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Oh No They Didn't! -

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    The lame joke at the expense of adopted kids in the movie The Avengers isn’t just mean, it’s something perhaps worse: unfunny.

    The Avengers has scored big at the box office. However, it has fallen flat with an increasingly number of child advocates across America. The reason? This exchange in the film:

    The Black Widow character says, "[Loki] killed 80 people in two days." Then Thor, Loki's brother, replies, "He's adopted."

    Ha, ha. That’s the laugh line. Whether you have a child who is adopted or not, the fact is the line just isn’t that funny.

    Outrage is ping ponging across the blogosphere, raising the ire of adoptive parents in particular.

    Some parents who took their children to the movie now report online that their kids were stunned that being adopted was somehow “bad.” These parents say they had a lot of explaining to do to wash away the stain — and in some cases, pain — caused by the line.

    There’s even been a new petition, "Marvel Comics - Apologize to Adoption Community!" which calls for Marvel Comics to apologize for the offensive joke and pledge not to do it again.

    The fact is that the line would be horrible and insensitive no matter what type of film it was in. But in a film aimed at kids, many of whom are still grappling with their place in their families and communities, this goes to a whole new low.

    Want proof of just how bad that line is?

    I like to do something I call “the substitution game,” whereby if I want to check whether or not a line is acceptable I simple swap out whatever word I have questions about with either the words “Jewish” or “African American.” If the line sits well using both of these, the line passes the test.     (wtf)

    So let’s try that here to find out if people would think the line was so funny if these words were used instead of “adopted.”

    So here we go:

    The Black Widow character says, "[Loki] killed 80 people in two days." Then Thor, Loki's brother, replies, "He's Jewish."

    Ugh…awkward, isn’t it? Doesn’t seem quite so funny.

    OK, let’s try again:

    The Black Widow character says, "[Loki] killed 80 people in two days." Then Thor, Loki's brother, replies, "He's African American."

    Thud. Not funny, right?

    The use of either “Jewish” or “African American” in place of “adopted” in this line wouldn’t have made it past the first draft of a script, let alone actually have been shot by a major studio.

    The hope now is, of course, that enough media attention has been brought to this unfortunate episode in this blockbuster movie that such blatant ignorance and bias won’t turn up again.

    Sadly, that hope is unlikely to match reality anytime soon. Far more likely, this line is likely to be joined by many other offensive, stupid, callous jokes in future.

    Hollywood has increasingly become a place filled with writers who are insulated and isolated from mainstream America and who find sophomoric bullying humor that wouldn’t be tolerated in a middle school as a pathetic excuse for a career.


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  • 05/17/12--08:01: A Hawkeye/Avengers Post

  • Avengers superhero stunts demand a blend of fighting styles

    The werewolf and vampire battles of "Twilight," Jason Bourne's super-agent skirmishes and the sword swinging of "Conan the Barbarian" were all just warm-ups for stunt master Jonathan Eusebio, who choreographed the superhero fight scenes in "The Avengers" with the passion of a lifelong comic book fan.

    "I grew up as a fanboy," said Eusebio, 38. "I grew up reading comics, collecting comics, so for me it's a dream job. And to be part of something new, something that's never been done before like this, it is really exciting. It's almost like the highlight of my career."

    Eusebio spent countless childhood hours absorbing tales of the Hulk's immense size and strength, Black Widow's quick and deadly moves, Hawkeye's precision archery, Thor and Loki's otherworldly powers, and Captain America's unflinching readiness. Add in a big Marvel budget and the high stakes of saving humanity, and it's a comic-fan turned fight-coordinator's perfect gig.

    Eusebio taught Jeremy Renner how to wield Hawkeye's bow and showed Scarlett Johansson the Black Widow's wicked martial arts. In short, he helped give the stars and their stunt doubles their superpowers.

    The actors spent months preparing for the physical demands of their roles and learning the techniques that make them lethal on screen, if not on the street.

    They began with basic training to learn the body mechanics of various martial arts, then Eusebio built fight sequences based on each character's attributes and actor's strengths. He had a distinct advantage here: As a fight coordinator, he'd worked with many of the actors before, and as a fanboy, he knew the characters well. "It becomes a part of you as you're growing up," he said.

    He choreographs the fighting moves into a camera-ready routine, which the stars and their stunt doubles each master. Johansson, Renner and Chris Evans, who plays Captain America, compared the training process to learning a dance.

    "It's choreographed steps that are all put together in order for you to pack a punch and in order to make it safe and not as painful as it could be," Johansson said. "You learn to kind of seamlessly become one with your double and with Jeremy (Renner)'s double and be able to fight one another interchangeably.

    Renner said he spent more time preparing than in front of the camera.

    "I only shot about 18 days, and when I wasn't shooting I was in that stunt gym," he said. "It was mostly (learning) that hand-to-hand stuff that you can't (simulate by computer), and you can't fake it."

    Evans compared the stunt preparation to superhero summer camp.

    "(Captain America) doesn't really have any training in any one particular style of fighting, so it wasn't like I had to learn some certain type of martial arts," he said. "You just have to learn the choreography like you would a dance, you know, punch here, step here. It's just a lot of stunt training. It's kind of fun. It's kind of like summer camp."

    Eusebo trained the actors in various fighting styles, including Wushu, Kung Fu and medieval techniques. Hawkeye's bow became a double-edged staff, Loki used knives and a scepter, and Black Widow wielded her own wild weaponry.

    "One of the biggest challenges was learning the Wushu style of fighting, which is really intense and complicated and painful," Johansson said. "You do all your rehearsals with a broom handle, and suddenly you have a 30-lb. alien gun in your hand."

    The S.H.I.E.L.D. agents — Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury, Clark Gregg's Phil Coulson and Cobie Smulders' Maria Hill — also apply some serious firepower. Jackson said he didn't need too much preparation.

    "All I had to do was learn how to grab the rifles and hold onto them and let the stunt guys do all the stuff and make it look like I was doing it to them," he said.

