Tag Archives 2015

How to Celebrate Veteran’s Day This Year


I have immense respect for veterans because I’ve had many family members who’ve served and still serve in the military till this day. In particular, I remember my grandfather sharing stories with me when I was younger about his days as a private, and so whenever Veteran’s Day comes around, I can’t help but feel that same compassion toward other veterans and want to show them my support. Regardless of what we feel politically or emotionally toward war, it’s important to keep in mind that Veteran’s Day supports actual people who’ve risked their lives to protect ours and the betterment for future generations. Here, at Cliché, we’re sharing some of the ways in which we will be showing our support this Veteran’s Day.
Walmart’s Greenlight A Veteran:
Greenlight A Veteran $5.98-$12.48
We can show our support this Veteran’s Day by shining a green light for our veterans, or as Walmart calls it: “Greenlight A Veteran.” This recently launched campaign is to show veterans that we do recognize and see them; it will indicate a visible and active support, as sometimes veterans may feel that they go unnoticed or unacknowledged as they are no longer in uniform and therefore blend in with the rest of society. Whether in uniform or not, let’s show veterans that we do in fact see them by shining that green light for them; after all, it costs as little as $5.98-$12.48.
Restaurants Offering Free Meals to Veterans:
Bonefish Grill Shrimp
If you happen to have a loved one who has served in the military or is still serving, take them out to a treat! This would be a great way of celebrating their day as well as reinforcing the “Greenlight A Veteran” campaign. Though participation may vary upon location, many restaurants, such as O’Charley’s Restaurants, Golden Corral, Red Robin, Outback Steakhouse, On The Border and Bonefish Grill, are participating in this act, but keep in mind that some restaurants may require a form of military ID. For instance, Bonefish Grill will be providing their complimentary signature dish to those who show a valid military ID, and non-military customers can benefit from eating out on Wednesday as well with the “Bang Wednesday” deal, which discounts their shrimp to $6.00.
Veteran’s Day Parade in NYC:
081111-N-2636M-213 NEW YORK (Nov. 11, 2008) Parade onlookers wave American flags and signs as Sailors assigned to the multi-purpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) march in the annual New York Veterans Day parade. Bataan is in New York for a week of community relations projects, daily tours and support for the reopening of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. After the port visit, ships from the Bataan Strike Group will return to sea to conduct training for their upcoming 2009 deployment. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kleynia R. McKnight (Released)
Come out and join America’s Parade starting at Fifth Avenue from 26th to 52nd Street where there will be an opening ceremony at 10 A.M., a wreath laying ceremony at 11 A.M., which presents the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, and a parade that starts at 11:25 A.M. Viewers are encouraged to gather and show support, and as for elderly and disabled veterans, they will be provided seating for the occasion. There will also be bleacher seating for viewers with priority seating to the veterans. This is a great opportunity to spend the day with loved ones and show others your willingness to take time out of your day and honor our troops.
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Veteran’s Day 2015: Photos Courtesy of Walmart, America’s Parade, & JulesFood

Spectre Review


Recent world events have spurred action towards the elimination of MI6 and the double-o program, but James Bond (Daniel Craig) won’t let that stop him from going on one last secret mission.  Bond discovers a super secret cryptic meeting of evildoers, the head of which is cast solely in the shadow of some impressive back-lighting.  With MI6 prohibited from taking action, it’s up to James Bond to stop this organization, known as Spectre, from achieving global domination.


First order of business: new light bulbs. Seriously, guys, I can’t stress this enough.

The first scene of the movie is a brilliant long take shot in Mexico City, during a Day of the Dead celebration.  The music is bumping, the people are dressed in macabre fashion, and an impeccably dressed James Bond is in the middle of it all. The camera follows our dapper do-gooder through a bustling crowd, a building, its elevator, and up towards the roof.  All of it is captured in one take, and I’m not sure if there was digital editing involved — it could be possible — but I was very impressed.  Director, Sam Mendes (Skyfall), returns to direct, starting off the film with a dusty palette of colors in the Mexico scene, and as the movie went along, I grew to appreciate the cinematography even more. It gave this film a different look.  Mendes makes sure to capture vast exterior shots of beautiful landscapes before taking a closer look inside buildings or facilities that occupy the space.  I’ve always appreciated the Bond films for making me want to go to places I would never think of visiting, and this film just gave me more places to add to my bucket list.

