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King Charles and Queen Camilla’s three-day tour of France was a success by most metrics. There were no big flubs or international incidents. President Macron was a gracious host, Charles and Camilla didn’t make much of a fuss, no events had to be canceled at the last minute and no one brought out a guillotine. Still, the tour wasn’t really a headline-grabber internationally or some huge narrative-changing event either – Charles’s environmental message was kneecapped back at home by the Sunak government, and while the British media lavished praise and attention on the king and queen, there was also a sense that it was all drudge work, that there really was no “spark” there, no magic, nothing special at all. Still, the palace must have demanded that every royal reporter write one nice thing about Camilla, so here we are: Rebecca English’s sources insist that Camilla does her own makeup. Just a short time after the Duchess of Sussex arrived in Germany without a glam squad and did her own hair and makeup? Sure.

It has been the question on everyone’s lips in Paris this week: just where is Queen Camilla getting her glow from? Well, the Mail can reveal that the make-up aritst behind Her Majesty’s radiant look is none other than… Camilla herself.

Far from employing a team of stylists since her husband King Charles’s accession last year, the 76-year-old royal has been teaching herself a few tricks of the beauty trade. And while Camilla did use make-up artist Julia Biddlecombe for her wedding to Charles in 2005 and for their first handful of big royal tours and events, Camilla is now confident enough to do her own looks for big public events.

‘Her Majesty does all of her make-up herself,’ a source in Paris confirmed. Another added: ‘Like a lot of ladies, she’s worked out what suits her maturing skin over the years. And yes, I’d agree that she’s looking the best she ever has. There’s a real radiance there. And that’s a tough look to pull off in front of so many cameras.’

While she is never one to take herself too seriously, Camilla has also noted carefully over the years the best way to pose for photographers who follow her. She had a team around her led by her talented and long-standing dresser, Jacqui Meakin, who also worked for the late Queen Mother, and has collaborated with the Queen to develop an elegant and unfussy style. Ms Meakin also has talent for spotting the eye-catching such as Camilla’s Anna Valentine jumpsuit and the Dior gown and cape she wore at Wednesday’s French state banquet at the Palace Versailles.

[From The Daily Mail]

In this week’s Gossip With Celebitchy podcast, CB surprised me by suggesting that Camilla has gotten some work done this year. I disagree! I think the Photoshop elves are just editing her photos more before they even go to photo agencies. I remember how ghastly Camilla looked at Wimbledon and that was July. Maybe she got some work over the summer and she hid out in Scotland until she healed. But I still say that it’s mostly airbrushing. And no, Camilla is not “glowing.” Nor does she do her own makeup, she’s just copying Meghan. Do you think Camilla would have plotted and schemed for decades just to become queen and end up doing her own makeup? She traveled with a glam squad, they just don’t want to admit that even if Britain’s best glam squad, Camilla still looks like an ancient nag.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Cover Images.

Back in August, almost one month ago exactly, Leonardo DiCaprio was seen out on an ice cream date with Vittoria Ceretti, the 25-year-old Italian model. Ceretti was married to Matteo Milleri for three years (she was a young bride) and they only separated in June of this year. Some wondered if Leo was Vittoria’s rebound guy and some wondered if Leo was perhaps the reason why Vittoria’s marriage fell apart. I don’t think it’s the former – Leo and Vittoria weren’t seen out together until August, so “Leo is the rebound” seems far more likely. Well, apparently Vittoria and Leo are getting more serious and it’s looking more and more like Leo has finally found an “official girlfriend,” more than a year after his split from Camila Morrone.

Leonardo DiCaprio has a new lady in his life — and it’s getting serious, Page Six can exclusively confirm. We’re told the 48-year-old A-lister is officially dating 25-year-old model Vittoria Ceretti. The couple has been spotted on several dates in the US and abroad in recent months, sparking speculation about whether they were having a casual summer fling. However, a source close to the couple tells us exclusively that they are the real deal.

“They’ve been spending quite a bit of time together over the past few months, and they’re enjoying getting to know one another on a deeper level,” the insider shares.

