"Sopranos" actress Annabella Sciorra confronted Harvey Weinstein from the witness stand Thursday, testifying that the former Hollywood studio boss overpowered and raped her and made other crude overtures that included sending her X-rated chocolates and showing up uninvited in his underwear with a bottle of baby oil in one hand and a video in the other.
In a quivering voice, Sciorra told the jury that the burly Weinstein barged into her apartment in the mid-1990s, threw her on a bed and forced himself on her as she tried to fight him off by kicking and punching him.
She said that roughly a month later, she ran into him and confronted him about what happened, and he replied: "That's what all the nice Catholic girls say."
Then, she told the jury, Weinstein leaned toward her and added menacingly: "This remains between you and I."
"His eyes went black and I thought he was going to hit me right there," Sciorra testified.
The 59-year-old actress became the first of Weinstein's accusers to testify at his trial, where the movie mogul whose downfall gave rise to the #MeToo movement is charged with forcibly performing oral sex on former production assistant Mimi Haleyi in his New York apartment in 2006 and raping an aspiring actress in a hotel room in 2013.
Weinstein's lawyers sought to sow doubts about Sciorra's story, raising questions about her actions after the alleged rape and asking whether she had once described the encounter as "awkward sex," which she denied.
Weinstein is not charged with attacking Sciorra, whose accusations date too far back to be prosecuted. Instead, she testified as one of four additional accusers prosecutors intend to put on the stand to show that the powerful Hollywood producer had a habit of preying on women.
Generally, prosecutors cannot bring up alleged crimes beyond the charges at a trial, but such evidence can be allowed if it shows a certain pattern of behavior. Five additional accusers were allowed to testify against Bill Cosby at the Pennsylvania trial that led to his 2018 conviction for sexually assaulting a woman.
Weinstein, 67, could get life in prison if convicted.
The executive behind such Oscar-winning movies as "Pulp Fiction" and "Shakespeare in Love" has insisted any sexual encounters were consensual.
Recounting an accusation she said she kept largely secret for decades, Sciorra testified that after raping her, Weinstein went on to try to perform oral sex on her, saying, "This is for you," as her body "shut down."
"It was just so disgusting," she said. She said she started to shake: "I didn't even know what was happening. It was like a seizure or something."
At other points in the 1990s, she said, Weinstein sent her packages with Valium and a box of chocolate penises and turned up early one morning at her Cannes Film Festival hotel room in his underwear with the body oil and the videotape. She said he left after she frantically pushed buttons on the room phone to summon help.
The jury of seven men and five women listened keenly and took notes on her testimony. Weinstein was mostly expressionless, sometimes appearing to purse his lips as he chewed mints.
During cross-examination, Weinstein lawyer Donna Rotunno noted that Sciorra never went to police or a doctor about the alleged rape.
"At the time, I didn't understand that that was rape," Sciorra said. She testified earlier that she once thought rape was a crime of strangers.
"I thought he was an OK guy. I felt confused. I felt like I wished I never opened the door," she said.
Rotunno also suggested that Sciorra's judgment and recollection were clouded by drinking — the actress replied that she remembered having only a glass of wine with dinner — and played a 1997 clip of Sciorra playfully telling late-night host David Letterman that she sometimes had fun with the media by making up stories such as her father raising iguanas for circuses.
Sciorra said she would never lie about something as serious as sexual assault.
The defense also highlighted an August 2017 text message in which Sciorra told a friend she was broke and was "hoping Harvey has a job for me."
The actress said she was just "fishing" to try to find out through the friend whether Weinstein knew that a reporter had gotten wind of her accusations. They were first published in The New Yorker two months later.
The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they have been victims of sexual assault, unless they come forward publicly.
Sciorra drew acclaim for her part in Spike Lee's 1991 movie "Jungle Fever" and her role as a pregnant woman molested by her doctor in 1992's "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle." She later appeared in a few episodes of "The Sopranos."
