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Here Are The First ‘American Horror Story: Hotel’ Character Names

We finally know who will be checking into the “American Horror Story: Hotel” next season.

Actors from both “American Horror Story” and “Scream Queens“ joined Ryan Murphy, co-creator of both shows, onstage at a combined Comic-Con panel on Sunday. “AHS” Season 5 cast members Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Evan Peters and Matt Bomer took the stage alongside Jamie Lee Curtis, Emma Roberts, Lea Michele, Skyler Samuels, Keke Palmer, Abigail Breslin and Billie Lourd of Fox’s upcoming “Scream Queens.”

While Murphy didn’t share any new footage from either series, he did reveal a handful of details about the new season of “AHS,” according to multiple outlets. We now know that Sarah Paulson will play Hypodermic Sally, Evan Peters is Mr. March, Kathy Bates is Iris and Matt Bomer is Donovan. We also know that all of the above characters, plus Angela Bassett’s character, will be evil.

Although Murphy reportedly didn’t say much about how “Hotel” will tie in to the previous seasons of “AHS,” which he revealed last year were all connected, he did say that former “AHS” characters will return in the new season.

Murphy also revealed that Paulson, whose characters have previously survived all four seasons of “AHS,” may not survive this year.

While “Hotel” newcomer Lady Gaga was not at the panel on Sunday, Murphy revealed the story behind her casting. The pop singer apparently contacted Murphy herself and asked if she could play an evil character. His response? “YES,” in all caps, according to Mashable. Gaga won’t have any singing moments on the horror series, but fashion will be a major aspect of the “Bad Romance” singer’s character.

So far, Murphy hasn’t revealed any further details about “Hotel,” but we do know it will also star Chloe Sevigny, Wes Bentley, Finn Wittrock, Max Greenfield and Cheyenne Jackson. ”AHS” veteran Jessica Lange has already been pretty clear that she won’t be returning to the show; however, Murphy reportedly made a comment during the panel that the actress could come back one day, according to E! News.

FX has yet to release further plot details about “American Horror Story: Hotel,” but we have speculated on what the new season could be about, based on previous clues.

“American Horror Story” returns in October on FX.

“Scream Queens” premieres on Sept. 22 at 9:00 p.m. ET on Fox.

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Exclusive: Warcraft Director Duncan Jones Discusses Comic-Con Character Sculpts, Unveiling

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Azeroth comes to San Diego this weekend as Legendary Pictures and effects company Weta Workshop reveal two major character sculpts and weaponry from director Duncan Jones’ anticipated fantasy epic Warcraft at San Diego Comic-Con.

And we joined Jones for a walkthrough and exclusive look at the characters of Ogrim Doomhammer and King Llane of the Alliance before the sculpts were revealed to the public on Wednesday’s Preview Night.

Based in the fantasy realm of Azeroth, the June 2016 epic Warcraft — based on Blizzard Entertainment’s video game franchise — revolves around the early encounters between humans and orcs. But when attendees enter the convention hall, the world of fantasy and motion capture special effects won’t seen so far away.

Instead, the massive, battle-scarred and toothy Ogrim looks ready to throttle anyone brave enough to come close to him at the Legendary booth. He is perched on a shelving of rocks and vanquished enemies, clasping his hammer in his right hand, while the left looks ready to snatch up a human-sized snack. Meanwhile, Llane is flanked by soldiers, appearing regal in glinting steel armor, ready for battle at the Weta booth (appropriate since Weta was behind most of the physical costumes, armor, and weaponry seen in the film).

Meanwhile, Duncan Jones looks downright giddy; he has a good reason to be.

Not only is this the first time he had seen the Comic-Con sculpts, beyond concept art as it came together, but the director of Moon and Source Code is putting the finishing touches on his film. After joining the project in 2013, and directing from a screenplay he co-wrote with Charles Leavitt, he said he has about eight or nine effects left to work on, but that there is a pretty complete film — one which is getting a big push at Saturday’s Legendary panel at SDCC.

In the following interview, Jones spoke about seeing the Weta creations in person, as well as his mindset heading into the con with Warcraft, and what attendees in the hallowed nerdy ground of Hall H might witness on Saturday.

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What was your initial thought upon seeing these Warcraft sculpts?

