• Michael Jackson's Indiana Hometown To Name School In His Honor
    GARY, Ind. (AP) — Plans are in the works to name a school after Michael Jackson in the late pop star's Indiana hometown.

    The Gary Community School Board approved Tuesday a memorandum of understanding with Jackson's mother, Katherine Jackson. The agreement that Jackson signed last month says the district "seeks to honor Michael Jackson and to inspire children to excel in the arts and education." District superintendent Cheryl Pruitt said she's working with the Jackson family on which school to rename.

    "A close relationship with the Jackson family to improve the quality of programs for the Gary Community School Corp. can mean tremendous gains for the school district and the city as a whole," she told the Post-Tribune (http://bit.ly/1luhGfp ).

    Michael Jackson spent the first 11 years of his life in Gary. His family moved to California after the Jackson 5 struck it big in 1969 with the release of their first album. Jackson, who died in 2009, last returned to Gary in 2003 and received an honorary diploma from Roosevelt High School near his childhood home.

    Pruitt said renaming the school came up in a conversation with Katherine Jackson, who donated $10,000 during the Gary Promise scholarship event hosted by former NBA star Magic Johnson in April.

    "She's always wanted something left here," Pruitt said.

    The district has long struggled with high poverty levels, and the school board voted in June to close six of its 17 schools because of a $27 million deficit blamed in part on declining enrollment and the state's property tax caps.


    Information from: Post-Tribune, http://www.post-trib.com

  • How Larry Kramer's <i>Normal Heart</i> Thunders With Our Lost Love
    I watched The Normal Heart (HBO movie of Larry Kramer's play) on a recent Sunday with my daughter, my boyfriend and my sister. We watched in real time, like old-fashioned TV, everyone watching together, the Rangers game voted down by a narrow margin.

    As I watched the horrors of a history I lived through, I was struck by how we live through the present without any sense of what it will look like from the future. History always seems in the past, marked by things like the American Revolution, the Civil War, World Wars, Vietnam. We forget we are always living through history. In the early days of AIDS, very few recognized we were in the midst of a gut-wrenching war against a disease that was wiping out thousands upon thousands around the world. Many went on with life unaware, unaffected, unconcerned. There should be a word for looking back at the past, not with nostalgia which colors everything in a golden hue, but looking back at the horror, the red-soaked reality of what we lived through. Why didn't we do more? Larry Kramer was right. Why weren't we all lying down in the streets? Why were most of us not fighting for the basic rights of our fellow citizens? How did we let our government sweep a plague away, banning its very mention? The media was often complicit. It was 1987 before the New York Times even allowed the word "gay" in its pages.

    Even many of us affected personally went on with life, doing little to ameliorate the suffering of those we loved. My father's lover, Jim Cox, died of AIDS in 1991. Sweet Jim. He gave me ballet lessons each morning when I was living with my father on Sugar Loaf Key in 1986. While the sun streamed in the windows, the palm trees swaying by the canal, we sweated gracefully under the living room fan where Jim choreographed small dances for me. Jim grew up in Ohio on a farm where he found refuge in piano lessons given by a neighbor. At age 17, he walked into the barn to find his father dead from a self-inflicted shotgun wound. Jim (pictured below) became the "man" of the family in a place where homosexuality was worse than forbidden. It was not spoken of. Ever.

    2014 07 22 Jimcoxhuffpic Thumb

    My father discovered Jim a decade and a half after that in a restaurant playing the guitar, singing for his supper in the Keys. I remember hearing Jim play then, his melodious voice and serene presence, an ethereal smile with thin lips pressed together. Jim seemed other-worldly in a man-who-fell-to-Earth kind of way. I loved spending time alone with Jim, as he listened intently without judgment in contrast to my dad the storyteller. Jim let me un-burden myself, and I did, almost never asking about his life. Once I timidly enquired if he had ever been with a woman, and he told me about one experience when he was a teenager, but said he was still technically a "virgin" with women. What I remember most about the conversation is his tenderness toward all men and women.

