April 30

The Browne Pop Culture Library at Bowling Green State U Reviews Harlequin Covers

By Lori Perkins

On April 23rd, the Browne Pop Culture Library at the Bowling Green University  @ BGSU‏ @BGSU_PopCultLib did a #RomanceHistory thread on Twitter, reviewing how Harlequin Romance covers had changed at the venerable line between numbers 1000 (1966), 2000 (1976) and 3000 (1989)

 

The cover for number 1000, "A Girl Named Smith" (1966) by Jane Arbor is sort of the proto-Harlequin cover for the line's early years. Heroine in the forefront, hero in the background. If they're ever closer, it still feels like two different pictures. #RomanceHistory

Ten years later, number 2000 is Essie Summers' "Not by Appointment" (1976) and it doesn't look like much has changed. But by now, the market is starting to shift. It's the era of Woodiwiss and Rogers- the chaste cover was falling out of favor... #RomanceHistory

...and so a change starts to come. Here's an example- "The Time and The Loving" (1978) shows the hero and heroine embracing (though not kissing), which also becomes a trend on some of the Harlequin reprints. #RomanceHistory

By 1981 and titles like "The All-the-Way Man", we finally get full head-tilt and almost-kisses on the cover, though the content remains relatively chaste. This was a pretty dramatic shift for Harlequin- what drove the change? #RomanceHistory

Well, not to sound like a broken record, but it was Vivian Stephens. Stephens resuscitated Dell's moribund Candlelight line, adding Ecstasy to its name in 1980. The line was an instant hit, with more heat, mature heroines, and no fear of skin on the cover. #RomanceHistory

Candlelight Ecstasy and the rise of Silhouette led Harlequin to launch its Presents line as competition, but they also updated the Romance covers with more embraces (and the occasional beard). #RomanceHistory

The cover for number 3000, "The Last Moon Flower" (1989) is actually really unusual, because it features a shirtless man. This is incredibly rare for Harlequin Romance, and in fact we haven't seen another from this era. #RomanceHistory

In the 1990s, Harlequin Romance moves away from the embrace almost entirely, towards smiling couples in some everyday situation. And near the end of the 20th century, we see the shift to photographed covers, like this one for "Substitute Father (2000). #RomanceHistory

Visit the Bowling Green State University Pop Culture website at https://www.bgsu.edu/library/pcl.html

April 29

Mother of the Royal Bride Novel Coming Soon

WPA POOL

For those who seemingly can’t get enough of the royal family, and their endless string of fabulous weddings, never fear. Best-selling author Jasmine Guillory, the author of The Proposal and The Wedding Date has announced that she will be writing a romance novel around the life of a single mother who has a daughter who becomes a duchess. The background for the book also happens to be the real life story of Doria Ragland, also known as Meghan Markle’s mom! 

 

The whole thing came about on Twitter when some followers of Guillory were asking for a book about a single mom and her up and coming royal daughter’s wedding. After a series of tweets and replies, the author was for real, titling the book, The Royal Holiday. While the book does not follow or name Markle, it does try to follow a similar timeline, following the life of Vivian Forest, a character Guillory first showcased in her forthcoming novel, The Wedding Party. Vivian’s daughter is a famous stylist who brings her along when she gets the chance to style a British royal for an event. While there, Vivian’s talented daughter falls in love with an associate of the royal family, only to realize she might have to return home without a guy. 

Royal Holiday will be on sale October first of this year, but you can already place a pre-order. Guillory’s next novel, The Wedding Party will be on sale July 19, and can also be pre-ordered. 

41Y65Qi7TFL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
51jhv+fnjwL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

April 28

The Hidden Cost Of Sex

Shortly before I met my current husband, I stopped dating anyone. I didn’t even sleep with anyone for a short period of time. Anyone who knows me well can tell you that this was highly unusual for me, and to a point, it was almost a total anomaly.

During that brief period, I noticed something very strange happen. Though I’m biologically female, I noticed that my bank account spiked. At first, I couldn’t figure out how I had extra money at the end of the month. After really looking at my spending habits, the answer dawned on me.

I was spending money on sex.

No—I wasn’t shelling out money on callgirls or male escorts. Rather, I was spending money going to venues to meet people, spending money on fare that would let me drive to peoples’ houses to get laid, and also shelling out cash on things to make me more attractive to people I wanted to bone.

