• #BeenRapedNeverReported Trending On Twitter As Women Share Stories Of Sexual Violence
    A powerful hashtag began trending on Twitter on Thursday night as women who had been victims of sexual violence -- but never reported it -- spoke out against rape.

    The hashtag, #BeenRapedNeverReported, appears to have been started by Antonia Zerbisias, a writer for The Toronto Star who has been tweeting in support of actress Lucy DeCoutere.

    DeCoutere is one of nine women to accuse former CBC host Jian Ghomeshi of sexual violence, and one of two to publicly come forward. Her accusations led to the rise of the #ibelievelucy hashtag. Tweeting in support of DeCoutere and other women who have come forward with stories of their own, Zerbias started the #BeenRapedNeverReported hashtag:

    #ibelievelucy #ibelievewomen And yes, I've been raped (more than once) and never reported it. #BeenRapedNeverReported

    — Antonia Zerbisias (@AntoniaZ) October 30, 2014

    If all women who've been raped stepped out of our shame & shared, we would make the stigma go away! #BeenRaped#NeverReported #ibelievelucy

    — Antonia Zerbisias (@AntoniaZ) October 30, 2014

    Other women quickly joined in and their tweets were both harrowing and heartbreaking:

    Hard to admit this hashtag relates to me. Was so close to getting away; still see my hand on the doorknob sometimes. #beenrapedneverreported

    — Ann Davenport (@ann_davenport_) October 31, 2014

    Being raped was horrible. Trying to report it & then being made to feel it was my fault was worse. #beenrapedneverreported

    — kittypoet (@kittypoet) October 31, 2014

    I had already lost my childhood, my virginity and my self worth I was afraid, and I didn't want to lose any more. #BeenRapedNeverReported

    — Gabrielle Miller (@MillerGabrielle) October 31, 2014

    #beenrapedneverreported a guy tried to rape me at McGill, saved when roommate walked in. Thx for everyone's honesty here

    — Susan Swan (@swanscribe) October 31, 2014

    Black women rarely report rape because this nation has been taught that we are UnRapeable #BeenRapedNeverReported http://t.co/uFXZ7x1jrY

    — ♿Persephone Jones♿ (@galvezmiro) October 31, 2014

    If you're nervous to post to #BeenRapedNeverReported, yes it's terrifying, but equally liberating and powerful. Set the shame free.

    — Nadine Silverthorne (@scarbiedoll) October 31, 2014

    Some men, including author Neil Gaiman, tweeted their words of support and empathy:

    Reading the #BeenRapedNeverReported hashtag. It's hard reading. Makes me slightly ashamed to be human & much more ashamed to be male.

    — Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) October 31, 2014

    #BeenRapedNeverReported is trending in #SF. Not sure I've got the courage & strength to check that hashtag. Need to find them somehow.

    — SF Bud (@SF_Bud) October 31, 2014

    I believe you.
    It's not your fault.
    You have options.
    I'm here for you.
    I stand with you. #BeenRapedNeverReported

    — tim (@tim2pt0) October 30, 2014

    This is one of the most powerful hashtags i've ever read #BeenRapedNeverReported Please read and do all you can to prevent this in future.

    — Josh Elman (@joshelman) October 31, 2014

    Visit Twitter to read more #BeenRapedNeverReported tweets.

  • The Abu Dhabi Diaries: Through <i>The Valley</i>, Into an <i>Iraqi Odyssey</i> and All for a <i>Labour of Love</i>
    2014 10 31 IMG 0408 Thumb "Many countries go to war and then towards reconciliation. The history of mankind is full of stories of wars between people and states that have come together after fighting for long. Why can't Arabs be like them?" -- H.H. Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

    There are two obvious threads running through the selection of world cinema showcasing in this year's Abu Dhabi Film Festival. One is undeniably the alienated solitude we've managed to back ourselves into the corner of through our addiction to social media, celebrity news and sharing everything from what we eat, to when we sleep on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. All I had to do was watch the Taiwanese film Exit by Chienn Hsian to realize the filmmaker's themes hit too close to home for comfort. I walked out at the end of the screening with a deep sense of desperation.

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    A still from Queens of Syria by Yasmin Fedda

    The other thread has to do with the politics of cinema. Even though most filmmakers agree that political agendas are best kept out of their films, somehow there cannot be a film made about the Arab world, the Middle East today that does not in some way, shape or form bear the unfortunate task of heralding the politics of a nation, or a people. I say unfortunate because I wish stories could be simply human these days, but it seems that even to be so, they have to pass through the political geography in the process. Films such as the documentary Queens of Syria by Yasmin Fedda and the Georgian drama Corn Island by Giorgi Ovashvili are perfect examples. Beautiful stories, ideas, set within the struggles of war and desperation.

    How ugly our world is becoming.

    But then there are meetings like the ones I've been fortunate enough to have at ADFF. Inside the cocoon of the Industry and Press Lounge at the Emirates Palace, I sat with and heard the genius of such personalities as Iraqi-Canadian rapper The Narcicyst, Swiss-Iraqi documentary filmmaker Samir and world cinema actor Ali Suliman, who was born in Nazareth, my favorite city in Palestine. I even had lunch with the director/producer team of the poetic Bengali film Labour of Love, sitting next to Indian actor Irrfan Khan. Now that's enough to give a girl renewed hope in the world around her.

    2014 10 31 LabourofLove Thumb

    A still from Labour of Love by Aditya Vikram Sengupta

    Perhaps H.H. Sheikh Zayed, the beloved founding Father of the UAE, said it best when he uttered the above quote. It's out of the deepest conflicts and biggest fights that peace is finally achieved. How many times I've argued with someone, really let all my feelings out, only to find in that person my closest friend and strongest ally. Because the only danger in today's world are hidden alliances and suppressed beliefs.

    A piece about the wonder that is the Abu Dhabi Film Festival cannot be complete without mention of the festival's talented Arab cinema programmer, Intishal Al Timimi, who this year also selected films from Iran and Turkey. He's the reason I ended up on the Netpac jury and met my amazing co-jurors, our president Vietnamese filmmaker Dang Nhat Minh and Dale Hudson, a beloved professor at NYU Abu Dhabi. It is seldom that there is a true meeting of the minds, especially among three people, but when we put down our selections for our favorite films, it was otherworldly to see three titles all on that list, voted by each of us. The final result will be revealed in just a few hours... But back to Al Timimi.

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    A still from Memories on Stone by Shawkat Amin Korki

    The programmer's passion for cinema is obvious, and infectious. When he talks about a film he selected, either for the festival or followed since its inception through the SANAD funding arm of ADFF (which he also oversees), Al Timimi shows the kind of love for, and belief in cinema from this Region that can, and will, create an industry. Projects like Theeb, Ghassan Salhab's The Valley, Shawkat Amin Korki's Memories on Stone and even the languid Sounds of the Sea by Emirati filmmaker Nujoom Al Ghanem all present the future of cinema, in and from the Arab world. They are projects that open the door to cultures unknown, give voice to the unheard and help build that bridge across misunderstandings and stereotypes, which, lets face it, abound from every side.

    I rediscovered my love of life and passion for cinema here in Abu Dhabi. And if I sound like I'm gushing, make no mistake. I am.

    Top image by E. Nina Rothe, all images courtesy of ADFF, used with permission

  • Chatting with Genesis' Mike Rutherford, Kasim Sulton and Sallie Ford, Plus a Jerry Joseph &amp; The Jackmormons Exclusive
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    A Conversation with Genesis' Mike Rutherford

    Mike Ragogna: Mike, Genesis' new anthology, R-Kive, is an overview of the musical creativity of not only Genesis but it includes the works of each member of the band as well. How did it come together?

    Mike Rutherford: It started, really, with the documentary. Eagle Rock wanted to make a documentary of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway and I said, "Well maybe one day, but at the moment there's a much better story to tell." No one quite ties in the fact that actually from this one band you've got the Collins career, the Gabriel career, the Mechanics, everything. Some people don't tie it in. People start at a certain time in someone's career. Some people I meet say, "Did Phil play drums? I didn't know." I met some guy who was surprised that Peter Gabriel was in Genesis. People don't quite tie it in. They say, "You're Mike from the Mechanics?" In a way it's justified doing, I think. Plus you'll see "In The Air Tonight," "Biko," "Living Years," "Invisible Touch," put it side-by-side and it's quite a strong summarizing combination.

    Ragogna: The choices made for this package seem like everything could have been considered "Genesis." How were the solo tracks chosen?

    Rutherford: The individual tracks were chosen by the individuals. It was their choice. I would've loved to have "Sledgehammer" on it but Pete chose his three songs so we went with what he wanted to put on. Funny enough when you put the solo tracks alongside Genesis they fit closer than I thought in a funny way. In my mind I imagined the tracks to be more different, but they're not.

    Ragogna: This also comes off like an audio documentary. Did you listen to this from top to bottom and have any new opinions of Genesis or everyone's careers?