It’s so cool because we’ve been working on this film for a while now, and the VFX shots have been coming in all the time. They look exquisite and amazing, but to actually see him in person – the physical presence of Ogrim and how thick and huge he is — is really cool.

The sculpts from Weta are stunning. There is also King Llane and a whole troop of soldiers, which is magnificent. And that’s the armor we used in the film. It is an amazing installation.

Do you think this will serve as a way for fans to get into this movie?

Absolutely. This will give people a great sense of the scale of these heroic characters. Ogrim is a pretty large dude, and Llane is very impressive I his armor. I think they’re getting to see an awful lot of stuff, some of which was actually used in the movie as well. It is more than just an exhibition of the style; a lot of this is from the film.

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As a fan of the Warcraft games and sci-fi, talk about how this kind of installation impacts you when you’re bringing a film to the con.

I think the sculpts themselves are icing on the cake. Just the fact you get to go down to Comic-Con, there with a film, makes it a ridiculously exciting experience. I used to go down to the con before I had films involved, so going from just being a fan seeing other people’s stuff to going down with something of your own ramps up the excitement level even more.

How important is Comic-Con for a film’s unveiling?

It is an exponentially growing event for genre films. There is a pretty huge spectrum — from science fiction to super heroes to fantasy and beyond — and we certainly have something where we want to promote this new world. And stake a claim for the fantasy territory that used to be pretty exclusively for the Lord of the Rings films and Tolkien. We have a whole new take on fantasy that we want to show to that audience.

In May Wired ran an interview with you where you said you still had about 50 out of 1,000 effects shots left to work on. So how close is the film to completion?

That number is down to about eight or nine shots left. Our scoring is done, and we’re doing some final mixing. We are doing tweaks to the color grade, but we pretty much have a complete film now. I think everyone is feeling pretty strongly that we have something we can be proud of. The release date is exceptional for us. It is going to be the same release date as Jurassic World was this year, and that’s a good place to be.

So you can pop open that bottle of champagne and celebrate at the con?

Maybe, but not just yet. I don’t want to tempt fate. But I am feeling really good about the film. I’ve shown it to a few people I really trust who are more than happy to be blunt and honest, and they said good things.

You’re working with Industrial Light and Magic for the digital effects, but also with Weta for costumes, weapons, etc. Will you discuss your working relationship with these two giant houses?

Weta has both the digital side and the physical side to the work they do. We used them for a vast amount of the physical side of creating assets, and sculpts for photomatching on set. Weta did a huge amount with us to realize this world. They are phenomenal at what they do. We have also, obviously, been able to work with ILM on the postproduction on the CG side. Their work has also been outstanding. They’re bar has been raised in order to compete with the work Weta Digital does. I think there is a fantastic battle going on between two titans, as far as Weta and ILM trying to one up each other with each film. Right now I think ILM has done an extraordinary job with our film.

This is the very best place you can be in. You want competition and want skilled people wanting to show what they can do in competition with each other. Right now Weta and ILM are doing the best work.

What can we expect from the panel at the con?

There is an awful lot of stuff going on. I am very unsure how much I can talk about. They want to make the reveals as surprising as possible. We do have the panel with most of our main cast there, and we are going to be showing … something that should be a great taster of what to expect from the film. We are doing so much stuff I’m hoping I’ll be given time to actually enjoy the con.

What do you want to take home from the booth?

Actually, there is something that I really want to take home. Over by the Ogrim sculpt, there is a small window that has Garona’s Dagger. That’s very important in the film, and I’d love to get that.

Finally, what is a suggested photo op pose when fans see the sculpts?

I think the thing to do is be realistic. You’re going to get your ass kicked by either Llane or Ogrim, so you should probably be in a death pose.

If you have a chance to see that Ogrim sculpt, you’re really in a perfect place to be pummeled. Maybe you don’t do a death pose, because it looks like he’s about to do the first hit. But I don’t think you’ll survive it. So: Fear! Fear is the thing you want to channel.

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Meet The Real-Life Astronomer Who Inspired Jodi Foster’s Character In ‘Contact’

Are we alone in this vast cosmos? That’s the burning question that drove Dr. Eleanor Arroway — a fictional astronomer in Carl Sagan’s book “Contact,” who was played by Jodi Foster in the 1997 film adaptation — on her epic quest for extra-terrestrial life.

