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IT40 People in the Media for 01/15/2019

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#1 Carol Channing • Broadway theatre • Dolly Levi • Hello, Dolly!

 

Broadway legend Carol Channing has died at age 97

FILE – This June 19, 1978 file photo shows actress Carol Channing in New York. Channing, whose career spanned decades on Broadway and on television has died at age 97. Publicist B. Harlan Boll says Channing died of natural causes early Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019 in Rancho Mirage, Calif. (AP Photo/G. Paul Burnett, File )

PUBLISHED: January 15, 2019 at 5:46 am | UPDATED: January 15, 2019 at 6:39 am

By MARK KENNEDY | The Associated Press

NEW YORK — Carol Channing, the lanky, ebullient musical comedy star who delighted American audiences over almost 5,000 performances as the scheming Dolly Levi in “Hello, Dolly” on Broadway and beyond, has died. She was 97.Publicist B. Harlan Boll said Channing died of natural causes at 12:31 a.m. Tuesday in Rancho Mirage, California. Boll says she had twice suffered strokes in the last year.

Besides “Hello, Dolly,” Channing starred in other Broadway shows, but none with equal magnetism. She often appeared on television and in nightclubs, for a time partnering with George Burns in Las Vegas and a national tour.

Her outsized personality seemed too much for the screen, and she made only a few movies, notably “The First Traveling Saleslady” with Ginger Rogers and “Thoroughly Modern Millie” with Julie Andrews.

Over the years, Channing continued as Dolly in national tours, the last in 1996, when she was in her 70s. Tom Shales of The Washington Post called her “the ninth wonder of the world.”

Messages of love and appreciation lit up Twitter early Tuesday, with the League of Professional Theatre Women saying Channing “was a gift of inspiration to so many.” Fans who saw her work also took to social media, calling her a “firecracker” and saying she was “matchmaking for the angels now.”

Channing was not the immediate choice to play Dolly, a matchmaker who receives her toughest challenge yet when a rich grump seeks a suitable wife. The show, which features a rousing score by Jerry Herman that’s bursting with joy and tunes like “Put On Your Sunday Clothes,” ”Before the Parade Passes By” and “It Only Takes a Moment,” is a musical version of Thornton Wilder’s play “The Matchmaker.”

Theater producer David Merrick told her: “I don’t want that silly grin with all those teeth that go back to your ears.” Even though director Gower Champion had worked on her first Broadway hit, “Lend an Ear,” he had doubts about Channing’s casting.

Channing was born Jan. 31, 1921, in Seattle, where her father, George Channing, was a newspaper editor. When his only child was 3 months old, he moved to San Francisco and worked as a writer for The Christian Science Monitor and as a lecturer. He later became editor-in-chief of Christian Science publications.

At the age of 7, Channing decided she wanted to become an entertainer. She credited her father with encouraging her: “He told me you can dedicate your life at 7 or 97. And the people who do that are happier people.”

While majoring in drama and dance at Bennington College in Vermont, she was sent off to get experience in her chosen field. She found a job in a New York revue. The show lasted only two weeks, but a New Yorker magazine critic commented, “You will hear more about a satiric chanteuse named Carol Channing.” She said later: “That was it. I said goodbye to trigonometry, zoology and English literature.”

For several years she worked as an understudy, bit player and nightclub impressionist, taking jobs as a model, receptionist and sales clerk during lean times. Landing in Los Angeles, she auditioned for Marge Champion, wife and dance partner of Gower Champion who was putting together a revue, “Lend an Ear.” Marge Champion recalled: “She certainly was awkward and odd-looking, but her warmth and wholesomeness came through.”

Channing was the hit of “Lend an Ear” in a small Hollywood theater, and she captivated audiences and critics when the show moved to New York. As the innocent gold digger in the musical “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” her stardom was assured. One reviewer reported she “hurls across the footlights in broad strokes of pantomime and bold, certain, exquisitely comical gestures.” The show’s hit song, “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” became her signature number.

Over and over again she returned to the surefire “Hello, Dolly,” which earned her $5 million on one tour. She considered Dolly Levi “a role as deep as Lady Macbeth,” but added that “the essence of her character was her unquenchable thirst for life.” That description fit Carol Channing, who attributed her sunny optimism to her lifelong faith in Christian Science.

Others who have played the role include Pearl Bailey, Phyllis Diller, Betty Grable, Ethel Merman, Martha Raye, Ginger Rogers and Barbra Streisand, who played Dolly in a 1969 film version directed by Gene Kelly. Bette Midler won a Tony Award in the role in 2017.

Channing had two early marriages that ended in divorce — to novelist Theodore Naidish and pro footballer Alexander Carson, father of her only child, Channing. Her son became a successful political cartoonist.