DiCaprio and Ceretti were first seen out in public during a steamy club outing in Ibiza, Spain, on Aug. 9. The “Titanic” star and Italian beauty were seen in a video exclusively obtained by Page Six kissing and partying together at the electrifying Hï Ibiza club. DiCaprio appeared to be having a blast while Ceretti seductively danced with him as the club’s neon lights surrounded them.

A few weeks after their Spanish club romp, the pair decided to head over to California for a much calmer rendezvous. DiCaprio and Ceretti were spotted grabbing ice cream and iced coffee while out in Santa Barbara.

An eyewitness claimed to have noticed a “vibe” between the two during the Aug. 22 date, and told us of the sighting, “The way they were talking to each other. … You could feel the energy.”

DiCaprio and Ceretti have since taken their love back overseas to the UK. An eyewitness spotted the pair attending the Vogue World: London party together just last week. “Leo and Vittoria were chatting and dancing together all night,” a spy tells Page Six exclusively. “From the looks of it, their romance is much more than a passing fling.”

A separate source tells us that DiCaprio was even spotted supporting Ceretti abroad while she walked the catwalks at Milan Fashion Week.

[From Page Six]

An international love tour? Oh yes, Leo is interested. Even more than that – it appears as if he’s really pursuing her, which he usually doesn’t do. Leo doesn’t put much effort into romance, you know? But he’s following her all around Europe, going to her fashion events. He’s a smitten kitten. As for Vittoria’s age… I’ve been saying this for a year now, Leo changed his age requirements after he beclowned himself by dumping Morrone. Y’all ripped him to shreds and Leo hated that. Now he has to swallow his pride and date these ancient old biddies of 27 and 28. What I’m saying is that Vittoria will have a few years with him, if that’s what she wants. I think Leo’s new cutoff age is probably 28/29.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid, Cover Images.

Emma Watson, Benedict Cumberbatch & Scarlett Johansson all went to Milan Fashion Week to sit front row for Prada. [Just Jared]
Lainey’s take on Sophie Turner & Joe Jonas. [LaineyGossip]
That Nicole Beharie clip from The Morning Show kind of made me want to watch the whole show, then I remembered who the leads are. [Pajiba]
Thoughts on Julianne Hough’s boots? Too thick & slouchy, right? [Go Fug Yourself]
A deeper dive into Ashton Kutcher’s anti-abuse charity Thorn. [Jezebel]
Kristen Stewart came out for a Chanel event. [RCFA]
Pauly Shore wants to play Richard Simmons in a bio-pic.[Seriously OMG]
Demi Moore hits Milan Fashion Week. [Egotastic]
Texas parents object to their kids reading The Diary of Anne Frank. [Buzzfeed]
Madison LeCroy talks about A-Rod & her husband. [Starcasm]
I love that Drag Race is an international franchise. [Socialite Life]

Embed from Getty Images

Something I only noticed a few days after Prince William’s New York trip concluded: the British media barely, if ever, mentioned the fact that NYC Mayor Eric Adams canceled his appearance with William at the FDNY station. That’s how you know it was supposed to be the final piece of William’s Copykeening Harry Tour: a photo-op with the mayor, just like Harry and Meghan did a photocall with Bill DeBlasio in 2021. Between that and oh-so-deliberate fudges about “William did meetings at the United Nations” – when really he waylaid the president of Ecuador at British Consul’s residence across from the UN building – shows you what setpieces William actually cared about and what he didn’t get. Which is probably why the British media is going way overboard about how William is “a reborn sex symbol” and KP is briefing Katie Nicholl about how pleased William was with the trip. And when all else fails, bring up Harry, Meghan and the paparazzi chase.

The smooth, good-humoured success of Prince William’s visit to New York this week was in stark contrast to his brother Harry’s recent stay there, writes Richard Eden in the latest edition of his Palace Confidential newsletter. Eden, the Daily Mail Diary Editor, praises William for his effective diplomacy on the two-day solo visit, suggesting that the Prince had proved himself an ambassador both for the nation and the monarchy.

Strikingly, he says, the Prince of Wales endured none of the headline-catching drama overshadowing the New York visit of Harry and Meghan in May, when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex claimed to have been involved in ‘near catastrophic car chase’ with photographers.

There was no such drama for William, who – even without Catherine by his side – proved quite a hit, drawing crowds of well-wishers.

