Archive for Rule 5

Together forever

It’s hard to imagine anyone in show business who had worse managers than Daisy and Violet Hilton, born on this day in 1908 in England and always sold as a package deal.

The Hilton Sisters in a publicity photo

The sisters were fused at the pelvis and shared the circulatory system, but had their own organs. Separation was considered, but ruled out as possibly fatal.

The Hilton Sisters by the sea

They weren’t technically Hiltons: Kate Skinner, their mother, basically sold them to her boss, Mary Hilton, who took over their training and their exploitation until her death in 1926, when they were handed over to Hilton’s daughter.

The Hilton Sisters meet a couple of guys

Their last semi-decent gig was in Tod Browning’s Freaks in 1932; a second film, Chained for Life (1951) gave them some work in their later years, playing drive-in theaters.

In 1960, following a show in Charlotte, their last manager abandoned them; they spent the rest of their days working in a grocery store. In 1969, a strain of the Hong Kong flu killed them — about three days apart.

Leslie Zemeckis’ 2012 documentary Bound by Flesh tells the girls’ story:

And in case you were wondering, their fingerprints were different.

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Nothing to get hung about

Like perhaps too many Bond girls, Strawberry Fields, played by Gemma Arterton, comes to an unfortunate end. Still, it’s part of the gig, and Quantum of Solace was Arterton’s breakout role, though I have to wonder if maybe it got her typecast early on as Woman To Be Tortured: in The Disappearance of Alice Creed, her titular character is abducted by a couple of sadists and treated just as cruelly as possible without risking an X certificate for the film. She joked later that the film crew kept the ball gag around in case she got overly chatty.

Gemma Arterton takes a seat

Gemma Arterton stretches out

Gemma Arterton gives you That Look

In general, Gemma Arterton comes off as someone to whom Things Happen; when she was born, thirty-three years ago today, it was discovered that she had inherited the family tendency to polydactylism:

In 2018, Arterton starred as Vita Sackville-West in Vita and Virginia, with Elizabeth Debicki as Virginia Woolf. I’m guessing no torture was involved.

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Gangtai style

“Gangtai” is a subset of Chinese pop music, romantic rather than revolutionary, not allowed on the mainland until the middle 1970s, though it flourished in Taiwan and Hong Kong before Beijing decided to let it come across. One of the first actual hits from gangtai was “The Moon Represents My Heart,” sung by several but not truly iconic until Teresa Tang recorded it in 1977.

Teng, born in Taiwan in 1953, got her first record deal at fifteen; five years later, she managed to crack the Japanese market, and recorded material in Cantonese and Mandarin in the expectation that she could do the same in China.

Teresa Teng on stage in the early days

Teresa Teng's Greatest Hits

Teresa Teng's dazzling smile

Beijing decided shortly thereafter that this bourgeois love-song stuff was incompatible with the revolution after all. Red China, however, was not prepared for the black market, and the ban didn’t last long. Unfortunately, neither did Teresa Teng; while on holiday in Thailand in 1995, she suffered a severe asthma attack and died.

“The Moon Represents My Heart” remains a popular-music icon today, covered by famous Pacific Rim singers like, um, Jon Bon Jovi.

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Still waters

“Mortimer,” says Behind the Name, is “derived from a place name meaning ‘still water’ in Old French.” And frankly, I like that better than the more obvious “dead sea.”

Anyway, it’s time we met English actress Emily Mortimer, who in twenty-five years (she’s 47) has rolled up enough credits to suggest that she runs deep, as still waters are believed to do; she’s appeared as a regular in an Aaron Sorkin series (The Newsroom), Inspector Clouseau’s love interest in the 2006 reboot of The Pink Panther, and voice-actor roles as diverse as Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle (as young Sophie) and Cars 2 (as Holley Shiftwell).

Emily Mortimer as the hard-line boss on The Newsroom

Emily Mortimer up front at a 2013 fashion show

Emily Mortimer in Rio I Love You

In this clip, she explains to James Corden why you should not Google yourself:

For the record, I didn’t get the same results looking her up.