In 1956 she married a television producer, Charles Lowe, who seemed like the perfect mate for a major star. He adopted Channing’s son and supervised every aspect of her business affairs and appearances. He reportedly viewed every one of her performances from out front, leading the applause.

After 41 years of marriage, she sued for divorce in 1998, alleging that he misappropriated her funds and humiliated her in public. She remarked that they only had sex twice in four decades.

“The only thing about control freak victims is that they don’t know who they are,” she told The Washington Post. “It’s taken me 77 years to figure that out. I was miserable. I was unhappy. And I didn’t realize it wasn’t my fault. But I’m going to survive. I’m going to live. I’m free.”Lowe died after a stroke in 1999. Channing moved to Rancho Mirage near Palm Springs, California, in 2000 to write her memoirs. She called the book “Just Lucky, I Guess.”

Channing remarried in 2003 to Harry Kullijian, her childhood sweetheart from 70 years before. He died in 2011.

In her book, Channing recounted an early story from her childhood that showed a budding audience-pleasing performer. She wrote that she came home from kindergarten and noted that all the little girls hit the little boys.

Her parents asked: “Do you?”

She responded: “Oh no, I pet them.”

___

Associated Press writer Shawn Marsh in Trenton, New Jersey, contributed to this report.

Broadway legend Carol Channing dead at age 97

  • Jan 15, 2019 Updated 1 hr ago
Carol Channing
This  file photo shows singer and actress Carol Channing in Concord, N.H. Channing, whose career spanned decades on Broadway and on television has died at age 97. Publicist B. Harlan Boll says Channing died of natural causes early Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019 in Rancho Mirage, Calif. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Carol Channing, the lanky, ebullient musical comedy star who delighted American audiences over almost 5,000 performances as the scheming Dolly Levi in "Hello, Dolly" on Broadway and beyond, has died. She was 97.

Publicist B. Harlan Boll said Channing died of natural causes at 12:31 a.m. Tuesday in Rancho Mirage, California. Boll says she had twice suffered strokes in the last year.

Besides "Hello, Dolly," Channing starred in other Broadway shows, but none with equal magnetism. She often appeared on television and in nightclubs, for a time partnering with George Burns in Las Vegas and a national tour.

Her outsized personality seemed too much for the screen, and she made only a few movies, notably "The First Traveling Saleslady" with Ginger Rogers and "Thoroughly Modern Millie" with Julie Andrews.

Over the years, Channing continued as Dolly in national tours, the last in 1996, when she was in her 70s. Tom Shales of The Washington Post called her "the ninth wonder of the world."

Channing was not the immediate choice to play Dolly, a matchmaker who receives her toughest challenge yet when a rich grump seeks a suitable wife. The show, which features a rousing score by Jerry Herman that's bursting with joy and tunes like "Put On Your Sunday Clothes," ''Before the Parade Passes By" and "It Only Takes a Moment," is a musical version of Thornton Wilder's play "The Matchmaker."

Theater producer David Merrick told her: "I don't want that silly grin with all those teeth that go back to your ears." Even though director Gower Champion had worked on her first Broadway hit, "Lend an Ear," he had doubts about Channing's casting.

She wowed them in an audition and was hired on the spot. At opening night on Jan. 16, 1964, when Channing appeared at the top of the stairs in a red gown with feathers in her hair and walked down the red carpet to the Harmonia Gardens restaurant, the casehardened New York audience went crazy. The critics followed suit. "Hello, Dolly" collected 10 Tony Awards, including one for Channing as best actress in a musical.

She was born Jan. 31, 1921, in Seattle, where her father, George Channing, was a newspaper editor. When his only child was 3 months old, he moved to San Francisco and worked as a writer for the Christian Science Monitor and as a lecturer. He later became editor-in-chief of Christian Science publications.

At the age of 7, Channing decided she wanted to become an entertainer. She credited her father with encouraging her: "He told me you can dedicate your life at 7 or 97. And the people who do that are happier people."

While majoring in drama and dance at Bennington College in Vermont, she was sent off to get experience in her chosen field. She found a job in a New York revue. The show lasted only two weeks, but a New Yorker magazine critic commented, "You will hear more about a satiric chanteuse named Carol Channing." She said later: "That was it. I said goodbye to trigonometry, zoology and English literature."

For several years she worked as an understudy, bit player and nightclub impressionist, taking jobs as a model, receptionist and sales clerk during lean times. Landing in Los Angeles, she auditioned for Marge Champion, wife and dance partner of Gower Champion who was putting together a revue, "Lend an Ear." Marge Champion recalled: "She certainly was awkward and odd-looking, but her warmth and wholesomeness came through."

Channing was the hit of "Lend an Ear" in a small Hollywood theater, and she captivated audiences and critics when the show moved to New York. As the innocent gold digger in the musical "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," her stardom was assured. One reviewer reported she "hurls across the footlights in broad strokes of pantomime and bold, certain, exquisitely comical gestures." The show's hit song, "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend," became her signature number.

