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August 2019

August 31st

The Latest Millennial Wedding Trend


By Lori Perkins

It’s not the style of the dress or the destination or the décor or the bridal party.


It’s the gifts.


Specifically, many couples are throwing themselves their wedding party and asking guests not to give gifts.


Since couples today marry older than their predecessors, they often already have a full set of housewares and china (sometimes even two full sets).

According to a recent PureWow article, this gift-less wedding trend also includes a desire not to receive monetary gifts either, since many couples are already established adults by the time they join together legally, and may have been living together for a few years.

The 2018 US census revealed that the median marriage age for women is 28 and 30 for men, which is the oldest it’s ever been. Couples are marrying older, wiser and probably a little more financially settled than they were back when boomers tied the knot in the 80s and 90s, when the median marriage age was 24 and 26, respectively.


Many newly married couples are asking guests to donate to their favorite charity in lieu of a gift.

August 30th

The Cost of a Date: State-by-State

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By Lori Perkins

Every year the dating website asks 5,000 of its members how much the average date in their state costs. The figures from this exciting annual pol are in!


While it’s no surprise that New York is the most expensive state to date in at $297.27 per (and that neighboring states New Jersey and Connecticut are not far behind), I bet you all were wondering what the cheapest dating state is? Delaware at $38.27.  I know, you were going to say Alabama. calculated that the average today consists of dinner for two, a bottle of wine and two movie tickets, which they estimated would run about $102.32 in the U.S  They also reported that the average single American spent $1,596 on dating in 2016.

August 29th

Strides in Color: First Ever Transgender Model for Chanel Beauty


By David T. Valentin

There’s a new face of beauty in the fashion industry paving the way for trans individuals and her name is Teddy Quinlivan, the first openly trans model to front a beauty campaign for the iconic fashion house known as Chanel Beauty. Teddy joins fellow trans models Andreja Peijic and Valentina Sampaio, both transwomen who have served as the face of beauty campaigns.


Quinlivan said in 2017 that, “I’ve decided to reveal my trans identity because of the political climate in the world right now—particularly in the United States. We made an amazing progression under the Obama administration, and since the new administration took office there’s been a kind of backlash.”

In the wake of the Trump administration, and the four years that have passed, and Vice President Mike Pence’s previous history of anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric, LGBTQ+ individuals, specifically trans individuals, have been under constant attack.

With Trump’s first attack of banning trans individuals from the military, his lack of acknowledgement of Pride month in July, and his recent call to allow for businesses to fire individuals for being trans, the Trump administration has made it clear that they are indifferent to the struggles and needs of LGBTQ+ Americans.


Which is why we need brave individuals, like Quinlivan, to show future generations that their experiences are valid and that they can lead normal lives like their cisgender peers.

August 28th

A Forbidden Love: Indian Groom Assassinated


By David T. Valentin

For most, starting a new life with a partner is exciting, full of endless possibilities and a lifetime of sharing romantic date nights and snuggling up next to one another. But for Pranay Perumalla and Amrutha Varshini, an Indian couple living in Miryalaguda, India, their wedding meant anything but happiness, unbeknownst to them. 


Not even a month after the couples’ wedding, they were heading home from a doctor’s appointment in the small southern Indian city where they grew up. From behind, a man approached them carrying a large butcher knife. In only a few fell swoops, he murdered Pranay, leaving Amrutha widowed. 


While America has taken steps backwards in recent years in civil rights, it is important to remember marginalized Americans have come a long way in fighting for basic human rights such as the pursuit of happiness, liberty and justice. However, for others in different countries, the equality and privilege we have so long fought for is not available to all. 


For Pranay, who was born a Dalit, also known as an “untouchable,” a caste of Indians thought to be at the bottom of a hierarchy conservative Indians believe in. Amrutha belongs to an upper caste. Due to her rich and powerful family status, her family viewed the couple’s union as unacceptable and it is believed that the bride’s father hired an assassin to kill his daughter’s new husband. Unfortunately, Pranay was victim to an age-old social order rooted in Hindu scriptures and based on an identity determined at birth.    

Despite India’s rapid changes, research has indicated that “since late June, killings of men and women who married outside their caste have been reported in the states of Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.” Most of these killings are passed off “in the name of tradition and honor.”


Pranay’s story reminds us why it is important to include the voices of different peoples from all over the globe—so that everyone’s story is told, and everyone’s equality is fought and won for. To remind us that injustices, despite being won in some places, are still being committed, and that they need allies. 


This article first appeared here:

August 27th

Remembering Patrick Swayze

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By Lilli McHale

Last Sunday marked what should have been Patrick Swayze’s 67th birthday. He died of pancreatic cancer in 2009 after an incredibly heroic battle.  Instead, the time that would have marked the middle ages of his life was celebrated by remembrance, as he was the star of Paramount Network's new documentary, I Am Patrick Swayze. 

In this documentary, instead of being sad, his widow of 10 years reminisces on how incredible their relationship was. The pair were married for 34 years, which is pretty impressively long considering Swayze was 57 when he died and spent the majority of his career in Hollywood. The pair met when Lisa was just 14 and taking dance classes with Swayze’s mom, who was also his dance teacher. Speaking about their first dance together, Lisa reflects, "the first time Buddy [her nickname for Patrick] and I danced together was at a school exhibition. We walked out on stage. I looked in his eyes, it was like everything came alive.

After his death, Lisa, wrote a memoir, Worth Fighting For, speaking about his last words to her and vice versa. "My last words to Patrick? ‘I love you,’ and those were his last words to me. After I brought him home, things went very fast," she penned. "In the quiet of Monday morning, September 14, I looked at his face and listened to the tiny sips of air he was taking. There was something delicate, childlike about it. I knew it was time."

Swayze quickly fell into a coma following their interaction.  She continued, "I cherished our time alone, holding his hand, listening to music, sleeping with my arm around him, my head on his shoulder, wordlessly."

Speaking with Entertainment Tonight, Lisa reflected, "When you lose someone, you never stop loving them and it's ... I feel like I have a different relationship with him now," she said. "It's just, he's not physically present, you know what I mean?

August 26th

An Interview with April Kirkwood, Author of Working My Way Back to Me


By Lori Perkins

April Kirkwood's latest book, Working My Way Back to Me is a memoir of awakening, discovery, identity and the struggle to change life’s terms. For this rural Ohio beauty queen, her #MeToo moment came way before the term was coined. She lost her virginity to the middle-aged Frankie Valli at 16. After a decade pursuing a childhood fantasy to be the crooner’s wife, the affair would go on (and off, and on) for decades.

How did you come up with this book?


The writing of the memoir, Working My Way Back To Me, came to life quite by accident, or so I thought at the time.  For years I was emotionally asleep when it came to the truth about my romantic life. My heart ruled over any ounce of common sense I had.  I never gave a second thought to why I loved someone or what qualities I desired in a mate. I literally flew into the arms of a man by the seat of my pants.  It never occurred to me to stop and visualize what the future would be with someone.  It became as clear as the nose on my face, to everyone but myself, that I had become stuck in patterns of heart break doomed from the start.