She said she met Weinstein at an industry event in Los Angeles in 1990 or 1991. By 1993, she had starred in one of his company's movies, the romantic comedy "The Night We Never Met."
She said the rape happened in late 1993 or early 1994, after Weinstein dropped her off from a movie-business dinner and then appeared, uninvited, at her door minutes later.
Sciorra later acted in another Weinstein-produced picture, 1997's "Cop Land," though she said she didn't realize when auditioning that his studio was involved.
She told no one at first about the alleged rape, not even her brothers, she said.
"I wanted to pretend it never happened," she said. "I wanted to get back to my life."
A nine-day solo photography exhibition on internationally famed Bangladeshi artist Shahabuddin Ahmed titled ‘Shahabuddin: The Painter, The Fighter’ by Iftekhar Wahid Iftee began at the Zainul Gallery of the Fine Art Faculty of Dhaka University (DU) on Thursday.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan inaugurated the exhibition as the chief guest while National Professor Anisuzzaman presided over the inaugural ceremony.
Thanking the organisers, the minister said Shahabuddin Ahmed is not only an artist or painter but also a national hero of the country who explored Bangladesh across the world. “He always tries to uphold the local culture, dance and rural life through his work.”
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Rabindranath Tagore and Gandhi have always been Shahabuddin’s ideals, he said.
Hailing Iftee, Asaduzzaman said he is a great photographer who tried to explore the works of the great artist through this exhibition.
Prof Anisuzzaman said Bangabandhu, the architect of the Bangalee nationhood and Bangladesh, is a constant hero of Shahabuddin Ahmed. “He painted Bangabandhu with the zeal of a freedom fighter and portrayed his real spirit.”
Renowned actress Shampa Reza, Managing Director of Omicon Group M Sharif Ul Alam and owner of Sahos Nazmul Huda Ratan were, among others, present.
Days before Christmas, acclaimed pianist João Carlos Martins ran to a Sao Paulo bar to show off his new gloves to friends. They were seemingly magical, enabling the 79-year-old to play songs with both hands for the first time in 21 years.
It sounds too good to be true, but the proof is in the playing. Sitting at his Petrof piano in his penthouse, Martins reels off Frédéric Chopin's nocturnes with aplomb. Before the gloves, he could only play songs slowly with his thumbs and, sometimes, his index fingers.
The Brazilian classical pianist and conductor, one of the great interpreters of Johann Sebastian Bach's music, announced his retirement last March after more than 20 surgeries — on his arms, fingers and brain — to stop pains from a degenerative disease and a series of accidents. Limited hand movement left him working mostly as a conductor since the early 2000s.
"After I lost my tools, my hands, and couldn't play the piano, it was if there was a corpse inside my chest," Martins told The Associated Press.
Martins' health problems date back to 1965. He famously rebounded after every setback — nerve damage in his arm inflicted during a soccer match in New York, a mugger hitting him over the head with a metal pipe while he toured in Bulgaria, and more. But even friends expected the latest surgery, on his left hand, to mark the end of his days on the piano bench.
That might have been his fate, were it not for a designer who believed the pianist's retirement had come too early. Ubiratã Bizarro Costa created neoprene-covered bionic gloves that bump Martins' fingers upward after they depress the keys, and which are held together by a carbon fiber board.
"I did the first models based on images of his hands, but those were far from ideal," Costa said. "I approached the maestro at the end of a concert in my city of Sumaré, in the Sao Paulo countryside. He quickly noticed they wouldn't work, but then he invited me to his house to develop the project."
Costa and Martins spent the subsequent months testing several prototypes. The perfect match came in December, and cost only about 500 Brazilians reals ($125) to build. Now Martins never takes off his new gloves, even when going to bed.
"I might not recover the speed of the past. I don't know what result I will get. I'm starting over as though I were an 8-year-old learning," he said, joined by his poodle Sebastian. His dog's name, of course, is a tribute to Bach.