Others who have played the role include Pearl Bailey, Phillis Diller, Betty Grable, Ethel Merman, Martha Raye, Ginger Rogers and Barbra Streisand, who played Dolly in a 1969 film version directed by Gene Kelly. Bette Midler won a Tony Award in the role in 2017.

Channing had two early marriages that ended in divorce — to novelist Theodore Naidish and pro footballer Alexander Carson, father of her only child, Channing. Her son became a successful political cartoonist.

In 1956 she married a television producer, Charles Lowe, who seemed like the perfect mate for a major star. He adopted Channing's son and supervised every aspect of her business affairs and appearances. He reportedly viewed every one of her performances from out front, leading the applause.

After 41 years of marriage, she sued for divorce in 1998, alleging that he misappropriated her funds and humiliated her in public. She remarked that they only had sex twice in four decades.

"The only thing about control freak victims is that they don't know who they are," she told The Washington Post. "It's taken me 77 years to figure that out. I was miserable. I was unhappy. And I didn't realize it wasn't my fault. But I'm going to survive. I'm going to live. I'm free."

Lowe died after a stroke in 1999. Channing moved to Rancho Mirage near Palm Springs, California, in 2000 to write her memoirs. She called the book "Just Lucky, I Guess."

Channing remarried in 2003 to Harry Kullijian, her childhood sweetheart from 70 years before. He died in 2011.

In her book, Channing recounted an early story from her childhood that showed a budding audience-pleasing performer. She wrote that she came home from kindergarten and noted that all the little girls hit the little boys.

Her parents asked: "Do you?"

She responded: "Oh no, I pet them."

___

Associated Press writer Shawn Marsh in New York contributed to this report.

#2 Maggie Rogers • Pharrell Williams • Alaska • Rostam Batmanglij • YouTube Universal Music South Africa on Instagram: “@maggierogers spent the day in paris this fall with @blogotheque and a few of the best fans in the world. She performed ‘light on’, watch…”

@maggierogers spent the day in paris this fall with @blogotheque and a few of the best fans in the world. She performed 'light on', watch the video today. ___ #MaggieRogers #NewMusic #Music #MusicVideo #OutNow #WatchNow

4 Likes, 0 Comments - Universal Music South Africa (@umgsa) on Instagram: "@maggierogers spent the day in paris this fall with @blogotheque and a few of the best fans in the..."

Maggie Rogers Reintroduces Herself

January 15, 20195:02 AM ET

"I sort of became this cocktail party version of myself where I felt like I had to play the role of 'happy girl'," Maggie Rogers says.

Cameron Pollack/NPR

So far, Maggie Rogers has spent a healthy dose of her professional career as an online sensation. That may not sound strange given the Internet age, but in Rogers' case, it was entirely accidental.

In 2016, Rogers was attending class at New York University when super producer Pharrell sat in on a master class to critique the students' work. Pharrell was blown away by Rogers' song "Alaska." Pharrell's filmed reaction to her music was uploaded to YouTube and Rogers became a viral star.

It's a horrible cliche to say someone's life changed overnight but in Rogers' case, it really did. Since that day, Rogers has been touring around the world, playing her songs to huge crowds and appearing on late night television. It's all led up to this: Three years after going viral, Rogers is negotiating all the peaks and pitfalls of stardom on her debut album, Heard It in a Past Life, out Jan. 18.

Though it was a chance encounter that jump-started her career, Rogers says she remembers feeling "incredibly overwhelmed" by the instant Internet notoriety and by losing control of her private life. She was suddenly thrust onto photo shoot and music video sets and says she didn't have much time to learn how to navigate the music industry. "There's all these expectations that you just know how to do it," Rogers says.

Maggie Rogers takes hold of her own narrative on Heard It in a Past Life.

Cameron Pollack/NPR

Rogers' music melds traditional folk with nuanced pop and dance. This mixture of influences left some wondering what kind of artist — especially one with a co-sign from Pharrell — Rogers would become in the current musical landscape. But Rogers says she's gotten over worrying about other people's opinions by learning where to dedicate her energy.

"I realistically talked about Pharrell Williams everyday for about a year and a half," Rogers explains. "And so, I went through different stages of that. Like, 'I've worked for 10 years. Why can't just talk about my work?' And now it's like, I understand it. I've just decided, like, I'm not going to let that stress me out and I'm way happier because of it."

Rogers strikes a balance of chemistry with the songs on the 12-track album. On "Fallingwater," co-written and produced by Rostam Batmangli, she copes with the reality of letting love slip through her fingers while on "Give A Little," she tries to wipe the slate clean.

"Light On," the album's most recent singleis, as Rogers puts it, the record's thesis statement. The track dissects the artist's disorienting fast track to fame.