And it’s also motivated the career of Dr. Jill Tarter, the real-life astronomer said to have inspired Arroway’s character.

(Story continues below image.)
jodie foster contact
Jodi Foster as Dr. Eleanor Arroway in the film “Contact.”

Tarter retired in 2012 after spending 35 years scanning the skies for alien signals, and more than a decade as director of the Center for SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Research in Mountain View, Calif. But she’s still actively involved in the search for life — and is encouraging the next generation of E.T. hunters.

To learn just what Tarter is up to now, and find out what’s motivated her to keep up the hunt, HuffPost Science emailed her a series of questions. Here, lightly edited, are her answers:

What makes you sure that alien life is out there?

I’m not sure. This is a question that we are trying to answer. It is as legitimate to ask of the universe, “Is life ubiquitous, or singular?” as it is to ask “How did it all begin?” “How will it end?” and “Are there other universes?” During my own career, the discovery of extremophiles and exoplanets have made the universe appear more bio-friendly, but that is not the same as saying that biology, and life-as-we-don’t-yet-know-it exist beyond the Earth. This question will only be answered by exploration. That is what SETI is trying to do — and we do not know the answer.

“If they can get here, then they are far more technologically advanced than we are, and the reality is that they will set the rules of the game.”

What got you interested in the search for life?

The Cyclops Report from 1971 — written by Barney Oliver and John Billingham — was the result of a series of summer studies at NASA Ames and Stanford. In reading that workshop report, I was impressed by the notion that after millennia of asking priests and philosophers what to believe about life beyond Earth, the middle of the 20th century presented us with some tools that permitted scientists and engineers to do experiments to try to find the answer. Telescopes, rather than belief systems, could potentially show us what is, rather than what others said we should believe. I realized that I was in the right place, at the right time, with the right skills (undergrad degree in engineering physics and Ph.D in astronomy) to join this exploration. I got hooked, and have stayed hooked all these years.

NASA’s chief scientist predicts we’ll find alien life within the next decade. Do you agree?

Ellen Stofan, as NASA spokesperson, was talking about finding microbes somewhere in the solar system beyond Earth. It’s a bet that I’d take, but again that’s not the same thing as knowing the answer. As for any potential mathematicians out there, NASA has excluded those searches from its astrobiology program. Doesn’t make logical or scientific sense, but it is a political reality.

Why do you think we haven’t found it yet?

Many reasons:
— We don’t yet have the right tools, and/or may not yet know the right things to look for (applies to microbes and mathematicians).
— “Beyond Earth” is vast beyond human comprehension, and we haven’t yet looked in the right places in the right way.
— We have already done so, but not recognized it.
— One of two versions of Clarke’s Third Law: Any sufficiently advanced technology will be indistinguishable from magic. Or, any sufficiently advanced technology will be indistinguishable from nature (this due to Karl Schroeder).

What’s kept you going over decades of not finding life? Does it get disappointing?

Only the interactions with politicians and funding agencies is disappointing. The discoveries in the realms of exoplanets and extremophiles continue to excite. Our ability to search in different ways continues to improve (now at exponential rates). The question grows more, not less, important as time goes by.

At what point do we give up the hunt?

Only after searches have been systematic and inclusive enough that null results become significant — a long way from where we are today. Practically, when humanity in all its forms of government, corporate, or private reaches a threshold of pain or indifference and is no longer willing to fund the exploration.

Should we beam out our own signals into space, for potential aliens to find?

The book SETI 2020 suggested that since we are such a young, emerging technology, we should listen first, and transmit only after we’ve become an older, stable technology capable of undertaking very long-term projects such as transmitting. Not all of my colleagues agree with this.

What will happen if aliens find us before we find them?

Whatever they dictate.

That sounds ominous. Stephen Hawking has warned that aliens might want to conquer Earth and enslave us. Do you worry about that?

Not necessarily ominous, just a reality check. If they can get here, then they are far more technologically advanced than we are, and the reality is that they will set the rules of the game. As to what their intentions might be — I’m not competent enough to say (and neither is Stephen Hawking, as smart as he is) — extraterrestrial psychology is a field without any experts.

“I grew a tough skin, and after being “one of the boys” for decades, finally woke up and started trying to support other females around me and under me.”

NASA and other organizations want to go to Mars. Should we? And what do you think about setting up a colony there?

