New York, Sep 10 (AP/UNB) — There was a huge choir that veered from stirring, soaring gospel, then spit verses from Cardi B and sang lines from Queen Latifah's "U.N.I.T.Y."; a spoken word artist who reminded the audience that rock 'n' roll was born because of a black, queer woman ; and a stunning collection of clothes that ran the gamut from casual chic to red carpet gowns, all modeled by black or brown faces.
"Sister," Pyer Moss' latest production for New York Fashion Week, was a brilliant, irreverent and joyous celebration of black culture, specifically black women — a show where even the colorful, eye-catching garments proved to be just part of the story its designer, Kerby Jean-Raymond, masterfully weaved together on Sunday night.
"The whole thing is really to recognize our worth, and us as black people, what we've contributed to what pop society is in America," Jean-Raymond told The Associated Press after his show ended a little before midnight. "What I aim to do is to make disenfranchised people, black people, with this series and minorities and women, know and understand how important they are to this thing called America right now."
The first sign that the Pyer Moss was going to be something out of the ordinary was its location: Miles from Manhattan, the upstart fashion house held court on Flatbush Avenue, at the Kings Theatre, a venue sitting in one of the more culturally rich black neighborhoods in Brooklyn, New York.
Once inside the ornate and refurbished venue, a runway was fashioned in front of the stage, and in between stood a piano — another hint that clothes would be merely part of the story Jean-Raymond planned to tell.
What followed was a production that borrowed from black music, the black church and other aspects of the culture to pay loving tribute to what African Americans have achieved. Before the show began, spoken word artist Casey Gerald noted the grim anniversary currently being marked worldwide — 400 years since the first enslaved Africans arrived in the United States.
But instead of sorrow, Gerald emphasized freedom and noted "we have come here to say we ain't gonna grieve no more . we have come tonight to say you can't hurt us no more."
With that, The Pyer Moss Tabernacle Drip Choir Drenched in the Blood took to the stage and began to sing. Dressed in formal black against a white backdrop, it was the perfect complement to the designs that would grace the runway. Looks included a flowing white tunic with red trim and matching white pants; a brilliant yellow-gold gown with long, billowing sleeves, a skirt that flared at the bottom and a cut-out back; matching men's and women's leather outfits that recalled cowboy chic; and brilliant artwork emblazoned on casual outfits ("Stranger Things" star Caleb McLaughlin was one of the models, and wore one of the outfits from the new Reebok by Pyer Moss collection).
As captivating as the clothes were, they were hard to compete with the choir, which started slow and majestic, with a gospel song, then morphed to deliver snippets of popular works of contemporary black singers, from Anita Baker to Whitney Houston to Missy Elliott: the audience roared as the choir began to rap Elliott's "The Rain," and cheered when it later segued to Cardi B's "Money," and erupted as it went into Adina Howard's "Freak Like Me."
Jean-Raymond beamed about his choir afterward, and noted that he had wanted to have more than 100 members, but "the stage structure couldn't hold all of our swag."
Jean-Raymond said he chose the songs to pay tribute to the contributions of black women in culture, specifically music. He noted the often overlooked Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who is considered by many to be the rightful creator of rock 'n' roll.
"And I feel like black women are often erased from things, and I wanted to do this specifically for black women," he said.
It may have been specifically for black women, but the entire audience — which included celebrities ranging from Fantasia to former NBA star Chris Bosh, former NFL star Victor Cruz and actress girlfriend Karrueche Tran, and singer Normani — erupted in applause as it was ending.
In the end, it was far more than a fashion show, which is what Jean-Raymond — who declared fashion shows boring and elitist — hoped to achieve.
"I look at this as an art project, and I think the success of it is bringing people closer to me than trying to assimilate into whatever else people are doing," he said.
Dhaka, Sept 9 (UNB) - Kristen Stewart has given her seal of approval regarding the casting of Robert Pattinson as Batman. Stewart, who is promoting her movie Seberg at the Toronto International Film Festival, spoke to Variety about her former co-star getting the prestigious role, reports The Indian Express.
She said, “I feel like he’s the only guy that could play that part. I’m so happy for him. It’s crazy. I’m very, very happy about that. I heard that and I was like, ‘Oh man!’ It’s awesome.”
Stewart starred opposite Pattinson in The Twilight Saga film series. The duo also dated each other from 2009 to 2013.
Stewart added that Pattinson has the “perfect cheekbones” to play the role of iconic DC superhero.
Pattinson won the role in an audition earlier this year, beating competitor Nicholas Hoult. Reeves wanted a younger actor for the role after Ben Affleck quit as the Dark Knight in the DC Extended Universe after the disastrous box office performance of Justice League in 2017.
Reeves’ Batman is not confirmed to be related to the DCEU or any other DC film franchises yet. It will be an origin story and will focus on Batman’s detective skills.
Apart from Seberg, Stewart has action comedy Charlie’s Angels and science fiction horror film Underwater in her kitty. Charlie’s Angels will release on November 15 and Underwater will release on January 10, 2020.
Venice, Sept 8 (Xinhua/UNB) -- The film "Joker" by American director Todd Phillip was awarded on Saturday the Golden Lion at the 76th Venice International Film Festival.