Hardy perennial

Piper Laurie is 87 today, and, per her Wikipedia page, still acting; she had a role in the 2018 film White Boy Rick as the grandmother of a teenaged FBI informant, not quite an inversion of her 1950 role as Spring Byington’s daughter. (Her brother was played by Ronald Reagan, whom Laurie dated briefly.)

Piper Laurie in a 1950s bullet bra

Piper Laurie, dressed to kill

Piper Laurie with a mysterious trinket

Piper Laurie in a swimsuit

Laurie was nominated for three Academy Awards: as Fast Eddie’s ill-fated girlfriend in The Hustler, as the estranged mother of a deaf woman in Children of a Lesser God, and the pious-to-a-fault mother of a girl with telekinetic powers in Carrie. Here, she discusses the latter role:

If all those roles seem a tad off plumb, you need to go binge-watch the original Twin Peaks, in which she played Catherine Martell, mostly-estranged husband of a lumberjack; she runs a sawmill, and there’s a plot to burn that mill down.

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Zooeypalooza 26!

She’s thirty-nine this week, and we’ve done twenty-six of these. Go figure.

Zooeypalooza 26!

Where there be clicks, there be embiggenment.

Previous Paloozas: ZP 1, ZP 2, ZP 3, ZP 4, ZP 5, ZP 6, ZP 7, ZP 8, ZP 9, ZP 10, ZP 11, ZP 12, ZP 13, ZP 14, ZP 15, ZP 16, ZP 17, ZP 18, ZP 19, ZP 20, ZP 21, ZP 22, ZP 23, ZP 24; ZP 25.

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The Kobayashi Maru, sir

With those words, interior designer Kirstie Alley became Lt. Saavik on Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, arguably the best of the Trek films with the, um, original cast. And I figure that after dealing with intergalactic horndog James T. Kirk, Beantown horndog Sam Malone must have been a cinch.

Kirstie Alley as Lt Saavik

Kirstie Alley on the stairs

Kirstie Alley curls up on the chaise

Come to think of it, how did our beloved Backseat Becky deal with Sam?


(Kirstie’s 68th birthday is today.)

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Salmon coquette

In 1999, Zöe Salmon was named Miss Northern Ireland; she was the last winner under the old rules, in which she’d go on to the Miss United Kingdom competition. (Starting in 2000, Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales send representatives to Miss World, and the one who places highest is given the Miss United Kingdom title. I never could figure out these beauty pageants.) She has a law degree from Queen’s University in Belfast, so naturally she wound up as a host on a kids’ show.

Zoe Salmon wears a tiara

Zoe Salmon wears a swimsuit

Zoe Salmon on the almost-red carpet

Salmon served as a presenter on Blue Peter for three and a half years, departing in mid-2008. In the decade since, she’s appeared on a dizzying variety of television programs, including Al Murray’s Compete for the Meat, a 2011 game show on the Dave network in which contestants compete for, well, meat.

And here, she gears up for a dip into a not-even-slightly-warm pool:

I am told that these were outtakes from Blue Peter. Wow.

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Carrie on and on

Carrie Ann Inaba was one of the original Fly Girls on the In Living Color series, appearing in the first three seasons. (Which means that for one season she was dancing alongside Jennifer Lopez, but let that pass.) This was the first place we saw her, but we might have heard her before that, if we were Japanese record buyers, which, alas, we aren’t. She recorded a handful of singles in the late 1980s, the most popular of which was “Party Girl,” before returning to the States.

The Fly Girls from In Living Color

Carrie Ann Inaba grabs a last-minute snack

Carrie Ann Inaba on the unred carpet

Inaba and Diane Mizola played twin sisters Fook Yu and Fook Mi (subtle!) in Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002). She was the lead choreographer for the Miss America pageant for five years. And as of this week, she’s a permanent member of the panel on the CBS series The Talk:

That empty chair had belonged to Julie Chen.

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It’s Yoon in Yanuary

I have always assumed that, in this country anyway, the fawning over a New Year’s baby serves mostly as consolation for not having a December birth and the personal exemption for the whole previous year. This may or may not be a fluke of our tax system. I am pretty sure, however, that no one gets anything for being born on the second of January.