    For Smulders, "The Avengers" is her first action film, so the star of TV's "How I Met Your Mother" did some extra training on the side: She hired a guy who trains SWAT teams.

    "I was also very scared of guns coming into this," Smulders said. "So I had him bring a bunch of his guns — unloaded — to my house and had him just break it down. ... All these things that I just wanted to have in my body and wanted to be really comfortable with."

    Eusebio said he makes sure to remind the actors he works with that even though the stunt training instills confidence, the fighting skills they learn on set don't really translate to the street.

    "In screen fighting you want to look like you're hurting them without hurting them. In self-defense on the street, you're there to maim or hurt someone," he said.

    But screen or street, it's still clear to the fight coordinator who would win if the Marvel superheroes were to really go at it.

    "I'm going strictly by the comics," Eusebio said. "Of course Hulk is the strongest, but overall Captain America is supposed to be the best fighter."

    But Chris Hemsworth, who plays Thor, isn't convinced.

    "I've got to say, I think Scarlett's fight scenes are some of the most impressive," he said. "All of us, we had wires and magical weapons and other advantages that she doesn't, but she holds her own in the film. She'd probably beat the hell out of all of us."


    DC vs Marvel: Green Arrow vs Hawkeye

    Background:  When it comes to two characters that mirror each other in a lot of ways you need to look no further than Green Arrow and Hawkeye.  Both are bow and arrow wielding assassins from the DC and Marvel universes and both are constantly compared.  I’m going to break them down a bit further in this column and try to come up with a consensus as to who is the better character.  Hawkeye’s story begins with him as Clint Barton, an abandoned child who was orphaned after his parents died in a car accident.  When he got a bit older he ran away with his brother to join the circus where he was trained by Swordsman and Trickshot and was able to fine tune his archery talents.  After a dispute between them where he refused to become corrupt he wondered from city to city as “Hawkeye”, performing archery tricks for paying customers.  It was when he one day saw Iron Man rescue civilians that he decided to put his talent to good use and become a superhero.  He later met Black Widow who was working as a villain for her country and seduced Clint into taking down Iron Man.  He regretted this decision and came to his senses, opting to join The Avengers or at least prove to them that he would be a great member of the team.  He broke into The Avengers mansion and convinced Jarvis to help him show the team what he could do, and with vouching from Iron Man he became an official member of The Avengers.

    Green Arrow’s back story is much different as he comes from a wealthy line of family members.  Oliver Queen grew up idolizing Robin Hood and was a natural archer, practicing on animals but always hesitant to finally kill them.  It was this hesitation that led to the death of his parents, as they were mauled by lions in a safari accident as Oliver looked on, too frightened to shoot.  Once he inherited the family fortunate he became a Tony Stark form of billionaire playboy which led to a drunken escapade where he fell off of his yacht and washed ashore on a deserted island.  Armed with nothing but a bow he grabbed to keep him afloat he learned to reinvent himself and hone his survival/archery skills, ultimately going through his character transformation that leads him to become the Green Arrow we know today.  He later discovered drug smugglers on the island and took them out one by one, foiling their operation and finding his destiny in the process.  It was from that day forward that he vowed to fight crime and use his abilities for good rather than evil.

    Both origin stories are fantastic but there’s something about the isolation of finding yourself and doing a complete 180 that draws me into Oliver Queen.

    Point: Green Arrow

    Skills:  Green Arrow is a master archer and the finest in his universe, claiming to fire 29 arrows per minute.  He’s also a master martial artist with skills in Judo, kickboxing and karate as well as having advanced training with a sword.  He’s an incredibly strong individual that often engages in hand to hand combat when he’s in close proximity to his enemies.

    Hawkeye is also a master archer and the finest in his universe as well.  His incredible reflexes and hand-eye coordination lead him to make some of the most difficult shots the world has ever seen.  He has extensive training in acrobatics, hand to hand combat, throwing knives, darts, bolas, and boomerangs.  Clint is practically deadly in close quarters thanks to extensive training with none other than Captain America himself.  He’s also an underrated combat strategist and leader, as well as an experienced weapon designer and advanced pilot.

    Both have similar skill sets and are the best marksman in their universe but Hawkeye has advanced hand to hand combat that gives him the edge over Ollie.

    Point: Hawkeye

    Affiliations:  Hawkeye is a mainstay in The Avengers and one of their most pivotal members.  According to the Marvel database he has a long list of Affiliations which include “formerly founding member of Avengers West Coast and first chairman, S.H.I.E.L.D., Carson Carnival of Traveling Wonders, Tiboldt Circus (a.k.a. Circus of Crime)” (

    Green Arrow is a recurring member of the Justice League and has team affiliations to Queen Industries and The Outsiders.  He’s married to the ass-kicking Black Canary and has close ties with Hal Jordan and Barry Allen in The Justice League (though Hawkeye has gotten very close to Captain America).

    While both have close ties to their respective comic team-ups it’s Hawkeye who just edges out Ollie here due to his abundance of affiliated groups as well as his longstanding relationship with The Avengers.

    Point: Hawkeye

    Apparel/Weapons:  Hawkeye’s trademark purple uniform has stayed the same over time with few tweaks and a complete overhaul in the Ultimate universe.  That saw a modern take on his uniform and the replacement of his mask with sleek looking glasses.  He uses a bow with trick arrows that include explosives, flares, sonic blasts, buzzsaws, grappling hooks, tear gas, smoke bombs, nets and standard issue deadly ones.  He oftentimes will use the collapsible bow as a hand to hand weapon as well as throwing darts.

    Green Arrow is best known for his green and black “Robin Hood” inspired outfit that he dons while fighting crime.  It’s often accompanied by a hood he wears in battles and a sleek looking chest piece.  The DC 52 reboot has him alternating between sunglasses and a mask but still using his hood and green colors.  He also uses a bow and an incredibly diverse amount of custom made trick arrows to fire at enemies.  They include the standard ones, explosives, acid, bleach, nets, stun grenade, smoke, tear gas, the Greek Fire arrow and arguably his most infamous, The Boxing glove arrow.  That arrow had a lifesize boxing glove attached to the end of it and was widely used by the Arrow throughout his comics run.