As it happens, the fates intervened. My mind was split wide open one evening in West Palm at the Kravis Center at the Broadway Musical, Jersey Boys. There was no lightening or hurricanes in the humid South Florida air but it sure felt like it to me. Both my daughter, Dana, and myself were dismayed about my dramatic over reaction. I sat there loudly sobbing as the actors played their roles and sang those iconic songs in perfect harmony. Black mascara created a traumatic portrait out of my tears on my face as I wiped my tears away with the “Big Girls Don’t Cry” T-shirt I had bought minutes before.  I couldn’t stop this ache from my soul and it affected every ounce of my mind, body, and spirit. 


Call it blind wisdom or spiritual intervention, I somehow managed to transcend the moment.  This is difficult to explain but I do it now all of the time.  Spirituality is a life long practice.  Like dance class, the more you do it; the better you get.  It was like I was me, watching me, watch the play.  I saw mature women who fell apart at the sound of a song, a man, a story. My daughter kept saying, “You were there with him when that happened.”  Each act she said shocked, “We know the whole story.”  I did.  I felt an overwhelming desire to understand myself more.


From then on, I made it my passion to find the answers about my love life. The question was, “What did my past have to do with my present circumstances?” This is how the book evolved.  My soul needed to write it.  


 How does this book relate to the #MeToo moment?


It was a strange coincidence that my story came out at the same time the entire “MeToo Movement” blew up. It still boggles my mind.  It was like God was saying, “Miss April, you can take this experience either way.”  I chose the path of spiritual awakening and healing for all parties involved. I do not hold Frankie, my mother, nor my Aunt responsible for any doors I walked through.  I own it.  It is part of who I am.  My heart is at peace about these relationships on such a deep level there is no poetry that could describe what I feel for them. 


What research did you do? 


I previously held two masters in counseling with years of experience as a guidance counselor as well as a social worker helping adolescents and parents.  You know, it’s always easier to focus on others, isn’t it!  But, once the light bulb goes off in your brain, it’s almost impossible to turn off. So, I took all of my training, my hundreds of books and made myself my number one client.  This is bit more difficult as it sounds.  Snooping around the emotional cellar and attic of your own life with ghosts and ghouls lingering in secret emotional spaces is gut-wrenching. Some secrets are so well guarded that we don’t even realize they exist.


Since that time I’ve added clinical certification specializing in addiction, trauma, and matters of the heart. I practice holistic therapy uniting Eastern and Western theories in my sessions. I am also furthering my professional career in a specialized treatment of trauma called EMDR. 



What did you learn from writing the book? Favorite stories?


I’m so grateful for this experience.  I found the true meaning of female empowerment though many lessons arrived out of necessity. There are indeed wolves in the forest of life. Then, I learned a new word: NO.  But I never want to be a bitch so I role-played ways to say No with grace and without guilt. 

I also learned that female empowerment means guarding your space and energy to stay healthy and whole.  Human physical form only has so much energy to expend per day.  I want to live without needing six cups of coffee to write or do an interview.  It’s definitely a tightrope walk under stress. 

I now view life more as a spiritual walk rather than depending on people, places, and things as a measure of success. I believe that much of what happens to us is predestined by ourselves and those in our family tribes travel along with a crazy dash of free will.  We each play our parts so that we support and help one another arrive at a higher level of consciousness.  That means, the gut-wrenching, crappy events are included in the grand scheme and we are actively involved and responsible. Personal accountability allows freedom to freely forgive both ourselves and others. No room for jealously, anger, or guilt as love takes up all the space.

Empowerment is synonymous with bravery. There are those who think I’m full of shit and a nutcase.  I am learning to look past those who don’t get it because behind them is someone who does.  


I learned to love with without expectations.  This is so freeing.  I love just because I do.  Like the sun, the moon, and my puppies.


I realized the damage done to a person’s purpose and passion when they follow others and ignore their intuition. No one knows anyone better than themselves and though we sometimes seek out expertise, it’s still best to listen as an observer and filter out what resonates for you at that time in you life.


Yes, the book taught me more than any college class ever could.  I’m a better human being.  So I check off the book as a success and I gaze into my heart and ask, “What’s next?”

What are you working on next?


By the time this comes out, my Daily Living Tips should be out on Amazon. In addition, there are specialized packets about love, relationships, and spirituality for others to listen to.  I’m so excited. I can’t wait. My guide to Living in the Now is a self help manual with many of the very same exercises and beliefs I learned in the process of finding ways to both process the past and reclaim the present. This wonderful manual can be purchased via I presently offer one on one coaching via for those who want a more personalized program.




I’ve been collaborating with TEDx out of California.  I’m doing a lecture series entitled, The Brutal Reality of Believing Your Own Fake News.


Website;  Https://


I’m also the instagram official Wing Girl where I give love advice for those who have had their hearts broken or just starting out their dating lives. They can take me wherever they go and I’ll give them sisterly, educated advice to help them get out of any jams they happen to find themselves in.  We all want love.  We all deserve love.  I just nudge them that way! 




I have a podcast show called The April Kirkwood Show, Soulfully Yours, that debuts July 15 on all major podcast services. It's a show with guests from all walks of life sharing their stories, spiritual beliefs, and healing techniques.  The goal is to bring to light to universal spirituality, as well as clinical techniques and guides to encourage inclusivity and understanding about our lives. 



My third book, One More Dance, is about Female Empowerment and is a bit lighthearted as I discuss so many of the life changing events and beauty treatments as well as intimate lives women after forty experience.


My goodness, I think it’s naptime


Let me end with:


I love you,

I praise you,

I appreciate you.

You are God’s child.

Nothing can stop it.

And so it is.


Much love,

August 25th

Fighting Over Binge Watching? Netflix Now Offers a Couples’ Contract


By Lori Perkins

Although divorce experts say most couples break up over finances and infidelities, we know that bad binge watching behavior can lead to nights of sleeping on the couch.  Netflix has a solution for that now. The streaming service offers members a "co-watching" contract to help prevent those bingewatching arguments.

Netflix offers bingwatching partners a "contract" with five rules which Netflix will  "witness" before they settling in to watch together. The rules are pretty simple: 

1) I WON’T fall asleep

2) I WON’T get distracted by my phone causing the other person to rewind because I missed something. 

3) I WON’T continue watching a show without the other person present; 

4) I WON’T talk while the show is on; 

5) In the event that I come across a spoiler, I WON’T share it with the other person. 

You can find the list on Netflix's official Facebook,

August 24th

Surprisingly Powerful Indie Film

Brittany Runs a Marathon


By Barry Sheppard

Spoiler Alert! This isn't a whodunit, so there isn't a criminal to unmask, but there are a few plot reveals that are better left secret if you're planning on seeing this movie, which you should! Even if you're not a runner, the inspirational message will uplift you, or inspire you to go run a marathon.

The beginning is tough to watch; Brittany is not in a healthy place. She goes out with her friends and does the NYC party scene until dawn, never missing a drink or a drug along the way. Then she sleeps much of the day away and is barely able to keep her job at a theater. But she's not as young as she used to be and her hard-partying ways are catching up with her. She gets the idea to go and see a doctor and try to get a prescription for Adderall. But he quickly notices the stamps on her hand from the bar the night before and realizes she's a recreational user and tells her quite frankly how her health is starting to seriously decline and how he will not give her any drugs.

During another night of partying until dawn, Brittany notices her own people-pleasing habits that she uses in order to be the life of the party and begins to feel humiliated. She also realizes that her so-called friends are not going to help her be healthier. She feels the loss of her youth, her friends, and her dignity and has her rock bottom moment. 


