Articles on this Page
- 07/07/12--14:41: _Another TDKR Megapost
- 07/07/12--15:29: _McFly Finally Comin...
- 07/07/12--15:30: _Hooray for the Awes...
- 07/07/12--15:30: _"Spartacus: War of ...
- 07/07/12--16:19: _Best literary sex s...
- 07/07/12--16:20: _Criminal Minds chan...
- 07/07/12--16:20: _Aubrey O’Day spends...
- 07/07/12--16:22: _The Hollow Crown: H...
- 07/07/12--16:47: _Rush Limbaugh: ‘Whe...
- 07/07/12--16:47: _Serena Williams cla...
- 07/07/12--17:14: _Angie Sarajevo Film...
- 07/07/12--17:39: _Paparazzi chasing J...
- 07/07/12--17:39: _Lizzie & Dakota Post
- 07/07/12--18:09: _Tom Cruise & Katie ...
- 07/07/12--19:15: _Big Ang writing boo...
- 07/07/12--19:16: _Channel 4 Announces...
- 07/07/12--20:31: _Your new jam
- 07/07/12--20:32: _Knight of cups on s...
- 07/07/12--20:32: _Jonathan Horton tak...
- 07/07/12--21:25: _I'm Just Gonna Leav...
- 07/07/12--14:41: Another TDKR Megapost
- 07/07/12--15:29: McFly Finally Coming to USA!
- 07/07/12--15:30: Hooray for the Awesome Wave of Lady Scientists in Action Movies
- 07/07/12--15:30: "Spartacus: War of the Damned" sneak peek
- 07/07/12--16:19: Best literary sex scenes: writers' favourites
- 07/07/12--16:20: Criminal Minds changes role from hearing to deaf to nab deaf actor
- 07/07/12--16:20: Aubrey O’Day spends Fourth of July holiday on the beach
- 07/07/12--16:22: The Hollow Crown: Henry IV Review
- 07/07/12--16:47: Serena Williams claims fifth Wimbledon crown
- 07/07/12--17:39: Lizzie & Dakota Post
- 07/07/12--18:09: Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes Divorce: Inside Their Negotiations
- 07/07/12--19:15: Big Ang writing book, building her brand!!!
- 07/07/12--19:16: Channel 4 Announces New Shows
- 07/07/12--20:31: Your new jam
- 07/07/12--20:32: Knight of cups on set pics
- 07/07/12--20:32: Jonathan Horton takes on leadership role for London Olympics
- 07/07/12--21:25: I'm Just Gonna Leave This One Here...
The McFly guys have been hinting at it on Twitter for a while now, but they finally confirmed that they will indeed be playing a handful of shows in the USA in September.
The boys announced it yesterday on . They will be playing at The Roxy in Los Angeles on September 10th and The Gramercy in New York City on September 13th. Shows are all ages, and tickets go on sale July 20th.
Tom Fletcher hinted at the possibility of more shows in the future. On Twitter he said "It's only LA & NY in September for a few shows. I hope it will open the doors for us to be able to play all over the USA!!!".
Will you be going to see McFly in September? How long have you been waiting?
It's hard to decide when the James Bond franchise hit bottom (before being resuscitated by Daniel Craig in the 2006 remake of Casino Royale). But a good contender would be 1999, when Denise Richards sashayed on screen as Christmas Jones in The World Is Not Enough, which had the chutzpah to present her as the universe’s least plausible nuclear physicist (and to argue that short-shorts and a tank top were the perfect gear for dismantling warheads in the Former Soviet Republic). It was a particularly dumb, sexist moment for the franchise—more than her profession, Richards’ character really existed for Bond to make the Carrie Bradshaw-level pun "I thought Christmas only comes once a year"—and a particularly egregious use of a trope even more vexing than the Sexy Librarian: the Dumb Hot Scientist who sparks chemical reactions in the hero rather than in the lab.
But while heroines like The Hunger Games' Katniss and Brave's Merida have revitalized Diana the Huntress as a viable action movie role model, 2012's also been a terrific year for fictional girls in STEM fields, and for pushback against the image of the gal who wears a lab coat just to showcase her push-up bra. From Dejah Thoris, the Martian scientist and warrior princess who was the best thing about flop John Carter, to Prometheus' questing Elizabeth Shaw, to Gwen Stacy, Peter Parker's girlfriend in The Amazing Spider-Man (out today), the movies are suddenly full of female scientists who can unlock the mysteries of the universe in the lab and defend themselves on the street.
In the Spider-Man comics, Gwen Stacy always had an interest in science, whether majoring in it or interning at the fictional OsCorp Industries. In The Amazing-Spider-Man, when Peter Parker sneaks into OsCorp hoping to meet a scientist who worked with his long-dead father, Gwen (played by Emma Stone) turns out to be the top intern, an assistant to Dr. Curt Connors himself. Peter's an intuitively brilliant scientist, too, but Gwen's doing the work he's longed to do for years. And after Connors turns himself into a human-lizard hybrid and starts terrorizing New York, Peter relies on Gwen to cook up an antidote for him and the New Yorkers at risk. Showing both smarts and personal courage, she mixes up the formula and leads an evacuation of OsCorp headquarters as Connors ravages the building.
If Peter and Gwen are intellectual equals the duo at the center of John Carter, released earlier this year, are not. In fact, Martian princess Dejah Thoris (Lynne Collins) has Carter, the former Confederate soldier who finds himself on her home planet, beat pretty much anyway you look at it. We're introduced to her as the leading scientist of her family's kingdom, Helium, one of two civilizations that fights over the future of Mars, a brilliant woman whose father sees only her potential in forging an alliance by marriage. When she and Carter meet, Dejah saves his life, rather than the other way around. As they road trip back to her capital city, it's Dejah who deciphers a mysterious set of symbols and discovers the key to an immensely powerful new energy source.