‘Greeting Prince William in New York this week, the city’s former mayor Michael Bloomberg referred to a recent opinion poll that showed our future king was viewed more favourably in the USA than President Joe Biden,’ writes Eden. ‘Referring to the Declaration of Independence from George III’s Britain, Bloomberg joked: “America has not seen that kind of bipartisan consensus since 1776. But this time we’re all drinking to the King’s health.”

‘The calm success of the trip was a stark contrast to his brother’s most recent visit to New York City. That was overshadowed by Prince Harry and Meghan’s claims that they had been involved in a “near-catastrophic car chase” with press photographers. The incident happened after the couple tried to shake off “a ring of highly aggressive paparazzi” in half a dozen cars with blacked out windows, driving dangerously and putting the lives of the couple and Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, in danger, their spokesman said. The New York Police Department later said no one had been hurt and a taxi driver who drove the couple never felt in danger.’

[From The Daily Mail]

This is a typical William blunder: “See, the paparazzi didn’t chase me, that means I’m better than my brother!” No, dipsh-t, it means no one cares about you and the paparazzi didn’t even think your photos would sell. This isn’t a flex, Peggington. For nearly every one of William’s carefully stage-managed events, there was an in-house royal rota photographer “selling” or giving the photos to agencies. The one event he did out in public, the stop by the FDNY station, barely registered because most photo agencies didn’t even care enough to buy or carry the pics. THAT is the story – William is unimportant, William’s photos don’t sell, William isn’t a thing in America, William is desperate to compare himself favorably to his brother and failing miserably.

As for Eden and all of the British reporters openly mocking the Sussexes’ tangle with the paparazzi several months ago… first of all, those reporters are all going to hell. Second of all, I find it curious that the Sussexes haven’t said anything about it in a while, which makes me believe that there’s sh-t happening behind-the-scenes.

Photos courtesy of Backgrid, Cover Images.

This week has felt like the British media is working through an incandescent hangover because they were so “shook” by the Invictus Games. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex looked amazing and loved-up, the Invictus cause is worthy and important, high-ranking officials from around the world traveled to Dusseldorf and all of them wanted facetime with Harry and Meghan. The BM tried to ignore all of it, tried to relaunch old smears (Thomas Markle, the cost of Meghan’s clothes) and all of it fell flat. Prince William was trotted out for carefully managed events in New York and they tried to declare victory. Charles and Camilla did a short tour through France and the BM was bored to tears. Please allow Jan Moir at the Daily Mail to explain the weird vibe this week in her column “Since the Queen died, I’ve struggled to see what the point is of the Royal Family any more. Is that wrong?” Oooof.

No magic since QEII died: “Since the Queen died, I’ve struggled to see what the point is of the Royal Family any more. Is that wrong? Once this dignified, dutiful, much-loved matriarch left us for the great palace in the sky, she took the last drop of regal charisma with her, along with my devotion. All we are left with now is the well-meaning but essentially ho-hum next generation, the second tier on the crumbling cake, the monarchical subs’ bench.”

The royals abroad: “If questions are raised about the value of their individual and collective roles within the UK, then the issue of their significance gets even more crucial when they venture abroad.”

The asparagus issue: “There was a fabulous banquet at Versailles, although it was a bit much of King Charles to demand he was not served foie gras nor out-of-season vegetables such as asparagus, particularly as salmon and asparagus fishcakes are still on the menu at the Pavilion Tea Room in Kensington Palace. (I hope you are hungry, Your Majesty, because this piping hot hypocrisy is delicious.)

Charles’s big speech: “There was further embarrassment when, in a historic address to the French parliament, the King called global warming an ‘existential challenge’ and called for a ‘sustainability agreement’ with France. Fine words, but after the British Government U-turned on green targets, Charles must have been feeling very green indeed. And this was more than just unfortunate timing, it perfectly emphasised increasing royal irrelevance.

