Meat Loaf goes on new fitness regime after collapsing on stage

The singer says he has lost 20 lbs since incident in Canada last month and is due to start physical therapy and gym training sessions four times a week

Meat Loaf has begun a diet and started a fitness regime in the wake of his onstage collapse during a gig in Canada last month. Meat Loaf fell to the floor while singing I Would Do Anything For Love( But I Wont Do That ), during a show in Edmonton on 16 June.

He has now told Classic Rock publication: Im OK. Weak. Ive gotta go to physical therapy. I had back surgery and knee surgery within the last two years, and the knee surgery failed, so I havent been able to work out on tour. So Im going to acupuncture, physical therapy, and a trainer, starting Monday for four days a week.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

From Circe to Clinton: why powerful women are cast as witches

A misogynist insult in Washington and Westminster, a force for good in Hollywood for centuries, witches have represented dread of assertive girls. But why does the stereotype persist?

During the 2016 US presidential election, American social media was inundated with images of Hillary Clinton wearing a black hat and riding a broom, or else cackling with green scalp. Her opponents named her The Wicked Witch of the Left, claimed they had sources witnessing that she reeked of sulphur, and took particular delight in depictions of her being melted. Given that the last witch trial in the US was more than 100 hundred years ago, what are we to construct of this?

In the late 19 th century, the suffragette Matilda Joslyn Gage asserted something revolutionary. The persecution of witches, she told, had nothing to do with opposing evil or resisting the demon. It was simply entrenched social misogyny, the goal of which was to repress the intellect of women. A witch, she said, wasn’t wicked. She didn’t fly on a broomstick naked in the dark, or consort with demons. She was, instead, likely to be a woman” of superior knowledge “. As a thought experimentation, she suggested that for “witches” we should read instead “women”. Their histories, she intimated, operate hand in hand.

Obviously, she was on to something. When we say witch, we almost exclusively entail woman. Sure, men have also been accused of sorcery, but the objective is by far the minority. Further, the words used to describe men with magical powers- warlock, magus, sorcerer, wizard- don’t carry the same stigma.

A better parallel to “witch” is the word “whore”. Both are time-honoured tools for policing females, meant to dishonor them into socially prescribed behaviour. A harlot transgresses norms of female sexuality; a witch transgresses norms of female power. Witches are often called unnatural because of their ability to threaten men. With her spells, a witch can transform you into a swine, or defeat you in combat. She can curse you, blight your crops, dismis you, refuse you, correct you. Penalise witches achieves two things: it ends the threat and stimulates others afraid to follow in the unruly woman’s footsteps.

Yet, despite all the attempts to stamp out witches, they are as strongly with us as ever, from Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch in the Avengers movies, to the recent film The Love Witch , to the television series American Horror Story , to non-fiction books such as Stacy Schiff’s The Witches: Salem, 1692 . The stereotypical image of the witch- green skin, pointed hat, warts, black cat- has become entrenched, but beneath that surface lies a dazzling variety; a rich diversity of women who have frightened, possessed and inspired us over the centuries.

Bones
Bones of contention … montages of Hillary Clinton as a witch have inundated social media

Let’s start with the classic: the evil, aged crone. This image took firm root in the Christian era, when witches were women who consorted with the demon; but old and ugly witches predated Jesus. Roman literature portrayed witches as pathetic creatures with false teeth and grey hair, who dug in the ground by moonlight, tore animals with their teeth and used the organs of boys they starved to death for their spells. They had two main pastimes: making love potions, and casting curses. The poet Ovid blamed a disappointing sexual performance on a witch using a kind of Roman voodoo doll to take away his effectivenes.( Sure Ovid, that was my first supposed, too .)

The most famous of this kind is necessary Shakespeare’s weird sisters from Macbeth . They are repulsive” midnight hags”, with skinny lips, chapped fingers and beards. Their spells- eye of newt and toe of frog- are as disgusting as their appearances and curse anyone who traverses them. The classic fairytale witch, like the one in the story of Hansel and Gretel who eats infants, also fits into this category, as does the Slavic Baba Yaga, and the Wicked Witch of the West from L Frank Baum’s Oz series, made famous by actor Margaret Hamilton. The role was originally offered to the glamorous Gale Sondergaard, but she turned it down because she didn’t want to appear ugly.

Spellbound
Spellbound … Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra, who was accused of sorcery. Photograph: Allstar/ 20 th Century Fox

And ugliness, of course, is key. The haggish outsides of these witches are meant to match their evil insides, and testify to their unnaturalness, since women are supposed to be as neat, attractive and young as possible. But the association with age also contains a kernel of truth: many of the women accused of sorcery were so-called ” wise females”, older figures, often poor widows, who scratched out a living in the community with their experience as midwives, herbalists and hedge-doctors. Their solitary, vulnerable status and unusual knowledge made them perfect targets for people’s fury and fear when crops failed or newborns died.

Foreign girls were also vulnerable to accusations of witchcraft, and the association between immigrants and sorcery goes back at the least to Greek mythology. The witch Medea was the princess of Colchis, on the eastern edge of the Black Sea, which to the notoriously xenophobic ancient Greeks was alien and suspect. When Jason and his Argonauts came to claim the Golden Fleece from her parent, Medea fell in love with Jason and aided him with her spells, so that he and the Argonauts were able to seize the fleece and escape. In gratitude, Jason married Medea, but back home in his kingdom she was shunned, her sorcery and foreignness merging into a single undesirable trait. The notion seemed to have been: no wonder she’s a murderous sorceress, she’s from the east.

This type of nativism also pops up in Shakespeare’s The Tempest . Sycorax, the witch mother of Caliban, is from Algiers, and though she never appears in the play, she is a harrowing, hideous figure, a” blue-eyed hag “, who is hunched over with” age and envy “. She was cast out from Algiers( the implication is that she was too wicked even for them ), and came to the island, where she “litter[ed]” her deformed son, practised her magic and worshipped her pagan-sounding deity, Setebos. Towards the end of the 17 th century, the slave Tituba, who may have been South American, was is the responsibility of leading the innocent( white) daughters of Salem into evil. Her experience as an outsider among the witch-hysterical Puritan is brilliantly imagined in Maryse Conde’s novel, I Tituba, Black Witch of Salem .

Fears of sorcery grounded in racism persist even today. The Roma, longtime outcasts in Europe, have frequently been accused of evil magical. And African-influenced voodoo is routinely used by Hollywood as a horror movie plot point.

But it wasn’t just vulnerable women who described accusations of witchcraft. It was also women with serious political power. Joan of Arc led the French to victory against the English and was renowned in France for her purity, cleverness and religion in her “voices”. When the English leadership couldn’t beat her, they undermined her, crediting her success to demonic means, since, of course, a young lady could never perform such wonders on her own. When she was captured, they tried her for sorcery, quoting as partial proof of her unnaturalness the tremendous courage she presented in combat, and her they are able to outwit her examiners in debate.

Magic
Magic circle … the new Wrinkle in Time film features Mrs Which, Mrs Who and Mrs Whatsit. Photograph: Atsushi Nishijima/ Disney/ Kobal/ Rex/ Shutterstock

Cleopatra and Anne Boleyn were likewise accused of witchcraft, with rumors that Anne even bore physical marks of her compact with the devil, such as a third teat, moles and a sixth thumb on her right hand. Such accusations were a clever and effective style for a woman’s political adversaries to smear her since, as countless other women accused of witchcraft learned, it is impossible to offer definitive proof that one is not a witch. Perhaps what is most shocking about this catch-2 2 is the way in which it continues to be played out today. Aside from Hillary Clinton, who has been called a witch since she was first lady, there was also the case of Julia Gillard, first female prime minister of Australia, who met with tauntings of” ditch the witch” from protesters. Nancy Pelosi, the minority speaker of the US House of Representatives, has faced similar witch-related insults, and lately Theresa May was filmed laughing loudly, and her so-called ” witch’s cackle” speedily ran viral. The misogyny of all this is obvious. Debating and defeating these leaders politically isn’t enough- as women who demonstrate ambition, they are abominations who must be deemed evil and cast out.

From
From JW Waterhouse’s portrait of Circe Invidiosa. Photograph: Alamy

The tradition of the sexy witch, who lures men with her beauty, is beloved by modern-day adult costume-makers, but goes all the way back to the first witch in western literature: the divine sorceress Circe. She first appears in Homer’s Odyssey , after Odysseus and his crew have washed up on her island, exhausted and grieving for the loss of their comrades. They run searching for inhabitants and find a palatial house with tame lions and wolves lolling around in the garden. A glistening goddess comes to the door, and invites them in. She devotes them food and wine which she has narcotic with spell-herbs, then lifts her wand and turns them into pigs.

Circe’s story brings together many classic witchy motifs: a ability with herbs and potions, a magic wand, control over animals. But what is most notable is her moral ambiguity- though she begins the episode as a figure of menace, after she and Odysseus become fans, she transforms his humen back and offers vital resources and advice to Odysseus for his journey home. Not all seductive witches indicate a similar ambiguity( CS Lewis’s White Witch surely does not ), but Morgan le Fay, Morticia Addams and Melisandre from Game of Thrones all fall into this category.

This brings us to our last form: the good witch. Before we get to the famous examples, let’s start with the unknown ones- the countless women of history who employed their knowledge of herbs, mending and midwifery to serve their communities as de facto doctors and chemists. In times when reliable medical treatment was scarce and expensive, they offered the first, and often merely, help a suffering person would receive. Matilda Joslyn Gage, in her treatise Woman, Church and State , hailed this local herb-woman as” the profoundest thinker, the most advanced scientist” of her age. Gage’s name is largely unknown now, but her work lives vibrantly on: she was the mother-in-law of Baum, and directly influenced his creation of Glinda, one of the most iconic good witches in popular culture. Glinda is a sparkly, memorable presence in the 1939 movie, and plays a meaty role in the books, protecting the good people of Oz with passion and wisdom. We may likewise watch Gage’s spirit in Gregory Maguire’s novel Wicked , which reimagines the Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba, as a heroic, misunderstood character.

Of course no discussion of good witches can be complete without the superlative Hermione Granger. Throughout JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Hermione’s intellect, kindness, sense of justice and determination build her a role model for young girls- and boys- everywhere. And she’s only one of dozens of fascinating witches Rowling created, who operate the gamut from good( Minerva McGonagall) to cruelly wicked( Bellatrix Lestrange ).

Rupert
Rupert Grint, left, and Daniel Radcliffe with Emma Watson as Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban( 2004 ). Photograph: Allstar/ Warner Bros

Which brings us back to the multiplicity and diversity of witches. The truth is that witches cannot really be contained by forms; they leap over boundaries, bursting out of categories as fast we build them. They are constantly changing as we change, reflecting our notions about females back to ourselves.

If this is so, then there is much to feeling encouraged by. The image of the very best witch is ascendant in popular culture( aside from Hermione, as exemplified by the Scarlet Witch, Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer , and the new A Wrinkle in Time movie, prominently featuring Mrs Which, Mrs Who and Mrs Whatsit ). Women have attained powerful strides towards equality, and we are seeing an unprecedented awareness of sexual harassment, assault and the stillness of women. More of these secret abuses are coming to light every day, and more of the perpetrators are being removed from power.

Despite this progress, there is also sobering news. In the past several decades, United Nations officials have reported an increase in women killed for witchcraft across the globe. In India the problem is particularly well-documented, with older girls being targeted as scapegoats or as a pretext for confiscating their lands and goods. In Saudi Arabia, women have been convicted of sorcery in the courts, and in Ghana they have been exiled to so-called ” witch camps”, an injustice movingly dealt with in award-winning cinema, I Am Not a Witch . And in the United States, a Gallup poll found that 21% of people believed in witches( and not the Hermione Granger kind ).

