T LOunge for July 8th, 2021

Posted on July 08, 2021

Madeleine Cocktail Bar – Birmingham, UK


Today, we’re feeling SWANKY. Okay, that’s a lie. Today we’re feeling sicky instead of swanky. We knew it was going to happen; we could practically feel it entering our bodies as we went from plane to plane, airport to airport, casino bar to casino bar last week. We have our first colds in over 16 months and they’re epic in nature.

Okay, that’s a lie too. In a so-called “normal” year, we’d call what we currently have an elevated case of the sniffles, but when you’ve gone this long without so much as a stuffed-up nose or the smell of VapoRub permeating your nostrils, it felt like we’d never suffer through a cold again. Still, it’s nice to be fully vaccinated and (relatively) secure in the knowledge that we don’t have anything more serious. We can remember fretting over every minor sniffle or itch in the back of the throat early last year, absolutely convinced that they were going to lead directly to the ICU. Still, grateful as we are not to be truly sick, it does kind of suck to be sent back into isolation right after we broke free.

Oh, well. There are far worse problems to have and we got a fun week of travel and meeting the Kittens face to face out of it. A little bit of Nyquil in our life isn’t going to take that away from us. Anyway, we’re off to the content orchards, despite our cotton-stuffed heads. Chat amongst yourselves!


The cultural impact of superwomen on screen
As Black Widow finally hits cinemas, we explore the significance of blockbuster heroines

Money, of course, is power: when women are in charge, and bringing megabucks into the studios, they can pull rank and promote their beliefs or ideas for change. Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow has made her the highest-grossing actress of all time, earning studios an estimated $3.3 billion, so it’s small wonder she got to call the shots on her standalone film, which she also executive produces. After 2016’s Suicide Squad came out, Margot Robbie insisted she would not participate in a spin-off movie for her character Harley Quinn unless a woman director was attached – Cathy Yan got the job. Robbie also refused to do any solo magazine shoots without her female co-stars, arguing “we all need to be making conscious efforts to even out these statistics”.


Alexis McGill Johnson Is Making Her Mark on Planned Parenthood
The president and CEO’s life has prepared her to lead the reproductive health organization at a crucial time.

McGill Johnson reckoned with the organization’s founder Margaret Sanger’s association with white supremacists and eugenics, writing, “In the name of political expedience, [Sanger] chose to engage white supremacists to further her cause. In doing that, she devalued and dehumanized people of color.” She went on to connect Sanger’s legacy to present-day systemic racism in health care, promising that under her leadership Planned Parenthood would closely examine how it may have perpetuated its founder’s harms. “What we don’t want to be, as an organization, is a Karen,” McGill Johnson wrote. “And sometimes, that’s how Planned Parenthood has acted. By privileging whiteness, we’ve contributed to America harming Black women and other women of color.”


House Of The Dragon: Everything We Know About The Game Of Thrones Prequel
If you think you’ve missed Game of Thrones after that lackluster finale in 2019, it’s nothing compared to how much Game of Thrones has missed you. The defining fantasy series for years—and a harbinger of capital, cultural and otherwise, for HBO—Game of Thrones was one of the last few bastions of appointment viewing, a cultural phenomenon that was practically criminal not to watch.
So, it’s not exactly surprising to learn HBO is eager to haul us all back to Westeros (and beyond). After months of drama surrounding the final season of GoT and its multiple prequel series, HBO finally officially ordered a spinoff, House of the Dragon. Of course it’s about the Targaryens. And according to HBO programming chief Casey Boys, it has a “likely” premiere date—for 2022. Now, the show has cast its major players and started production.


Sha’Carri Richardson Will Not Be Competing in the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games
Richardson’s name was not included in the roster of eligible competitors released Tuesday by USA Track & Field.

Track and field superstar Sha’Carri Richardson will not debut as an Olympic athlete this year.
On Tuesday, USA Track & Field released the official U.S. Olympic Team roster for this year’s Tokyo Summer Olympic Games. Richardson’s name was not included on the list for the 4×100 relay, the only race in which she could have been eligible to compete since testing positive for THC, a chemical compound contained in marijuana.


Searching For the Words to Describe Myself
Poet Safia Elhillo loves language. But the ones she knows – as a Black Sudanese woman of the Arabic-language diaspora – can fall short in capturing her full identity.

In terms of origin, my people are Sudanese, but there is no precision to be found in identifying myself in terms of country—the nation-state is the great imprecision of our world. What is less precise than a border? Than a made-up country? Those barriers are fluid, and have been. They are drawn and erased, blurred with the back of a pencil. Sudan was one nation and became two nations, two Sudans, and before it was Sudan, it was many other things by many other names. So that doesn’t help me here either, because there are probably as many disparate Sudanese identities as there are individual Sudanese people. So I am not here to ponder the greater question of how to classify Sudanese people. I am not here to tell you what to call your Sudanese friend or coworker or classmate or whomever. I am trying to find something to call myself.


