“While You Were Out,” is a Friday feature of short notes and commentary from the week. Whether it’s something you’d discuss at the water cooler or at happy hour, you’ll find it on our grid, together with our opinion as to if it’s praiseworthy or cringeworthy. We’re pleased to bring you the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week.
Daylight Stupid Time?
No doubt while you were out this week, you noticed Daylight Savings Time happened. If it didn’t make you an hour late somewhere, it probably caught your attention when at 8 p.m. you looked outside and thought, “It's oddly bright out there…” At any rate, HBO’s Last Week Tonight show put a spotlight on the entire phenomenon of DST, asking the question, “How is this still a thing?” Apparently, not a bad question.
American Sniper Gains National Appeal
This week we learned that American Sniper has become the highest grossing film of 2014. While the film wasn’t flawless—it certainly could have used some work on their portrayal of its one central woman, the wife of Chris Kyle—it is certainly a striking look into a multi-layered and serious problem facing generations of veterans and their families. Way to go, Clint Eastwood, for making another film that furthers cultural conversations.
News from Paris Fashion Week
Fashion Week has come to a close in Paris for Fall/Winter 2015 Collections, ending the month-long streak of fashion shows in New York, London, and Milan. Chanel, Chloe, Celine, and Louis Vuitton were among the glamorous slew of designers and couture houses who showcased their collections. And, we have to admit, while watching from overseas, our favorite surprise moment was seeing Derek Zoolander and Hansel McDonald stride down the Maison Valentino runway after the grand finale. Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson are at it again, and their Valentino stunt was, in my opinion, the best way to announce Zoolander 2. We’ll have to wait until the film's release in 2016 to see Derek and Hansel strut their stuff on the big screen.
In other Paris Fashion Week news, news outlets noted that Renee Zellweger attended Prada’s Miu Miu show but “hid her face from cameras with Audrey Hepburn-style bangs and large shades.” Really? Would we say Audrey Hepburn was hiding her face with the same style, or could it just be a style choice? OK, so even if Zellweger was intending to shade her face, who can blame her? It’s surely not easy getting so much scrutiny for your looks.
Consider Us Psyched
It looks like Disney Pixar’s streak of creating movies guaranteed to capture children’s imaginations and make adults weep will continue. The trailer for Inside Out premiered on TheEllen DeGeneres Show this week, and I could feel all the emotions bubbling up just watching two minutes of magic. This is, perhaps, intentional, as the movie is in fact about the emotions of a young girl, and their journey in her head as they try and help her adjust to life in a new city. With Amy Poehler voicing the emotion of Joy, Bill Hader voicing Fear, Phyllis Smith as Sadness, Lewis Black as Anger, and the delightful Mindy Kaling as Disgust, the movie promises to live in Pixar’s patented emotional landscape where laughter, tears, and nostalgia all reside. I know exactly where I will be in June when my AC breaks—donning 3-D glasses in a movie theater, trying to convince my friends that my sniffles are due to a cold.
Where Broadway Meets Ballet
One of the world's top choreographers, Christopher Wheeldon, is making his debut as a Broadway director this month with the highly anticipated adaptation of "An American In Paris" at the Palace Theatre. Wheeldon brought in two unlikely leads, Robert Fairchild, a principal with the New York City Ballet, and Leanne Cope, first artist at the Royal Ballet. The two are joining the ranks of Broadway triple threats by speaking dialogue and singing Gershwin tunes—in addition to the 17-minute ballet routine—eight shows a week!
Both leads said they "hope the walls between theater and ballet can continue to fall, leading to more storytelling in ballets and more technically gifted dancers on Broadway." We do, too!
A new scientific advancement may aid in combating Alzheimer's disease. Different from proposed cures that would involve stem cells or medication, this method would employ ultrasound waves on the brain, which proved successful helping mice recover memory in their tests. We’re sending every encouragement their way for continued success in finding an ethically sourced cure to this devastating illness.
Bachelor Chris Makes His Decision
In this week’s season finale of The Bachelor, Iowa farmer Chris Soules picked Chicago nurse Whitney Bischoff. I predicted Bischoff’s win after the two crashed a wedding back on their first date, and, despite her often criticized high-pitched voice, I think Bischoff and Soules are a great fit. That said, Soules seemed to constantly agonize over which woman to give a rose to—even during the finale. I know it could all just be the magical editing of ABC, but if I saw my boyfriend practically in tears saying goodbye to another woman just minutes before proposing to me, I would not be happy.
“Hearing my dad say that he thought Whitney was the sure thing—but that Becca was who I wanted—was hard to watch. The truth is, at that time, I didn't know what I wanted. And also, any time you take a chance on love, it's a risk, no matter whom it's with.”
But props to Prince Farming for narrowing down his pool of women to two totally genuine and seemingly authentic ladies. Runner-up Becca Tilley was unabashedly herself all season long. While every other contestant was throwing herself at Soules, Tilley stayed back a bit. She took things slow and didn’t ever lie to Chris about how she felt. Even in the very end, when she knew she was probably going home, she only told Soules that she could see herself being with him and could fall in love with him—but they’d have to see how it went after the cameras were off. Pretty sure Becca and I would be friends IRL.
And the Bachelorette is…?