"I couldn't stop it / Tried to slow it all down / Crying in the bathroom / Had to figure it out / With everyone around me saying / 'You must be so happy now,'" she sings.

YouTube

Rogers says "Light On" was the last song she wrote for the album and her most vulnerable work to date.

"When all of this happened, I sort of became this cocktail party version of myself where I felt like I had to play the role of 'happy girl' because my story has this element of a Cinderella story to it: 'Girl gets plucked from obscurity, becomes star!' But I was really struggling."

But as the chorus of "Light On" swells, Rogers embraces hope as the solution. "It's a dance song," she continues. "You can hear it in the chords and the textures; there's optimism and hope, and the song says, 'OK, I'm going to do this. I'm going to be here for you in the way that you've been here for me and I'm going to keep coming back.'"

Heard It in a Past Life marks a new chapter for Rogers, one where she is the writer of her own narrative. "Realistically, the album is the introduction to me that I never got to make," Rogers says.

“I’ve Got No Idea What The Fuck Is Going On”: Maggie Rogers Is Really Living ‘A Star Is Born’

“That is the craziest sentence anyone’s ever said to me,” Maggie Rogers laughs.

She’s in a hotel in New York, chatting to me over the phone on an off-day while on tour supporting Mumford & Sons. She’s halfway through a string of shows at Madison Square Garden, which I’ve just congratulated her on. And while her response could come off like polite downplaying, it’s clear, as we chat, that Rogers is still acclimatising to her fame.

Most of us know the story by now, but still, her sharp incline is worth repeating. The Garden’s just a dozen or so blocks away from NYU’s campus where, in 2016, Rogers played ‘Alaska’, one song from her final project of a music degree, to Pharrell, who was visiting her class.

In a now-viral YouTube video, a fidgety Rogers sits next to Pharrell as he listens, a sense of disbelief continually washing over his face — as the song ends, praise gushes out, with the producer celebrating the song’s singularity. From there, things moved quickly. Rogers signed to Capitol Records and released her final assessment as an EP, Now That The Light Is Fading.

As a self-described ‘banjo musician’ who had recently found release spending hours dancing the pulsating music of Berlin’s clubs, Roger’s EP mixed sensibilities. It was filled with the folk honesty of Rogers’ childhood, backed by pop-forward synths and samples of hooting owls, sung with the burgeoning confidence of someone ready to graduate.

At 22, Rogers found herself with a major label deal, with the The New Yorker calling her “an artist of her time” — praise that’s reminiscent of Girls protagonist Hannah Horvath’s dream to be “a voice of a generation”. How do you follow that up?

Well, if you’re Rogers, you retreat, trust your instincts. After a year of non-stop touring and promo, she went home in 2017 to Maryland. Rather than force a second wind of virality, she relaxed — and worked out what she wanted to say, what she wanted to be.

“The EP was just something I made for school,” she tells me. “I never really had the intention of it speaking for me or introducing me as an artist. With the record, I got to really create the introduction I always wanted to have.”

And now, it’s here. Heard It In A Past Life, Rogers’ debut major-label album, is sharp and assured, even if its topic — the maelstrom of the past few years — is shaky ground. Leaning less on quirk sampling, it cements Rogers’ songwriting talents as anything but a one-off. Like the best folk musicians she grew up listening to, she turns her own specific experiences into something universal without losing character or wit.

Chatting to Music Junkee, Rogers discusses writing Heard It In A Past Life, the importance of breathing space, and how her life looks a little bit like a certain film starring Lady Gaga.


When you released [stand-alone single] ‘Split Stones‘ in 2017, you framed it as a parting gift while you said goodbye for a little while. Did you feel like you needed to take some time away?

Yeah, I did. So much changed in my life so quickly and then I was just kind of [on] this rollercoaster, just figuring out my career or my life, I don’t know.

When it was time to make the record, I just needed a second to breathe and rest. I also needed to figure out what I had to say, because I think my writing process is always really fast. Once I know what I have to say, it’ll take me like 10 minutes to write a song, but maybe it evens out in the long run because it also takes me quite a little bit of quiet first to understand exactly it is I have to say.

And I’m an extroverted introvert, you know? So like, I get my energy from being alone, even though I love being with people.

What did that time away look like for you? That breathing space, what did you do?

Well, I moved back to my parent’s house in Maryland. During that year of touring, I was living in New York before, so I kept my place and actually only ended up spending five weeks of my whole year [I was] leased to that apartment.

I moved everything home to Maryland and then I tried really, really hard to just stay put, which is maybe a hard thing to explain. [For] that [previous] year and a half, every three days at least, I moved.

“I JUST LIKE TO TRUST MY CREATIVITY AND JUST KNOW THAT IT WOULD COME WHEN IT WAS TIME, AND THAT I WOULD KNOW WHEN IT WAS TIME.”

