Lin-Manuel Miranda, Woody Harrelson In ‘SNL’ Cold Open Mocking Democratic Town Hall

Broadway sensation Lin-Manuel Miranda played an eager Julián Castro and actor Woody Harrelson reprised his role as an out-of-touch Joe Biden in the star-studded cold open on “Saturday Night Live,” which poked fun at several of the remaining 2020 Democratic hopefuls.

The sketch — a satirical take on the Democratic LGBTQ town hall hosted by CNN earlier this week — was kicked off by moderator Anderson Cooper, played by Alex Moffatt, who quipped that the forum would cover “issues affecting our community: LGBTQ and straight girls who make Pride all about them.”

Emmy-winning actor Billy Porter made a cameo as the event’s emcee, introducing each of the Democratic candidates to the stage in turn. First up was Cory Booker, played by Chris Redd, who said his “girlfriend was in ‘Rent,’ so yeah, I get it” — a reference to Booker’s real-life girlfriend Rosario Dawson.

Pete Buttigieg, played by Colin Jost, took to the stage next — his arms sticking out awkwardly by his side; followed by an exuberant Elizabeth Warren, played by Kate McKinnon (“Warren-ing! Warren-ing!” Porter exclaimed as he invited her to the stage).

Miranda as Castro then appeared, first apologizing to the crowd for not being gay and then reminding them that “I am Latino, which we can all agree is something.”

“Look, I’m young, I’m diverse, I’m Latino-bama,” he declared before attempting to launch into a “Hamilton” song.

Harrelson’s Biden was the last candidate to appear.

“You know me, I went to bat for marriage equality, and I believe we’re all equal whether you’re gay, lesbi, transgenital or queer ― you’re OK with Joe,” he said.

When asked about his earlier support for the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, Harrelson’s Biden responded, “I’m glad you asked that question and let me answer by telling you a false memory.” He then began a meandering story which, as he put it, happened in “the year 19 … umm … 26.” 

The sketch closed with Harrelson’s Biden kissing Moffat’s Cooper on the lips.

“You just helped me win a bet, Joe,” Moffat’s Cooper quipped.

BEFORE YOU GO


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Twitter Has the Best Reaction to Jane Fonda Getting Arrested in DC

On Friday, actress and activist Jane Fonda spoke at the October 11 meeting of Fire Drill Fridays, a weekly “digital teach-in” addressing the ongoing climate emergency at the US Capitol in Washington, D.C. Shortly thereafter, Fonda was arrested at the climate change protest, and Twitter has been going wild with their support for the Grace and Frankie star.

The official Fire Drill Fridays account posted a brief clip of Fonda speaking on the Capitol steps, joined by climate activists Keya Chatterjee and Jerome Foster II. “We make personal choices like driving an electric car or going vegan, recycling, and we think that that’s enough,” Fonda declared on the steps. “But this is a collective crisis that demands collective action, now.” The onlookers cheered their approval.

Fonda had previously announced her intention to move to DC and take part in the weekly Fire Drill Fridays with a video: “Inspired by the young Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg and the student strikers, I decided to upend my life and move to Washington D.C. for four months to focus on climate change,” the 81-year-old announced.

“As Greta said, ‘This is a crisis. We have to act like our house is on fire, because it is.’ So starting Thursday, October 17th, join me for a digital teach-in at 7 pm. And if you’re near Washington D.C., come to our Fire Drill Fridays, starting October 11th at the Capitol at 11 am,” Fonda said. That’s an open invitation, by the way — so feel free to join her next Friday, or the one after that.

Many on Twitter are cheering on Fonda’s tenacity and commitment, and holding her up as a prime example that we can all do more as individuals to help combat climate change. “Jane Fonda still out there getting arrested at 82 years old. Power to the people,” one user writes. [Editor’s note: She’s 81, but who’s counting?] Another reflects on Fonda’s history of activism: “Jane Fonda was arrested today at a Climate protest in DC. She has ALWAYS been on the right side of history, particularly re the Vietnam and Iraq wars. Stop saying it’s a ‘generational thing’ – shes 81. We don’t deserve her.”