A neighbor overhears Brittany crying and knocks on the door to offer assistance. Brittany thinks her neighbor is a judgy goody two shoes and is very resistant to any kind of help from her. But the neighbor is also a runner and mentions a local running group. In desperation, barely able to run single block, Brittany shows up for a run with the group. 


After the run starts, Brittany is very quickly left behind at the very back of the pack. She's close to giving up when she hears a man panting for dear life and muttering horrible things. She assumes he's talking about her and says something to him. He quickly assures her that he's saying the horrible things about himself and she realizes that he's just as lost as she is. The two of them become friendly and decide to do a 5K together. At the finish line, Brittany sees her friend with his family and realizes that there is no love interest here, and that there is nobody there from her own circle of friends. They have no interest whatsoever in any of it.

But the goody two shoes neighbor sees Brittany and her friend and is inspired by them and starts to run with them since they're so much more fun than the runners at the front of the pack. It also turns out that she's a decent person with her own problems that are suddenly much more relatable to Brittany, and she's able to let her new friends in a tiny bit.

So now Brittany has a pair of friends to run with and she starts to see some results. She starts to experience the runner's high. The three of them have this crazy idea to run the New York Marathon together.

Now that she has a new goal, Brittany starts to train a lot harder, thinking that she can erase her past by training more. But the strain on her body is too much and she injures herself. She was ignoring the messages her body was sending her and it caught up with her. 

It turns out that Brittany has been ignoring the signs from other areas of her life as well. Her new relationship with her roommate and her living arrangement all come crashing down at once and she has to hobble back to Philly to live with her family.

The strain of losing her ability run and the company of her friends weighs on Brittany. Then her friends complete the NY Marathon without her and Brittany sees their joyous posts on social media. She's overcome with guilt and shame and lashes out at a family friend who is overweight. Thankfully Brittany's family is forgiving about her outburst and offers their support and helps her make amends. Brittany is able to keep that momentum going and makes amends with her boyfriend and her running friends. She is also able to find a new job in her field back in NY and resumes her old life, but she's not the Brittany she used to be.

She has reinvented herself and gets into the NY Marathon the following year, determined to finish it this time. But wiser people have been through this before and strongly caution beginners against running too far when preparing for the marathon. And Brittany is wiser now, and has followed their advice and has only run 20 miles at a stretch up to that point. 

So on the day of the marathon, Brittany breaks down a few miles from the finish line. She cramps up and can't run another step. A race volunteer keeps offering to call for assistance and help Brittany off the course and the voice in her head wants to quit. This time it's different though, her friends have been tracking her online and come to where she is and cheer her on. Brittany finds the strength to get up and continue. As she crosses the finish line, finally able to accept help from others, her boyfriend tells her he loves her for the first time.

Fast forward to Brittany's life a few months later, living with her boyfriend, having a disagreement about how to spend the rest of their lives together as she prepares to go running.


I love how the lesson of the movie is multi-layered. It takes tremendous courage and discipline for Brittany to overcome her old habits and get up to speed as a runner. But then adversity sets in when she overtrains and she needs to learn a more nuanced approach to her quest to get healthy. The parallel between her quest to get healthy and her personal growth is much more realistic than some other movies like this. I could really identify with Brittany as she had to take up running 2.0 after her injury and come to terms with her own awful behavior during that time and make amends with the people she had hurt. I highly recommend this movie.

August 23nd

#Hallmark Hanukkah:


By Stacey Agdern

It’s the most wonderful time of the year when Hallmark slowly begins to roll out the movies that will comprise the channel’s annual ‘Countdown To Christmas’ programming event. Fans scour the internet in order to compile the articles that descrbe each movie’s cast, synopsis and airdate. We already know a lot of the big movies—the ones made from books by Jenny Hale (the adorable Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses) and the ones with the marquee stars—Kristin Chenoweth, Dolly Parton and Scott Wolf among others.

But what’s been fun and fascinating is tracking information that fulfills a promise made by the channel last November: movies with Hanukkah Elements. On November 29th, the channel informed its audience that there were two movies with Hanukkah elements in production, celebrating the fact that Christmas and Chanukah * (holiday of many spellings) are around the same time this year. 

There isn’t very much information about these two movies available yet, but this is what we have so far. 

Movie 1. Holiday Date

One of the great things about this movie is that it finally gives Brittany Bristow, who has had a bunch of supporting roles (see Love, Romance and Chocolate as well as Christmas at the Palace amongst others) her first lead.  It’s exciting just for that, but it also marks the Hallmark Channel Debut of actor Matt Cohen. No other specific information about the plot is known but it looks fascinating from the cast info alone. 

Movie 2. Double Holiday

We have a tiny bit more information about this movie. It’s written by Nina Weinman Swift, who’s written some really great movies for the channel including the charming The Last Single Girl. Like Holiday Date, it stars a Hallmark Channel favorite, Kristoffer Polaha in this case and someone who is in their first Hallmark Movie-in this case, Carly Pope. 

Feted with their own twitter hashtag, #HallmarkHanukkah, the hope of audiences everywhere is that these two movies will begin a new tradition and subset of the Hallmark Holiday movie. And maybe inspire other channels who air Christmas movies to do the same.

August 22nd

The Hadid Family Heats Up with Summer Romance


By Lilli McHale

The Hadid family is all about new romance this summer, with Gigi entering a much-publicized fling with The Bachelorette’s Tyler C, but that’s not the only Hadid romance heating up this summer.  Dua Lipa has been spotted out with the Hadid sister’s younger brother and model Anwar. The 23-year-old singer was seen out with the 20-year-old Hadid on Thursday, they went to Mark Ronson’s Club Heartbreak show at LA’s Catch One. The two showed up with friends, Kaia Gerber included, before the two left together at midnight. Although Anwar was reported to be on his phone when the pair left, they were arm in arm, after stopping to say goodbye to their friends. Hadid posted Lipa on his Instagram story dancing with hearts. 

The two have previously been seen out in Kosovo, where Lipa’s family is from. She performed at the Sunny Hill Festival to raise funds for the country’s citizens. The festival is hosted and created by Lipa in an effort to help the people. 


The pair were first seen out in July at the British Summer Time Hype Park music festival, London. Days later the two were seen together in NYC, before becoming Instagram official. Hadid has previously dated Nicola Peltz. 


August 21st

Hallmark Summer Romance Film Series Continues

By Lilli McHale

This weekend Hallmark continued their TV Summer Night Movie series, which has so far included two films, with their flick, A Summer Romance, perfect for viewing any of these remaining summer nights (playing: August 21 at 9 p.m., August 24 at 7 p.m., August 25 at 2 p.m., and September 14 at 9 a.m. Eastern). 

The movie stars Erin Krakow, a Hallmark returning actress and Julliard trained performer who also stars in the Hallmark series When Calls the Heart, as country-loving, family ranch-owning Samantha and a handsome Ryan Paevey, a returning Hallmark heartthrob and former General Hospital actor, as Richard, a city slicker developer who wants to buy the family ranch and turn it into a resort. After trying hard to get ahold of Sam’s ranch, Sam becomes worried Richard might be gaining a grip on her heart.

To the delight of fans, Paevey performed his own stunts in this film, riding a horse, splitting wood and milking a cow in Canada, where the films were actually shot, even though the movie is set in Montana. 