The pianist's return was first reported by the Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo. Reporter Ricardo Kotscho said Martins hurried to the bar near his home before Christmas "like a boy who got a new toy."
Martins said he has received more than 100 gadgets in the last 50 years as miraculous solutions to his hand problems. None worked well or long enough.
"But these gloves do. I can even tune them accordingly," he said, showing how he can rearrange the glove's internal pads to play at a faster or slower tempo. "That doesn't mean it's all sorted. The muscle atrophy plays a role. Sometimes I try to play a speedy one and get depressed because it just doesn't happen yet."
The "extender gloves," as their inventor calls them, gave Martins a goal: Play the piano again at New York's Carnegie Hall in October, when he is scheduled to conduct a concert celebrating the 60th anniversary of his first appearance there.
Martins, meantime, is practicing early in the morning and late at night, to the delight of his neighbors, until he can interpret an entire Bach concert perfectly.
"It could take one, two years. I will keep pushing until that happens," he said. "I won't give up."
Female empowerment, controversies about race, and designs that plunged to the depths of the seas then climbed Mount Olympus were among themes to grace Paris Couture Week on its drama-filled first day.
Here are some highlights of Monday's spring-summer 2020 couture shows.
DIOR: WOMEN RULE (AND GLIMMER)
Dior's first ever female designer, Maria Grazia Chiuri, is onto something.
Her feminist logo-emblazoned T-shirts have famously been among the house's biggest sellers — and so she went back on the girl power charge to capitalize on this popular unique selling point in the Rodin Museum collection.
The starting idea was a question posed by the artist and set-designer Judy Chicago, blown up as text at the show: "What if Women Ruled the World?"
Chiuri answered it herself by basing the shimmering Greco-Roman designs around the theme of "The Female Divine."
Though at several points Chiuri strayed into heavy-handedness, the overall result was an archetypally couture collection that harked back to the couture origins of draping and strapping.
Athena, the ancient warrior-goddess, was evoked in a tightly-strapped gold bodice and sections of gold fringing.
And the Hellenistic sculpture "The Winged Victory of Samothrace," that stands in the Louvre, provided inspiration for long billowing silk skirts and rope-like straps that pulled tightly around the busts and waists of several looks.
But ensembles sometimes fell victim to their own divine ambition — such as an iron-colored goddess-version of the house's signature bar jacket. Though it captured a feeling of chain mail, accordingly, it proved ungraciously clunky at the hips.
DIOR FRONT ROW
Alongside Uma Thurman, "Alien" star Sigourney Weaver, who's rarely spotted on the fashion scene, led the celebrity pack.
Weaver, who's known for her feisty and feminist roles, had something to say about couture — and Dior — empowering women.
"It is always an ideal," she said, before entering the show.
"Haute couture is very strong, and assured, which I think women sometimes need help being as assured as we should be. And we need to have a little Christian Dior inside us to sort of step out, you know?"
SCHIAPARELLI'S PERFECT BALANCE
Daniel Roseberry seems to have the winning formula at Schiaparelli: Less is more.
The Texas-born designer managed on Monday to include all the Surrealist references of the late, great couturier Elsa Schiaparelli, without them straying into the kitsch or the overpowering — as has been the case in the past. He used them sparingly, carefully giving each bold object the necessary space to breathe.
A large gold earring resembling a human ear, for instance, was placed above a bare chest and dark tuxedo. Not only did that allow the statement earring to be the sole dominant feature, Roseberry very cleverly re-enforced the idea of the human body being — literally — on display. The same idea was repeated on a statement sheeny royal blue leopard-skin print tuxedo twinned with the model's bare human-skin.
The couture itself was simple, but deceptively so. A raisin-black tuxedo with four gold buttons had a monochromatic giant ruffled fabric hood that enveloped the model's face. The design was visually arresting yet handled subtly as it was in a monochromatic dark hue.
