Actress Rose Marie, a former Strip headliner, dies at 94

Rose Marie plays in the Bugsy Suite at the Flamingo in Las Vegas on March 4, 1993. (Las Vegas News Bureau) Actress and comedian Rose Marie talks to the press as she arrives for a ceremony honoring comedian Milton Berle at Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary in Los Angeles in 2002. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File) Standing from left, Morey Amsterdam, Rose Marie, and Richard Deacon, and Dick Van Dyke, right, gather around Carl Reiner, in barber chair during a rehearsal of an episode for the "The Dick Van Dyke Show" in 1963. (AP Photo/David F. Smith, File) Rose Marie in the Bugsy Suite in the Flamingo Hotel. March 4, 1993 (Las Vegas News Bureau) Exterior of the Flamingo Hotel with the champagne tower sign. Marquee: Mills Bros, Rose Marie, Bob O'Neill, Scatman Crothers. August 28, 1954. (Las Vegas News Bureau) LOS ANGELES — Rose Marie, the wisecracking Sally Rogers of “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and a show business lifer who began as a bobbed-hair child star in vaudeville and worked for nearly a century in theater, radio, TV and movies, died Thursday. She was 94. Marie had been resting in bed at her Los Angeles-area home when she died and was found by a caretaker, said family spokesman Harlan Boll. “Heaven just got a whole lot funnier” was posted atop a photo of Marie on her website. Marie was a child star of the 1920s and 1930s who endeared herself to TV fans on the classic ’60s sitcom that featured Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore. She appeared in numerous movies as a child and starred in the Broadway musical “Top Banana.” She was nominated for three Emmys and received a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame in 2001. The recent documentary “Wait For Your Laugh” by director Jason Wise chronicled her long career. Rose at Flamingo in Las Vegas Late in life, she enjoyed communicating with her fans on social media. Her official account tweeted just a few hours before her death about playing the Flamingo in Continue Reading

International Criminal Court on Trial in Kenya

A supporter of Finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta holds a poster during a solidarity walk through Gatundu town, north of capital Nairobi, January 23, 2012. Kenya’s presidential contenders Kenyatta and William Ruto, and two other men must stand trial at the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity during post-election violence in 2008. Reuters/Noor Khamis  Nairobi In the end, Kenyans’ good sense prevailed; even the area that had experienced the most vicious attacks remained calm (those attacks, while triggered by the disputed election, can be traced back to longstanding land disputes between members of the Kalenjin and Kikuyu communities). But the ICC process—the prospect of which had been roiling the country since Annan threatened to involve the court if Kenya didn’t set up a credible tribunal itself—was only getting started. Now that the country has been plunged into full-on campaigning for the next presidential election—currently scheduled for March 2013, though the date is still being disputed—the ICC looms ever larger in public life. Every twist and turn of the ICC process has been the stuff of high drama: thanks to live televised pre-trial proceedings, Chief Judge Ekaterina Tredafilova became as well known as Kenya’s top soccer stars, and bitter battles have erupted in Parliament over the question of whether anyone charged by the ICC should be allowed to run for president. This latter is an issue of considerable relevance, since two of the four people now awaiting trial (charges against the other two were not confirmed) are presidential aspirants. One, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, is the US-educated son of the country’s first president. The other, William Ruto, is a prominent member of Parliament. The two have been traveling the country together holding “prayer meetings” at which their supporters portray them as victims of a neocolonial effort to subjugate Continue Reading