We stand therefore at a crossroads- which is fitting, since crossroads are sacred to Hecate, Greek goddess of witchcraft. Will we continue to fear and penalize women with power? To call them evil? Or perhaps we are capable of at last celebrate female strength, recognising that witches- and women- are not going away *

* Circe by Madeline Miller is published by Bloomsbury( PS16. 99 ). To b uy it for PS12. 99 go to guardianbookshop.com .

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Wall Street Picks the Best New Restaurants in New York

It should come as no surprise that Bloomberg Terminal users( aka the who’s who of the financial industry) eat out a lot. After all, there’s a lot of business to be done at restaurants, and it’s been a big year for New York dining, especially with the relaunch of the former Four Seasons space. So we took a poll among readers of Red Dot NYC, a weekly restaurant-openings newsletter available on the Terminal, to ascertain their favorite eateries across the five boroughs. No surprise: It’s still all about Manhattan.

Here are New York’s top new restaurants, as chosen by hedge fund administrators, traders, and other Wall Street insiders.

The Grill

The runaway hit for Wall street diners: the Grill.

Photographer: Anthony Causi

The runaway reached among the Bloomberg audience. And why not: The landmarked dining room from Major Food Group celebrates New York’s chophouse culture with a prime rib cart that rolls from table to table and a fabled bar, with its long list of martinis.

The Pool

A little foie gras snack, from the Pool.

Photographer: Zack Dezon/ Bloomberg

The splashy( hehe) eatery opposite the Grill puts an emphasis on seafood prepared simply–and foie gras amped to 11–plus an exquisite and pricey raw-bar selection and the best caviar service in the city.

4 Charles Prime Rib

On a quiet West Village street, 4 Charles has the vibe of a small private club. The menu features prime rib, salt-crusted and roasted for hours. It’s served in multiple ways, from thinly sliced to a 16 -ounce center-cut to a bone-in doubled cut that runs for $89.

Le Coucou

Power dining in New York at Le Coucou.

Photographer: Corry Arnold

One of the city’s newer power-dining places is not far from the Financial District in lower SoHo. From the glisten, open kitchen comes such reinvented French classics as pillowy seafood quenelles in lobster sauce and duck with figs and foie gras.

Loring Place

Loring Place

Photographer: Aliza Eliazarov

A vet of Jean-Georges Vongerichten kitchens, chef Dan Kluger serves New American dishes in a laid-back West Village dining room. Grain salad with smoked chili aioli, grandma-style pan pizza, and barbecue chicken from the wood-burning grill are all crowd-pleasers.

Atla

This stylish all-day cafe is from the same team behind Cosme, a destination eatery famed for its duck carnitas. The menu here features Mexican treats such as herb-topped guacamole and fried fish Milanese, accompanied by a basket of fresh tortillas. The tequila and mescal listing is stellar.

Empellon Midtown

Fancy nachos and tacos at Empellon Midtown.

Photographer: Evan Ortiz/ Bloomberg

Chef Alex Stupak has expanded his downtown Mexican empire to 53 rd Street and Madison Avenue, where he serves tacos that riff on such classic midtown dishes as hash browns and roast beef. The bar is great for after-work margaritas and guacamole–and indulgent seafood nachos worth the $30 charge.

Lobster Club

The third eatery to open in the Seagrams Building from Major Food Group, this stylish space designed by Peter Marino elicits a Japanese brasserie, with sushi and teppanyaki-grilled wagyu skirt, lobster, and branzino. There’s private dining space for up to 50 guests.

Nur

Nur.

Photographer: Paul Wagtouicz

The modern Middle Eastern restaurant, down the block from Gramercy Tavern, is co-owned by the founder of the popular Breads Bakery( you may know its famous chocolate babka ). The unconventional menu includes gigantic Jerusalem sesame bagels, seared scallops with chestnut cream, and Palestinian tartare made with hand-cut beef and smoked eggplant.

Cote

The Butcher’s Feast at Cote.

Photographer: Zack DeZon/ Bloomberg

This dynamic Korean steakhouse specializes in the Butcher’s Feast( which we named one of the year’s best dishes ), which devotes guests the chance to sample multiple cuts of beef selected by chef David Shim from the dry aging room. That might include 45 -day-aged rib-eye and Cote galbi, or marinaded short ribs, cooked on the grill at your table. On any dedicated night, you might see David Beckham or Chrissy Teigen.

Emily West Village

Brooklyn’s hit pizza spotset up shop on a scenic West Village corner. The starrings are thick, chewy, and cheese-crusted, with such options as Pig Freaker( bacon, kimchi, miso) and Street Fair( sausage, cherry peppers, tomato sauce, mozzarella ). Burger fanatics are familiar with the double-stack Emmy Burger, which comes with caramelized onions, American cheese, and curly fries.

There’s a search for a fifth meat- and 19 other things podcasts taught us in 2016

Whether its asking what happens when you watch Sex and the City 2 more than 50 times or which Oscar has won an Oscar, theres no question a podcast somewhere hasnt answered

1 Richard Ayoade employed a ThunderCats duvet cover until he was in his late 20 s

Where we learned it The Adam Buxton podcast

Adam Buxtons life-affirming, jingle-packed ramble chats with his celebrity guests are a constant delight. In this two-parter, the multi-talented Ayoade went into everything from the high levels of pillows to the reaction to his notoriously awkward interview with Krishnan Guru-Murthy. As funny as the pod is, you are able to learn a lot, too from Buxtons honest discussions of sorrow when his daddy died to how upsetting Sara Pascoe observes it when people attain clicky sticky noises with their mouths.

Other lessons from this podcast Louis Theroux does a fine rendition of Yes Sir, I Can Boogie. Ellie Violet Bramley

Malcolm
Journalist and writer Malcolm Gladwell. Photo: Anne Bailey

2 One of the biggest automobile recollects in history may have been caused by drivers pressing the incorrect pedal

Where we learned it Malcolm Gladwells Revisionist History

If you are familiar with Gladwells run, then Revisionist History is both a treat and familiar province. The New Yorker novelist often takes assumptions and things we might think to be true and unravels them to end up in a different place wholly. In his bestseller Blink, he explained why it might not have been so unusual that an unarmed man was shot 41 times by New York police. In the best episode of Revisionist History, Gladwell appeared back at Toyotas sudden unintended acceleration phenomenon, which led to a gigantic penalty for the car maker. The conclusion after we listen to a 911 call in which a man is driven to his death by a car that wont slow down was not that the cars accelerators were sticking, but that drivers unfamiliar with certain automobiles were having a brain malfunction that meant the latter are physically unable to differentiate between the brake and the accelerator.

Other lessons from this podcast American colleges with the nicest canteens are the worst selections for poor students; if you want to score the most free-throws in basketball, do them underarm. Will Dean

3 One day, everyone in Sweden switched to driving on the opposite side of the road

Where we learned it 99% Invisible

You neednt be an architecture or design fanatic to enjoy Roman Marss gentle unpicking of how the world around us came to look and function as it does. As well as narratives about the origins of the inflatable humen they have outside automobile traders in the US, and why they used to publicize missing children on milk cartons, you can learn about Hgertrafikomlggningen , or H-day 3 September 1967 when everyone in Sweden switched from driving on the left side of the road to the right.

Other lessons from this podcast Californias Salton Sea was formed by mistake; 20 years ago, the world became obsessed with a phone booth in the middle of the Mojave desert. Leah Harper

4 Having your own podcast wont win you an election

Where we learned it With Her

How do we know that Hillary Clinton enjoyed a Cuban sandwich and a beer at the end of a day on the road? Well, she had her own campaign podcast, about the little details of being on the road. In the first episode, Max Linsky, of the podcast Longform, talked to her in Miami about what she was going to have for dinner that evening. As the first presidential candidate to have a campaign podcast, Clinton tried to harness the power of the medium to show a more personable side of herself. Suffice to say, it didnthave the desired effect.

Other lessons from this podcast Clinton is a TED talks fan and has to ration her Elena Ferrante novels. EVB

My
The hosts of My Dad Wrote a Porno.

5 Theres more than one way of motivating your marketings force

Where we learned it My Dad Wrote a Porno

Pots-and-pans sales supremo Belinda Blumenthal can find lust in any situation even when she is lost in an ornamental labyrinth. The superstar of the erotic fiction written by comedian Jamie Mortons father has taught the world that a regional sales meeting has just as much potential for naked fun as a business trip to Amsterdam. Other things she has appropriated into her libidinous realm include a charity tombola, Herb Alpert, a chalet, a pomegranate, a horsebox and any sentence involving the words further access. What she has taught listeners about her ridiculously sexy life is a possibility unsavoury, but via Mortons podcast it has brought a whole lot of mirth.

Other lessons from this podcast There is such a thing as a vaginal eyelid; never read erotic fiction written by your papa. Hannah Verdier

6 Sacha Baron Cohen has been known to use a getaway car

Where we learned it WTF

Marc Marons WTF can be off-putting: the hosts 15 -minute opening monologue and guitar jams are often enough to deter new listeners. But when it comes to teasing out colourful details from the careers of some of Hollywoods funniest and finest, Maron is the master. Grimsby may have bombed in the cinemas, but it was worth it for the interview Baron Cohen did with Maron to promote the cinema. The best bits were the details of the logistical difficulties of inducing Brno, from how a redneck fighting crowd were deceived into watching a homoerotic cavort to how Baron Cohen managed to escape Kansas police after being caught with, among other things, a pedal-powered sex machine in a hotel room.( He had a auto waiting outside with the engine running .)

Other lessons from this podcast Asking what peoples mothers were like rarely gets a dull answer; if you have the US president over to record in your garage, youd better have nice neighbours; William Friedkin is the best storyteller in Hollywood. WD

Alix
Alix Fox looks into peoples sexuality lives. Photograph: Ken McKay/ Rex/ Shutterstock

7 Having two vaginas doesnt mean you can have vaginal sexuality with two men at the same time

Where we learned it Close Encounters from the Guardian

Alix Fox pries into the complicated and fascinating lives of people for whom sexuality is not always altogether straightforward, from a polyamorous couple to a man paralysed from the waist down just before his honeymoon. An extraordinary interview with double-barrelled Hazel, who talked openly about the effects her condition has had on her and may have on her if she wants to have infants is the standout so far.

Other lessons from this podcast Russian-doll-style dildos can cure vaginismus; having cold feet can help to delay an orgasm. LH

8 The search for a fifth meat continues

Where we learned it The Beef and Dairy Network podcast

The centuries-old assumption that there are only four meats beef, lamb, pork and chicken is disintegrating after unconfirmed reports that the European Space Agency has identified a mysterious fifth meat. The Beef and Dairy Network podcast, produced by comedian Ben Partridge, is the No 1 podcast for those involved or only interested in the production of beef animals and dairy herds. Featuring guest appearances from agricultural experts such as Josie Long, and attracting fans including Miranda Sawyer, it is a surreal beefstravaganza.

Other lessons from this podcast According to Beef and Dairy Network sponsor Mitchells, 90% of livestock can kick through a ships hull after simply one month of taking hoof-strengthening supplement Steel Hoof Deluxe. EVB

A
Dont set this cow in your ships hull. Photo: Brian Brown/ Getty Images

9 John Oliver is not dead

Where we learned it The Bugle

For a decade, long-time comedy partners John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman set the world to rights via the medium of their audio newspaper for a visual world. Their riffs on anything from civil liberties( Like puppies, John, we love our own, but we get genuinely vexed when other people civil liberties keep shitting on our lawns) to Texas barbecues( All I know is this, Andy: if I was a cow, and I knew that I could savour like that, Id find it very hard to make a coherent suit for not being immediately killed and slow-cooked) often constructed the present the funniest thing you could get on Wi-Fi. With Oliver having left the Daily Show to front his own depict on HBO, the Bugle went into satirical hibernation. It awoke in mid-October, just in time for a political event so ridiculous that even Zaltzman at his most surreal couldnt have imagined it. The pods Have I Got News for You-style rotating guest co-hosts now include US comics Wyatt Cenac and Hari Kondabolu, as well as Brit Nish Kumar and brilliant Indian standup Anuvab Pal. They dont know each other as well as best friends Zaltzman and Oliver, but perhaps the other co-host, Andys sister Helen, could claim an advantage on that front. The Bugle is dead, long live the Bugle.