When I stopped caring about sex, my bank account spiked. Even though I wasn’t overtly paying for sex, I was still paying for sex. Realizing this about myself, I took a look at guys’ predicaments. My male friends often decried how expensive dating was, so I began to wonder: how much does it actually cost to have sex?

Everyone Pays For It In One Way Or Another

Before we get into the discussion of sex, please do not take my question lightly. We all pay for sex. Sex is pricey. Whether you’re male or female, sex and dating costs money. One can also argue that you can either pay in effort, cash, or both. Either way, there’s definitely an unspoken cost to sex.

For women, getting laid often means that you will need to spend money to look good for your dates. You also might need to pay for your transportation, nights out on the town with potential playmates, as well as a number of other goods. For men, it involves the same, plus more dating costs simply because of tradition and how much effort it takes to find a girl.

To find out how much it takes for a guy to get laid, I decided to take a look at the different costs associated with different methods of procuring sex. Here’s what I discovered…

The Old Fashioned Way

 

When I say the “old fashioned way,” I mean meeting a girl at a bar, club, or social gathering, getting her number, then having a roll in the hay. This is the organic way that people have met their lovers, play partners, and spouses for centuries. It also is the most socially accepted way to get laid.

For guys, getting laid through this route is often extremely expensive—especially since it often takes multiple attempts to find a sex partner through this route. How affordable this route is, is based on how attractive a man’s body and personality are.

On one end of the spectrum are men who simply do not have the social skills to find a sex partner this way. In most cases, they will not find a partner through real-life interaction. On the other end of the spectrum are men who are extremely attractive and charming. They may be able to get laid one out of every two or three excursions.

Let’s assume that you’re a guy who hits up clubs or social gatherings to find a new sex partner. Here’s what you should expect on average.

  • Business Insider pointed out that the average person spends $81 per outing, and goes out twice a week. Let’s assume that you’re a single guy who maintains that price point.

    • Total So Far: $81 per outing

  • From a random survey of my (notably extroverted) male friends, it takes an average of 11 times before they find a partner through a club outing. 

    • Total So Far: $891 until you find a sex partner

  • If you rent a room, that’s an additional $120 on average.

    • Total So Far: $1011 for a hotel on top of it.

  • If you agree to pay cab fare for a one-night stand, that’s an additional $15.

    • Total So Far: $1026 per sexual encounter

 

Dating Via Tinder

 

Now that the internet exists, you don’t have to hit up bars and restaurants anymore. Those venues really only have so many people to meet. If you strike out too many times, you might not be able to really get anywhere. The net gave us dating apps and hookup sites galore.

These are almost as socially accepted as the old fashioned way, and are currently one of the most popular ways to get laid. Tinder dates and online dates are typically a little cheaper than the traditional “dinner and a movie” date of yore.

  • A dating app can cost anywhere from no money at all to $25 per month.

    • Total So Far: $0 (I’m assuming we’re cheap!)

  • In 2016, dating site OKCupid reported that couples typically have sex after three to five dates.

  • SimpleMost ran a study that showed a typical formal date would cost about $230 in my home state of New Jersey. Most of the country, though, will spend approximately $110 on a date.

    • High-End Total: $330 to $550

  • From a (admittedly casual) survey performed on about 30 guy friends of mine, most Tinder dates are little more than just “hanging out” at home or hitting up coffee. They said they spent an average of $20 on coffee dates, while home dates involving wine and food topped $30.

    • Low-Ball Total: $60 to $150

 

“Massage” Parlors

 

The drawback with typical dating is manifold, especially for guys. There’s a lot of rejection you need to face, random ghosting moments, and you never really know what the person you’re seeing is thinking. We’ve all heard dating horror stories, and in some cases, you might not even get laid after all your efforts have been put forth.

A lot of work with no guarantee of success makes for a very expensive and frustrating endeavor. That’s why a lot of guys just want to pay for sex to get their jollies off. So, I started to interview sex workers to find out how much money it costs to have sex.

After talking to five massage parlors that offer “happy endings,” I learned that there are different rates.

  • The lowest rate for sex I heard was an additional $50 on top of a $70 massage.

  • The highest rate for sex I heard was a total cost of $275 to $300.

  • Anal sex typically went for a higher rate.

Street Walkers

 

If you’re not beat for going to a massage party, another common option is to call up a sex worker. Sex workers are often split into three major categories: street walkers, call girls, and escorts.