Amnesty International Is Finally on the Right Side of the Sex Work Struggle

At the close of their Dublin meeting yesterday, delegates representing Amnesty International members worldwide voted in favor of taking up sex workers’ rights. Their vote authorizes Amnesty’s international board to adopt a policy to protect sex workers rights, including “the full decriminalization of all aspects of consensual sex work.” “This is an important step for sex workers all over the world,” Luca Stevenson, coordinator of the International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe said. The policy drew controversy in the weeks leading up to the meeting, when a draft leaked online. Opposition to the policy misrepresented its aims as legalizing or otherwise condoning abuse and violence. “We really hope that those who have opposed Amnesty’s position in the past will reconsider their position and look at the evidence that criminalization of sex work is a key factor in our vulnerability to violence and abuse,” Stevenson told me. “We hope that this evidence-based decision by Amnesty will help other progressive organizations take a position to support sex workers’ rights.” It’s not evident yet what power this evidence has with those who object to Amnesty’s policy because they are anti-sex work. Across social media, anti-sex work lobby groups like the Coalition Against Trafficking In Women and Demand Abolition repeated their points throughout the weekend meeting. At times, anti-sex work posts overwhelmed the Amnesty meeting hashtag, alongside posts from anti-abortion campaigners. An image of Amnesty’s candle logo circulated, the candle wrapped in barbed wire replaced by an erect penis. Yesterday Amnesty released a short video responding directly to their opposition in a montage of headlines like “Amnesty International says prostitution is a human right – but it’s wrong” and claims that Amnesty’s decision would “make sex Continue Reading

Meet Timothee Chalamet, the breakout star of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival

The kind of breakthrough performance where it's immediately apparent that an actor is going to be a star for years to come is a rarity in movies. Think of Emma Stone in "Easy A" or Jessica Chastain in "The Tree of Life." But that kind of thunderbolt moment is striking now for 21-year-old Timothee Chalamet, a New Yorker with the talent to speak multiple languages, play numerous instruments and take the festival circuit by storm with a handful of performances — including one assured of ranking among the finest performances of the year. The Toronto International Film Festival has been a coming-out party for Chalamet, who has three films at the festival. He stars in Luca Guadagnino's coming-of-age, coming-out tale "Call Me By Your Name," he's a supporting player in Greta Gerwig's equally lauded coming-of-age tale "Lady Bird," and he co-stars in the Christian Bale-led Western "Hostiles." A Cape Cod thriller in which he stars, "Hot Summer Nights," was also acquired here by A24. But the headliner is his performance in "Call Me By Your Name," which Sony Pictures Classics will release Nov. 24. In the film, adapted by James Ivory from André Aciman's novel, Chalamet plays Elio, a headstrong 17-year-old living with his parents in 1980s northern Italy. When a handsome academic (Armie Hammer) comes to stay with them, Elio has a self-discovery that mingles love with art, language and natural beauty. In the film, he plays piano and guitar, speaks fluent French and Italian, and indelibly captures the experience of first love. The film and its cast are considered likely Academy Awards contenders, partly because of Chalamet's uncommon poise and wide-ranging intelligence in a deeply sensual movie. "It feels like a real seminal moment," said Chalamet in an interview. "I feel like the luckiest guy in the world that I get to share it with Luca and Armie and Michaels Stuhlbarg. I'm obviously very young and I've had a short career, but I've never Continue Reading

Silent international partners in President Obama’s possible Syria strike may be critical: expert

Before the U.S. on Friday released an unclassified report on Syria’s chemical weapons use, Secretary of State Kerry listed a roll call of countries and organizations that have condemned President Bashar Assad’s regime. What’s noteworthy about this roll call is just how short it is, especially in comparison to the countries that were involved in the coalitions assembled in previous U.S. military interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo. Moreover, just how “many friends stand ready to respond” is not so clear, since the statements Kerry cited were condemnations of Syria’s actions, rather than clear endorsements of military intervention. If President Obama decides to strike Syria anytime soon, it looks like he will be doing so without much of a formal international coalition backing the operation. But beneath the headlines of the smaller, latter-day coalition of the willing outlined by Kerry, one finds a pretty deep bench of silent or quiet partners. For practical purposes, the international participation in a limited military strike against Syria does not need to be large — the Obama administration is not planning a rerun of Iraq or Afghanistan. And the support from partners likely to be affected by potential negative aftershocks of any strike will perhaps be more critical than vocal backing on the front end. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin Dempsey’s trip earlier this week to Israel and Jordan provides some encouragement on this front. Dempsey met with security officials from a wide range of countries — Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Canada. Many of these are silent partners who would not likely participate in a military strike, but they would be important in providing intelligence and coping with any regional fallout a strike may cause. Surprisingly, the lack of a formal coalition and strong, organized international and Continue Reading

