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Lending a Hand: Stars Fighting Coronavirus with Individual Donations




The privilege afforded to members of the Hollywood community fortunate enough to be famous is not lost on someone like Lady Gaga. As the Oscar winner told Jimmy Fallon on April 6, “The fight that I’m in or that you’re in is very different than the fight of a woman who is in, perhaps, an abusive relationship, and has a child and lost her job, and can’t feed her kid and can’t feed herself, and also can’t get the help she needs because she’s in a violent situation. … I’ve been really focusing a lot of my energy on figuring out how I can help. Because we all want this to end, but being in this all together is a tricky statement. What that woman is in, I want to honor that that woman is not in the same fight that I’m in, and I want to help her fight that fight.”

In an effort to use her clout to support those in need, Lady Gaga has helped Global Citizen and the World Health Organization raise more than $35 million in donations, with more to come on April 18 when the benefit special, One World: Together at Home, airs on every major television network and digital service. (Fallon, Stephen Colbert, and Jimmy Kimmel will serve as co-hosts from their own houses.) But the Oscar-winning singer is not alone in spreading charity and awareness around during this global health crisis: numerous stars have stepped up with donations to hospitals, local governments, and at-risk communities. Ahead, a look at some of the stars giving back during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Tyler Perry

The mogul recently purchased groceries for more than 70 seniors in Atlanta (where he lives) and New Orleans (where he was born). “We would like to join our customers in thanking Mr. Perry for his kindness and generosity during this unprecedented pandemic. It was truly a pleasure to see our customers fill with joy and gratitude as the news spread throughout 44 stores across Metro Atlanta,” a representative for Kroger, one of the two grocery chains to which Perry donated, said in a statement. The other chain, Winn-Dixie, added its Praise for Perry on Twitter, applauding the filmmaker for his “love for community and sincere generosity.”

Miley Cyrus

Alongside her new boyfriend, Cody Simpson, Miley Cyrus delivered tacos and other food to health care workers at Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center in Tarzana, California on April 4. “Tacos for the incredible healthcare workers at our local hospital!” Simpson wrote on Instagram. “So grateful for these true legends of our time dedicating their lives to battling this pandemic. Show some love to yours in your community!”

Taylor Swift

Long known for making surprise donations to her fans, Taylor Swift has been messaging people directly affected by the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing economic fallout via social media to provide financial support. “I made a post on Tumblr about how I was scared I wouldn’t be able to stay living in NYC because of what corona has done to the music industry. [Swift] literally single-handedly saved my ability to stay here. I cannot even believe my eyes right now,” one fan wrote on Twitter, sharing a screenshot of funds delivered to her by Swift. The Cats actress also helped a Nashville, Tennessee record store after it was forced to close amid stay-at-home directives from the state. “It was completely out of the blue,” the owner of Grimey’s in Nashville said to ABC. “It gives me a sense of security, knowing we are solid. …Now I know my people are taken care of.”

Ariana Grande

Like Swift, Ariana Grande has also messaged fans affected by coronavirus and provided them with monetary relief. “She reached out and took care of my salary for the month,” one anonymous fan reported to Page Six. Grande was sending her payments to others via Venmo.

Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos

The married couple quietly donated $1 million to the New York Governor’s office to help the state purchase much-needed ventilators, and also contributed to local women’s shelters through a non-profit called WIN.

Kristen Bell

The Good Place star made good on the existential comedy’s premise, donating $150,007.96 to No Kid Hungry. “The reason the number is odd, is because when my kids overheard me making the donation, they asked if they could also donate the money from their piggy bank,” she wrote on Instagram. “I couldn’t have been prouder to add that extra, and important 7 dollars and 96 cents.” Bell is one of a number of major stars to have donated to food banks and hunger solutions. Oprah Winfrey, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively have made charitable contributions to organizations like Feeding America and America’s Food Fund as well.

Steph Curry, Drew Brees, and Justin Verlander

Sports figures have also been generous with support for at-risk individuals during the pandemic. Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry announced plans to provide more than 1 million meals to students in Oakland who have been forced to stay home because of the health crisis. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees pledged $5 million to the state of Louisiana, including a focus to provide meals to students and elderly members of the community who have been affected by coronavirus. Alongside his wife, Kate Upton, Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander vowed to donate every dollar from the paychecks he receives while Major League Baseball is shutdown to charitable organizations.


On April 8, Halsey revealed via Instagram she had acquired more than 100,000 hospital masks to donate hospitals around the Los Angeles area in an effort to help the “medical professionals and nonmedical hospital staff who are working to put a stop to this pandemic and help millions of strangers they will never meet.”

Dolly Parton

Country legend Dolly Parton donated $1 million to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville to help the facility research coronavirus in an effort to find a cure.

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Originally posted 2020-04-08 22:12:25.


Delivery! Lady Gaga Is Dropping Off ‘Chromatica’ in Style




Happy Chromatica week! Lady Gaga’s highly anticipated sixth studio album is arriving on Friday (May 29), and the pop star is making sure her project is arriving to retailers safe and sound.