With that in mind, say hello to Yoon Se-ah, born 2 January 1978 in South Korea, a working actor for the last 14 years or so, doing lots of television and the occasional film. These aren’t exactly prestige productions, I’m guessing: one’s expectations for a film called Funny Neighbors (2011) or a TV series with the title The King of Head-Butts (2006) tend to be on the modest side.

Yoon Se-ah before she turned thirty

Yoon Se-ah, about the time of A Gentleman's Dignity

Yoon Se-ah in a photoshoot for Marie Claire Korea

Yoon Se-ah doing that fashion-plate thing

She is, as it turns out, fun to watch. From early 2018, a scene from the TV series Good Witch:

No scenery goes unchewed.

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A meme unto herself

“Hello, Fourteenth District. You’ve just elected a callow youth to the House of Representatives. How do you feel?”

I suspect they feel just fine. If nothing else, people will now know the district exists, because said Representative has a knack for gathering headlines:

Nothing is built in America these days.  I just bought a T.V. and it said Built In Antenna.  I don't even know where the hell that is

I doubt Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ever actually said that, but I have no doubt she’s capable of coming up with stuff on that level; her ability to troll the press is second only to that of Individual-1. And while I generally can’t abide her politics, I have yet to find a reason to find her dislikable. Maybe that’s just me.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on stage

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the waiting room

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez takes a question

As I’ve noted before, there will always be a demand for photogenic socialists.

And here she is, seven years ago, speaking on greatness and how it is achieved:

If nothing else, this speech demonstrates that she didn’t just assume a persona for public consumption.

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Now go over there and lie down

If at times our relationship with Turkey seems a bit muddled, at least some of it has to do with our traditional American insularlty: often, we can’t be bothered to find out what’s happening on the street. I didn’t do such a hot job of it when I was actually there, though I can pass off “security” as a reasonable excuse.

I wasn’t there when Makbule Hande Özyener was born in 1973. (Got there about 14 months later.) Of course, I had no way of knowing that she was destined to be a pop star. In 2000 she released her first album, Senden İbaret, from which “Yalanın Batsın” (“you lie down”) was the lead single, heard here in a clip from a TV show:

Senden İbaret moved about three-quarter of a million copies, and Hande Yener, her newly shortened name, was on her way. She continued to make serious chart noise until about 2007, when she abruptly turned to purely electronic sounds. Perhaps anticipating the response, she titled her 2007 album Nasıl Delirdim? “When did I go crazy,” indeed.

Hande Yener shakes it off

Hande Yener takes a seat and a drink

Hande Yener on stage

Some received the new style well; others turned on Yener after singer Serdar Ortaç somehow incurred her wrath. Said Yener:

“I’m not making music only for commercial purposes and I don’t make a music that can’t be understood. Every time one of his albums are released, he keeps talking about me in his interviews. I don’t want to be compared to those who make ‘grocery music’.”

This sounded even more pretentious than it was, and Ortaç shot back:

“If I’m making grocery music I’m proud of it. Grocery is a music genre that appeals to every corner of the society.”

The feud eventually played itself out, and after one more album of electronica to fulfill her record contract, she signed with another label, only to find herself at odds with the label’s management. Lawsuits ensued.

And Hande Yener’s life is still turbulent; now considered a gay icon, and a friend, or perhaps an enemy, of the ruling AKP party, her image now seems protean. If you say this sounds kind of like Madonna, she’ll probably smile.

The current single, her first in English, is called “Love Always Wins.”

Sounds a little Madonnaesque, now that I think about it.

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Where no one has gone before

Agnes Milowka would have been thirty-seven tomorrow.

Born in Poland in 1981, she wound up with several university degrees, although the one perhaps most pertinent was her 2007 degree in Maritime Archaeology from Flinders University in South Australia. Underwater photography was a specialty, although she might have told you that getting there is more than half the fun. National Geographic once brought her to the Bahamas, where she served as an underwater grip and as a photographer.