Street walkers are the cheapest and are typically picked up by clients while walking on the street. They usually are pimped out by men who take a large cut of their profits. Sometimes, men who manage them will also advertise their services online. I interviewed 15 street walkers, ranging from clearly addicted to substances to women who seemed to look just like anyone else.

  • The lowest rate I heard was $40 for sex.

  • The highest rate I heard from a street walker was $150 per hour.

  • Like with most other sex workers, street walkers charge extra for anal or unusual requests.

Call Girls

 

Call girls are sex workers who advertise online. These sex workers typically go out to visit clients in their own homes or hotel rooms. Most call girls are “middle of the road” in terms of both appearance and reputation. You can find a lot of them on sites that specially cater to adult services.

That said, FOSTA ended up destroying most sites that helped call girls gain business. They are extremely guarded as a result of the raids many experienced. I was still able to find 15 call girls and ask about their pricing.

  • The lowest rate for a call girl that I spoke to was $200.

  • On average, these ladies charged $300 per hour-long session.

  • The highest rate for a call girl was $450.

 

Sugar Dating

Sugar dating is a very unique blend of both sex, image, and fetish dating. With a sugar daddy or sugar mommy arrangement, one partner in the arrangement is paid for time spent with the donor. The donor isn’t really paying for sex per se; he’s paying to have a person who would normally never be with them to spend time with them.

Though sex is definitely a part of the deal in most cases, that’s not always the case. Sugar dating is actually perceived as a status symbol for men and women in many circles. In some cases, people will pay just to have “arm candy” attend dinners with them.

To find out how much a sugar date costs, I started asking around.

  • Sugar dates can vary greatly in pricing methods. Some ask for cash, others for gifts, while even more ask for bills to be paid.

  • The cheapest professional sugar date I found would agree to date for the price of a fancy dinner and a lipstick.

  • Some sugar babies claimed to have men who paid them approximately $70,000 per year to be a paramour.

Escorts

 

Escorts are the high end sex workers that you might hear politicians messing around with on newspaper headlines. These are sex workers who are typically employed by an agency or are independent workers.

Escorts are typically incredibly good looking, with many of them making a living doing modeling work during the day. They also are fairly well-educated and are often trained on the ways of etiquette and class. It’s not unusual to hear about escorts being paid to go on dates in public with clients.

Generally speaking, escorts are viewed as way out of an average guy’s league. Some escorts are actually celebrities. I was able to talk to several escort agency owners who were able to shed light on costs.

  • The lowest rate for an escort I’ve found was around $300 per hour.

  • One agent claimed that “$750 per hour, minimum,” was the baseline for their agency.

  • An agent who specialized in linking celebrity escorts to clients claimed that one of his workers earned $1.5 million in one night by spending it with an obscenely wealthy man.

Long Term Relationships

 

 

All this talk about paying for sex can be rough to hear, especially if you’re the type to want some romance with your playtime. That’s one of the reasons why a lot of people end up in relationships; they want that companionship and they also want regular nookie.

If you think that you stopped paying for sex once you got into a relationship, though, you’re wrong. Several studies completed by researchers showed that relationships, too, are expensive in a financial sense.

NEFE pointed out that 89% of people spend more when they’re in a relationship than when they’re single. On average, coupled up people spend $600 more per year than singletons do.

    • According to the Motley Fool, married people spend an average of $54 per date.

      • They also claimed that the average singleton only spends $43 per date, which is drastically lower than what my previous source claimed.

    • The same Motley Fool article also noted that married people and coupled people tend to spend more on gifts than singletons do, too.

  • The Cut pointed out that a typical wedding costs upwards of $25,000 to $50,000.

  • Divorce proceedings are even pricier, with many settlements involving hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    • If you are married with children, divorce can cost approximately half your wages in alimony and child support.

    • A divorce attorney’s fees range from $250 to $650 per hour on average. An average divorce costs as much as $50,000—assuming that it’s an amicable divorce.

  • If you choose to be the primary provider who stays married, this can easily add upwards of $1,000 per month in living costs.

Because so many major lifestyle changes are involved in long term relationships and marriage, I didn’t even try to put a price on this. That said, the average couple in a relationship has sex twice a week. So, it can be a solid investment if you’re looking for steady loving and companionship.

So, Is Sex Worth It?

 

It’s hard to say whether or not the high price of sex is actually worth it all the time. For the most part, humans are wired to desire companionship. We are also wired to crave sex, though sex is not a need for most of us. We are social creatures.