The dinosaurs did not have a space program. Humanity is a single-point of failure as long as they occupy only one planet. Spreading beyond Earth is a good strategy for longevity. It is however, no guarantee if we take all our old habits with us.

You’ve spent decades working in a male-dominated field. What was that like? Has science become more welcoming for women?

Yes, science has become more welcoming, but there is still a long way to go. Fortunately the worst offenders are dying off, and from what I can see of the younger generations of scientists, both males and females are adopting an attitude of partnership and shared responsibility towards life and work. That’s a good thing, because there is growing evidence that postponing childbirth until the mother gains tenure, or partnership, or whatever goal of security/seniority, a strategy that was adopted by many of my generation and the baby-boomers, has led to significant rise in rate of learning and other disorders in offspring.

What was it like? I grew a tough skin, and after being “one of the boys” for decades, finally woke up and started trying to support other females around me and under me.

What’s your role in the search for life, now that you’re retired?

Attempting to raise the money to keep the searches going as long as may be necessary; something I did not succeed at while I was Director. I don’t want to lose the next generation of clever scientists and engineers willing to take a chance on SETI, but unwilling to jeopardize their ability to support their families. Roller coasters are only fun as rides in amusement parks, they are a real drag in the world of funded research.

As we all know, your work inspired Ellie Arroway’s character in “Contact.” What did you make of the movie?

“Contact” was a fantastic movie. It has now been out there so long, that I experience many young colleagues who tell me that this movie was what inspired them to go into science. That’s the best endorsement I can think of! We need a Contact II.

In the movie, Arroway gets into a pod and travels through a series of wormholes, not knowing if she’ll make it back. Given the opportunity, would you get into that pod?

Yup, in a heartbeat.

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Here’s Which ‘Lost’ Character Damon Lindelof Would Send To ‘Tomorrowland’

In Disney’s “Tomorrowland,” Britt Robertson’s Casey discovers a pin that transports her to a futuristic world when she touches it. In the film, directed by Brad Bird (“Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol”) and co-written by Damon Lindelof (“Lost”), Tomorrowland is faraway utopia created by the world’s top innovators, artists and scientists.

The Huffington Post asked Lindelof which “Lost” character he would send to Tomorrowland to better mankind’s future.

“I think that I’d probably send Hurley,” Lindelof told us. The fan favorite character would help Tomorrowland with his positive thinking, something largely essential to the movie’s plot, Lindelof explained.

“It’s always just nice to have someone around to lighten things up. He’s got a great sense of humor,” Lindelof said. Hurley “tended to always be the glass half full guy.”

We couldn’t agree more, and we bet Hurley would take full advantage of the jetpacks there.

While working on “Tomorrowland,” Lindelof also spent his time on the upcoming season of HBO’s “The Leftovers.” The series, co-created by Lindelof and inspired by Tom Perrotta’s novel of the same name, follows those who remain after the mysterious, sudden disappearance of two percent of the world’s population. It is one of the bleakest, most depressing shows on television, a stark contrast to the optimistic “Tomorrowland.”

Lindelof said the HBO show “was constantly threatening to infect” his latest Disney adventure. “The gravitational pull of that feeling, [that] darkness and depression, is so much more powerful than the optimistic and bright pull of ‘Tomorrowland,'” he said.

“When you spend time in a creative world like that, it does affect your mood. I was probably not the most pleasant person to live with,” he added.

When “The Leftovers” returns for its second season, at least we’ll have “Tomorrowland” to yank us out of our depression.

Or we can just think more like Hurley.

“Tomorrowland” is now playing in theaters.

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‘Mad Men’ Creator Matthew Weiner Explains Series Finale, Character Surprises and What’s Next


“The people who find that ad corny, they’re probably experiencing a lot of life that way, and they’re missing out on something,” he said in his first (and only) interview about the final episode. “I don’t think there’s enough empathy right now in the world.”

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“The Breakfast Club” is returning to theaters on March 26, in honor of the now-classic John Hughes film’s 30th anniversary.




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Here’s Which ‘Game Of Thrones’ Character Snoop Dogg Would Smoke Weed With

It’s no surprise that Snoop Dogg is one of the biggest “Game of Thrones” fans outside of the Seven Kingdoms. He raps on the “Lannister’s Anthem” on the “Catch the Throne, Volume II” mixtape, and he even got stoned with Seth Rogen and recapped “GoT.”