Agnes Milowka overlooking a series of caves

Agnes Milowka at cliffside

Agnes Milowka on dry land

Here, she tackles a cave in north Florida:

James Cameron was the executive producer for Sanctum, which opened the first week of February 2011, and which contains this scene:

While exploring the entrance to the new system, Judes (Allison Cratchley) experiences a problem with her air tank hose. She loses use of her air mask forcing Frank (Richard Rosburgh) to buddy breathe. After a few exchanges, Judes panics and tries to keep the mask on, but Frank forces the mask off of her knowing he will not have enough air otherwise to make it back to the team.

Shades of The Cold Equations! But that’s not Cratchley you see drowning: that’s Agnes Milowka, hired by the production company as a stunt diver. Some scenes were filmed near Mount Gambier, in South Australia, and one of the caves along the coast proved to be her undoing:

Agnes Milowka, 29, from Melbourne, failed to return from a dive in Tank Cave, near Mount Gambier, on 27 February.

According to Australian press reports, Milowka entered the 8km-long cave system, one of Australia’s largest and most complex, with a buddy.

She got into difficulty after parting company to explore a tight constriction which necessitated going solo, a common practice amongst cave divers.

Searching divers located her body the next day, in a small space some 600m into the cave system.

“There is no greater feeling in the world,” she had said, “than finding a passage that no one ever in the history of the world has seen before.”

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Kresal, folks

Katarina Kresal is an ex-politician from Slovenia, born in 1973 in Ljubljana. She completed her law degree in 1996 and hung out her shingle in 2003 as part of the law firm of Miro Senica, with offices in Ljubljana and, inevitably in the EU, in Brussels. (She and Senica have since wed.)

Katarina Kresal in a pensive mood

Katarina Kresal on a panel show

In 2007, Kresal became the head of the Liberal Democracy of Slovenia party, which at the time was suffering severe losses in national elections, having lost the plurality it had held for over a decade. In 2008, the party won only five of 90 seats, but did join the governing coalition, and Kresal became the Minister of the Interior.

Katarina Kresal at work maybe

Katarina Kresal waits her turn

In 2011, scandal struck: the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption found some questionable deal-making regarding the new headquarters of the National Bureau of Investigation. Kresal, while admitting nothing, resigned from her seat in the Assembly, and subsequently left LDS party leadership. The next year, she founded the European Centre for Dispute Resolution, mediators and/or arbitrators for hire.

Judging from this clip from an LDS convention, she also plays piano.

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She was just here

In 2001, Nancy Wilson sat for one of those semi-wondrous CBS News Sunday Morning interviews with Charles Osgood:

Back in 2016, I said:

In the summer of 1964, the peak of the British Invasion, there was still a place on the American charts for non-white non-English non-boys, and into that place, as smoothly as could be, slid Nancy Wilson, who made it to #11 with “(You Don’t Know) How Glad I Am.” It was a jazzier piece than its florid arrangement might have let you think; “I wish I were an artist,” she sings, and you think, “Oh, honey, you don’t have to worry about that.”

Nancy Wilson at 6541 Hollywood Blvd.

Nancy Wilson at the piano

Nancy Wilson strikes no pose at all

Her last album, recorded in 2006 under the auspices of the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild in Pittsburgh, was called Turned to Blue. This was the last track:

Fare thee well, sweet lady.

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Still Miss Dynamite

Brenda Lee’s first record, in 1956, was a cover of the Hank Williams and/or Moon Mullican standard “Jambalaya”:

The label on Decca 30050 bills her as “Little” Brenda Lee, and in parentheses: “9 Years Old.” Um, no. She was already 11 when this track was cut.

Then again, they say that a lack of height contributes to the appearance of youth, and Brenda Mae Tarpley, born on this date in 1944, never climbed above about four foot nine. In 1957, she cut a tune called “Dynamite,” and she was Little Miss Dynamite thereafter. And this being December, a radio station near you is playing this 1958 recording:

To this day, this site gets visits from people wanting an explanation of “the new old-fashioned way.”