Studies show that people who have sex regularly look younger, report lower rates of depression, and tend to be able to cope with life better. So, is the high price tag worth a little sexual healing? That’s up for you to decide.

This article was originially posted here.

April 26

A Lovely Hand-Fasting Vow Renewal

Grahame Smith

By Lori Perkins

Here is a wonderful video of a hand fasting vow renewal that was held in March at Dalhousie Castle in Scotland. The couple, Carl and Nancy, is adorable and I met with them in Scotland the day after the wedding as I happened to be there for a pre-wedding visit.

 

The photographer, Grahame Smith, said that he has never seen such a show of true love in his entire career as a wedding photographer. 

 

Nancy told me she has loved Carl since she was 12 years old.  Their ceremony was beautiful, as you can see.

Lisa Bauer is the owner of Tartan Weddings, an event planning that specializes in weddings and events in Scottish Castles. (917) 538-4365 , www.tartanweddings

April 25

Nora Roberts Sues Brazilian Plagiarist

in Brazilian Court

Nora Roberts/Facebook

By Lori Perkins

But self-published Brazilian “novelist” Cristiane Serruya, who romance Twitter readers have christened as “#CopyPasteCris” appears to have cobbled together extensive passages from many published best-selling American romance writers such as Roberts, Maya Banks, Julia Quinn, Loretta Chase and about 20 others, and thrown them up on Amazon as her own. 

 

So Nora Roberts sued her ass in her own country under Brazilian legal rules.

 

According to an Associated Press article, Roberts sued the Brazilian “author” for copyright infringement stating that she had committed “multi-plagiarism” on a “rare and scandalous” level.

 

Paperwork for the lawsuit was filed on Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro, where Serruya resides. The Associated Press reports that Roberts called Serruya’s novels “a literary patchwork, piecing together phrases whose form portrays emotions practically identical to those expressed in the plaintiff’s books.” Citing Brazilian law, Roberts is asking for damages at 3,000 times the value of the highest sale price for any Serruya work mentioned in the lawsuit.

Roberts told the Associate Press in a phone call, “If you plagiarize, I will come for you. If you take my work, you will pay for it and I will do my best to see you don’t write again.” Roberts said that she would donate any damages from the lawsuit to a literacy program in Brazil.

According to a blog post titled “Cristiane Serruya is a copyright infringer, a plagiarist, and an idiot” by romance author Courtney Milan, Serruya had an editorial farm where she hired free-lance ghost writers to smooth out and effectively “de-plagiarize” her cobbled together novels, which included passages from Milan’s own novel, The Duchess War which Serruya had published in her novel, Royal Love.

Brianna Bennett posted an article in Medium on this plagiarism that cited the following authors as having been copied by Serruya: Abby Green, Airicka Phoenix, Alexandra Ivy, Alys Murray, Anne Gracie, Bella Andre, Callie Hart, Carmen DeSousa, Cathy Williams, Christi Caldwell, Julia Quinn, Laurann Dohner, Lauren Royal, Loretta Chase, Lynne Graham, Marie Force, Maya Banks, Michelle M. Pillow, Michelle St. James, Nalini Singh, Natasha Blackthorne, Trish Morey and Victoria Alexander.

 

In addition to suing Serruya in Brazil, Roberts lashed out at Amazon for not policing the content published on its site more diligently.  She told the Associated Press that “Amazon didn’t find any of this,” explaining that the plagiarism had been discovered by romance readers. “And that strikes me as a problem,” she added.

Serruya’s work appears to have been removed from Amazon as of now, although many of her books can still be found on Barnes & Noble.com, Google Play and other ebook platforms. 

5154Kkp+twL.jpg

April 24

Grammy-Award Winning Musicians Michelle Branch and Black Keys Patrick Carney Marry Over Easter Weekend

@andamasha /instagram

By Lilli McHale

“Everywhere” singer Michelle Branch, 35, and Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney, 39, got married on Saturday evening, April 21st at the Marigny Opera House in New Orleans in front of close friends and family as well as the couple’s infant son, Rhys, and Branch’s 13-year-old daughter from a previous relationship, Owen.

According to the Associated Press report, the bride wore an off-white wedding dress by Temperley London and walked down the aisle to Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling In Love” performed by Symphony Chorus of New Orleans. Carney wore a black Burberry tux with a white shirt.

The couple began dating four years ago and collaborated on Branch’s 2017 album, Hopeless Romantic. Carney asked her to marry him on her birthday in July of 2017.