Anthony Weiner intern reveals why she, fellows joined New York mayoral campaign

My reasons for joining Anthony Weiner’s mayoral campaign were not complicated. Since high school, I had interned for political campaigns in New Jersey. One morning, several of my friends sent me links to the same online ad for the Weiner campaign, seeking applications for internships. They thought it would be educational and entertaining. How right they were. My education began very quickly. “I’m here because of Huma,” Clay Adam Wade, a junior staffer, explained to me. The sentiment was repeated to me again by some fellow interns. Their hope was to make a connection with Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, and thus forge a potential connection to her longtime boss, Hillary Clinton, to get an inside track for a campaign position if she ran for president in 2016. This is how Clay explained it to me: “I had followed Anthony’s career for a few years pre-scandal, and when the opportunity came up I decided to apply to work on his second bid for mayor,” he said. “After having started working on the campaign, while still committed to his cause, my motive began to change.” He continued, “I thought if I could only ride this out to the very end, perhaps I could network with Ms. Abedin and, in a few years, secure myself a spot in Secretary Clinton’s all-but-certain bid for the presidency. It was a-once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” Truth is, in the month I was there, Huma was rarely seen around the office. Obviously, not everyone joined the campaign to make a Clinton connection. Some were drawn to Weiner’s qualifications as a potential mayor. He is “bright, innovative, impassioned and incredibly in touch with the city in which he was raised,” one told me. The question of what they are all doing there now has been on many people’s minds after the revelations last week about things everybody thought had already been fully revealed. Who Continue Reading

38th annual Toronto International Film Fest gets underway with a roster including ‘The Fifth Estate’

TORONTO — The 38th annual Toronto International Film Festival kicked off with a salute to the world’s biggest movie fan — and a study of a media man of mystery. As this year’s program of more than 360 features and shorts from around the world got underway, organizers and founders announced that a seat at the fest’s hub, the TIFF Bell Lightbox Theater, would be named in honor of late movie critic Roger Ebert. The Pulitzer Prize-winning Chicago Sun-Times writer, a champion of the festival since its inception, died in April of cancer. “Roger loved the Toronto audiences, because they were so passionate about movies,” Ebert’s widow, Chaz Ebert, said Thursday from the stage of Roy Thomson Hall as the crowd geared up for a screening of the WikiLeaks-themed drama “The Fifth Estate.” “He would stand in line and have discussions with moviegoers about which films to see. “I feel like Roger is actually here with us, lurking about – because he wants to see the movie!” The lights dimmed and “The Fifth Estate” began the fest on a moody, contemplative note. The drama, directed by Bill Condon (“Gods and Monsters,” “Kinsey”), depicts self-styled truth-teller Julian Assange’s creation of the corruption-exposing website WikiLeaks and the events leading up to its publication of more than 250,000 classified U.S. government files from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “I’d been wanting to make a political movie for a long time,” said Condon, who also directed the final two blockbusters in the “Twilight” trilogy. “To me, this story is about issues of privacy and transparency in an Internet age.” The film, adapted from a book by Assange’s one-time right-hand man Daniel Domscheit-Berg, stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the white-haired Internet lightning rod, currently in exile in Continue Reading

Short film ‘Passaic’ delves into real 1960s crime

In December, a quirky independent film called "Paterson," starring Adam Driver, painted an endearing picture of the gritty city by the falls that is — alas — more used to getting crime-related headlines. Now a new short film, "Passaic," paints a less pleasant portrait.In fairness, "Passaic," which will be screened locally at several festivals this month, is not about the Paterson of today, but the Paterson of 50 years ago.Even so, the crime and subsequent colorful trial is worth remembering, says the film's screenwriter and producer, Michael Klausner."It shows how you can be in the wrong place when somebody accuses you, and you go through hell trying to dig your way out and prove your innocence," Klausner says.No, the case is not that of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, though it happened almost contemporaneously. It's the story of Harold Matzner Jr., a controversial local newspaper publisher who, according to Klausner, was falsely accused of being party (along with three other people) to two murders for which he was eventually acquitted.But not before the sensational "Kavanaugh-DeFranco murder trial" dredged up wife-swapping, counterfeiting, pornography and homosexuality to help explain why a minor Paterson mobster, Gabriel "Johnny The Walk" DeFranco, was murdered on his front doorstep in October 1966, months after Judith Kavanaugh, the wife of one of Matzner's drivers, was found dead in a gully near the Garden State Parkway. The prosecution, Klausner says, built a case that connected the two murders, and laid the blame on Matzner, his wife, the driver, and another confederate. F. Lee Bailey, no less, was Matzner's attorney.It was not irrelevant, perhaps, that Matzner's Wayne Today newspaper had ruffled a lot of local political and commercial feathers. He was heartily disliked by many in the area, Klausner says. There were powerful Continue Reading