    Rutherford: I didn't before it came out. I went for a three hour drive the other day up in Norwich and I played CDs two and three and quite enjoyed it. I wouldn't say I'd listen at home but in the car it was quite good. The timing of things was interesting. I'd forgotten that Steve Hackett's first solo album was before A Trick Of The Tail. You forget these things, you know.

    Ragogna: Right. Were there any revelations or what-ifs that came out of listening to resulting anthology?

    Rutherford: The choice wasn't very hard, but in a sense, it's all what-ifs. "If that track isn't on, then what of those ones?" It's an option, you have to choose. You could've chosen differently, but I think it's a nice balance in the end.

    Ragogna: What about with career decisions? Is there anything that the package really spotlights as far as potential direction or whatever when it comes to combining Genesis material with the solo works?

    Rutherford: I think so. It's an interesting overview of our songwriting, which I think is quite nice. It shows how it's changed and developed but remained in a certain framework because it's us, really.

    Ragogna: When you're creating, do you have a goal or are you just in the moment of, "I'm feeling this, so I'm writing this."

    Rutherford: I see it more now as time goes by. Genesis came out of that generational change in the sixties. There was a huge social change in England in the sixties and pop music came out, the Beatles, the Stones. For the first time young ment wanted to be different from their fathers. I think our parents' generation was stunned by two world wars, they were in shock and tired and then we came along. England is a very old-fashioned country unlike America which is more forward-thinking. England had a lot of old rules and traditions that were due to be changed. I feel the result of the two world wars and the timing meant our generation suddenly kicked in and took a bit of a left turn. The music relates to that, but it's also relevant to the social change, too.

    Ragogna: Don't you think "No Son Of Mine" fits in as the other side of the coin in that respect?

    Rutherford: Absolutely. I hadn't a clue until you mentioned it, funnily enough, but yeah. We always discuss issues lyrically without banging on the head, which I sort of like in a way.

    Ragogna: You've weathered various periods of creativity in the band, you went from the Peter Gabriel years right up through And Then There Were Three and into Abacab until Phil left. Genesis weathered all of these periods and ended up huger than any of you probably imagined. How did you do it?

    Rutherford: I think in a way you never look for change. It was sad that Peter left, but when change happens it brings a new beginning and you regenerate and re-find yourself, which in a way over a thirty three or thirty four year career is surely handy. Otherwise if you think about it it would be kind of hard. The solo careers gave us variety and I think we used the distance from each other all the time. Ultimately I always get back to this and it's a bit obvious but you need good songwriting. We were a five-piece, down to a four- and then a three- but the remainder was still good writers. The songwriting has to be good.

    Ragogna: So it's all about the song when it comes to Genesis, even from the beginning.

    Rutherford: I'll tell you one thing that's interesting, I think it was on CD two you go through a certain period where you go from the Genesis album with "Mama" on it to "Invisible Touch" and "The Living Years" and you get a little rub where we thought we were on. It was always on, but this was really strong. I was impressed by the energy coming off it.

    Ragogna: To me, there are sister albums such as Duke and Abacab. It seems there was something Genesis was doing that was amalgam of what you all had gone through to that point, like they were the graduation albums.

    Rutherford: I agree. Abacab, sonically, was the first time where we sounded like we really did. The band on record had never sounded as good as it had sounded in the practice room. If you walked into our studio and we were rehearsing our songs or recording them you would've gone, "That's a great sound." Go into the control room and it never quite had that power. Then Hugh Padgham came along and suddenly we sounded like we did in the room.

    Ragogna: Did that affect the creativity?

    Rutherford: Yeah. We had our own studios, too, so we could write and record at the same time. We felt a sort of freedom which was great for us.

    Ragogna: You've mentioned how you all brought things from your solo careers back to Genesis. Did it ever get dangerous, where you were feeling a lot more creative independently and wanted to really fly solo for evolution's sake?

    Rutherford: No, I think all three of us would say, "Definitely not." I was always very aware, doing solo albums, because we'd do the drum parts and I'd say, "Phil would know what to do now." I had a rough idea, but when you regrouped you appreciated what the others had their confidence of. On all the Genesis albums, the drumming couldn't be better, but on my solo albums sometimes it was good, soemtimes it wasn't quite as good. You enjoyed the variety and the new players and the new cowriters but you'd enjoy going back to Genesis just as much. It made it more enjoyable.

    Ragogna: Are there any periods that you personally enjoy best?

    Rutherford: There was a run from '85 to '92 when it just all felt strong. Would you realize that in that period we did, I don't know, three or four band albums, we did three or four solo albums, we did seven tours, it was a crazy work time but when it's going down so well, it doesn't feel like hard work.

    Ragogna: And you also had all the thematic videos. You had to act as well.

    Rutherford: Well, I wouldn't call it acting, but yeah.

    Ragogna: [laughs] Appearing in front of the camera is another level of demand.

    Rutherford: Looking back, it's funny because some bands take videos very seriously, but we never did, really. We'd have a day off on a tour and say, "We're going to be in Atlanta, let's do a day." It was a little bit second drawer down for us. But we had good directors and when it worked it was good, plus Phil was very good in front of the camera always.

    Ragogna: You guys reached pinnacles where it seemed like you said, "Well, we did the best that we could possibly do with this particular paradigm, let's mix it up a little bit." Did that happen? Is that when some people went solo?

    Rutherford: Not intentionally, but looking back I think you can see why Peter, for lots of reasons both personal and musical, left the band. I've always said having written virtually all the lyrics it would be hard to go back to working a four-way. He had reached a point where he'd done all he could in the band I think. I can see it better now.

    Ragogna: Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill" ended up on the anthology. I heard that song is his creative explanation of why he left. Is that true?

    Rutherford: I'm not sure about that, I think it's a more positive message. Looking back it was a funny time for me because suddenly Peter left and the papers said, "Well, that's it for Genesis." Then we came out with "Trick Of The Tail" with Phil singing and it was a big success and the papers said, "What did Gabriel do?" It turns like that, the press. Then, of course, "Solsbury Hill" came out and it was a wonderful time, really.

    Ragogna: I didn't mean that in any gossippy way. It's probably my favorite recording of Peter, but my absorption of it was that he was joyfully moving on. Life was coming to put him another position now.

    Rutherford: Moving on, yeah. It's also a positive and happy song without being sweet. It's quite hard doing that.

    Ragogna: Did you end up reaching a saturation point with Genesis at any point?

    Rutherford: No, I think that's why the solo albums helped us. So many bands do solo albums because someone's unhappy or frustrated in the band. In our case, we were having a great time. It was like, "Well this is wonderful but it's been twenty years or more so let's just try something else, we need a bit of variety." It gave us a rest from each other so that come the next album I was always excited about doing it.

    Ragogna: Do you have a favorite Genesis album?

    Rutherford: Having done my book this last year--It's called Living Years, it's all about me and my father--I listened to all the music while doing the book, and now with R-Kive I know my own songs so much better now. "Supper's Ready" is a favorite to me from the Gabriel era. It's a twenty three minute song. Actually hearing Invisible Touch, because it was such a hit and played everywhere you thought of it much more in terms of hit records. When you hear the song, "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight," our songwriting really worked at that time. It's great stuff.

    Ragogna: Looking back at Genesis' many years together, what are your thoughts about it all?

    Rutherford: That's a big question, isn't it? Has our documentary come out in America yet? It's on Showtime and it ties into R-Kive. In that, I say one of the things I'm proud about is that we're still friends. In the documentary, we're together chatting about the past and I think, "Wow, we're still friends." I think that's important.

    Ragogna: Mike, do you have any advice for new aritsts?

    Rutherford: Yeah, just be patient. Believe in yourself and remember when you're writing songs, it's not how many songs you've got, it's how many good ones. I meet guys who say to me, "I've got a hundred songs," and I say to them, "You've probably got five good ones. The rest you should be throwing away." Discard more than you keep, and be patient.

    Ragogna: Did you guys discard more than you kept?

    Rutherford: Yeah, lots. After the Peter era we'd improvise and jam and then if something didn't work, that would be out the door and you'd never hear it again.

    Ragogna: Are there melodies where you're now like, "Hmm, maybe these needs to be fininshed."

    Rutherford: Not me. I always live in the now. Forget the old stuff, you know.

    Ragogna: What about Mike & The Mechanics, were you able to achieve what you needed to creatively?

    Rutherford: Yeah, it was great. I had a run of periods with the first two albums and then later on I enjoyed writing with Peter Robinson and Chris Neil and Paul Carrack really. It was a little harder because in a sense we never toured much. You'd record and then I wouldn't see them for two years. Basically, I was doing Genesis album and then a year of touring and there wasn't much time left before I was doing another genesis album. The Mechanics stopped about ten years ago really, Paul Young died and then Paul Carrack and I thought the chemistry wasn't quite the same doing tours without him. We started about a three years ago with Andrew Roachford and Tim Howar. We've always had two R&B voices and a rock voice and we started with an album of live work. I thought, "These songs haven't been played live ever, really." I've quite enjoyed that process. I'm doing my first American tour since '89 next year.

    Ragogna: When you were writing "The Living Years," considering the subject, it must have been a real passion project.