It became really hard to sit still. I worked really hard at sitting still and being in this very quiet removed place where my family’s from. I read a lot, I went on a lot of walks with my childhood family dog and I just stayed really quiet.

Obviously there was a lot of pressure to make the record happen. I just like to trust my creativity and just know that it would come when it was time, and that I would know when it was time.

Sonically, it’s a step forward. Did you have any guiding principles in terms of sound?

Well, it wasn’t even really a conscious choice, it’s just about checking in with myself and wanting it to be who I am now, versus the EP representing who I was then.

I grew up playing music and I’ve played in pretty much every kind of band at this point. I’ve played for punk bands, I’ve been a DJ and I’ve played guitar in like shoegaze-y rock bands and the EP was really me discovering synthesisers and getting excited about dance and pop music.

I think the biggest thing after touring that music for a year and a half, I really wanted to make a record that was going to be really fun to play live.

And I went around, [testing] out all these different kinds of music, and where I landed is like a big mix of all of them. There’s more piano and there’s just a guitar on this record, it’s structurally more like a band than an electronic project.

You’re also known to sample a lot of unconventional sounds like trees falling, rattlesnakes, woodpeckers. What did you sample in this album that we might not be expecting?

There’s only really one sound sample, I think, on this whole record, which is the sound of rain falling on my tent at the end of ‘Say It’. It’s from a camping trip I took in 2014.

When I made the EP, I was coming out of a really long writer’s block and I think sometimes you can be more creative if you give yourself a box to work in. And so, the box that I gave myself to work in was using the sound samples.

I also wanted to find a way to make dance music feel human. On this record, the piano and guitar represent that level of humanity and so I didn’t need to lean on the sound samples as much to do that.

Photo: Olivia Bee

So, I have a really dumb question but just allow me, if you will. Have you seen A Star is Born?

I have seen it.

Okay. So, I was thinking while I was watching it I thought, “This is dumb, you couldn’t record a viral video of a song and then get a record deal and then go onSNL.”. When you were watching it, were you like, “Wait a minute, this is like moderately familiar.”?

[Laughs] I definitely had a lot of friends texting me around SNL time, being like, “You fucking are A Star is Born! You’re the real thing!”.

It’s really funny, but also I thought the movie was great and I’m such a fan of Gaga, and Bradley Cooper is amazing. But it’s definitely like, I’ve got no idea what the fuck is going on. I still think this is all… I’m still in awe that I’m in a hotel suite in New York doing music interviews, and you started the music interview saying, “Congrats on two great shows at Madison Square Garden”. It’s just insane.

“I JUST NEEDED A SECOND TO BREATHE AND REST. I ALSO NEEDED TO FIGURE OUT WHAT I HAD TO SAY.”

I think that that insanity… this is why my record is called Heard It In A Past Life, because this stuff is so crazy and I’m so like … this was never really the goal. I always thought I would play to 600 people. I always thought I would just make records and play smaller, indie shows.

I never thought anything would look like this, but I have this feeling like I’ve been trying to do this for a really long time, [now] just happens to be right time where it lines up.


Maggie Rogers’ debut album Heard It In A Past Life is out Friday 18 January. She’s touring Australia this May, with a Sydney date to be announced.


Jared Richards is a staff writer at Junkee, and co-host of Sleepless In Sydney on FBi Radio. Follow him on Twitter.

#3 William Barr Mobilize And Resist on Instagram: “#williambarr said he won’t interfere in the #muellerinvestigation do you believe him? ✊🏿✊✊🏾✊🏻✊🏽 #obama #barackobama #michelleobama #dlhughley…”

 

William Barr Confirmation Hearing: Attorney General Nominee Says He Supports a Border Wall

By The New York Times

  • Updated 2 minutes ago
  • William P. Barr, the president’s nominee for attorney general, faces questioning from the Senate Judiciary Committee. He vowed on Monday to allow the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, to complete his Russia investigation.Published OnJan. 15, 2019CreditCreditSarah Silbiger/The New York Times
  • William P. Barr, who also served as attorney general under President George Bush, promised to withstand political pressure from Mr. Trump or other forces, saying his age, 68, and experience freed him to act independently.

  • Known for his unusually expansive views of executive power, Mr. Barr qualified some of his beliefs. He emphasized legal limits on the presidency and law enforcement independence.

  • He pledged to allow the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, to finish his investigation.

  • Mr. Barr defended as “entirely proper” an unsolicited memo he wrote criticizing Mr. Mueller’s examination of whether the president obstructed justice.

KEY MOMENT

Mr. Barr used his opening remarks to the committee to clarify that he has no intention of firing Mr. Mueller before his work is done and to indicate that he would provide “as much transparency as I can consistent with the law” around the investigation’s results. The rule of law, he insisted, should be above and outside of the politics that divide the nation.

