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Duke of Edinburgh funeral

The Daily Mail has been trying to track Prince Harry’s movements for the past week and they finally got something nailed down. Harry must have flown out of Heathrow on Monday night, and he arrived at LAX on Tuesday afternoon. The Mail is trying to lay a guilt trip on him, like how dare Harry leave without reconciling with Charles or William. But Charles and William both left Windsor soon after Prince Philip’s funeral. My question is not “why didn’t Harry spend time with his dad or his brother,” it’s “what did Harry do on Sunday and Monday?” I would guess that he spent some time with his York cousins and perhaps visited the Queen.

Prince Harry returned home to California from London yesterday, Dailymail.com can reveal, missing the Queen’s birthday today and with the Windsor’s family row unresolved after meeting only once with his father and William following the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral. The Duke of Sussex, 36, is understood to have flown into Los Angeles on an American Airlines flight from London Heathrow shortly after 1.30pm local time yesterday.

His chauffeur-driven MPV was seen leaving the private terminal at LAX, reserved for celebrities and the super-rich, and was spotted again arriving at the Sussexes’ Montecito mansion at around 4pm. Harry returned to the US just 24 hours before his grandmother the Queen turned 95 today – just days after the funeral of her beloved husband of 73 years – as she spends her first birthday without him in more than seven decades.

Her Majesty, the world’s oldest reigning monarch, will spend a ‘low key’ day at Windsor Castle, where she will see family members and walk her dogs. Prince Charles is at his Welsh home and Prince William is not expected to visit. Family members living closest to the Queen, who may be able to see her, including Prince Andrew, Princess Eugenie, and the Earl and Countess of Wessex. There will be no traditional gun salutes or birthday photo due to the monarch remaining in mourning.

Harry also chose to fly from Britain with the rift with his father and brother caused by his decision to emigrate and pour his heart out to Oprah still seemingly unresolved.

Harry had been widely reported to have been planning to stay for the Queen’s birthday, although sources said he was ‘conflicted’ about the decision and wanted to get home to Meghan. Father-of-one Harry will now begin a second 10-day quarantine – a requirement for international travelers journeying to the US, although it is not mandatory unlike in the UK. CDC guidelines recommend travelers get a Covid-19 test prior to departure and self-isolate for 10 days after they return. California also has its own travel advisory, with visitors and residents required to fill in a form that includes their contact details on arrival at LAX.

[From The Daily Mail]

Page Six also made a point about how Harry never had any one-on-one discussions with his father or brother, although the reporting around all of that is a mess. Some outlets say Harry spoke at length to Charles and William on Saturday, but there are some reports that William wasn’t interested in any of it, and it was mostly just Harry and Chuck talking. One source told Page Six: “It was wonderful to see William and Harry talking, but it’s early days. There’s a way to go. It’s not just Charles and William who want to keep their rapprochement private — but Harry too. No one needs Gayle King reporting on private family matters.” That’s interesting, because I can’t wait for Gayle to call Harry and report what he tells her, just so we can get some f–king clarity about what actually went down after the funeral.

Oh, something else I didn’t get to mention – when Harry flew into Heathrow, he had his own security team with him. They were met by Met Police officers, who then took him to Frogmore Cottage. The security aspect of his travel freaks me out, and I’m glad Harry is back in the protection of his own team.

Prince Charles leads the mourners

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, WENN.

Funeral of Prince Philip
The Funeral Of Prince Philip, Duke Of Edinburgh Is Held In Windsor
The Funeral Of Prince Philip, Duke Of Edinburgh Is Held In Windsor
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The Funeral Of Prince Philip, Duke Of Edinburgh Is Held In Windsor
Prince Charles leads the mourners
The Funeral Of Prince Philip, Duke Of Edinburgh Is Held In Windsor

2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards

I had been following the Derek Chauvin trial when I could. The witnesses’ testimonies were so heartbreaking, and it just drove home the fact that everyone who saw Derek Chauvin murder George Floyd was affected by it. Chauvin murdered George Floyd on a Minneapolis street in broad daylight on May 25, 2020. The video of the murder, taken by a teenage girl, was widely viewed online. Floyd’s murder became the centerpiece for the Black Lives Matter protests worldwide last year. It felt notable that Chauvin’s actions were so nakedly repulsive that even his police force fired him, and eventually the city filed charges against him.