    Rutherford: Yeah, it was. The story, if you don't know, is that I found my father's unpublished memoirs in his trunks in my attic. They're about his life in the royal navy. I used some of his passages in my book. What's interesting is that I learned so much about him, and secondly, I realized our lives aren't rather different. He traveled the road, away from home for years working with a team of different people on the battleships, it's not that different from what I do in a way.

    Ragogna: [laughs] Is there anything that you discovered about your father that you hadn't put together until then?

    Rutherford: In doing a book, I did a little research with the naval archives and the royal navy. They were very helpful about what he did. The arhcives are incredible. Handwritten reports of him when he was twenty five. It's just strange, reading things about your father's life that you never knew. He worked on the battleships, he was quite a brave man, heavily awarded. I knew only half of it, too.

    Ragogna: What is the future for Mike Rutherford and for Genesis?

    Rutherford: Genesis has no plans at the moment, as you know. We had a nice time over the last couple months getting close again with Phil and Peter and Steve. It's been nice to reconnect a bit. We're always in touch but life is busy. It's nice seeing Phil in such a good mood. In terms of the interview, watch the documentary on Showtime. It will be informative. It has good information on the band. As far as Mike + The Mechanics, I'm going to try a little month-tour of America next year in February and March, just in the northeast and just see what happens. What we've found in England and Europe is that everybody knows the songs, but they're not quite sure who the band is. We always hear from the crowds, "God, I knew all those songs, I didn't realize it was you!" It's like forty five years ago when I'd go out and play live and prove to people that we were a good band live. Of course, the songs carry you through an awful lot. So we're going to try America and see if the same process works.

    Ragogna: I have your import Hits album and to your point, my kid pointed at the guy at the gas pump on the cover and he said, "Is that Mike?"

    Rutherford: We're faceless. Everyone knows the songs but not the band. We've gone three years in England now, it's nice, it wasn't sold out the first year but now we're doing well, so I'm going to try America. I don't quite know, we haven't got much history of touring there, so we'll have to see.

    Ragogna: The future's wide open?

    Rutherford: Yeah, I've got an American tour and English tour and a Europoean tour. And I'm goingt o write some more songs beforehand, actually.

    Ragogna: With the goal of getting back into the studio?

    Rutherford: Yeah, I'm just not sure on making an album anymore. The amount of work you put in these days with new music on the radio... I'm writing but I'm just not sure. For an artist in my position with The Mechanics, the amount of works it takes is hardly justified.

    Ragogna: Well, there are labels that have surprised me, like Frontiers, that are somehow able to put groups like Journey on the road.

    Rutherford: I'm going to do some writing but for now I'm quite enjoying it and people who are going to live shows now are quite enjoying it.

    Transcribed by Galen Hawthorne



    2014 10 31 JerryJosephandtheJackmormons Thumb
    photo credit: Tim Stiller at The Big Event Photography

    According to Jerry Joseph...

    "The accompanying video was shot by our friend Ramble West at the Surf Sanctuary outside of Las Palmas Dos, Nicaragua for the forthcoming live DVD, Nicaragua. Loosely, it was a 50th birthday event. I'm not a rock star, but sometimes we can rally funds from friends and fans for a film or a party, and we were able to begin making this stuff work, we just need to be able to get local sound systems and penicillin. This has led to shows in Costa Rica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Nepal, Lebanon, Israel and most exotically, Virginia City, Montana. We hope to do a lot more of this type of thing and we'll go anywhere. The idea is to play places that take some work getting to; we are not a cruise package, you need a map or GPS and local phrase translation book and probably need to leave your no gluten vegan dietary needs behind. Recently I went to Kabul Afghanistan to teach guitar at Rock School Kabul where my good friends Humayun Zadran and Robin Ryczek are bringing music to kids that really want and need it. I also performed a couple shows at their venue called weirdly, The Venue. I know how to play the guitar as opposed to administer medicine..and tho I'm frightened by many things, conflict zones seem to be ok with me. So we raised 40 to 50 thousand dollars to bring musical equipment and ourselves to Kabul. The question now is, how the hell do we do more of that?! Lots of cool ideas on the table, but for today, it's Milwaukee!"

    Jerry Joseph & The Jackmormons | Radio Cab from Ramble West on Vimeo.

    For More Information: http://www.cosmosexschool.com


    2014 10 31 41OzZbwDWQL. SL500 AA280  Thumb

    A Conversation with Kasim Sulton

    Mike Ragogna: Kasim, "Clocks All Stopped" from your new album 3 sounds like this group called Utopia that featured Todd Rundgren, Roger Powell, this guy Kasim...oh, hold on...

    Kasim Sulton: I often get confused with the other guy named Kasim Sulton...oh, wait...there IS no other guy named Kasim Sulton!

    MR: Yeah, I deserved that. So. You still like those guys?

    KS: "Like" isn't the best way to describe my feelings towards Todd, Roger and Willie [John "Willie" Wilcox]. "Owe my career to" is more appropriate. Yes, I still like them. Very much. They gave me my first real break. Took a chance on a greenhorn. Its certainly paid off for me.

    MR: Okay, enough about them, onward with 3. "Fell In Love For The Last Time"'s subject matter seems so serious yet the recording feels so delirious. So which is it? And was that infectious classic rock approach meant to signal something about the direction of the album?

    KS: I think it's serilerious? Tossing lyrical ideas around and someone says, "Imagine you see someone and you just KNOW you could fall in love with them." Then someone else says, "Right, like you found the love of your life and you'll never have to fall in love again!" Then another guy says, "You just Fell In Love For The Last Time!" Oddly enough, thats exactly the way it happened. Myself, Phil Thornalley and Jon Green started the song just like that. I like the big, bold tracks. A huge chorus. Lots of bells and whistles. Also, singing, "Wo-oh-oh," in a chorus is so much easier than having to write words. I don't think the song signals a direction so much as it serves as a request for your attention.

    MR: So did you fall in love for the last time because of the events of "Fade Away" in which you kind of blow a relationship to pieces--shreds I tell you--but then you somehow get another chance?

    KS: Actually, it was the other way round. Had it made, screwed it up--shredded it I tell you--and somehow got it back. The proverbial second last chance. There is rarely, if ever, a third.

    MR: Okay, no more softballs, Mr. Sulton! Prepare thee! "The Traveler" deals--I think--with your being a hired hand for studios and tours. What is your favorite experience as a sideman and what is your least favorite, you know, naming names and revealing all the dirt...every last speck! Leave nothing out. Or, you know, just reflect a little about being a sideman.

    KS: Never really liked the "sideman" moniker, although I guess thats a good description. People can make that the best job in the world or...the worst. Some people make you feel indispensable and some make you feel superfluous. I have been yelled at by the most talentless creatures to ever hold a microphone and praised by the most successful players around. Names? If you promise to cover my legal fees we can discuss it further. Often, these days when I'm asked by someone unfamiliar with me what I do for a living, I reply "I travel." Because when you really boil it down, I'll travel 30 hours in any given week to work for two hours. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE what I do and am blessed to have a career that spans three decades but...the traveling can be tedious. Yes, "The Traveler" is entirely about my feelings on that subject.

    MR: "Watching The World Go By" kind of deals with similar subject matter to "The Traveler" although it seems more reflective. Do you believe that might have been the case? Do you feel that work kept you from having a fuller life and might it be possible it was also the other perspective, that music gave you a full life?

    KS: Ah...regrets. Hard not to have at least a few during the course of one's life. I've missed some important things over the years. Weddings, Father/Daughter dances, graduations and the like. But as Vito Corleone said, "This is the business we have chosen." Having said all that, I have lived an extremely full life--SO FAR. Been around the world a few times. Celebrated my 21st birthday while on tour in Japan. Have performed in front of, oh I'd guess no less than a few million people over the years. Recorded and played on over 130 records, one of them the third biggest selling record in the history of recorded music. So I think I've led a pretty interesting life. "Watching The World Go By" is somewhat reflective. It's just the difference between waking up and being utterly overwhelmed by the day to day stuff and the days you wake up and think, things will ultimately be ok.

    MR: During your years with Todd and the Utopia gang, you all grew at your craft. As a musician, what was your role in the band and what contributions would you say you made to it?

    KS: When I joined Utopia, it was still somewhat of a prog-rock jam band. Long extended songs, solo after solo, time changes, key changes. I came from a different background. More pop oriented. I like to think I had something to do with the direction the band took after I signed on. Both Roger Powell and Willie Wilcox (keyboards and drums respectively) came from the Jazz and Fusion world while Todd Rundgren was not only a brilliant musician, songwriter and producer, his river had more branches than all of us put together. I think I brought a flavor to the band that ultimately led to more accessible music. Songs and styles that appealed to a much broader audience. Maybe closer to the work Todd did as a solo artist. That's not to say the band would have remained in one specific genre had I not been there, just that my contribution[s] tended to lean more towards the three and a half minute pop song.

    MR: For the three people on the planet who still don't know--see what I did there--how did you and Todd meet and how did Utopia form?