The movie's comfortable letting her be more educated than Carter without requiring some sort of plotline where she takes off the Martian equivalent of Sexy Librarian Glasses, shakes out her hair, and reveals that she was a babe all along. Dejah does rock a Princess Leia-like bronzed bikini, but in John Carter, the men are as much sex objects as the women, conducting state business in loincloths.
By contrast, Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace), the scientist whose discoveries and hypotheses are the reason a crew makes for a distant planet in Ridley Scott's Alien prequel Prometheus, favors utilitarian jumpsuits. She's less of a pure scientist than either Gwen or Dejah—Shaw hopes that her scientific pursuits will validate her strong religious beliefs, leading her crew to the aliens she believes created humanity—and Prometheus has plot holes galore. But even if Shaw and her colleagues’ behavior is not exactly lab-appropriate (they have a weird and seemingly plot-driven disdain for decontamination procedures and for wearing protective gear during dangerous and totally unprecedented experiments), Shaw's the movie's purest example of scientific curiosity. Even when her hypothesis is disastrously disproved, she formulates new ones and continues her exploration of the solar system. Her will to know more fuels her will to live.
I wish Prometheus had been a better movie, a smarter reconciliation of faith and science, but I love seeing action heroines like Elizabeth Shaw on screen, even if they're only in rough drafts of better movies we'll one day get to see. And I love that female scientists like Gwen Stacy and Dejah Thoris are stealing the movies they're in from the edge of the screen, reminding us that women scientists are good for something other than helping James Bond, sexual scientist, uncover the mysteries of the female orgasm.
These smart, capable women aren't just good for girls in the audience who might see them as role models. They shake up the dynamics of action movies, too, reminding audiences that there are ways to solve problems other than obliterating them with impressive quantities of explosives. Even The Avengers recognized this in its final moments. Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) may divert a nuclear weapon away from New York and toward an alien base. But it's secret agent Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), teaming up with a scientist to solve a seemingly impossible problem, who figures out how to cut off the attack that's ravaging the city. Sometimes, it takes a girl and some equations to save the world, rather than a guy with a gun.
Just got back from seeing The Amazing Spider-man, it delivered like Pizza Hut. Now all I need is to find myself a Peter Parker all my own.
"Spartacus: War of the Damned" sees the return on Liam McIntyre (Spartacus) and the aftermath of the defeat of Roman commander Gaius Claudius Glaber.
Alan Hollinghurst does sex rather well, but most of the writers who do it best don't "do" it at all, but simply allow it to happen in a way that can easily be supplied by any reader who happens to have done it.
I find The Story of O deeply erotic precisely because the woman at the centre of it holds all the power, even though she seems the one most cruelly treated. Also the book is beautifully and tenderly written, in its odd way. Someone with a decent prose style should do a proper translation of it.
It's got to be Alan Hollinghurst, for me. I vividly remember sitting in my 10-year-old daughter's cello lesson, with a rather fierce music teacher, reading The Folding Star ... she scratched the bow, and I went a bit pink. It was not so much at the sex itself, but at the sheer incongruity of the reading matter. And at the frisson that I might get found out.
I like my erotic literature to be beautifully written as well as funny and can't do better than Chaucer. How about this from Troilus and Criseyde: "Her slender arms, her soft and supple back, / Her tapered sides – all fleshy smooth and white – / He stroked, and asked for favours at her neck, / Her snowish throat, her breasts so round and light; / Thus in this heaven he took his delight, / And smothered her with kisses upon kisses / Till gradually he came to learn where bliss is."
The most erotic book I ever read was an anonymous novel called L'Histoire d'O, which I think was by a woman called Pauline Réage. It was a sado-masochistic romp and I was given a copy in France in the 1960s when it was probably illegal in England. It surpassed Georgette Heyer, who seemed very exciting when I was at school. I was rather alarmed by how exciting it was and I remember giving my copy to an Arts Council officer somewhere in the north of England when I was on tour there; I didn't think it a good book to have around the house with small children. I also found DH Lawrence thrilling, in a healthier and more respectable kind of way. The Rainbow has some wonderfully powerful love scenes.
My favourite scene is the seduction in dialogue in The Names by Don DeLillo – but then my favourite everything is in that book. Is the scene erotic? Yes, in a meta-sort of way, but mainly it's incredibly intoxicating. It begins with the narrator, James, and some friends at a club in Athens, watching a belly dancer named Janet Ruffing. After the performance she changes into a cardigan and comes to sit with the group. James proceeds to ease his way into her consciousness so that "a curious intimacy" is formed. After some polite exchanges he asks her to "say belly. I want to watch your lips." Then it's, "Say breasts. Say tongue." The conversation spirals on for pages, Janet insisting "I don't do this" while getting drawn deeper into the giddy linguistic spiral. "Say heat," says James. "Say wet between my legs. Say legs. Seriously, I want you to. Stockings. Whisper it. The word is meant to be whispered."
Softcore porn is the literary equivalent of those feathery wimp-whips and talcum'd cufflinks you see in the windows of sex toy shops. If you're going to torture your lover, at least break the skin, I say. You would expect me, therefore, to chose the scene I find most erotic from the pages of De Sade or Bataille. But as far as writing goes, the best sex is the most implicit. So I nominate the scene in Persuasion in which Captain Wentworth wordlessly, and with none of their past grievous history resolved, assists a fatigued Anne Elliot into a carriage. There is no overt sexuality, no titillatory play with power and dependence - he helps her in and that's that. "Yes - he had done it. She was in the carriage and felt that he had placed her there, that his will and his hands had done it." Anne might tell herself that the kindness proceeds from what remains of "former sentiment", but Wentworth's hands have been on her body, and we never doubt that it's her body that receives the shock of the contact as much as her mind.
