Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Black and White / Amy Adams

Amy Adams 

Amy Adams / The Adams Chronicle

Amy Adams

The Adams Chronicle

December 31, 2013

Amy Adams can, and does, play anything, with a depth and range epitomized by her roles in two new movies: her sultry, foulmouthed con artist in American Hustle and her kindhearted documentary-film maker in Her. If there’s a throughline to her life, on-screen and off, it’s musical theater. In Santa Monica, Nell Scovell gets Adams talking, and singing, about her mustached co-stars, the many identities she’s assumed, and who she really wants to be.

“When things are out of control, I’ll sing the ‘Golden Helmet’ song, from Man of La Mancha,” she revealed during a recent interview in Santa Monica. “I’ll just go … [singsI can hear the cuckoo singing in the cuckooberry tree … And everyone in my life knows that means the situation is spiraling.”
Amy Adams, photographed at the Chateau Marmont, in West Hollywood

She still feels empowered by Wicked (who doesn’t?). She starts sobbing at “The Wizard and I” and keeps it going through “Defying Gravity.” The opening of Act II gets her, too. “You know that song … [singsThere’s a couple of things get lost / There are bridges you cross / You didn’t know you crossed / Until you crossssssssed … ” She catches herself. “I love that line. And I’m singing it for you, so now you know I’m a full nerd.”

Amy Adams / A Redhead to Adore

Amy Adams
Poster by T.A.


JULY 16, 2013
By Kim Wacker

Born in 1974 in Italy, actress Amy Adams has come a long way in her career.  What many people don’t know is that Adams was raised in a Mormon family with six siblings.
Fame didn’t come overnight for Amy; she always dreamed of becoming a ballerina, but ironically, a pulled muscle led her to her first film audition.  Would you believe that before this actress made the big time, she worked as a Sales Associate at Gap and as a Waitress at Hooters?

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Amber Heard is pictured smiling hours after Depp's 'iPhone attack'

Pictured is Heard (left) at her friend Amanda de Cadenet's (centre) birthday party with Amber Valletta on Sunday - the day after she was allegedly attacked. Her hair covers the areas which appeared to be bruised the day before. The picture was posted on Instagram and has since been deleted

Amber Heard is pictured smiling 
hours after Depp's 'iPhone attack'

Amber Heard is pictured smiling hours after Depp's 'iPhone attack': Actress claims 'cocaine and booze binges turned Johnny into an abusive monster who left her fearing for her life' - but why was this image deleted before court appearance?

Amber Heard granted restraining order against husband Johnny Depp

Photographs submitted to the court show Amber Heard with a large bruise on her face, as well as broken bottles, picture frames and shattered glass on the floor. Photograph: Ettore Ferrari/EPA

Amber Heard granted restraining order against husband Johnny Depp

A judge ordered Depp to stay away from his estranged wife, who filed for divorceon Monday and accused the actor of repeatedly physically assaulting her

Nicky Woolf in Los Angeles
Saturday 28 May 2016 10.31 BST

A Los Angeles judge has granted a restraining order against Johnny Depp from his estranged wife Amber Heard, who has accused him of domestic violence, court documents show.

Amber Heard files for divorce from Johnny Depp

Amber Heard

Amber Heard files for divorce from Johnny Depp

The actor cites ‘irreconcilable differences’ in court papers a little more than a year after they were married

Nicky Woolf and Agencies
Thursday 26 May 2016 01.09 BST

Johnny Depp’s wife has filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences after just over a year of marriage.
Court records show that Amber Heard filed for divorce on Monday and is seeking spousal support from the Oscar-nominated actor. The split also comes hard on the heels of the death on 20 May of Depp’s mother, Betty Sue Palmer, after a long illness.

 Amber Heard and Johnny Depp are to divorce, court papers said.
Photograph by Jordan Strauss

Depp and Heard recently hit the headlines for a bizarre spat with Australian deputy prime minister and minister for agriculture Barnaby Joyce, after Heard fell foul of biosecurity rules for unlawfully bringing the pair’s dogs into the country. Joyce threatened to have the dogs euthanised unless they “buggered off” back to the United States.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The 100 best nonfiction books / No 3 / No Logo by Naomi Klein (1999)

The 100 best nonfiction books

No 3 

No Logo

by Naomi Klein 


Naomi Klein’s timely anti-branding bible combined a fresh approach to corporate hegemony with potent reportage from the dark side of capitalism 