    KS: Utopia was formed well before I came on board. Early '70s I believe. The original line up was Todd, Tony Sales and Hunt Sales. I just saw a picture of them at a show in which they were all wearing something that looked like welder masks. Can you say...Daft Punk? After that was the big band. Todd, Moogy Klingman (Piano), Kevin Ellman (Drums), John Siegler (Bass), Jean Eves LaBatt (Synthesizer), Ralph Schukett (Organ), Roger Powell (Keyboards) and Willie Wilcox (Drums). Then it was scaled down to a four piece, Todd, Roger,Willie and John Siegler. I replaced John Siegler who went off to find fame and fortune writing Pokeman music. In 1976, I was playing piano with NYC winger/poetress, Cherry Vanilla. She traveled in some pretty eclectic circles and knew everyone in the NYC music scene. She introduced me to Michael Kaman who was a friend of Roger Powell. So when John Siegler left the band, Roger called Michael to see if he might have any recommendations for a replacement. I heard about it through a friend and called Michael. He called Roger and the next day, I borrowed 20 dollars from my uncle and took an Adirondack Trailways bus up to Woodstock where the band was based. Todd was mopeding across India at the time but was due back in a day. I did some playing with Roger and Willie. We went over the material that Todd would probably want to try with me. Then Todd came home. He wasn't very warm and fuzzy to me. He didn't think I was the right choice because I simply had no experience touring or recording with a national act. Roger and Willie insisted he give me a chance. Todd relented and, I proved my worth within a few months. I will say that he didn't make that first year easy for me. He didn't start saying "hello" to me until 1977.

    MR: When you work on solo projects, what's the method like? I'm imagining it's a different creative process than when you're working with others.

    KS: I tend to work very slowly. I like taking my time and exploring options before I commit to any idea. Jim Steinman once told me, "A decision means the end of all possibilities." While I believe there is a saturation point, a place of diminishing return, I look at the writing/recording process much like sculpting. Take a little off. Put a little on. Step back and look and then fine tune. When I'm co-writing, things tend to go much faster. Songs get written quicker because the ideas are coming from more than one person. It's also easier not to get stuck trying to find the right chord change, melody or lyric.

    MR: Have you yet figured out what makes you creative and if you did, can you sell me the formu...no, can you tell us what it is?

    KS: I guess it's the same thing that makes someone want to be a good doctor or a good teacher. I think we're all born with some innate ability to be good at some specific thing in life. I knew I was going to be a musician at a very early age. My passion for it allowed me to concentrate on making it up the ladder rung by rung--still climbing by the way. There's no need to try and capture that creativeness because we all possess it in one form or another.

    MR: On 3, what's the most daring step you took creatively? What was the most surprising result of all the recordings? Do you think the process has satisfied you enough so that you'll be moving on to becoming a roofer or politician?

    KS: I didn't compromise. I didn't settle. I wasn't done with any aspect of the record until I was completely satisfied. I asked the other musicians who played on the record to redo things that in the past, I might have said thanks and moved on. On this record, if I thought something like a guitar part, or a bass part, a lead vocal, a background vocal part wasn't exactly the way I wanted it, I kept working until it was right. I do have a roof on my house but I'd never try fixing it. I'm also into this thing called honesty these days so that kind of rules out being a politician.

    MR: Considering your awesome career, what advice do you have for new artists and come on, let it rip, none of these two or three baby sentence answers. Young musicians need this stuff!

    KS: Look, if you think you'd like to try your hand at making a career in music, go for it. Making a living by being an artist is probably one of the hardest things to do. Music, like most art, is subjective. Where one person sees brilliance, another might see complete dreck. I know that I like what I create, otherwise why bother? So it's just a matter of finding like minded people and getting them to pony up their time, belief and money. Confidence is a must have trait. Stick-to-it-ivness is indispensable. Yet, at the same time, you need to be honest enough with yourself to know when it's time to stop banging your head against a wall. Just don't pull a 'Kardashian' and think you're gonna be famous for doing nothing.

    MR: After touring with Meat Loaf, did it become obvious that "Objects In The Rear View Mirror..." is the best song of his career? Which reminds me, what is your favorite song you ever created...might it be, I don't know, "Fade Away"?

    KS: I'm afraid I'm going to have to respectfully disagree. It's a very god song but certainly, in my opinion, not one of his best. If you'd had said "Paradise By The Dashboard Light" or "Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad" or "I Would Do Anything For Love ..." I might agree. Any song that can span a generation is, in my opinion, a great song. Couples still have their wedding band play "Paradise..." so they can act it out on the dance floor at the reception dinner. I'm not sure I have any one favorite song that I've written. They are all special to me in one way or another. Some because of the chord changes, some for the lyric and some because, well...I just think it's a good song. "Fade Away" was the last song written and recorded on 3. I wasn't even sure I was going to include it because it was taking so long to finish. I was already about two and a half years past my self imposed deadline. I'm glad I persisted. It's a really good and meaningful song. One of my all time favorites is "Set me Free" from Utopia's Adventures In Utopia record. It was the single from that record and the only Utopia song to reach Billboards Top 20. I wrote and sang that one.

    MR: That's my favorite Utopia album, Adventures In Utopia. Love every song on that. Hey last question. Why are you such a freakin' awesome musician?

    KS: Probably the same reason you're such an awesome journalist. Seriously, the questions you asked were really good. I've had to answer some truly inane questions over the years. Also, you didn't ask me what my favorite color is.

    MR: It's green, everyone knows that, duh. Okay, last last question. What does the future look like for your music and your personal life?

    KS: You mean second last question? I'm in a great place both musically and personally. It's been an interesting journey. Life has thrown me a bunch of curve balls over the years. Some I've dodged, some hit me smack in the head. However, I'm still here and I've just made the best record of my life. I'm gonna keep making music as long as there are people that want to hear it...I'd probably do it even if it's only to please myself. I love what I do and I get a tremendous amount of joy from it. You know that saying, "If you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life." It really is true.


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    A Conversation with Sallie Ford

    Mike Ragogna: Sallie, your album Slap Back seems to evoke many iconic rockers such as Joan Jett, Pat Benatar and Heart. How influential were these artists to you and who are some of your other influences?

    SF: When I first started writing the songs for this record I was listening to a lot of The Monks and Skeeter Davis. Those are both very different, but I love that era of music from the 60's. Skeeter Davis had pop songs with honest lyrics and amazing vocal layers. The Monks were raw and were ahead of their time, almost like punk before punk. I wanted to bring both those sounds to the music I was making. I also wanted to play surfy guitar licks, like The Ventures and The Surfaris.

    I also knew I didn't wanna make music that was just retro. I wanted to write from a more straightforward direction and sing that way too. There are a lot of double vocals--meaning I sang the parts twice and we layered them--and I am now addicted to that sound, cause it's reminiscent of The Ramones and also gives the vocals some depth. As I was writing the record, I was sharing songs with my friend and producer, Chris Funk. One day I admitted that I kinda wished that I could start over and write more classic rock songs, like Heart. He said I could still incorporate those sounds and encouraged me to keep writing songs for the record and not over think it. Up until I was in the studio, I kept writing songs and once I was in the studio, Funk helped us to build a fluid "sound."

    MR: What's your own musical history, like instruments, instruction,
    first performance, all that stuff!

    SF: I started playing music and singing at a young age. I took violin lessons for 7 years and a few years of piano, guitar and singing lessons. I performed a lot with my violin and I also did a lot of musical theater. I quit music when I was 16 cause I wanted to escape the classical music world and do something wild and rebellious. I watched tons of "R" rated movies, dyed my hair crazy colors & listened to punk rock. I started to get into other art forms like photography, painting & filmmaking, but I never felt like I could fully express myself the way I wanted to. I got back into music when I went to college briefly at UNCA and met a girl that inspired me to start singing again. After traveling in Europe, I moved to Portland and that's when I started writing music and singing. My first show was in the basement of my first house in SE Portland.

    MR: What's the story behind Slap Back? How were the songs written and recordings created?

    SF: I have never been able to write a concept record, but my songs are pulled from my life. All the songs are about relationships: friendships, love, breakup. There are also some songs about letting go and just being impulsive--but again, that's good relationship advice, haha. I wrote the songs by myself first, then shared them with my producer and band. We worked out most of the songs beforehand and then we were in the studio! We recorded at our drummers studio called Destination Universe! It took about a month of recording on and off.

    MR: Were there any surprises during the process, like an obvious jump in the quality of the writing or some personal revelations or maybe discoveries about the people in your subject matter?

    SF: While I was writing, I recorded demos on my tascam 4-track cassette recorder. Some of the songs weren't done, but I found that making demos early on, on the cassette recorder helped me finish the songs quicker and build a sound and style for all the songs. One of the first demos I recorded ended up on the record. It's the first intro song that's like a mini-song and it's just vocals. I'm stoked that it ended up on there!

    MR: Are there any songs on Slap Back that you would say most represent your creative space right now?