The moral of the story is that Jane Fonda is a national treasure, and we should all strive to be a bit more like her. Also, while we imagine she’s all set on bail money, she does have a couple thousand volunteers on Twitter ready to help her out.

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Shepard Smith Announced He Is Leaving Fox News

Shepard Smith, the longtime Fox News chief anchor, and at times one of the lone voices of fact-checking and objectivity at a cable network dominated by its opinion hosts, announced on Friday he is leaving the network.

Smith announced his abrupt resignation from the network at the end of his Friday broadcast.

“Recently, I asked the company to allow me to leave Fox News,” Smith said in the final minutes of his Friday program. “After requesting that I stay, they obliged.”

Smith said he would not be reporting for another network, “at least in the near future.”

This is a developing story. Check back soon for updates.

  • Salvador Hernandez is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

    Contact Salvador Hernandez at [email protected]

    Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.

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Anne Hathaway Reveals the Nicest Thing Anyone Ever Did for Her

Anne Hathaway lives a pretty darn charmed life. The Oscar-winning actress is currently expecting baby No. 2 with husband Adam Shulman, and she just premiered her new Amazon Prime series, Modern Love. Plus, now we know that she caught a big break at a very important moment — and no, we’re not talking about her Hollywood career.

It turns out that Hathaway had what she considered to be a mercifully easy labor with her son, Jonathan Rosebanks, who is now three years old.

At Modern Love‘s red carpet premiere, Hathaway responded to a question from People about the kindest thing anyone has ever done for her. Pausing to think about it, she came up with: “Oh, my God, the kindest thing?! I can’t help but think my son, you know, my labor was very quick with him. That was pretty kind.”

And, yes, any mom would have to agree that Hathaway’s son’s first gesture on the outside was very kind indeed!

https://www.instagram.com/p/BxSXTkcnf82/

Hathaway revealed this pregnancy to her fans back in July, with a black-and-white selfie snapped in a mirror, which revealed much more than her burgeoning baby bump.

Indeed, she got candid with her struggles as well in the post, captioning it: “It’s not for a movie…⁣⁣ #2. ⁣All kidding aside, for everyone going through infertility and conception hell, please know it was not a straight line to either of my pregnancies. Sending you extra love.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/B0T0qLHFWbR/

Hathaway revealed after having her first child that she planned to quit drinking until he’s out of the house.

“I’m going to stop drinking while my son is in my house just because I don’t totally love the way I do it, and he’s getting to an age where he really does need me all the time in the mornings,” Hathaway told Ellen DeGeneres on her show. “I did one school run one day where I dropped him off at school, I wasn’t driving, but I was hungover and that was enough for me. I didn’t love that one.”

We love Hathaway’s candidness on being a mom, and we can’t wait to find out what she names her second child!

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‘El Camino’: What to Remember 6 Years After ‘Breaking Bad’

Six years ago, AMC’s award-season juggernaut “Breaking Bad” came to a bloody and satisfying end, and with it the story of Walter White (Bryan Cranston), the high school science teacher who became an Albuquerque drug kingpin. AMC quickly spun off a prequel series, “Better Call Saul,” giving fans more time with characters like Saul Goodman, Mike Ehrmantraut and Gus Fring. But given that shift in focus — and all the carnage of the final “Breaking Bad” season — it was reasonable to think that the finale was the last word otherwise.

Then in late 2018, the series’s creator, Vince Gilligan, secretly gathered his collaborators in New Mexico and directed his own screenplay for “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie,” which comes to Netflix Friday. Judging by the trailer, the movie introduces a bunch of new characters and brings back a few familiar ones, the most important being Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), whom we last saw looking broken but alive, speeding off through the desert in … an El Camino.

But what about the rest? Remember Skinny Pete? And what about poor Flynn? It’s been a while, so here’s a refresher on where we left the characters who may still have some bearing on the sequel — alive, dead or somewhere in between.