    When it comes to personal taste I like Hawkeye’s Ultimate look the best but nobody can deny the bad-ass image of Green Arrow donning the hood and bow.  Though both have similar weaponry it’s Green Arrow’s custom made ammunition that are the most creative, so he just edges out Hawkeye in this one.

    Point: Green Arrow

    Social Relevance:  Hawkeye has seen an enormous run through Avengers comics, his standalone comic and recently a pairing with Captain America. He’s one of the main characters in The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, was seen in the Iron Man animated series and recently saw a burst in popularity with Marvel’s The Avengers.  Jeremy Renner brought his stoic personality to the role of Clint Barton and showed off some of his bad-ass techniques on the big screen.  Now he has his own line of merchandise including toys, action figures, t-shirts and a NERF bow.  It’s yet to be seen if Hawkeye will get his own spinoff but insiders are linking him to the Black Widow prequel and of course the inevitable Avengers sequel.  There’s just something about a character wielding a bow with breathtaking precision that resonates giddy excitement inside of fans.  Clint is an orphaned runaway that sometimes dabbles in between the line of good and evil and it’s his quippy ways and resounding attitude that strikes a chord with most fans.

    Green Arrow is one of DC’s trademark heroes and has had a more successful run in comics than Clint, especially through his solo adventures.  His new DC 52 reboot has him appearing in Justice League as well as on his own with brand new imagery and a sleek, original design.  He was seen on TV in Justice League Unlimited (albeit briefly) as well as Young Justice and a recurring spot on Batman: The Brave and the Bold.  This fall he’s gearing up for his own live-action show on the WB starring Stephen Amell as the titular hero.  Oliver Queen also appeared in Smallville for a successful 72 episode run and was played by Justin Hartley.

    If you ask the casual fan about each of these heroes they’d most likely know Hawkeye better due to his recent burst in popularity on the big screen; but if you ask comic fans they’d be able to recite each with excruciating detail.  Because of his recent success on the big screen it’s Hawkeye who just edges out Green Arrow.

    Point: Hawkeye

    Winner: Hawkeye

    Wow.  I knew this matchup was going to be close but it was even tighter than I could’ve possibly imagined.  A lot of these categories could go either way and at the end of the day it comes down to your perceptions about these heroes and your opinion.  Hawkeye wins for me but if you give this matchup to 10 people I’d honestly think you’d get an even 5 and 5 split.  Who do you like best?


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    Lil' Kim stopped by The Breakfast Club this morning where she dished on the how the Nicki Minaj beef got kicked off and the venom with which she spoke showed she's STILL very angry. She said Nicki is overrated, catty, did a lot of dirt behind the scenes and they'll NEVER make amends. Deets inside....

    Lil' Kim stopped by The Breakfast Club this morning where she dished on the career and the MANY trials and tribulations she's experienced as an artist. She revealed that she is still upset that Junior Mafia left her hanging during her trial with the feds and they are not cool. She also talked about her legal warfare with Trackmasters which kept her out of the recording studio for years and her beef with Nicki Minaj.

    She revealed that she was VERY close to Baby and Slim of Cash Money and they were forming a few businesses together. She feels that they introduced her to Nicki Minaj just so the hip hop community would think she had endorsed Nicki and given her approval. She says things went left after a track they recorded together got shelved along with all the promises of a video and a big marketing push. After that, she said Nicki got VERY catty when they were around each other and then that's when she started dissing her in records. Here are the highlights:

    On making up with Junior Mafia:

    "Why would I become cool with somebody who has no loyalty, no love and no consistency."

    On Scott Storch:

    He has so many bad people around him. But he's a nice person.

    On beefing with Nicki:

    "Every single record she's made was coming at me. She was coming at me in the Puffy record and in the Jay and Kayne record.

    On why she & Nicki can't work together:

    "She wanted to be the only female out there. So when Baby said we not f*ckin' with this chick cause you can't stand next to her, she loved it! She didn't want to stand next to me." Lil' Kim added that in the music industry men pit women against each other and Kim said, "You have to be smart enough to say yo, I don't know what they talking about but you my b*tch.

    On what she thinks Nicki should have done differently:

    "Don't come at me indirectly in records.....don't do that. At the end of the day, she should have just said 'I don't care, you my b*tch, I want to do other stuff with you'."

    On Nicki as an artist:

    "I'm not saying she's a horrible artist, but she's overrated."

    On homage:

    Kim said she NEVER felt like Nicki paid homage to her. "When somebody says I love you BUT I hate you.....that's not homage."

    On if she and Nicki will ever make amends:

    "It will never happen."

    On where the Nicki beef goes from here:

    "You will see....everything done in the dark comes to the light."

    On Azealia Banks dissing her on Twitter:

    "Listen, I think its in chicks' contracts that when you come out you gotta go at Lil' Kim." She added she doesn't know who she is and they have never spoken.


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    Good news for you Boondocks fans. After a two-year hiatus and a lot of speculation, Huey, Riley, Grandpa and the crew will be returning to a TV near you.

    Back in March Regina King, the voice behind both Huey and Riley, hinted that the show might be returning. She explained to a radio station: “I talked to Aaron and it looks like they’re working things out. I’m trying to be positive. But you know you say one thing and the next thing you know it just fell apart. But it looks strong like we’re coming back.”

    Welp, it looks like fans have gotten their wish. Late yesterday, the Boondocks season four graphic was released on the Adult Swim website, although the network has yet to release any details on when the show would me making its return.

    Although I never really got into the show, I know many people who love it and are looking forward to seeing the show once again poke fun at politics and pop culture in equal measure. source

    It'll probably be another 2 years before it premieres, but who do you want to see them drag/address? Rick Santorum...George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin...Nicki Minaj...Kanye/Kim K?