When it was published in 1968, John Updike's novel Couples was a succès de scandale because of its minutely attentive descriptions of sex. Much of this is adulterous sex, enjoyed by the pleasure-seeking 30something couples of the New England town of Tarbox. Half a century later the descriptive precision is not shocking but absorbing. In the first of the novel's many adulterous couplings, Piet Hanema and Georgene Thorne make love on her sunporch. Updike typically gives us every beautifully rendered detail: the fall of morning light, the "musty cidery smell" of pine needles, the texture of the blanket they lie on. Updike makes you see everything his characters see. His novel is descriptively promiscuous: we move between different viewpoints, male and female, sharing their pleasures and perceptions. There is an extraordinary kind of tenderness in this physical detail that is an effect of style and patience. The tenderness heightens our appalled sense of how these people lie to each other and deceive themselves.
I think the sexiest passages are those about Luc in Alan Hollinghurst's The Folding Star. The 33-year-old Edward Manners leaves England for Belgium and a job as the tutor to the 17-year-old Luc. After mooning over the boy for months, astonishingly he falls into Edward's arms. As he sleeps after sex Edward studies his handsome face: "While he slept I kept watch over him - a smooth shoulder, the little pool of his clavicle, his neck, his extraordinary face, his hair muddled and pushed back." This is the romantic postlude. The sex act itself is much more strenuous: "I was up on the chair, fucking him like a squaddy doing push-ups, ten, twenty, fifty ... His chest, his face, were smeared with sweat but it was mine: the water poured off me like a boxer, my soaked hair fell forward and stung my eyes." This sex-writing is convincing because it mixes the sublime with the carnal, the grossly physical with the spiritual – and all of it experienced as a shock, the longed-for consummation that one can't believe is really happening.
A remarkable thing — perhaps even historic — happened in a Hollywood casting office last week. The team for the TV show “Criminal Minds” took the extraordinary step of rewriting a character in an episode from a hearing role into a deaf role solely so they could hire a deaf actor. The “Criminal Minds” casting director had seen deaf actor Troy Kotsur on stage in our smash hit production of Cyrano at the Fountain Theatre and was so blown away by his performance that he convinced the TV team to change the role in the upcoming episode from a hearing character to a deaf character just so they could hire Kotsur.
As Troy tells it:
"I walked into the casting director’s office and saw about 10 hearing actors in the waiting room. They were auditioning the same role as I was going for.
After I auditioned, I felt great with the choices I made to present the character and how I went with the flow with the Criminal Minds team in the room.
At first, I assumed they did not know much about Deaf people. During the process, I thought: Did they understand anything I signed? Could they tell if I played the way they wanted the character to be? Did they see the details I brought with my face, eyes and body language for the character? Could they tell the difference between hearing actors and Deaf actors? Is there a difference? Or could only an expert, who knew both cultures, catch the differences? Did the team know what they were looking for? Most teams don’t know until they see what the actors bring in the room.
Deep down inside, I was hoping they wouldn’t hire me because I was Deaf. I wanted to believe they would hire me because of the skills, nuances, and the specifics of what I was able to give for my character, for their story. Good acting.
After I auditioned, I felt that it was possible that they did see the specifics and moments. It was a positive experience.
I learned later that originally the character had lots of action and no speaking lines. They gave the character to a hearing actor, Matthew Jaegger. Matthew has worked with Deaf West Theatre in the past with Deaf and hearing actors. He asked the Criminal Minds team to give Deaf actors a chance to show their work because they can do this character just as well. I’m grateful to Matthew Jaegger who encouraged the Criminal Minds team to give Deaf actors a chance. This all wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for Matt.
I also learned that the casting director saw Cyrano at the Fountain Theatre. I had no idea. It’s wonderful to have casting directors and writers see plays at the Fountain and Deaf West for the opportunity it gives for more jobs for Deaf actors. It’s challenging for Deaf actors to get jobs because there aren’t many written roles for Deaf actors to play. Non-speaking roles or Deaf characters are roles I usually audition for.
The Criminal Minds team decided to give it a shot. They did a re-write after they saw my audition. What a journey and a blessing. I am curious to know how the writers will write, to dive into a Deaf person’s mind!”
Troy’s agent, Liz Hanley with Bicoastal Talent, is thrilled.
“I have had the pleasure of repping many deaf artists over the years,” she says. “I always count it as a great success when a deaf client lands a ‘hearing’ role. I have always submitted deaf actors for roles they were right for, whether the breakdown called for a deaf actor or not. Through hundreds of submissions, I have only convinced a casting office or producer four times to see a deaf actor for a role that wasn’t labeled “deaf”. All four times resulted in a job.”
“If only Hollywood was more willing to see deaf actors on all roles. Thanks to the awesome Cyrano production,a Hollywood mind was opened.”
Troy will continue dazzling audiences (and casting directors) in the lead role of Cyrano until the run ends with a final extension on July 29.
Buxom beauty Aubrey O’Day spent her Fourth of July holiday flaunting her signature curves in Miami, FL. Sporting a orange string bikini top and a pair of high-waisted (but very revealing) bottoms, the Celebrity Apprentice alum was all smiles as she hit the beach with a gal pal.
But this bum-baring attire wasn’t the last of O’Day’s skimpy Independence Day styles…
Later that evening, the former Danity Kane singer changed into a more patriotic bikini for the fireworks celebration.
Following on from last weekend’s triumphant screening of Richard II on BBC Two, we were fortunate enough to attend a screening of Henry IV parts 1 and 2 at the BFI Southbank. Having now seen all four films of Aunty Beeb’s ambitious retelling of four of Shakespeare’s historical plays – the Henriad tetralogy – on the big screen we pity those of you that will only see them in the living room for they make for truly beautiful cinema.
