn’t feel the same way, despite her clear invitation to stay. When Frédérick hears Garance singing in her room, which is next to his, he quickly joins her.

Maria Casarès, Jean-Louis Barrault

Baptiste becomes the star of the Funambules, performing with Garance and Frédérick, who have become lovers. Baptiste is tormented by their affair, while Nathalie, who is convinced that she and Baptiste are “made for each other”, suffers from his lack of love for her.

Garance is visited in her dressing room by the Count Édouard de Montray, a wealthy who offers her his fortune if she will agree to become his mistress. Garance is repelled and rejects his proposition. The count nonetheless offers her his protection, which later unjustly suspected ofrobbery and murder attempt by Lacenaire and Avril she accepts.

Act two called The Man in White takes place several years later, Frédérick has become famous, but is debt ridden and unliked. He is starring a play he dislikes and ridicules it. Despite the play being a smashing success, the play’s three fussy authors challenge him to a duel. He accepts and when he returns to his dressing room, Frédérick is confronted by Lacenaire, who intends to rob and kill him. However, the criminal is an amateur playwright and strikes up a friendship with the actor instead. He and Avril serve as Frédérick’s seconds the next morning, when the actor arrives at the duel dead drunk.

In the meantime Baptiste is enjoying even greater success as a mime at the Funambules. When Frédérick goes to a performance the day after surviving the duel, he is ends up in the same box as Garance. She has been attending the Funambules every night incognito to watch Baptiste perform. She knows she has always been genuinely in love with him. Frédérick suddenly finds himself jealous for the first time in his life. He uses this to finally be able to play the role of Othello. Garance asks Frédérick to tell Baptiste of her presence, but Nathalie, now Baptiste’s wife, is informed by the spiteful rag-man Jéricho. She sends their small son to Garance’s box to mortify her with their family’s happiness. By the time Frédérick alerts Baptiste and he rushes to find her, the box is empty.

When Garance returns to the Count’s luxurious mansion, she finds Lacenaire waiting for her. Lacenaire satisfies himself that Garance has no love for him and, on his way out, encounters the Count, who is rude to him. Lacenaire reacts to the Count’s challenge with threats, revealing the knife at his belt. Garance declares to the Count that she will never love him since she is already in love with another, but declares she will continue to try to please him.

At Frédérick’s performance of Othello, the Count, Garance, Lacenaire and Baptiste are all in attendance. Lacenaire and the Count verbally spar and Lacenaire takes Frédérick’s side. The Count attempts to humiliate Lacenaire takes revenge by calling him a cuckold and, dramatically pulling back a curtain, reveals Garance in Baptiste’s embrace on the balcony. The two lovers slip away to spend the night together in Garance’s former room at the Great Post House.

The next morning, at a Turkish bath, Lacenaire assassinates the Count, which in all honesty makes no sense. He then calmly sits to wait for the police and meet his “destiny”, which is to die on the scaffold. At the rooming house, Nathalie walks in on Baptiste and Garance. Garance leaves to prevent a duel between Frédérick and the Count, not knowing he has been murdered, but Nathalie blocks her way, stating she has spent the past six years married to Baptiste. Garance responds that she has lived with Baptiste for six years as well, that she felt him every day and night even though she was with another. Nathalie begs Baptiste, but he runs after Garance who becomes lost in the frantic Carnival crowd.

What makes this film so festinating is Les Enfants du Paradis was shot in Paris and Nice during the Nazi occupation and released in 1945. The films designer and composer, both Jews were sought by the Nazis. Carne was forced to hire pro-Nazi collaborators as extras; they did not suspect they were working next to resistance fighters. The Nazis banned all films over about 90 minutes in length, so Carne simply made two films, confident he could show them together after the war was over. The film opened in Paris right after the liberation, and ran for 54 weeks. It is said to play somewhere in Paris every day.

Though Arletty is a little too old to play the courtesan, the acting in this film is exquisite. The sets, costumes, cinematography, the writing and direction still hold up today. There is a piece of the plot that makes no sense, but the overall theme that we are all trapped in a circus that keeps us trapped is beyond brilliant. Few achievements in the world of cinema can equal it and there is a reason this piece holds up under the ravages of time.

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Happy Chanukah Day 2: Light One Candle With The Carney’s

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“Light One Candle” is a song by the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary. This popular Chanukah song was performed in concerts starting in 1982 at Carnegie Hall, before recording it for their 1986 studio album No Easy Walk to Freedom.

At The Carney’s concert in 2019 I was introduced to this song. Reeve as a young child was part of the children’s choir to sing back up at Carnegie Hall.

I feel in love with the lyric and sentiment so from T2C to you we wish you a happy Hanukkah

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Astral Tequila Honors the Hispanic Heritage Month with Incredible Sips and More

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Hispanic Heritage Month is a glorious time to honor the rich traditions of the proud Latin and Hispanic cultures. It is the perfect time to celebrate and honor the history, contributions, and flavors of people who mean so much to the world.

To toast the time in epic style, Astral Tequila elevates the moment with the Real House Margarita. And, it’s not just another drink. This is a meaningful cocktail. Every sip of an Astral Tequila Margarita helps build homes in Mexico through the brand’s Adobe Brick Project, making it a ‘Real’ House Margarita and the perfect way to toast to Hispanic Heritage Month.