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    'Suits': Sneak peek at the season 2 premiere -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

    The newer scenes are towards the end, fyi.

    .Suits is ready to return next month and now fans are being given their first glimpse at the second season. On Saturday, Spoiler TV shared the cast photos released for the season. A preview for the season has also been released.

    Suits premiered its first season last summer, and it became one of USA's biggest hits. The series stars Gabriel Macht as Harvey Spector, and his characters hires a man, Mike Ross, for his law firm that doesn't even have a law degree. The first season showed those in the office starting to find out the scam the pair is trying to pull off. The start of the second will focus on their boss knowing the truth and trying to use it against the pair.

    Entertainment Weekly also shared some inside scoop on what is to come as the season progresses. There will be a new face arriving during the second episode. EW said the following:

    I’m told Smash actor Michael Cristofer (who plays Eileen’s oft-talked-about-but-hardly-seen hubby, Jerry) has been booked to play Paul Porter, an old-school partner at the firm whose loyalty may lie with Daniel Hardman (guest star David Constabile). He appears in the second episode when his character is assigned to work with Harvey on a case — and let’s just say it’s not necessarily a match made in heaven.

    'Cold Case' Star Lands Guest Role on USA's 'Suits' (Exclusive)
    John Finn, who played Lieutenant John Stillman on the CBS drama, will appear in the legal drama's fourth episode.

    A Cold Case alum is headed to Pearson Hardman.

    John Finn, who portrayed Lieutenant John Stillman on the CBS police procedural from 2003-10, has landed a plum guest spot on USA Network's returning legal drama Suits, The Hollywood Reporter has learned exclusively. He will appear in the fourth episode alongside Eric Close, who reprises his role as Travis Tanner.

    Finn will play Lawrence Kemp, a hotshot CEO of a multi-million dollar company Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) is representing. After Lawrence fails to disclose vital information that proves pivotal to his defense, Harvey is forced to think outside the box to help his client.

    Though Finn was a mainstay on Cold Case, prior to landing that gig, he recurred as Pacey Witter's father on the beloved WB drama Dawson's Creek from 1999-2003.

    The Domain Talent-repped actor has stayed within the CBS family, most recently appearing on NCIS and Blue Bloods.

    Suits, starring Macht and Patrick J. Adams, is scheduled to launch season two on June 14 at 10 p.m. on USA. New Girl's Rachael Harris is also set to appear during the new season.
    Needs to be on June 14th rn.
    Source 1 Source 2 Source 3 Source 4

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    So what were you doing when you were 22 years old?

    If you're Taylor Swift, you're donating a very large sum of money to help kids enjoy country music.

    It was announced today that Taylor, all on her own, is donating $4 million to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum for an exhibit and classroom space which will be called The Taylor Swift Education Center.

    The donation is the largest in museum history by an artist and the second largest from a single person
    -- single as in one individual, not single as in ha ha you're single.

    “In terms of what it will allow us to do, we do education very well now,” museum director Kyle Young said. “It will allow us to do what we do better, serve more people, develop new programs and I’m happy to say that as we talked through this opportunity with Taylor, she very much wants to be involved in an advisory capacity in what we do. Is there a better person out there who’s in touch with a young audience? I think not. I was joking we should be paying her to do that. I was only joking.”

    The Taylor Swift expansion will be part of a much larger $75 million expansion at the HOF which will increase its size by 200,000 square feet. According to The Washington Post, The Taylor Swift Education Center will be 7,500+ square feet and will feature two stories, three classrooms, and an exhibit space. The space will be geared toward kids and will have interactive activities such as a musical petting zoo and a space where kids (and their parents, because you know parents will love this too) can make concert posters and other art projects that may get messy.

    Besides being for kids, Taylor's expansion will allow the HOF to engage more teens and seniors with projects and workshops geared towards them.

    Wow! I'm impressed. This is truly a great way to keep on being included in the Forbes lists, that's for sure.

    The Taylor Swift Education Center is expected to open in 2014.


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    tbh, i was very disappointed in last night's performances.  nobody stood out, and queen jessica was sick and sounded a pitchy mess on every song.  everyone had terrible song choices too.  i know there's no chance of a jessica and joshua finale with that last performance that phillip did, so i hope jessica makes it over joshua, but i'm nervous for her.


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  • 05/17/12--08:48: R.I.P. :(
  • Donna Summer  - Dead at 63

    Donna Summer -- the Queen of Disco -- died this morning after a battle with cancer ... TMZ has learned.

    We're told Summer was in Florida at the time of her death. She was 63-years-old.

    Summer was a 5-time Grammy winner who shot to superstardom in the '70s with iconic hits like "Last Dance," "Hot Stuff" and "Bad Girls."


    RIP :( you will be dearly missed.

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    Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette and Emile Hirsch also star in the adaptation of Nick Hornby's best-selling novel with BBC Films backing.

    Imogen Poots has signed to star opposite Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette and Emile Hirsch in French filmmaker Pascal Chaumeil's A Long Way Down.

    The script details the story of four disparate individuals who meet one another on a London roof top on New Year's Eve all with the same intention to commit suicide. Instead of jumping, these complete strangers make a pact to stay alive and stay together until Valentine's Day, at least.

    Marking Chaumeil's English-language debut, the project is an adaptation of Nick Hornby's novel of the same name and is being produced by Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey via the duo's Wildgaze Films.

    BBC Films, the pubcaster's standalone movie-making unit, has come aboard as equity co-financier and U.K. broadcaster.

    Making its market debut at the Marche du Film, sales banner Hanway Films has inked deals with Lionsgate for U.K. rights -- aside from TV broadcast -- while DCM , formerly Delphi, has taken the title for German speaking Europe and Svensk signed for Scandinavia.

    In addition to the German speaking rights DCM is also acting as an equity co-producer.

    Chaumeil directs from a script by Jack Thorne (The Scouting Book For Boys) with shooting scheduled to start in September on location in London.