She took to Twitter on Wednesday (May 27) to share her (characteristically stylish) delivery truck, plastered with Chromatica album art. Gaga is behind the wheel, staying safe with a blinged-out pink mask and matching hair.

“Delivering #Chromatica myself to every retailer around the world… in Chromatica time and distance do not exist,” she captioned the post.

See the post below, and pre-order Chromatica here.

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“Shirley” Takes a One-Sided View of Its Subject




The title of Josephine Decker’s new film, “Shirley,” refers neither to the novel of that name by Charlotte Brontë nor, in a slightly different vein, to Shirley Temple, whose dimple-powered career now seems beyond belief, but to the author Shirley Jackson. She is indelibly linked to The New Yorker, where her most affronting tale, “The Lottery,” was first published, in 1948, causing thousands of readers to drop the butter knife. She wrote reams of other stories, plus half a dozen novels, such as “Hangsaman” (1951) and “The Haunting of Hill House” (1959). Her dark star has continued to ascend, summoning an invaluable biography by Ruth Franklin, “A Rather Haunted Life,” and a more presumptuous offering, “Shirley,” by Susan Scarf Merrell, who uses scraps of Jackson’s experience, not least her abrasive marriage to the literary critic Stanley Hyman, to beget a work of fiction. And that is the book that Decker has chosen to bring to the screen. Ours not to reason why.

Jackson is played by Elisabeth Moss, who, having reigned over “The Handmaid’s Tale,” on TV, is now the first choice of casting directors when toil and trouble loom. To “Shirley” she lends both heft and bite, as well as a pair of thick spectacles and a thrumming—and draining—unhappiness that rarely lets up. Most of the movie is set in Bennington, Vermont, where Shirley is starting to labor on “Hangsaman” and where Stanley (Michael Stuhlbarg) is teaching at the all-female college. There, if rumor be true, he sports with his charges. He has a dense beard, a wicked smile, and, when we first see him, a festive garland of ivy wreathing his brow. Were the camera to pan down, we would, no doubt, observe his cloven hooves.

The plot, devised by Merrell in her novel, turns on the introduction into the Hyman household of another couple: Fred Nemser (Logan Lerman), a youthful professor, and Rose (Odessa Young), his new bride, who is great with child. “Well, I hope it’s yours,” Shirley remarks to Fred, at the dinner table, unsheathing her claws without ado. Rose is initially, and understandably, dismayed by such an approach; as the months crawl by, however, the two women draw close. “I’m a witch, didn’t anyone tell you?” Shirley says, and Rose soon warms to the role of sorcerer’s apprentice, learning to berate the moral fecklessness of their menfolk, and to chip away at social norms. At a party, hosted by the wife of the dean, Shirley pours red wine on a silken couch and watches—or imagines—her protégée quietly dropping sandwiches on the rug.

Just one question: Where are the kids? In reality, the Hymans had four children, three by the time that “Hangsaman” was published. If they are airbrushed out of “Shirley” (even as the fictional Nemsers are conjured into existence), it must be because they would sorely inconvenience the mood for which Decker strives. Jackson, according to her biographer, “loved rooms that were filled with books and cats and color and sunlight,” but only the books make it into the film, plus one cat—black, of course, to suit the witching hour. Lines are delivered either snappishly or with listless pauses. “They talk. About me. In town,” Shirley says. At one point, Rose finds her sprawled on the floor, with her eyes wide open and her stockings rolled down. Thunder crashes outside. The camera lurches sideways, like a drunk. Help!

No one can question Decker’s creative right to take such liberties with the truth. Movies live and thrive on irresponsibility. How strange it feels, though, when so little seems to be liberated in the process. Jackson’s book of essays on her domestic exploits, “Life Among the Savages” (1953), rich in the comedy of parental mishaps, is a fascinating complement, not an embarrassment, to her graver tales of the stifling and the macabre. “Shirley,” by contrast, coats her in gothic excess as if glazing a ham, and of her humor scarcely a shred remains. As a sworn devotee of “Airplane!,” I found myself praying that once—just once—she would utter the words “And don’t call me Shirley,” thus rending the veil of gloom from top to bottom. Sadly, it was not to be.

There is no such town as Cayuga, New Mexico, but, thanks to “The Vast of Night,” we feel we know it well. We know that its population is less than five hundred; that its radio station is WOTW, staffed by a young fellow named Everett Sloan (Jake Horowitz); and that Fay Crocker (Sierra McCormick), who has a part-time job on the switchboard at the telephone exchange, is sixteen years old, with a cousin named Ethel and a brand-new tape recorder. Everybody in Cayuga seems to know everyone else, and, on the night when the movie takes place, most of the everyones are at the high school, supporting their basketball team, the Statesmen, at a big game. So the town feels kind of deserted, as if it were waiting for something.

