T LOunge for December 15th, 2021

Posted on December 15, 2021

Settimo Bar, Restaurant and Terrace – Rome, Italy


It’s Wednesday! Let’s take in the view, darlings. Have we not all earned it by now? The answer is yes.

We have no current drama to report. There’s always a sense of winding down at the end of the year when you spend it covering pop culture and celebrities. We’ll be putting our year-end lists together next week. Because we entertained over the weekend, we find ourselves in the unusual-for-us position of being completely done with all holiday prep, from (most) baking to gift-buying. We went to a holiday light show last night and at first, we marveled that almost no one was there but then we had to remind ourselves that Christmas is still ten days away.  We guess we were just primed for this one after the depressingly solitary holidays of 2020.

Anyway, enjoy the buffet of distractions, lovingly curated by Lorenzo:


Rita Moreno and Ariana DeBose on Being Anita, Then and Now
Rita Moreno made history as Anita in the 1961 film ‘West Side Story’, becoming the first Latina to win an Oscar. Now, Ariana DeBose makes the role her own in Steven Spielberg’s take on the legendary musical.

It is a daunting task to step into someone else’s shoes, particularly when that person is well-known—revered even—for a role. Ariana DeBose knew what she was up against when she was cast as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of West Side Story: She would have to create a new Anita, entirely separate from the one that Rita Moreno had made so iconic. It didn’t help that Moreno would also have a part in the film, in the newly created role of Valentina, the widow of Doc, who owned the corner store where the Jets hung out. In fact, DeBose says that the first time they met, she “had a full-out panic attack.”


Reconsidering Amanda Bynes, a Truly Underrated Comedian
Twenty-five years after her Nickelodeon debut, it’s clear she changed the landscape for teen actors.

In an era of fervent 2000s revisionism, it’s worth reconsidering Bynes—an actress whose contributions are often eclipsed in the public memory by her Twitter-enabled 2013 breakdown. A master of physical comedy, she had a knack for showcasing the kind of emotional extremes that belie hidden vulnerability. She could communicate rapid tonal shifts with just a wide-eyed look or quirk of the mouth. As Penny Pingleton in Hairspray, she was sweetly awkward; as Bible-thumper Marianne in Easy A, she stretched bubbly pep to its breaking point. She was at once an everywoman and a character actress, game for any wacky or messy stunts while remaining impossibly endearing and relatable, which would become the general rule for the 2000s teen starlet.


Being the Ricardos Tells the Scandalous Story of Lucy’s Real-Life Pregnancy
TV execs worried the public wasn’t ready to see a pregnant woman onscreen — but she wasn’t about to hide behind house plants all season.

In reality, the TV drama Mary Kay and Johnny, starring real-life spouses Mary Kay and Johnny Streams, had a real-life pregnancy written into its on-screen narrative four years earlier, in 1948. But as far as CBS was concerned, the prospect of putting a pregnant woman on TV, in front of almost 11 million households each week, was risky. And while Lucille did eventually succeed in having her pregnancy written into I Love Lucy, there were restrictions. Namely, the word “pregnant” was forbidden from being uttered on the show. Instead, Lucy was said to be “expecting.” The groundbreaking episode announcing Lucy’s child was titled “Lucy Is Enceinte” — using enceinte, the French word for “pregnant,” as a clever workaround (and maybe a bit of a middle finger to the network).


An Insider’s Guide to San Juan, Puerto Rico: Where to Eat, Stay, and Play
“Puerto Rico, my heart’s devotion…” As a child, I was entranced by Rita Moreno singing these words as Anita in the Academy Award-winning film, West Side Story. Of course, Anita goes on to diss her homeland and professes her love to another—the isle of Manhattan—but when I finally got the chance to visit Puerto Rico myself, I realized how wrong she was. I’m with Bernardo on this: “I like the city of San Juan!”


Can We Briefly Discuss Shiv’s Wardrobe on This Season of Succession?
The HBO series Succession is a font of many things—intrafamilial subterfuge, swearing, inventive new ways to permanently damage the people around you—but the show’s attention to fashion has always been one of its most notable elements, from wannabe cool guy Kendall Roy’s expensive baseball hats to beleaguered lawyer Gerri Kellman’s signature blazers and pearls. Nobody on Succession was more fashionable (or more carefully costumed), though, than the scheming, dissatisfied youngest daughter, Shiv—until this season, at least.


