The first full-length teaser for Star Trek: Into Darkness was unleashed upon the web today and warns that Kirk may get everyone on his ship killed. Benedict Cumberbatch's villain must have something to do with it.
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
Joining, AFA radio host Bryan Fischer and Mike Huckabee, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson blamed the absence of religion in school for the tragic shooting in Sandy Hook, Right Wing Watch reports.
Our country really does seem in complete disarray. I'm not talking politically, I'm not talking about the result of the November sixth election; I am saying that something has gone wrong in America and that we have turned our back on God.
I mean millions of people have decided that God doesn't exist, or he's irrelevant to me and we have killed fifty-four million babies and the institution of marriage is right on the verge of a complete redefinition. Believe me, that is going to have consequences too.
And a lot of these things are happening around us, and somebody is going to get mad at me for saying what I am about to say right now, but I am going to give you my honest opinion: I think we have turned our back on the Scripture and on God Almighty and I think he has allowed judgment to fall upon us. I think that's what's going on.
DJ Earworm, who each year provides us with a mash-up of the year's pop tunes is out with his latest, and a lyric video to accompany it.
Listen to "Shine Brighter", AFTER THE JUMP...
BY NAVEEN KUMAR
Broadway leading lady Stephanie J. Block currently stars as the title character in Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival of Rupert Holmes’ acclaimed 1985 musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood, directed by Scott Ellis. The company, which includes Broadway veterans Chita Rivera, Jim Norton and Will Chase, plays a troupe of actors in a Victorian music hall performing Charles Dickens’ unfinished novel of the same name. As Dickens died before he finished writing the mystery, Holmes’ engaging musical asks the audience each night to decide who-done-it.
Naveen Kumar: You wear a lot of different hats in this production, playing a male impersonator (Alice Nutting) taking on the title role of Edwin Drood and later on yet another man, himself in disguise. What’s it like for you as a performer switching between so many different layers of character and disguise?
Stephanie J. Block: You know when I first took the part I was actually a little worried, I thought that perhaps the audience wasn’t going to be able to connect with any of these characters because I was constantly shape shifting. Especially in a play where the actors are able to break the fourth wall, interaction with the audience is so important. I thought, I’m never really going to get my footing and therefore the audience is never going to get their footing as to who these characters are. But I was very wrong.
Somehow, the way Rupert Holmes has constructed this play, the audience engages really quickly with these music hall performers, and I think it’s very much because at the top of the show when we’re mingling around the audience, we’re literally sitting in the seat next to them and chatting them up. Some of it’s fictitious, but sometimes we’re talking about the outfit they’re wearing or the day they had. So they feel like they’re watching friends up there on the stage, people that they actually know.
So it’s switched from me feeling like ‘Uh oh, how’s this going to work?’ to this really great fun because I don’t have to stay in one character the entire play. I get to flop around, play around, and try new things and somehow it’s completely welcomed and the audience greatly loves it. So, I feel great about it now, but I’d be lying to you if in the beginning I didn’t admit that I was like ‘Uh oh, this could be a big problem for me as an actor as well as a character.’
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NK: If we consider this in relation to cross-dressing in Shakespeare, I would think it’s closer to the tradition of boys taking on women’s roles in early productions, rather than instances of female characters cross-dressing as men within the plays themselves.
NK: There’s minimal winking at the audience, and your character in the play within the play (Edwin Drood) isn’t actually a woman in disguise, but simply being played (and sung beautifully) by a female actor.
SJB: Exactly. And thank you for that by the way, thank you..
NK: How do you think this kind of cross-dressing plays into the plot of Drood?
SJB: When I first met with Rupert Holmes, my first question was very much what you asked. I said how far do I need to go? Does the audience need to completely believe that I am transformed into a man by lowering the timbre of my voice, by changing my gait and my walk? And he said, of course we’re going to attempt to get to certain places, but no.
The whole conceit of a woman playing a man’s role in a music hall pantomime is that the audience is completely aware that this is a woman. We’re not trying to do like a ‘Crying Game’ reveal at the end, where the whole audience goes, ‘Oh, my gosh I can’t believe it’s a woman!’ They should absolutely go along with the whole conceit of it.
He gave me the examples of Mary Martin or Cathy Rigby playing Peter Pan. So, I found great resolve in that. My voice changes a bit and I have found different physical mannerisms that indicate I’m playing a man. Of course, the wardrobe adds greatly to that. I agree with you that it is a little more like Shakespeare where the man is playing a woman, because you’re right, we’re not winking and nodding the entire time.
I do make a couple little physical movements, like there’s a line for example that says that Rosa Bud and my relationship has an unavoidable flatness, and I pat down there to let the audience know, you know, quite frankly I don’t have a dick. [Laughs] And the audience giggles and we move past it and we get right back on to the plot points.