But if the Snoop D-O-double-G could blaze with anyone in Westeros, who would it be?

The Daily Beast caught up with the rapper to find out. “Of course Tyrion Lannister! He knows how to party,” Snoop said. (And we totally agree.) Tyrion is also Snoop’s favorite character in the HBO series. But why, you ask? “Cuz he likes to have a good time and party with bad b**ches,” Snoop told the Daily Beast. Yup.

Although Snoop loves “Game of Thrones” with all of his heart, we’re not sure he knows the show is just a show. While talking about his upcoming album “Bush” with the New York Post, Snoop explained why he’s so into “GoT.”

I watch it for historic reasons to try to understand what this world was based on before I got here,” Snoop said. “I like to know how we got from there, to here, and the similarities between then and now.” Yes, that is an actual thing Snoop Dogg actually said about a TV show with dragons and frozen zombies.

But then again, author George R.R. Martin has said his books are heavily influenced by history, and the Red Wedding and even The Mountain vs. The Viper fight were historically based. So Snoop isn’t that far off.

“Game of Thrones” airs on Sundays at 9:00 p.m. ET on HBO.

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Agent of Change: Anna Deavere Smith on the 44th Jefferson Lecture and the Search for American Character

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Humanities, the arts, words, culture, character, the language that people really speak when they speak to each other — oh, these are creatively deep waters for somebody like Anna Deavere Smith to swim through. The acclaimed actress-playwright-professor, perhaps best known for her television roles — Nancy McNally on The West Wing and Gloria Akalitus on Nurse Jackie — ruminates about all this prior to her appearance as the featured lecturer at The 44th Jefferson Lecture in the Humanties for the National Endowment for the Humanities at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on April 6.

In an outing called, “On The Road: A Search For American Character,” Smith will discuss and perform excerpts from her ongoing and quite fascinating documentary theater project, which, for more than 20 years, has turned heads, generated discussion and garnered praise for the brilliant way it transforms “the words of ordinary people into dramatic monologue.” PBS Newshour’s Jeffrey Brown oversees a Q&A afterward.

Smith’s presence at NEH promises to be illuminating for a number of reasons. It offers an opportunity to look a little more deeply into the role Humanities currently plays in today’s culture, but it also reminds us of Smith’s one-of-a-kind ability to create memorable works that revolve around a number of social issues–from race relations to religion and healthcare.

There’s something remarkable, in fact, experiencing Smith on stage, where she plays many characters who represent various points of view. Her shrewd journalistic skill and ability to evoke the souls of those she has interviewed rises beyond the ordinary theater experience. When, in 2013, Smith received the National Humanities Medal, which was presented to her by President Obama, it was well deserved and may have solidified her role as an Agent of Change among us. She has also garnered the MacArthur Award, The Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, two Tony nominations, and two Obies. To date, her works, “Fire In Mirror,” “Twilight: Los Angeles 1992” and “Let Me Down Easy”–about healthcare in America–are some of the most nuanced, sobering awakenings of issues only a handful of creatives are capable of capturing with such depth. Her new work, some of which she will perform at the NEH endeavor, traces the school-to-prison pipeline.

Here, Smith opens more about the NEH event, the role of Humanities and much more.

Greg Archer: In NEH’s orbit, there is a focus on the achievements exemplified by Thomas Jefferson. I wanted to begin there and get your thoughts about Jefferson and the organization itself.

Anna Deavere Smith: It’s actually a great question, which I never thought to ask and now I will. I am not a historian, but through some of the research I did on Thomas Jefferson–and I actually performed him in my play “House Arrest,” although I don’t normally perform people I haven’t heard speak–I think Jefferson’s knowledge was vast. I asked one historian who spent her life on Jefferson, and I asked her, “Do you like him?” She said, “Well, if you sat next to him at dinner he would know everything about everything.” And when you look at his interests–he knew everything from wine to slaves. Apparently, when he needed a carpenter, he picked out one who could play the oboe to fill out a particular quartet he was putting together. I don’t know how Jefferson, and so many people of that time, managed to do all the work they did at so many levels–they didn’t have cell phones, computers. And when you think about the Humanities, the idea of Humanities, it is a broad umbrella of knowledge–is this knowledge going to get me a job; is this knowledge going to build me a cabinet? But there’s something about the actual joy of knowing things.