On Tuesday, the verdict came in: guilty on all counts. Guilty of second-degree unintentional murder. Guilty of third-degree murder. Guilty of second-degree manslaughter. Sentencing will be in eight weeks. If the judge orders him to serve his sentence concurrently, he could get 40 years in prison. Here are the videos of the verdict being read by the judge, and Chauvin being taken out of the court in handcuffs.

This is accountability for one life. This does not represent the endgame of the racial justice movement or the movement to drastic reform policing in this country. The fact is that many of us were still really worried that the verdict would go the other way, that a white cop would get away with murdering a Black man on the street, in broad daylight, in front of dozens of witnesses and a camera.

This is not the most important thing, but the verdict and the energy around the trial felt so much different simply because Joe Biden is president now. If the trial had happened during the Trump administration, there would have been frantic KKK tweets and calls for armed violence against the Black community. As it is, Joe Biden spoke as the jury was deliberating (they were sequestered) on Tuesday morning, saying that “I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict. Which is— I think it’s overwhelming in my view.” President Biden also spoke to members of George Floyd’s family during the trial. George’s brother Philonise Floyd said in an interview, “He was just calling. He knows how it is to lose a family member, and he knows the process of what we’re going through. So he was just letting us know that he was praying for us and hoping that everything will come out to be okay.” What a difference it makes to have a man of compassion in the White House.

VP Harris and President Biden spoke yesterday evening, several hours after the verdict came down. I’m so glad Kamala spoke first.

Screencaps courtesy of NBC.

2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards
2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards

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Since half of the adults living in the U.S. have received at least their first dose of COVID vaccines, the travel business is seeing a huge boom. The travel industry first began to bounce back when those over 65 were fully vaccinated. They were able to enjoy the beaches and tourist destinations without screaming children and misbehaving adults. But now the industry is quickly selling out of plane tickets and venues around the the country. Since the State Department has recently issued travel advisories against 80%of countries, I’m assuming most of the travel will be within the U.S. and possibly Mexico. (Canada has a very strict policy currently for international travel.) CBS News recently spoke with National Geographic contributor Heather Greenwood Davis. Heather says that we should expect an increase in the price in airline tickets. She also said that we need to book our vacations now, especially for Christmas because destinations like Las Vegas are already sold out until 2022. Below are more details on the “post” COVID travel boom from CBS News:

Correspondent Tracy Smith asked, “Now that things are loosening up a bit, what do you see happening?”

“We’ve seen the ‘gray wave,’ which is, you know, all of the people who were sort of over the age of 65, who were getting those vaccinations first – the moment they got them, they took off. They’ve had all those resorts and beaches all to themselves,” said Davis. “And now that the CDC is loosening guidelines for the rest of Americans, I think we’re about to see a big travel boom. People have been chomping at the bit to get out there. And now that they have the chance, I think they’ll go”

And they’re going, all right: According to the Transportation Security Administration, more than 1.5 million people passed through airport security last Sunday alone. On the same day last year, the number was less than 91,000.

“It’s a brave new world right now,” said CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg. He believes that by the summer the skies could be as crowded as ever.

Of course, airline ticket prices might also be heading skyward, after a year of some very deep discounts.

When asked how cheap airline tickets got, Greenberg replied, “They got to the point of stupid. A month ago, a one-way fare from Los Angeles to New York, nonstop on American, was $90. Today, it’s $203. Next week, it’ll be $278. And by three weeks from now, we’ll be right back to 2019 levels.

“And here’s the interesting thing: Back in November and December when people started to travel, even when the CDC recommended against it, where were they going? Were they going to visit granny? Was it family trip? No. They were going anywhere they could. They just said, ‘Get me out of here,’ and that’s where they went. And that trend is continuing now.”

“People just wanna get out anywhere?”

“Pick a place, go.”

But If you want to go to Vegas, or anywhere else, you might want to grab a reservation soon, says Heather Greenwood Davis: “Right now I’ve heard that Christmas travel booking, it’s very difficult to get something for Christmas. I also know some hotels that you won’t be able to get anything unless you’re looking for 2022.”

“What? 2021 is already sold out?” Smith asked.