How a writer’s conference in Southwest Florida has gained international recognition

When Tom DeMarchi organized the first Sanibel Writer's Conference 12 years ago, about a dozen presenters arrived to talk about their craft.Now, DeMarchi, the founding director, has a waiting list of about 800 writers from around the world hoping to be invited."We must be putting on a pretty good program," said DeMarchi, who teaches composition and creative writing at Florida Gulf Coast University, which puts on the conference each year. "I’ve already got 2018 almost entirely planned. I’m looking at 2019 and beyond."The 12th annual conference begins Thursday and continues through Sunday at BIG ARTS Sanibel Island, 900 Dunlop Rd. Evening activities are free to the public. Visit for a complete conference schedule.Since its inception, the Sanibel Island Writer's Conference has gained international notoriety, with attendees coming from all over the world — the Caribbean, Canada, Australia and from all areas of Europe. About 50 people attended the first conference 12 years ago, and now it has practically reached capacity at 150 to 180 attendees.Plus, it helps that the conference takes place on sunny Sanibel Island in November, DeMarchi joked.But it's most likely because each year DeMarchi has arranged an impressive and prestigious lineup of speakers and panelists. It includes writers of all types — poetry, short stories, memoirs, fiction and nonfiction, screenwriting and songwriting. Recognizable names include Nathan Hill, author of the hugely popular "The Nix," and this year's keynote speaker, Alice Hoffman, author of the 1995 cult-classic "Practical Magic." More: Naples author's debut novel drawing rave reviews More: Cover to cover: Celebrate National Read a Book Day with SWFL book clubs DeMarchi said he goes through a careful screening of each presenter before choosing the final lineup."Obviously it’s important that they’ve had success, but more Continue Reading

CARIBBEAT: CARICOM leaders connect with President Obama in short, but fruitful pre-Summit of the Americas stopover in Jamaica

PRESIDENT OBAMA last week had a productive one-day stopover in Jamaica on his way to the Summit of the Americas in Panama, meeting leaders of CARICOM — the Caribbean Community — and discussing initiatives to aid the countries and people of the region. “As has already been mentioned, the bonds between us are extraordinarily strong,” Obama said, addressing the CARICOM meeting Thursday. “The Caribbean is a place of extraordinary beauty, people of enormous spirit, unique talents, a wonderful culture. We are bound by friendship and shared values, and by family. And we have a great stake in each other’s success.” Obama said upholding human rights, combatting transnational crime, the effects of climate change and the production of clean, less expensive energy sources were on the table for discussion at the CARICOM meeting, in which he announced a new fund to mobilize private investment in clean energy projects for the Caribbean and Central America. Obama — the first U.S. President to visit the island nation in 30 years — was greeted enthusiastically by Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller and Governor General Patrick Allen, and the passion didn’t end there. Obama immediately wowed participants of a “Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative” town hall session at the University of the West Indies with his introduction in Jamaican patois: “Greetings, massive! Wa gwaan, Jamaica? The President said his administration had made significant investments to help broaden the opportunities for young leaders across the region, including $70 million for education, training and employment initiatives in the Caribbean and Latin America, and the 100,000 Strong in the Americas program to bring students to study in the U.S. and send U.S. students to learn in the region. And he used the Jamaica town hall meeting to announce the new “Young Leaders of the Americas Continue Reading