Let Camilla retire: “And then, of course, there is Queen Camilla. What I am thinking is, do we really have to put the 76-year-old through all this torture? Camilla trundled through Paris like a woman expecting to face a guillotine at the end of every day. She looked terrified most of the time, and when she wasn’t looking terrified she was battling to keep her hat on, fighting to keep her hems down and avoiding being patronised by Madame Macron. The First Lady of France fussed with Camilla’s evening cape on Wednesday and then — unforgivably — made her play ping-pong during a cringeworthy publicity event yesterday. Camilla does her best, of course she does, but she always has the air of someone who ponged her ping a very long time ago. Someone who would always rather be somewhere else: preferably at home, feet up, ciggie lit, dog on lap, stiff gin to hand as she riffles through the latest issue of Horse & Hound.

William’s trip to New York was even worse: “And if all that wasn’t bad enough, Prince William in America was even worse. He was speaking in New York as the finalists were announced for his flagship environmental project, the Earthshot Prize. The Prince appeared in front of an audience that included Bill Gates, UN climate envoy Mike Bloomberg and former New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern — or as I like to call them, people with nothing better to do. They certainly must have wished they were on an earthshot the hell outta there when William began speaking. ‘I think if we remark on how pessimistic and doom and gloom everything is, even though there is a healthy dose of that needed… it doesn’t provoke the reaction from us humans that we would like,’ he blithered. Honestly. Who writes this banal guff for him? Then he went to inspect some oyster beds — don’t ask me why.

[From The Daily Mail]

“Blithered”? Oh my. “People with nothing better to do”? Well well. “It perfectly emphasised increasing royal irrelevance”? Harsh but fair. I actually agree with Moir about Camilla needing to be, um, put out to pasture. Camilla has already made it clear that she doesn’t want to travel or do these tours anymore, and she’s truly not adding anything. No one, anywhere, is clamoring for Camilla. The king seems spry enough, so they just send him out solo and let Camilla have lunch with Jeremy Clarkson and Piers Morgan. But as I said, the royal trips this week have suffered because of the collective media hangover from the Invictus Games. It’s a stark comparison and the Windsors just look… unimportant, irrelevant and silly. I love that for them.

Photos courtesy of Cover Images.

Sophie Turner went out with Taylor Swift again last night in NYC. They went out to the Hotel Barriére Fouquet with other friends, then they went to Gant, then Mulberry Bar. They were trailed by paparazzi the entire time. Taylor seemed unbothered by the paps, and as you can see in these photos, she was really strutting around as she and the group made all of these location changes. Sophie, on the other hand, was trying to cover her face and hide. Much different from Taylor and Sophie’s New York outing on Tuesday night, where they walked arm in arm like they were sending a specific message.

Thursday night’s outing came just hours after Sophie filed a lawsuit against Joe Jonas in a Manhattan court, demanding that their daughters be “returned” to England and that Joe relinquish their daughters’ passports. Joe responded quickly, saying that the children cannot leave the US or be relocated because of the Florida Court order he got weeks ago, an order which he served on Sophie the second he filed for divorce. Interestingly, Joe also said that he and Sophie had a “cordial meeting this past Sunday in New York, when Sophie came to New York to be with the kids. They have been with her since that meeting.” Joe was in Philadelphia yesterday, and he performed with the Jonas Brothers at the Wells Fargo Center last night.

So… Sophie has had their daughters with her in New York since Sunday, and… she’s gone out drinking with Taylor Swift two nights out of five since she’s had the kids? Like… moms can go out and have fun, I’m not saying that. But if you’re in the middle of a messy custodial fight in which your estranged husband is seemingly several steps ahead, you’ve kind of got to admit that the optics aren’t actually in Sophie’s favor. Taylor might be giving Sophie some bad advice here.

Update: Please don’t knee-jerk or put words in my mouth and please use common sense – Joe Jonas has been smearing Sophie Turner for weeks as an unfit mother and someone who likes to “party” and go out drinking. The first time she has the kids solo since he filed for divorce, she goes out bar-hopping with Taylor Swift two nights out of three? This is a bad move for her legally and it genuinely looks like she’s confirming Joe’s stupid narratives.

Photos courtesy of Backgrid.