With Henry IV parts 1 and 2, Rupert Goold (Richard II) hands over the director’s reigns to Sir Richard Eyre, a man who knows exactly what to cut from the text and what is essential to leave in. He also has a knack for rearranging scene order for the sake of television, understanding the medium entirely.
Rory Kinnear has grown up to be Jeremy Irons (Henry IV). He’s also a bit of a grump, despairing at the behaviour of his flightly playboy son Prince Hal (Tom Hiddleston). Hal you see would much rather be hanging out in the grimy bars of Cheapside with his cronies Falstaff (Simon Russell Beale) and Poins (David Dawson) than getting involved in matters of state.
When a rebellion against the King, led by the charismatic Hotspur (Joe Armstrong) comes to light, Hal must begin to face his responsibilities as heir to the throne and prove himself on the battlefield.
This is sexy Shakespeare with Eyre knowing a handsome chap when he sees one, making Hal a leather jacket sporting sexpot you likes a sauna (yes ladies, there's a scene in a sauna). He might be a bit of a soak (quite literally at one point as he’s covered in red wine) and if it were a modern tale he’d be that loud rugger bugger at the end of the bar, guffawing with his pals and ruining your evening but Eyre and Hiddleston make him a desirable devil, one that has our loyalties from the get go. The famously infectious Hiddleston laugh is in evidence throughout and Eyre wisely keeps the focus on Falstaff and Hal for the majority of Part 1, the rebellion of Hotspur taking something of a backseat so as to establish the characters of our drinking buddies and making the eventual dismissal by Hal of his former partner in crime all the more emotional come the close of Part 2. Russell Beale nabs all the best lines as Falstaff but it’s what goes unsaid behind his eyes that truly connects with the audience, it’s Hal’s love he craves above money and status and yet the old rascal is his own worst enemy and Russell Beale, looking uncannily like Billy Barty in Masters of The Universe, amps up the naughtiness and self-serving nature of Shakespeare’s most amusing character to a Spinal Tap 11. It's worth noting too that Hiddleston can muster up a seriously great Jeremy Irons impression. Part 1 is something of a merry jape for a good portion of its running time. Hiddleston’s Hal is good company indeed, his back and forth’s with Russell Beale’s lovable rogue Falstaff a delight to behold.
Joe Armstrong makes for a passionate and charismatic Harry Percy (Hotspur), rallying support for a rebellion against the King. His relationship with his wife Kate (Michelle Dockery) is a fiery one and their barely disguised mocking of Mortimer (Harry Lloyd) and his wet Welsh speaking wife is a joy.
Eyre does great things with relatively few extras for the battle scene, hand held jittery camera work effectively portraying the horrors of war but there is no denying that a TV budget can’t quite make up for a lack of physical bodies. No matter, so powerful are the words, so magnetic are the performances that this is nit-picking at its finest.
Henry IV is essentially about fathers and sons, about duty and honour above all else. It’s also about an ageing King’s conscience as he nears the end of his life, his guilt at how he came by his crown. Part 2 see’s Irons recite the famous line, “uneasy lies the head that wears the crown,” with every emotion of his betrayal etched on his face. It’s a powerful moment and one that will linger particularly after the emotional conclusion to Richard II with the delicate Ben Whishaw as Richard breathing his last.
With a stellar cast filling out even the most minor of roles, Iain Glen bringing his particular brand of stoicism as the Earl of Warwick in Part 2 and the likes of Julie Walters, Maxine Peake and Geoffrey Palmer amongst many others cropping up, it’s a who’s who of the best Britain has to offer but the honours go to the brilliant Russell Beale and a truly impressive Hiddleston who steal every scene they’re in and light up the screen.
Oh gosh it was perfect.
I was so mad with the BBC pulling that rescheduling fuckery though.
Rush Limbaugh — the famously sexist radio host who got himself into hot water over his criticism of Sandra Fluke — believes that women’s suffrage destroyed the U.S. “When women got the right to vote is when it all went down hill,” Limbaugh said on his radio show Tuesday, “Because that’s when votes started being cast with emotion and maternal instincts that government ought to reflect.” The host tried almost immediately to recover from his blatant sexism, claiming that he had been joking.
(clip won't embed, please view at source)
WIMBLEDON, England – Agnieszka Radwanska rode her anticipation, crafty counterpunching and sleight-of-hand shotmaking to the brink of No. 1 and the Wimbledon final.
Serena Williams of the USA celebrates after defeating Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland on Saturday to capture her fifth Wimbledon crown.
And there she was Saturday afternoon on Centre Court, deep in a tense third-set battle with power personified, Serena Williams.
So what did Williams do on a crucial break point? She sent a withering forehand drop shot winner over the net that left Radwanska dead in her tracks.
"She has good hands as well," Radwanska said later, "so she can do those kinds of things."
Williams instinctively raised her arms in triumph, though it wasn't over — Williams led 5-2. But it was.
The best server in the history of women's tennis now had two chances to serve out the match. She needed just one.
Not long after, Williams, who never has followed any script but her own, was holding the Venus Rosewater dish for a fifth Wimbledon title and 14th major overall.
"I can't even describe it," said Williams after her 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 defeat of the third-seeded Radwanska, which ended two years of Grand Slam drought after a series of accidents, injuries and illness. "I almost didn't make it. A few years ago, I was in the hospital, and now I'm here again. It's so worth it, and I'm so happy."
Sure, there was plenty of muscle from the reigning ace machine, including a nerve calming "golden game" early in the third set in which in she fired four consecutive aces.
Going into final, one in five of her serves had been aces. On Saturday, she smacked another 17 for a Wimbledon-record 102 for the tournament, 13 more than she hit in 2010, the previous high mark.
"My serve really helped me throughout this tournament, I think," Williams said. "I just had the rhythm, kind of felt it."
With her fifth title, Williams tied sister Venus, who looked on from the player's box.