Robert McCrum
Monday 15 February 2016 05.45 GMT

ome titles in this list are “zeitgeist books”, owing much of their success and influence to the way in which, consciously or otherwise, they channel the mood of the times. No Logo is a zeitgeist book.
When it was first published in Canada and the USA, just after some well-publicised demonstrations in Seattle against the World Trade Organisation in November 1999 put “anti-globalisation” on the international media agenda, No Logo flourished a polemical subtitle (“Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies”), and was hailed as a mix of radical journalism and a call to arms. In hindsight, this response was fuelled in part by a kind of pre-millennial fervour.
To Klein, anti-globalisation was a misnomer. “At the reformist end it was anti-corporate; at the radical end it was anti-capitalist. What made it unique was its insistent internationalism.” Meanwhile, No Logo became a manifesto for a critique of the way the world worked, embodied in the visionary and articulate figure of Naomi Klein who, in the words of the Observer’s review, “positively seethes with intelligent anger”.
The secret of Klein’s work was the way in which she humanised her argument with fascinating reportage from her quest into Asian sweatshops, and the dark side of western capitalism in Africa. Her voice was insistent but not preachy, her analysis detailed but never obscure. She was hailed by one critic as the “young funky heiress to [Noam] Chomsky”. Which, in a sense, she was.
Naomi Klein is the child of militant hippies who moved to Montreal from the US in 1967 as Vietnam war resisters. Her father had grown up in an American communist milieu, loosely connected to Hollywood. Klein’s own childhood was partly a protest against her family’s radical agenda, especially her mother’s feminism.

Noami Klein

She has said she spent much of her teenage years in shopping malls, obsessed with designer labels, in a rejection of her parents’ values. Klein has also said that it was “oppressive” to have, as a mother, “a very public feminist”, and she was slow to embrace the women’s movement. But two events, private and public, became the catalyst for her profound change of attitude.
The first occurred when she was 17. Her mother had a stroke, with some serious consequent disability, and Klein took a year off school to help the family care for her. This, she says was the sacrifice that saved her “from being such a brat”. Then, while studying at the University of Toronto in 1989, she became understandably traumatised by the slaughter of some female engineering students in a tragedy, (also known as the Montreal Massacre) in which a 25-year-old student ran amok, shouting that he was “fighting feminism”. Having denounced the women in his path as “a bunch of feminists,” he shot 28, killing 14.
This became Klein’s wake-up call as a Generation X intellectual in the making. With the publication of No Logo, she was hailed as a freedom fighter for a new and radical post-consumer culture. The great American feminist Gloria Steinem’s salute marked the passing of a torch: “Just when you thought multinationals and crazed consumerism were too big to fight, along comes Naomi Klein with facts, spirit, and news of successful fighters already out there.”

What singled out No Logo was the potency of its reportage. Klein herself observed at the outset that this is “not a book of predictions, but of first-hand observation.” As such, it struck a chord with the more socially responsible exponents of popular culture. Radiohead, for example, declared the influence of Klein’s work particularly during the making of their fourth and fifth albums, Kid A (2000) and Amnesiac (2001). The band recommended the book to fans on their website and even flirted with calling their Kid A album No Logo.
The pop cultural appeal of No Logo is not hard to discern. Underlying Klein’s observations was the idea that if the world is a global village, then the corporate logo (Nike, Walmart, or Starbucks) constitutes a universal language understood by – though not accessible to – everyone. She analysed the birth of a brand as a corporate means of animating the banal vulgarity of mass marketing. As she followed the progress of the logo, in four sections – “No Space”, “No Choice”, “No Jobs” and finally “No Logo” – she moved through the negative effects of brand-oriented corporate activity, before developing a central argument about the conflict between corporate dominance and personal identity and the various methods adopted by the individual consumer to fight back.
Part of the attraction of No Logo is Klein’s frank admission of the naivety of her quest. When, in conclusion, she debates consumerism v citizenship, and chooses citzenship, she is appealingly candid. She writes: “When I started this book, I honestly didn’t know whether I was covering marginal atomised scenes of resistance or the birth of a potentially broad-based movement. But as time went on, what I clearly saw was a movement forming before my eyes.” A movement is what she’s still promoting.
Ten years after the publication of No Logo, Klein, looking back, reflected on the lessons of her experience. In part, she seems to recognise that the phenomenon she had identified in 1999 is here to stay. “The first time I saw a ‘Yes We Can’ video… featuring celebrities speaking and singing over a Martin Luther King-esque Obama speech, I thought: finally, a politician with ads as cool as Nike.”
Even with her subsequent disillusion – shared by many North American liberals – at Obama’s failure to live up to his lofty rhetoric, Klein still conceded that the world’s love affair with Obama’s rebranded America had been timely. “Obama didn’t just rebrand America,” she writes, in a telling admission, “he resuscitated the neoliberal economic project when it was at death’s door. No one but Obama, wrongly perceived as a new FDR, could have pulled it off.”