Jesse Pinkman

In Season 5, Walter’s right-hand man, Jesse, went through the wringer. First he came to realize just how much Walter had betrayed him. Then he was made a literal slave to meth-dealing white supremacists. We don’t know a lot about what happened to Jesse after the desert shootout that killed the D.E.A. agent (and Walt’s brother-in-law) Hank Schrader (Dean Norris). But by the time Walter came to save him, his existence looked tortured: imprisoned in the meth lab, cooking for monsters, rarely seeing the light of day.

Walter saved him, relying on his usual mix of brazenness and ingenuity (and the help of a remote-controlled machine gun). Jesse sped off into the night, hysterical and screaming. The movie looks to pick up immediately thereafter, so remember the trauma inflicted by Jesse’s captivity. It will surely play a role.

Badger and Skinny Pete

The first teaser trailer for “El Camino” offered a glimpse of Jesse Pinkman’s regular collaborator Skinny Pete (Charles Baker). He appears again in the official trailer, alongside his usual partner, Badger (Matthew Lee Jones). They were two of the last people to do business with Walt. In the series finale, they were paid by Walter to pose as assassins outside of the home of Walter’s former business partners the Schwartzes (Jessica Hecht and Adam Godley), a ruse to ensure that the couple would do as they were told. Pete and Badger also revealed to Walter that blue meth was still on the scene. Jesse has turned to them in times of need before. Judging by the trailer, he looks to need their help again.

Saul Goodman

The last we saw Saul (Bob Odenkirk), he was headed to a new life — which “Better Call Saul” has since confirmed involved an illustrious career as a Cinnabon employee. Could he resurface somewhere on the timeline between his last “Breaking Bad” appearance and those ominous “Saul” flash-forwards? Certainly. And an appearance by Odenkirk could really tie all three “Breaking Bad”-related projects together.

Huell Babineaux

Saul’s lovable bodyguard, Huell (Lavell Crawford), has been the subject of much internet concern as he was last seen being told never to leave a safe house by Agents Schrader and Gomez — who were then killed by Nazis. Is he still there? If Saul comes back into the picture in “El Camino,” he could also bring back one of the few people he thinks he can still trust.

Andrea and Brock Cantillo

There’s a shot of a photo of Jesse’s former girlfriend, Andrea, and her son, Brock (Ian Posada and Emily Rios), in the “El Camino” trailer, reminding viewers how important they were to Jesse — and to the plot: The end of “Breaking Bad” would have been very different if not for Jesse’s realization that Walter had poisoned Brock. In the second-to-last episode, Jesse watched as Todd (Jesse Plemons) murdered Andrea on her porch; maybe Jesse will try to be a father to an orphaned Brock in “El Camino.”

And although most of the Nazis are dead and Jesse already strangled Todd to death in the finale, it stands to reason that some of Todd’s more distant associates are probably still alive. Will Jesse be seeking more revenge?

Old Joe

The owner of Rocker Salvage (Larry Hankin) was a part of Jesse’s schemes in Season 5. He supplied the giant magnet used to wipe clean Gus Fring’s laptop in police custody. And he helped Jesse and Walt build their and their mobile meth lab operation. He has been spotted in the trailer for “El Camino.”

Skyler White and Walter White Jr.

Skyler and Walter Jr., a.k.a. Flynn (Anna Gunn and R.J. Mitte), again moved with baby Holly out of the family home in which so much of “Breaking Bad” took place. But Walter still found them in the finale. In a phone call the episode before, Walt Jr. had angrily asked his father to hurry up and die, so it’s just as well he wasn’t home.

Almost unfazed by Walter’s appearance, Skyler listened to what Walt Sr. had to say, arguably got some closure, learned where Hank’s body was buried and then allowed him to say a final goodbye to his daughter. After leaving, Walter watched from afar as his son come home from school, unaware his father was seeing him for the final time.