Other lessons from this podcast Bashar al-Assad bought LMFAOs Im Sexy and I Know It as the Syrian civil war raged. WD

10 A bloke running a driving school in Acton, west London, was also helping to prop up the death penalty in the US

Where we learned it More Perfect

In a residential area of west London, inside a build with a banner that reads Elgone Driving Academy, is a guy in his 50 s who looks a bit like William Hurt and who was the one-man operation helping to provide the narcotics used for capital punishment in the US. That was until a human rights charity alerted the UK government to his pharmaceutical broom closet of death. In the inaugural episode of More Perfect, a Radiolab spin-off looking at how US supreme court cases affect lives miles away from the bench, the presenters investigated those three little words from the US constitution: cruel and unusual.

Other lessons from this podcast An unusual 911 call made in Houston, Texas, in 1998, led to one of the most important LGBTQ rights decisions in the courts history, effectively building homosexual relations a basic civil right. EVB

11 The political insiders term for people panicking about a Trump win was bedwetters

Where we learned it Keepin it 1600

A politics podcast hosted by Barack Obamas former speechwriter and a senior communications adviser ought to scream wonkishness, but Jon Favreau and Dan Pfeiffer may be the two most engaging analysts of a bonkers electoral campaign. Having been at the heart of two US election storms, they alongside other hosts Jon Lovett and Tommy Vietor know, inside-out, how this world works and share it. Their near certainty about a Clinton win up to the morning of the election attained 1600 one of the most reassuring political podcasts you could listen to and stimulate their morning-after mea culpa on 9 November all the more extraordinary. Now its genuinely time to wet the bed.

Other lessons from this podcast The Obama team realised it was impossible to refute crazy lies about its candidate after Fox News said in 2008 that the young Obama had been raised a Muslim when the team complained, they were told that it was an amusement demonstrate. WD

12 Billy Joel has really soft hands

Where we learned it Two Dope Queens

Comedians and co-podcast hosts Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams went where two black girls have never gone before a Billy Joel concert. They sneaked in their ros in suntan lotion bottles bought on Amazon the kind that get white daughters, watching the Shins, through Coachella. And, having been given front-row tickets because Billy likes to see pretty females up at the front, they got to shake his baby-soft hands. If thats not informative enough for you, listen to the other episodes of this snort-out-loud-funny podcast from WNYC and hear some of New Yorks best female comedians talking about sex, romance, race, hair journeys and living in the city.

Other lessons from this podcast Pierce Brosnans volcano thriller Dantes Peak has a lot to tell us about how far we have come since the 90 s; talcum powder is the best method to deal with boob sweat. EVB

13 Tar heroin smells just like capers

Where we learned it Guys We Fucked

Corinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson host the anti-slut-shaming podcast, featuring interviews with everyone from Jon Ronson to Stoya( and, as the title gently indicates, people with whom they have had sexuality ). Their interview with Wendi Kent or, as they call her, White Precious who photographs protesters outside abortion clinics, revealed the reason she can no longer feed capers and what its like to have sex when youre homeless. But its not all heavy-going. The episode titles alone are a treat good luck concealing You didnt go to France because you wanted to masturbate ?, His pubes were haunted? and Period sex: supposes? from fellow commuters.

Other lessons from this podcast DIY HIV tests can be done at home( or on-air) with a mouth swab; comedians on the circuit all hook up with each other. LH

Sex
There is such a this as too much SatC2 I mean, you knew that already, right? Photograph: Allstar/ Warner/ Sportsphoto Ltd

14 You can watch Sex and the City 2 too many times

Where we learned it The Worst Idea of All Time

A lot of period, attempt and fund, especially fund, went into making this film, tells Guy Montgomery. Weve just opened up the most disgusting can of worms. Theres no need to watch SatC2 because he and Tim Batt have done it more than 50 periods for the sake of their podcast( they did the same with Grown Ups 2 ). Mirandas nanny Magda is a spy who is gradually poisoning her, Charlotte is the other one and the whole thing is crying out for the kind of dialogue that induced the TV series great.

Other lessons from this podcast We Are Your Friends is next on your hatewatch list. HV

15 You can have a podcast about a podcast

Where we learned it Slates Serial Spoiler Specials

Slates week-by-week analysis of Serial, 2014 s podcast preoccupation, is perfect for when everyone you know is listening far too slowly offering tale recaps, whodunnit theories and criticisms of the host, Sarah Koenig. Not to mention excavating deep down into Reddit rabbit pits about the two cases covered in so far.

Other lessons from this podcast The cow birth in season two can be seen as an agricultural metaphor for the militarys response to Bowe Bergdahls disappearance; its almost impossible to map a timeline via audio. LH

16 Moby is a CD thief

Where we learned it Heavyweight

Jonathan Goldsteins Heavyweight aims to the tell the stories of people whose lives have taken a wrong turning somewhere. One of these was to reunited his 80 -year-old father with his elder friend before it was too late. Another was to reunite his friend Gregor who is haunted by the moment he loaned a box of CDs to a techno-producer friend. The friend, was, of course, Moby, who employed many of them as the basis for his squillion-selling Play. Gregor doesnt want royalties he just wants his CDs back. And Goldstein helps him get them.

Other lessons from this podcast Tracking down your school bullies is an uncomfortable eye-opener( as demonstrated by Julia in episode seven ). HV

17 You can have an -Alist cast in a podcast drama

Where we learned it Homecoming

Although Serial was basically a piece of investigative journalism, its format proved that podcasting didnt need to be limited in its sort. Gimlet Media, a specialist podcasting company, emerged around the same hour as that NPR made and proved its ambitions in the field. Its scripted drama, Homecoming, aimed straight for the stars with a cast including Catherine Keener, Star Wars Oscar Isaac and David Schwimmer. The story flips between Keeners characters work at an experimental facility that helps soldiers incorporate back in local communities and her present-day life as a waitress. There are plenty of cliffhangers helping to tell the story of what happened in between.

Other lessons from this podcast You dont mess with David Schwimmer. As Colin Belfast, he oozes rage and has the air of a human on the leading edge. HV

18, 19, 20 France buys in most of its frogs legs only one person called Oscar has won an Oscar Donald, Huey, Dewey and Louie Duck are the most reprinted comic book characters( that arent superheroes) of all time

Where we learned it Answer Me This !

Helen Zaltzman and Olly Mann( plus Martin the soundman) solve listeners queries on a fortnightly basis with questions ranging from the practical to the ethical to the ridiculous. Suffice to say, you are able to learnt more listening to them while doing the washing up than from Heart FM. You will also learn that drunken voicemails are welcome, especially from Dave from Smethwick and Graham from Canada.( Its Oscar Hammerstein II, by the way .) LH

The Guardian publishes a wide range of award-winning podcasts daily, from Football Weekly to the Guardian Books podcast, all of which are available on our site , iTunes and other leading podcast platforms .

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From Circe to Clinton: why powerful girls are cast as witches

A misogynist insult in Washington and Westminster, a force for good in Hollywood for centuries, witches have represented fear of assertive females. But why does the stereotype persist?

During the 2016 US presidential election, American social media was flooded with images of Hillary Clinton wearing a black hat and riding a broom, or else cackling with green scalp. Her foes named her The Wicked Witch of the Left, claimed they had sources witnessing that she reeked of sulphur, and took particular delight in depictions of her being melted. Dedicated that the last witch trial in the US was more than 100 hundred years ago, what are we to induce of this?

In the late 19 th century, the suffragette Matilda Joslyn Gage asserted something revolutionary. The persecution of witches, she said, had nothing to do with fighting evil or defying the demon. It was simply entrenched social misogyny, the goal of which was to repress the intellect of women. A witch, she said, wasn’t wicked. She didn’t fly on a broomstick naked in the dark, or consort with demons. She was, instead, likely to be a woman” of superior knowledge “. As a thought experiment, she suggested that for “witches” we should read instead “women”. Their histories, she intimated, operate hand in hand.

Obviously, she was on to something. When we say witch, we almost exclusively mean female. Sure, humen have also been accused of sorcery, but the objective is by far the minority. Further, the words used to describe men with magical powers- warlock, magus, sorcerer, wizard- don’t carry the same stigma.

A better parallel to “witch” is the word “whore”. Both are time-honoured tools for policing females, meant to dishonor them into socially prescribed behaviour. A harlot transgresses norms of female sexuality; a witch transgresses norms of female power. Witches are often called unnatural because of their ability to threaten men. With her spells, a witch can transform you into a pig, or defeat you in battle. She can curse you, blight your harvests, dismis you, refuse you, correct you. Penalise witches accomplishes two things: it ends security threats and builds others afraid to follow in the unruly woman’s footsteps.

Yet, despite all the attempts to stamp out witches, they are as strongly with us as ever, from Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch in the Avengers movies, to the recent movie The Love Witch , to the television series American Horror Story , to non-fiction volumes such as Stacy Schiff’s The Witches: Salem, 1692 . The stereotypical image of the witch- green skin, pointed hat, warts, black cat- has become entrenched, but beneath that surface lies a dazzling assortment; a rich diversity of women who have frightened, possessed and inspired us over the centuries.

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Bones of contention … montages of Hillary Clinton as a witch have inundated social media

Let’s start with the classic: the evil, aged crone. This image took firm root in the Christian era, when witches were women who consorted with the devil; but old and ugly witches predated Jesus. Roman literature portrayed witches as pathetic beings with false teeth and grey hair, who dug in the ground by moonlight, tore animals with their teeth and used the organs of boys they starved to death for their spells. They had two main pastimes: making love potions, and casting curses. The poet Ovid blamed a disappointing sex performance on a witch employing a sort of Roman voodoo doll to take away his potency.( Sure Ovid, that was my first guessed, too .)

The most well known of this kind must be Shakespeare’s weird sisters from Macbeth . They are repulsive” midnight hags”, with skinny lips, chapped thumbs and beards. Their spells- eye of newt and toe of frog- are as disgusting as their appearances and curse anyone who crosses them. The classic fairytale witch, like the one in the story of Hansel and Gretel who fees infants, also fits into this category, as does the Slavic Baba Yaga, and the Wicked Witch of the West from L Frank Baum’s Oz series, built famous by performer Margaret Hamilton. The role was originally offered to the glamorous Gale Sondergaard, but she turned it down because she didn’t want to appear ugly.

Spellbound
Spellbound … Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra, who was accused of witchcraft. Photograph: Allstar/ 20 th Century Fox

And ugliness, of course, is key. The haggish outsides of these witches are meant to match their evil insides, and testify to their unnaturalness, since women are supposed to be as neat, attractive and young as is practicable. But the association with age also contains a kernel of truth: many of the women accused of witchcraft were so-called ” wise girls”, older figures, often poor widows, who scratched out a living in the community with their experience as midwives, herbalists and hedge-doctors. Their solitary, vulnerable status and unusual knowledge built them perfect targets for people’s rage and dread when crops failed or newborns died.