This is Daniel Craig’s fourth time playing James Bond, and he doesn’t play the role weary-like. In fact, he plays it as an unimpressed spymaster, like he’s basically seen it all and there isn’t much this movie’s villain can do to surprise him.  There’s a fight scene where he basically points at one guy after punching him, and points a finger at him while yelling, “No!” He doesn’t even have to pummel these guys anymore, he’s so good. He just applies the right amount of beat down to anyone dumb enough to get in his way.
Usually Daniel Craig’s version of Bond would eliminate someone with extreme prejudice, but here he’s got a softer touch. I noticed a few henchmen weren’t even killed. One guy took a well-aimed bullet to the knee (aw, how thoughtful).
I noticed that this movie’s James Bond isn’t as grimy as he used to be.  He’s almost too much of a classic Bond.  He doesn’t make mistakes, he never misses his mark, and even the Bond theme music capitalizes his every Bond-ism.
Smart remark? Cue the Bond fanfare.  Bond girl says she’s totally not going to sleep with him, but then sleeps with him anyway? Cue the horns! I LOVE it! It might be silly at times, because some of it makes me want to roll my eyes, but I love it because it’s Bond fulfilling my expectation of who he is. He’s the epitome/parody of an international man of mystery (not Austin Powers).

Everything is falling apart, except me…

However, as much as I love a silly Bond, I’m a bigger fan of fan of Daniel Craig’s Casino Royale Bond, a Bond that was raw, super physical, and struggling with deep character building conflict.
Christoph Waltz, who was deliciously evil in Inglorious Basterds, is rarely used to his full potential in Spectre.  Waltz plays the head of the film’s titular organization and this movie’s Bond villain, and one would think that he’d nail it (which he did), but it’d be difficult for him to be an unforgettable villain when he gets barely any screen time.  Spectre is pretty formulaic. Matter of fact, it reminds me a lot of the Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation plot, except MIRN was a summer blockbuster, and Spectre is more a nuanced action drama.  Even though the movie’s opening was awesome, it does feel a lot like the rest of the story has been done.

Martini! I wanted the martini shaken, not me, you bloody fool!

I’ve been watching every James Bond movie since Pierce Brosnan’s Goldeneye, but I became a bigger fan since Casino Royale, so when I say that this movie was pretty good, believe that it’s a wholly biased and one-sided conclusion I reached before the film’s credits began rolling.
Now, as for my objective perspective? This movie was somewhat, “it’s okay, I guess,” and more of nothing worth writing home about. Spectre isn’t a must-see Bond movie, because it does just enough to clinch another sequel, which I would undoubtedly head out to go see — I’m a fool, I tell you — but I’d honestly wish that the whole of the film would have matched the quality of the film’s opening.  But that’s just not the case. Spectre misses its mark, but not its audience.
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Spectre Review photos courtesy of: www.007.com

Black Mass Review


Black Mass is a movie about the rise and fall of the notorious Winter Hill Gang leader turned mafioso crime kingpin, James “Whitey” Bulger (Johnny Depp).  This true life film takes some liberties with the history of Bulger, but mostly covers his rise to power after establishing his unholy alliance with the FBI.  You didn’t read that wrong — unlike most “gangster” films where the cops chase the bad guys, Black Mass is about a bad guy benefiting from a deal with the good guys (and vice versa).  Bulger’s childhood friend turned federal agent, John Connolly (Joel Edgerton), seeks his help in nailing the Italian mafia, who happens to be Bulger’s competition.  Bulger seeing the benefits from such a deal, but noting the potential “rat” implications eventually acquiesces.  Bulger goes from a neighborhood street thug to a federally protected crime boss. With his competition behind bars and the FBI looking the other way, it appears that no one can do much to stop the spread of black mass that is “Whitey” Bulger… You know, because he’s like a cancer in Boston. Boston, Massachusetts. Mass. He’s a dark brooding figured that is ironically nicknamed, “Whitey”. Anyway…