Lydia Rodarte-Quayle

Left to reassemble the pieces of Gus Fring’s broken empire, Lydia (Laura Fraser) was a key part of how the series reached its conclusion. Her expanded role was short-lived. After Jesse killed Todd, she called Todd’s phone, expecting confirmation that Walter was dead. Instead Walter picked up: Turned out not only was he alive, he had also replaced the “stevia crap” she used in her tea with ricin the last time they met. Presumably she won’t be back.

Gretchen and Elliott Schwartz

Walter was just about to turn himself in when he saw Gretchen and Elliott on Charlie Rose, talking about how little the now-infamous drug kingpin had to do with their success. He tracked them down, dropping millions of dollars on them with instructions to form a trust fund for his family. Perhaps “El Camino” will provide an update on whether they actually go along with Walt’s plan.

Marie Schrader

In the series finale, Hank’s widow, Marie (Betsy Brandt), called her sister, Skyler, with news about Walt’s return. Will Marie figure into Jesse’s story? Probably not. But Gilligan has a sneaky way of bringing characters back, so we can’t rule it out, especially if Jesse re-enters Skyler’s life for some reason.

Walter White

Gilligan has confirmed it: Yes, Walter is dead. But the way Gilligan has played with time on both of his shows means we can probably expect a flashback or two on “El Camino.” Those could open the door to many characters who were dead when the series ended, including Jesse’s speedball-shooting ex, Jane (Krysten Ritter); Gus (Giancarlo Esposito); Gus’s right-hand, Mike (Jonathan Banks); and even Hank.

The big question, however, is whether Walter will be among those familiar faces. Would it truly feel like “Breaking Bad” if he weren’t?

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Texting With Mark Sanford: Impeachment Can't Become A "Personality Contest"

This is an excerpt from The Stakes 2020, BuzzFeed News’ newsletter about what really matters in the 2020 campaign. You can sign up here.

This week I texted with Mark Sanford, the former member of Congress and South Carolina governor, who became one of Trump’s most vocal Republican critics — and lost his primary in 2018 to an extremely pro-Trump opponent (the seat eventually went to a Democrat). Sanford became a household name in 2009, when, as governor, he disappeared for six days, later admitting he was having an affair and was visiting his girlfriend in Argentina — a mild scandal by today’s standards. But he’s been incredibly consistent about limiting government spending and deficits and has launched a quixotic bid against Trump so he can, he hopes, remind Republicans they used to care about spending.

We texted about who his campaign appeals to, impeachment, and what he makes of some of his former congressional colleagues who now work for Trump.













  • Ben Smith is the editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed and is based in New York.

    Contact Ben Smith at [email protected]

    Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.

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Designed for Serenity, With Nature in Mind

This article is part of a new series on Visionaries. The New York Times selected people from all over the world who are pushing the boundaries of their fields, from science and technology to culture and sports.

As city dwellers seek to soften the expanding urban jungle around them, architects are working harder to incorporate greenery and natural materials. But nobody is doing it quite like Vo Trong Nghia.

His firm, Vo Trong Nghia Architects, based in Ho Chi Minh City, infuses its work with lushly planted walls, hanging vines, structure-piercing trees, weathered stones and sunken landscapes. It also incorporates traditional Vietnamese building techniques, like complex bamboo trusses, perforated blocks, cooling water systems, shaded terraces and thatched roofs. Mr. Nghia’s firm also is expanding into prefab housing, urban farms, green towers, parks and urban plans around Asia.

All these efforts are infused with a resolute vision: the creation of architecture that merges nature, local vernacular and — through modern materials and methods — contemporary design. Mr. Nghia sees such work as a way not only to refine the urban environment, but also to provide a sense of peace in the world.

“I wanted to create a new language of architecture in our country."