Later, they added their fifth Wimbledon doubles championship, teaming to beat Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic 7-5, 6-4.
Williams, who turns 31 in September, also become the first woman past 30 to win a major since Martina Navratilova 22 years ago. Navratilova was 33 when she won her final Wimbledon in 1990.
Williams, seeded sixth, ripped through the first set in 36 minutes as a shaky Radwanska, playing in her maiden Grand Slam final, struggled to find her range.
Rains hit, and though the retractable roof stayed open, a 24-minute rain delay between the first and second sets calmed the 23-year-old's nerves. Radwanska started to do what she does best — goad opponents into mistakes with an array of clever spins, angles and long rallies.
Williams also started to miss — on groundstrokes, overheads, even on her vaunted first serve. When Radwanska finally broke though in the eighth game to level the set 4-4, Williams got tight.
"She started playing excellent grass-court tennis, getting a lot of balls back, and I panicked a little bit," Williams said.
Radwanska staved off three break points in her first two service games to start the third set.
But Williams' jitters calmed on her next service game: four consecutive aces in 49 seconds to even it at 2-2. It was the psychological balm she needed — the same security blanket that had helped her fight through several close matches the first week of the fortnight.
With renewed aggression, she broke Radwanska twice more, running off the last four games to complete the win.
Williams won all 10 points in the third set when she got her first serve in, and finished with 58 winners to 13 for Radwanska, who was battling a respiratory illness.
"It's her weapon, the serve," said the Pole, who will climb to No. 2 in the rankings behind Victoria Azarenka of Belarus on Monday. "That's why she won the tournament five times already."
If she stays healthy, there likely will be more. But unlike some of the American's other comebacks, this road was longer, and tougher.
Shortly after winning the 2010 Wimbledon title, Williams cut her foot on glass at a Munich restaurant. Two surgeries in the fall followed, one to repair a severed tendon.
Six months later she suffered a dangerous pulmonary embolism, or blood clot, that traveled from her leg to her lungs. She then was hospitalized to remove a grapefruit-sized hematoma from her stomach.
On the court, some signs of vulnerability showed up, too.
She imploded in a spasm of anger at the 2011 U.S. Open, where she lost to Samantha Stosur, and just last month she crashed out of the French Open in the first round, the only opening-round loss at a major in her career.
She had arrived in Paris on the heels of a 17-match winning streak and, in another display of edgy nerves, let a lead slip to 111th-ranked Virginie Razzano of France.
"I was undefeated on clay," Williams said. "I had a lot of confidence. You know, when I lost that, that really got me down."
Instead of returning immediately to the USA, Williams remained in Paris, where she owns an apartment, to pick up the pieces.
"I think that was probably one of the hardest losses that she's ever hard," said her half-sister, Isha Price, who stayed behind in France to console her. "I couldn't leave her. She was tripping."
But she returned to the court, training at an academy run by Patrick Mouratoglou on the outskirts of Paris. Then she let her racket do the talking.
"Champions, when they got hurt, they react," said Mouratoglou, who was a regular in her box in London. "I think the best reaction is to win the Grand Slam that comes right after this one, and she did it."
It was a cathartic victory.
After match point, Williams dropped her racket, slipped on the worn grass near the baseline and covered her face, lingering for a few seconds to soak it in.
She then climbed up in the players' box to share hugs with her team, and she choked up during her on-court interview when thanking the various members of her family and entourage for standing by her side.
"If she hadn't won this (match) I think we would have had to put her in an institution," laughed her mother, Oracene Price, afterward.
Williams also made a poignant on-court gesture to Venus, her best friend and protector, who revealed last year that she suffers from Sjogren's syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that saps her energy.
"I had to copy you again," she said of the five Wimbledon singles titles they each own. "Sorry."
Later, she told a small group of reporters: "It's really encouraging for me to stay with her like I do, to be around her and really appreciate, gosh I'm healthy. I can do this for both of us."
Williams' turnaround bodes well for her next big challenge: The London Olympics at the end of July, which will be contested on the lawns of the All England Club.
Williams owns two gold medals with Venus in doubles, but a singles medal is one of the few trophies missing from her cache.
"This will give her a lot of confidence, and Serena with confidence is a scary proposition because then she lets loose," ESPN's Mary Joe Fernandez said.
Her return to the winner's circle likewise is a positive omen for the summer, where she will resume her assault on the record books at the U.S. Open.
"If she stays healthy, she at her best is the best," added Fernandez, also the U.S. Fed Cup captain. "She has so many weapons between her movement and her serves and her returns. It's hard to see her not winning another big one. I'm thinking this will alleviate some of that anxiety."
A healthy Williams, who will rise to No. 4 in the rankings, should provide more ballast to a women's game that has seen seven different Grand Slam champions in a row.
"She's a fresh 30," Navratilova said. "I played about twice as many matches at this age. If she stays healthy with that serve, the sky's the limit."
Navratilova, who with Chris Evert won 18 major singles titles, are next in line in the record books.
Asked if she could be caught, Navratilova didn't hesitate.
"I wouldn't put it past her," she said.
Serena Williams in Grand Slam finals
Won 14, Lost 4
1999 U.S. Open — def. Martina Hingis, 6-3, 7-6 (4).
2001 U.S. Open — lost to Venus Williams, 6-2, 6-4.
2002 French Open — def. V.Williams, 7-5, 6-3.
2002 Wimbledon — def. V.Williams, 7-6 (4), 6-3.
2002 U.S. Open — def. V.Williams, 6-4, 6-3.
2003 Australian Open— def. V.Williams, 7-6 (4), 3-6, 6-4.
2003 Wimbledon — def. V.Williams, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.
2004 Wimbledon — lost to Maria Sharapova, 6-1, 6-4.
2005 Australian Open — def. Lindsay Davenport, 2-6, 6-3, 6-0.
2007 Australian Open — def. Sharapova, 6-1, 6-2.
2008 Wimbledon — lost to V.Williams, 7-5, 6-4.
2008 U.S. Open — def. Jelena Jankovic, 6-4, 7-5.
2009 Australian Open — def. Dinara Safina, 6-0, 6-3.
2009 Wimbledon — def. V.Williams, 7-6 (3), 6-2.
2010 Australian Open — def. Justine Henin, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.
2010 Wimbledon — def. Vera Zvonareva, 6-3, 6-2.
2011 U.S. Open — lost to Sam Stosur, 6-2, 6-3.
2012 Wimbledon — def. Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2.
Serena and Venus Williams win Wimbledon doubles championship
Two titles, one day.