Klein still retains her ambivalence about branding, and its broader social consequences, but she admits that “the global embrace of Obama’s brand” continues to demonstrate an extraordinary appetite for progressive change, the kind of social transformation Klein hankers after. So her youthful radicalism seems essentially intact, albeit with a softening at the edges. “The task ahead,” she writes, in language that betrays the influence of the phenomenon she once denounced, “is to build movements that are the real thing.” Quoting Studs Terkel, North America’s great radical socialist historian, she observes: “Hope has never trickled down. It has always sprung up.”
As this new series develops, exploring the core of the Anglo-American tradition, we shall discover some fascinating connections between Klein and some of the radical journalists of the past, maverick polemicists such as Daniel Defoe and Tom Paine. No Logo, for all its wonky side, is at least partly descended from Paine’sCommon Sense, and Naomi Klein would have plenty to discuss with the author ofA Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain.

A signature line

“The astronomical growth in the wealth and cultural influence of multinational corporations over the last 15 years can arguably be traced back to a single, seemingly innocuous idea developed by management theorists in the mid-1980s: that successful corporations must primarily produce brands as opposed to products.”

Three to compare

Jeff Ferrell: Tearing Down the Streets: Adventures in Urban Anarchy (2001)
William Gibson: Pattern Recognition (2003)
Naomi Klein: This Changes Everything – Capitalism Versus the Climate (2014)

Friday, May 27, 2016

The 100 best nonficition books / No 2 / The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (2005)

The 100 best nonfiction books

No 2 

The Year of Magical Thinking 

by Joan Didion 


This steely and devastating examination of the author’s grief following the sudden death of her husband changed the nature of writing about bereavement

Robert McCrum
Monday 8 February 2016 05.45 GMT

1 in this series considered the possibility of humanity’s imminent doom from the broadest global perspective. With No 2, the focus shifts into a narrower frame that’s cooler, more intimate and deeply personal. In December 2003, as an acute, lifelong reporter of her inner states, Joan Didion was presented with a unique opportunity to examine the experience of bereavement.
Love and death are the themes of the great novels, but the emotion that links love and death – grief – is more often the stuff of memoir than fiction. Still, you have to be a very special kind of writer to find the detachment to examine a devastating personal loss, especially if you are going to write about it inside out. In The Year of Magical Thinking this is precisely what Didion does.
The result is a classic of mourning that’s also the apotheosis of baby-boomer reportage, a muted celebration of the enthralling self. “Misery memoirs” are commonplace today – Joyce Carol Oates’s A Widow’s Story (2011) is a typical example – but Didion’s contribution to the genre raised it to the status of literature, a point acknowledged by the playwright David Hare, who directed the author’s own version in a stage adaptation starring Vanessa Redgrave in 2007.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The 100 best nonfiction books / No 1 / The Sixth Extintion by Elizabeth Kolbert (2014)

The 100 best nonfiction books 

No 1 

The Sixth Extinction 

by Elizabeth Kolbert 


The first in a new series on the world’s most important works of nonfiction is an engrossing account of the looming catastrophe caused by ecology’s ‘neighbours from hell’ – mankind

Robert McCrum
Monday 1 February 2016 05.45 GMT

he human animal knows that it is born to age and die. Together with language, this knowledge is what separates us from all other species. Yet, until the 18th century, not even Aristotle, who speculated about most things, actually considered the possibility of extinction.
This is all the more surprising because “the end of the world” is an archetypal theme with a sonorous label – eschatology – that morphs in popular culture into many doomsday scenarios, from global warming to the third world war. Citizens of the 21st century now face a proliferating menu of possible future dooms.
Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History is both a highly intelligent expression of this genre and also supremely well executed and entertaining. Her book, which follows her global warming report Field Notes from a Catastrophe (2006), is already set to become a contemporary classic, and an excellent place to start this new series of landmark nonfiction titles in the English language.

The 100 best nonfiction books of all time by Robert MaCrum

Umberto Eco, who writes that ‘the list is the origin of the culture’.