Still the leader of his firm — albeit remotely — Mr. Nghia, 43, who has been practicing meditation since 2012, has spent the last two years at the Pa-Auk Tawya Meditation Center, a Buddhist monastery in the forests of Myanmar. He participates in calls and discusses work, but only for short periods of time. For now, his plan is to return to Vietnam early next year. His entire staff meditates at least two hours a day, and they need to adhere to strict moral precepts, refraining from, among other things, drinking alcohol, smoking or lying.

The following conversation has been edited and condensed.

What would you like people to know about your work?

First, I would like people to know about our focus on meditation and guiding precepts. If you can meditate for several hours, everything becomes clear. You can become a superman compared to your former self. Architecture becomes easy. We don’t focus on working very long, but on cleaning our minds and cleaning our hearts. That’s why our firm works so well.

From a design point of view, we focus on connecting people to nature. We try to make a small mark on the city. In Vietnam our cities have so few parks and so little nature. People are being taken away from the moment, and away from nature. That’s why we have conflict everywhere [in the world]. Without nature around us we become crazy. So we try to wrap nature around our lives

Who or what inspired you to go into your field?

First, I love trees. When I see a tree I really focus on its leaves, and on how much soil and sunlight it needs. I grew up in a small village in Vietnam’s Quang Binh province. It was super hot, and we had no electricity. I very quickly learned the importance of trees in our environment.

My village was very near the border [of North and South Vietnam]. There was constant war, and bombs, and many people died. My family, like the others in our village, was very poor. I thought if I were to become an architect, I could become rich. Later, I learned that wasn’t true, but it didn’t matter because I loved architecture very much. Because there had been so much war, we were not able to develop a modern tradition of architecture in Vietnam. I wanted to help provide this. And I wanted to create a kind of architecture that harmonized with nature, that did not need air-conditioning, that employed simple and cheap materials. I wanted to create a new language of architecture in our country.

“If you can meditate for several hours, everything becomes clear.”

Where did you study?

I studied architecture for 10 years in Japan. I studied undergraduate at the Nagoya Institute of Technology, and I received my masters from the University of Tokyo. I learned about being honest in design and honest in life. I learned about structure, air flow, wood structure, concrete and design for a tropical climate. When I came back to Vietnam, I saw how lacking our cities were in greenery, and in architecture.

What obstacles do you face in your field?

An architect’s job is always challenging. But the biggest challenge for us is to harmonize super high density with nature, and to make architecture that lasts. People talk about making sustainable architecture, but they make things that only last a few years. What is sustainable about that? Nowadays people want to build fast, fast, fast. We don’t want to make garbage. We tell developers that we want to make architecture that will last 100 years, and I feel they don’t listen. To make a building last, it needs to be built right, in terms of structure and details. It’s not about a higher price, it’s about using the right materials in the right ways.

“We want trees, and all-natural materials, to interact with the building.”

Can you talk more about your focus on natural materials?

We use bamboo, timber, rammed earth, stone and more. We use trees, and not as decoration but as an essential element of architecture. Some people build a building and put trees on top. We want trees, and all-natural materials, to interact with the building. To limit water and flooding. To filter the sun. To filter sounds. To improve high-density living. On top of that we try to recycle water, use solar panels. We try to merge natural energy and natural materials.

How do you plan to change your field?

We want to use vernacular and modern design together to help solve the problems of high-density cities like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Vernacular design really harmonizes with nature. It was already there before electricity. It knew how to deal with really hot weather, for instance. Nowadays with higher populations, higher density and less land, this vernacular cannot be applied 100 percent. So we’ve started to develop a new type of architecture to harmonize with these new conditions, and with people’s modern lifestyles. I’ve tried to make architecture become a mini-park for the city. And we’ve learned from local vernacular how to use simple materials and techniques.

In our office we have air-conditioning, but we don’t use it. We have greenery all around us, irrigated through a rainwater harvesting system. A water system cools the air. But we built it for very cheap. It’s filled with beautiful, simple details.

We’re bringing this approach to a much larger scale. Every master plan we’ve done is filled with parks or gardens. We’ve also established a fund to help people throughout the country plant more trees: in schools, on roads and in the countryside. Our architecture and master plans are not enough, and we want to reintroduce the natural world as widely as possible.