    SF: "Dive in" is a song with a good lyric mantra for me. Some of the lyrics that hold very true to me creatively--and with everything else in my life as well--are, "I wanna scream and shout. I wanna let it out. I wanna jump right in. I wanna make it count," "I wanna dive right in. I don't care about mistakes. I wanna take a chance, cause that is what it takes," "I want it to hurt, cause when it hurts, it hurts so good." This record is a jump in a different direction. The songs still have a retro, classic feel, but have experimental/psychedelic sounds that layer on top.

    MR: "Coulda Been" seems to be the story of the love that almost was. Was this a particular relationship you had? Might it also be a metaphor regarding ideals or precious things we want from life that we get so close to achieving but just miss for whatever reasons? Too heavy?

    SF: The lyrics of "Coulda Been" are pretty straight forward, just about relationship games that people have in the beginning parts of a romance. I have two sisters and many girlfriends that have vented about their love lives to me for years and of course I've experienced the same things, but wrote the song after I felt like I was done with all the games. I guess it could be about life's power games as well.

    MR: Are your recordings and live performances two different brands of rocking or are you trying to achieve the same thing with both outlets?

    SF: They are different. In the studio it's more about building a rocking sound and it ends up being bigger as you add more sounds. Whereas live, there is more pressure to really put physical energy into it in order to rock. I like to gauge how crazy the audience is and if they get there, that gives me energy. It's nice to play louder music though, cause it fills a bar and I end up dancing naturally.

    MR: Ultimately, what are your expectations of your music?

    SF: At this point I haven't gone to school and I've put all my time into building what I have. I just wanna have fun, but still make a living doing it. It would be cool if this record gets us some new fans though!

    MR: What advice do you have for new artists?

    SF: I always just focused on the music and the business stuff happened for me. I'm very lucky, but I think that the music is the most important part and if it's good, the fans and business people will come to you. Also, don't be afraid to be DIY for atleast a few years and own it.

    MR: What's next for Sallie Ford following the Slap Back?

    SF: Going on a US and Canada tour in November and December. I'm hoping we will go back to Europe next year!!

    MR: What's the one thing you wish people knew about you that they still don't?

    SF: I did post this on my social media stuff, but I'm still proud to reveal that my great great-great-grandmother was a tattooed lady in the circus around 1900. Pretty badass.

  • Jorge Garcia Makes The Most Of 'Hawaii Five-O'
    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Since playing the lucky-unlucky lottery winner Hurley on "Lost," Jorge Garcia's career has moved along nicely from "Alcatraz" to "Hawaii Five-0" and upcoming big-screen movies.

    It's logical that he might indulge himself in, say, a fast car or pricey wristwatch. But to think that is to badly misjudge the man and, if you happen to see him decked out on Halloween night, you'll understand why. "Oh, man, do I admit this?" Garcia said. "I always wanted to have an Elvis jumpsuit made and always found reasons not to do it. But getting the job on 'Five-0,' I said, 'OK, I'm doing it.'"

    Specifically a $3,700 "Dragon" jumpsuit — a white version with colorful dragons embroidered front and back — from a costume design company that also offers, among many others, the Burning Love and Aloha from Hawaii versions for Elvis impersonators and admirers like Garcia.

    If the custom-tailored suit arrives before Halloween he's definitely wearing it, said Garcia, 41, a fan of the holiday as demonstrated by his Instagram postings. It would also be a nice way to mark Friday's episode of "Hawaii Five-0," in which his character, Jerry Ortega, has a featured role.

    Conspiracy theorist Jerry has been spying on a suspicious bookstore and "it turns out they're also spying on him," Garcia said. "Perhaps he poked his nose in where he shouldn't."

    This season represents Garcia's move up from recurring guest star to series regular on "Hawaii Five-0," the revamped version of the 1968-80 police drama. Among the show's stars is Daniel Dae Kim, who as Jin Kwon was stranded with Garcia on the Hawaii-based "Lost."

    "Half the (production) crew are people I already know" from "Lost," Garcia said. "When I came back and did the show as a guest star it definitely had this feeling of coming home."

    Paradise is only rented, however. He still has a house in the Los Angeles area, where he can stay on top of job opportunities.

    "It's better to be in the room for certain meetings then do things remotely. You can get a better feel for the personalities," said Garcia, who comes across as drolly funny but also much more focused than his often free-spirited characters.

    Born in Omaha, Nebraska, and raised in Southern California's Orange County, he found youthful career inspiration in two very different films.

    "It was seeing 'Fiddler on the Roof' and 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' that made me first want to be an actor. I just loved Tevye so much; I used to sing 'If I Were a Rich Man' when I was little," he recalled.

    Was that accompanied by Topol's exuberant, hip-shaking dance from the 1971 movie?

    Of course, Garcia said. "If you're gonna play it, play it."

    As a fledgling performer, the roles he expected to get were along the lines of the funny neighbor in a three-camera sitcom.

    "I knew I wasn't a usual type," said the round-faced, bushy-haired Garcia.

    His first big role came in the Ted Danson sitcom "Becker" in 2003-04, followed by small roles in other shows and movies. Then came Hugo "Hurley" Reyes in 2004, a welcome chance to play a character with dimension.

    He's adding more movie credits to his resume, including two set for 2015 release: "The Wedding Ringer" starring Kevin Hart and Josh Gad, and "Cooties," a horror-comedy featuring Elijah Wood, Alison Pill and Rainn Wilson.

    As for his distinctive mane, he's more than ready to part with it ("I've had long hair for so long, I need to start feeling like a grown-up") and step into what he calls "real suit-and-tie guy" roles. He plans a serious trim after "Hawaii Five-0," with his Elvis Presley suit as added inducement. He and friends are planning an indie film that would include a scene with a couple of Elvis impersonators.

    But there will be other uses for his treasured outfit.

    "It's not like I wouldn't walk around my house in the Elvis suit with a gorilla mask on, just for entertainment," Garcia said.


    Lynn Elber is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. She can be reached at lelber@ap.org and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lynnelber .




  • ABC's Red-Hot <i>How to Get Away with Murder</i> Proves Broadcast Isn't Playing It Safe
    In an exciting but not altogether unexpected development, the addition of How to Get Away with Murder to ABC's schedule now gives each of the Big Three networks a current drama series that challenges basic cable's status as the home of top-quality, unapologetically adult programming.

    The other two shows that share the distinction of being utterly "cable-worthy" are CBS' The Good Wife (the first to reach this exciting status, and still the best) and NBC's The Blacklist (a handsomely produced thrill-ride that for better or worse has brought pay cable-level violence and brutality to broadcast television). Each of these three can be positioned alongside the best that AMC and FX have to offer. One might also put ABC's sizzling Scandal and NBC's midseason marvel Hannibal on this short list of broadcast series that often dare to go there, content wise.

    Given the strides into grown-up entertainment that these shows and a few others are taking, it appears that broadcast television is finally overcoming antiquated restrictions, moving into the modern age and becoming genuinely competitive with cable networks and streaming services, at least as far as scripted content is concerned. Let's hope nothing happens to derail this welcome momentum.

    How to Get Away with Murder, like The Good Wife and The Blacklist before it, may be stretching standards and breaking boundaries, but it is worth noting that these shows wouldn't be in a position to do what they are doing had so many others not pushed so many envelopes before them. Off the top of my head, a partial list of such broadcast history-makers would include NBC's Hill Street Blues and ABC's NYPD Blue (perhaps the most groundbreaking broadcast dramas ever); ABC's thirtysomething; NBC's St. Elsewhere and ER, and Fox's 24.

    The adults-only show generating the most excitement right now is ABC's brand-new Murder, a fact that should come as no surprise to anyone who saw its sizzling pilot last summer. There were other fall season pilots that I liked, including The CW's The Flash and Jane the Virgin, but Murder was the only one that left me champing at the bit to see more. Three more episodes in and it hasn't disappointed.

    The pilot made clear that this new series from super-producer Shonda Rhimes and her colleague Pete Nowalk (who actually created the show) was going to be a fast and furious blend of riveting legal action and searing personal drama full of more twists and turns than even Rhimes' Scandal (which is more riveting this season than during its first three, something I wasn't sure would be possible). But as wild as it was, it didn't prepare anyone for the show's uncommonly frank presentation of the sex life of one of its main characters (Connor, a gay law student who will seemingly stop at nothing to get ahead) or that startling sequence in the October 16 episode when fearsome attorney and professor Annalise Keating removed her wig, false eyelashes and makeup before confronting her husband with damning evidence of his affair. (Her outrage was outrageous, given that she is no stranger to extramarital escapades.)

    It's difficult to determine which act has generated the most talk and Twitter excitement of anything seen or heard on television so far this season: Viola Davis, the actress who plays Annalise, revealing herself in high-definition close-up in so bold a manner, or her pointed question to her cheating husband, "Why is your penis on a dead girl's phone?" (ABC took particular delight in promoting that phrase without actually revealing it in its entirety.)