In the most dramatic moment in Bachelor history (ahem, Chris Harrison, ahem), the bigwigs at ABC have decided to go with not one, but two, Bachelorettes for next season. There have been plenty of cringe-worthy moments throughout the series—Juan Pablo as Bachelor, Brad as Bachelor twice, all those infamous ocean scenes—but this one might just be the worst. Pitting two women against each other and ultimately giving the power to the men on what’s supposed to be a season of the female-in-charge is not only disappointing but completely sexist. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. Former Bachelor Sean Lowe wrote in his latest blog post,
“It’s downright degrading for the women—for the two chosen and the women watching at home. This move transfers the power back to the men on the show specifically designed for the women. As one tweet said, 'Once again, you’ll have women competing for the attention of men.'”
If the show had any sliver of credibility for helping people find love, that’s all gone out the window with this new tactic. There’s no way producers can possibly select 25 men suitable for such different Bachelorettes as Britt and Kaitlyn. Given the lackluster reaction the two had during “After the Final Rose,” I’d guess that ABC approached the girls, had them sign on the dotted line, and then told them that, oops, there are actually two Bachelorettes this year! Clearly, they’re trying to boost ratings and profits. To which I have to say, mo’ money, mo’ problems.
“Blurred Lines” Loses
After eight days of trial and testimony, a California federal jury ordered Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams to pay $7.4 million in copyright infringement for their uber-creepy hit “Blurred Lines.” The issue is the song’s striking similarity to the 1977 Marvin Gaye track “Got to Give it Up.” While we might feel somewhat vindicated that the pair of songwriters will be punished for their questionable tune, the verdict raises some bigger questions since the decision was based on the "feel" of the stripped-down version of the track in comparison to Gaye's track, and not a note-for-note or melodic plagiarism. Sam Smith is currently paying royalties to Tom Petty for a similar reason. It’s enough to make us wonder: Are decisions like these blurring the lines between plagiarism and natural musical inspiration?
Who You Gonna Call? Channing Tatum!
Apparently the menfolk are feeling some pressure to bust some ghosts themselves. After January’s announcement of an all-female reboot of Ghostbusters, slated to start filming this summer with Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon, comes the news of yet another Ghostbusters movie! This one promises to star Channing Tatum (who is about as masculine as they come) and will be released after the ladies have had their go at those pesky ghosts. What gives, Sony? Are you giving in to the rather distressing internet outrage that decried the decision to remake the beloved franchise with women, or are you just hoping to make as much money as possible without coming up with new movie ideas? Either way, it all seems a little strange. As much as I enjoy Channing Tatum’s comedic chops and muscles, I’m going to throw my lot in with the ghostbuster gals and gear up to support the idea of women headlining big-budget blockbusters.
Now All We Need is Some Muppets
In odd news that brings together my love for musical theater and my boyfriend’s love for space in unexpected ways, Sarah Brightman, famous for introducing the world to Christine in Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s "Phantom of the Opera," has announced that she will travel to the International Space Station via Russian rocket and sing to the world from space. Brightman’s powerful soprano voice will be singing a new song composed by Webber after her arrival in outer space this fall. This will be the first live musical performance ever broadcast from space, although Will.i.am’s song "Reach for the Stars" claimed first space broadcast when it was transmitted from the Curiosity Rover on Mars in 2012. I guess it is not enough to have your voice be just described as “out of this world” and “unearthly.” Musical theater divas, the bar has officially been raised.
Cosby Speaks… And Women Continue As Well
Facing a steadily growing number of sexual assault allegations, Bill Cosby released a video to fans this week, accompanied by the message “Hey Hey Hey I’m far from finished.” The video serves as a promotion for his upcoming tours.
Also this week, a mother of an alleged victim says she sent a letter to the comedian’s wife in an attempt to get through to her, “mother to mother.” Judy Thompson, whose daughter Jennifer was 17 when she said she experienced unwanted sexual advances from Cosby in the 1980s, says she “watched her daughter go from a sparkling, ambitious teen to a woman ‘with an inner light extinguished.’” In the aftermath, Thompson says, it was hard to find anyone, even a therapist, who would believe her daughter’s story. “To be so hurt and violated, and then not be believed! Resolution has not been easily forthcoming,” Thompson wrote.
If Cosby’s accusers are telling the truth, one hopes they aren’t far from finished either.
Ex-Stripper Takes on the Traffickers
In inspiring news this week, we read the story of the resilient Windie Lazenko, described in headlines as an “ex-stripper” who is fighting human trafficking. Lazenko, who was trafficked into prostitution, porn, and stripping at age 13 is a living witness to coercion in the sex industry. Now, at 46, she is using her experience for good, working with law enforcement to combat sex trafficking in North Dakota. “She's got an insight into a world that most people don't,” one police captain explained. "She's very calm,” said a U.S. attorney who’s seen Lazenko’s patient efforts working with prostituted women lead to the taking down of traffickers in court. “She doesn't give up on these women. This can be frustrating work ... [but] she's been down this road and knows it's a long march to get out."
We applaud Lazenko for her priceless work, as survivor-led initiatives are proving essential to law enforcement in combating this complex web of a problem. Her story is a reminder that even the seemingly legal arms of the sex industry like porn and stripping involve a deep history of abuse and trafficking, and just how essential it is to change how our culture views prostitution if we want the coercion to stop.