“We don’t focus on working very long, but on cleaning our minds and cleaning our hearts.”

How do you define success?

Enlightenment. If I become a very famous architect, it’s meaningless compared to enlightenment.

How has meditation impacted your design practice?

If you achieve deep concentration, you will feel super peaceful, and the concept of design will become very easy. I don’t take much time to think about a concept. It’s not focus — it’s super focus. I can concentrate for three hours continuously. With an empty mind like that, if you want to develop a concept it comes very easily. Instead of thinking about the concept I just meditate and then it can take only five or 10 minutes to find a concept.

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‘For Colored Girls’ Is a Choreopoem. What’s a Choreopoem?

“For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf” is not a play. Or that’s not what the breakthrough work was called by its author, Ntozake Shange. Her word was “choreopoem,” and any production of “For Colored Girls,” like the major revival now in previews at the Public Theater, has to figure out what the term means.

To the revival’s director, Leah C. Gardiner, the definition is not that complicated. “A choreopoem,” she said, “is a combination of all forms of theater storytelling.” Which isn’t to say that it’s simple to realize. In the carefully chosen words of the revival’s in-demand choreographer, Camille A. Brown, “combining text with movement is very complex.”

For Paula Moss, the choreographer of the original 1976 production at the Public, “choreopoem” summons a memory of San Francisco in 1973. Shange, who died last year, had just met Ms. Moss in a dance class and invited her to a poetry reading.

“She stood up and started to read a few of her poems,” Ms. Moss recalled in a telephone interview from her home in Rome. “Normally, poets stand there very stiff, but as she read, she starting dancing. Everyone was shocked.”

“When she sat down,” Ms. Moss continued, “she turned to me and said, ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ I thought she was talking about writing. But she was talking about standing still.”

From then on, whenever Shange recited her poetry, she moved. Often, Ms. Moss would be beside her, improvising in dance. “She told me to listen to her words and the sound of her voice and interpret them,” Ms. Moss recalled. “She had the flow of a musician, and she could communicate the most intimate and secret feelings that women were going through. And movement and words came from the same breath. There could be no separation.”

Both in their 20s, they were quickly joined by other young women, and sometimes by musicians, as they performed the choreopoetry that would become “For Colored Girls” in women’s bars, cafes and Fillmore District clubs. After Shange and Ms. Moss drove to New York City, the work acquired a director and a more fixed shape. Eventually, at the Public Theater and then on Broadway, it became a landmark production of American theater, its script a classic of African-American literature. But it is not always remembered that it all started with a poet dancing.

Shange, for her part, persistently emphasized the importance of dance in her life and work, the way it connected her to her body and her African-American heritage. “It’s how we remember what cannot be said,” she once wrote.

In her essay-poem “Why I Had to Dance,” she recalled how, in the years she was developing “For Colored Girls,” dance became as important to her as writing. She acquired the habit of going directly from dance class to a coffee shop with her journal, as “the endorphin high” helped her “get to the truth.” More broadly, “movements propelled the language and/or the language propelled the dance.”

After Shange relocated to New York, her favorite dance classes were those she took as a scholarship student at Sounds in Motion, the Harlem studio of the choreographer Dianne McInytre. Over the phone from Cleveland, Ms. McIntyre recalled “the beautiful flow” and flexibility of Shange in class: “She cut through space like a gazelle.”

For the rest of Shange’s life, Ms. McIntyre often worked with her as a choreographer and a dancer. What Shange wanted from her, she said, was not literal translation: “You respond to the energy of her words, the meaning. You’re going deep to the place where she’s coming from.” There was “total collaboration,” she said, among Shange, a choreographer and a director. Similarly, it was “sometimes not easy to tell the difference between dancer, actor, singer. Everybody does everything. Everybody is thinking motion.”