Brenda Lee, teenager

Brenda Lee, long since grown up

Brenda Lee, no longer a teenager

And a 1966 single of hers got an unexpected shout-out in 1973 — in a Dutch progressive-rock number, no less — and remains part of her set list to this day, her 74th birthday.

Brenda Lee has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame. She is the only woman so honored.

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Heck, yeah

Now and then, I go through the work box and try to organize the 8300 or so tracks located thereupon, and occasionally this effort produces a question. This time it was “How the hell did I get so many Ingrid Michaelson songs?” They show up in the iTunes “Purchased” folder, so I must have bought them at some point. So I decided I should look up the lady in question, just to see if I could figure out why. I did learn that she has a degree in theater from Binghamton University, and sang with the school’s a cappella group. And she has two RIAA-certified platinum singles despite never charting higher than #37 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Ingrid Michaelson is indeed a woman in music

Ingrid Michaelson is indeed a woman

Ingrid Michaelson in a promotional tee

This latter garment was issued in 2016 to promote a single:

Which I didn’t have, so I guess I’ll have to go buy it.

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Meanwhile in Jakarta

It’s not that we’ve never written about an Indonesian pop star before. In fact, we have; but it’s not easy to climb onto the radar here, awash as we are in pop stars from all over the place.

Sheryl Sheinafia Tjokro was born on this date in 1996, and was by all accounts a fairly accomplished musician in her teens. Blessed with an abundance of Teh Cute, she found herself in demand for TV and film; her most recent acting role was in The Underdogs (2017), a tale of “4 friends who tried to become famous by being Youtubers.” Like that ever works.

Sheryl Sheinafia and her guitar

Sheryl Sheinafia sitting on the stairs

Sheryl Sheinafia goes totally orange

Perhaps the high point in Sheryl Sheinafia’s life up to now was meeting John Mayer:

And I am quite fond of her 2017 single “Sweet Talk,” the video for which looks for all the world like they shot it on a smartphone:

Inevitably, this had to happen:

“Why Georgia,” indeed.

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Meanwhile in 2719

One of the more bearable aspects of Twitter is the opportunity to get exposed to a wide range of music. I don’t recall the context, but a chap I’d known from the BBS days — we’re talking 25-30 years or so — sent me a link to this:

Intrigued, I went looking for more, and learned about Cindi Mayweather, created as a fembot, who exceeds the technical specifications by falling in love with a human — the punishment for which is “immediate disassembly.” I knew little or nothing about Janelle Monáe, but I figured, if she could engage at this level of world-building, she’s one up on about 95 percent of popular music. Maybe more.

Janelle Monáe shows up at the Golden Globes

Janelle Monáe in black and white, as always

Janelle Monáe in a fabulous gown

Later, she explained what Cindi Mayweather was all about:

“The Archandroid, Cindi, is the mediator, between the mind and the hand. She’s the mediator between the haves and the have-nots, the oppressed and the oppressor. She’s like the Archangel in the Bible, and what Neo represents to the Matrix.”

Janelle Monáe is thirty-three today, and she’s been singing for almost the whole time:

On the 6th of December, she will be presented with the Trailblazer Award at the annual Women in Music event.

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Bond, Samantha Bond

English actress Samantha Bond, fifty-seven today, these days is perhaps best known for portraying Lady Rosamund Painswick, sister to Lord Grantham on Downton Abbey, but she’s had a remarkably diverse career on the British stage, and some of us remember her as Miss Moneypenny of MI6 from the days when Pierce Brosnan was James Bond (no relation).

Samantha Power on the red carpet

Samantha Power takes a sip

Samantha Power stars in a balcony scene

Some of her thoughts on wrapping up Downton Abbey:

Samantha is married to actor Alexander Hanson, though they’ve seldom worked together:

To be honest, it’s been mostly a matter of logistics that has kept us from working together until now. We’ve got two teenagers, and although we had proper child care until they were about 10, since then we’ve tried for only one of us to be in the theater at a given time. Otherwise there’s no one at home.