Fay is a science nut in bat-wing spectacles. (Everett, naturally, prefers the Buddy Holly look. In the eyewear stakes, Shirley Jackson has some serious competition.) The era, I’d guess, is the late nineteen-fifties, after Sputnik, and talk of space is in the air. Fay reads magazines like Modern Mechanics, and thrills to the futures that they promise. By the year 2000, she tells Everett, you’ll have “a miniature television screen, and you can keep it in your pocket, so you can call your friend in Rome, or New York.” The only downside being that “if you call your friend, and he doesn’t answer, then you know they’re dead.” All of which means that Fay is ready and primed when a call comes through on the switchboard. Not a regular voice—more of a chewy, stuttering sound. Unfriendly, too. Somebody mentioned a squirrel that bit through the wires up at the school, so maybe it’s the same critter. Maybe it’s not.

The movie is directed by Andrew Patterson, though I’m damned if I can spot him in the credits, either at the beginning or at the end. Still, they do list Nehemiah Knox as “Assisant Editor,” without the “t,” and have the courtesy to thank Donut Hut and Carla’s Wacky Shack Salon in Whitney, Texas, where the bulk of the action was filmed. The whole enterprise probably cost less than one per cent of the budget of, say, “Star Trek Beyond” (2016), and Patterson has revealed that, for some of the travelling shots, the camera was mounted on a go-kart, run by a Whitney kid of eighteen. But here’s the thing: all memory of “Star Trek Beyond” has been surgically extracted from my hippocampus, whereas “The Vast of Night” is the most absorbing piece of small-scale science fiction—the best since “Monsters” (2010), for sure—into which it’s been my privilege to be sucked. As Everett says, “If there’s something in the sky, I wanna know.” Same here.

There are flickers of in-jokes. The hero’s name is a nod to the actor Everett Sloane, familiar from “The Big Knife” (1955) and “Somebody Up There Likes Me” (1956). And “The Vast of Night” is framed as an episode of a TV series, “Paradox Theater”—“caught between logic and myth,” we learn, and clearly modelled on “The Twilight Zone,” which first screened in 1959. Yet Patterson is no spoofer, and his film is a careful compound of gravity and buzz. Trifling chatter among the good folk of Cayuga is interspersed with long, patient takes, in which a single character tells of past events. We hear from Billy (Bruce Davis), who calls into WOTW and recounts the time when, on military detail, he helped to build a large structure for housing a mysterious craft. Then, we have Mabel (Gail Cronauer), an elderly lady at 1616 Sycamore, whose little son ventured out into the darkness long ago and was, she claims, “taken up from this Earth.”

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Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon Wants To Help Minneapolis Protesters By Providing Audio Equipment




The death of George Floyd has led to outrage nationwide, and on a local level in Minneapolis, the city is currently in the midst of massive protests. Plenty of sympathizers have offered words of support, but Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon — who is from nearby Eau Claire, Wisconsin — wants to provide more than that. Vernon has declared that he wants to help protestors, and his idea is to give them audio equipment so they can be better heard.

For the past day and change, Vernon has taken to his personal Twitter account (@blobtower) to express his extreme disappointment about the Floyd situation. He began yesterday morning by tweeting, “I’m out of words. Don’t know what to do. I’m so so so so angry. I want to do something.”

He then presented an idea: “For the organizing protestors in MPLS , I am in possession of a very very large PA system .. I could get it on the back of a trailer and bring it up … MAKING your voices louder … and blast the right music … hit me.” Vernon added, “Please , help spread the word… I want to help on the front lines.”

Vernon went on to note that he’s in the process of trying to figure out how to best transport his gear to Minneapolis, tweeting, “writing some audio companies … I have no trailer to get mine to Minny today … anyone with outdoor audio chops or gear hit me let’s get his going.” He added, “I’ve never seen a good audio system at any protest I’ve ever been to … we should get music involved … and loud human speakers,” and, “A large audio platform can help keep folks stay safe distances, encourage unity and non violence and really, really Disturb the ‘peace’…”

A few hours after that initial batch of tweets, Vernon offered a status report, writing, “Working on the Mobile PA thing still … need a custom trailer and an engineer … but workin on it. […] Figuring out how to transport it. Needs a crew to set it up And rig it so it can be mobile I’m working on it.”

This afternoon, over the past few hours, Vernon has sought help from his fellow Eau Claire residents, asking, “Anyone in EC have a 8000+ watt generator,” and, “Anyone have a hay cage they could let us use ? Thinking that could strap down a generator and PA system. I’d drive it up with a hitch.” He then shared a photo of the sort of trailer he was looking for.

He then put out another call for help, looking for the right people to whom to bring his audio set-up: “Mpls / ST Paul please let us know if there organizers that need a PA system. We have one and running on a generator and want to deliver it to the appropriate voices … Please respond with legit contacts only.”

As of this post, that Vernon’s most recent update on the situation. Regardless of whether or not Vernon is able to pull this off, at the very least, he has displayed a genuine drive to make a tangible contribution to the situation.

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