Aku Kadogo, another McIntyre student, joined Shange’s crew, improvising in bars then becoming an original cast member of “For Colored Girls.” Now the chair of theater and performance at Spelman College, she remembers how dance was “more public” back then: “Dance was around us, integral to our culture, and Ntozake captured that. She caught it with language.”

References to dance abound in the text of “For Colored Girls,” in both the poetry (“we gotta dance to keep from cryin/we gotta dance to keep from dyin”) and the stage directions. Yet some audience members, Ms. Moss recalled, wondered where the choreography was. “That wasn’t the point,” she said. “This was a whole new form of theater. The choreography was within the poem and the performer. We worked hard to be free in our bodies as we recited the words.”

It was a form of theater that Shange often had to defend. Calling herself a poet rather than a playwright, she railed against theater conventions, arguing that for black artists, plays without dancers and musicians were a waste of an “interdisciplinary culture.” Explaining her collaborations with choreographers and musicians, she wrote how in her work, as in traditional theater, “everyone’s efforts are directed toward the exploration and integrity of the text.” The difference in her collaborations: “The text grows.”

Therein lies the promise and some of the perils facing the “For Colored Girls” revival. Ms. Brown knows something about the borderline between theater and dance. She is one of very few choreographers to maintain a successful contemporary dance troupe (hers performs at the Joyce Theater Nov. 9-10) and a thriving career in theater. (She choreographed the current Metropolitan Opera production of “Porgy and Bess” and her work on “Choir Boy” was nominated for a Tony Award earlier this year.)

Interviewed before a recent rehearsal, Ms. Brown said that choreographing a choreopoem wasn’t so different from her usual practice. Much of her work is rooted in social dance and gesture. The children’s games — hand clapping, double Dutch — important to both the original production and to Ms. Gardiner’s vision, are a facet of African-American culture that Ms. Brown has already explored in her own “Black Girl: Linguistic Play.”

It’s a connection that Shange recognized. Before her death, Shange interviewed Ms. Brown for a book she was writing about dance. (“I should be interviewing you,” Ms. Brown recalls thinking.) Planning the “For Colored Girls” revival, she told Ms. Gardiner that Ms. Brown was her choice for choreographer.

Ms. Brown admits some difficulties, like the danger of falling into clichés of spoken-word performance. “How can we honor that tradition but still challenge people to think differently?” she asked. “How far can we stretch the abstraction and leave things a little more ambiguous?”

But, especially as a choreographer working in theater, Ms. Brown said that she is grateful for the precedent set by Shange: “What’s beautiful about Ntozake’s work is that movement is not seen as a distraction. It’s part of the story. When I’m given the space to serve the story through movement, that feels good.”

From her director’s perspective, Ms. Gardiner described the making of this choreopoem as a process of unusually pervasive collaboration. “You need everybody in the room at all times,” she said. “Even when I’ve directed musicals, everyone had a set role,” she added, whereas in “For Colored Girls” rehearsals, the team of black women — she and Ms. Brown and the composer, Martha Redbone — were “all in the pot, cooking it up together.”

Working that way is costly, Ms. Gardiner noted. But it was Shange’s way, and Ms. Gardiner sees a connection between Shange’s example, a current upswing in dance and music in plays and a surge in black playwrights “working and writing out of our tradition.” It is, she said, “an exciting time in American theater.”

A time that recalls an earlier time. Ms. Moss, thinking of the beginning in San Francisco, remembered a painful feeling, as she danced to Shange’s poems, of something holding her back, like being at the edge of a cliff unable to jump. “Until one day, I jumped,” she said, “and I felt this rush of freedom, and we drove that car across the country, saying to ourselves, “We have something.’”

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Leah Remini Thinks Lamar 'Should Have Stayed' on 'DWTS,' Pitches a New Rule


Leah Remini does not hold back! The actress, 49, joined Dancing With the Stars as a guest judge on Monday, October 7, and made it very clear that she wasn’t going to be going along with judges Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba‘s rules. In fact, when the judges criticized Lamar Odom and gave him low scores, she gave him a 7, with hopes that would keep him in the competition.