‘Lord of the Rings’ at 20: Why Peter Jackson’s Trilogy Was One of Hollywood’s Riskiest Projects Ever
After success with several small-scale films, Peter Jackson in 1992 told Variety he was looking for a project “that will really push me.”
He found something that surpassed everyone’s expectations. This month marks the 20th anniversary of Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings,” which kicked off the 2001-2003 film trilogy based on the books by J.R.R. Tolkien.
In 2000, Jackson told Variety “LOTR” was “the Holy Grail of filmmaking, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
In retrospect, handing this massive project to Jackson seems like a no-brainer: great material for a great filmmaker. But in fact, there were so many unknown factors that it was immediately recognized as one of film history’s greatest gambles.


Cynthia Nixon On Righting Sex And The City’s Wrongs
And Just Like That… is finally here. And what could be a more fitting way to celebrate its arrival than speaking to Miranda Hobbes in the middle of Manhattan’s rush hour? Katie O’Malley talks to actor Cynthia Nixon about the Sex and the City reboot, her character’s rumoured alcoholism and addresses that Samantha Jones storyline

Cynthia Nixon is quick to admit that Sex and The City f*cked a lot of things up, first time around. Since the original series concluded in 2004, it was immediately canonised among re-watchable cult shows, like Friends and Seinfeld. And yet, even the most committed disciples have winced at missteps discovered in the reruns. The six seasons of SATC are peppered with problematic storylines – a man claiming bisexuality must be a closet gay, anyone remember that? And the quick quips were so often flavoured with racism, transphobia and the sort of white privilege that modern liberals can’t stomach. Although our box sets are now tired from overuse, watching them leaves something of a bitter aftertaste. Now, 17 years later, it’s clear that things are going to be very different.


The Intriguing History Behind Bleached Eyebrows
From its Elizabethan beginnings to Madonna revisiting a ’90s look in 2021, here’s how bleaching your brows became one of the defining beauty trends of the year.

Before the ubiquitous trends of microblading, brushed-up fuzzy “boy” brows, and the super-skinny eyebrows of Y2K existed, there were bleached brows.
OG models of the ’90s like Linda Evangelista had their eyebrows bleached on avant-garde photoshoots, while New York club kids lightened their brows regularly. Makeup artist to the stars Kevyn Aucoin even wrote up a tutorial on how to get the look in his 1997 book, Making Faces.


Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” Remake Is Worse Than the Original
In revising the musical drama for modern sensibilities, Spielberg makes misguided additions and removes much of what’s best.

A rich and famous artist spends a hundred million dollars to revive a corpse with the blood of young people. The creature is still alive, but barely, and the infusion leaves it deader than when it started. This is not the plot of the latest horror film from A24 but the unfortunate tale of Steven Spielberg’s efforts to remake “West Side Story,” the movie musical about love and ethnic rivalry among New York City gangs. With the screenwriter Tony Kushner, Spielberg has attempted to fix the dubious aspects of the 1961 film, including its cavalier depiction of Puerto Rican characters and its stereotypes of a hardscrabble New York. But, instead of reconceiving the story, they’ve shored it up with flimsy new struts of sociology and psychology, along with slight dramatic rearrangements. They’ve made ill-conceived additions and misguided revisions. In the process, they’ve managed to subtract doubly from the original.


Does Box Office Impact a Film’s Oscar Chances?
Mainstream movies that fail to attract ticket buyers can fall off the Academy’s radar, but the lingering pandemic and rise of streamers make theatrical grosses less of a factor.

When Reinaldo Marcus Green’s King Richard debuted at the Telluride Film Festival in early September, it was hailed as a major Oscar contender, with pundits proclaiming Will Smith the best actor frontrunner for his portrayal of Richard Williams, the hard-charging father of tennis greats Venus and Serena Williams. But when the uplifting Warner Bros. drama finally arrived in movie theaters Nov. 19, it suddenly hit a speed bump. Booked into 3,032 theaters, it grossed just $5.4 million for the weekend, an unimpressive fourth-place showing.


In Praise of Parsnips, the Humble Heroes of the Vegetable Drawer
I’m rooting for the parsnip, and you should, too.