Foreign females were also vulnerable to accusations of witchcraft, and business associations between immigrants and sorcery goes back at least to Greek mythology. The witch Medea was the princess of Colchis, on the eastern edge of the Black Sea, which to the notoriously xenophobic ancient Greeks was alien and suspect. When Jason and his Argonauts came to claim the Golden Fleece from her parent, Medea fell in love with Jason and aided him with her spells, so that he and the Argonauts were able to seize the fleece and escape. In gratitude, Jason wedded Medea, but back home in his kingdom she was shunned, her witchcraft and foreignness merging into a single undesirable trait. The notion seems to have been: no wonder she’s a murderous sorceress, she’s from the east.

This type of nativism also pops up in Shakespeare’s The Tempest . Sycorax, the witch mom of Caliban, is from Algiers, and though she never appears in the play, she is a harrowing, hideous figure, a” blue-eyed hag “, who is hunched over with” age and jealousy “. She was cast out from Algiers( the implication is that she was too wicked even for them ), and came to the island, where she “litter[ed]” her deformed son, practised her magic and worshipped her pagan-sounding divinity, Setebos. Towards the end of the 17 th century, the slave Tituba, who may have been South American, was is the responsibility of resulting the innocent( white) daughters of Salem into evil. Her experience as an foreigner among the witch-hysterical Puritan is brilliantly imagined in Maryse Conde’s novel, I Tituba, Black Witch of Salem .

Fears of sorcery grounded in racism persist even today. The Roma, longtime outcasts in Europe, have frequently been accused of evil sorcery. And African-influenced voodoo is routinely used by Hollywood as a horror movie plot point.

But it wasn’t just vulnerable women who depicted accusations of witchcraft. It was also women with serious political power. Joan of Arc resulted the French to victory against the English and was renowned in France for her purity, cleverness and faith in her “voices”. When the English leadership couldn’t beat her, they undermined her, crediting her success to demonic entails, since, of course, a young lady could never perform such wonders on her own. When she was captured, they tried her for witchcraft, citing as partial proof of her unnaturalness the tremendous fearlessnes she presented in combat, and her they are able to outwit her examiners in debate.

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Magic circle … the new Wrinkle in Time film features Mrs Which, Mrs Who and Mrs Whatsit. Photograph: Atsushi Nishijima/ Disney/ Kobal/ Rex/ Shutterstock

Cleopatra and Anne Boleyn were likewise accused of witchcraft, with rumors that Anne even bore physical marks of her compact with the demon, such as a third teat, moles and a sixth thumb on her right hand. Such accusations were a clever and effective route for a woman’s political enemies to smear her since, as countless other women accused of witchcraft learned, it is impossible to offer definitive proof that one is not a witch. Perhaps what is most shocking about this catch-2 2 is the way in which it continues to be played out today. Aside from Hillary Clinton, who has been called a witch since she was first lady, there was also the case of Julia Gillard, first female premier of Australia, who met with tauntings of” ditch the witch” from protesters. Nancy Pelosi, the minority speaker of the US House of Representatives, has faced similar witch-related insults, and lately Theresa May was filmed giggling aloud, and her so-called ” witch’s cackle” promptly ran viral. The misogyny of all this is obvious. Debating and defeating these leaders politically isn’t enough- as women who show aspiration, they are abominations who must be deemed evil and cast out.

From
From JW Waterhouse’s portrait of Circe Invidiosa. Photo: Alamy

The tradition of the sexy witch, who lures men with her beauty, is beloved by modern-day adult costume-makers, but goes all the route back to the first witch in western literature: the divine sorceress Circe. She first appears in Homer’s Odyssey , after Odysseus and his crew have washed up on her island, exhausted and grieving for the loss of their comrades. They run searching for inhabitants and find a palatial home with tamed lions and wolves lolling around in the garden. A shining goddess comes to the door, and invites them in. She gives them food and wine which she has drugged with spell-herbs, then lifts her wand and turns them into pigs.

Circe’s story brings together many classic witchy motifs: a skill with herbs and potions, a sorcery wand, control over animals. But what is most notable is her moral ambiguity- though she begins the episode as a figure of menace, after she and Odysseus become fans, she transforms his men back and offers vital resources and advice to Odysseus for his journey home. Not all seductive witches demonstrate a similar ambiguity( CS Lewis’s White Witch surely does not ), but Morgan le Fay, Morticia Addams and Melisandre from Game of Thrones all fall into this category.

This brings us to our last type: the very best witch. Before we get to the famous examples, let’s start with the unknown ones- the countless women of history who used their knowledge of herbs, healing and midwifery to serve their communities as de facto doctors and chemists. In hours when dependable medical treatment was scarce and costly, they offered the first, and often only, help a suffering person would be given. Matilda Joslyn Gage, in her treatise Woman, Church and State , hailed this local herb-woman as” the profoundest intellectual, the most advanced scientist” of her age. Gage’s name is largely unknown now, but her work lives vibrantly on: she was the mother-in-law of Baum, and directly influenced his creation of Glinda, one of the most iconic good witches in popular culture. Glinda is a sparkly, memorable presence in the 1939 movie, and plays a meaty role in the books, protecting the good people of Oz with passion and wisdom. We may likewise watch Gage’s spirit in Gregory Maguire’s novel Wicked , which reimagines the Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba, as a heroic, misunderstand character.

Of course no discussion of good witches can be complete without the superlative Hermione Granger. Throughout JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Hermione’s intellect, kindness, sense of justice and determination make her a role model for young girls- and boys- everywhere. And she’s only one of dozens of fascinating witches Rowling created, who run the gamut from good( Minerva McGonagall) to cruelly wicked( Bellatrix Lestrange ).

Rupert
Rupert Grint, left, and Daniel Radcliffe with Emma Watson as Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban( 2004 ). Photograph: Allstar/ Warner Bros

Which brings us back to the multiplicity and diversity of witches. The truth is that witches cannot really be contained by types; they leap over borders, exploding out of categories as fast we build them. They are constantly changing as we change, reflecting our ideas about women back to ourselves.

If this is so, then there is much to feel encouraged by. The image of the good witch is ascendant in popular culture( aside from Hermione, as exemplified by the Scarlet Witch, Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer , and the new A Wrinkle in Time movie, prominently featuring Mrs Which, Mrs Who and Mrs Whatsit ). Women have constructed powerful steps towards equality, and we are seeing an unprecedented awareness of sexual harassment, assault and the silencing of women. More of these secret abuses are coming to light every day, and more of the perpetrators are being removed from power.

Despite this progress, there is also sobering news. In the past several decades, United Nation officials have reported an increase in females killed for witchcraft across the globe. In India the problem is particularly well-documented, with older girls being targeted as scapegoats or as a pretext for confiscating their lands and goods. In Saudi Arabia, women have been convicted of sorcery in the courts, and in Ghana they have been exiled to so-called ” witch camps”, an injustice movingly addressed in the award-winning cinema, I Am Not a Witch . And in the United States, a Gallup poll found that 21% of people believed in witches( and not the Hermione Granger kind ).

We stand therefore at a crossroads- which is fitting, since crossroads are sacred to Hecate, Greek goddess of witchcraft. Will we continue to fear and penalize women with power? To call them evil? Or perhaps we can at last celebrate female strength, recognising that witches- and women- are not going away *

* Circe by Madeline Miller is published by Bloomsbury( PS16. 99 ). To b uy it for PS12. 99 go to guardianbookshop.com .

Read more: www.theguardian.com

The Jean-Michel Basquiat I knew …

The graffiti artist turned painter became the star of the 1980 s New York art scene. Since his death aged 27, his reputation has soared. On the eve of a major UK show, we speak to his friends

It’s always tempting to mythologise the dead, especially those who die young and beautiful. And if the dead person is also astonishingly gifted, then the myth becomes inevitable. Jean-Michel Basquiat was just 27 when he died, in 1988, a strikingly gorgeous young man whose stunning, genre-wrecking run had already brought him to international attention; who had in the space of simply a few years morphed from an underground graffiti artist into a painter who commanded hundreds of thousands of dollars for his canvases.

So perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that everyone I talk to who knew Basquiat when he was alive, from girlfriends to collectors, musicians to painters, speaks about him as special. Still, it’s noticeable that they all do. Basquiat- even before he was acknowledged as an artist- was find by his friends as exceptional.

” I knew when I fulfilled him that he was beyond the normal ,” says musician and film-maker Michael Holman, who founded the noise band Gray with Basquiat.” Jean-Michel had his faults, he was mischievous, he had certain things about him that could be called amoral, but setting that aside, he had something that I’m sure he had from the moment he was born. It was like he was born fully realised, a realised being .”

” He was a beautiful person and an amazing artist ,” says Alexis Adler, a former girlfriend.” I recognised that from the get-go. I knew he was brilliant. The only person around that time I felt the same thing about was Madonna. I wholly, 100% knew they were going to be big .”

Basquiat the man and Basquiat the painter is very difficult to untangle. He lived hard and died harder( from an unintentional heroin overdose ), and had more of the rock-star persona than the art aesthete about him, a cool celebrity sparkle that didn’t always work in his prefer. Some art connoisseurs find his work hard to take seriously; others, though, have an immediate, virtually visceral reply. To me, a non-art critic, his work is fantastic: it feels contemporary, with a chaotic, musical sensibility. It’s beautiful and hectic, young and old, graphic, arresting, packed with equivocal codes; there’s a questioning of identity, especially race, and a sampling of life’s stimulus that takes in music, cartoons, commerce and organizations, as well as celebrities and art greats.( Not sexuality, though: though he had lots of partners, his paints are rarely erotic .). You could stand in front of a Basquiat painting and be fascinated for hours.

Since he died, Basquiat has had a mixed reputation. There was a time in the 1990 s when he was dismissed as a lightweight. Museums rejected him as a jumped-up wall-sprayer. But over the past few years, his superstar has been on the rise and even those who are snooty about his art can’t argue with his culture influence. A few years ago a Christie’s spokesperson described him, pointedly, as” the most collected artist of sportsmen, performers, musicians and entrepreneurs “. As one of the few black American painters to break through into international consciousness, he is referenced a lot in hip-hop: Kanye West, Jay-Z, Swizz Beatz, Nas and others cite Basquiat in their lyrics; Jay-Z, in Most Kingz, uses the” most kings get their head cut off” phrase from Basquiat’s painting Charles the First . Jay-Z and Swizz Beatz own his runs, as do Johnny Depp, John McEnroe and Leonardo DiCaprio. Debbie Harry was the first person ever to pay for a Basquiat piece; Madonna owns his art and they dated for a couple of months in the mid-8 0s.

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Jean-Michel Basquiat’s 1982 paint Untitled( LA Painting) sold for $110.5 million( PS85m) at Sotheby’s in New York, to became the sixth most expensive run ever sold at auction. Photo: Shutterstock

A household name in the US, Basquiat is less well known in the UK, though the sale, in May, of one of his paints ( Untitled( LA Painting ), 1982) for $110.5 m( PS85m ), the highest amount ever for an American artist at auction, built headlines. Now, Boom for Real, a vast exhibition at the Barbican- the first Basquiat show in the UK for more than 20 years- aims to open our eyes. Researched and curated for four years, it follows his career from street to gallery, recognise the exceptional times he was working in, and expands its references from straightforwardly visual art to music, literature, TV and movies, all areas in which Basquiat experimented. It tries to see things from Basquiat’s point of view.

Eleanor Nairne, co-curator of the reveal, explains why there hasn’t been a full retrospective up to now. Although Basquiat was immensely prolific during his short life, organizations were slow to recognise his talent.” The period between his first solo show and his death was six years ,” she says.” Institutions do not move that rapidly. During his lifetime he only had two presents in a public space[ as opposed to a commercial gallery ]. There’s not a single work in a public collect in the UK .” There are not many in the US, either: the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York has a couple, but when the city’s Museum of Modern Art( MoMA) was offered his run when he was alive, it told no, and it still doesn’t own any of his paintings( it has some on loan ). The head curator, Ann Temkin, later admitted that Basquiat’s work was too advanced for her when she was offered it.” I didn’t recognise it as great, it didn’t look like anything I knew .”