Unfortunately, that didn’t work and the former NBA star was sent home. After the show, the King of Queens alum opened up to Us Weekly about why she was so upset over Odom’s elimination.

“I don’t think that people really understood how hard it is for Lamar. He’s not a dancer, he’s a man in sports who is used to putting on a game face and I don’t know if everybody at home can see through that,” the Emmy winner, who competed on season 17 of the dance competition show, told Us and other reporters. “What I saw is a kind man who is struggling and still coming out and doing his best. I know how hard the pros work for us, and it’s not an easy thing to do for someone who is not used to performing; it’s something he has never done before. I just don’t know if people really know how much he was struggling to remember the dance.”

Remini then revealed that she felt “it sucks” that Odom was eliminated. “I think he should have stayed,” she shared, adding that he’s what the show should be all about.

“I think they should change it to where you have no dance experience — zero dance experience. Zero, zero, zero,” the former Talk cohost said. “Because if you’re used to performing live in any capacity, you already have a leg up on those who don’t.”

The athlete, 39, however, was in good spirits following his elimination. “I have some free time on my hands. Maybe I can focus on my public speaking and change some lives with my story,” the New York native told Us on Monday night. “[I’d like to] go celebrate my book, a New York Times bestseller [Darkness to Light: A Memoir]. Focus on my children. Maybe [take] a vacation.”

Odom also added that he learned a lot from his brief time on the ABC hit. “I learned I can do anything if I put my mind to it. I’m a fighter. I never quit,” he said. “I tried something new. I failed but I learned something new about myself. It was humbling.”

Dancing With the Stars airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.

With reporting by Kayley Stumpe

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Mila Kunis: Real Housewife of Beverly Hills?

They may both love The Bachelor but, apparently, not all reality TV is bonding material. Ashton Kutcher’s reaction to Mila Kunis’ Real Housewives dream goes to show that Kutcher probably doesn’t tune in when his wife catches up on all of the juicy drama packed into each week of RHOBH.

Kunis confessed to Kutcher’s distaste for the reality series franchise during an appearance on Andrea Savage’s Grown-Up Woman podcast Monday. And, let it be said, The Ranch star apparently does not mince words. “I did ask my husband once, I was like, ‘Listen. Later, in, like, 20 years, 30 years, what do you think of me going on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills?’ I’m like, ‘Just for, like, a year,’” Kunis told Savage. Kutcher’s reaction? “He was like, ‘I would kill you.’”

On that homicidal note, Kunis and Savage circled back around to RHOBH later in the episode with a rousing round of “Make Love, Marry, Murder.” Curious to know how Kunis would divvy out the cast’s fates? She’d make love to Harry Hamlin and “have fun” with his wife Lisa Rinna, marry both Kyle Richards and her husband Mauricio Umansky, and, well, Dorit and Paul Kemsley would get axed. However, Kunis made sure to note that the Kemsleys “seem like a lovely couple.”

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After hearing of Kutcher’s thoughts on Kunis joining the franchise in the distant future, we can’t imagine how a round of that game might go for him. But, hey, maybe he’ll come around to the series at some point. He does love The Bachelor franchise, after all — so much so that the couple even appeared on Rachel Lindsay’s season in 2017 to help her find a suitable life partner.

Perhaps, instead of joining the show, Kunis could simply make a similarly quick appearance (one that Kutcher might be more amenable to). Maybe she could “accidentally” run into Rinna at the local Whole Foods. Or how about an airport run-in? ABC already missed one potential filming opportunity, since Kunis says she shared a flight with Richards and Umansky a few years back.

“They were behind me, and I was like, ‘Oh, my God, it’s the people from this reality show!’ I was so excited,” she admitted, adding, “We didn’t talk. They were with their kids, and they were doing, like, crossword puzzles or just being cool parents. … I was so impressed, to this day, at how normal they were.” Says the celebrity. Hollywood is weird!

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