As you also mentioned, Rupert wrote a score that doesn’t let the singer go to that lower timbre, he wrote in a soprano or mezzo-soprano and alto range so there’s no real way of getting around me or [the audience] recognizing that I’m a woman throughout the entire play. I find it kind of thrilling that I go back in and out and in and out, where I can say a line and it’s in this lower range and then I start to sing and I’m sitting on notes that are belting B’s and floating C’s. So I kind of enjoy bouncing back and forth.
NK: You mentioned that your costumes by William Ivy Long play a big role in your transformation, how so?
SJB: I love dressing like a man. I gotta be very very honest, at first I was looking at the women’s costumes and they looked so beautiful and their figures were amazing, and I was envious thinking they look so feminine and gorgeous. And now all they’re doing is complaining about their bad backs, their knees, and here I am wearing comfortable slacks and flat shoes. So it’s kinda great!
[William Ivy Long] had done 9 to 5, he had done Boy From Oz, so we have this long term working relationship, but I was meeting him at a different costume house because everything had to be tailored for a man. And I’m not talking tailored for a man to flatter a woman’s body, it was tailored to a man. So that sort of feminine style that I knew would be more flattering on my body, I had to let that go and say, ok this isn’t my body. My breasts are going to be flattened down and my waist is not going to be accentuated, my hips have to be completely covered up. So it was a really interesting sort of process where I just thought, okay, you need to put all image aside and you need to be a boy, you need to be Edwin Drood.
NK: How does cross-dressing compare to going green as Elphaba in Wicked?
SJB: [Laughs] Well, it’s different challenges, I will tell you that cross-dressing is a hell of a lot easier than going green, because once I take it off and I come home, is there still that remnant on my pillow? And on my towel and in my ears and my nose? After I got done doing Elphaba, three weeks later I was still finding green paint throughout my house.
NK: Are you a big fan of drag entertainment yourself?
SJB: I love it! [Laughs ] I totally love how over the top it is, I love how committed these artists are. You know it’s so wonderful because a dear friend who I consider like a brother, he called me a couple years ago after 9 to 5 and he’s like, ‘Girl, you have made it.’ And I went, ‘What do you mean?’ He said, ‘Go to YouTube.’
Sure enough there was this glorious drag queen full-on lip syncing to 9 to 5’s ‘Get Out and Stay Out,’ which then segued into my ‘Defying Gravity.’ It made me laugh, but at the same time I was like, ‘I have. I have made it in the musical theatre world. There is a drag queen lip syncing to my stuff!’ And I had this great sense of pride, like ‘Woohoo! I’m somebody!’ [Laughs]
[Watch RuPaul’s Drag Race All Star Mimi Imfurst’s Stephanie J. Block mash-up here.]
The Mystery of Edwin Drood continues performances at Roundabout Theatre Company’s Studio 54 through March 10, 2013.
(photos: joan marcus)
You can follow Naveen Kumar on Twitter @Mr_NaveenKumar.
Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) has been chosen to join the U.S. Senate by Governor Nikki Haley as a replacement for outgoing Senator Jim DeMint who is leaving to join the Heritage Foundation.
Scott was elected in the 2010 Tea Party wave after defeating Strom Thurmond’s son in the GOP primary with backing from Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin. He’s considered a rising star in the party -- after the 2012 election he was elected to serve as the liaison to leadership for the rising sophomore class. Like DeMint, he embraces both the Religious Right’s anti-gay, anti-choice social agenda and the Tea Party’s anti-government, anti-tax, anti-regulation agenda. No wonder he’s a Fox News favorite – and no wonder Fred Barnes, writing in the Weekly Standard, calls Scott an “ideal replacement” for DeMint.
Scott holds particular appeal for conservatives after this year’s elections in which people of color overwhelmingly supported President Obama. If appointed, Scott would become the only African American member of the U.S. Senate. In 2010, he was one of 15 black conservative candidates backed by “Operation Black Storm,” a project of Alan Keyes’ Patriot PAC. Only Scott and Allen West were elected. Scott shares West’s politics but not his tendency to spout ridiculous rhetoric about President Obama being a Marxist tyrant. That may be one reason West will soon be a former member of Congress and Scott may soon be a U.S. Senator.
And David Badash notes that Scott is known as the “Chick-Fil-A Teavangelical” because it was there that he met a born-again Christian who shaped his life.
Andrés Vásquez and Felipe Cárdenas, a gay couple in Colombia, have reportedly stirred up a furor on social media after a photo of their nativity scene featuring two Josephs made its way on to the web, the NY Daily News reports:
Political analyst Vásquez and entrepreneur Felipe have been together for four years and were united by a civil union, the closest thing to marriage for homosexuals in Colombia, three months ago. The gay rights activists told the Diario Veloz website that they set up the scene, a picture of which was then posted on Facebook, in the hope that it would help in bringing about reform in the country's gay marriage laws.
A bill to legalize gay marriage is currently being looked at by the country's politicians and has passed the first of four debates. But it has been dubbed as “unconstitutional” by the nation's conservative lawmakers.
Vásquez told the website: 'We did it because we believe in Colombia. We have lived in different cities in the world and we prefer to return to our country.
“We are beginning to build [a better country] through our new union,” he said.