You can catch up with The Hallmark Channel Summer Nights Original Movies series earlier movies Summer Nights Original movies Rome In Love and A Taste of Summer, which have encore presentations all month. The final Hallmark Original Movie in the Summer Nights series, All Summer Long premieres on Saturday, August 24 at 9 p.m. ET/PT

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August 20th

The Rock Finally Marries His Long-Time Girlfriend in Secret Hawaiian Wedding

By Lori Perkins

Well, I guess if you’re gonna wait 12 years to marry someone, a secret Hawaiian wedding might just be the perfect way to do it.


This weekend Dwayne Johnson, affectionately known by his many fans as “the Rock,” married his long-time girlfriend Lauren Hashian. the mother of his two youngest children.


Hashian, 34, is a New England signer/songwriter and the daughter of the late drummer for the rock band Boston. 

The couple first met in 2006 while Johnson was in Boston filming The Game Plan, in which he starred as Joe Kingman.


This is the second marriage for Johnson, 43, who was married to Dany Garcia, former WWE wrestler and the film producer from 1997 to 2007. The two of them has an 18 year-old daughter, Jasmine.

August 19th

Couple Who Met At Woodstock Finally Find First Photo Together


By Lori Perkins

While everyone is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock festival in upstate NY, Jerry and Judy Griffin have been looking for a photo of the two of them that weekend, which is when they first met, fell in love, and have been together ever since. They have two sons and five grandchildren.


This weekend, when they watched the new PBS documentary, “Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation,” they saw a picture of themselves in the rain as they fell in love.

Judy’s car had broken down on the way and Jerry and his friends gave her a lift to the festival.  


Here’s a link to the article,

August 18th

August 17th Was the First National Romance Bookstore Day

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By Lori Perkins

Bookstores throughout the country – from Los Angeles to Cambridge and New York City were celebrating the first annual Bookstore Romance Day with readings and signing an events designed to highlight the best-selling book genre.


Bookstore Romance Day was designed to give independent bookstores an opportunity to celebrate Romance fiction—its books, readers, and writers—and to strengthen the relationships between bookstores and the Romance community. The event was coordinated by Third Street Books of McMinnville, Oregon which held a Blind Date with a Romance Novel and the first meeting of our Romance Book Club as part of their Romance Book Day celebrations.

Billie Bloebaum, who spearheaded the event, explained how it cane together. “Bookstore Romance Day was created in response to the impression that independent bookstores are hostile, or at least indifferent to the Romance genre and its authors and readers. Romance-loving bookstores and booksellers are out there, but a lot of us kept our love for the genre at least a little quiet because we often faced the same pushback and disdain that readers and authors have experienced. When we finally started speaking up and speaking out, the negative impression of independent bookstores was so ingrained that we were having little impact on the public perception. Bookstore Romance Day was a chance for us to get loud and proud in public and with enough voices raised together, we hoped that we'd be heard. I hope that it's allowed us to at least start making headway in changing minds within both Romancelandia and with our fellow booksellers. As to the how, it was all volunteers and trusting the stores who wanted to participate to come up with ideas that worked for their individual stores and communities.”

For more information on the national event, and a list of participating stores throughout the country (which you should now patronize because they believe in romance, please go here,

Moderator & podcaster Margaret H. Willison, authors Cecilia Tan, Satin Russell, Kerry Winfrey, and Loretta Chase at Harvard Bookstore 















Author Kerry Winfrey autographs for a reader at Harvard Bookstore 

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August 17th 

Child Actress Breaks Free: Bella Thorne Directing an Adult Film, and Her Fans From her Disney Channel Days are Shook


By David T. Valentin

With the long history of Disney stars being put in the media’s spotlight as children, it’s no surprise that many of them grow up running from their fame, being dissed and misunderstood in the public eye, and ridiculed for merely growing up.


One of many Disney children stars making the headlines for lashing out and shedding the innocence viewers of the Disney channel cling to is Bella Thorne, mostly known for making her big break in the Disney show Shake it Up!


Recently, Thorne has partnered with Pornhub for a short film titled Her & Him. Now, before you get your panties in a twist on how Thorne is defacing your childhood innocence and growing up, she is not starring in the film. She is just directing it. 


“Process of shooting was quite interesting,” Thorne said. “Because we had real-life f**king on set, which I had never shot before at all. It is quite a fun environment. 

While many have criticized the former Disney star for her newest project, and past infractions, she has found success in the path she has chosen for herself. Specifically, in Thorne’s book The Life of a Wannabe Mogul: Mental Disarray, she talked about her struggles with sexual abuse and dyslexia. The book was on Amazon’s best-seller list before it was even released from pre-sales alone. It’s not the first time Disney stars have talked about their struggle with growing up and adulting after life with the company. 

Criticism of Thorne echoes other instances of child stars under the spotlight like Dylan Sprouse’s nudes being leaked, as well as those of Nickelodeon star Jennette McCurdy’s in late 2013 and 2014 respectively. And how exactly did these former children actors respond? Well, Dylan Sprouse responded with a, “own that shit like Beyoncé would want me to.” And McCurdy tweeted, “In related news, I’m blasting ‘Let it Go’ on repeat.” Even Dylan Sprouse tweeted a piece of advice to McCurdy saying, “Jennette McCurdy, naked pics happen.” 


It seems the most effective way to deal with the backlash from the public of children stars growing up is to, as Dylan Sprouse has said, “own that shit,” and, in the words of McCurdy, “Let it Go.” And that’s exactly what Thorne seems to be doing. 


Check out a little sneak peak of the short film down below, and feel free to check out 


This article originally appeared here:

August 16th

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock All Weekend Long

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By Lori Perkins

In case you’ve been living under a rock, this weekend marks the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, the three-day rock’n’roll concert in upstate New York that defined the 60’s for just about everyone.  While concert promoters and music carpetbaggers were unable to pull off a 50th anniversary concert, that hasn’t stopped the rest of the world from celebrating and merchandising this cultural event.


Below is a list of ways to remember, celebrate and spend money:


National Pubic Radio is hosting a number of programs on the festival.  There’s a new segment of interviews with performers and people who were there which you can listen to here,  On Saturday, August 17, NPR will be featuring Woodstock music with an evening playlist from Back to the Garden.


WPXN of Philadelphia will be broadcasting 4 days of music under the banner of Woodstock — As It Happened — 50 Years On, which is billed as “a radio exclusive that includes all of the festival’s archived audio, from the music to the stage announcements to the rain delays.” The station will air newly reconstructed audio archives of each of Woodstock’s 32 performances, from Richie Havens’ opening set to Jimi Hendrix’s closing one in as close to real time as possible. From Thursday, August 15 at 5:07 p.m. through Sunday morning, you can hear the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, The Who and even Sha Na Na as they sounded in 1969.

Many if the remastered radio offerings were made possible by the release of Rhino Entertainment’s Back to the Garden, a new Woodstock 50th anniversary collection. Producer Andy Zax spent years reconstructing the audio into a near-complete chronological archive — realizing that the festival’s storied legacy is only a partial picture of what happened, his goal is to present Woodstock to listeners as it actually unfolded. The CD or LP package is about $150, but you can also download it on Amazon or iTunes.  Here’s the link to Rhino,


As part of its American Experience series, Public Broadcasting Service is also celebrating the 50th Woodstock anniversary with a three-part documentary that premiered this week and is free on PBS stations and available for streaming on Netflix.