    I first found out that Jim had AIDS from my dad's sister in hushed tones over the telephone. The Normal Heart reminded me of the terrible fear surrounding AIDS in the early days. I remember feeling scared for my father, for myself. Should I share Jim's drink or straw? Had I done that? Friends of my aunt were shocked that she would even spend time around someone with AIDS. Like in the film, my father had friends in the hospital whose food was never brought to their rooms, because nurses would not enter. I constantly worried about my father, convinced that he would get it too. I tried to hide all this from Jim, but I am sure he felt my distance. By the time Jim went into home hospice care, I made no more visits to see my father. Although I was busy with work, there was no excuse. I didn't go down for the memorial either. My father never asked or made any demands on me, but watching this story unravel on television brought back so many memories and filled me shame, because I hadn't been able to face up to the latter stages of his illness.

    The one thing I did do several months before Jim died was to write a poem that celebrated all the gifts of life that he had given me. My dad said he read and re-read it often in those last weeks. That made me feel good about myself, but it seems so little now in light of what the fighters like Larry did. After Jim died, he visited me in a dream. Most of my dreams are anxiety-fueled nightmares in which I can't find something important (like a missing child). This one stood out as the most blissful dream I can remember. Jim was standing in a field of wildflowers, happy and alive, with a single request: "Please tell your father not to worry about me." When I woke up the next morning, the dream was so vivid, it took some moments to realize that it had been a dream. I composed myself to call my father right away. After relating the whole dream to him in detail, I could almost hear the tears running down my father's cheeks. He said, "last night was the one-year anniversary of Jim's death.

    Thank you Larry Kramer and all the other fighters and lovers who turned this plague into a disease that is treatable, who foresaw a future for the ones they loved. Kramer borrowed "The Normal Heart" title from a poem of the same name written by W.H. Auden in 1939 on the day that Germany invaded Poland. Auden said in his poem:

    "We must love one another or die."

    As my daughter watches television re-create a time before she was born, I hope she takes away an appreciation for how one tenacious person can change the minds of many and steer mankind in the right direction, to show us how the "normal" heart is the one that loves.

    2014 07 22 JimCoxthankyouhuff2 Thumb

    (Above: letter I sent Jim, weeks before AIDS took him at age 38, was later published in May/June 1991 issue of Emerge!)

  • William Shatner Doesn't Like Facebook's New App Or George Takei
    William Shatner is not impressed.

    Shatner, best known as Captain Kirk on the 1960's TV show "Star Trek," is less than enthused about Facebook's new app for celebrities, called Mentions. He made that more than clear on Tuesday, when he wrote a blog post detailing all the ways the app isn't living up to his standards.

    Shatner's first gripe with the app, which was released last week, is that it forced him to follow other "celebrity" accounts. Those quotes are his, not mine. He comes out with guns blazing. "The first person on the list I was given was George Takei (rolling my eyes.)," he writes. Ouch. In case you missed it, the former "Star Trek" co-stars have been feuding for around 40 years. Takei called Shatner "very self-centered" just last week on "Real Time With Bill Maher." So instead of following Takei, Shatner chose Robert Downey Jr. ... but hid his posts. Another burn.

    In Shatner's blog post, he compares Mentions to Facebook's original app and its app for managing public pages. Shatner writes that he wishes that the Mentions app would give him access to his page's photos, settings and events, and would prefer if there were more features from the Pages app available on Mentions. The whole app "seems to be ill conceived," he writes.

    Shatner's much more into social media than most 83-year-olds. Not only is he active on Facebook and Twitter, but this blog post is the third one he's posted on a new Tumblr page he started on Monday.

    He's also not afraid of taking swipes at techies. In June, Shatner started a fight with tech site Engadget's social media guy John Colucci because he didn't feel Colucci was important enough to be verified on Twitter.

    @johncolucci Why are you even @verified? If this guy can get verified I'll nominate my Social Media guy.

    — William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) June 21, 2014

    @DashaPohoral @Numeson @verified @twitter and nobodies should not be verified because it shows a huge flaw in the Twitter system.

    — William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) June 22, 2014

    Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Shatner's personal opinions on the company's new app.

  • Jay Pharoah's 'Bad Kisser' Is The Song Every Boo Needs To Hear
    If Usher's "Good Kisser" has you all ready to play tonsil hockey with your significant other, you might want to watch this first.

    "Saturday Night Live" star Jay Pharoah and comedian Abbi Crutchfield spoof Usher in this Above Average music video for "Bad Kisser."