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    It strikes me as somewhat disconcerting that an attractive middle-aged actress allowing herself to be seen without makeup caused such a stir. Further, while he is certainly not the only sexually active gay male character on broadcast television, the fact that young Connor is as open about his private life as he is and candidly discusses his sexual conquests with his fellow students, including heterosexual males, shouldn't be such a big deal, either. (Jack Falahee, the actor who plays Connor, and Conrad Ricamora, who plays his sometime lover Oliver, are pictured above.) But these things represent a collective ongoing progress that isn't simply welcome on broadcast; it is representative of what the medium must do (with great care and quality, of course) if it is to remain relevant in a world in which children are raised with easy access to the Internet and all of the surprises it holds in store.

    As impressed as I am with Murder there are things about it that are starting to bug me. I don't understand why Annalise's home is so dark and dingy, or why she and her husband Sam would choose to live in the same building in which Annalise maintains her legal practice, thereby insuring that they almost never have any privacy. And I can see myself getting tired of the show's narrative structure, which has the story jumping from present (when the legal students in Annalise's charge are frantically trying to dispose of Sam's dead body) to the recent past (which has everyone involved in the mystery surrounding the murder of a cheerleader, plus lots of other cases and personal trauma-dramas).

    Still, it's a thrill to have yet another series on a broadcast network schedule that looks to be one of the bravest and boldest on television. I imagine the dramas in development for next season are going to reflect the particular strengths of this striking show. I should think they would have to.

    This column was first published in the Planet Ed blog on MediaBizBloggers.

  • Jennifer Lopez Details Emotional Abuse, Relationship Mistakes In New Memoir 'True Love'
    Jennifer Lopez's romantic relationships may be tabloid fodder, but the megastar is setting the record straight in a new memoir, "True Love," which hits shelves Nov. 4.

    In the book, excerpted below, Lopez opens up about the heartbreak surrounding the crumbling of her marriage to Marc Anthony, the strength her twins Max and Emme have given her, and how she eventually discovered the meaning of -- what else? -- true love.

    On her marriage to Marc Anthony:

    Things between Marc and me weren't perfect, of course -- our marriage was never the kind to glide along peacefully. From the beginning it was tumultuous, passionate, and explosive, but we also shared many fulfilling and joyful moments. Every marriage has its challenges, but it was about keeping that marriage together, having that family unit, and making the dream come true -- whatever the cost. In my family, when I was growing up, divorce was not an option. So when I married Marc, having already been through the disappointment of two divorces and a broken engagement, I wanted so much for our marriage to be "it." Marc was my guy, the one. The father of my children, the man I was going to grow old with.

    On the common thread in all of her relationships:

    Throughout my life, I’ve had a few serious relationships. Each relationship was different and each relationship had its issues. But there was one thing they all had in common: They all had a passionate intensity that I mistook, every time, for my happily ever after. Reality is hard to see through the adrenaline rush of a new love. It's easy to project your hopes and dreams onto a relationship when it’s new and exciting.

    On mistaking passion for love:

    I was lucky -- or unlucky -- enough to be with men who were really intense about their feelings for me. They did some crazy things, and I mean crazy things. Like releasing hundreds of doves outside my window, buying me a Bentley or two, giving me rare diamonds, throwing me giant parties, or sending me private jets to sweep me off somewhere. I'm talking about grand gestures of love, passion, or whatever you want to call it. And I loved it. It was intoxicating when it was happening. When a man does something like that, it's easy to think, Wow, look how much he loves me! But passion is a pendulum that swings both ways. As beautiful as it can be it can also get very intense. Yet, through thick and thin, I chose to stay in those relationships. Because how can you turn your back on a love so big, so amazing, so real? The problem is, it wasn't real love; it was passion. I just didn't know the difference yet.

    On her split from Ben Affleck:

    When Ben and I split up at the moment when I thought we were committing to each other forever it was my first real heartbreak, it felt like my heart had been torn out of my chest. People do lots of things to anesthetize themselves in moments like these. Some people do drugs, some drink and some go out and party. I sought out comfort in another person, tried to find someone who could make me feel loved and wanted in my loneliest hours. And that was the moment when Marc reappeared in my life.

    On being mistreated in relationships:

    The only way you can be mistreated is by allowing yourself to be mistreated, and that was something I did over and over again. I've never gotten a black eye or a busted lip, but I've been in relationships where I have felt abused one way or another: mentally, emotionally, verbally. I know what it feels like to for your soul to be diminished by the way your loved one is treating you ... maybe it's a push, a shove or a nasty word that stays with you.

    On the moment when she and Anthony decided to split:

    "I'm not happy." Marc was in the middle of venting to me about things between us that had been bothering him, and I was sitting there trying to figure out where he was going with it. Then he said it again, “I’m not happy. I'm here because we have a family, because we're trying to keep it together. But I'm not happy." I really thought I had done everything I could -- as a wife, as a partner, and as a mother to his children. What sense did it make to keep suppressing my own feelings of what was missing in the relationship? How long did I need to keep trying to make someone happy who was telling me flat-out that he wasn't?

    On the final straw:

    We sat down together. "This is not working. You know it's not working. We're not living like a family, and I don't see how things are going to change. Neither of us is happy, and the kids are wondering what's going on. I think we should move on with our lives." Deep down, I still wanted him to put up a fight for our family. But instead, he said, "Okay." On July 15, 2011, we made the public announcement that we were going to divorce. Hardest. Day. Ever.

    On therapy:

    The biggest lightbulb that went off was that I realized I wasn't recognizing the value of my own love. I never stopped to consider just how special my love was. I never stopped to look at myself and say, You know what? You deserve a love that is pure and special and good as the one you're giving. Your love has value.

    On what she wants from a partner:

    Keep the diamond rings, the Bentleys, the doves, the trips to Europe ... Keep all of it! I can buy all of those things myself. Give me your time, your honesty, your respect, kindness, patience, fidelity. Give me comfort when things are tough.

    On her biggest epiphany:

    What was loving yourself, anyway? Nobody teaches us what that means, but now I've discovered that it's the key to life -- because it's the key to loving someone else and allowing others to love you.

    Keep in touch! Check out HuffPost Divorce on Facebook and Twitter.

  • Jake Gyllenhaal's Eyes in Nightcrawler
    Jake Gyllenhaal's Leo Bloom in Nightcrawler is as creepy as the movie's title suggests. A bug-eyed loner who preys on the misfortunes of others, Bloom's very language appropriates television-speak with information garnered on the Internet to make him reptilian. Negotiating his way through interactions, he acquires a camera and means to follow disasters, and finds a career as a videographer filming beyond the scope of decency: a man with gaping wounds after a car crash, a family shot in their mansion, their plush white carpets soaked in blood. Racing around in a beautifully shot L.A. in a red car, he doesn't just follow crime scenes, he creates them.

    Bloom sells his footage to Nina, a splendid Rene Russo, at a television station. A dinner at which he tries to negotiate intimacy with her is a manipulation based on her needing what he's got for her career. Over tacos, Leo notes her makeup: intensely kohl lined lids heavy with shadow. He doesn't mind older women. In an age when anything can be put out there for public perusal, these two are nicely matched.
    At this week's premiere at Stone Rose Lounge, Jake Gyllenhaal said he just followed Dan Gilroy's script and direction keeping his eyes fixed that way. Checking to gauge the blink factor, one could see he had to force his eyes to spook so effectively. Add to that, Donald Mowat's work on makeup, keeping the face a pallid yellow, the eyes red-rimmed. What a perfect movie to open for Halloween!

    A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.

  • 'Mindy Project' Actress Beth Grant Shares Her Story Of Awkwardly Kissing Mindy Kaling
    You may not know Beth Grant's name, but you'll definitely recognize the hilarious character actress who has been in literally everything. These days she's making us laugh as batty nurse-turned-receptionist Beverly on 'The Mindy Project," and just like the rest of us, she's obsessed with Mindy Kaling.

    Grant expressed just how much she loves Mindy with this adorable story she told HuffPost Live's Alyona Minkovski on Thursday:

    [Mindy] is gracious and lovely and kind, and always supportive and affectionate. A lot of times I'll be sitting in my makeup trailer and she comes by and gives me a little few fingers [on my shoulder to say hello], which is so thrilling to me. In fact, one day -- I'm sort of embarrassed to tell you this story -- but I actually kissed her hand one day. I went home and said, 'Well, Michael' -- that's my husband -- I said, 'I kissed her hand today. This is the end.' ... She reached over to kind of touch me a little bit and I just went [smooch], and I thought, 'I just kissed her hand!' But so what? I'm a fangirl, I'm a geek for Mindy, what can I tell you?

    Watch Grant gush about Kaling in the video above, and catch the full HuffPost Live conversation here.

    Sign up here for Live Today, HuffPost Live's new morning email that will let you know the newsmakers, celebrities and politicians joining us that day and give you the best clips from the day before!

  • Sam Smith &amp; Ed Sheeran Sang 'Stay With Me' Together, But We're Not Crying (Okay, We Are)
    At a Wednesday night concert in England, Sam Smith brought Ed Sheeran on stage to help him sing "Stay With Me." The crowd was into it.

    So was Smith:

    We'll be over here crying.