I’m not going to front and act like I went mainly for the story, because I didn’t. I went because the gangster character that this movie was about was being played by none other than Johnny Depp.  The dinner scene trailer and official trailer also helped out a lot in bringing my butt into the theater.  Either way, Johnny Depp’s performance was phenomenal (as usual), a breath of fresh air from his performance in Transcendence.  There’s not much I can say about how good an actor Johnny Depp is that hasn’t been said already, but I’ll wholeheartedly say that he pulls off a solid performance in Black Mass. An unforgettable one? No, not necessarily, but for a fan of Johnny Depp, this will be worth the money spent, because he gets plenty of screen time to creep out viewers with the sinister character he portrays.  The movie also has some great shots of Depp’s character mulling over his life, brooding, or doing something as simple as daydreaming — adding to the mystique of his character.  When not filling up the screen with his commanding performance, we’re treated to both Benedict Cumberbatch, whose character, William Bulger, plays foil to his brother, “Whitey,” and Joel Edgerton, the aforementioned FBI agent who, for some reason, I found likeable. His character was so desperate to make a name for himself that he was willing to break the rules to make it happen.  Edgerton manages to carve out a place for himself on screen, especially when sharing it with Johnny Depp.


… ugh, “sharing,” for lack of a better word?

I recently watched a documentary about “Whitey” Bulger prior to viewing Black Mass, and the story behind it all was terrifyingly intriguing.  I couldn’t take my eyes off throughout the entire run time, but unfortunately, I can’t say the same thing about Black Mass.  Johnny Depp’s performance aside, the theatrical adaptation of Black Mass isn’t quite as engaging as it should be. It has great material to work with; I mean, to some extent, I kind of wish they would’ve taken even more liberties with the actual story, because the only dynamic character there was Johnny Depp (Joel Edgerton gets an honorable mention) and that wasn’t enough to make the story interesting.
Black Mass is a movie that offers the chance to witness a legendary actor flex his talent.  There is the intriguing gangster story line, but aside from the whole FBI-in-cahootery twist, the movie grows stale as it inches towards the two-hour mark.  Johnny Depp’s brilliance as an actor is ultimately hindered by a story that doesn’t do enough to compliment it’s character. So, what I’m saying is: go only if you must see Johnny Depp. Otherwise, Black Mass is a decent fact-based gangster movie.
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Black Mass Review photos courtesy of: www.imdb.com