    The song takes an honest look at some of the problems with kissing -- especially first thing in the morning -- and unfortunately, pretty much everyone can relate.

    Will this instantly make all the bad kissers out there change their ways? Probably not. But at least they'll be aware floss exists. The more you know ...

  • Britney Spears' New Fashion Line Is Not That Innocent
    "Lace And Leather" isn't just a Britney Spears song anymore thanks to the singer's new line of lingerie, The Intimate Collection.

    Spears will celebrate the line's September 9 release at an exclusive party during New York Fashion Week.

    Of course, this isn't Spears' first stint in commerce. She's had a couple of fragrances, including her Fantasy Twist scent that was featured in her music video for "Work B*tch." There's no word yet, however, if we'll be seeing her flaunt her range of bustiers publicly anytime soon.

    Although the Intimate Collection is based on sexiness and class, the line ranges from comfy camisoles to sheer separates. Spears herself posted the announcement on Twitter and Instagram in what looks like an ad with her sporting a sleek bra and panty set.

    Coming very soon... The Intimate Collection, by yours truly. http://t.co/HmtLIXYd83 Just a peek at what's to come. xo pic.twitter.com/6sE2rEuUFE

    — Britney Spears (@britneyspears) July 23, 2014

    We can't wait to see the entire Intimate Collection and, as always, BRITNEY 4 LIFE!

  • Zoe Saldana Pregnant With Her First Child
    It's official: Zoe Saldana is pregnant!

    Saldana's publicist confirmed the pregnancy to E! News on Wednesday, July 23. This will be the first child for the "Star Trek" actress and her artist husband, Marco Perego, who married last year in a secret ceremony.

    Us Weekly claims she is three months along.

    "Zoe has always wanted a big family," a source told the magazine, "and Marco's on board too!"

    The confirmation comes after Saldana stepped out for the premiere of "Guardians of the Galaxy" on Monday, July 21. The Internet speculated that the 36-year-old was expecting shortly after photos from the red carpet surfaced.

    Saldana previously said she would want as many as five kids.

    "Two or three or four or five -- I don't care," she revealed during an interview on Lifetime's "The Conversation with Amanda de Cadenet" back in 2012. "They're just so delicious. I love the anxiety and the pressure of a loud room full of yapping kids. I'm like a kid myself so I get along very well with animals and children. I dig them. I get them. A child makes perfect sense to me. [To me], a child speaks more sense than an adult."

    See a photo of Saldana from Monday night's premiere below.


  • Whitney Houston's Family Slams Lifetime Biopic About Late Singer: 'Please Let Her Rest'
    Almost as quickly as Lifetime amplified the celebrity-biopic game, the complaints started rolling in. First the Aaliyah movie elicited pushback from the late singer's family and lost its lead star. Now, the Whitney Houston biopic has attracted the attention of Cissy Houston, and she is not pleased.

    Whitney's mother, 80, issued a statement to "Entertainment Tonight" in which she slammed Lifetime's decision to dramatize the singer's life:

    Lifetime has chosen to go ahead with the movie about Whitney in spite of my family’s objections. No one connected with this movie knew Whitney or anything about her relationship with Bobby. In the two years since Whitney’s death, many people have stepped forward to speak about their close relationship with her. I find it difficult to believe people who knew and supposedly loved her would participate in a movie about her done by folks who didn’t know her. We are exhausted by the continuing misinformation and comments offered by people who did not know her. Please please let her rest.

    Cissy isn't the first Houston to speak out against the project, directed by Angela Bassett and starring Yaya Dacosta. Pat Houston, Whitney's former manager and sister-in-law, told TMZ in May that "Whitney is certainly worthy of more than a television movie, and if she were here today, this would not be happening."

    Because of the family's disenchantment with the biopic, Whitney's vocals will not be used in the movie. Deborah Cox (of "Nobody's Supposed to Be Here" fame) will record the songs.

  • Jenny McCarthy Suggests Hillary Clinton Might Be A Lesbian
    Jenny McCarthy only has a short time left on "The View," but she is certainly making waves before her exit.

    On Tuesday's episode of "The View," McCarthy suggested Hillary Clinton might be a lesbian. The remark came up during a discussion about Ronald Kessler's new book, The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of Presidents. The book claims Bill Clinton has a mistress nicknamed "The Energizer," according to the New York Post.