“Definitely. The sort of the boutique, chic properties, there’s a few that are definitely sold out.”

She also says that, if living well really is the best revenge, then that might be reason enough for some people to pack up and hit the road, with a vengeance. “‘Revenge travel’ is the idea that, after a year of being at home, people are gonna get back at the pandemic, and actually get out there and live their best lives while traveling,” she said.

[From CBS News]

I am fully vaccinated and I do not take that from granted. I didn’t realize how much COVID was weighing on me until my second dose. As an introvert who loves cocooning at home, the lock downs didn’t affect me much. However, being grounded and not being able to travel was beginning to depress me. Being stuck in Houston for over a year was A LOT. So I feel those who are revenge traveling. Just last week I went to NYC and Niagara Falls for my forty-fifth birthday to spend time with friends. It was a relief – despite the craziness of traveling to get out of Texas. I want to warn people to get to the airport earlier than normal. I missed a flight because Intercontinental Airport was working on a skeleton crew and it took thirty minutes to check my luggage. Another thing is there may not be many Uber and Lyft drivers around. I was told by the lady working at the hotel in Niagara Falls, NY that many drivers are staying home because they make more being unemployed. Also, expect your favorite spots to still look like ghost towns. Niagara was absolutely deserted. New York City was quieter than normal but still busy.

I am not looking forward to airfare skyrocketing. Especially since airlines are not functioning at their best (I won’t bore you with my horror story of flying with a commercial airline last week) and the damn luggage fees. However, I am happy to be able to move about a bit more. I think I may spend the next year traveling around the U.S. and Mexico because I have yet to travel to Mexico and there are many places in the U.S. that I wish to see. Like many other Americans, I want to take longer vacations. (I did spend six months in Thailand and two months in Vietnam in 2019). Slow and sustainable travel will be the my new normal.

I know that we are not completely out of the woods yet with COVID. Many countries haven’t properly rolled out the vaccine which leaves the global community vulnerable. So as we travel let us continue to be aware and cautious so that we do not continue to spread COVID in vulnerable communities. Also to the singles, strap up while having your hot girl summers. It is being predicted that STIs will be on the rise because of our year-long dry spell. With that being said, I do hope that by the end of the summer the world will be operating from its new normal because I can’t wait to hug on friends that I haven’t seen in over a year.

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photos credit: Uriel Mont, Jess Vide and Tyler Lastovich on Pexels. Lukas Souza on Unsplash

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Back in 2017, we’d heard that Amazon had acquired the rights to put together a Lord of the Rings prequel. The release was confusing because 1) it wasn’t the existing “prequel” known as The Hobbit. 2) They were not given the rights to The Lord of the Rings but rather the right to use some of the Middle-earth mythology. And 3) no cast or story had even been hinted at the time of the deal. What was known was the $250M price tag Amazon paid to get this ambiguous use of parts of the lore and that they were supposedly gunning for Game of Thrones’ crown. Four years later and we have a story, cast and an absolutely astounding amount of money being thrown around. The final price tag for this series could be $1B. Currently, Amazon has committed to $465M for just the first season alone.

Amazon Studios’ The Lord of the Rings television show is going to cost all the gold in the Lonely Mountain.

The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed that Amazon will spend roughly NZ$650 million — $465 million in U.S. dollars — for just the first season of the show.

That’s far above previous reported estimates that pegged the fantasy drama as costing an already record-breaking $500 million for multiple seasons of the show.

By comparison, HBO’s Game of Thrones cost roughly $100 million to produce per season, with its per-episode cost starting at around $6 million for season one and eventually rising to around $15 million per episode in season eight.

The eye-popping Lord of the Rings price tag almost certainly doesn’t reflect season one’s production cost alone. The rights to the Tolkien property cost an estimated $250 million. Plus there are considerable startup costs when bringing Middle-earth to life — such as sets, costumes and props — that will be used throughout the series.

Amazon picked up the rights to J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved Middle-earth franchise in 2017, and early on it was estimated the show could end up eventually becoming the world’s first TV show to cost $1 billion after factoring in the rights deal, production and marketing for multiple seasons.