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    How Carlos Fuentes reinvented the novel
    The Mexican author's British editor remembers the man and his consequences

    Carlos Fuentes was one of the most extraordinary writers in an extraordinary generation that included Gabriel García Márquez, Julio Cortázar and Mario Vargas Llosa. Together the ‘Boom’ generation, as they came to be known, reinvented the novel in Latin America and made it into a force that commanded international attention.

    Carlos was a natural diplomat, not very far beneath whose suave and elegant exterior was a passionate man of principle; as the Telegraph’s obituary pointed out, he refused as a teenager to attend school in Buenos Aires, where his father was serving as ambassador, in protest at right-wing Argentine extremism; later he would resign his post as his country’s Ambassador in Paris in protest at the appointment of the former President, Gustavo Díaz Ordaz, who had been heavily implicated in the Tlatelolco massacre of students in 1968 in Mexico City, as ambassador to Spain.

    But these were extreme moments and although he was a passionate advocate of justice and human rights, most of the time his charm and good humour, albeit driven by that passion and energy, seemed to make good things happen effortlessly. Gerald Martin tells the story in his superb biography of García Márquez of how it was Fuentes who prepared the way for One Hundred Years of Solitude by taking it up, sharing his enthusiasm and the first three chapters first with his friends (including Julio Cortázar, who was as excited and astonished by what he read as Fuentes had been), and then more widely by arranging their early publication in a Spanish-language magazine in Paris in August 1966. In an interview with the editor he dubbed those pages ‘magisterial’, spoke of the novel as a masterpiece and cleverly referred to it as ‘a work in progress’ – the reference to Joyce was as genuine as it was conscious. It was a brilliant and daring strategy (after all, García Márquez hadn’t yet finished his book!), and it was this championing that helped to create the taste by which One Hundred Years of Solitude (not to mention many later books by many other writers) would be enjoyed. I have a treasured and battered copy of Barbara Howes’ excellent 1973 anthology called The Eye of the Heart, which collects together stories by 42 amazing writers from Machado de Assis and Clarice Lispector (translated by Elizabeth Bishop, no less), to Gabriela Mistral and Jorge Luis Borges. The ‘Boom’ continued to resonate as its ripples spread outwards.

    Carlos never ceased to seize the initiative and less than 10 years ago was the prime mover behind the Hay Festival expanding beyond the Wye Valley and taking root in Cartagena de Indias in Colombia. Peter Florence had been lamenting the fact that he could not persuade García Márquez to come to Wales. After listening carefully, Carlos said: ‘Gabo doesn’t like the climate of the Northern Hemisphere, he doesn’t speak English well and he likes to stay at home, but if Gabo won’t come to Hay, why not take Hay to Cartagena?’ Like all anecdotes, it simplifies, even if it contains a kernel of truth. Fuentes went on to make introductions, open doors and set up meetings, in such an easy and joyful way that influential people who might otherwise have been circumspect were glad to be part of the adventure. There was a huge amount of work to be done after that, and Peter Florence and Cristina Fuentes (no relation) made it happen, but it was Carlos, says Florence, who enabled it and led to the festival beginning to think about going out into the world as well as bringing the world to Hay.

    In the year of his 80th birthday, Carlos was approached by the Mexican writer Jorge Volpi to ask if he and a group of friends might put on a series of events in celebration of the now grand old man. Typically and graciously, the grand old man accepted the honour on condition that any celebrations would not be about him. His 80th birthday party became a national festival with more than 40 events running through November and December 2008, comprising readings, events, screenings and lectures, that involved many of the greatest Latin American thinkers and writers and significantly the new generation coming up in a wonderful, generous celebration of the best in Latin American culture. It was a great moment. ¡Viva Carlos!

    Carlos Fuentes, who has died aged 83, was the most influential Mexican novelist of his generation and a catalyst for the literary explosion that introduced Latin American writers to a worldwide audience.

    Alongside Colombia’s Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Peru’s Mario Vargas Llosa, the Chilean Jose Donoso and Argentina’s Julio Cortazar, Fuentes built a bridge between Latin and anglophone cultures.

    They were often described collectively as the “Magical Realists”, but such a title diminished the range of Fuentes’ fiction. For he was an imaginative and innovative novelist who moved smoothly between genres. Social documentary, stream of consciousness, myth, fantasy, ghost stories and political commentary flowed from his pen, whilst major novels such as The Death of Artemio Cruz, Terra Nostra and The Years With Laura Diaz had an epic sweep and grandeur.

    In such works he examined his country’s history, its revolution, the corruption of power and the dilemma of national identity. He addressed his country’s uneasy, shifting relationship with its northern neighbour, the United States, and celebrated the cultural and linguistic re-colonisation of territory such as California, that had been appropriated in the 19th century. These were interests that rippled outwards, developing into a metaphor that reflected Latin America’s relationship to the rest of the world.

    Having been raised in America as the son of a diplomat, Fuentes was qualified to explore “the crystal frontier” between the two countries. But although his views were often condemned in the States — and he was barred from entering the country for most of the 1960s — his was, in the words of his friend the American novelist William Styron, “a purposely ambiguous approach, because he knows the culture so well, he neither panders to it, nor is he promiscuously critical”.

    A globetrotter who divided his time between Mexico City and London, Carlos Fuentes was an independent, intellectual, political observer and occasional diplomat who owed allegiance to no party and whose lifelong concern was the promotion of social justice.

    Carlos Manuel Fuentes Macias was born on November 11 1928 in Panama City. His father served as ambassador to Italy and Portugal, and Carlos was educated in Santiago and Washington, DC. He did not live in Mexico until he was 16. “I learnt to imagine Mexico before I ever knew Mexico,” he recalled. Driving across Depression-era America to visit his grandmother, he passed Texan restaurants displaying “No Dogs Or Mexicans” signs: “You felt a great sense of tension between these two countries with one of the longest land borders in the world. It affirmed my sense of being Mexican very much.”