Greg Archer: Verbatim Theater and the importance of character, race, community and identity. This has been a major thrust in what you do. I am curious what lures you to be plugged into that particular socket?

Anna Deavere Smith: I started working like this and thinking like this in the late ’70s based on two things. 1) Something my grandfather said when we were children: “When you say a word often enough, it becomes you.” And 2) Because being trained classically and understanding that in Shakespeare if you say the words, it will take you to a psychological state in a character … Putting those two things together made me very interested in how language works; and how is it that in Shakespeare, that by saying the words you can actually feel like the character? I decided: Why don’t I study real people and study their words and see if I can learn something–what is the certain magic in that? I used to say to my students when I was a very young teacher that everybody sounds different. Nobody sounds like anybody else. Even a playwright writes a full sentence … nobody talks like that. The language on the page is not the language being spoken so I was/am interested in what are the things that we can do the navigate it. I also grew up in a Black church [in Baltimore] where there was great oratory and great music … and seeing the power of what something is beyond “What are the esthetics of a great speaker?”

Greg Archer: You have interviewed many people for your works. What makes a compelling interviewee?

Anna Deavere Smith: First of all, it’s not somebody who has something to say. It’s somebody who wants to say something. That’s the important thing. The theater, the drama, the stage–somewhere I learned this–that in order to be on the stage and be able to command attention you have to have an incredible will to communicate. In my case, I try to make myself an empty vessel for other peoples’ incredible will to communicate. So, Number One, I need an interviewee with an incredible will to communicate; somebody who is going to talk to me; somebody who could go scream it on a mountaintop.

Greg Archer: What do you love most about that process?

Anna Deavere Smith: Now I video the interviews. I never was able to do that, and I like to be in a situation where I can start the interview by saying, “What happened?” Saying, “Tell me more about that.” You know, Wikipedia, where you’re reading along and then there is something underlined and there’s a link? That’s what I think of those moments where I say, “Say more about that.” It’s getting that person to link in and hook me into something that’s probably deeper than what they just said.

Greg Archer: For this event, you will be doing …

Anna Deavere Smith: I’ll start off with Studs Terkel–I’m crazy about Studs. He was somebody who was brilliant in his ability to say something profound in what appears to be very simple. And then I will do one of the people from my play, “Twilight,” and then I will present new material I have been collecting on what I call the School to Prison Pipeline.

Greg Archer: Tell me more about that.

Anna Deavere Smith: There’s become an increased awareness about the number of people who are incarcerated. I’m told that it’s an issue where both Democrats and Republicans actually agree. The National Academy of Sciences came up with a 500-page report with so many questions: Should we be punishing so many people? What does it mean that we incarcerate more people than any other country in the world? Where do they come from? Sadly, some of them are young people who can’t make it through school; can’t sit through class; get expelled. Statistics have shown that these people who get expelled, sometimes for minor infractions, that when that circle starts, it’s not just that that person is incarcerated, it’s that the life and health of the communities are affected.

So, that’s what I have been looking at. I have picked four geographic areas–a lot of interviews in Nothern California, Baltimore, Philly and then I’ll be going to some place in the South. I don’t know where. Hopefully some place I have never heard of and that you have never heard of, to see what’s happening there in this rural community. And again, I’ll be presenting some of this at this lecture before the work is ready. And why is that? Because I want this be a part of a conversation long before it’s a–quote/unquote–finished work of art. Because I think this is something we need to wrap our heads around–we’re losing talent; we’re losing lives and how far can it go? How can we turn it around? That’s not for me to answer. I am not a legislator; I am not an educator. I mean, I teach artists in elite institutions. But I hope in my small way to cause conversation about it and make my way toward people who are making differences.

Greg Archer: Let’s discuss Humanities and the Arts these days. What’s the best thing you see?

Anna Deavere Smith: That’s a good question, and certainly rendered in a very positive way.

Greg Archer: Or, I could ask what are you most concerned about?

Anna Deavere Smith: In one way, everybody is always concerned about the arts dying and they never do. I think there’s good reason to be concerned about Humanities just because Humanities are traditionally dwelled in schools and universities and we’re changing the way we think about ways people need to learn or what we think they need to learn, and what needs to be a craft that needs to be learned, so … [there’s the thought:] why waste time on Shakespeare or Mark Twain for that matter.