The official description: The Lord of the Rings “brings to screens for the very first time the heroic legends of the fabled Second Age of Middle-earth’s history. This epic drama is set thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and will take viewers back to an era in which great powers were forged, kingdoms rose to glory and fell to ruin, unlikely heroes were tested, hope hung by the finest of threads, and the greatest villain that ever flowed from Tolkien’s pen threatened to cover all the world in darkness. Beginning in a time of relative peace, the series follows an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth. From the darkest depths of the Misty Mountains, to the majestic forests of the elf-capital of Lindon, to the breathtaking island kingdom of Númenor, to the furthest reaches of the map, these kingdoms and characters will carve out legacies that live on long after they are gone.”

[The Hollywood Reporter via DListed]

So the series takes place before The Hobbit. I guess it was just sexier to sell it as a prequel to Lord of the Rings? The story does sound epic and it’s probably some fantasy writer’s dream to tie all the legends in with new content and link it to the existing character arcs. Christ it sounds dark, though. I know that’s the point, that’s where all this was forged and such, but man, a whole new series of evil and peril. I’m not ready.

The money they’re discussing is staggering. I assume the considerable cast they are amassing for this project is bumping that budget up . Of course the graphics budget will be off the charts, Middle Earth and it’s inhabitants aren’t built cheaply. And I’m happy this will help New Zealand’s tourism and economy (fingers crossed – hopefully that tax rebate won’t end up being the financial nightmare they’re afraid of). I get this series isn’t for me. I have no interest in the glut of remakes, reboots, redux, prequels, sequels, spin-offs and every other tired idea being dragged out of the Completed File and dusted off in Hollywood. But I’m sorry, this feels like a d*** measuring contest.

Regardless of the population’s pulse on it now, LoTR was hugely popular and is regarded as film legend. Merely purchasing the rights to the mythology was a coup for Bezos and Co. They’ve held Game of Thrones up as their benchmark, now Amazon is simply bragging that they are doing it bigger, with more people and will spare no cost. It’s not about the art or story telling anymore and that’s sad. They haven’t even shot a frame yet and the entire series already feels overwrought.

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Photo credit: Avalon

What Else for April 20, 2021

Author: | Filed under: Celebrities

Lady Danbury will not stand for all these people trying to come for the Duke of Hasting’s character. Let Regé-Jean Page live! (Cele|bitchy)When you yourself are “very rich” and “very connected”, how “very rich” and “very connected” does someone have to be to impress you? In Jennifer Lopez’s case, I …

They’ve been at it for a while, having previously featured Cate Blanchett and Elizabeth Debicki (who, recognizing her tall majesty, they fully painted gold) in their villain ranks, but this year alone we’ve seen Kathryn Hahn and Julia Louis-Dreyfus join the Marvel villain ranks, and now Olivia Colma…

For a couple of years now I’ve been posting often about Netflix’s Asian library. They have steadily been increasing investment in South Asian and particularly East Asian content. And their Korean programming is especially successful. It seems like there’s a new series out of Korea premiering on Netf…

Demi Lovato continued to feud with froyo yesterday, first posting a story in which she wrote “don’t mess with me” and “the customer is always right” in a DM exchange (she since deleted, here is the link), then posting a video that defended her messaging and passion for standing up for people with ea…

‘Twas the night before Oscar voting closes… and Best Actor contenders Riz Ahmed and Sir Anthony Hopkins both flexed their last-minute campaign hustle on two separate late night talk shows. Sir Anthony Hopkins popped by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert alongside his The Father director, Florian Zel…

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Scott Rudin is “stepping back” from Broadway producing in the wake of the accusations of his violent and psychological abuse of coworkers. [Pajiba]
New polling suggests that Matthew McConaughey would beat Greg Abbott in a head-to-head race for Texas governor. [Dlisted]
Taylor Swift has every reason to feel smug this year. [LaineyGossip]
BTS is collaborating with McDonald’s. [Buzzfeed]
A Sister Wives’ daughter had spine surgery. [Starcasm]
I would bang these Aquazzura sandals into everything and there would be nothing left of the “tutti frutti” beads. [Tom & Lorenzo]
The Oscar de la Renta bridal collection is very pretty. [GFY]
Would America be cool with a gay president? [Towleroad]
Kelly Osbourne relapsed after four years of sobriety. [JustJared]
Nancy Pelosi will not do a damn thing about Maxine Waters. Good. [Jezebel]

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