Yesterday, Rupert Murdoch announced that he was stepping down as chairman of Fox and News Corp and taking up an “emeritus chairman” position, leaving his son Lachlan to run the business. The media world is still reeling from the news – Murdoch’s fans and enemies alike consider him immortal, and it’s difficult to know what the conservative media landscape will look like without Murdoch. In a letter to Fox and News Corp employees, Murdoch wrote that he and his companies are “in robust health,” but:

“The battle for freedom of speech and, ultimately, the freedom of thought, has never been more intense…Self-serving bureaucracies are seeking to silence those who would question their provenance and purpose. Elites have open contempt for those who are not members of their rarefied class. Most of the media is in cahoots with those elites, peddling political narratives rather than pursuing the truth.”

[From THR]

The stones of this Oxford-educated media elite to lecture anyone on peddling false narrative or silencing enemies, my god. Speaking of, Fox News insiders are still trying to figure out why Rupert would step down now. Those insiders spoke to Gabe Sherman (who has long been on the Murdoch beat) at Vanity Fair. Some highlights:

One theory is about Murdoch’s failure to disclose health issues: One is that Murdoch, who turns 93 in March, had an unreported health crisis, which could be considered a material event for a publicly traded company. Murdoch’s memo shot down this line of speculation. “Our companies are in robust health, as am I,” he wrote. But my May Vanity Fair cover story reported that Murdoch had been secretly hospitalized in recent years for a broken back, seizures, two bouts of pneumonia, atrial fibrillation, a torn Achilles tendon, and COVID-19. Murdoch wanted these incidents out of the press. According to a source close to Murdoch, he used the pseudonym “Mr. Black” when being admitted to a hospital in order to avoid the media. So, given this history of hiding health scares, it’s entirely possible that illness forced Murdoch into retirement.

The other huge lawsuit facing Fox News: The second theory is that Murdoch’s retirement is related to Smartmatic’s $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News. Smartmatic is suing Fox over the network’s false claims that its voting machines were used to steal the 2020 election from Donald Trump. Sources speculated that Murdoch is retiring to avoid having to testify in the Smartmatic proceedings. “This takes him out of the line of fire,” a prominent media executive said.

The Dominion Voting Systems settlement: In April, I reported that Fox settled with Dominion Voting Systems for $787.5 million on the eve of the trial at least in part because Fox lawyers didn’t want Murdoch to testify in open court. “They were hoping and praying to settle for months, but they didn’t want to pay up,” a source told me. The source said the lawyers told Fox execs that once the trial began, Murdoch would be “disgraced on the stand, run out of the boardroom, and his testimony [would] expose him as a lunatic sliding into senility.” (A person close to Murdoch disputed this: “Rupert was very well prepared to testify.”) On Wednesday, Fox lawyers made it clear they don’t want Murdoch to testify in the Smartmatic case, asking a New York State judge to dismiss Fox Corp. from the suit because Murdoch wasn’t involved in day-to-day editorial decisions.”

Maybe Murdoch is trying to get ahead of something: Another theory is that the company is facing some unknown scandal. “They are trying to get ahead of something,” a person close to the Murdochs told me.

Lachlan will run Fox from Australia?? One thing is certain: Murdoch’s formal retirement will deepen Fox’s leadership void. The company will be solely run by Lachlan, who lives in Sydney, and is seen by many to be less engaged than his father. “Lachlan goes to the rock climbing gym every day. I think he has kind of lost interest since James left, but he is still trying to impress his dad,” a person close to Lachlan told me for my May cover story. Lachlan has largely relied on Viet Dinh, Fox’s chief legal officer, to run the company day-to-day from Los Angeles. But it was announced in August that Dinh will be stepping down at the end of the year, seemingly in part over his handling of Fox’s Dominion defense strategy. How Lachlan handles the pressures of being the new king will determine the future of a media empire that shapes conservative politics on three continents.

[From VF]

“I think he has kind of lost interest since James left, but he is still trying to impress his dad” – play the Succession theme again!! No, but really, I am curious about what’s going on here. Dealer’s choice: Rupert is too senile to testify; Rupert would incriminate himself and Fox if he testified; Rupert hasn’t disclosed some unknown illness; Rupert is trying to get ahead of some scandal. My guess is that it’s at least two of these things put together. Will Murdoch’s empire be more or less dangerous with a leadership void?

Photos courtesy of Cover Images.