Nine hours after she stepped foot on Centre Court to win her fifth Wimbledon singles crown, Serena Williams teamed with her sister Venus to win their fifth Wimbledon doubles title. The sisters defeated Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka, 7-5, 6-4 in an indoor match that ended just before Centre Court's 11 p.m. curfew.
The victory came in Venus and Serena's first tournament together in two years. They entered as a warm-up for the upcoming Summer Olympics, in which they'll enter as two-time defending gold medalists.
It was the sister's 14th Grand Slam doubles title, the third most in history. In each of their five championships at Wimbledon, one of them also hoisted the Venus Rosewater Dish in the singles competition, as Serena did on Saturday afternoon.
"[The day was] very long," Serena said after the match. "I was just happy to do it with singles and continue it with doubles."
After Serena set the Wimbledon record for most tournament aces, it was fitting that her sister ended their doubles match on an ace.
"I felt like it was my second match too," Venus joked afterward, referring to the tense moments she spent watching Serena defeat Agnieszka Radwanka in the single final.
YYYYYAASSSS GURLS!!!! SCALP DEM HOES AND HATERS!!!!!
Angelina Jolie Lands in Bosnia for the Sarajevo Film Festival
Angelina Jolie: Not Maleficent at Home
The Los Angeles city councilman who witnessed the paparazzi in a high-speed pursuit of Justin Bieber said the singer and the tabloid photographers should have been arrested for reckless driving.
"This reminds me of the Princess Diana situation," said Dennis Zine, who called 911 to report the chase on the 101 Freeway on Friday morning.
Zine said he saw Bieber cut from the fast lane to the slow lane and even onto the shoulder. He was being pursued by several cars.
"It was like slot cars, they were going so fast," Zine said. "It was a very dangerous driving situation. I figured someone was going to crash, so I called 911."
Zine said he did not know it was Beiber until later.
California Highway Patrol officials said they stopped and cited Bieber for reckless driving. Although an officer saw at least one car pursuing the singer, that vehicle fled the scene once Bieber was pulled over, CHP Officer Ming Hsu said.
Zine, who once proposed a city ordinance to limit aggressive tabloid behavior, said the photographers should have been cited or arrested too.
In 2010, California lawmakers stiffened penalties for paparazzi caught driving recklessly to photograph celebrities.
But Zine said that being chased by paparazzi is not a reason for Bieber to speed or drive in a way that endangers himself or others.
"Anytime you do 90, the paparazzi are going to go 90," Zine said.
Cars chasing cars on the 101, shit is messed up. I wish they would have arrested the paparazzi or at least create a law, it's only a matter of time before more innocent people get hurt. Of course, none of this will change until the gross celebrity culture ends and the general public stops believing celebrities have no right to privacy
Elizabeth Olsen and Dakota Fanning sport little black dresses on the set of Very Good Girls yesterday.
For much of the past few days, lawyers for Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes have been working behind closed doors to iron out an agreement between the two stars that would avoid a long,public divorce fight.
Cruise "doesn't want his family dragged through the mud," says one source. "They both love their daughter."
One crucial issue: where Suri, 6, will live and who will raise her.
Holmes, 33, who filed for sole legal custody, would like to bring up her daughter in New York City. Cruise, 50, lives primarily in Los Angeles, although he owns properties in Manhattan.
Sources around Cruise and Holmes are optimistic that the couple and their legal teams could reach a deal as discussions continue.
For the second day in a row, Holmes was spotted at her lawyers Allan Mayefsky and Michael Mosberg's offices on Saturday.
As for Holmes's bid for custody, Cruise may be open to Suri living primarily with Holmes, according to a source. But any agreement would have to include generous visitation for Cruise: "There's no world where Tom won't be seeing Suri."
"I'm sure Tom Cruise's attorneys are doing all they can behind the scenes to negotiate with Katie's side to calm the situation," says L.A. family law attorney Steve Mindel, who's not involved with the case. "Ultimately, neither side would want a messy public case to avoid bringing emotional harm to their daughter. Don't be surprised if Katie quietly retracts her divorce filing and they eventually agree to an amicable divorce and settlement."
Big Ang said Friday that her first book will be released on Sept. 11 through Simon & Schuster. It's called "Bigger Is Better: Real Life Wisdom from the No-Drama Mama." She said it will include "all kinds of stuff."
Big Ang's real name is Angela Raiola. She first gained attention on the second season of "Mob Wives" as the friendly one and peacemaker when the girls got into fights.
VH1's website says she's the niece of Salvatore "Sally Dogs" Lombardi, a deceased captain of the Genovese crime family.
The 52-year-old will also launch her own VH1 reality show, called "Big Ang," this Sunday.
"I didn't think about any of this. This all came to me," she said of her recent fame. "Did you think at my age I was looking to go on TV?"
Big Ang also said she's scouting locations for a store called Big Ang's Secrets, which will include "spray tans, eyelash extensions, hair extensions. Everything I love."
The reality star is widely known for her look, mainly her full lips and breasts. She said she's interested in more plastic surgery.