In the final flourish, Roseberry tackled shocking pink — the color-name Schiaparelli was said to have coined. What was shocking about it was its tastefulness, for instance on a giant dropped-waist full skirt that contrasted stylishly with a bodice in ultramarine, royal blue and flash of orange.
Adding to reasons to love this show: 23 of the 36 looks were modeled by non-Caucasian models and women of color, in a rare moment on the Paris catwalk.
COMME DES GARCONS' RACE CONTROVERSY
Brand Comme des Garçons ended men's fashion week trying to defend itself against accusations of racism after last week's show featured white models wearing braided wigs.
Critics of the show, which AP didn't attend and only saw photos of, said it smacked of racial appropriation as the wigs resembled hairstyles of the black community, and some black models in the same show walked with just their natural hair.
The hair stylist Julien d'Ys said on social media he was influenced by Tutankhamun and Ancient Egypt.
In a statement sent to AP, the house said "it was never, ever our intention to disrespect or hurt anyone – we deeply and sincerely apologize for any offense it has caused."
Race is a hot topic at fashion weeks all over the world, after a host of recent controversies, including an ad campaign by Dolce and Gabbana that was deemed racist against China.
In 2018, Comme des Garçons was criticized for lacking diversity over models on its runway.
IRIS VAN HERPEN EXCELS
Another season of Dutch wunderkind Iris Van Herpen, another moment to delve into her unique world of visual poetry.
Floating jelly fish and skeletal underwater crustaceans are often evoked visually in the designer's award-winning couture, but rarely referenced by the house as inspiration.
This season, it acknowledged that spring-summer's designs channeled "the sensory processes that occur between the intricate composition of the human body, mirrored with the fibrous marine ecology of our oceans."
It made for one of the designer's most beautiful collections ever.
Twisted silk strands on a gown descended down a model's body in pastel blues, grays and coconut white, like the tentacles of a deep-sea creature, with the floating feeling of suspended gravity.
A black floor-length gown with undulating straps could have been a poisonous medusa, with coral-red dye bleeding down its multi-layered skirt.
Toward the end, one of the most beautiful pieces of couture in memory appeared — a brilliant white structured three-dimensional gown made of thousands of interlocking petals of white fabric that evoked a swan, or perhaps a section of human bone under the microscope.
GIAMBATTISTA VALLI'S EXHIBIT
The fashion seasons run at a relenting pace. And France's longest transport strike in decades complicated an already frenetic calendar last week.
This was perhaps in the mind of Giambattista Valli, who this season decided to take his foot off the pedal and put on an exhibit, instead of a high-octane — blink and you miss it — runway show.
The — mostly — fun designs proved it to be a good decision.
On mannequins inside Paris' Jeu de Paume, the Italian-born designer showed off his couture skills of abstraction with pieces that possessed flourishes at the shoulder or skirt.
Crimson tulle ruffles appeared like vertical columns on both sides of a sleeveless silk gown. A voluminous white feather headpiece looked like a wild, windswept shrub. While a bitter lemon-colored dress with huge gathered full skirt was lit up on a yellow mannequin — to make the whole world seem yellow.
Off-camera and during commercials, the stars at the Screen Actors Guild Awards got to rub shoulders, give congratulatory kisses, and meet for the first or the 50th time. Here are some of the more memorable moments from inside Sunday night's ceremony at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
PARTY TIME FOR 'PARASITE'
The "Parasite" table was one of the happier places in the Shrine ballroom — and that was before its cast won the night's biggest award. Song Kang Ho and the film's other stars got whoops, whistles and a standing ovation from much of the room of mostly American actors early in the show, when they took the stage to present their nominated film. That was followed by a full-blown ovation at the end, when theirs became the first foreign-language film to win the best ensemble SAG Award. In the two hours between, the gleeful cast and director Bong Joon Ho, savored their moment in the Hollywood spotlight, taking group selfies during every commercial break. They greeted a steady stream of fellow-actor fans, including Steve Buscemi. "I'm a little embarrassed," cast member Lee Sun Kyun said after the show through a translator. "We're feeling a little like the parasites of Hollywood now."