Low-key and pale (not unlike myself, come wintertime), the parsnip would never presume to inspire the cult-like excitement that folks feel towards, say, ramps, or heirloom tomatoes. But confusing its humility for blandness is a mistake: capable of packing sweetness, starchiness, and a touch of bitterness into every dish, I’ve never seen the parsnip’s versatility celebrated quite as joyfully as it is at Francie, the Brooklyn brasserie from hospitality veterans John Winterman and Christopher Cipollone.


London’s finest brutalist architecture
In London, neglected brutalist behemoths are being rebooted and given new life. The wave of savvy renovations is being led by a flock of eagle-eyed developers who wish to save – and capitalise on – these concrete urban structures’ dramatic shapes. This is not just a London-focused trend as more brutalist architecture around the world is being given a new lease of life. In London alone we counted contemporary renovations of Centre Point and the Economist Building as part of the movement. Can’t get enough of brutalism? Neither can we. Read this report of new developments at London’s Balfron Tower or visit Brussels where a brutal behemoth is being converted into a co-working space, while in the States a Marcel Breuer buidling in Connecticut is being reimagined as a hotel.


Happy 100th, Bloody Mary: Paris marks cocktail’s birthday
Harry’s Bar in Paris is celebrating the 100th birthday of the Bloody Mary, the vodka-tomato juice cocktail believed to have been invented in the iconic watering hole in 1921.
The centenary events this week bring a welcome respite from winter gloom and spreading worries about the omicron coronavirus variant.
The bar is carefully checking COVID-19 health passes as visitors from Australia, Egypt and beyond gather to sample the famed drink at Harry’s, whose patrons over the past century have included writers Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald.


90 Best Christmas Cookies to Make This Season That Are Irresistible
If these cookies don’t convince Santa to make a stop at your house, nothing will.

Christmas cookies: they’re not just for Santa! Everybody loves to cuddle up by the fireplace with hot cocoa in one hand and a freshly-baked cookie in another. Whether you go right to the chocolate or you’re more of a ginger snap fan, there’s a Christmas cookie for everyone, and it’s all about finding the right recipe. On our list of almost 100 popular Christmas cookie recipes, you’re sure to find your soulmate in sweetness. The best part about this particular treat? They’re not just dessert—they also make a fun and rewarding activity to enjoy while watching a favorite Christmas movie or cranking up the Christmas tunes.


The Most Commonly Spoken Languages in Every State — Other Than English and Spanish
Cantonese, Mandarin, Tagalog, and Vietnamese are the next most commonly spoken languages in the country.

English and Spanish are no doubt the most commonly spoken languages in the United States, but in a country so diverse, many more of the approximately 7,000 global languages are just as much a part of Americans’ daily lives. In a recent study, Visual Capitalist took a look at the next most widely spoken language in each state.


The making of Maggie Gyllenhaal: the filmmaking scion talks about adapting Elena Ferrante’s novel
Tatler met Gyllenhaal to discuss her directorial debut and working with the enigmatic novelist, Elena Ferrante, to create The Lost Daughter
Maggie Gyllenhaal is completely magnetic – my expectations were high, granted, but she manages to trounce them completely. Perched on a stool, she wears a forest green suit, not dissimilar to Gwyneth Paltrow’s famous Gucci red one, and beams at me. She sits before a poster promoting her upcoming film, her directorial debut, The Lost Daughter, starring Olivia Colman, Jessie Buckley and Dakota Johnson. Like an embarrassing sycophant, I already love everything about Gyllenhaal and at this point, she’s barely uttered a word. When she does, her voice is rich and chocolatey – every adjective empowered, necessary rather than being superfluous and redundant. What’s so magnetic is an innate, palpable kindness between the glamour and the lucidity which I can’t help feeling is not overly common in Hollywood.


A who’s who of the most scandalous, daring and dangerous duchesses in history
There is nothing Tatler loves more than a Duchess with attitude. Gratifyingly there are quite a few terrors in tiaras to consider, as they swish past us, admiring themselves in the looking glass. As the first trailer for A Very British Scandal, following the trial of the Duchess of Argyll, is dropped, we round up the most fascinating duchesses in history…




[Photo Credit: jeanphilippenuel.com, settimoristorante.it]

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