  • Jerks Like This Make Us Wonder If We Even Deserve Halloween Anymore
    Halloween is supposed to be easy to love. After all, it's the only holiday in which your sole obligation is to have fun, help others have fun, or, if you're a total grouch, just stay home with the doorbell muted. We get to dress up -- or dress our kids, pets and houses up -- using our creativity and costume-design skills to scare, amuse and impress others.

    At least that's what Halloween is supposed to be. In recent years, however, the basic tenets of the holiday seem to have given rise to idiocy and excess, sometimes very real and sometimes mistakenly perceived. Perhaps most visibly, social media has provided a platform to the people who think the "too-soon" costumes are edgy, and the "not-in-a-million-years" ones are downright hilarious. But it's not just the costumes. For some reason, around Oct. 31, people have a strange tendency to take everything too far. The outrage machine then gets cranked up and Halloween ends up being a sad reminder of why we can't have nice things.

    So, to the people and things below, screw you, you're ruining this great holiday for everyone else.

    On Halloween, some people think it's totally okay to dress up as a domestic abuser!

    The Ray Rice scandal sent shockwaves through the nation earlier this year, when surveillance video leaked to TMZ showed the NFL star knocking his then-fiancee, now-wife unconscious in a hotel elevator. After a serious nationwide discussion on domestic violence, people vowed to treat the issue with respect thought it would make a super funny costume, apparently. As if making a joke about domestic violence wasn't bad enough, a few decided to top it all off with a little blackface:

    And another one RT @mdlamaster @KeithOlbermann
    And we have a winner in the proud daughter sweepstakes for morons.

    — Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) October 26, 2014

    Seriously. This is a couple's costume ...

    If you missed this amazing racism and pro-DV bs posted to Instagram by @RitterZac (account now locked) pic.twitter.com/7ULCxhVfVC

    — Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) October 26, 2014

    Just why? It's not funny. It's not clever. The Ray Rice costume is this year's Trayvon Martin costume, and yes, it should make you feel physically ill that a sentence like that can even exist.

    Blackface is horrible and offensive. But, for some reason, the issue seems to pop up every Halloween. Someone else's race or culture shouldn't be a costume, period. There are plenty of awesome things you can dress up as without deliberately trying to inflame racial tensions or offend people. You know it's going to piss someone off either in person, or on the Internet (when it inevitably ends up there).

    This, too, is poor form:

    @ellievhall A hijabi friend of mine got this text from a former college classmate: pic.twitter.com/AyQxqTQ7B8

    — Ismat Sarah Mangla (@ismat) October 28, 2014

    Meanwhile, others aren't sure if it's Ebola, or EbLOLa.

    Here's another horrible costume idea based on a tragic story that’s dominated news headlines in 2014 -- Sexy Ebola Nurse. If "Modest Ebola Nurse" wasn't bad enough, for $59.99, costume shop BrandsOnSale will mail you a tight "lab coat" dress, gloves and a mask to anyone insensitive enough to poke fun at a deadly viral outbreak that has claimed nearly 5,000 lives.


    Will people actually wear it? Probably, says ABC News.

    And hapless infants are fair territory in this tasteless game of dress-up.

    People are now getting their kids involved in their dumb Halloween costume adventures, too. Controversial getups like Baby Cigarette and Baby Pimp are big sellers on BrandsOnSale, owner Jonathan Weeks told CBS Los Angeles. "Halloween is one day out of the year you can dress up and be anything," Weeks said. But just because you can, doesn't mean you need to. Especially when your kids can’t yet tell you what an idiot you are.

    When you buy a costume for your baby that proves you weren't ready to be a parent pic.twitter.com/JKO183bWBW

    — Yassir Lester (@Yassir_Lester) October 23, 2014

    And it wouldn't be Halloween without some serious body-shaming.

    Halloween's great (when people aren't trying to ruin it), but it's not exactly known for its kindness to women. People just love making fun of "slutty" costumes, and everyone has an opinion on whether anyone should wear them. Is a sexy witch costume degrading? Is it fun and empowering? Should we even care how people dress? Navigating this holiday as a girl is already full of body-image land mines, but this week, Walmart took things to a whole new level with a "Fat Girl Costumes" section of its website. There, visitors found a selection of plus-sized costumes.

    A screenshot from Walmart.com taken on October 27.

    A presumed mistake by the site's developers (the section was removed within a few hours) forced the retail giant's PR team into overdrive, issuing semi-robotic apologies via Twitter. Really, Walmart? Even you should be above this.

    And it's cool to poke fun at a neighbor's dead relative this time of year, too, right?

    Continuing the theme of poor judgment, a Dallas man recently decorated the outside of his home as an Ebola quarantine zone. Hazmat barrels and caution tape surround the residence, which has understandably raised a few neighbors' eyebrows and garnered criticism from the family of Thomas Eric Duncan, who died of Ebola at a Dallas hospital. While the homeowner characterized the display as "all in good fun," Duncan's family called it "insulting."


    Well, at least these lawn decorations are there for the taking.

    Halloween Grinches descend on tacky home decor every year, but we can only imagine what they plan to do with a massive inflatable haunted train. Seriously, where is someone going to put a "spooky monster butler"? Or an inflatable witch head that belonged to a 5-year-old? Probably the only thing worse than showing off a ghost riding a motorcycle in your front yard is being that asshole who steals it.

    Deep. Fried. Candy. Corn.

    Halloween candy sales are expected to top $2.5 billion in 2014, and depending on whom you ask, candy corn is either the best or the worst treat for the holiday. Seeing as how this is America, it was apparently only a matter of time until someone decided that deep-frying this polarizing confection would be a good idea.

    Gross. Do not make these.

    Halloween is a time for every kid's favorite thing: candy being lectured ...

    No one likes people who use Halloween handouts to promote their own agenda. Sure, that goes for dentists who give out floss or toothbrushes, but ESPECIALLY for anti-vaccine advocates who've taken to labeling innocent candy bars with misinformation on vaccines. The National Vaccine Information Center, an anti-vaccine organization, is encouraging people to print their own labels at home, the blog Respectful Insolence first reported. As a reminder, all but a lonely few scientists and medical experts disagree with the suggestion vaccines may be harmful.

    Speaking of propaganda: Religious pamphlets remain the #1 worst thing to give out on Halloween. Even little kids know it.


    Chick Publications, purveyor of some controversial evangelical tracts, has a ton of miniature comic books available for purchase on its website with Halloween-themed messages. One shows a young boy getting fatally hit by a car while trick-or-treating, and another tells the tale of a group of high schoolers who summon the devil by sacrificing a black cat on an altar. What Halloween fun! Yeah, no one likes creepy religious pamphlets.

    When parents face their worst fear: monsters trying to get their babies high on the pot.

    Fear mongering isn't just for anti-vaxxers. Marijuana is now legal in Colorado, and parents in the Centennial State are reportedly worried that some evil person might slip a pot candy in their trick-or-treater's goody bag. The Denver Police Department heard the concern loud and clear, responding with a campaign full of scary graphics proving that marijuana-infused candy looks pretty similar to regular candy.

    Of course, it's unclear why anybody would waste a significant amount of money -- a couple of dollars per candy, if not more -- just to try to get kids high, which would likely be terrifying and unpleasant, though not life-threatening. There's no real precedent for it.

    The simple solution, as with previous unfounded scares about poisoned, razor blade-laden candy, is for parents to throw out any candy that isn't in its original packaging and, if you're really paranoid, to make sure that there aren't any misleadingly labeled pot candies in your kid's trick-or-treat bag. That, or splurge on this marijuana candy test kit made specifically for Halloween.

    Honestly, there's too much outrage to keep track of. Let's just get offended by everything.

    There will be plenty of actual things to be outraged about this Halloween -- let's not invent additional ones.

    In New Jersey, a woman came under fire for having Halloween decorations that some neighbors say went too far. The display featured baby dolls hanging from ropes, which could be "frightening to children," one neighborhood parent said. Somehow, the controversy ended up as a local news story, leading the homeowner to say she wouldn't take down her decorations until after Halloween. In Minneapolis, a similar story emerged, but with a yard full of scary zombies.

    And in North Carolina, a billboard for a local haunted woods attraction was called too "disturbing" because it featured a picture of undead woman with half of a face. “I don’t want to see violence against women so for me that was something that stood out,” a local mother told WGNO. “Why is it just a female face and why does it look like someone has beaten her?”

    R BILLBAORD Large570

    Obviously, violence against women is not something to take lightly, as we went over with the Ray Rice-costumed idiots above. But that's really not the issue here. Halloween is supposed to be spooky. And fun! Let's keep it that way.

  • The Best Halloween Costumes Of 2014 -- So Far
    It's that time of the year, folks. Think you've got an awesome Halloween costume? Well, show us what you got!

    HuffPost Comedy is back with our annual round up of the best Halloween costumes of the year. We've kicked things off with some of the best costumes the Internet has to offer, but we need you to complete the list!

    Scroll down for our favorites so far and submit your funny, clever or topical costumes by hitting the button below and we may feature your photo in this roundup!