Emmys 2015 Recap and Winners


Andy Samberg spoke the truth: there are so many shows and so little time.
In his opening number for the 67th Emmy Awards, Samberg opened with a pre-recorded, star-studded video in which he sang about the struggles of keeping up with TV shows this year. It really is hard to keep up with everything that is currently on air. Even I didn’t watch all of the Emmy-nominated shows. (I have the limited series nominees still to binge.)
But the wonderful video led into a monologue that hit some highs and lows. There were diversity jokes that were sadly necessary and political jokes that rightfully zinged Kim Davis and Donald Trump.
At one point, Samberg revealed the username and password for an HBO Now account for all to use. It worked. I was able to sign in, but with the entire world also signing in, watching a show is actually impossible. It did provide the Internet with some great trolls who changed his username, though.
The Emmys also spoiled the endings for all of the shows that went off the air this season as they tried to honor the final seasons. Hint for next time? Don’t play scenes from the final episodes. Thanks.
In a surprise appearance, Tracy Morgan announced the winner for outstanding drama series (Game of Thrones). Morgan was critically injured in a car accident in June 2014 that left him in a coma for eight days. He made minor public appearances until last night.  
History was made when Viola Davis became the first black actress to win an Emmy for best lead actress in a drama series and gave an amazing speech. She said, “Let me tell you something: The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”
Other amazing speeches came from Transparent’s Jill Soloway and Jeffrey Tambor, who won for best directing in a comedy and lead actor in a comedy, respectively. They both honored transgendered individuals and Soloway highlighted the inequalities faced by transgender people.
Jon Hamm (finally) became the only actor from Mad Men to win an Emmy for the show. It was well-deserved. He also crawled on stage sans stairs because why not?
Uzo Aduba became the first woman to win an award for best supporting comedy actress and best supporting drama actress for the same character. (She won last year for comedy for Orange is the New Black and this year for drama.)
But there were some disappointing losses. Tatiana Maslany, who finally received an Emmy nom for Orphan Black, lost to Viola Davis. I’m not complaining about Davis’ win; I am so thrilled about it, but I do hope Maslany can take an Emmy away at some point. She has an uncanny ability to play multiple characters at a time and deserves to be honored for it. It’s also unfortunate to know that comedy queen Amy Poehler will never win an Emmy for Parks and Recreation.
Overall, HBO took home the most Emmys with 40, followed by ABC with 14.
In comedy, Veep dominated with four of the seven awards for comedy series, and Olive Kitteridge led the limited series categories with six of the seven wins. And Jon Stewart’s team took home multiple awards for their final complete season.     .
Winners of the evening:
Outstanding comedy series: Veep
Outstanding drama series: Game of Thrones
Outstanding variety talk series: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Outstanding variety sketch series: Inside Amy Schumer
Outstanding limited series: Olive Kitteridge
Outstanding reality-competition program: The Voice
Outstanding lead actor in a comedy series: Jeffrey Tambor on Transparent
Outstanding lead actress in a comedy series: Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Veep
Outstanding lead actor in a drama series: Jon Hamm on Mad Men
Outstanding lead actress in a drama series: Viola Davis on How to Get Away with Murder
Outstanding lead actor in a limited series or movie: Richard Jenkins on Olive Kitteridge
Outstanding lead actress in a limited series or movie: Frances McDormand on Olive Kitteridge
Outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series: Tony Hale on Veep
Outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series: Allison Janney on Mom
Outstanding supporting actor in a drama series: Peter Dinklage on Game of Thrones
Outstanding supporting actress in a drama series: Uzo Aduba on Orange is the New Black
Outstanding supporting actor in a limited series or movie: Bill Murray on Olive Kitteridge
Outstanding supporting actress in a limited series or movie: Regina King on American Crime
Outstanding directing for a comedy series: Jill Soloway for Transparent
Outstanding directing for a drama series: David Nutter for Game of Thrones
Outstanding directing for a variety series: Chuck O’Neil for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Outstanding directing for limited series, movie or dramatic special: Lisa Cholodenko for Olive Kitteridge
Outstanding writing for a comedy series: Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci and Tony Roche for Veep
Outstanding writing for a drama series: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss for Game of Thrones
Outstanding writing for a variety series: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Outstanding writing for a limited series, movie or dramatic special: Jane Anderson for Olive Kitteridge
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Emmys 2015 Recap and Winners: Photo: AP

Donald Trump For President?


If you’ve been following the Presidential race so far, you probably are already aware of this juicy tidbit: Donald Trump is running for President.
Yes that’s right. The multi-billion dollar man is placing his hat in the race and the reactions are fairly mixed. Trump is running for the Republican party and announced his plans to run in his atrium at the Trump Tower on 5th Avenue in NYC.  His reason for running?

“Only someone really rich can help this economy.”

Trump is known as a real estate tycoon and reality TV star of his show The Apprentice. He had been toying with the idea to run as a Republican candidate in the Presidential race for years. He often brought the idea up, but never acted on it until now!

Trump is taking this election and nomination seriously. He promised to disclose all his financial documentation on time to the government with no qualms about it.  In fact, he held up a paper that provided evidence of his net worth which totals 8.7 billion dollars.