I think we are in this moment where we need to think through that. I think Humanities is simply the world of ideas. We’re at a crossroads. All of a sudden there’s this economic matter–how is time best spent to learn what? And the concern about this remarkable technological revolution that you and I find ourselves in that has changed the world forever … and the world in 25 years will be a world we don’t even recognize. And how do we prepare ourselves? We are under a kind of pressure about what education should be; what human cognition should be. And I think the one thing Humanities can do is to help us always be there and talk about what does it means. That’s what Humanities is there for–to help us understand: What are we doing? I’ve heard more than one person say to me lately, “What’s going on? What’s going on … with all this technology? Do they know everything about us?” Or, “Wow, look at how they decide how many people are going to work at Walgreens? Wow, we don’t understand.” I think we’ll always need that old, crusty Humanties as a kind of Wise Man in this journey to find that meaning.
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Falling in Love With a Cartoon Character (VIDEO)

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I’m From Driftwood is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit archive for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer stories. New stories are posted on the site every Wednesday.

Alexander Zuccaro of Tom’s River, New Jersey, says he never really fit in on the playground. Describing himself as artistic, he says he wasn’t that interested in playing sports with the boys but didn’t really want to hang out with the girls either. He recalls:

I can remember growing up always feeling strange, odd, and different, not just for being gay but being artistic as well. I never really hung out with the boys who wanted to play sports, but I didn’t really want to hang out with the girls either on the swing sets. I wanted to do my own thing.

Alexander first realized he was gay at 5 years old thanks to a Hercules pillow set, a secret comfort he could turn to when he couldn’t explain himself to his friends at school. The pillow was his “boyfriend,” he says:

I remember Hercules was on my pillowcase, and I remember thinking to myself, “This is my boyfriend.” And as a 5-year-old, I was making out with it. I was kissing it and holding it and thinking, “Oh, my God, my boyfriend is here with me.”

Alexander describes why his pillow made the perfect companion:

By kissing my pillowcase, he couldn’t talk back to me; he couldn’t make fun of me or ridicule me or tell me I was wrong. It was something that was just natural, and I could just do without any problem.

But why Hercules? Alexander recalls:

I just thought this muscular man is saving all these people and is very strong and heroic, it was very attractive to me as a young child, and I wanted that kind of figure in my life.

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For more stories, visit I’m From Driftwood, the LGBTQ Story Archive.
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'How To Train Your Dragon 2' Character Gobber The Belch Will Come Out As Gay

A beloved “How to Train Your Dragon” character will break fresh ground by coming out as gay in a sequel to the 2010 animated smash.

Writer-director Dean DeBlois told E! News that Gobber the Belch (voiced by Craig Ferguson) will subtly address his sexuality in “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” which is slated for release in June.

But audiences shouldn’t expect a grand proclamation, and it sounds like Gobber’s coming out will be more of a slight acknowledgement in the modern vein of Matt Bomer or Anderson Cooper. DeBlois, who is openly gay, said the character will hint at his sexuality while watching a husband and wife argue.

“When we were recording Craig Ferguson, I had written the line, ‘This is why I never got married,” and he, as he often does, added it as an ad lib and he said, ‘Yup, Gobber is coming out of the closet,'” DeBlois told E! News’ Marc Malkin at the Cannes Film Festival. “I think that’s a really fun [and] daring move to put in. I love the idea that Gobber is Berk’s resident gay.”

He also told Fox News, “It’s progressive, it’s honest, and it feels good, so we wanted to keep it .. It does make for an interesting revelation because now, what does that mean, do we shed a little more light on Gobber’s love life?”

While Gobber’s declaration might be a big screen first, other animated characters have come out in other mediums.

In 2010, Archie Comics’ Kevin Keller became the series’ first openly gay character. Depicted as an active U.S. military officer, Keller tied the knot with his African-American partner, Clay Walker, the following year.

In a 2013 episode of the Disney/ABC series “Once Upon a Time,” Mulan seemed to acknowledge her bisexuality by revealing an unrequited love for Princess Aurora (“Sleeping Beauty”) after having developed feelings for Prince Phillip the previous season.

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