    By submitting your image, you are agreeing to The Huffington Post's TOS: bit.ly/HuffPostTOS

  • Frances McDormand Proves Once Again That She's Amazing In 'Olive Kitteridge'
    If you're not willing to settle for a likable lead character, you may well be satisfied with a lovable Frances McDormand in "Olive Kitteridge," an HBO miniseries that is every bit as astringent and intelligent as its title character.

    You can guess what Olive herself would think of "likability": She'd probably call it a mushy concept fit only for children and imbeciles. She'd dismiss it with a barely audible sigh.

    This flinty Maine schoolteacher, played with precise determination by McDormand, has no time for saps and sentimental types. And yet, as played by McDormand and as luminously excavated in the Elizabeth Strout novel this fine miniseries is based on, we come to know that Olive feels things deeply. She cares -- about people, about animals, about nature, about art -- but she is held back by her inability to convey her thoughts and feelings to other people in ways they can accept and understand.

    People frequently flinch and shrink back from her crisp judgments, but she doesn't mind: She'd rather not waste her time with frivolity and attempts to be accepted. Much of the time, you can't blame her for making withering pronouncements, even as you wince a bit at her bluntness. But Olive's assessments aren't often wrong and she's only noting things that others don't have the courage to say.

    With grit and pursed-lips intensity, Olive cooks, gardens and teaches the local kids in her small Maine town. Part of the reason she's considered odd is because she is, frankly, very smart, but she also can be self-pitying and cruel. Neighbors around town who want to chat or to offer a kind word are often met with an acerbic comment about their children's intelligence (or lack thereof).

    Olive has no time for small talk, but she has a big heart; she feels no need to censor herself, and yet she is keenly aware of what others think of her. Moving with jerky, energetic movements around their small, tidy house or attacking their waterfront garden with verve, Olive takes care of her dwellings and her husband and son in her ways, but her family knows better than anyone else that she can be a lot to take.

    In short, Olive is a fantastically complex character, and McDormand asks for no sympathy in her portrayal of the woman, and yet a lump rose in my throat more than once in the final hour of this four-hour miniseries. Olive never tries to solicit anyone's pity, but McDormand, writer Jane Anderson and director Lisa Cholodenko bring Olive's lonely quest for connection to such vivid life that it's impossible not to ache for her before the miniseries is over.

    "Olive Kitteridge" needs a little time to draw the viewer in to Olive's world: All of it is worth watching, but I found myself more engaged by the third and fourth hour than the first and second. In those early installments, the cramped confines of Olive's tiny kitchen could feel a little claustrophobic (and that is likely intentional). There are a couple of side stories that don't quite land, most notably one about the son of a troubled woman played with heartbreaking subtleness by Rosemarie DeWitt. We just don't get to know those characters well enough for their fates to have a deep impact, but when the miniseries is focused on Olive and the men in her life, it is often quite absorbing.

    McDormand, who is superb in the lead role, is reason enough to watch "Olive Kitteridge." With quiet diligence, McDormand creates a compassionate portrait of a woman who helps her family and neighbors in ways they don't readily appreciate or even notice and asks for nothing in return. She does not expect and would not care much for their understanding. And yet Olive can be gentle and grateful, even vulnerable at times. McDormand's great accomplishment is showing that there is no contradiction in a character who is kind one minute and capable of wounding the next; we all contain such contradictions.

    The supporting cast is a who's who of great character actors. Peter Mullan, playing a very different character than he did in "Top of the Lake," makes a lasting impression as a fellow teacher, and Zoe Kazan, Jesse Plemons and John Gallagher Jr. make the most of their screen time.

    McDormand is clearly and rightfully the star of the show, but Bill Murray and Richard Jenkins provide additional reasons to tune in; both bring a warmth and dry wit to a drama whose domestic scenes occasionally veer from awkward to (intentionally) taxing. Olive's prickliness and her husband Henry's passivity make for a difficult relationship, and you wonder more than once how he can stay married to her. But there can be so much meaning in one of Henry's looks; he's astounded by his wife and by his unending love for her. Later in the miniseries, McDormand's scenes with Murray brim with lively camaraderie and combative good humor; those two are simply a treat to watch together.

    "Olive Kitteridge" was a passion project for McDormand, who is one of the miniseries' producers, and she and Cholodenko are to be lauded for taking on a whole raft of topics television doesn't take seriously often enough -- among them depression, mental illness, suicide and aging. But don't assume from that list that this is a dark tale, or even a sad one.

    "Don't be scared of your hunger," Olive once tells someone, and Olive's hungers are many. Cholodenko shows Olive frequently taking great pleasure from food, and her hands are often full of dishes she's prepared for others. She's not ashamed of her physical hungers, but her emotional ones frighten her. And yet she keeps going, honest and contrarian, caring and selfish, and it's impossible to look away.

    "Olive Kitteridge" airs Sunday and Monday at 9:00 p.m. ET on HBO.

  • Pee-Wee Herman Voicing Over The 'Avengers' Trailer Is A Big Adventure For Everyone
    Pee-wee Herman has had some pretty big adventures before, but none of them compare to this.

    One of Jimmy Fallon's recurring segments on "The Tonight Show" is dubbing over movie trailers with his Pee-wee Herman impression, so, with the new trailer for "Avengers: Age of Ultron" recently being released and Paul Reubens stopping by, he decided that it was finally time for the real thing.

    If there were a secret word for this, it'd probably be "amazing." La la la! La la la!

    "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" airs weeknights at 11L35 p.m. ET on NBC.

  • 23 Things Any 'Scandal' Fan Knows To Be True
    1. A glance between Olivia and Fitz is equal to another couple's 1000 kisses

    GIF: scandalmoments.tumblr.com

    Ross and Rachel who?

    2. And you know their relationship is toxic

    GIF: BuzzFeed

    Ugh, Fitz.

    3. But you want them to be together in spite of yourself

    GIF: awesomelyluvvie.com


    4. No matter your intentions otherwise, you crack open a bottle of red wine mid-episode

    GIF: BuzzFeed

    The power of suggestion is real. (Though yours is probably $14.)

    5. Your heart starts to race in fear every time Cyrus opens his eyes wide

    GIF: Buzzfeed Community

    It's about to go down.

    6. But when he speaks very quietly, you know you're in for even more trouble

    GIF: awesomelyluvvie.com


    7. Even though it was forever ago, you miss when Desmond from "Lost" was on the show

    GIF: scandalmoments.tumblr.com

    RIP Abby and Stephen.

    8. You have to go to Wikipedia to find out why Fitz and Olivia most recently broke up

    GIF: mayanrocks.com

    And while you're on there: Why did Jake give David the files? What does Mellie know about Jerry? Who killed who in Season 2?

    9. But you don't need any help remembering ROWAN IS EVIL

    GIF: awesomelyluvvie.com

    Even though the president apparently does?

    10. Your friend's "Do you want to hang out Thursday night?" text has only possible response

    GIF: katrinapavela.tumblr.com


    11.You know David Rosen is kind of useless, but really don't want to see him go

    GIF: pop-break.com

    What a goofball.


    GIF: Buzzfeed Community


    13. A father-daughter dinner can be the most disturbing thing on TV all week

    GIF: awesomelyluvvie.com

    ... not hungry.

    14. When Abby got a curly hair makeover, you were like WHOA

    GIF: scandalmoments.tumblr.com

    Ready for my close up.

    15. Sad Huck looks like a golden retriever

    GIF: awesomeluvvie.com

    Sorry, you can't unsee it.

    16. Charlie and Quinn are just ... NO

    GIF: drfitzgeraldgrant.tumblr.com

    EW. STOP.

    17. And Quinn and Huck are just EVEN MORE NO

    GIF: alliefasanella.com

    EW. STOP.

    18. You were pretty skeptical when Quinn pulled a key out of an intestine

    GIF: scandalmoments.tumblr.com

    When did she learn every single skill?

    19. You've wondered if there's a real life B613

    GIF: kronosinasuit.tumblr.com

    ... And at times been pretty convinced.

    20. At this point, when someone says "white hat," you basically want to barf

    GIF: awesomelyluvvie.com

    WE GET IT.

    21. Even when she's going through a hard time, Mellie is an amazing mom

    GIF: YouTube


    22. And she's obviously the one who should be president

    GIF: yahooentertainment.tumblr.com

    Bye, bye, Fitz.

    23. Because even Smelly Mellie can throw serious zings

    GIF: tvguide.com



    GIF: scandalmoments.tumblr

  • Jon Cryer On His Sexuality: I'm Just An 'Effeminate Heterosexual Dork'
    "Two and a Half Men" star Jon Cryer sounded off on speculation over his sexuality in an interview with HuffPost Live.

    Citing his "encyclopedic knowledge of show tunes," the 49-year-old actor nonetheless told host Josh Zepps, "All of the stereotypical stuff that everybody thinks the gay community holds close, I have been a part of, except for the gay sex."

    Joking that gay men "don't come onto me...I've never been propositioned," he added, "Everybody just assumed that I was gay" during his high school years.

    Calling himself an "effeminate heterosexual dork," Cryer said he strongly identified with the character of Phil "Duckie" Dale in the John Hughes classic, "Pretty in Pink," which became his breakout role.

    "He was what I was," he recalled.

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