Many movie theaters throughout the country are screening the old documentary from the 1970s, so check your local theater listing to see if your theater is one. According to The Washington Post, there was a moment last month when it appeared Columbia, Md.’s Merriweather Post Pavilion would host Woodstock 50. That did not happen, so the venue will show the 1970 documentary at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, August 16th (tickets $10).


And, of course, there’s an online Woodstock store where you can buy the above-mentioned CD set, but also mugs and hoodies and other items that could not have even been imagined 50 years ago!

A Refreshing Tale of Romance: Hunter Schafer Embraces Euphoria’s ‘Feminine and Loving Queerness’

August 15th

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By David T. Valentin 

After the craze of Game of Thrones petered out, and all the talk of disappointment, petitions for remakes, and hysterical memes passed like a drifting cloud, many viewers of HBO looked to the next big show to binge. First, there was Chernobyl—a short T.V. series detailing the lead up to the Chernobyl disaster. Critics and viewers alike praised the show for its accurate depiction of history and its intriguing plot. But then there was silence…until Euphoria came around. 


In only the pilot episode, the series has depicted rampant drug and alcohol use, distorted sexual roles as a result of porn viewing, bullying, gender-based violence, and statutory rape. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel for viewers. In the final scene of the episode, Zendaya’s Rue, fixes up a deep slice on her new friend, and obvious romantic interest, Hunter Schafer’s Jules, before they lie side-by-side. 

While the show has been criticized for its gruesome depiction of teen life, creator Sam Levinson uses real-world issues that young people face. As The Advocate writes, “Schafer, a 20-year old model who was a named plaintiff in the ACLU’s lawsuit in her home state of North Carolina’s anti trans ‘bathroom bill,’ says that Jules’ journey from seeking out toxically masculine men to allowing Rue in is, in some ways, reflective of her own experience as a trans-woman.”

Euphoria is a refreshing tale of romance for trans individuals. By demonstrating the hardships of trans individuals, it normalizes their identity and, as the season ends on a happy note of a budding, healthy relationship for the main character Jules. It says to trans-audience members that, yes, their struggle is real, but it should end in a happily ever after. Hopefully, writers of Hollywood fight to tell stories of marginalized people, so that we can have better representation and lessons for younger generations. 

You can read more about Euphoria here at:

August 14th

The Cyrus/Hemsworth Break-Up


By Lili McHale

Just a few months after I poured my heart out showing my love and affection for Liam Hemsworth and Miley Cyrus, after their spur of the moment wedding this winter, the two have split yet again claiming “this is what’s best,” to People Magazine. The two have called it splits before, once in 2013, before getting back together in 2015. Yet this time, Hemsworth seems extremely broken up about their break-up, telling Daily Mail Australia, "You don't understand what it's like, I don't want to talk about it mate." 

One of Miley’s reps stated, "Liam and Miley have agreed to separate at this time. Ever evolving, changing as partners and individuals, they have decided this is what's best while they both focus on themselves and careers. They still remain dedicated parents to all of their animals they share while lovingly taking this time apart. Please respect their process and privacy."

This weekend, Cyrus has been seen making out with Brody Jenner’s former wife, Kaitlynn Carter on an international location. While seeing Cyrus out so quickly after the break-up with her partner of ten years, her rebound does not seem too shocking, as she revealed to Elle in August that her former relationship was, “so complex, and modern, and new that I don’t think we’re in a place where people would get it. I mean, do people really think that I’m at home in a fucking apron cooking dinner? I’m in a hetero relationship, but I still am very sexually attracted to women.” 

After Hemsworth and Cyrus’ last break-up, Cyrus quickly found herself in a relationship with Stella Maxwell. Hemsworth was tied to a string of actresses during their last split, before the two made their way back to each other. Yet both eventually found their way back to each other. I hope they do again this time, as well. 

August 13th

Hallmark Mysteries Premiers An Aurora Teagarden Mystery: An Inheritance to Die For


By Stacey Agdern 

Summary (from

Sally Allison’s aunt is poisoned during a family wedding reception and Aurora Teagarden vows to get to the bottom of the crime, especially when her mother, a friend of the dead woman, stands to inherit the bulk of the massive estate. With help from her new beau Nick and her Real Murders Club regulars, Roe won’t stop until she brings the killer to justice...or dies trying.

Like most of the Signature Mystery franchises that sit at the center of Hallmark Movies and Mystery’s offerings, the Aurora Teagarden series contains two fundamentally different elements:  an ensemble of central characters, and a regular mystery to solve by the end of each film. And that makes them the best combination of series and standalone.  How does that work? 

We’ll start with the second element: the mystery. The mystery in last night’s show was engaging and self contained. The rotating cast of guest stars filled out the story, with references from Agatha Christie novels meant to set the stage, along with tons of different twists, turns and red herrings to meant to engage the viewer. This particular viewer will absolutely admit to being stumped. 

But that second element doesn’t work without the first, namely the continuing ensemble cast. Even though each of the signature mysteries are released in a three movie set, there’s enough exposition in each movie to make it clear to a new viewer who the players are. 

The bottom line is that the ensemble cast is good enough where you can get caught up in the developments in their relationships even if you don’t know who they are. Like how involved and interested you get in the deepening relationship between Aurora (Roe) Teagarden (Candace Cameron Bure) and her Psychology professor boyfriend, played by Hallmark Channel favorite (for a reason) Niall Matter. Or the close relationship between Aurora and her mother, played by Marilu Henner. 

This particular viewer suggests that once you watch one, you should probably make time to catch up on the ones you missed 😉 


Other Movies in the series:

A Bone to Pick

Real Murders

Three Bedrooms, One Corpse

The Julius House

Dead Over Heels

A Bundle of Trouble

Last Scene Alive

Reap What You Sew

The Disappearing Game

A Game of Cat and Mouse

*An Inheritance to Die For 

A Very Foul Play

August 11

Mother in Laws from Hell


By Lori Perkins

I love my twitter feed because it gives me stories like to distract me from mass shootings
and pedophile “suicide” news.
So I was minding my own business last week, going down the political newsfeed rabbit
hole of the day, when I saw this tweet about a Dear Prudence advice column.

It both made and ruined my day, because I then went down another rabbit hole mentioned in the feed.


So in case you haven’t read the story above, a woman wrote to Prudence to let her know that she had taken her advice and is divorcing her husband after suspecting that her mother in law was poisoning her.  She told her husband of her suspicions, but he dismissed her. So at the next family gathering, she switched her food with his, and low and behold, he got sick. When she told him what she had done, he said she was trying to kill him, instead of being furious at his mom, which made her suspect that he was in on it the whole time.  Thankfully, they are getting a divorce (let’s home she takes him to the cleaners, if not the morgue. (Here’s the original,

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But wait, there’s more!


The reason I was able to read this advice column from 2012 was because in this week’s Ask Polly, The Cut’s advice column, a woman wrote in about a mother in law who refused to believe she had a deadly mushroom allergy and went out of her way to introduce mushrooms into every meal, such as – get this – mushroom powder in mashed potatoes (who knew there was even such a thing as mushroom powder?).  Here’s that link for your entertainment pleasure, 


Every writer I know is bookmarking these stories to use at a later date, but it’s hard to make up fiction that can beat these stories.  