“It is in the best interest of everyone — the president, Congress and, most importantly, the American people — that this matter be resolved by allowing the special counsel to complete his work,” Mr. Barr said. He added: “I will follow the special counsel regulations scrupulously and in good faith, and on my watch, Bob will be allowed to finish.”

Mr. Mueller is believed to be in the final stages of his inquiry, which he took over from the F.B.I. in May 2017 after agents opened it nearly two and a half years ago.

“The country needs a credible resolution of these issues,” Mr. Barr said.

Pressed later by Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, if he would allow the White House to “correct and put spin on” a Mueller report before it was released publicly, Mr. Barr gave a firm no. “That will not happen,” he said.

William Barr to Dems: 'Ludicrous' to say my Mueller memo was a bid for AG job

President Donald Trump's attorney general nominee faced a barrage of pointed questions on his views of Robert Mueller’s Russia probe from the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday as confirmation hearings began.

By Rebecca Shabad

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's attorney general nominee, William Barr, said Tuesday that the idea that a memo he wrote last year criticizing the Mueller investigation was a veiled job application is "ludicrous."

Shortly after Barr's confirmation hearings got underway Tuesday, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. told Barr that some have said that the memo was intended to draw the president's attention to his potential as a possible attorney general.

"That's ludicrous," Barr responded. "If I wanted the job and was going after the job, there are many more direct ways of me bringing myself to the president’s attention than writing an 18-page legal memorandum."

Barr faced a barrage of related queries about — and criticism of — his views on Mueller’s Russia probe from the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday as proceedings began, including a memo he sent to the Justice Department last year in which he criticized Mueller’s investigation.

Democrats on the Judiciary Committee — including at least three potential 2020 presidential contenders — had been expected to zero in on that memo.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the top Democrat on committee, told Barr that anyone filling that position must be capable of telling the president "no."

"He must have the integrity, the strength and the fortitude to tell the president 'no,' regardless of the consequences," Feinstein said in her opening remarks at the Senate confirmation hearing for Attorney General nominee William Barr, which began Tuesday morning on Capitol Hill. "In short, he must be willing to defend the independence of the Justice Department."

Feinstein also said that the memo Barr wrote about the Mueller investigation raises "serious questions" about his views on executive authority and whether he thinks the president is above the law.

"In the memo, you conclude that special counsel Mueller is 'grossly irresponsible' for pursuing an obstruction case against the president," she said. "I hope we can straighten that out in this hearing."

"Are you familiar with the January 11 New York Times article about an FBI open inquiry into whether Trump was secretly working on behalf of Russians?" Graham asked. "Can you promise me and this committee to look into this and tell us whether or not — in the appropriate way — a counterintelligence investigation was opened up by someone at the FBI/Department of Justice against President Trump?"

Barr said that he believed "there are a number of investigations" of the matter.

He also defended his Mueller memo, saying it was "entirely proper" and that it was very common for former senior officials to weigh in on certain matters. He pointed to a few months earlier, when he said he weighed in repeatedly to complain about the idea of prosecution of Sen. [Robert] Menendez, D-N.J., despite the fact that he doesn't support him politically.

Barr assured several Democrats he “absolutely” would ensure that Mueller is not terminated without good cause — and that it’s “unimaginable” to think the special counsel would do anything that would cause that to happen.

“I am going to make as much information available as I can consistent with the rules and regulations,” Barr said.

Barr said that he discussed the Mueller probe with Trump “but not in any particular substance” and volunteered to detail his conversations, with Feinstein saying she would follow up later. Barr added that in June 2017, he was approached by David Friedman, who now serves as ambassador to Israel, about the possibility of personal representation to “augment” Trump’s defense team, but he decided not to pursue the option.

Barr on Tuesday defended the president's goal of building a border wall, arguing that it's needed to stop both illegal immigration and the influx of drugs, and said he'd like to see an agreement to end the federal government shutdown.

"I would like to see a deal reached whereby Congress recognizes that it's imperative to have border security," he said. "The point is, we need money right now including barriers and walls and slats and other things."

“If a President, acting with the requisite intent, engages in the kind of evidence impairment the statute prohibits – regardless whether it involves the exercise of his or her constitutional powers or not – then a President commits obstruction of justice under the statute. It is as simple as that,” Barr wrote.

“I believe the country needs a credible and thorough investigation into Russia’s efforts to meddle in our democratic process, including the extent of any collusion by Americans, and thus feel strongly that that the Special Counsel must be permitted to finish his work. I assured you during our meeting – and I reiterate here – that, if confirmed, I will follow the Special Counsel regulations scrupulously and in good faith, and I will allow Bob to complete his investigation.”

Barr told Congress Tuesday as his confirmation hearings began that Mueller’s investigation should continue unimpeded — and that the public should be informed of the results of that probe.

"I believe it is vitally important that the special counsel be allowed to complete his investigation," Barr said.