Megan Fox Is No Longer Hiding
A new, young audience is eager to get to know the actress, and after a decade of being righteously misunderstood, she is finally ready to let them.

“I was brought out and stoned and murdered at one point,” she says referring to the last decade of her career. “And then suddenly everybody’s like, ‘Wait a second. We shouldn’t have done that. Let’s bring her back.'” She went on to say that she was never looking for validation from anyone because she knew she had been wronged. Having what happened to her career be rehashed in a way that is sympathetic is simply helping her let go of the way she was treated after she spoke up about her experiences in the early 2010s.


The Most Controversial Films In Cannes History
Throughout its illustrious, seven-decade history, the Cannes Film Festival has never been afraid to embrace a little controversy. Sometimes it’s a film’s content, like when Gaspar Noé’s relentlessly violent thriller Irreversible caused multiple festival-goers to faint in 2002. Other times the quality—or lack thereof—can become the scandal, like when film critic Roger Ebert declared The Brown Bunny “the worst film in the history of Cannes” and traded insults with its director, Vincent Gallo.
Even the festival’s well-reviewed films can’t fully escape Cannes-induced scrutiny. Just because a director might win the festival’s top honor—the highly-coveted Palme d’Or—doesn’t mean their acceptance speech will be audible over a chorus of boos. It’s a longstanding tradition for Cannes audiences to vocalize their thoughts of a film as the credits roll, typically in the form of a standing ovation or prolonged jeering.


‘Pride and Prejudice’-Inspired Reality Dating Show Ordered at Peacock
Peacock has ordered a reality dating series inspired by Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.”
The series, titled “Pride and Prejudice: An Experiment in Romance,” is an original format that will see a “heroine” looking for her “duke.”
Transported to a Regency-style England, a group of eligible hopeful suitors will have to win the heart of the heroine and her court. Housed in a castle on the countryside, the heroine and suitors will experience that with which dreams are made of. From carriage rides and boat rides on the lake to archery and handwritten letters to communicate, they will be immersed in a time-traveling quest for love. In the end, the heroine and her suitors will discover if the ultimate romantic experience will find them true love.


The Medici as Artists Saw Them
The guileful Medici family advanced humanism in all the arts in Florence, and most of the city’s painters fell into line, flattering the dynasty with masterly portraiture.

One of the best jokes in movie history is an apologia for evil. Harry Lime, the black-market peddler of diluted penicillin for sick children, indelibly played by Orson Welles in “The Third Man,” trolls a straight-arrow friend with lines scripted by Graham Greene: “Remember what the fella says: in Italy for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace—and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.” That’s delectable enough to make up for mangling art history. Among the oligarchic republics and monarchies of Italy in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, it was the guileful Medici, in Florence—not the irrepressibly corrupt and, yes, betimes homicidal Borgias, mainly in Rome—who nurtured Leonardo and Michelangelo and most fruitfully advanced humanism in all fields of culture.


The Olympics are stuck in the 1980s on marijuana
Sha’Carri Richardson’s suspension over marijuana is a callback to an era Americans are moving away from.

What would have happened if Sha’Carri Richardson were suspended from the Olympics for marijuana use in the 1980s?
In the era of Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” mantra, as the country barreled further into its war on drugs, much of the public likely would have backed the move to block the sprinter from competing after a failed drug test. Politicians on the right and left, many of whom worked together to enact punitive anti-drug laws, would have said the suspension sends the right message to the public about the dangers of drug use — while news shows hosting these politicians’ messages cut to “This Is Your Brain on Drugs” commercials showing an egg frying on a pan.


The lie of “expired” food and the disastrous truth of America’s food waste problem
Stop throwing your food away.

Maybe you know the routine. Every so often, I go through my refrigerator, check labels on the items, and throw out anything that’s a month, or a week, or maybe a few days past the date on the label. I might stop to sniff, but for my whole adult life, I’ve figured that the problem was obvious — my jam or almond milk or package of shredded Italian cheese blend had “expired” — and the fix was simple: Into the garbage it goes.
This habit is so ingrained that when I think about eating food that’s gone past its date, I get a little queasy. I’ve only had food poisoning once or twice in my life, always from restaurants, but the idea is still there in my head: past the date, food will make me sick. You’ll probably never catch me dumpster-diving.


In the Male World of Whiskey, More Women Are Calling the Shots
Though sexism is still rampant, a number of women are now distilling, blending and reshaping the business in their image.

In just the few years since its founding, Milam & Greene has become one of the most highly regarded distilleries in Texas. Similar stories abound in the American whiskey business, where women have long played a quiet and underappreciated role, often in places like the bottling line or the marketing department. In the last few years, though, women have started to take on leadership roles in production — distilling and blending — at corporate operations like the Cascade Hollow Distilling Company in Tennessee and start-ups like Milam & Greene. In the process, they’re not just getting long-deserved credit — they are reshaping what remains a male-dominated profession.



[Photo Credit: thegrandhotelbirmingham.co.uk]

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