During the Labor Day-week where Joe Jonas was trying to smear Sophie Turner as a partier and an unfit mother, there was an undercurrent to the reporting that everything fell apart between them this year, especially when Sophie went back to work in the UK. Sophie had been primarily living in America since she and Joe got together (when she was 19) and they bought a home in Florida, thinking it would give them more privacy. Still, Sophie indicated in many interviews that she missed living in England and she would love to raise her children there and not America. Well, all of it was connected – Sophie has filed a lawsuit in Manhattan, suing Joe to get access to their daughters and for Joe to relinquish their daughters’ passports. It’s messy messy.

Sophie Turner is asking for her kids to be returned to England. In a lawsuit filed in a Manhattan court on Thursday and obtained by PEOPLE, the Game of Thrones alum, 27, has requested that her two kids — Willa, 3, and a daughter, identified in previous court docs as D., 14 months — be returned to England. The complaint against estranged husband Joe Jonas calls for “the immediate return of children wrongfully removed or wrongfully retained,” with Turner’s legal team asserting the “wrongful retention” began on Sept. 20.

Turner claims that she and the musician, 34, agreed to declare England their “forever home” in conversations that took place over Christmas 2022 as they prepped for the year ahead. The couple sold the Miami home they previously resided in and were in the process of buying a home in the English countryside in April, the documents allege, at which point Turner began filming on the Joan mini-series she has worked on this summer.

Once Jonas began touring with The Jonas Brothers, the documents claim the two agreed to let the girls join him because he had more daytime hours to be available to them than Turner did amid filming, noting she had “hesitation” about the “temporary arrangement.”

Turner alleges that the breakdown of their marriage happened “very suddenly” after an argument on Aug. 15, with Jonas filing for divorce on Sept. 5 and the Dark Phoenix actress learning about their split “from the media” days later. The issue of custody came to a head when the two met up to discuss the next steps after their split two weeks later, Turner’s petition claims, at which point she “reiterated” the plan to move to England and was met with a change of heart by Jonas.

According to the documents, “The Father has possession of the children’s passports. He refuses to return the passports to the Mother and refuses to send the children home to England with the Mother.”

Jonas’ attorney allegedly confirmed to Turner’s legal team on Sept. 19 that he would not be returning the passports and would not provide consent for his daughters to move, the documents claim.

[From People]

While I’ve been on Sophie’s side for much of Joe’s smear campaign, I have to quibble about “refuses to send the children home to England.” While both of their daughters are apparently dual citizens, the girls were born in America, have an American father and have lived the bulk of their lives in America. It’s not like Joe and Sophie were completely set up in England this whole time. But I digress, because Joe is making a similar point. His team reacted swiftly and issued a scathing statement:

On Thursday, a representative for Joe Jonas, 34, shared a statement obtained by PEOPLE in response to his estranged wife’s lawsuit that alleges he is not letting the couple’s two kids — Willa, 3, and a 14-month-old daughter — return to England.

“After multiple conversations with Sophie, Joe initiated divorce proceedings in Florida, as Florida is the appropriate jurisdiction for the case. Sophie was aware that Joe was going to file for divorce. The Florida Court has already entered an order that restricts both parents from relocating the children. Sophie was served with this order on September 6, 2023, more than two weeks ago,” the statement reads.

“Joe and Sophie had a cordial meeting this past Sunday in New York, when Sophie came to New York to be with the kids. They have been with her since that meeting. Joe’s impression of the meeting was that they had reached an understanding that they would work together towards an amicable co-parenting setup.”

The statement alleges that less than 24 hours after the “amicable co-parenting setup” was agreed upon, “Sophie advised that she wanted to take the children permanently to the UK. Thereafter, she demanded via this filing that Joe hand over the children’s passports so that she could take them out of the country immediately. If he complies, Joe will be in violation of the Florida Court order.”

The statement asserts that the musician is “seeking shared parenting with the kids so that they are raised by both their mother and father, and is, of course, also okay with the kids being raised both in the U.S. and the UK,” but also alleges that the children “have spent the vast majority of their lives in the U.S.” Though the statement notes the children are American citizens, both children have dual citizenship in both the United States and England.

“This is an unfortunate legal disagreement about a marriage that is sadly ending. When language like ‘abduction’ is used, it is misleading at best, and a serious abuse of the legal system at worst. The children were not abducted,” the statement says. “After being in Joe’s care for the past three months at the agreement of both parties, the children are currently with their mother. Sophie is making this claim only to move the divorce proceedings to the UK and to remove the children from the U.S. permanently.”