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August 10

On Sex, Logic and being the Subject

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By Dr. Eleanor Janega

This week in the godforsaken wasteland that is Twitter where I hang out for some reason (?), the public has
been treated to the absolute gift that is a bunch of dudes insisting that women, in their experience do not
like sex. No, they do not see this as linked to their person, and it is as fucking hilarious as you are
imagining. WITNESS:

Or how about your boy Scott?

These responses came as a woman sensibly pushed back against the Alyssa Milano’s proposed Sex Strike (I know.) to protest the new and draconian abortion bills in Alabama and Georgia. (That is a whole other mess for a whole other day, because there is already so much to unpack here.)

Now you and I can see that these dudes are out here straight telling on themselves, but they simply do not see it that way. Why is that? Well aside from being world-class douche nozzles, I would make the argument that there is a historical and philosophical basis for this particular way of seeing things, as wild as it is.

To understand it, we need to go even further back than the medieval period (though I promise we will get there too) and hit up our boy Aristotle, who as many important historians have noted, was an absolute prick about women. To Aristotle, men were to be understood as inherently superior to women. Free women were superior to slaves, sure, but there was a specific hierarchy to the world which was men > women > slaves. (And who really cares about gender if they’re not free, amiright?)

Women were inferior because they were to be understood, more or less, as inverted versions of the perfect male. Obviously, Aristotle understands that women are necessary and an important part of society – hell he even advocates that women’s happiness should be treated as equal to that of men’s – but inherently for Aristotle the default player is a dude. Women are then defined in comparison to this inherently correct and superior male. This is true of almost every ancient Greek philosopher or thinker, including Aristotle’s own teacher Plato, and as Bonnard has noted, even if these dudes were slightly more chill on the misogyny front, they were still debating women compared to men – both physically and mentally.

Added to this, men were not only the correct sort of human, but they are also the active in comparison to women. This is certainly true during sex, where Aristotle explains that the male is the active partner and the female is the passive one. His idea was that men produce active sperm which then gestate in inactive women.[1] For Aristotle sex was therefore something that men did to women, and hey presto maybe you’ll get a baby. Women didn’t necessarily experience orgasm either, according to Aristotle because – get ready for some problematic racist shit – only light skinned women could climax. (I know. I know, ok?)

The Romans, who were extremely into just doing whatever their Hellenic counterparts did later and with more slaves, tended to agree with this. As the historian Paul Veyne has noted, Romans, even in their Christian iteration tended to agree that “to be active was to be male, whatever the sex of the compliant partner. To take one’s pleasure was virile, to accept it was servile.”[2] Women, therefore were accepting and servile in sex.

Just Being Servile, I guess

As fucked up as all of this is, medieval period were huge fans of classical thought and the Church fathers. Aristotelian texts were absolutely central to the medieval university. Therefore if you were a medieval philosopher, you were trained into accepting Aristotelian and Platonian concepts of the world, not necessarily uncritically, but certainly reverently. Because Aristotle is, you know, important. So medieval concepts of sex went from there. As a result philosophers like my boy Tommy Quine Quine, aka Thomas Aquinas to all you boring losers, arguably the most influential thinker of the medieval period, agreed with Aristotle and stated that “in the venereal act the woman is passive and is by way of matter, whereas the man is by way of agent”.[3]

Even the amazing polymath Hildegard of Bingen accepted this conception of women as passive during sex with men. To her way of thinking, during hetero-sex a woman “[is] like a threshing-floor pounded by his many strokes and brought to heat while the grains are threshed inside her.”[4]


Caution, threshing in process. (Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal, 5209, Fol. 107 r.) 

Our patriarchal society has absolutely eaten this bullshit TF up. We are still fighting the idea that men are do-ers – logical, active, the “natural” commanders of the illogical, passive woman upon who they act in sex and life more largely. How can a passive woman actively like anything anyway when she isn’t even active, let alone during sex – an activity that is all about men “getting” or “making” women pregnant?

And that assumption – that sex is about “getting” someone pregnant is at the heart of this. If you asked either Scott or Brad what sex was, I am almost certain they would come at you with some nonsense about how penis in vagina sex was the only kind of sex that “counted” or is “real,” which is a great way to make people with vulvas not the most enthusiastic about having sex, is all I am saying. So the Brads and Scotts of the world are just parroting the assumption that men do sex in order to pass on their active genes, and women have it happen to them. Men are the subject in the question of sex, and women are the objects that they act upon.

What is interesting here is that whereas Scott and Brad agree with their medieval counterparts on women’s role during sex, they differ extensively on the concept of women’s enjoyment of it. Obviously, as I will never stop talking to you about, in the medieval period women were considered to be the horny ones, whereas this whole wrong-headed Sex Strike, Brad, and Scott are here to tell you that women simply aren’t interested in sex and can give it up just like that. How does something of that magnitude change?


The link here is the concept of “logic.” For medieval people, and Aquinas in particular, sex for pleasure is considered illogical, if not downright sinful. Simply put, you really ought to only be having sex with your spouse with the intention that you should get pregnant. There was an understanding that this wasn’t always possible – which is where the concept of the conjugal debt (wherein a spouse “owes” their other spouse sex if their request for it is reasonable), or where the acceptance of sex work comes into play. By and large, however, if you are being logical in the medieval period, as a good Christian, you would abstain from sex altogether if possible, and in any case where you weren’t trying to have babies with your spouse otherwise.




A lady being hella illogical. (Bodleian MS Douce 195, fol. 118.) 

As a part of this, you should also be attempting to limit the pleasure that you are feeling so that things don’t get too wild and out of control and you accidentally start doing sodomy (aka sex just for pleasure that can’t get anyone pregnant). That is the most logical way to have sex – penises in vaginas, ejaculating, with a woman orgasming so that she can conceive (which medieval people saw as necessary), and out of there as quickly and efficiently as possible.

If that is logical and the correct way to have sex, of course, that meant that women – as illogical beings – wanted the opposite of it. So medieval women are horny, want a bunch more sex than dudes do, and will do all kinds of crazy stuff that won’t even get them pregnant! The scandal!

Our understanding of sex now has changed, to an extent. Our society still tends to treat sex which leads to pregnancy as the only “real” sex and the “reason” that people have sex, which is, of course utter nonsense. The great majority of all sex had by everyone is just to have a fun and nice time. And we have sort of picked up on that a bit. We have come around to understanding that sex is maybe kinda really fun sometimes? This acceptance of sex as a good time has morphed into the current cultural moment of sex positivity. Because of this recalibration, we increasingly relate to sex as something that is pleasurable, which I would argue is a good thing.

However, there is also a negative side to our expectations within the concept of sex positivity. Yes we now see sex as something “natural” and enjoyable, but that has also meant is that we tend to think that if sex is fun, and if the “real” way to have sex is by putting penises in vaginas, then logically you should be wanting to have just a ton of penis in vagina sex. Go to town with it. That’s what logical men do.

Enter Brad and Scott.

This whole understanding of gender and sex is, I would argue, a total fucking disaster for several reasons.

First off, our insistence on relating to sex as a “logical” biological function that we sort of retrofit afterwards for pleasure feeds into walking sex disasters like Brad and Scott. If you think that sex has to be linked to fertility, even if you are trying to have it for fun then of course, people with penises are going to be a bit more interested in sex.  It’s not just Brad and Scott’s basic asses – it’s everyone who relates to sex as a biological thing rather than an activity that people might enjoy doing together.