Martha Jiménez Cardoso, Astral’s Director of Sustainability, who has turned her passion for engineering into a career that gives back to her local community in Mexico. It is something that deserves great applause.

The Adobe Brick Project combines spent agave fibers from tequila distillation with earth and liquid runoff from the distillery to create Adobe bricks which are then used to build homes for families in need in Jalisco, Mexico. Each bottle of Astral Tequila produced helps create two bricks, so every sip matters. In fact, Astral Tequila is thrilled to announce the completion of 10 houses alongside Habitat for Humanity Mexico, providing homes for families in need in Jalisco.

Try the drink at home today and honor Hispanic Heritage Month in the most wonderful way.

Real House Margarita

Ingredients:

1.5 oz Astral Tequila Blanco

0.5 oz Lime Juice

0.5 oz Agave Nectar

Club Soda

Preparation: Add Astral Tequila Blanco, fresh lime juice and agave nectar to a shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Top with club soda and garnish with a lime wheel or twist.

Garnish: Lime Wheel or Twist

Glassware: Rocks Glass

Everything about Astral Tequila is truly out of this world. There are three expressions for you to try during this fantastic occasion. Drink in crafted cocktails or just sip neat for the ultimate and divine experience.

ASTRAL TEQUILA BLANCO – Astral Tequila is made with 100% Blue Weber Agave, slowly nurtured by the cyclical passing of warm daylight skies and cool luminous nights, where the sun and the stars meet.

Astral Blanco is complex yet smooth, with notes of crisp citrus, clover honey, and bright white pepper, with underlying agave and an abundance of tropical fruit.

ASTRAL TEQUILA REPOSADO – Aged for 5 months in single use American oak bourbon barrels, Astral Reposado includes notes of agave, caramel, and oak.

ASTRAL TEQUILA AÑEJO – Aged for 12 months in single use American oak bourbon barrels, Astral Añejo includes notes of vanilla, butterscotch, and oak.

Visit here for more information.

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Indigenous Climate Warriors in Times Square

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(Photo by Honor the Earth)

On Tuesday September 19, 2023, the Indigenous peoples took to the frontlines of the climate crisis on Turtle Island and took over Times Square painting a giant mural with the message, “No Green Colonialism; Land Back NOW!”

This mural came the day before the UN Climate Ambition Summit, where world leaders are expected to come together and make decisions around the climate crisis.

The Indigenous communities are organizing to push back on the Biden Administration’s push toward solutions to the climate crisis that threaten the lives of Indigenous people across Turtle Island, which they call “Green Colonialism.” “For too long, Native lands and communities have borne the brunt of harm from mining and other extractive industries. As the federal government moves to support clean energy development, this cannot come at the expense of clean water or Indigenous rights. This familiar assault on Native lands and communities is another wave of colonialism, and we will not stand by and allow our lands to be sacrificed,” Krystal Two Bulls,  executive director of the national Indigenous organization Honor the Earth said in a press release.

The mining projects violate treaty rights and threaten clean water and land in places such as Thacker Pass, Oak Flat , and the Talon-Tamarak mine near the Mississippi headwaters.

We should all be fighting this fight!

 

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HDRF Launches Week of Hope w/ Southampton Mayor William Manger Jr. & Local High School Athletes

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On Thursday, July 27, the Hope for Depression Research Foundation launched the 5th annual Week of Hope, a village-wide effort in Southampton, NY, to raise mental health awareness.  Over 100 businesses will display a large, yellow HOPE balloon in front of their doors to symbolize their commitment to advancing the conversation about mental health. In addition, participating stores provided special hand-outs from HDRF, with the latest information on depression in the U.S. and how to spot signs and symptoms.

Newly elected Southampton Village Mayor William Manger Jr., HDRF founder Audrey Gruss,  and Executive Director Louisa Benton kicked off the campaign by placing the first HOPE balloon in front of the Veronica Beard Southampton store. Mayor Manger, Gruss and Benton were joined by track coach Eddie Arnold and a cadre of teen athletes from Southampton High School to help bring the bright yellow balloons to the store owners including LoveShack Fancy, Ovando, Poupette St. Barth, and Veronica Beard, a major HDRF sponsor.

The Week of Hope also features a Hope Summer Seminar “How to Talk to Friends and Family About Mental Health,” with acclaimed psychiatrist Dr. Samantha Boardman at the Southampton Arts Center on Friday, August 4th. You can learn more here. In addition, now through August 6th, the Veronica Beard store on Main Street will hold Shop for Hope, where ten percent of all purchases will go to HDRF’s life-saving research.

It all culminates with this year’s 8th Annual Southampton Race of Hope on Sunday, August 6 at 8:30 AM around Lake Agawam, a race that attracts over 500 participants to unite and raise funds for depression research. The Co-Grand Marshals of the Race of Hope are Audrey Gruss and Arthur Dunnam, who is an HDRF Advisory Board member and resides in East Hampton. The Teen Grand Marshals of the Race are Grier Hammond Henchy, the 17-year-old daughter of Brooke Shields, and Hayden Lucas, an NYC high school senior and leader of the newly formed HDRF Teen Task Force.

All 100% of revenues from the Race go to groundbreaking research into the root causes of depression in the brain and new and better treatments. To sign up or learn more, please visit the website at hopefordepression.org

 

Photo Credit: R. Cole for Rob Rich/SocietyAllure.com

 

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