“Joe has already disavowed any and all statements purportedly made on his behalf that were disparaging of Sophie. They were made without his approval and are not consistent with his views. His wish is that Sophie reconsider her harsh legal position and move forward in a more constructive and private manner. His only concern is the well-being of his children,” the statement concludes.

[From People]

I’m not sure if I should say what I really think because you guys might yell at me but… I think Joe realized months ago that it was a very good possibility that his marriage would end soon enough, and he took steps to ensure that their daughters were with him in America as the marriage ended, so he would have all of his legal ducks in a row and he could control the jurisdiction. Think about how differently this would have gone if Sophie had the girls with her in the UK and Joe filed for divorce in Florida and Sophie refused to budge – it would have been an international incident and a huge jurisdictional problem. But, that being said, Joe being smart and thinking a few steps ahead isn’t “abduction.” As Joe’s statement says (and he seems to have all of the legal docs to back it up) – he got the Florida family court to issue an “order that restricts both parents from relocating the children. Sophie was served with this order on September 6, 2023.” Joe had a vision that this would happen and he took steps to ensure that he protected his custodial rights. Sophie is trying to muddy the jurisdictional issue and fudge the residency issue. You can’t just declare out of nowhere that two minor children born in America need to be “returned to their home in England.”

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.

I’ve been (woefully) aware of the rampant book bans being pushed by conservatives, but up until now I’ve been (blissfully) ignorant of the actual numbers. This week the American Library Association released data that 1,915 book titles were challenged or censored in 2023 through August, making it a 20% increase from last year. It’s become so pernicious that Biden has created a new position in the Dept of Education to address the bans. And in a bit of brilliance, in June Illinois became the first state to ban book bans. This is where we are, folks. While right-wing politicians are desperate to bring us back to Pleasantville, artists are fighting back to keep us in color. An open letter condemning the spate of book bans sweeping the nation has now garnered almost 200 signatures from celebrities in creative arts:

Who: Nearly 200 top actors, musicians and authors denounced the recent wave of right-wing book bans in an open letter Tuesday. Ariana Grande, Guillermo del Toro and Gabrielle Union were among 195 entertainers and writers to sign their names to the letter, part of an effort spearheaded by former “Reading Rainbow” host LeVar Burton and the liberal advocacy group MoveOn. … The effort reportedly started collecting signatures this summer and includes names like Mark Ruffalo, Billy Porter, Chelsea Handler, John Leguizamo, Constance Wu, Christie Brinkley, Idina Menzel, Andy Cohen, Sarah Paulson, Emma Roberts and Sharon Stone.

What: The letter argues that this “restrictive behavior” is both “antithetical to free speech and expression” and “has a chilling effect on the creative field.” It further says the government has no right to “dictate” what people can create or consume. “We cannot stress enough how these censorious efforts will not end with book bans,” the letter reads. “It’s only a matter of time before regressive, suppressive ideologues will shift their focus toward other forms of art and entertainment. … We refuse to remain silent as one creative field is subjected to oppressive bans,” the letter said. “As artists, we must band together, because a threat to one form of art is a threat to us all. … There is power in artistic freedom, and we refuse to allow draconian politicians to take that from us.”

Bad politicians: While the letter itself doesn’t name specific politicians, the website that introduces it goes even further: “Far-right politicians like Ron DeSantis are championing draconian laws to ban books and the teaching of accurate multicultural American history in favor of upholding a homophobic, transphobic, and white supremacist vision of our nation.” … The ideologues include Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R), who championed a new law forbidding instruction on gender or sexual orientation, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) — who approved course materials that teach enslaved Black people gained a “personal benefit” from slavery.

Bad statistics: The American Library Association reported in March that bans and restrictions at schools and libraries are continuing to surge, with more than 1,200 challenges in 2022, nearly double the prior record of 729 in 2021. Another institution found even more than that. Nonprofit research organization PEN America — which counts more than 7,500 novelists, journalists and other literary professionals as members — reportedly identified more than 4,000 book challenges and bans in school districts since June 2021.