    Having been politicised by Franklin D Roosevelt — “he solved the same problems that gave rise to the fascist dictatorships in Europe” — the teenage Fuentes was appalled by Argentine Right-wing extremism and refused to attend school in Buenos Aires when his father was posted there. Instead he “discovered Borges, the tango and woman. I owe the Argentine dictatorship at least three favours.”

    Although determined to be a novelist, after studying literature at Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico he trained to become a lawyer at the Institute of Higher International Studies in Geneva.

    There, an encounter with an elegantly dressed, pheasant-eating Thomas Mann in an expensive restaurant in Zurich persuaded him to take his chance. Turning down a good job with the International Labour Organisation, he worked as a press secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and, alongside the Nobel Prize-winning poet Octavio Paz, as the editor of a literary periodical, Revista Mexicana de Literatura.

    In 1958 he published his first novel, Where The Air Is Clear, which became an immediate success and allowed him to write full time. A portrayal of the Mexico City of his youth, Fuentes’s study of a metropolis in the making stunned critics with its — and his — sophistication. One critic professed himself astonished by a Mexican who “spoke perfect English [and] had read every novel and seen every painting and every movie in every capital of the world”.

    Although this success prefigured the Latin American literary boom, Fuentes was conscious of the opportunity. “Literature in the English language is so rich and there isn’t a gap from Chaucer to the present.” he observed. “But after Don Quixote there isn’t a single novel in Spanish worth reading until you come to the second half of the 19th century. The heirs to Cervantes are Lawrence Sterne and Diderot.”

    The Death of Artemio Cruz (1962) was one of the first Latin American novels to use “stream of consciousness” and betrayed Fuentes’s debt to the Modernists. The novel described a dying man looking back on the uprising in which he rose to power, only to see his ideals corrupted and betrayed. An exploration of the 1910-20 Mexican revolution, which the author considered “a political failure but a cultural watershed”, the novel gained him international recognition.

    But his political views won him notoriety. Support for Fidel Castro led him to be denied entry to the United States, and after protesting against the brutal suppression of Mexican students by the government at Tlatelolco Square, he spent much of the Sixties in exile in Paris.

    He remained capable of causing controversy. A Change of Skin (1967), which described a group travelling from Mexico City to Veracruz, was described as “pornographic, communist, anti-Christian, anti-German and pro-Jewish”. Banned in Spain, it nevertheless won Barcelona’s most important literary award.

    When he was refused entry to Puerto Rico because he was banned from America, Fuentes enlisted a battalion of heavyweights — including Vargas Llosa, Norman Mailer, Styron and Senator William Fulbright — who lobbied for the ban to be lifted.

    In 1974, after being restored to favour at home and abroad, Fuentes was appointed ambassador to France. He served for three years before resigning in protest at the appointment of the former President, Gustavo Diaz Ordaz, who had been heavily implicated in the Tlatelolco massacre, as ambassador to Spain.

    Fuentes subsequently held a series of fellowships at American universities, including Harvard, Princeton, Pennsylvania and Columbia, which allowed him to “attack American foreign policy not in the back yard, but right here, in the front yard." He had been Professor at Large at Brown University since 1995.

    Throughout he continued to publish. Terra Nostra (1975) moved freely between the Roman empire, the Spain of Philip II and the late 20th century. The Old Gringo (1985) explored the frontier between the United States and Mexico through the story of an American journalist, Ambrose Bierce, who disappeared during Pancho Villa’s revolution. In 1989 it became a film starring Gregory Peck and Jane Fonda.

    Fuentes returned to the border in The Crystal Frontier (1995), a collection of nine loosely-connected stories following Latinos across the Rio Grande to a new, invisible life in California. Despite the brutal realities of life for economic migrants, the novelist relished the “silent reconquest” of Mexican territories appropriated in 1848.

    Diana: The Goddess Who Hunts Alone (1994) was a thinly-veiled portrait of the actress Jean Seberg, with whom Fuentes had had an affair in Durango in 1969. He had many celebrity friends, within and outside the literary world. In addition to Mailer, Garcia Marquez and Vargas Llosa, he counted Arthur Miller, Philip Roth, Milan Kundera, JK Galbraith and Shirley MacLaine among his confidants, and he claimed that Bill Clinton gave him the idea for The Eagles’ Throne (2006), a futuristic, epistolary novel which mixed sex, politics, identity and Mexico into a familiar brew. Many critics considered his memoirs, Myself With Others (1988), to exhibit unacceptable levels of name-dropping. Angela Carter, a fan of the novels, noted an “inextricable streak of vulgarity”.

    Advancing years saw no let-up in his productivity. In 2001 the opera-loving author published Inez, in which an elderly conductor reviewed his lifelong passion for a Mexican diva. Suffused with ghosts, the novel viewed life and death as two sides of the same coin and created “a sense of rebirth through music”. In the same year he published The Years with Laura Diaz, a counterpoint to Artemio Cruz and an epic account of 20th-century Mexican history written, unexpectedly, from a female point of view.

    Having lived in London whilst writing and presenting the television series The Buried Mirror (1992), an exploration of Latin literature and culture, Fuentes divided his time between Earl’s Court and Mexico City. In London he was free to write, whereas at home his life was consumed by politics and the obligations of celebrity.

    In 2008 he published Destiny and Desire: a Novel, in which the narrator was a severed head.

    Although he had helped “transform Latin American literature”, some critics considered that he became “stuck in a vision of history and literature that belonged to the Sixties’ nouveau roman”. This view was not shared by his successors – young novelists such as Ignacio Padilla, who considered him “the best example you can be both local and universal, read both as a portrait of Mexico and as an epic of the world looking for its own identity”.

    He won the Cervantes Prize in 1987, and in 1992 was appointed to France’s Légion d’honneur.

    Carlos Fuentes married, in 1959, the actress Rita Macedo, with whom he had a daughter. The marriage was dissolved in 1972, and the following year he married the television journalist Sylvia Lemus. They had a daughter and a son, both of whom predeceased him.

    Sources: 1, 2.