Branch is know for her hits “All You Wanted,” ”Everywhere,” ”Are You Happy Now?” and “The Game of Love,” with Santana. The Black Keys, an Akron, Ohio-based blue rock band, which also includes singer-guitarist-producer Dan Auerbach, have a string of hits including “Lonely Boy,” ”Tighten Up” and “Fever.”

@andamasha /instagram

April 23

Singer Adele Announces Divorce

By Lilli McHale

British singer Adele and husband Simon Konecki announced their divorce on Good Friday. Adele’s reps confirmed rumors that the couple had broken up after an extremely private relationship. The two were last pictured together in January of 2019 when the pair went to Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road convert in LA. 

The two had met in 2011, three years after Konecki’s divorce from ex-wife, Clary Fisher. Adele acknowledged that the two were a couple in 2012 on her blog, where she later posted about their pregnancy. Since the birth of child, Angelo, their relationship seems to have focused on him. While Adele does not like to talk about her relationships to the public, she gushed to Vanity Fair about how intense her love is saying, “All of my relationships are more important to me than any tour I’ll ever do. If my relationship with Simon or my relationship with Angelo started to flounder a bit now, I would pull out of my tour.” This was all to appropriate to say as only weeks before her, at the time, boyfriend had added hand-written love notes to Adele’s 25 tours usual confetti with lyrics. 

The couple was rumored to have married in January of 2017 when Adele was seen with a band on her ring finger, only to confirm the marriage in March when she told her audience about it at a concert. The two parents are working diligently to remain friends and work towards the best life for Angelo. 

Adele is estimated to be worth $180 million, and pundits are wondering just how much this divorce will cost her, as it is believed that there was no pre-nup.

It is also rumored that Adele is currently working on her “divorce album” which will be released before Christmas.

Richard Young/Rex/REX USA

April 22

How Celebrities Celebrate Easter

Crown Media

By Lori Perkins

Social media was abuzz with celebrities sharing how they celebrated Easter Sunday, April 21st, and wishing their millions of fans a happy holiday.

 

Jennifer Lopez posted a funny video of fiancé Alex Rodriguez singing as his mortified daughter looked on, while Andy Cohen shared a quiet morning at home with his dog, Wacha, and new son, Benjamin, as well as an embarrassing photo of himself in a Speedo in the 1990’s in Mykonos Greece, which his mom did not appreciate.

Not to be outdone by Andy Cohen, Miley Cyrus posted a throwback topless photo, while Emily Ratajkowski and Rita Ora also shared some sexy Easter poses too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also posting Easter photos on social media this year were Kim Kardashian West, Reese Witherspoon, Candice Bergen, Brad Goreski and Mariah Carey.

Andy Cohen / Instagram

Miley Cyrus / Twitter

April 19

Two International Cricket Players Marry in Australia

By Lori Perkins

Two professional cricket players from Australia and New Zealand married in Australia in a beautiful same-sex ceremony.

Nicola Hancock, 23, who plays for the Melbourne Stars, and her wife, Hayley Jensen, 26, both wore long white wedding dresses at their outdoor wedding.

The two women both played for the Melbourne Stars before Jensen transferred to the Melbourne Renegades.

The cricket team The Melbourne Stars announced the wedding, which took place last weekend, on Twitter and posted a message of support for the newlyweds.

Jensen shared a tweet prior to her big day. “And in 2 days you will be my wife,” she posted with heart emoji’s.

According to Nicola’s Facebook account, she will take Jensen’s surname.

April 18

Author Anne Lamott Gets Married

for the First Time at 65

By Lori Perkins

April 17

Barbie Celebrates Artist Keith Haring

If you’ve been following the celebrity love lives of Cardi B, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and all those Kardashians and Jonas Brothers, you probably missed the news that iconoclastic author Anne Lamott tied the knot for the very first time a week before she got her Medicaid card!

 

Annie Lamont is the brilliant, truthful author of Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, which is the best book on writing ever written, as well as Operating Instructions, which is a pretty, damn fine book on being the single mother of a son, among another dozen novels and nonfiction books that chronicle her bohemian journey towards sobriety and God. As the daughter of a female minister, a single mother of a son, and an author, she has been a beacon I have followed most of my adult life, so I was thrilled to read the story about her finding the “love of her life” on Match.com, of all places, and having the fortitude to say “I do.” 

Lamott married Neal Allen on April 13th in a Bay Area church ceremony wearing a white dreass,  three days after she turned 65 and three weeks after receiving her Medicaid card. Said Lamott, “So never, ever give up,” she told fans of her late-in-life marriage, “because God is such a show-off.”