Even though he’s running for the right wing, Trump has been known to donate money to both parties – including the Clintons – one of whom (Hillary Clinton) he expects to run against.  He was once labeled a liberal for his support for universal health care. However with his big britches, odds are his fiscal policies will be anything, but democratic.

Trump made bold claims at the end of his 45-minute speech announcing his candidacy: “Sadly the American dream is dead. But if I get elected president, I will bring it back bigger, and better, and stronger than ever before.”

What does the public say about this?

A whole lot.

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Photo Source: Photos courtesy of CNN.com

Seven Best Indie Films


As exciting and impressive as big budgeted Hollywood movies can be, I find that those films are often lacking. With the film industry behind them, the goal of those types of movies is often limited to ‘wowing’ the audience with special effects rather than evoking an emotional response – which is why I tend to watch independent films. With a marginally smaller budget, ‘indies’ are usually driven by dialogue and emotion rather than fast paced action. With smaller scale stories, a more simplistic array of shots, and characters that seem grounded, these films are the true heart of Hollywood. The only problem with them, is they rarely see the light of day. While franchise movies are marketed to the point of no escape, indie’s usually get a silent and very limited release.  So, unless you are a frequent in the festival circuit, I have constructed a list of the seven best indie films you’ve probably never heard of. You can thank me later.
7. Liberal Arts (2014)
Liberal Arts is the story of 35 year old Jesse Fisher (Josh Radner) and his inappropriate relationship with college sophomore Zibby (Elizabeth Olsen). After returning to his Alma Mater for his favorite professors retirement party, he finds himself in a confusing whirlwind of emotion, attraction, and nostalgia.

6. Copenhagen (2014)

In his late twenties, William (Gethin Anthony) sets off on a trip around Europe to find answers about his late father. Arriving in Copenhagen, he meets a young local woman named Effy (Frederikke Dahl Hansen) who agrees to help him to find his father’s father who, supposedly, is still living in town. As time passes, a natural chemistry and realistic connection develops between the two, which makes the twist in the story even more shocking and confusing.

5. Dirty Girl (2011)

Simultaneously hilarious and gut-wrenching, Dirty Girl is a hidden gem. After being paired up as husband and wife in sex-ed, Danielle (Juno Temple) and Clarke (Jeremy Doizer), who are from separate ends of the social totem pole, develop an unexpected, but very sweet friendship. The film centers around the two, with their ‘flour-baby’ in tow, as they set off on a cross-country adventure to find Danielle’s father.

4. One Day (2011)

One Day is the film adaption of the book by David Nicholls which tells the story of college friends Emma (Anne Hathaway) and Dex (Jim Sturgess) as they work to navigate the real world. What is unique about this film is that it is told through a series of snapshots of one day, July 15th, over the course twenty years. The ups, downs, and suppression of their relationship seems so realistic and familiar that you may forget that it isn’t real life.

3. Like Crazy (2011)

Like Crazy is the single best representation of a long distance relationship made to date. After violating her student visa to stay with her American boyfriend Jacob (Anton Yelchin) for the summer, Anna (Felicity Jones) is banned from the US. The film then follows them over ten years as they attempt to live their lives both together and apart. Somehow, this film encompasses the complexities that come with a long term ‘LDR’ as the two fall apart and then come back together, both embracing change and rejecting it.

2. Short Term 12 (2013)

Grace (Brie Larson), along with her boyfriend Mason (John Gallager Jr), manages a foster care facility for at-risk teens. As Grace connects with one particular teen, more about her own background and story is revealed and you quickly realize the depth of her character. With realistic dialogue and steady cam style shots, this film sometimes seems more like a documentary than a narrative, which I think is why it is one of those movies that sticks with you long after the credits roll.

1. X + Y (2015)
I had never heard of this film before seeing it and had bought a ticket simply to escape the rain one afternoon. Much to my surprise, it turned out to be one of the most moving and incredible works I have ever seen. This story follows Nathan Ellis (Asa Butterfield), an outcast teenage math prodigy with autism, as he travels to Twain to compete in the mathematical Olympics. While the narrative of this story could easily fall into a trap of cliches, it somehow navigates around that to create a world of complicated and emotionally deep characters that you can’t help but fall in love with.