Piled on top of this are the varying expectations we have of pleasure within this idiom. Clearly the idea that women might not enjoy sex is super harmful. It lets Brad and Scott, et al. off the hook for checking in with the women they have sex with and seeing what they might like. If women don’t enjoy PIV because they are so illogical, why even bother? You can move on safely the minute you are having sex knowing that they are never going to have a good time anyway. Cue a bunch of terrible sex for women. Yay.

The flip side of this, however, is equally damaging for men (which, let’s be real is always true under the patriarchy). It’s assumed that men are just always up for sex. They are supposed to always take pleasure in it and to just love penetrative sex which always always does it for them. Moreover, to be masculine you need to be actively pursuing lots of active manly sex where you penetrate people. This means a lot of dudes are out having by the script sex that doesn’t really do it for them either, but they aren’t allowed to admit that lest they be seen as less than manly.

This is a fucking nightmare for everyone.

So what is the answer to this absolute garbage fest? Well first off, we need to deconstruct our gendered approaches to, well, everything. The assumption that any activity is necessarily more logical because of a quirk of biology, and that a particular group enjoys that activity more as a result is absolutely bonkers. This is as true of the medieval approach to sex which sees women as always up for it as it is of our current one that casts men in this role.

Secondly, I would argue that we all need to work on being a bit more sex critical, as opposed to sex positive. It’s OK to unpack the reasons why you might want to have sex, or why you might enjoy one kind of sex as opposed to another. It’s OK to have sex when you are just sorta meh about it, provided it’s your decision to do so. If you have sex and you did not orgasm, or didn’t care that much generally, there’s nothing wrong with you. You aren’t illogical or wrong. You’re a person doing an activity. The way you relate to it doesn’t have any bearing on who you are as a person. And – this is absolutely critical – your experience within any sex you have is valid. You are not an object to someone else’s subject, you are integral. Anyone who would treat another person’s experience as fixed and immutable about any activity – let alone sex – is a dickhead who should be ignored.

This brings me to my third, and possibly most important point, of all this, which I cannot stress enough – NO ONE fuck Brad or Scott. They’ve been poisoned by history and are crap in the sack.

That’s an important start for all of us.

[1] Paul Veyne, “Homosexuality in Ancient Rome”, in Western Sexuality: Practice and Precept in Past and Present Times (Basil Blackwell, 1985), p. 29.

[2] Wolfgang Gerlach, Das Problem des “weiblichen Samens” in der antiken und mittelalterlichen Medizin. Archiv für Geschichte der Medizin und der Naturwissenschaften xxx/4-5: 186.

[3] Summa Theologiae II-II, 154, 1 

[4] See, Margret Miles, Carnal Knowing: Female Nakedness and Religious Meaning in the Christian West (Wipf and Stock, 2006), p. 104.


This article originally appeared here,


Dr. Eleanor Janega is a medieval historian, lush and Kendrick Lamar enthusiast.  Her work can be found on her 








August 7

We all Still Love Lucy


 Gigi Hadid/ Instagram

By Lori Perkins

Yesterday was Lucille Ball’s 108th birthday and special colorized screenings of some of the best episodes of her various Lucy shows were screened at 600 theaters throughout the country.  For those who couldn’t make that showing (or who lived where there were no screenings), 16 popular colorized episodes of the I Love Lucy show will be released a new DVD collection on Aug. 13.

In addition to being a comedic genius, few people realize that Lucille Ball was the first female TV studio head.  She created I Love Lucy with her husband, Desi Arnaz, but when they divorced in 1960 after 20 years of marriage, she took over Desilu Productions that produced such classic TV shows as Star Trek and Mission Impossible.

Yahoo News spoke to her daughter Lucie Arnaz about the legacy of her mom and I Love Lucy. “The older I get, I think it’s unconditional love. Teaching people about unconditional love,” Arnaz said. “I think that show, with everything else that it was: hilariously funny, brilliantly written, timeless — you could put a kid in front of it today, the same way you could five generations ago, and they would laugh and they wouldn’t be insulted — but, I think, when push comes to shove, that show was about forgiveness and love. It could have been called I Love Lucy Anyway.”

She added that the message the show gave was that “the people who love us truly love us, allow us to get into terrible situations and make big fools of ourselves, get into trouble, and at the end of the day, they go, ‘Come here,’ and they hug you and they love you and life goes on.”

August 6

Things are Heating Up in Bachelorette Nation

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Hannah Brown/Instagram                                                            Gigi Hadid/ Instagram

By Lori Perkins

While things in Bachelorette Nation are seemingly heating up for Hannah Brown and Tyler C, after their pictures from a sleepover this weekend, things also seem to be simmering for Tyler and supermodel Gigi Hadid. This weekend Tyler has been up to a lot of action. He was seen exiting Hannah’s house in L.A. this Saturday, as he was visiting the city. The next night he was spotted at Soho House in NYC with Hadid. 

Brown had initially turned down Tyler’s proposal on The Bachelorette and went with someone else, Jed. Her choice was apparently not a good one, as he then broke up with her and said he was only in it for self-promotion. Once the season had aired, the two had not talked since she turned him down. Hannah asked Tyler out and the two met up in LA. 

Yet around the same time Gigi and Tyler started to follow each other on Instagram, making fans speculate who was sliding into who’s DM’s. E! News’ sources have confirmed that both have "made it clear" they like the other. 

"Tyler and Gigi actually have a few mutual friends in the modeling industry, but met on Instagram. She knew of him before he got any wind of fame from The Bachelorette," reports E! News. "Gigi is definitely interested in Tyler. They met for drinks last night at Soho and they got along really well. It was very casual but they were laughing and had a very engaged conversation."

"Gigi thinks Tyler is really cute and nice and liked that he was a good listener," the source says. "They have been texting for weeks and have plans to hangout again while Tyler is in NYC. They are both taking things slow but have both made it clear they are interested in each other."


Just how Brown will take this after her break-up with Jed, Bachelorette nation will just have to wait and see as, "Tyler saw Hannah in LA and they had a good night and a good talk. But it's probably not going to amount to much right now," says E! News. "She moved to LA and he doesn't live there. They agreed to keep talking, but that's it for now. It's geographically challenging."


"Tyler left LA right after he saw Hannah and went to New York. He had been talking to Gigi through social media and they made plans to meet up. Tyler is single and is going to date around. He's definitely not tied to Hannah or picking up where they left off on the show. He's having fun and not taking anything seriously," the source told E! News. "He's getting a lot of attention right now and is just going to see what happens."

August 5

A Night of “Verbal Burlesque” Featuring

Lydia Lunch and Michael Imperioli

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By Lori Perkins

Sunday night the newly opened restaurant CoCo J’Adore on little West 12th Street in New York’s Greenwich Village hosted an evening of “Verbal Burlesque” featuring Michael Imperioli, best known for his work as Christopher Moltisanti on The Sopranos, and punk musician Lydia Lunch.


The standing room only crowd heard Imperioli read from his recently published novel The Perfume Burned His Eyes, which is a coming of age story about growing up in New York City in the 1970’s that received rave reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus, as well as praise from Joyce Carol Oates.  A slightly grayer and bespectacled Imperioli read two excerpts from the book with fellow actors EJ Carroll and Nomi Ruiz about the 17 year-old dinner delivery boy who befriends Lou Reed, while guitarist Elijah Amitin played in the background.