The 100 best nonfiction books of all time

Robert McCrum launches the Observer’s definitive 100 works of nonfiction – key texts in English that have shaped our literary culture and made us who we are

Robert McCrum
Monday 25 January 2016 05.44 GMT

nother book list? Yes and no. When we completed our 100 best novels in the English language last August, you did not have to be one of its fiercest critics – there were a few of those – to recognise it was still a job half done. Plainly, the English literary tradition is rich in great works of poetry and prose that are not novels. The King James Bible of 1611, for instance, is every bit as influential as the greatest novelists of the past 300 years, from Austen to Waugh. Indeed, as the 100 best novels series drew to a close, we began to wonder what a complementary list of 100 great English-language nonfiction titles might look like.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Kristen Stewart / 'I'd love to work with Lars von Trier'

Kristen Stewart
Kristen Stewart: 

'I'd love to work with Lars von Trier'

The Twilight actor, who has two films playing at Cannes, would next most like to collaborate with the controversial Danish auteur

Nigel M Smith in Cannes
Wednesday 18 May 2016 11.30 BST

Kristen Stewart has said that she would “kill” to work with Lars von Trier. Stewart confessed to her love for von Trier to the Guardian while discussing Allen’s Cannes-opener, Café Society.
Speaking at a press event for Cafe Society, Stewart was asked which film-makers she was keen to work with and said: “I love Lars von Trier. It’s hard for me to think of those things and I’m reluctant to say [who] because they follow you around. Seems horse before the cart. But I would kill to work for Lars von Trier.”

Kristen Stewart / 'Sometimes I do feel a bit like I have my limbs cut off'

Kristen Stewart
Photo by Mario Testino
Kristen Stewart: 
'Sometimes I do feel a bit like I have my limbs cut off'
The star of Olivier Assayas’s Personal Shopper, in which she plays an assistant to an immensely famous model, says she sometimes feels debilitated by fame and shares her thoughts on the supernatural

Henry Barnes
Tuesday 17 May 2016 14.41 BST

The lack of freedom afforded to you by being famous feels a bit like “having your limbs cut off”, Kristen Stewart told press at the Cannes film festival.
The actor was speaking at the press conference for Olivier Assayas’s supernatural drama, Personal Shopper. The second film at Cannes in which she stars (the other is Woody Allen’s Café Society, which opened the festival last week), Personal Shopper sees her play Maureen, a psychic medium who, during daylight hours, assists a famous fashion model with her clothing choices.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Isabelle Huppert / Elle is not about a woman 'accepting her rapist'

Isabelle Huppert
Cannes 2016

Isabelle Huppert: Elle is not about a woman 'accepting her rapist'

At the Cannes film festival, the actor said that her controversial dark comedy, about a woman dealing with sexual assault in an unconventional manner, should be taken as a ‘fantasy’

Benjamin Lee
Saturday 21 May 2016 13.02 BST

The fantasy is within yourself but it’s not necessarily something that you want to happen’ ...
Isabelle Huppert on her character in Elle. Photograph: Valery Hache

Isabelle Huppert has spoken about her provocative new film Elle, claiming “it’s not a statement about a woman being raped”.

The controversial black comedy was greeted with shocked laughter and enthusiastic applause as it screened at the Cannes film festival earlier today. In the film, directed by Paul Verhoeven, Huppert plays a woman who is brutally raped but deals with the fallout in a perverse and often darkly comical way.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro accused of being 'as mad as a goat'

Nicolás Maduro

Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro accused of being 'as mad as a goat'

  • Uruguay’s former leader José Mujica says ‘they are all crazy in ‘Venezuela’
  • Maduro has called another official a CIA agent and a ‘traitor’

Venezuela’s embattled president Nicolás Maduro is “mad as a goat”, according to Uruguay’s former leader José “Pepe” Mujica.
Mujica’s comments came after Maduro accused the head of the Organization of American States (OAS) of being a “traitor” and CIA agent.
They’re all crazy in Venezuela,” Mujica said. “I have great respect for Maduro, but that doesn’t mean I can’t say ‘You’re crazy, you’re as mad as a goat.’”

Venezuela needs Nicolás Maduro’s allies to make him see reason

Venezuela needs Nicolás Maduro’s allies to make him see reason

Since succeeding Hugo Chávez three years ago, Maduro has plunged the country into ever-worsening chaos. Action needs to be taken if a humanitarian crisis is to be averted

Thursday 19 May 2016 

Venezuela, newborn babies are dying at obscene rates. In the first three months of 2016, more than 200 died in hospitals in Caracas, Cumaná and San Cristóbal. Doctors and parents blame power outages, damaged incubators and shortages of medicines. Many Venezuelans, myself included, also blame the government of Nicolás Maduro.

In the last three years, the “heir” of Hugo Chávez has led the country into a maelstrom of anarchy and annihilation that one would expect only of a nation devastated by war. Statistics for homicides, impunity, repression, political persecution, censorship, inflation, devaluation, business closures and expropriations, unemployment and migration – already terrifying during the Chávez era – have gone through the roof.