Seven Best Indie Films photo courtesy of: Brickhouse Films

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Jurassic World Review


Am I getting old? That’s the thought that crosses my mind as I tap away at this keyboard. I’m trying to figure out if I missed something, or if I’m jaded—I mean, I just went back to Jurassic Park! I saw dinosaurs! I saw flying pterodactyls, even the armored joints, and velociraptors! Big ol’ computer animated… oh. Maybe that’s what it is. When I was a kid, I was watching Jurassic Park like:



But after this screening of Jurassic World I’m like:

Sigh… Well… I guess.


Jurassic World revisits the island of Isla Nubar, two decades after the events of Jurassic Park, and things over there have changed dramatically. The theme park is fully functional, and most importantly, it’s successfully running—and even more importantly, it’s raking in those sweet, sweet, dino bones (if you get my drift).  However, there is one problem: attendance is slipping, and the park needs a new attraction if it hopes to fatten up their coffers.  This is accomplished by gene splicing the crap out of their genetically created dinosaurs, introducing an even un-godlier creation the park (nor the world) has ever seen before. One thing leads to the next, and BOOM, tourists are dropping like flies, and little Johnny, seated at the front row, needs a new pair of pants. Welcome to Jurassic World.
My nostalgia for the first film keeps my nose high and turned away from this flick, but I admit that this movie is definitely a blockbuster hit. It’s got dinosaurs running amok through the park once again!  There’s explosions, chase scenes, and the obligatory references to the first Jurassic Park (it sells itself)!  As much as I might whine about CGI use in movies, I think that these dinosaurs looked great. Not Jurassic Park Spielberg great, but good enough.  Also, the theme park was bustling with tourists and park employees. The park was fully realized and believable. The movie does a great job of selling this place, because if I didn’t know any better, I would have thought that that place actually existed.  And speaking of selling, Chris Pratt, hands down, had to be the best thing (next to dinosaurs) about this movie.  The man has the word ‘superstar’ chiseled into his face.  He tones down his penchant for comedy and tries to man up by playing a military veteran loner (with a beard; a beard never fails).  It’s not a graceful transition, but the one-liners he’s given allows him to pull it off with flying colors.

To act serious, just act like you smelled a fart.

There were a couple of things I didn’t like about the film, but that’s because I’m clearly comparing this movie to Jurassic Park.  It’s a no-win situation, but I do have some things to say, and I’ll try my best to avoid spoilers. First and foremost, the direction was handled very well (for the most part), but because this is a franchise reboot, there were the necessary Hollywood injections: the heavy reliance on CGI, unnecessary subplots, and because of that, the forced sequel setups. This would’ve been a tighter movie had all of those things been cut.  The subplot with the kids was unimportant.  This movie could’ve done away with these kids from the get-go, and it would’ve been a better movie for it. The real story is with the adult characters (mainly Pratt), who are doing their best to regain control of the park. Overall, I felt like the magic from the first film was missing here, and I think that’s because of the turbulent storytelling (damn subplots).  Everything was bigger and faster (and pretty easy to digest), but there was nothing left to my imagination.  A raptor’s shadow meant something in Jurassic Park, but here they’re caged, and even for a raptor, they’re considerably docile.  They’re seen all the time, and I can’t remember if there was even a close up where they (or any dino) weren’t in CGI. I would go on, but I’d rather not continue nitpicking.

I mean, I could go on, but I’m sure these two have heard enough.