"I'm not really addicted," added Big Ang, saying she's gotten surgery in 10-year spans. "But I like it. I like whatever makes you look better and younger."
Channel 4 has announced a number of new entertainment commissions today, including some shows likely to be of interest to comedy fans, with the stars of 8 Out Of 10 Cats (pictured) featuring prominently within the new orders.
Sean Lock and Jon Richardson are to present a three-part factual series called Hillbilly Holidays. Described as a show which will "reinvent anthropology", the format will see the comedians visit 'discreet communities' in America to "see how real men live".
Channel 4 says: "From the Cajuns of the Atchafalaya Swamps in Louisiana to the bluegrass hillbillies of North Caroline to the survivalists of Colorado, there are still places corporate America fears to go. Richardson and Lock will be cast off into these forgotten backwaters and new frontiers - where Darwin's survival of the fittest meets the American Dream."
"Lock and Richardson will need to unearth their inner alpha-males and they'll need to pick-up survival skills not featured on Scout badges. They'll go 'gator catching with the Cajuns of the Louisiana swamps, and pan for gold in Alaska. They'll learn the art of hillbilly hand-fishing and brew up moonshine in the Blue Ridge Mountains."
"Staying a week in each location, they will need to win over the locals who often ain't too keen on outsiders. They'll need to pepper the gumbos of red-necked survivalists, dill the pickles of Baptist snake-handlers and be educated in the ways of a nudist hog-trapper and a 3rd generation bootlegger."
Talking about the show, Sean Lock says "I'm particularly looking forward to watching Jon wading through the swamps trying to find a plug for his travel iron", whilst Richardson comments: "I am hoping that this show will once and for all put an end to rumours that I am not a real man. Failing that, I just hope I don't cry in front of Sean."
C4 executive Ralph Lee adds: "Lucky bastards! It's one of the hardest parts of a commissioner's job to send other people on journeys you'd really like to go on. But we'll make sure they have a properly hard time and insist that it's all got a profound anthropological purpose."
Jimmy Carr also features in the announcements, with new episodes of The Big Fat Quiz Of The Year ordered. Carr will helm three specials of the panel show this year for broadcast at Christmas, with 'big-name guests' answering questions on the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.
The panel show trio will also join together to take over popular word-based game show Countdownfor a second time, following the success of their previous special earlier in the year. Cats Do Countdown Rematch is due to be filmed and broadcast later in the year.
Also in the list of commissions is a new show from Stephen Fry. The QI host is set to present a new factual entertainment series called Stephen Fry: Gadget Man for Channel 4. The six episodes will see Fry, a well-known enthusiast of new technology, "offering his unique and engaging insight into this wonderful world of technology. He'll be showing viewers how ordinary everyday activities can be made more exciting by using the very best time saving tools."
The series will also feature a number of celebrities talking about their personal favourite gadgets as well as a 'big-scale consumer check' to road-test rival products.
Talking about the new show, Fry says: "I am looking forward to further feeding my addiction to all things gadgetry - and having lots of fun in the process - by making this intriguing series forChannel 4."
The channel has also ordered a 45 minute pilot called The Anti Social Network, which it describes as "an edgy and ambitious cross platform comedy show which sees the power of social media harnessed to stage some audacious hoaxes."
Elsewhere, Victoria Wood has signed up to make a two-part BBC One series about tea. Victoria Wood: The Great British Cuppa will see the comedian explore the popular beverage.
Super excited for Sean Lock and Jon Richardson's new show! lbr tho, Jon is probably going to break. I'm here for anything that starts with "The Big Fat Quiz". And while I love Stephen Fry, his new show sounds boring. Sorry, Stephen.
The adorable Jon Richardson tyfyt
Bulgarian native Dena, who now lives in Berlin, is this summer's answer to M.I.A.. You heard it here first. Her swagger is unreal. I dare you not to listen to this jam on repeat.
I did not write that blurb. It's from Jezebel. But I seriously have had this on repeat since I saw the video so I wanted to share the ridiculousness with you all. Also she has a scrunchy.
Teresa Palmer strolls with co-stars Christian Bale, Wes Bentley, and Isabel Lucas on the set of their upcoming movie Knight of Cups on Thursday (July 5) in Los Angeles.
Knight of Cups, out next year, is the latest Terrence Malick film that also stars Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett, and Freida Pinto.
Jonathan Horton has the collection of medals and accolades of a male gymnast who has been among the best in the country since 2006, when he made his first world championship team.
But it's his wife, Haley, whose work ethic and study habits he praises during a recent interview. The two met while both were gymnasts at the University of Oklahoma and married in 2009. She is now in medical school at the University of Texas-Houston while her husband trains for his second Olympics.
The 26-year-old Horton is the only member of the 2008 Olympic men's gymnastics team to return for London. Four years ago in Beijing, he was part of the U.S. squad that won bronze in the team competition. He earned silver on the horizontal bar.
The Houston native made a successful comeback despite having surgery last year to repair a torn ligament in his left foot. He was injured while competing at the 2011 world championships in Japan, where the Americans won the team bronze. At last week's U.S. Olympic gymnastics trials in San Jose, Horton finished third in the all-around and claimed a spot on the five-man team for London. He posted the top score in rings.
He spoke to reporters at the U.S. Olympic Committee media summit in Dallas in May.
"My wife just finished her second year of medical school. I don't know which has been more challenging for her, finishing her gymnastics career or two years of medical school. It been kind of a roller-coaster ride for her. She's gotten through the hardest part. They always say that the end of your second year is the hardest. I've never seen anyone sit down and study for 12 hours straight. But it's pretty unbelievable. She's got like a built-up endurance for studying now. Now she gets to do to the fun stuff - doing clinical, rotations.
She is actually going to have the opportunity to skip a rotation and make a trip to London to watch. I think every person in medical school gets a six-week break. She's really looking forward to it, because she didn't get to go to Beijing.