    "I see former President William Clinton [and] he always seems to be so in love with his wife," co-host Sherri Shepherd said. "They've weathered so many storms together."

    "Well, maybe he has his girlfriends and she has her girlfriends, you never know," McCarthy added, smiling. "Maybe they have an arrangement."

    Shepherd chided McCarthy for "putting stuff out there." Co-host Whoopi Goldberg dismissed the speculation.

    "No matter what you do, you can't get between [the Clintons]," Goldberg said. "They are husband and wife. They have been married. And as you said, Sherri, they have weathered a whole bunch of stuff."

    Conservatives have touted the Hillary Clinton lesbian rumor in the past. Last year, the American Family Association's anti-gay host Bryan Fischer said she "could be our first lesbian president.” In April, Glenn Beck said "Hillary Clinton will be having sex with a woman on the ... White House desk if it becomes popular."

    TMZ reported McCarthy was fired from "The View" in June. The former Playboy Playmate confirmed her departure last week but said she decided to leave the ABC talk show because she wasn't "allowed to be the best of me here."

  • Selena Gomez Sizzles In A Bikini On Her 22nd Birthday
    Selena Gomez knows how to celebrate her birthday in style.

    The former Disney star rang in her golden birthday, turning 22 on July 22, aboard a luxury yacht in St. Tropez, in southeastern France.

    Gomez soaked up the sun in a black bikini top and high-waisted vintage-inspired white shorts alongside Cara Delevingne and Tommy Chiabra, who the Daily Mail is calling Gomez's "new male companion."



    It was an action-packed day as the group took some jet skis out for a spin, and Gomez was spotted holding on tight to Chiabra while he steered. Later, Gomez, Delevingne and another female friend continued the fun, daring to parasail high above the water.

    That night, the girls changed out of their swimwear and continued the birthday festivities in St. Tropez. "Thank you SO much for my birthday wishes ☺️ -this has been the BEST birthday yet! THANK YOU!!!!" Gomez wrote, along with a photo of herself and her pals:

  • Female Thor, Black Captain America Marvel Movies Will Not 'Happen Any Time Soon'
    Marvel announced last week that future comic books will feature a female Thor and black Captain America, but fans expecting to see those specific diversifications translate to the Marvel Cinematic Universe may be in for some disappointment. Speaking to HuffPost Entertainment during press rounds for the forthcoming film "Guardians of the Galaxy," Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said he didn't anticipate the developments would affect anything the studio has planned on the theatrical front at the moment.

    "I love when they change things up and move things along and do the unexpected," Feige told HuffPost Entertainment about Marvel Comics. "That's why these characters have endured for 50-plus years, and it gives us material to keep the movies fresh down the line. I'm not going to say any of those changes are going to happen any time soon in the movies, but the fact that they have happened -- and, by the way, that's happened before; there have been female Thors and black Captain Americas in the past -- keeps it current and in the public eye."

    As it was revealed last week, Marvel Studios has plans for features through 2019, with 10 movies on the schedule, including "Marvel's The Avengers: Age of Ultron," "Ant-Man" and "Captain America 3." Whether the studio branches out to bring superheroes such as Black Panther or Ms. Marvel to the big screen is unclear, but Feige is not without options.

    "Listen, I mean, one of the nicknames of Marvel comics is 'The House of Ideas,'" Feige said of the source material available to him. "Everything they do in publishing becomes possible material for us to turn into movies."

  • 'The Walking Dead' See Carol, Judith And Rick In New Season 5 Images
    Last week we brought you an exclusive image from Season 5 of "The Walking Dead" that likely sent shivers up the spines of Daryl Dixon fans, as the resident badass appeared gagged and bound. Now we have some more exclusive episodic images to tie you over.

  • Sad Jack White, And A Very Brief History Of Famous Guys Looking Miserable
    Sad Keanu and Sad Kanye have company in Distraught Jack White. The White Stripes singer was spotted looking super unhappy at a Chicago Cubs game on Tuesday, and his frown has since gone ~viral~. Here, now, a brief history of famous guys looking disconsolate.