Jurassic World is a great summer blockbuster, and the kids are going to love it. There’s no other way around that fact, and I’m fine with that. I hope there is another sequel, and I really hope they do a better job the fifth time around.  This is actually better than Jurassic Park 3, the forgettable sequel in the Jurassic Park franchise.  One major selling point for this is movie is revisiting the island of dinosaurs and Chris Pratt. That alone sells tickets and makes this purchase worth your money. Have fun!
Jurassic World Review photos courtesy of Universal Pictures, imdb.com
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Akon Plans to Light Africa


Akon is best known for his music career and success. With songs like ” I Wanna Love You” and ” Lonely”, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to this artist. Akon has founded an initiative appropriately entitled, “Akon Lighting Africa”. The singer aims to provide electricity to 600 million – yes, MILLION – people through the founding of his Solar Academy.

The academy will be located in the city of Bamako, Mali, and it will provide education and practice to engineers and technicians to help enable and advance the use of solar energy throughout the nation. Africa is known for it’s heat, and the continent has 320 days of sunlight – so harnessing it’s abundance as a natural resource is genius.
Due to his heritage, this project is close to Akon’s heart.  The singer was born in the U.S., but he spent much of his childhood in Senegal with his family. The singer has always been philanthropic with his money and fame, and has said:

“Two things that define success in life: The way you manage when you have nothing and the way you behave when you have everything.”

The co-founders of “Akon Lighting Africa” are Samba Baithily and Thione Niang.  According to the initiative’s website:

CEO of ADS Global Corporation S.A, Samba Bathily, is an important actor in the Malian economy and has played an important role over the past 20 years in developing a strong private sector in Africa. His Holding Group owns seven subsidiaries (SOLEKTRA INT, AFRITEK, PROXICOM, YIRIWA…), which have a presence in 8 African countries.  Samba is one the leaders driving growth in Western Africa today. (source)

And Thione Niang has an amazingly touching and relevant story to this cause:

“Thione Niang is a public servant, speaker and consultant. Born into a family of 28 children in Senegal, Thione arrived in the US in 2000, speaking no English and with $20 in his pocket.  He worked as a waiter and sent money home to his family every month while saving up to obtain a college diploma.” (source)

It seems Akon knew what he was doing when he chose his co-founders. Here’s to his new initiative and what is sure to create a great advancement for the impoverished country.

Akon Plans to Light Africa photos courtesy of Akon Lighting Africa

Tony Awards: What You Missed


The Tony Awards aired on Sunday night, and for those who didn’t catch it, boy did you miss out! Here’s a brief recap that includes some winners, interesting moments, and amazing outfits.
Hosts of the Evening: Alan Cumming and Kristen Chenoweth.

What a dynamic duo these two made throughout the show. Completely in tune and hilarious. Great picks Tony Awards! Highlight of the night: Kristen Chenoweth in an E.T costume.
Most Wins of the Night: Fun Home

Fun Home, a musical based of on Alison Bechdel’s memoir about her lesbian identity and her closeted gay father’s suicide took a large portion of the awards home. Because Fun Home made such a sweep, so did the female population.  The score for this show was comprised of a team made fully of women which was a first for this category’s win!
Funniest Moment: Kelli O’Hara Dancing Off Stage
For those who  don’t follow Broadway actors and actresses Kelli O’Hara is the Broadway’s version of Leonardo DiCaprio. She carries many nominations for a Tony, but up until this year she had yet to win one. However, due to her work in the play The King and I she finally nabbed an award. She was met with a grand standing ovation from her peers, but it was her reply that really made this quite a priceless moment:

“I’m going to do the worm off the stage!”

And the famed actress danced her way to her seat.
The best part about award shows is watching the stars uncensored and raw, and that was no exception when it came to the Tony’s this year!
Tony Awards: What You Missed photos courtesy of Broadway.com, Joan Marcus, Photo Invision/AP Images
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Actor Sir Christopher Lee Dies at 93


Chances are if you’ve seen Dracula, Lord of the Rings or Star Wars, you’ve heard of Sir Christopher Lee. According to reports, Lee passed away at the age of 93 at London’s Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.
Christopher Lee is most known for his work on the 1958 film Dracula. The image of Brahm Stoker’s classic vampire character is forever ingrained into the minds of the public with the face of Mr. Lee.