Basquiat was born to a middle-class family in Brooklyn. His father was Haitian- quite a strict figure- and his mother, whose mothers were Puerto Rican, was born in Brooklyn. His parents split up when he was seven and he and his sisters lived with his father, including a move, for a while, to Puerto Rico. His mother, to whom he was close, was committed to a mental hospital when he was 11. Basquiat was rebellious, angry, and moved from school to school. His education ended in New York when, for a dare, he emptied a box of shaving cream over the principal’s head during a graduation rite. By 15, he was leaving home on and off. He once slept in Washington Square Park for a week.

New York City in the late 1970 s was utterly unlike it is now: un-glitzy, rough, with many houses burnt out and abandoned.” The city was disintegrating ,” tells Alexis Adler,” but it was a very free time. We were able to do whatever we wanted because nobody cared .” Rents were cheap( or people squatted) and downtown New York was a grubby, exhilarating mecca for the artistic dispossessed. The punk scene, centred on the venue CBGB, was giving way to something more experimental, involving art, film and what would become hip-hop. Everyone went out every night, everyone was creative, everyone was going to make it big.

” We were all these young kids in New York to carry out our Warhol fiction ,” tells Michael Holman,” but instead of being a ringleader as Warhol was, we were in the band ourselves, making art ourselves, “were in” are active in films, building movies, “weve all” one-man indicates, with a lot of collaborations. That was the norm, to be a polymath. Whether you were a painter, an actor, a poet … you also had to be in a band, in order to really be cool .”

Basquiat was, of course, in a band, with Holman and others including Vincent Gallo; they were called Gray. They formed in 1979, but before that, Basquiat constructed his presence felt through his graffiti. Working with his school friend Al Diaz, from 1978 he was spraying the buildings of downtown NYC with their shared SAMO tag. SAMO( c ), originally a cartoon character Basquiat had drawn for a school publication, was derived from the phrase” same old shit “. It was meant, in part, to be a irony on corporations and the tag was straightforward , not decorative. Instead of scenes, SAMO( c) asked odd questions, or constructed enigmatic, poetic declarations:” SAMO( c) AS A CONGLOMERATE OF DORMANT-GENIOUS[ sic ]” or” PAY FOR SOUP, BUILD A FORT, SET THAT ON FIRE “. The SAMO( c) tag was everywhere. Before anyone knew Jean-Michel Basquiat, they knew SAMO( c ).

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Jean-Michel Basquiat and Al Diaz’s SAMO( c) tag. Photo: Jean-Michel Basquiat /( c) Henry A. Flynt Jr

Basquiat left home permanently at 16 and slept on the sofas and floors of friends’ places, including UK artist Stan Peskett’s Canal Street loft. There he made friends with graffiti artists including Fred Brathwaite( better known as Fab 5 Freddy) and Lee Quinones of graffiti group the Fabulous 5, and stimulated postcards and collages.( Once Basquiat spotted Andy Warhol in a restaurant, popped in and sold him a couple of those postcards .) Brathwaite and Holman put on a party at the loft on 29 April 1979, as a style of bringing uptown hip-hop to the downtown art mob. Before the party started, Holman recollects, this child turned up, and said he wanted to be in the present. Holman didn’t know him, but” people with that kind of energy, you never stand in their route, you just say, Yes, go !” They set up a large piece of photo paper and Basquiat started spraying it with a can of red paint. He wrote:” Which of the following is omniprznt[ sic ]? a) Lee Harvey Oswald b) Coca Cola logo c) General Melonry or d) SAMO .”” And we all went, Oh my God, this is SAMO !” says Holman. Later at the party, Basquiat asked Holman, who had been in the glam-rock band the Tubes, if he too wanted to be in a band. Gray was formed there and then.

The members of Gray, which settled into the line-up of Holman, Basquiat, Wayne Clifford and Nick Taylor, deliberately employed painting or sculpture as references, as opposed to music. Their highest expression of kudo was ” ignorant”, used in the same style even worse( entailing good ). Holman recollects playing a gig with a long loop-the-loop of videotape passing through a reel-to-reel machine and then around the whole band. Brathwaite was at Gray’s first gig, at the Mudd Club in New York, and told afterwards:” David Byrne[ of Talking Heads] was there. Debbie Harry. It was a real who’s who. Everyone was there because of Jean…SAMO’s in a band! They came out and played for only 10 minutes. Somebody was playing in a box .”

Gray objective when Basquiat’s painting took off. He was always paint and drawing, initially in the style of Peter Max( think Yellow Submarine ), but rapidly detected his own esthetic, which employed write, and had elements of Cy Twombly and Robert Rauschenberg. Because he had no money for canvases, he painted on the detritus he dragged in from the street- doorways, briefcases, tyres- as well as the more permanent elements in his flat: the fridge, the TV, the wall, the floor. About the same day that Gray began, Basquiat started dating Adler, then a budding embryologist( he stepped in to protect her when she innocently elicited a street battle ). Adler saw a flat- at 527 East 12 th Street- where she still lives today, and they both moved in. There, Basquiat painted on everything, including Adler’s clothes.( When, in 2013, Adler revealed that she had maintained a lot of his run, she sold an actual wall of her flat via a Christies auction: it had a Basquiat painting of Olive Oyl on it.” They were careful about taking it out ,” she tells me.” And now we have glass bricks there instead !”)

Although she and Basquiat were sleeping together, it wasn’t a straightforward boyfriend-girlfriend thing, tells Adler.” It was before Aids, a wild day, you could have whatever relationship you wanted .” They had separate rooms, and had sex with other people. Adler bought a camera to take pictures of Basquiat’s art, and of him mucking about: he played with putty on his nose, was interested in movie and TV( his phrase” boom for real”, employed when he was impressed, came from a Tv programme ), and shaved the front half of his head, so he would” appear as though he was coming and going at the same hour “.

They went out every night to the newly opened Mudd Club, in the Tribeca district. Friends came over until all hours( hard for Adler, who worked in a laboratory by day ). PiL’s Metal Box was on rotation, along with Bowie’s Low and records by Ornette Colman, Miles Davis. Adler loved Metal Box and nailed the cover up on the wall. When Basquiat insured it, he was full of dislike. He took the album down and nailed up William Burroughs’s The Naked Lunch in its place.” He procured it offensive that I would put it up ,” tells Adler. It wasn’t good enough to be art in his eyes.

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Basquiat on the situate of Downtown 81, spray can in hand. Photograph: Alamy

Basquiat lasted at Adler’s flat until the springtime of 1980. During that year, his work featured in a couple of group shows and he played the lead role in the film New York Beat Movie ( eventually released in 2000 as Downtown 81 ; the Barbican depict will play it in full ). In the film, Basquiat is the star, but it’s fun to play spot-the-famous-person: there are cameos by Debbie Harry, Fab 5 Freddy, Lee Quinones; the band DNA and even Kid Creole and the Coconuts make an appearance. The plot is of the day-in-the-life kind: Basquiat plays an artist who strays the street trying to sell a paint so he can get enough fund to move back into his apartment. He sells it, but is paid by cheque, so he club-hops, trying to find a girl he can go home with. You can’t imagine the role was much of a stretch.

When he wasn’t clubbing, Basquiat worked hard- Brook Bartlett, an artist he mentored in the early 1980 s, remembers him painting ceaselessly- and his shift from being penniless to rich happens between 1981 and 1982. He was by then living with Suzanne Mallouk, who had moved from Canada to become an artist. They’d met when she was bartending at Night Bird. Basquiat would come in, stand at the back of the room and stare at her. Initially, she thought he was a hobo- he had shaved hair at the front of his head, bleached baby dreadeds at the back, and wore a coat five sizes too big.” He wouldn’t come to the bar because he had no fund for drinks ,” she recollects.” But then, after 2 week, he came in, set a loading of change down and bought the most expensive drink in the place: Remy Martin.$ 7 !”. Mallouk was intrigued. They were the same age and had a lot in common. Basquiat moved into her tiny walk-up flat.

Within eight months, there was fund everywhere. Mallouk:” I watched him sell his first paint to Deborah Harry for $200, and then a few months later he was selling paintings for $20,000 each, selling them faster than he could paint them. I watched him stimulate his first million. We went from stealing bread on the way home from the Mudd Club and feeing pasta to buying groceries at Dean& DeLuca; the refrigerator was full of tarts and caviar, we were drinking Cristal champagne. We were 21 years old .” Basquiat would leave piles of money around the apartment, buy Armani suits by the dozen, throw parties with” mounds of cocaine “. His rise coincided with a shift in the city: financiers were looking to invest in art, and they were cruising around art indicates, snapping up new work.

The first public illustrate of Basquiat’s paintings was in 1981: New York/ New Wave, at PS1 in Long Island, brought together by Mudd Club co-founder and curator Diego Cortez. It was a group show that included pieces by William Burroughs, David Byrne, Keith Haring, Nan Goldin, Robert Mapplethorpeand Andy Warhol, but Basquiat was given a whole wall, which he filled with 20 paints.( The Barbican show recreates this, with 16 of the original 20 on display .) His run caused a sensation.

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Jean-Michel Basquiat painting, 1983. Photograph: Jean-Michel Basquiat/ Barbican

Basquiat gained a dealer: Annina Nosei. She dedicated him the basement under her gallery to work in( Fred Brathwaite didn’t approve:” A black kid, painting in the basement, it’s not good, human”, he told afterwards ), which was where Herb and Lenore Schorr, benign and interested art collectors, met him. The Schorrs expended some time in the gallery choosing a piece of work, without knowing that Basquiat was running beneath them. Once they’d chose, he came up, and, though other collectors saw Basquiat threatening or obtuse, they liked him immediately. He didn’t explain his run-” he always told:” If you can’t figure it out, it’s your problem ,” tells Lenore; to Bartlett, he said:” I paint ghosts”- but he pointed out proportions that he thought he’d done particularly well, such as a snake.

Things were on the up. In early 1982, Nosei arranged for Basquiat and Mallouk to move from their small flat to the much fancier 151 Crosby Street in Soho, and she hosted his first ever solo indicate at her gallery: a huge success. Through another merchant, Bruno Bischofberger( his most consistent representative ), Basquiat was formally introduced to Andy Warhol; afterwards, Basquiat instantly made a paint of the two of them, and had it delivered to Warhol, still wet, two hours after they’d parted. They formed the beginning of a friendship. Basquiat was then asked to do a show in LA, at the Gagosian gallery.

Film-maker Tamra Davis, who built the Basquiat documentary Radiant Child ( 2009 ), met him in Los Angeles. She was an assistant at another gallery and a friend brought Basquiat over.” Jean-Michel came and he didn’t have a car and he didn’t know where to go and we demonstrated him around ,” she tells.” That was our assignment. It was the funnest thing ever. I was going to movie school, and he really loved movies, so we would go to the movies together, talk about them. He was the new thing in township, everyone want to get get to know him. He was so charming, but it was also like hanging out with the Tasmanian devil. Everywhere he went, chaos would pass. You didn’t know what was going to happen next. It was invigorating, but it was also truly tiring .”

Basquiat, though, was never tired. He had unending energy, partly drug-fuelled: he needed it in LA, as he brought no paints with him. He rarely did, for his shows: instead he’d arrive early at whichever city the present was in and make the paintings there.” He could stimulate 20 paintings in three weeks ,” tells Davis. In 1986, she filmed him working: he would have source books open, the Tv on, music playing and worked on several canvases at once. For this first LA show, he created works including Untitled( Yellow Tar and Feathers ) and Untitled( LA Painting ), the picture that only cost Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa $ 110.5 m( in 1984, it ran for $19,000 ). Every single one sold.