    Sad Keanu

    How does it feel to have produced the sad keanu of pop albums? #AskThicke pic.twitter.com/e6PsN023RF

    — Kyle Chandler (@robot_kyle) July 1, 2014

    Sad Kanye

    Sad Jack White

    Is that Jack White pic.twitter.com/m94sBgqmxT

    — Torque Penderloin (@AndrewCieslak) July 23, 2014

  • The Man Booker Prize 2014 Longlist Has Been Announced
    The 2014 Man Booker Prize longlist was announced today. Among the 13 selections, four were written by American writers, including To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris and Orfeo by Richard Powers. The longlist will be pared down to a six-title shortlist, to be announced on September 9. The winner will be chosen in October.

    This year's prize marks the first to admit titles from any country in the world -- the only stipulations being that the book was originally written in English and published in the U.K. Previously, entrants had to be from Britain, a British Commonwealth nation, Ireland or Zimbabwe.

    Of this year's nominees, only one hails from the Commonwealth: Australian writer Richard Flanagan, for his book The Narrow Road to the Deep North. Two Irish writers are among those chosen -- the remainder are citizens or the U.S. or Great Britain. In comparison, 2013's longlist included authors from Zimbabwe, Malaysia, New Zealand, Canada and Australia.

    The decision to allow submissions from across the globe was a polarizing one at the time of its announcement. British authors questioned whether the prize would be able to maintain its "character" and ability to shed light on lesser-known domestic talents. However, last year's winner, 28-year-old Eleanor Catton, was quoted on the Booker's site: "I think it's a really great thing that finally we've got a prize that is an English-language prize that doesn't make a distinction for writers who are writing from a particular country."

    Ian McEwan, Martin Amis and Donna Tartt, whose The Goldfinch recently earned her a Pulitzer Prize, are among the list's notable exclusions. Additionally, only three of the nominees are women.

    The prize's chair, philosopher AC Grayling, commented: "We said to ourselves, 'the past record is not going to count.' We are not going to give a prize to someone who should have got it years ago. We are just looking at the quality of the books by themselves."

    View the entire Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist here.

  • Kris Jenner Poses In A Pool With Her Daughters In Sexy Throwback Photo
    Kris Jenner took to Instagram to post a sexy Kardashian family throwback photo on Tuesday, July 22. In the snapshot, the momager poses with her three oldest daughters, Kourtney, Kim and Khloe, in a pool.

    "I miss you guys so much @kourtneykardash @kimkardashian @khloekardashian !!! "#pleasecomehome" "#love," Jenner captioned the picture.

    It's understandable why she would be feeling the lonesome blues, as members of the Kardashian family are currently spread across the world: Kim is on vacation with husband Kanye West in Punta Mita, Mexico, from where she has been sharing bikini photos with fans, and Khloe and Kourtney are off in the Hamptons filming their new reality show.

    While we're sad that Jenner is feeling the absence of her three lovely daughters, we're sure they'll reunite soon enough -- hopefully onscreen, so that we too can share in the love.

  • Cher Hated 'If I Could Turn Back Time' At First
    If Cher could turn back time, she'd have second thoughts about one of her biggest hits. It turns out the singer hated "If I Could Turn Back Time" when songwriter Diane Warren presented it to her.

    Warren wrote several songs for Cher, including "Turn Back Time," "Just Like Jesse James" and "Love and Understanding." The former two are part of Cher's current Dressed to Kill tour, and before performing "Jesse James," the singer gives a spiel about having despised the song upon recording it.

    "But she's got the wrong song!" Warren told The Hollywood Reporter after seeing Cher's July 7 concert at the Staples Center. "The song she really hated was 'If I Could Turn Back Time,' but I held her leg down during a session and said, 'You have to record it!' "

    To which Cher responded, according to Warren, "'Fuck you, bitch! You're hurting my leg! OK, I'll try it.' She gave me this look like, 'You were right.' If you look at Cher's song history, she's not always the best judge of her own material. I mean, she hated 'I Got You Babe.'"

    Good thing she had a change of heart. "If I Could Turn Back Time" marked a major comeback moment for Cher in 1989. It hit No. 3 on the Billboard chart, spawned a classic (and controversial) music video and has remained a setlist staple since. Whatever would we do without that fishnet onesie?


    [via THR]

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