Even if Vampire’s aren’t your thing, perhaps you’re on team Tolkien and a fan of the Lord of the Rings franchise. In which case, Saruman was played by none other than this famed actor.

The filmography list for this man is magnanimous and well deserved. From voicing over the Corpse Bride by Tim Burton, to providing his voice for video games, his profile stretches beyond the big screen. Extensive, professional, and engaging are definitely three words that can be applied to this man.
Although, he mainly filled villainous roles, the man behind the character was vastly different.

“Children are our future and what a disgrace it is that children are dying from poverty and hunger.”

Sir Christopher Lee was a supporter of organizations like UNICEF, which focuses on providing support and opportunities to impoverished children and mothers of underdeveloped countries. Also, Mr. Lee has supported Cinema for Peace, a charity that uses movies to promote peace and awareness which uses cinematic works to help provide awareness towards issues that must be fixed in order to help those in need.
Sir Christopher Lee died due to heart and respiratory complications. Thoughts and condolences to Mr. Lee’s loved ones. The film industry has lost one of it’s finest.
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Photo Sources:
Photo 1 and 2: Courtesy of Den Of Geek
Photo 3: Courtesy of Culture Gaze

Iggy Azalea Engaged!


Iggy Azalea definitely has “one less, one less,” problem! The rap star from Down Under, recently announced her engagement on Instagram, posting a series of pictures of her flashing her new rock with her main squeeze, Nick Young, a basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers. The couple met the new fashioned way–over a tweet!
Their first date? Target.
That’s right, Target! Iggy Iggs claims you can learn a lot about someone from how they shop at Target. Clearly she learned enough from him to devote the past two years of her life, and quite possibly now, a lifetime.

Courtesy of Splash News

How did the engagement go down? According to reports, the basketball player made his proposal at his 30th birthday party by bending down on one knee and offering up a large yellow diamond with a diamond encrusted band. Iggy immediately replied with a heartfelt, “Yes!”

Courtesy of Instagram

The ring reportedly costs $500,000 and weights in at–get ready–10.43 carats! That will be one heavy hand! Nick Young was very involved in the ring making process and it shows. The ring is 100% one of a kind and representative of Iggy. The couple began dating in 2013 and their admiration of each other has only grown.

A progression of photos on Instagram led up to the final reveal. Starting with Iggy goofing around at Nick Young’s carnival themed birthday bash, and all the way to cuddly photos of the pair. The couple has been named several times as “NBA’s coolest young couple”, so what does married life have in store for the two?

Definitely a whole lot of Fancy.
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Iggy Azalea Engaged: feature image courtesy of Instagram

2015 Oscars Winners


The 87th Annual Academy Awards honored some of the most remarkable films, actors, and directors to date at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles last night. As predicted, films Birdman and The Grant Budapest Hotel reigned supreme, and an extremely excited (and humble!) Eddie Redmayne took home the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything.
Stand-out performances included Lady Gaga giving tribute to The Sound of Music for its 50th anniversary (complete with a tear-jerking hug with Julie Andrews herself), Common and John Legend performing “Glory” (thus making David Oyelowo and Chris Pine cry), and Jennifer Hudson performing “I Can’t Let Go” during the In Memoriam segment.

Other note-worthy moments included Patricia Arquette’s acceptance speech about equal rights. “To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights,” she said. “It’s time to have wage equality once and for all. And equal rights for women in the United States of America.”
In case you missed it, check out the full list of winners below!
2015 Oscars Winners


Julianne Moore wins for her Leading Role in Still Alice

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
The Imitation Game
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
The Grand Budapest Hotel, Alexandre Desplat
“Glory” from Selma
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Big Hero 6
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
American Sniper
Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
The Phone Call
Ida (Poland)
The Grand Budapest Hotel, Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier
The Grand Budapest Hotel, Milena Canonero
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
What were your favorite moments of the night? Were you happy with the winners? Let us know in the comments below!
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Images courtesy of ABC/Rick Rowell