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    The year was 2004 and commercial hip-hop was enjoying steady record sales through stars that left underground fans shaking there head in disgust. Lil Wayne was beginning his ascent to dominance with the release of “Tha Carter”, Lil Jon put out “Crunk Juice” and T.I. further enhanced the South’s grip on the radio. Aftermath was enjoying success with b-list artists like Young Buck and Llyod Banks. Yet real hip-hop fans shunned these developments and looked to artists like MF Doom and Masta Ace to restore there pride in the music. However there was one artist who everybody could love. He burst onto the scene with a buzz that connected mainstream with underground, and even Indie Rock fans with Hip-Hop. His name was Kanye West and his debut album “The College Dropout” gave hope to millions. He was a unique entity, a counter-cultural icon to Eminem and 50 Cent, who at this point had become shoddy imitators of 90′s gangsta rap. 

    No bolding cause it's an interesting read

    Every lyric on Kanye West’s album was quotable, every beat resonated on an emphatic level. “The fans want a feeling of A Tribe Called Quest, but all they got left is this guy called West” rapped Kanye on “Last Call”. In those two simple lines he addressed the entire mood of the era. People yearned for a purity lacking from the new breed of hip-hop artists, and Kanye gave it to them with a knowing ease and enthusiasm. When “Through The Wire” hit, he had a classic single on his hands which showcased his story telling ability and ‘everyday man’ appeal. Turning tragedy to triumph without the overt macho nature of celebrity rap stars, made him a relatable artist to an entire generation hungry to connect with a new hero. Just as exciting as his production was his willingness to incorporate his personal story into his music.

    His production credits alone were something to behold in this time period, he worked behind the scenes on Jay-Z’s album The Blueprint giving Jay some of his most memorable beats. And he provided the classic instrumental for Dead Prez’s “Bigger Than Hip-Hop”, in effect he was regenerating hip-hop to pave the way for the next wave of Chicago artists like Lupe Fiasco and the resurgence of Common. “Be” & “Finding Forever” were to my mind classics produced by West, worthy of recognition against any rival producers. His own discography strengthened with the release of “Late Registration”. Although it didn’t capture the imagination in such a breathe taking way as “The College Dropout”, in retrospect it was a fantastic piece of work.

    Only West could use an artist like Adam Levine of Maroon 5 to provide the vocals for the incredibly catchy “Heard Em Say”. It was a clever cross over album which proved that going pop need not constitute selling out. His artistic endeavors began to highlight the lack of ideas coming from elsewhere and there seemed to be no limit to his future as an emcee and producer. The Rawkus sound received twice it’s previous exposure through West’s relationship with artists like Mos Def and Talib Kweli. On “The Black Album” Jay-Z rapped that he wished he could be as lyrical as Kweli and sound like Common, sentiments surely originating from Kanye’s strong endorsements of the artists. West would make national news in 2005 for his infamous “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” comments, an episode which sparked considerable controversy. Appraisal and hatred were dished out in equal measure.

    In 2006, he appeared on the cover of Rolling Stones wearing a crown of thorns which many found to be an offensive reference to Jesus Christ. A bitter irony considering the success of “Jesus Walks” on his debut album. Yet, 2007 for me was the last year of the golden period for Kanye West. “Graduation” had some stand out moments and remained fairly solid as an LP. There were signs however that he was moving away from fame as a musician and instead becoming something of an entertainer. His record sales “rivalry” with 50 Cent felt staged and forced, and although he essentially won the battle, it was a watershed moment in his career were tabloids began to use his outspoken and ‘larger than life’ persona as his prime reason for coverage.

    It was after this year he began to move away from his early appeal, instead of being relatable he was becoming a self parody. He followed “Graduation” with his worst piece of work to date, “808′s and Heartbrake”, an album were he no longer rapped but sang. To him it was genius, to the rest of us the heartbreak came from watching a promising artist fall to Earth with a thud. Every song was auto tuned and featured tacky electronic instrumentals. It felt as if Kanye had turned his back on hip-hop.

    2009 was the defining moment the World recognised this new unlikable Kanye when he interrupted Taylor Swift’s award speech with rambling nonsense about how Beyonce should have won. Of course he had a history of critiquing award shows at this point but the VMA’s that year took it to a new unprecedented level. Not only did his music suck but his personality had become thoroughly repulsive. And it seems he recognised this fact as by the time he released his last solo album “My Beautiful Twisted Dark Fantasy” he was rapping about what an asshole he was and how he reveled in it. Critics called it a return to form but most hip-hop fans reacted with indifference. His flow was off, his content boring and beats barely different from other artists. He was now the man famous for strange unpredictable comments and shoddy music.

    It was a sad 360 turn around from the positive energy he once injected into hip-hop. South Park parodied him, highlighting his over confident belief that he was a genius and failure to understand simple humour. Aspects of his character which for the most part seemed true. It turned Kanye into somewhat of a joke to the general public, who made fun of his ego and edgy demeanor. When Kanye released “Watch The Throne” with Jay-Z in 2011, I wondered if it would be a revitalizing moment for his career.

    Surprisingly, I enjoyed some of the tracks, “No Church In The Wild”, “Made In America” and “Murder To Excellence” showcased glimpses of the talent that first drew me to him as an artist. Yet I felt unsettled by the lyrics of “Niggaz In Paris” and “That’s My Bitch” not because they were offensive but because they were purposely dumbed down. “Do you know how many hot bitches I own?” Kanye rapped on “Niggaz In Paris”. This prompted Mos Def to release his own ‘conscious version’ of the song. Even Chuck D scrutinized the songs basic premise. But it was through listening to this style that I realised we had lost Kanye West forever, call it selling out or a shift of sound but he is now much closer to the Southern Rappers he once presented an alternative to. So it is with great regret I pick up the papers to see him reduced to a mere tabloid celebrity, now dating Kim Kardashian he has become a dull shadow of his former self. The downward spiral set to tarnish his legacy seems to be only just beginning.