SOME SAG STARS LOOM LARGER THAN OTHERS
TV and movie screens tend to obscure actors' heights, but when they're all in a room together it's very clear who looms over whom. The winners of the show's first two awards for actresses, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Laura Dern, both reportedly 5-foot-10, made it seem like the night was going to be dominated by the tallest nominees, but the trend ended there. The win of a much shorter Joaquin Phoenix — for "Joker" — over a reportedly 6-foot-3 Adam Driver for best actor in a film was more typical of the night. And the tallest actor and actress in the crowd, Stephen Merchant of "Jojo Rabbit," who stands about 6-foot-7, and Gwendoline Christie of "Game of Thrones," who stands about 6-foot-3, never got to take the stage with their casts, over whom they towered when they stood up during commercial breaks.
LITHGOW VISITS DRIVER'S SEAT
John Lithgow is even taller than Driver, and is nearly 40 years older, but it was Lithgow doing the looking up when the two met for the first time during a commercial break. Lithgow, nominated along with the rest of the cast of "Bombshell," smiled and gushed to Driver, nominated for best actor for "Marriage Story," expressing his admiration for Driver's run of recent performances. "Great to meet you Adam," Lithgow said with enthusiasm as the SAG Awards telecast returned from commercial and Lithgow rejoined Charlize Theron, Margot Robbie and his other cast mates at the neighboring table.
SMALL STARS SCRAMBLE FOR SAG SELFIES
You could be excused for thinking it was Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work day for the professional actors of the SAG Awards. Actually, the wee ones running around the ballroom were acting pros, too, on a night where children abounded among the nominees. The kid actors from "Big Little Lies," including brothers Cameron and Nicholas Crovetti, were all over the ballroom during commercial breaks, taking photos with stars including their cast mates Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon. Twelve-year-old Roman Griffin Davis sat proudly at his table like he utterly belonged alongside his fellow "Jojo Rabbit" cast members, who include Scarlett Johansson. Leonardo DiCaprio politely spoke to a steady stream of people excited to meet him during commercial breaks, but he positively beamed when his 10-year-old "Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood" co-star Julia Butters, in a shiny silver suit, brought three young friends to meet him. He greeted each of them with a huge grin just moments before he lost out on best actor to Phoenix.
DE NIRO AND STREEP MAKE SAG CROWD SWOON
If anyone inspired more awe in the ballroom than DiCaprio it was Robert De Niro, to whom DiCaprio presented the SAG Life Achievement Award during the ceremony. Many major stars came to pay tribute to De Niro as he sat at a table that included his "The Irishman" co-stars Al Pacino and Harvey Keitel. But when Meryl Streep — his co-star in "The Deer Hunter" more than 40 years ago — stopped by to exchange kisses and kudos, photographers descended in droves and phone cameras came out on all sides to capture the meetup of the pair that many regard as the greatest actor and actress of their generation.
Virtually the entire ballroom can see the SAG Awards telecast's teleprompters if they look over their shoulder, and can see who's going off-script. When Ray Romano said while introducing the best ensemble nomination for "The Irishman" that he still couldn't believe he played a mob lawyer opposite De Niro and Keitel, Keitel roasted him by responding "I can't believe it either." Romano replied, "Hey, that's not up there," pointing at the teleprompter. Romano was right. It wasn't.
MR. ROGERS, JUDY GARLAND ARE NEIGHBORS
Actors usually sit with their cast mates at SAG Awards tables, but sometimes the seating chart yields more novel pairings, like the adjacent placement of Tom Hanks, nominated for "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood," and Renée Zellweger, nominated for "Judy." The pairing made theirs a popular table for fans and cameras, and it proved prescient. They met up again onstage late in the show, when Hanks handed Zellweger the trophy for best actress in a film.