Now I know what to expect. I think going into Beijing, I was just kind of going into it blind. I had no idea how big the Olympics was. I had watched it on TV, but you don't really understand how big of an event it is until you step off the airplane. It's crazy.
I would say I'm much more disciplined, I'm older. Twenty-six is pretty old for a male gymnast; most guys retire right out of college when they're 21, 22. I've learned how to become more efficient, smarter with my body. I eat better, I sleep better. Experience has kind of come into play. I feel like I know what I'm doing more now.
I feel like being the only returning Olympian from 2008, I am kind of in that leadership role. I've been the captain for the past two world championship teams. I just try to do my best to be there for the guys and be a listening ear or be someone who leads through what I say and by what I do. I want everyone to feel they can count on me to do the best that I possibly can when times are most intense in the sport.
The best advice I've ever gotten from a coach is probably from my personal coach. It's very simple, something he tells me every single day. It's to never compromise. Don't ever make any compromises in anything that I do. My coach Tom Meadows has been telling me that since I was a little kid. If you go to a meet, don't change anything just because the equipment might feel a little bit different or you might not feel as great one day. Don't compromise how you warm up or how you eat, how you sleep. Make sure everything's the same. It will help you get back into that routine of what you feel like you do every day."
He could "take on the leadership role" with me as well (if you know what I mean, nudge nudge, wink wink)
'Mummy porn' finds ready (and willing) market
Readers and publishers are lusting after erotic fiction, seduced by Fifty Shades of Grey. Sophie Speer reports on a publishing phenomenon.
Once read in secret behind closed doors, romance and erotica books are now OK for book club discussions or even reading on the bus.
"Before it was inside a paper bag type of stuff, but Fifty Shades of Grey found its way onto a lot of upper class and middle class lounge coffee tables and is being displayed quite openly in book cabinets," said Auckland author Yvonne Walus, who writes with the pen name Eve Summers.
Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, and Fifty Shades Freed, written by British author E L James, have topped bestseller lists internationally.
They have spent 16 weeks atop the New York Times' list and the first book in the series has spent 10 weeks at No 1 in New Zealand.
Wellington City Libraries collection team leader John Stears said while the books were slow to take off, they currently had 71 reserves for the three copies of the first in the series. Libraries were buying more copies to accommodate demand.
The books feature explicit scenes of kinky sex using bondage and discipline, or BDSM, as it describes the relationship between a young virginal college graduate and a business magnate with a penchant for whips and collars.
Kiwi sex toy retailer D.Vice director Wendy Lee said interest in sex toys had dramatically increased due to the series. Their website now featured a "Fifty Shades of Grey" section, where the "light bondage" items used in the book, are listed together, including whips, collars and handcuffs.
"It's kind of like, although in quite a different way, what Sex and the City was for vibrators. In it the characters were talking about vibrators and using them. It changed how people, particularly women, viewed vibrators - it made them OK."
Romance and erotica has always been popular, but the degree of sexually explicit material is growing.
"If you go back 30 years, commercially published romances were generally much more mild," Hachette New Zealand managing director Kevin Chapman said.
In 2008, Walus wrote A Slave of My Own Desire, an erotic fantasy novel with BDSM scenes.
She sent it to Red Rose Publishers in the United States who "ummed and ahhed over it, even though the BDSM angle is very light".
Her next books were more "sweet romance" than kinky fetish sex and sold much better, she said.
Much has changed since then, and Walus believed it was the timing of the Fifty Shades series, which led to its blockbuster success.
"It ties in with the fact that violence is a lot more acceptable now than five or 10 years ago.
"If you look at the types of things people watch on TV, there's a lot of crime, real crime and criminal procedures, so we've become desensitised about violence.
"BDSM is intrinsically not violent. It's different to rape or assault but people tend to see it in the same light. If you find real violence acceptable, violence in private lives is acceptable too."
She predicts a growth in the number of increasingly risque books coming out in the next few months - and the growth in the number of authors who want to write them.
Next month, the Romance Writers of New Zealand are holding their annual conference and have invited Walus to speak about writing erotic sex.
"Up until quite recently [erotic fiction] was frowned upon [by romance writers], it was an uncomfortable topic. [Now] writers are opening up to that level of kinkiness and maybe there's an increased market following Fifty Shades."
The trilogy dubbed "mummy porn" had "broken the genre open" in the same way that Harry Potter had for fantasy, and Twilight had for vampire fiction, bridging the gap between erotic and popular fiction, Chapman said.
"I know a lot of publishing companies who are looking to publish more erotic romance. There are a lot more titles coming out into what we would call the mainstream publishing programmes. While inside it's very explicitly erotic fiction, it's been packaged like a mainstream fiction title and clearly that makes people more comfortable about reading it in the open."
Chapman had read the books and said they were not as risque in their content as other books he had seen in his publishing career. "There's always been a lot of BDSM and in terms of that [Fifty Shades] is pretty mild. There's some pretty hot stuff out there."
A lot of that has been written by New Zealanders - such as series of paranormal erotica by Kiwi author Nalini Singh, whose books have hit the New York Times bestsellers list.
Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, written by British author E L James, were originally self-published fan fiction about the Twilight saga. Random House bought the rights to the books for a reported US$1.2 million ($1.5m). At the time of writing, the trilogy took the top four spots (the box set was No 1) on Amazon's bestseller list, and three of four spots on the New York Times bestseller list. The first in the series has become the No 1 best-selling Kindle book of all time at Amazon.co.uk. In New Zealand, Fifty Shades debuted last month at No 6, the following week it was No 1. The film rights have been bought for US$6.2m ($7.7m) by Universal Pictures and Focus Features.
I don't wanna even talk about the image search I had to do for this post. Turns out mummy = mommy. Whatever, I'm not changing this post.