    No mention of his mothers death and Alexis leaving him might have affected him? ok


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  • 05/17/12--09:40: Celebrity picture post
  • Adele and Take that at the Ivor Noevello's

    Alice Eve - Men in Black 3 premiere in London and photocall

    Jason Biggs and his wife recreate the time cover

    Kourtney Kardashian

    Krysten Ritter in New York

    Amber Heard

    The Gossip performs at Cannes

    Hayden Panettiere

    Minka Kelly

    Christina Hendricks leaving the Trump soho hotel

    Jennifer Lopez on the set of American Idol

    Dianna Agron at Melrose Place

    Aly and AJ Michalka with Alexa Vega

    Gwen Stefani

    Paula Abdul arrives for the Wendy Williams show

    Heidi Klum at JFK

    Leann Rimes

    Angela Simmons

    Sofia Vergara

    Carrie Underwood in Canada

    Jessica Alba

    Kim Kardashian and Kanye West at Radio 1

    Eva Mendes

    Willow and Jada Pinkett Smith enjoy Cannes

    Eva Longoria in Cannes

    Danica McKellar and Jaime Pressley at the premiere of Chicago

    Tiffani-Amber Thiessenn and Jaime King @ Hanky Panky for Hello Kitty Launch in NYC | May 16 | 7 pics

    Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany at Nice airport

    Alanis Morissette

    Lauren Conrad

    Vanessa Hudgens

    Paris Hilton

    Milla Jovovich and Ever at LAX

    Mandy Moore

    Molly Sims at her baby shower

    Jennifer Nicole Lee

    Phoebe Price in Cannes

    Colbie Caillar at the BMI pop awards

    Lapham’s Quarterly First Annual Gala, NYC - 14/05/12

    Source  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10

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  • 05/17/12--09:49: Happy 24th bday, Nikki Reed!
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    102.7 KIIS FM's Wango Tango in Carson - May 11
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    Printing, Packing and Shipping at a local Fedex store in Los Angeles - May 11
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    NYLON Magazine Annual May Young Hollywood Issue party - May 9
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    Out for lunch at Sun Cafe after a workout in Studio City - May 9
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    Leaving after workout at the Tracy Anderson Gym - May 7
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    GEORGE GINA & LUCY'S "Originals Collection" Launch in Los Angeles - May 3
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    new/old shoot by Angela Kohler
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    Pics from Nikki's Twitter
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    "Sorry I haven't been on twitter guys-been doing a lot of this..."
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic
    by @thePaulMcDonald "Doing some sweet 1990's rollerblading with the dogs today in Venice Beach....& @NikkiReed_I_Am welcomes you to the gun…"
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    "Yard work! Thinking about turning these goggles into prescription glasses. Thoughts?"
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic
    "THIS is how excited I was about getting my first Costco card yesterday!!!"
    1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

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    Yeah remember having a single is part of winning (lol)

    LOL YOU GUYS IT IS AWFUL BUT I LOVE SOPHIE SO MUCH I'M JUST GOING TO IGNORE THE LYRICS AND ENJOY THE BEAT (I'm trying to say something positive about this kay.) Actually I find that if you keep listening to it, it kind of grows on you.

    Let's all just dance!


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  • 06/02/12--08:08: One Direction Interviews!
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  • 06/02/12--08:08: BIGBANG - Monster MV
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    You'd gone back to someone who put you in the hospital

    [Getting angry] Oh really? Did I?

    Well... yes

    Did I? Did I? Did I?

    You went and recorded with him, yes.

    Ok. In a completely professional environment. And on a complete professional note. I mean, if I went back to him [as a girlfriend], then that's a whole different discussion. And if I ever do, then that's something that y'all have to talk to me about when -if- that ever happens. Until then, look at it for what it is. I think a lot of people jumped to an assumption that was incorrect and they ended up looking stupid.

    The assumption you were dating again?

    Because of a song. How stupid. If I was together with every collaborator I worked with... fuck my life

    Still, the lyrics didn't do much to dispel that impression. His opening line is "Girl I want to fuck you right now/been a long time/I've been missing your body". You reply "Remember how you did it/If you still want to kiss it/Then come and get it"

    That was the tone before he was even on the record. You think it was going to about hopscotch or jump rope?

    So neither of you for a minute thought "This is going to put the cat among the pigeons"?

    I could never see anything wrong with making music

    Maybe the thing is that as an artist your personal and private life are intertwined, and you've already played on this. The first song you put out after the beating incident was "Love the Way You Lie", about domestic violence

    Absolutely. But LTWYL was me as an artist working with Eminem as an artist, telling our stories individually. On a track together. I'm lost. I'm confused as to what you're trying to get at.

    That it's hard to separate the person who's been the victim of domestic violence and the pop star singing about domestic violence

    I know. And that's how fucked up society is. There's a lot of shit y'all can't get over. Y'all holding your breath on a lot of stuff that doesn't matter. When you realize who you live for, and who's important to please, a lot of people will actually start living. I am never going to get caught up in that. I'm gonna look back on my life and say that I enjoyed it - and I lived it for me- and God. This is turning into a tacky interview. What do you really want to talk about? I'm not here to [talk] about messy shit.

    It's just what's been making the headlines recently

    OK! So do you want to talk about everything on Google? Or do you want to talk about stuffthat my fans want to know? Let's get to the real stuff. The stuff that's important.

    What do your fans want to know

    You tell me, as a journalist. You're asking the questions and I give you the answers. I can't give the questions too.

    I'm sorry it's upset you

    It hasn't upset me. It upsets me that you keep asking the same kind of questions about stuff that's trivial. What's there to talk about? Are all your questions like that? Let's move onto the next one.

    It's just that you haven't given an interview for a while. A lot has happened

    You think I haven't given an interview for a while? I did four this morning

    Did they go any better than this?

    We'll see [when they come out] tomorrow.

    scans src2

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    Actress and singer Hilary Duff (R) attend Bing Summer of Doing Kickoff hosted by Bing and at HOLA at Heart of Los Angeles on June 1, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.

    the queen was looking on point yesterday

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