They did, however, appear together in a West End revival of Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband in 2011. And as to why she didn’t continue as Miss Moneypenny:

It’s not that I didn’t want to do it with Daniel [Craig], but I felt when I was first offered the job that I would play the role with Pierce [Brosnan], and that was that. It’s a funny thing: Moneypenny was sort of a double-edged sword. It finished Lois Maxwell’s career, and I didn’t want to be that person however many years on.

And the next James Bond film turned out to be Casino Royale, in which Moneypenny does not appear at all.

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Checking in with Queen Ramonda

Few actors inhabit a character the way Angela Bassett does; whether she’s playing Betty Shabazz or Tina Turner, you get up from your theater seat thinking that you’ve just seen an exceptionally well-researched documentary. At sixty, she’s at the top of her game; the remarkable thing is that she’s been there since her twenties.

Angela Bassett can wear orange

Angela Bassett gets Stella's groove back

Angela Bassett as Desiree Dupre

In three seasons of American Horror Story, she played three wildly disparate characters. In our third photo, she’s Desiree Dupre.

Most recently, she was Queen Ramonda in Black Panther. In an interview around the premiere date, she made a few observations about the production:

That Jamaican lad from How Stella Got Her Groove Back would be about forty now. I’d like to imagine that they’re still together after all these years.

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Too, Too much

Meet Emma Too, who once upon a time was a hairdresser in Nairobi despite a degree in architecture. In the middle 1990s she was “discovered” and was named the lead model for African Heritage; in 1998 she was a contender for Face of Africa, and signed with Elite Models in the USA.

Glamour shot of Emma Too

Emma Too in the garden

Emma Too, happy in retirement

Being a beauty queen, she discovered, had its drawbacks:

“When I was in South Africa,” she told ModernGhana in 2008, “I was continually being chatted up by petrol station attendants, cleaners, construction workers; so by the time I got home, I had been hit by so many guys I didn’t want to go out with.”

And so she gave it up, hanging out her shingle as an interior designer. And no, she’s in no rush to get married:

“‘Single for life’ isn’t a bad idea at all, just get heavily sedated during the bank holidays, awaken when it’s all over & you’ll be totally well rested and ready to face life’s daily challenges just like everyone else.”

Why, yes, she is something of a smartass.

The late Kate Spade once designed a ballet flat called “Emma Too,” but I don’t think it has any connection to Emma Too.

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Wielder of a mighty pen

One can write about only so many TV hosts before things start to get repetitive. So this time we’re looking at an actual print journalist, Carolina Neurath, business writer for Svenska Dagbladet (Swedish Daily News) in Stockholm, who turned 33 today; she’s married and has one child.

Carolina Neurath and baby, circa 2014

Carolina Neurath deals with a Stormtrooper

Carolina Neurath in seriously tight pants

Like many a print journalist, she’s tried her hand at fiction:

Carolina Neurath's first novel

She’s apparently not venturing far from the door to her wheelhouse: Speedblind is about a young female finance journalist who attempts to uncover the business of shady financiers.

Oh, and that Stormtrooper up there? In 2014, a band of not even rebellious Swedes made a 110-minute fan film called Star Wars: Threads of Destiny. Neurath, billed second, played Princess Arianna Ad’lah. The timeline is somewhere after Return of the Jedi. The whole film is on YouTube, albeit scrunched-up badly. But here’s a trailer:

The production reflects, among other things, the production cost, which was somewhere around $6,000.

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Daly motion

Ireland’s TV3 is no more, having been acquired by Virgin Media Television, which despite its name is not a significant part of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin empire. Rebranded as Virgin Media One — Two and Three also exist — the network combined its Saturday AM and Sunday AM series into Weekend AM, presented by Anna Daly, who at one time was TV3’s marketing manager.

Anna Daly on the couch

Anna Daly with the network credo

Anna Daly on a different couch

A fashion feature from this fall:

And, inevitably, a commercial:

Daly, 42 or 43 — sources differ — is married with three children.

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The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, now streaming on Netflix, is about as far as you can get from that staple of ABC’s TGIF, Sabrina the Teenage Witch; the character names, as before, are straight out of Archie Comics, but the plot complications are right up there with the sulfurous years of Buffy.