 

I do hope she writes about her adventures, and that is becomes a best-selling tale of romance at a certain age.

416KhjPwuKL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

By Lori Perkins

The latest celebrity to be added to the Barbie roster is 80’s pop artist artist Keith Haring, whose graffiti-inspired white outlined stick figure images were painted on black subway spaces throughout New York City

 

The brand new Barbie x Keith Haring Doll wears an off-the-shoulder black sweatshirt with Haring's "Radiant Baby" figure on it over a blue mesh tank top. On the doll's cropped pink pants, is a pattern of Haring's dancing figures. The doll's white boots feature more of Haring's figures, and the doll accessorizes with colorful bracelets, a silver boom box graphic tote bag, silver "Radiant Baby" hoop earrings, and red sunglasses. 

 

Even the packaging features Haring's artwork with a three-dimensional backdrop behind the doll. 

Of course, the audience for this doll is the adult Barbie collector, since the price is $50. According to Mattel, there are only 20,000 being produced worldwide.

The Haring Barbie follows in the footsteps of the three Andy Warhol Barbies, which were released last year, and are still available for purchase.  They included Barbie wearing a leopard-coat over a soup can dress, Barbie dressed as Warhol with Platinum short hair in a leather motorcycle jacket and Barbie in a strapless gown with the Warhol Barbie printed on it and a pink faux fur stole.

Though not designed as an artist tribute, last year’s Frida Kahlo Barbie (which was part of their Inspiring Women line) sold out immediately upon release. Mattel had to create a second edition, which are sure to be on demand as the Frida Kahlo exhibit continues to thrill New York audiences throughout its run at the Brooklyn Museum.

April 16

Great British Bake Off Wedding

By Lori Perkins

For Martha Collison’s wedding, a contestant on the fifth season of The Great British Bake Off, the focus was the cake. The contestant married accountant Michael Haywood, in front of her fellow Great British Bake-Off alum such as Nancy Birtwhistle, Richard Burr, Claire Goodwin and Chetna Makan. 

 

Not only did the group of Season 5 veterans attend the wedding, they helped each bake individual wedding cakes to celebrate Martha’s big day. Chetna was particularly emotional as she had known Martha since age 17, the youngest anyone has ever competed on the show. Lucky enough, Martha’s youthful experience helped her as she has been fortunate enough to publish two cookbooks since her departure from the show in the quarter-finals. 

 

According to The Guardian, “Birtwhistle decided to create a blush pink Prinsesstårta, a Swedish layer cake, which she made with raspberry jam, Genoise sponge, pastry cream and a Swiss meringue buttercream crumb coat … Goodwin opted to take a more chocolatey approach, creating a three-tiered cake complete with chocolate pretzels, Galaxy bars, chocolate truffles and mini gold eggs.” 

The bride and groom were ecstatic to have so many beautiful cakes, and friends, to celebrate their amazing day.

April 15

Lori Laughlin’s Character Edited Out of Hallmark Channel’s When Calls the Heart

By Lori Perkins

The Hallmark series When Calls the Heart will return to the Hallmark Channel after a brief hiatus without actress Lori Loughlin, whose character, Abigail Station, was reportedly edited out of the series after Loughlin had been arrested for her role in a college admissions bribery scandal. Loughlin has appeared on the show since its debut in 2014.

Loughlin, 54, was charged with allegedly conspiring to commit mail fraud in the recent college admissions scandal where she and her husband were accused of paying half a million dollars to get her daughters into the University of Southern California. According to media reports, the Hallmark Channel’s parent company, Crown Media, has severed its relationship with Loughlin who, in addition to playing the mayor of the town of Hope Valley in When Calls the Heart, has also appeared in 19 Hallmark Channel movies and was a sort of ambassador for the channel in their seasonal promotions.

 

According to Entertainment Weekly, removing Loughlin from the season required “highly creative editing” and “reshoots,” As a result of this rewriting and reshooting, there will only be six episodes of the show in season six, instead of the originally planned seven. Three episodes aired before the scandal, which caused the show to go on a brief hiatus.

Executive producer Brian Bird shared the news of the show’s return on Instagram on Wednesday, April 10. “Life throws all of us painful curveballs, and the only way to survive is to walk right through them with courage, grace, a forgiving spirit, and most of all, hope,” he posted. “Many of you have wondered what the future holds for our cast and crew, and for the citizens of Hope Valley. Your care and concern means the world to us, and the best way we can thank you is to encourage you the way you encourage us because… Hope always lives here.”