The movie is a standalone story of the origins of Joker -- the criminal mastermind and well-known nemesis of comic superhero Batman -- in a never-seen portrait of the man behind the mask.
Set in a broken-down Gotham City between late 1970s and early 1980s, it shows the progressive evolution of Arthur Fleck, a clown-for-hire living with a mentally fragile mother and struggling to keep his own peace of mind.
Impressively interpreted by Joaquin Phoenix, the character is seen as slowly falling into the ruthless mask Joker, when all of his hopes for kindness, love, and social recognition are lost to him.
French-Polish director Roman Polanski won the Silver Lion Grand Jury Prize for his "J'accuse" (An Officer and a Spy) exploring the judicial and political drama of French Capt. Alfred Dreyfus, who in 1894 was falsely accused of spying for Germany, and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Other top prizes
Presided by Argentinian director Lucrecia Martel, the Venice international jury also awarded a Silver Lion for Best Director to Swedish Roy Andersson for his "About Endlessness".
The Coppa Volpi for Best Actor went to Italian Luca Marinelli for his performance in historical drama "Martin Eden" directed by Pietro Marcello, while French Ariane Ascaride, starring in "Gloria Mundi" by Robert Guédiguian, was awarded the Coppa Volpi for Best Actress.
A Special Jury Prize went to Italian director Franco Maresco for his documentary "La Mafia non è più quella di una volta" (Mafia is not what it used to be).
The Marcello Mastroianni award for Best Young Actor/Actress was bestowed to Toby Wallace, playing in Australian director Shannon Murphy's "Babyteeth" the touching role of a young drug dealer who first befriends, and then falls in love with a teenage girl struggling with a lethal illness.
In the Horizons international section devoted to new cinema trends, the jury led by Italian director Susanna Nicchiarelli awarded "Atlantis" by Ukrainian Valentyn Vasyanovych Best Film, while the Best Screenplay went to French Jessica Palud and Philippe Lioret, respectively director and screenwriter/producer of "Revenir".
The Special Horizons Jury Prize went to Filipino director and screenwriter Raymund Ribay Gutierrez for the movie "Verdict", which explores the problem of domestic violence in the Philippines.
Lion of the future, virtual reality
The jury of the "Luigi De Laurentiis" Venice Award for a Debut Film -- chaired by Serbian director Emir Kusturica -- conferred the Lion of the Future to Sudanese filmmaker Amjad Abu Alala, for his first feature "You will die at 20" running in the Giornate degli Autori (Authors' Days) section.
Finally, the Venice Virtual Reality section saw "The Key" by independent director Celine Tricart winning the Grand Jury Prize for Best VR Immersive Work.
The 76th edition of Venice Film Festival has run at the Lido of the Italian lagoon from Aug. 28 to Sept. 7.
New York, Sept 5 (AP/UNB) — President Donald Trump is again attacking Debra Messing, calling the liberal activist and "Will & Grace" star a racist and saying she should be fired from the NBC sitcom.
Messing apologized earlier this week after tweeting in support of an Alabama church sign which reads "a black vote for Trump is mental illness." Trump tweeted Thursday that Messing was being held to a different standard than what was used for Roseanne Barr, whose show "Roseanne" was cancelled in 2018 by ABC after she made racist comments about former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett.
"Will Fake News NBC allow a McCarthy style Racist to continue?" the president wrote about Messing, who has previously asked that names of attendees at an upcoming Beverly Hills event for Trump be made public.
NBC has already said "Will & Grace" will end its revival run after three seasons in 2020 .
When the comedy first aired from 1998-2006, it was a groundbreaker for its depiction of gay friends Will and Jack, played by Eric McCormack and Sean Hayes. Messing won an Emmy Award in 2003 for playing the title character Grace.
New York, Sept 5 (AP/UNB) — Scarlett Johansson says she's standing by Woody Allen because, "I believe him."
Much of Hollywood has distanced itself from the filmmaker since the MeToo movement prompted a re-examination of child sexual abuse allegations from his now-grown daughter, Dylan. Michael Caine, Timothee Chalamet and Greta Gerwig are among the actors who have publicly expressed regret over working with him.
"I love Woody," Johansson told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview released on Wednesday. "I believe him, and I would work with him anytime."
Allen helped boost Johansson to the A-list. He directed her in "Match Point," ''Scoop" and "Vicky Cristina Barcelona." She said she has spoken to Allen about the accusations and he maintains his innocence. He has never been criminally charged.
Johansson is active in women's issues and was among early supporters of Time's Up.
"It's hard because it's a time where people are very fired up, and understandably," she said. "Things needed to be stirred up, and so people have a lot of passion and a lot of strong feelings and are angry, and rightfully so. It's an intense time."
Johansson said she has had numerous conversations with Allen about his past.
"I have been very direct with him, and he's very direct with me," she said.
Allen has yet to find a U.S. distributor for his films since Amazon pulled his deal last year. Allen has filed a $68 million lawsuit against Amazon.
At the Women's March in Washington last year, Johansson spoke about the importance of Planned Parenthood and women's health. She criticized James Franco for wearing a Time's Up pin to the Golden Globes just before the Los Angeles Times reported that five women accused him of sexual misconduct. Franco denies the allegations.
A spokesman for Johansson did not immediately respond Wednesday to an email seeking additional comment.