Once back in New York, Basquiat left Nosei and joined another dealer, Mary Boone. His reputation was rocketing. The opening for his solo indicate at Patti Astor’s Fun Gallery was packed with celebrities, recall the Schorrs, who consider that particular depict to be his finest, and all the run sold on the first night.

Reviews, however, were scarce. Basquiat’s push-me-pull-you relationship with the art establishment was becoming evident: the dealer he wanted, Leo Castelli, rejected him as too troublesome; there was racism against him for his youth, for having first run as a graffiti artist, for being untrained, and for being black. His work was represented as instinctive, as opposed to intellectual, though he was well versed in art history; some held the patronising idea that he didn’t know what he was doing.

Basquiat’s
Basquiat’s Hollywood Africans, 1983. Photograph: Jean-Michel Basquiat/ Barbican
Racism also had an everyday impact: he would leave successful opening parties and find it impossible to get a taxi. Herb Schorr would give him lifts to build his life easier( they would joke that he should wear a peaked cap and be Basquiat’s driver ). George Condo, an artist on the rise at the same period, remembers going to a eatery with him in LA and not being allowed in.” I told:’ Do you know who this is? This is Jean-Michel Basquiat, the most important point painter of our time .’ The guy said,’ He’s not coming in. We don’t allow his kind in here .'” Brook Bartlett recollects a trip to Europe in 1982 during which a rich Zurich socialite intimated that she, an 18 -year-old white woman, would be a civilising influence on Basquiat, who was four years older and already established. No wonder race became more prominent in his work: in his second LA Gagosian show, in 1983, Basquiat demonstrated paints such as Untitled( Sugar Ray Robinson ), Hollywood Africans , Horn Players and Eyes and Eggs , featuring black musicians, actors and sportsmen.

Drugs, too, were around more and more.” Everyone in the East Village and in the arts world in the 80 s did medications. Wall street did medications, everyone did drugs ,” tells Mallouk. But after Mallouk and Basquiat split up in 1983, Basquiat get increasingly into heroin.” He was sniffing it, smoking it and injecting it ,” tells Mallouk.” There are just a few models that he was hanging out with that were doing it and that’s how he got into it .” He became unreliable, travelling to Japan on a whim, instead of going to Italy, where he had a reveal. But then, his focus was constantly diverted. Everyone wanted him. He was moving into a different world: his old friends still watched him, but intermittently.

During 1984 and 1985, Basquiat’s star shot higher and higher. There was a lot of travel, a lot of attention. He was featured on the front covering of the New York Times Magazine in a suit with his feet bare. The Warhol estate rented him an even bigger place, a loft on Great Jones Street large enough for him to use as a studio as well as a flat, and in 1985 Basquiat and Warhol had a show of paintings that they’d made collectively. Though the poster for the indicate has subsequently been constantly reworked and sampled( even Iggy Azalea employed it on the coverof her 2011 mixtape Ignorant ), at the time, the depict was not a success. One critic called Basquiat Warhol’s ” mascot “. Tamra Davis tells this was hard for Basquiat.

” He genuinely thought he was finally going to be appreciated ,” she says.” And instead they tore the reveal apart and said these horrible things about him and Andy and their relationship. He got so sad, and from then on it was hard to see a comeback. Anybody that you talked to that assured him around that time, he got more and more paranoid, his dreaded ran deeper and deeper .”

With
With Andy Warhol at their joint show in 1985, which was savaged by the critics. Photo: Richard Drew/ AP

And gradually, gradually his heroin use was catching up with him. Alhough he was greatly inspired by a trip to Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and though he had indicates all over the world- Tokyo, New York, Atlanta, Hanover, Paris- it became known among his friends that he was fighting. Mallouk would go over to his Great Jones loft.” I would beg him to get help and he only couldn’t do it ,” she tells.” He threw the TV at me. People would stop me on the street, saying Jean-Michel is in a really bad way, he has spots all over his face, he looks really out of it, you need to go and assistance him … It was pretty common knowledge that he was not well .”

In February 1987, Andy Warhol died at persons under the age of 58. Basquiat became increasingly reclusive, though he still made work for shows, and induced schemes, in early 1988, to revisit Ivory Coast to go to a Senufo village. He began to talk about doing something other than art: write perhaps, or music, or setting up a tequila business in Hawaii. In 1988, he went to Hawaii to get clean: Davis find him in LA afterwards.” He was sobers, he was gonna do better, it was like LA had a bit of Shangri-La about it for him .” But his visit was strange: he brought random people to dinner, people he’d simply met at the airport, and he was unnaturally upbeat, too happy. It constructed her afraid.

In 2014, Anthony Haden-Guest wrote an article for Vanity Fair that describes in detail Basquiat’s last night: 12 August 1988. In New York, he did narcotics during the day, and was dragged out to a Bryan Ferry aftershow party at bank-turned-club MK by his girlfriend, Kelly Inman, and another friend. He left rapidly, with his pal Kevin Bray. They went back to the Great Jones loft, but Basquiat was nodding. Bray wrote him a note.” I DON’T WANT TO SIT HERE AND WATCH YOU DIE ,” it told. Bray read it out to Basquiat, and left.

The next day, Inman went to the apartment at 5.30 pm. Jean-Michel Basquiat was dead.

It was a sad aim to a rocket-flight life. And the subsequent oppose between Basquiat’s estate and various dealers over pieces of his run was not pretty. Collectors sued for paintings bought but never received. Merchants claimed they owned runs; the estate said they’d stolen them. There were too many Basquiat pieces knocking around on the market( 500 -6 00 canvasses, according to one expert ): the estate would only confirm the provenance of a few. Then the taxman went knocking: Basquiat hadn’t paid taxes for three years before his death.

But the years have softened or resolved the debates, and the work has had a life of its own. Though most of his most important art is owned by collectors, who keep it hidden away, it maintains seeping out, as if drawn to its public. And we want his work, it seems. Not merely are institutions eventually coming around to his genius, but his run can be seen on T-shirts, on sneakers( Reebok did a Basquiat scope ), on the arms of hip-hop artists. Just samples, short clips taken out of context, snippets and hints of the full, mind-whirling Basquiat experience.” He questions things and he references things he wants you to pay attention to ,” says Davis.” His paintings were meant to be seen by as many people as possible. They’re like movies or music , not just for person or persons alone .”

His art is irrevocably intertwined with their own lives: his charisma and drive, his race, his talent and sad demise. But it is bigger than that. Like the best art, it needs the world and the world needed most. And if you stand in front of a Basquiat and look, it sings its own song, just to you.

Basquiat: Boom for Real is at the Barbican, London EC2, from 21 September until 28 January 2018

Basquiat, as recollected by his friends

Basquiat
Basquiat with then girlfriend Suzanne Mallouk. Photograph: Duncan Fraser Buchanan

Michael Holman, musician and film-maker
Basquiat was born fully realised. And if anything, that is the kiss of death: you’re gonna burn brightly and burn fast. If you impressed him, if he complimented you, you simply felt you’d been blessed by a saint, it was a very emotionally and spiritually profound experience. That’s one of the ways and means of calibrate his otherworldliness. Because he would never compliment you if he didn’t believe it to his core.

We all went out[ virtually] every night, till 4 in the morning. It was so important. Not merely did we go out and blow off steam, and satisfy people, have sex in the bathroom, get high, all that stuff that you do in clubs. But within the clubs the scene also creatively happened … all kinds of occurs, performances, art depicts … Club 57 and Mudd Club, they fed us and they directed us and guided us, brought us along with crucial people, in such a way that going to openings or concerts just didn’t do. It made their home communities that supported each other. It was a special day. With[ our band] Gray, I videotapeed a microphone to the head of a snare drum, face down, and attached masking tape to the drum, then pulled the masking tape off and allowed that to be a sound. Jean would loosen the strings on an electric guitar, then operate a metal file across the strings.

In 1982, two years after Jean left Gray, I’d become an avant garde film-maker. I had this cable Tv indicate, and I asked him to do an interview. He made it clear to me, without saying anything, that I wouldn’t be able to do this interview if I didn’t get high with him. He was doing base, like a high-end sort of crack. I’d never done it before and, boy, I’ve never done it since. I could scarcely keep my focus. I could barely stop shake, but it barely affected him. He had such a high tolerance.

He was a sensationalist. He pushed the boundaries of any kind of sensation, anything that would set off his endorphins, his nerve endings, his brain cells. He was after the sensation of something special and brilliant and different and electric and massive. Would he have been good at middle age? Well, part of middle age is the struggle of coming to this place in which you know you’ve plateaued in some ways. When we pass that hump and start going down the other style, we are living and succumbing at the same hour. I don’t think he wanted to go there.

Lenore and Herb Schorr, major New York collectors, and the first to recognise and supporting Basquiat
Lenore : We were very excited by the first paint we considered by him. This is not a common reaction, we’ve found, even now! He’s a so difficult artist for many, many people. But we just felt he was a wonderful, brilliant artist, very, very early.

Herb : The artists understood him- some of them. They were there first, along with a few professionals. Basically, he had his collector base, but they weren’t knocking down the doors for them as they are today. There was not this hysteria. Really , nothing changes. We’re just finishing reading a volume called The Portrait of Dr Gachet by Cynthia Saltzman, which is about a Van Gogh painting, and a lot of it is the same tale as Basquiat. It takes 20 years after his death before a Van Gogh enters a museum. Anything which transgresses new ground takes a while for people to catch up to.

Lenore : Jean was very smart and he knew his art history. Modernism, Picasso, right up to the present and Jean knew it all. So we really had a nice rapport. I could see it in his work, Picasso, Rauschenberg, they were all important influences, he had absorbed the performance of their duties. It was beautifully rendered, remade in his speech, with his message, with New York at the time, his personal feelings.

Herb : We didn’t see him in a drugged state, well maybe once, he seemed a little angry, he wasn’t the same person. He would call and perhaps he needed more fund. Once, he called us up early in the morning and we lived in the suburb, you know, and he told,” I need money, I have a painting for you .” But he didn’t turn up by the end of the working day …

Lenore : It’s so sad, he tried to get off it. Andy Warhol tried hard with him, they would workout together.

Herb : We have good memories of him. One period he said he wanted to come up and have a white man’s barbecue.

Lenore : We expected him around three and he shows up at eight, with friends. It was quite a party, there was skinny-dipping- not me!- I had the kids here and there was a little pot being smoked, I could reek it, and we were like, We’re gonna be busted! It was a great, fun evening.

Suzanne Mallouk, partner, 1981 -1 983, and lifelong friend
We instantly had this feeling of kindred spirits. We were the same age, I left home at 15, so did he. We were both first generation from immigrant households- my father was Palestinian, his father was Haitian. Both of us didn’t fit into any racial or ethnic group. Both of us suffered racism. We both had old-world parents who utilized corporal punishment. My mother is English, from Bolton. His stepmother was English. It was very interesting, the common histories we had. Authoritarian parents that assured European girls as a prize. And I think it genuinely shaped Jean-Michel’s experience. He was intelligent enough to resent that European females were somehow valued more, he saw the racism in that, yet most of his girlfriends were white. He was conflicted about it; he discussed it with me.

I hated that I had a job and he didn’t. I was an artist, too- how dare he make me work as a waitress and live off me! Often I would come home and he would take money out of my handbag to buy medications. We would have terrible fights. He would say,” I promise I’ll look after you when I’m famous, please just let me do my art, I’m going to be famous very soon .” But I didn’t maintain anything, so I didn’t get anything. He didn’t like me maintaining things, he would virtually be jealous of his own artwork. He would say,” Why do you want to keep something of mine when you have me ?” Eventually, he gave me the message that really I could no longer be an artist. He was the only artist in the family and I had to look after him. It was kind of misogynist.