The show will return on May 5th, followed by a second new episode on May 6.

The show has been renewed for a seventh season according to Loughlin’s co-star Erin Krakow who posted on Instagram Saturday that “I am thrilled to announce ‘When Calls the Heart’ Season 7, coming next year.”

April 14

Les Misérables Mini-Series Starts on

PBS on Sunday

By Lori Perkins

There’s a whole generation that’s about to learn that Les Misérables did not start as a Broadway musical.

 

In fact, the newest British six-part mini-series that begins on April 14th on PBS channels intends to more closely follow the five-volume, 365 chapter novel written by Victor Hugo in 1862.  According to a New York Times review, the new adaptation is low on entertainment and high on misery.  

 

Andrew Davies, the screenplay author as well as the Executive Producer of the series, said of his reasons for doing this new version of Les Misérables, “I wanted to make a much more inclusive adaptation than we had ever seen before and for the audience to make sense of the history and the intertwining of the characters.” According to the Masterpiece Theatre press release, part of making that adaptation stand out was cutting out the songs, focusing on the plot, and giving backstories to characters that viewers hadn’t seen before. Andrew Davies has written many of Masterpiece Theatre’s most beloved classics such as Little Dorrit, Sense & Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, and the original House of Cards, as well as popular films such as Bridget Jones’ Diary.

According to the Masterpiece Theatre press packet, though the entirety of Les Misérables is set in 19th century France, the filming locations spread beyond Paris to bring the story to life. The majority of the scenes were shot in Belgium and Northern France, with scenes also shot in Sedan (France) and Limburg (The Netherlands).

A handful of castles were used in different scenes throughout the series. Enghien Castle was used to film the Paris convent scenes, the police station scenes and as a safe house. Another castle, the Château de Sedan, was used for some of the prison scenes where Valjean is first seen, serving the last of his 19-year sentence. Solvay Castle, located in La Hulpe south of Brussels, served as the scenic backdrop for a romantic scene between Fantine and Felix.

 

For those who cannot get enough of this series as it unfolds, there is a Les Misérables Insider email, a weekly roundup of exclusive interviews with the actors; behind-the-scenes and historical content to enhance your watching of this new adaptation. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/sign-up-for-les-miserables-insider-emails/

April 13

Get Your Game of Thrones Dinner On

By Lori Perkins

April 12

You might want to order in on Sunday night for the premier of Season Eight (the final season) of HBO’s Games of Thrones.  In addition to GOT wine, beer, Mountain Dew and Johnny White Walker Scotch (am not making that up), Shake Shack is offering their “Fire and Ice” menu in Valyrian (the made-up language on the show) that features the spicy Dracarys Burger and the Dragonglass Shake.  And you can eat some of the GOT limited edition Oreos for dessert.

The spicy $7.99 Dracarys Burger is a double burger in covered Monterey Jack cheese, bacon and their signature fiery Shack Sauce. The $6.79 Dragonglass Shake, with a collector’s cup, is a combination of mint and white chocolate custard, sprinkled with Dragonglass shards made of toffee. Both items will be available every day until they sell out.

The upscale burger chain is offering these delicacies on a menu written in the show’s made-up language, Valyrian, with a translation guide posted at the order counter

Below are Shake Shake’s descriptions of the menu items:

 “The Dracarys Burger (Drakaro Parkliapos) features a double Monterey Jack cheeseburger sourced from the finest head of cattle The Seven Kingdoms has to offer. Griddled by the fires of Drogon and Rhaegal, the burger is then topped with a fiery ShackSauce created from herbs and spices sourced from the conquered cities of Yunhai, Meeren and Astapor. The final touch are slabs of bacon imported from Essos—a Dothraki delicacy. Caution: may be too hot for non-Targaryens.

In keeping with Shake Shack’s (Rholītso Rhakion’s) commitment to premium ingredients and thoughtful sourcing, the Dragonglass Shake (Zīrtom Perzomy Rholītsos) is a prime example of the Wall to Table movement. Custard is frozen with packed snow harvested beyond the Wall and hand churned by members of the Night’s Watch. Final prep occurs in Winterfell, where the shake is topped with shards of Dragonglass imported from the caves of Dragonstone. Please note supplies are limited as the Wall is currently undergoing major renovations.”