"I also believe it is very important that the public and Congress be informed of the results of the Special Counsel’s work. For that reason, my goal will be to provide as much transparency as I can consistent with the law," he added. "I can assure you that, where judgments are to be made by me, I will make those judgments based solely on the law and will let no personal, political or other improper interests influence my decisions."

Barr, 68, who has been counsel at the Kirkland & Ellis law firm, was attorney general under the first President Bush from 1991 until 1993 after an 18-year civil service career that began at the CIA.

 

#4 Sebastian Maniscalco Ricardo Valdez on Instagram: “#arentyouembarrassed #whywouldyoudothat #sebastianmaniscalco”

#arentyouembarrassed #whywouldyoudothat #sebastianmaniscalco

327 Likes, 36 Comments - Ricardo Valdez (@valderick0) on Instagram: "#arentyouembarrassed #whywouldyoudothat #sebastianmaniscalco"

Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco gets dramatic in 'Green Book,' 'Irishman'

Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco, fresh off his role in the award-winning film "Green Book," is returning to stand-up with a new special out Tuesday on Netflix. Photo courtesy of Netflix
Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Comedian and actor Sebastian Maniscalco recently flexed his dramatic muscles with a memorable turn in Green Book, which won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture -- Musical or Comedy. But he said not to expect politically controversial subjects in his latest special, Stay Hungry,out Tuesday on Netflix.

"I don't think people really want to hear it," he told UPI in a recent interview.

He said audiences "get it all day long through their Twitter feed, their Yahoo! news or their TV screen. There's always somebody bitchin' about something that's going on, and to be honest with you, I don't find it funny."

Maniscalco said he intentionally stays away from politics, adding, "I just try to keep it lighthearted, talk about personal problems with my family and have a strong point of view on people's behavior. I don't touch any social issues, nothing like that."

Keeping it in the family

Maniscalco's 20-year comedy career often has focused on his real-life experiences with his Italian-American family, particularly his dad.

"My father's a huge focal point of my act, and I don't really talk about my mother and my sister," he said. "They're always asking, 'When are we gonna be in the act?' So it's almost a right of passage if you make it into the act."

But he said his mother often is the final word on what family business he can share with the world.

Maniscalco said he's careful not to be mean-spirited when telling jokes such as the ones that poke fun at the difference between his Italian family and the Jewish family of his wife, painter Lana Gomez.

"One joke that kinda resonated with people was my Passover joke," he said, noting that eating is a mainstay of Italian culture, but during Passover, "people read for three hours before they even touch food."

"It's just poking fun at lighthearted things."

Maniscalco is preparing for a quartet of sold-out, stand-up shows at New York's Madison Square Garden on Saturday and Sunday. "The Garden" is a venue he calls "a once-in-a-lifetime deal."

Getting serious

The veteran comedian said his role in Green Book evolved from a desire to play dramatic roles that contrast with his over-the-top stage persona, which he said does not always reflect who he is in his everyday life.

"I feel like I'm kind of a serious guy in nature, I'm not like a goof ball," Maniscalco said.

Maniscalco's role as Johnny Venere in Green Book led to a role as real-life mobster "Crazy Joe" Gallo in Martin Scorsese's upcoming film, The Irishman, which stars Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci.

"I'd be lying to you if I said that the first day I showed up on set and found out that I'm going to be doing a scene with DeNiro and Pesci that I wasn't sweating," he said with a laugh. "But after you do it a couple of times, that kinda goes away and you're more in the moment and just acting with another individual."

Maniscalco said his big roles came after years of working with famed Hollywood acting coach Lesly Kahn, but he otherwise has no formal training in the medium. He simply wanted to "flex a different muscle" with dramatic roles, and it took some work to unlearn some of his larger-than-life comedic impulses.

"When it comes to acting ... the camera's on you from chest to head. I can't be as animated or kinda goofy as I am when I do stand-up comedy," he says. "You definitely have to be aware of your face and what it's doing when you're acting."

Maniscalco said stand-up helped him bolster his film career.

"Just coming up with stuff on the spot has definitely helped me when it comes to acting," he said. "You can add a line that wasn't in the script; sometimes those moments are gold. Stand-up comedy definitely lends itself to being in the moment."

Branching out

Maniscalco said that between his stand-up, acting, writing a book and co-hosting a podcast with fellow comic Pete Correale on Sirius XM, he isn't necessarily in a hurry to attempt other artistic media.

"I tried doing a sitcom a couple of years ago for NBC," he said. "I did a pilot with Tony Danza playing my father, and that didn't get picked up. So if that opportunity doesn't happen again, I'm fine with it. I don't have to have a TV show by any means. All that I've really wanted to try, I've done."

"I'd be happy just doing what I'm doing the rest of my career. Doing the stand-up, doing a little movies, maybe later on I'll write a book about fatherhood, but I don't need to do everything. I'm happy where I'm at."