It wasn’t that he only assured Andy[ Warhol] as a father figure, he also actually had a flirtation with him. Often when I was with the two of them together, it didn’t feel like I was there with Jean; it felt like I was there with two homosexual lovers. He once joked with me that he had had sex with Andy, but I don’t know if it was a joke. Jean had a history of being bisexual, but Warhol was asexual, so I don’t know. People misunderstand the relationship if they just think Andy was helping Jean. Jean was already he was highly established, he was already famous or Andy would not have been interested in him. I think Andy required new life inhaled into his career; I suppose the two of them needed each other.

Two weeks before his death, I was living with a new boyfriend in my little East Village shanty. Jean rang the buzzer in the middle of the night and we both got up, and told ” Who is it ?”” Jean-Michel, Jean-Michel, is Suzanne there ?” I buzzed him in but he never came up. I ran down the stairs to look for him, but he’d gone, and two weeks later he was dead. My heart was contravene when I ran down the stairs and he was gone. Because I never stopped loving him. I still feel love for him and he’s been dead for over 30 years.

You’re going to think I’m mad, but I have dreams, and in the dreamings Jean-Michel is ageing. It’s as though he’s living in a parallel world. And often he’s annoyed that I’m there, he’s like,” Don’t tell anyone I’m here Suzanne. Don’t tell anyone I faked my demise, and especially don’t tell the New York Times !” He’s just living a really simple life,

Read more: www.theguardian.com

A black superhero who’s no second prize- Black Panther is a Marvel | Eliza Anyangwe

The comic-book adaptation is both a perfectly period political commentary and a celebration of blackness, says the freelance novelist Eliza Anyangwe

Ruth Bader Ginsburg watched Kate McKinnon portray her on ‘SNL.’ Here’s what she thought.

She’s delighted fans weekly on “Saturday Night Live” for virtually six years and stole the show as Dr. Jillian Holtzmann in 2016 ‘s “Ghostbusters” reboot — clearly, actress and comedian Kate McKinnon has mastered the art of impersonation.

I mean, which other “SNL” star could flawlessly pull off Hillary Clinton, Justin Bieber, and Jeff Sessions?

* crickets*

Exactly!

And one of McKinnon’s especially hilarious portrayals is Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

McKinnon’s Ginsburg is spry, unfiltered, and bursting with memorable one-liners.

The character even generated a perfectly out there term for the 84 -year-old’s fiery takedowns: Gins-burns.”

It’s a term the real Notorious RBG” has come to love.

Sitting down with NPR’s Nina Totenberg on January 21 at the Sundance Film Festival, Ginsburg eventually answered the years-old ‘SNL’ question.

“So, what did you think of your portrayal on ‘Saturday Night Live’? ” Totenberg asked.

“I liked the actress that portrayed me, ” a smiling Ginsburg answered. “And I would like to say ‘Gins-burn’ sometimes to my colleagues.” The crowd erupted with laughs and cheers.

You can watch the full exchange below 😛 TAGEND

Much to the( likely) consternation of President Trump — who once told Ginsburg’s mind is “shot” and called on her to resign — it sounds like we’ll be hearing many more ‘Gins-burns’ in the months and years ahead.

The Supreme Court justice — one of only four women in U.S. history to hold the title — just hired a slate of law clerks through 2020, dimming hopes from conservatives that she’d be retiring prior to the opening of the next presidential election. Ginsburg previously told she’ll remain on the court as long as her health allows.

If her rigorous workout routine is any indication, that will be a while!

Read more: www.upworthy.com

Adam Driver:’ Compared with the military, acting isn’t that difficult’

The Star Wars actor on leaving the Marines, filming nude scenes with Lena Dunham and get in touch with his darknes side

Adam Driver has a reputation for being a serious young man, which is partly a matter of stance and partly, I suspect, to do with some aspect of his physiognomy: he has a large head and outsize features that somehow combine to give an impression of gravity. Before the photoshoot, he let it be known that he procures it uncomfortable to have a journalist( me) in his sightline on decide, the kind of specification one might expect of a particularly precious Hollywood star. But this turns out to be misleading. Driver’s discomfort is with the entire celebrity facet of his job, which stimulates talking about his role in the most recent Star Warstrilogy somewhat tricky. I don’t even know where to start with The Last Jedi, I tell, as we settle down after the shoot, and Driver smilings, then seems gloomy.” Me, neither ,” he says.

We are in downtown Manhattan, a few miles from Driver’s Brooklyn Heights neighbourhood( Lena Dunham lives there, too) and a more upscale part of Brooklyn than the grungy Greenpoint location of Girls. That depict, the sixth and final season of which ran on HBO earlier this year, was watched by relatively modest numbers, but has had an outsized influence on the culture. Scarcely a day goes by without Dunham being mentioned in a blogpost somewhere, and it dedicated Driver, who played her on-off boyfriend, the kind of career launch twentysomething performers can only dream of. At 34 , not only does he have his second go as Kylo Ren in the most recent Star Wars movie, but he has just shot The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, directed against Terry Gilliam, was in the Steven Soderbergh film Logan Lucky and played the title role in the Jim Jarmusch movie Paterson. Pretty good, I’d say, although I presume the two Star Wars films- The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi- are the real life-changer.

“No,” Driver says, looking genuinely baffled.

But to be part of a juggernaut that sizing- wasn’t he cautioned it would change his life?” I don’t think anyone used to say, and I wouldn’t have listened to them, anyway. As a person, I’m the same. The problems I had before Force Awakens, it didn’t solve any of them .” He laughs.” For me, the only noticeable difference is your visibility as a person. Loss of anonymity is a big thing. I didn’t realise how I would see that in a billion little routes .”

The fame he had before Star Wars was somewhat localised. As Driver says drily,” In my neighborhood, a lot of people watch HBO .” Star Wars is different:” Seven-year-olds to 70 -year-olds .” It is global and almost impossible to escape. Driver is 6ft 3in and distinctive-looking, like a child’s depict of a human brought to life. He’s even recognisable when travelling at speed.” I supposed, I’ll ride my motorcycle around the city ,” he says,” and within two seconds I get pulled over by the cops, who said,’ Hey, can we take a image ?'”

Really?” Yeah. I mean, I also operated a red light, so it was fair .”

Driver has been in New York since his early 20 s, and part of his appeal as relevant actors has to do with his background. Before attending drama school at Juilliard, he was in the Marine. He was discharged after two years of training, and before his division get shipped to Iraq, following an injury brought on while he was out mountain biking, a terrible jolt at the time.

It is this- the combined effects of the classical theatre training and the military experience- that devotes Driver an unusual ruggedness. As with most things that come up during our conversation, he is mildly amused and emphatically deflating about the role of the military in his appeal as an actor. He already knew he wanted to perform where reference is joined the Marines in his late teens, a move partly inspired by 9/11 and partly by youthful absence of direction.Driver’s application to Juilliard had been rejected; he had no other plans and was listlessly living in his mother and stepfather’s house in Indiana when 9/11 happened, filling him with what he described in a recent TED talk as” an overwhelming sense of duty “. He was also feeling” generally pissed off” and underconfident, and for some reason- he agrees, looking back, that it was in many ways an odd move- signing up seemed to be the answer.

At high school, Driver wasn’t particularly macho.” I didn’t do organised athletics , not because I didn’t like them, but because I wasn’t very good at them. Except basketball. But I was never, like: let’s play football .”

He principally hung out with the high school drama nerds.” I wasn’t someone who was into groups of guys- we’re men ! We’re going to eat meat !” He appears momentarily wry.” I don’t know what guys do. Anyway, I would never have talked to those people before the military. Now you’re stuck in the epitome of alpha-male territory .”

To everyone’s surprise, he loved it. One can virtually consider why: there is an earnestness to Driver that enjoyed the purity of military life and the more he talks about it, the more he makes it sound like a combat version of Buddhism.” There’s something about going into the military and having all of your identity and possessions stripped away: that whole lucidity of purpose thing. It becomes very clear to you, when you get your liberty back, that there’s stuff you want to do .”

The bonds Driver constructed with his fellow Marines were startling to him, devoted how different many of them were in terms of background.( In his own family, his mother is a paralegal, his stepfather a Baptist preacher and his father works” at the copy counter at Office Depot “.) In the military, Driver tells , none of that mattered.” You’re in this high-stakes environment where who you are as a person is constantly tested. And, in my experience, a lot of the person or persons I was closest to in the military were very self-sacrificing. For me, it speaks volumes, more than how well they were able to articulate, or whatever front they were putting on. You get to see them at their most vulnerable and they’re literally going to back you up. All pretences dissolve .”

Adam
Stylist: Michael Fisher at The Wall Group. Fashion assistant: Hannah Neser. Grooming: Amy Komorowski at Art Dept. T-shirt and sweater by APC. Opening photograph: T-shirt by APC. Photo: Andreas Laszlo Konrath for the Guardian

Being discharged on medical grounds before deployment was devastating for Driver; but the experience of having been in the military also made rehabilitation easier. Nothing, he believed at the time, could be as hard again, and after a period of working in a warehouse back in Indiana, he found that he still wanted to act and reapplied to Juilliard. It was different this time.” Whereas at 17 I just wanted to be liked, and to be funny, and accepted, afterwards I had a bit more life experience .” He was accepted and moved to New York.

He has worked almost constantly since then, to the extent that he took four months off recently simply to hang out at home with his wife Joanne Tucker.( They met at Juilliard and she is also an actor .) Most of his early roles- “hes in” Frances Ha, the excellent Noah Baumbach movie, and in the Coen brethren’ Inside Llewyn Davis– were very good, but relatively small scale and indie. Even Girls, his breakthrough role , didn’t look like much when it first arrived on screen. The Force Awakens, on the other hand, became the fastest film to take$ 1bn( PS740m) at the global box office. I try again: surely this does something to Driver’s basic levels of self-confidence?

” No, because that’s not what I was after when I started to be an actor ,” he insists.” It would if that was my goal. I know people think that if you’re relevant actors, it’s your goal to be famous and wealthy. Surely you want to be famous and wealthy! And there are great things about that part of it- it frees you up to do other things. But part of my job is being anonymous and I think being able to live, to find more than to be observed, is important.[ Being famous] seems counterintuitive to my job. It’s a weird dynamic when you walk into a room and there’s an image people project on to you .” He interrupts himself to say, conscientiously,” My problems compared with global issues, or anybody else’s, are very low. Even that I have time in my day to think about the existential .”

This is how it goes with Driver: he is assiduously mindful of broader sensitivities and somewhat embarrassed to air his own.” What it means to lose anonymity is a bougie problem in and of itself. And I won’t garner sympathy , nor am I asking for it. The image of us on our red carpet wearing expensive suits, where people naturally assume your life is, is not what I was after when I started this task. Believe it or not .”

I do believe it, I say. One has only to look at him, twisting this style and that in his chair. (” I’m not doing it on purpose to get away from you ,” he tells .)

So he doesn’t take any credit for, or validation from, the success of Star Wars?” You mean, am I, like, yes !” He dedicates a little satirical air punch.” I’m excited that people liked it, but do I think that I got it right? No. If I had directed it, perhaps. But I didn’t write it, direct it, pick out the costumes. All these decisions- about the lightsaber, that it’s unfinished and unpolished- none of this organization is mine. I know enough about this chore not to take credit .” He looks pained.” That would be an illusion .”

***

Driver’s family have no roots in acting, although his stepfather’s task as a minister might be said to have some performance aspect to it. Driver sang in the church choir well into his teens, which, he tells, gives you an idea of how left-field his decision to enlist was. When he joined the school theater, it was because his friends were doing it and it looked fun.” They auditioned for Oklahoma !, so I did. And I got a part in the chorus. I recollect being backstage and it seemed like a community that was a bunch of weirdos, and I liked that part of it. I also felt that I was kind of OK at it. I tend to get frustrated with things that I don’t pick up right away .”