Which is fine with star Kiernan Shipka, nineteen today, who’s already spent much of her life as a character nearing the edge, as Don and Betty Draper’s daughter Sally in Mad Men. I mean, how bad can creatures from the very bowels of Hell be, after years of dealing with the ad biz?




There’s a second season (at least) of Sabrina to come. Awaiting release is the deadly-serious film The Silence, based on Tim Lebbon’s novel about an invading species that hunts down whatever creatures they can hear.

Scary stuff evidently doesn’t get to Kiernan Shipka.

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Knickers made of mistletoe

Well, no, they aren’t, not really. The BBC satirical program — wait a minute, this is British — programme Dead Ringers has often made fun of BBC news presenter Fiona Bruce, and that’s one of the milder things they’ve said about her. She’s been with the Beeb since 1989, when she was hired on as a researcher at Panorama.

Fiona Bruce confined to a corner

Fiona Bruce finds a box to her liking

Fiona Bruce sings it

This last shot is from BBC’s annual Children in Need telethon, in which Bruce is a regular performer. An example:

This got her a walk-on in an actual stage revival of Chicago. It helps that Fiona is, as Jeremy Clarkson, “agonisingly gorgeous.”

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For all you Luvvers out there

Nineteen sixty-four, and we’re watching Ready Steady Go:

“Shout,” the single, was credited to Lulu and the Luvvers, and thereafter no one referred to the wee Scottish lass as Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie. (Even “wee” was at least slightly arguable; I remember at least one set of liner notes claiming she was 5’2″ or so, which was a stretch by an inch, or perhaps by 2.54 cm.) The Luvvers were an actual band, but they had little reason to go on being an actual band after Lulu went solo and changed labels.

Lulu resplendent in green

Lulu after giving up her bangs

Lulu on British TV in 2018

This last photo dates from March. March 2018. (Today, she turns 70.)

“Faith in You” was the lead single from Making Life Rhyme, the 2015 album that brought Lulu back to Decca Records, fifty-one years after her debut.

Roger Green, whose sense of chronology is even more highly developed than mine, has a bio and a bunch of song links in this week’s Music Throwback.

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Pretty and little

But is she a liar? Probably not; Mona Vanderwaal, rotten to the core, is still just a fictional character, and I have no reason to think Janel Parrish, who played Mona in the original Pretty Little Liars series, has anything in common with her,

Okay, she can freaking sing.

Janel Parrish in a red bikini

Janel Parrish floats on

Janel Parrish is the Teen Choice

Oh, and she’s five foot two, and as of today thirty years old. And yes, she can freaking sing without Mona:

Two years ago, she met a chemical engineer named Chris Long. They were engaged a year later, and got married this past September.

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Burke’s law

Simply put: “Brooke Burke rules.” The cameras all agree: they adore her. And at forty-seven, she takes them in stride. We don’t remember where we saw her, but we know we saw her somewhere. (For instance: she won Season Seven of Dancing with the Stars, and co-hosted the series for several years after.) Even her book seems designed for maximum exposure:

Cover of Brooke Burke's The Naked Mom

See what I mean?

Brooke Burke wearing something on the beach

Brooke Burke, demure suburban mom

Brooke Burke again wearing something on the beach

For a while, she hyphenated her last name, becoming Brooke Burke-Charvet, but she and David Charvet split earlier this year. She has four children, two by Charvet, two by her previous husband.

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What could be crueler?

Selma Blair, picture of youth. I first saw her as Cecile in Cruel Intentions, circa 1999; I realize that this was 19 years ago, and she was already 27 then, but the numbers inside my head don’t add up.

Selma Blair, sitting in the back seat

Selma Blair, taking a swim

Selma Blair, modeling something or other

But then there’s this:

The BBC reminds us:

There is no cure for MS, but treatment can help manage symptoms. This may include painkillers or drugs to reduce nerve inflammation, physical therapy to ease muscle stiffness, or medication to slow the condition’s progression.

Then again, life itself might well be an incurable disease of sorts.

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