The Game of Thrones menu is available nationwide, but a New York City location is getting something extra special. On Friday April 12, Shack Shake will be bringing the iconic Dragonstone Throne to the West Village Shake Shack from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. 

Game of Thrones premieres Sunday at 9:00 p.m. EST on HBO.

Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan Plan to Keep Baby’s Birth Private

By Lori Perkins

In a huge break in recent Royal protocol, Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan have announced that they will not pose for a post-partum photo op with their baby when leaving the hospital.  They have announced that they want to be alone with their first born and out of the pubic eye for the first few days after the birth.

Instead, the new royal couple will make an announcement about their child’s birth only after they've celebrated "privately as a new family," according to an announcement made by Buckingham Place on Thursday.

“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very grateful for the goodwill they have received from people throughout the United Kingdom and around the world as they prepare to welcome their baby," the palace said. "Their Royal Highnesses have taken a personal decision to keep the plans around the arrival of their baby private. The Duke and Duchess look forward to sharing the exciting news with everyone once they have had an opportunity to celebrate privately as a new family."

Meghan’s sister-in-law, Duchess Kate, and her mother-in-law, the late Princess Diana, both gave birth to their children at the Lindo Wing at St. Mary’s Hospital in London where they posed with their newborns upon leaving the hospital.

April 11

Chrissy Tiegen and John Legend Get New

Parent Tatoos

By Lori Perkins

Upon the birth of their second child, Chrissy Tiegen and husband John Legend got new parent tattoos, proving that they’re not just celebrity parents, but cool parents too.

The pair debuted their new tattoos on Instagram last week. The new tattoos display the first names of their partner and their children’s names, Luna and Miles. 

“Hey guys please don’t talk to us unless u have tattoos we are a cool tattoo family now and we only want to talk to other tattoo families (srry if this seems harsh),” Tiegen wrote.

She also thanked her tattoo artist Winterstone.

Teigen also got a little tattoo of a heart on her finger. 

April 5

Amazing Grace Will Take You to Church

By Daquel Harris

April 4

In 1972, Aretha Franklin was in the prime of her career when she decided to record a live Gospel album in a church in South Los Angeles over the course of two days. That album, Amazing Grace, went on to be certified double platinum, win a Grammy the following year for Best Soul Gospel Performance, be Aretha's best selling album of her entire career and the highest selling Gospel album ever. A film documenting this feat was directed by Sidney Pollack. Unfortunately, it was never released until now because of technical difficulties.

 

Because of Pollack's determination to have this film seen and producer Alan Elliott determination to do so, we are now being graced with what I can only describe as a spiritual experience, even for the nonreligious. Amazing Grace transported me back to the summer church revivals of my childhood spent in my grandmother’s Southern Baptist church. It offers the viewer the best of what the Black church has to offer, the music and its a hand-clapping and foot-stomping joy. 

 

Aretha was going back to her roots, the church, after several successful secular soul records. She was raised in the church. She was a P.K. (preacher's kid). On the second night, her father Rev. C.L. Franklin speaks about her with nothing but pride.  

 

We also get a glimpse of another legend, Rev. James Cleveland who introduces Aretha and accompanies her on the piano. Rev. Cleveland was a gospel star in his own right and his Southern California Community Choir sings backup. Both, Rev. Cleveland and the choir, become overcome with the spirit through the course of the two days. This was an emotional experience for everyone in attendance.

 

 

On a personal note, I found myself tearing up during her medley of Carol King’s pop hit “You’ve Got A Friend” and the more traditional “Precious Lord (Take My Hand)." It is the perfect marriage of secular and religious. "Mary Don't You Weep" was also a highlight for me since it is one of my favorite gospel songs.

 

Honestly, I can't recommend this documentary enough for anyone who's loves soul, gospel or just music. Mick Jagger can be seen in attendance on the second night. The Rolling Stones knew Aretha was a legend. And now future generations will not be only able to hear her records but also see her sing one of her greatest album. Go see Amazing Grace when it distributed nationwide on April 5th.

 

 

Daquel Harris is a progressive feminist freelance writer who has written for United Methodist Women.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Great Twitter Hashtag - #YAGoesToTheProm

By Lori Perkins

Some days, when I just don’t know if I can take any more national news, Twitter brings me joy.

 

You have got to cascade down the rabbit hole that is the glorious hashtag, #YAGoesToTheProm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look at the matching dress and shirt! And his handkercheif!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And my favorite