When people in the US think of Indiana, he says, they think of somewhere” boring and flat “. It is also deep into Trump country, such that Driver and his family are careful to avoid talking about politics when he goes home for the holidays.

Occasionally, his worlds collide. A few years after being demobbed, Driver set up a nonprofit organisation called Arts In The Armed Force, which puts on theatre performances for personnels at military basis. His burgeoning celebrity has stimulated it easier to recruit other well-known actors to the cause, but it is testament to his management abilities that from the outset, the company has been smartly and seriously run. His aim, he tells, was to broaden the scope of amusement put one across for the troops. When Driver was stationed at Camp Pendleton, in California, the troop entertainment was, “‘ The Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders are going to come and dance for you .’ Which is great, but there wasn’t anything like theatre or performance art brought to us .”

Kylo
As Kylo Ren in new movie Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Unlike Bryan Doerries’ excellent stage project Theatre Of War, in which Greek drama is performed before military audiences as a public health initiative, “were not receiving” therapeutic element to Driver’s nonprofit. Still, it can have an interesting impact.” In one of our first performances, Laura Linney did a monologue from this Scott Organ play called China, about a female employer reprimanding a female employee for not wearing a bra. It’s really funny, that’s why I picked it- not really supposing it through. It are members of a series of monologues, and the male Marines were coming out and saying, we really liked it, but we thought[ that particular one] was an indirect attack on how we do things in the military .”

When Driver asked why, they responded,” Because there’s a uniformity and structure and a reason in the military, and we thought that’s what you were trying to criticise. I said, OK, that’s interesting. And then the female Marines were coming out and telling, I liked the whole thing, especially that monologue, because I know what it’s like to be a female in a very male-dominated surrounding. That’s the best answer we could’ve asked for. Hopefully they like it and it’s entertaining. But the committee is also tackles them, and they bring something to it that a civilian audience wouldn’t think of .”

It can take a little persuasion on Driver’s part to get officers to allow him on to the base, and if he is adept at overcoming the military’s initial scepticism towards theatre, it is thanks to the experience of having overcome similar racism in himself. Theatre school seemed insane after the Marines, he tells.” It is a very egocentric four years, just sitting around and focusing on what does the back of my tongue sound like when I make this sound? What is a Scottish dialect ?”

Failure didn’t especially worry him; he was still in his early 20 s and brimming with the trust of youth and the machismo of two years of hard training.” In the military, you are put in hard circumstances, so I’m thinking, I’ll move to New York and be an actor, and if it doesn’t work out, I’ll only live in Central Park. You know, compared with the military, it can’t be that difficult. I’ll dumpster dive. I’ll survive. Civilian problems compared with the military are small; that was my guessing at the time. That’s not right. But at the time, that’s what I guessed .”

Adam
With his wife Joanne Tucker, whom he met at Juilliard. Photograph: Barry King/ Getty Images

It wasn’t just the contrast between the two worlds that devoted Driver confidence. There is something virtually fanatic about his belief in the right and wrong way to do things. When he was still at school and decided to be an actor, the only place he applied to was Juilliard; nowhere else , no backup. He had heard it was the best place in the US to develop, so that’s where he wanted to go.

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, he isn’t on social media. Those kinds of exchanges don’t interest him. As a result, he missed out on a lot of the hype around Girls, although even he couldn’t fail to recognise that the indicate was a made.( Driver won three consecutive Emmy nominations for his role as Adam Sackler .) It was a strange thing, he says, to sign up for what felt like a relatively obscure prove-” Something that felt like it was constructed in the basement of a friend’s house”- and watch it rise, while he and his friends rose with it.( We speak before the controversy over Lena Dunham’s defence of a Girls writer against an accusation of rape .)

It did not escape Driver’s notice that his own nudity on the depict was less remarked upon and criticised than that of Lena Dunham, even though Dunham wrote, made and directed the display.” Of course there’s a double standard for men and women. I don’t think that’s a controversial thing for me to say. It’s so obvious, and one of the things that she was fighting against, which I understood right away, is that it wasn’t gratuitous. There was always a point behind it, it was always still storytelling. It just seemed very natural. We talked just as much about being naked, and what was the tale and the sexuality scenes, as we did about scenes where there’s dialogue .”

It wasn’t uncomfortable to film?” If it’s for no intent whatsoever, that would be very uncomfortable. But part of the storytelling is about our bodies and how they seem, and if there’s something that’s not flattering about it, that was probably what we were going for. That’s my job, to tell the story .”

Adam
With Lena Dunham in Girls, 2013. Photograph: c.HBO/ Everett/ REX

What did he learn from Dunham?

” Um. I entail, Lena is a great writer. She’s a good thief, also: she’s very aware of her surrounding and is very good about processing her experience of something immediately. I feel like I need more time to get distance on it, so I can look back and have an opinion. She is forming sentiments as she does things. Which I think is a rare ability .”

Driver sometimes wonders if he’ll ever come to firm conclusions about anything.” I never figure anything out ,” he tells, winningly.” I do my job. That’s my goal, to be as economical as is practicable. Basically, the only thing I try to do is know my lines .”

His ego is contained, too.” Usually, the mood of the decide is what I adapt to, as opposed to having a defined style of working and imposing it on everybody else. If this is necessary private hour, usually people give you space for that. But getting set into one way of doing something seems like closing yourself off from being incorrect .” On the other hand,” interesting things can come out of being wrong “. He smiles. “Sometimes.”

Can he let things run?

” No. I don’t think so. Maybe after a while. I maintain replaying scenes in my intellect. That’s why I don’t like to watch anything I’m in – it’s not my responsibility .” It’s a Zen attitude Driver has worked hard to perfect and he frowns with the endeavours of maintaining it. To be a small part of the machine is where he has always felt comfy.” It’s not about me ,” he says.

* Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens on 14 December.

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What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton review- no twinge of repentance

The presidential candidate blames everyone but herself for her shock defeat to Trump in this hubristic memoir

In common with everyone who is likely to read this review, I mourned when Hillary Clinton lost the election last November. Now there is an extra reason for unhappines: with time on her hands, the woman who was so qualified to be an able, diligent, clear-headed chairwoman has hurriedly written- or presided over the the time of writing of- an unreflective book that in its combining of number-crunching wonkery and strenuously pious uplift reveals more than she might have intended about why she lost. Her bewilderment is easy to understand, but couldn’t she have waited before monetising failing and relaunching her brand with a nationwide book tour?

Bill Clinton’s mantra was ” I feel your pain”, a phrase he uttered not at the site of a inundation or a earthquake but in a Manhattan nightclub, where he was heckled by an Aids activist. Hillary’s equivalent is not an offer of empathy but a demand for sympathy: she wants us to feel her ache- the numbing shock of election night, the distres of having to face a hostile mob at Trump’s inauguration and listen to him rant about social bloodbath in a speech that George W Bush described as” some weird shit “.

Public figures like to claim that they’re selflessly serving us- the little people, their voters and customers- and Clinton presents this therapeutic exercising as if she had our emotional health in intellect rather than her own.” Perhaps it’ll help you too ,” she says when describing how she mended her sadnes with Chardonnay, alternate nostril breathing, and a daily devotional text emailed by her clergyman( whose anthology of these missives has just been pulped, since some of his feelgood smarminess was plagiarised ). Then she glimpses herself in the mirror and adds:” I doubt that many people reading this will ever lose a general elections .” All commiseration dries up: it’s as self-regarding a statement as Trump’s” I’m the president and you’re not”, or his smugness when he’s devoted two scoops of ice-cream while guests get only one.

This is a classic tale of hubris( nowadays called ” entitlement “). Clinton packaged herself as America personified, wearing successive pantsuits- styled by Ralph Lauren- in red, white and blue for her three debates with Trump, and on election night she intended to declare victory on a stage shaped like a cut-out US map. Her garment bag that evening included the purple suit she planned to wear” on my first trip-up to Washington as president elect “; she had already bought the house next door in suburban New York as overspill accommodation for her travelling troupe of White House aides. Not since Agamemnon swaggered on to the red carpet in the tragedy by Aeschylus has anyone so vaingloriously asked for a comeuppance.

All this triumphalism is recalled with no twinge of compunction. Instead, others are blamed- James Comey for creating the alarm about her emails, Bernie Sanders for splitting the progressive vote, the “odious” Julian Assange for WikiLeaking, and those best buddies Putin and Trump for the Darth Vader-like” dark energy” they conjured up. Everyone who opposed her accuses of doing so out of misogyny: is Assange’s dumping of scurrilous information about the Democratic party genuinely explained by the fact that he” was charged with rape in Sweden “? Despite these accusations, her postmortem on her campaign’s” data analytic platform” and” word-of-mouth favourability metric” discloses why the masses didn’t warm to her. She erroneously assumed that American politics is about policy, whereas Trump considered that it is now an extension of showbiz.

Instead of recuperating, Clinton has opted for a re-enactment of a remote past. Her book grows fat on rosy reminiscences about her childhood baseball games, her first date with Bill, and Chelsea’s breech birth, with victory laps to celebrate her achievements as a “lady lawyer” in Arkansas, a” hometown senator’ in New York( where “shes never” actually lived when she ran for office ), and a secretary of state who travelled” almost a million miles “. She has reason to be proud, but does any of that help explain what happened on 8 November? When the reckoning arrives, she diverges into fantasies about alternative solutions future. She gives details of the legislation she would now be advancing, and even prints( or, as she sets it, “shares”) the oration she” never got a chance to deliver that night”, which ends by announced today that” America is the greatest country in the world” and promising that” we will construct America even greater”- lines that might have dribbled from the mouth of Trump.

It’s all very well to repeat” I love America”, as she ritualistically does: mustn’t she also dislike at the least half of it for rejecting her? Here her immense self-possession comes to her assist. She recollects Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who murdered the worshippers in a church in Charleston, being told by relatives of his victims” I forgive you “. Then she asks herself what she feels about Trump voters, the so-called ” deplorables “. She answers: “It’s complicated”, but the preceding anecdote speaks for her. She forgives them: like the ragtag of crucifiers, they knew not what they did.

A brief, embarrassed including references to earlier periods is inadvertently telling: Bill and Hillary were guests at Trump’s wedding to Melania( and, as the titanically petty bridegroom still recollects, they didn’t bring a present ).” We weren’t friends ,” says Hillary defensively. Then why run? It turns out Bill was ” speaking in the area that weekend”, so they ran for a laugh; Hillary calculates that Trump wanted them for their “star power”. The comment reflects as badly on the Clintons as it does on Trump: they remind me of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, who subsidised their residence at the Waldorf Astoria by charging a fee for attendance at Manhattan cocktail parties.

There is one wrenchingly perceptive insight about Trump, who seems, she says, as if he” didn’t even want to be president at all”- unlike Clinton, who wanted it almost more than life itself. Yes, he now relives the election as obsessively as she does, and with similar qualms. He thought it would be the award handed out in the season finale of The Apprentice ; it didn’t occur to him that four years- if we’re unlucky- of tedious office work lay ahead. Maddened by the false stance he procures himself in, the captive of a reality that is not at all like reality Tv, he’s therefore concentrating on finding a way to get himself fired. Despite Clinton’s appeal for sympathy, it’s Trump that her book built “i m feeling” momentarily sorry for.

* What Happened byHillary Rodham Clinton is published by Simon and Schuster( PS20 ). To order a copy for PS17 go to guardianbookshop.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p& p over PS10, online orders merely. Phone orders min p& p of PS1. 99

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