Lydia Lunch followed with an excerpt from her just-published collection of essays So Real It Hurts in which she shared a darker tale about a night in Istanbul with two American frat dudes who will never forget her.  Her reading was accompanied by musicians Tim Dahl and Matt Nelson.


After the reading both Imperioli and Lunch were available for signing of their books.


This was the kind of New York event that you imagine happens in the city all the time, but is surprisingly rare in Manhattan nowadays with rising commercial rents. We hope CoCo J’Adore continues to host these literary evenings, perhaps even with some romantic elements!


Editor Lori Perkins and Michael Imperioli

Lydia Lunch

August 4

Heidi Klum and Rocker Husband 

Hold 2nd Wedding in Capri


By Lori Perkins

Is having two weddings the new celebrity trend? Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas had two weddings this summer – one in Vegas and one in France, and Heidi Klum and Tom Kaulitz married in California in February, and just did it again in Capri on a yacht once owned by Aristotle Onassis (and on which Aristotle Onassis married Jackie O and Princess Grace married Prince Rainier III!).


This weekend, the 46 year-old model/actress/entrepreneur wed the 29 year-old fellow German and Tokio Hotel musician, whom she met in 2018 on America’s Got Talent in 2018 and married after a two-month engagement.

The bride wore a strapless white dress with removable puffed sleeves and the groom wore a cream suit.  The wedding was attended by all four of Klum’s children from her previous marriages.


This is the third marriage for Klum, and the second for Kaulitz.

August 3

Sophie Turner Wants to Play the Muse in

All Jonas Brothers Videos


By Lori Perkins

Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas have had a wonderfully wild and fun relationship, as was evidenced by their Vegas wedding. Yet, one of the most iconic things the pair did together was star as a part of The Jonas Brother’s number one hit single “Sucker” which was released in March when the band got back together. The group also released a full album this summer, their first in eight years! Joe and Sophie starred in the video alongside the other two brothers, Nick and Kevin, and their wives, Priyanka and Danielle.  While some of the wives were excited to take part in the music video, Sophie was more than thrilled to be a part of the experience.

After the pair’s wedding, the two were interviewed by The Guardian’s Peter Robinson who revealed that Sophie asked to be the band’s muse in all of their future music videos. Sadly, Joe did not agree to Sophie’s request despite the fact that her schedule is pretty free with the ending of Game of Thrones. "Sophie was pretty adamant that she play the love interest in every music video we do from now on," Joe said. "I told her I didn't think that was possible, but we'd give her the first one." Funny enough, the Jonas Brother’s “Sucker” music video was nominated for Video of the Year for a VMA award, alongside getting nominated for Artist of the Year, Best Pop and Song of the Year. So maybe Joe should rethink 

August 2

New 4-Part Remake of Four Weddings and a Funeral Is the Inclusive Rom-Com

We’ve Been Waiting For

Mindy Kahling’s 4-part Hulu series remake of the rom-com classic Four Weddings and a Funeral premiered last night to mixed reviews.  Many reviewers wrote that no one could possibly recreate the perfect casting and timely humor of the original, but those reviews were missing the point.  Kalhing’s remake IS iconic in that she took a so-called romance classic and remade it for our times featuring an amazing cast of inclusive performers and characters, and she did such a great job of it that the reviewers who didn’t get it didn’t even know that they didn’t get it!


After spending the week after the RWA national convention binge-watching the final season of Orange is the New Black (another ground-breaking inclusive-female centric series, which some could see as a romance, at times), I wanted more, so I was thrilled to see that Kahling’s Four Weddings and a Funeral had dropped (but I did not see any advertising for this BTW).


The remake stars Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei in Game of Thrones) and Pakistani-English actor Nikesh Patel (best known for the Channel 4 series Indian Summers) and is set in contemporary London around a group of American expats and their British friends. 


The Daily Beast interviewed Kahling and cast members who explained why they made the series. Kahling worked with friend and frequent collaborator Tracey Wigfield, who had worked with her on The Mindy Project, as showrunner.  Wigfield explained, “We were thinking, OK, what is the reason for this to exist, and I think the answer for me and for Mindy is inclusive casting. There’s an opportunity here to do something fresh and new, and in a rom-com with this specific tone, which is not just a shitty Kate Hudson rom-com. It’s actually funny. It’s so smart. You care about these characters. So let’s try to do that, the tone from Richard Curtis’ movies, but with an inclusive cast that you don’t see as the leads in love stories often.”


Kahling explained her motivation further, “What would make it worth it would be to probably show a love story through the lens that I would like to see a love story, which is an African-American woman and a British-Pakistani man falling in love,’” she said. “And then to fill out the cast with people that we don’t normally get to see in these kinds of roles. From there, it just got really exciting.”


Nathalie Emmanuel, who plays the Maya character in a slightly gender-flipped version of the original (she plays an unlucky-in-love American who falls for Kash, a charming Brit who becomes her surprising-to-her crush). 

Emmanuel said of her role, “When I realized that this was going to be led by a black mixed woman and a South Asian British guy, I was over the moon.” She added, “Representation matters. I don’t care what anybody says. It matters. It shows you’re valid. That you’re able to fully love.” 

Her co-star Patel added, “There’s been a shortage up until this point. If I wanted to find stories about romance with people who look like me, they’re not out there unless it’s Bollywood. These two shades of brown are not usually paired together in a romantic story.”

We need to support creatives who have the vision, and power, to make this kind of entertainment. So if you haven’t signed up for Hulu yet, now may be the time (and watch The Handmaiden’s Tale, while you’re at it!)

By Lori Perkins


August 1

Traditional Meets Progressive: Gay Couple And Their Stunning Indian Wedding Go Viral


By David T. Valentin

When most people think of traditional religious weddings, they usually don’t think of LGBTQ+ weddings. But for a gay Indian Hindu couple, no one could oppose their charms. 


Amit Shah and Aditya Madiraju wanted to take a leap of faith and thought they deserved a traditional marriage like every other couple, so they decided to have one. 


Madiraju told PinkNews in an interview that the couple “hit it off” instantly after meeting. “Both our families have been supportive from day one,” he added. 


The wedding took place under a Hindu temple with both grooms donning traditional Indian wedding outfits called a Sherwani. Each matched with one wearing a light-pink sherwani and the other wearing a pink-trimmed floral designed sherwani. Taking place in the white temple and rose petals being thrown about, the wedding seemed like a beautiful winter wonderland.  


“The fact that the ceremony took place at a temple under religious observation is a huge thing for our community. I guess it is unheard of, and we didn’t realize the impact it would have. The response had been so overwhelming and we are honored to share our story with the world.

“It seems like people need to hear our story to feel empowered and we are excited to provide people with some inspiration.” 


Shah and Madirajus’ wedding shines some light at the end of the tunnel for LGBTQ+ people who have grown up with conservative religious parents. Their story gives hope that times are changing for the best. 


As Madiraju said to Gay Star News, “There is no secret to acceptance, tolerance, or happiness. You just have to find the right partner to take the step with. Let the truth of your love speak for itself.” 


We wish them a loving and everlasting relationship and hope more LGBTQ+ couples share similar progressive stories such as this. 


This article originally appeared here:

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