LeVar Burton gets the last word: “It’s embarrassing that we are banning books in this country, in this culture, in this day and age,” Burton told The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday. “And it’s dangerous that a handful of individuals are deciding that any book with Black and queer people is divisive.”

[From HuffPost]

This is horrifying. I went to a Jewish day school growing up, so I know I had more lessons on and exposure to the Holocaust than in typical elementary curriculums. The links are chilling to me. Banning books is where it starts, because the less you know the easier you are to control. It’s perhaps a lowbrow reference, but I have Sean Connery’s voice stuck in my head from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, when he says to the Nazis “goose-stepping morons like yourself should try reading books instead of burning them!” I nominate ‘goose-stepper’ as DeSantis’s next nickname. Vote them OUT.

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The other day, I mentioned that I am fascinated by dreams and what they could possibly be telling us. Well, I’m also fascinated by other “Universe-y” things such as the power of intuition, premonitions, synchronicities, serendipity, and the like. I have absolutely had instances where I thought something random and within a few days, it happened. I’ve also had moments where I just felt in sync with energies around me. IYKYK.

In a recent episode of her Apple Fitness+ series “Time to Walk,” Gloria Estefan shared that she believes she has a “psychic ability” that she describes as a “certainty” about something. These feelings of certainty led to Gloria just knowing that her band Miami Sound Machine would become world famous, even though they were still just a little gig band trying to make it big at the time.

She gets flashes: “You know, throughout my life, I got these flashes. I would just have this certainty about something, that some people might call a psychic ability. And I kept getting this recurring feeling that we’re going to be famous all over the world,” she says of Miami Sound Machine’s success.

She predicted the details of their big break: “One night, I ventured to tell Emilio [Estefan] and he’s going, ‘Really?’ I go, ‘I don’t know how, I don’t know when, but I’m just certain. In fact, I think we’re going to be famous outside the U.S. before we ever are famous here.’ One day, we’re rehearsing in our garage and all of a sudden, ‘Dr. Beat’ comes on the radio and we go, ‘What?’ We’re jumping up and down like fools going, ‘How did this happen?’” Estefan, 66, recalls. “We found out that somehow the song had been exported to Europe through the record pools. It was No. 1 in Holland, top 10 in England, and it had come backwards, and the radio station in Miami had then played it because it was at the top of the charts in Europe.”

Record execs wanted to de-Latinize them: “When we were already working on the song ‘Conga,’ we had to convince a record company to let us record in English. We had the material. We knew we could do it, so we’re pitching our idea and the execs that were there at the time, they’re going, ‘You can’t compete on a worldwide level. This is a one-shot deal with ‘Dr. Beat.’ It was a phenomenon but, if you really want to cross over, you got to get rid of the percussion. You got to get rid of the horns. You got to change your name.’ And Emilio and I are looking at him going, ‘Really? That’s who we are,’” she says.

She knew MSM’s sound would work: “So, if that’s who we are, that’s who we want to be a success as, not water down our culture or our sound or our music just to try to be someone else.’ I go, ‘If I do that, and we’re a success, I’m not going to be happy the rest of my life. We know this going to work.’”

Her instincts proved correct: “‘Conga’ was the song that came through nationally for us in the States and, sure enough, it became one of our biggest-selling albums in history. We became a huge hit and put Miami, musically, on the map all over the world because our name was Miami Sound Machine,” she explains.

[From People]

Good for Gloria and Emilio for fighting to make their music the way they wanted to. I cannot imagine any of Miami Sound Machine’s music not having the percussion or drums! It’s what makes those songs timeless dance music. Weddings would be boring without that conga line! You know what they say: you can fight it every day but the rhythm is gonna get’cha. GONG. I’ll see myself out in just a minute.

Going back to the psychic thing, I don’t consider myself psychic at all but I do know exactly what she means when she says she just has that certainty about some things. I’ve always just thought it came from having a heightened sense of intuition or being more in tune with…whatever it is out there to be in tune with. I’ve never visited a psychic or had a tarot reading or anything like that, so I don’t know how all of that stuff works. I just completely understand what Gloria means when she says she gets feelings and just sometimes “knows” things. I hope she shares more of her of her psychic abilities in the future. I love hearing those types of stories.

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