Sebastian Manicalco: Stay Hungry is streaming now on Netflix. A list of upcoming stand-up tour dates can be viewed on his website.

 

#5 Rob Kardashian Cheekywiki.com ™ on Instagram: “Cheeky #Oop: #RobKardashian found timeeeee to #Play with his ex #Fiance, #BlacChyna, by giving #AlexisSkyy his #WCW title on the #Monday…”

January 15, 2019 09:59 AM

We haven’t seen much of Rob Kardashian lately, but that might be changing.

While appearing on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen on Monday night, KimKhloé and Kourtney Kardashian were asked about their brother, who has struggled with weight gain and depression in recent years, retreating almost entirely from the public eye.

According to the sisters, Rob, 31, is “doing good.”

“He’s great,” added Khloé, 34.

And while he was noticeably absent from the most recent episodes of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Kim, 38, revealed he’ll appear on the family’s show in some capacity next season.

 

Getty (3)

The sisters also addressed the family’s ongoing drama with Rob’s ex-fiancée Blac Chyna, with whom he shares 2-year-old daughter Dream. Chyna, 30, sued Rob and his family in October 2017, arguing that she suffered “significant damages” after her ex’s social media rampage that summer, in which he shared graphic and expletive-ridden content about her — including three naked photos — while accusing her of drug/alcohol abuse and infidelity.

Chyna alleged that the nude photo scandal — along with Kardashian family’s influence  — are what got Rob & Chyna, the couple’s E! reality show, axed after one season.

A judge recently granted Chyna a trial date in the case, set for Feb. 3, 2020, with pre-trial depositions of Khloé, Kim, Kris and Kylie Jenner to take place in the spring of 2019.

On WWHL, the sisters brushed off the legal battle.

“[We’re] still in a lawsuit,” Kim said. “We don’t know. We don’t care.”

“We just honestly can’t keep up,” added Khloé, who also admitted she was “a million percent sure” Rob and Chyna’s relationship wasn’t going to work out.

“His biggest joy is being a dad to Dream,” the source said. “He’s still seeing his family and spending time with his sisters and mom, but he doesn’t like the social situations or being on camera right now.”

As for his relationship with his ex? According to the insider, the two no longer communicate.

“When it comes to Chyna, he really wants to move on,” the source said. “They don’t have a relationship and deal with Dream through an intermediary.”

Rob Kardashian Has Dinner With Crush Alexis Skyy After Her Fight With Blac Chyna
Rob Kardashian and Alexis Skyy. Gabriel Olsen/WireImage/Getty Images; Randy Shropshire/Getty Images

Either Rob KardashianOpens a New Window. is really into Alexis Skyy or he’s really trying to get back at ex-fiancée Blac ChynaOpens a New Window.. As the 31-year-old revealed on social media, he had dinner with Skyy, 24, on Monday, January 14, two days after she and Chyna, 30, got into a physical fight.

Rob Kardashian Has Dinner With Crush Alexis Skyy After Her Fight With Blac Chyna
Alexis Skyy Courtesy Rob Kardashian/Snapchat

On Twitter, Kardashian rebuffed one user’s assertion that he was being petty and that Skyy is “just doing all this to spite Chyna.”

“Me and Alexis known each other for 5 years so stop with that,” the Arthur George sock designer tweetedOpens a New Window.. In a follow-up postOpens a New Window., he wrote, “Damn i was just trying to eat some good food.”

The hangout came just hours after Kardashian praised Skyy on Snapchat as his “WCW” — telling her, “I’ve been wanting you for so long” — and two days after Skyy and Chyna’s fight. The altercation began after the beauty salon owner allegedly threw a drink at Skyy at a private party on Saturday, January 12. Video from the event showed Skyy chasing Chyna through the party after taking a swing at her.

Skyy later detailed the incident in an Instagram Live video from outside the event. “I am, like, the nicest person in the world,” she said. “I’m sitting down, minding my business, somebody said, ‘Yo, Chyna is at the party, she want to kick it wit you.’ So I went over there, I sat with her, we kicked it, we had a drink or two.”

She continued: “After the second drink, we had some Red Bull, and out of nowhere this bitch starts, ‘Bitch, you gotta get the f—k up out of my section.’ I said, ‘Who the f—k are you talking to?’ She’s like, ‘You gotta get up right now.’ So at that point, she starts throwing a drink … we start throwing hands. So from there on, whatever happened, happened. I got kicked out.”

Kardashian has had his share of drama with Chyna ever since the couple ended their engagement in December 2016. The model recently lashed out at Kardashian on Instagram after he sought to lower his child support payments for their 2-year-old daughter, Dream.

Skyy, meanwhile, shares 12-month-old daughter Alaiya with ex Fetty WapOpens a New Window..

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