Photographer Creates Emotional Series To Show What Infertility Feels Like

A powerful photo series is highlighting the anguish of infertility. Las Vegas photographer Abbie Fox captured stunning images of local optician Victoria Hamilton to illustrate the painful journeys they’ve followed in their personal lives.

Both women have struggled with infertility. Fox had a miscarriage last March after two healthy pregnancies and births and was eventually diagnosed with PCOS, which dashed her dream of having four children. 

“We have two amazing children and after this last year I have sort of given up the idea of having another child,” Fox told HuffPost. “It just wasn’t meant to be. While I only had one miscarriage, the pain will be carried with me forever.”

Hamilton and her husband have struggled to conceive for almost four years and experienced multiple very early miscarriages. After seeing a few doctors and receiving different diagnoses, she developed severe anxiety and started having panic attacks and ultimately decided to take a break from fertility procedures. 

After following Fox’s photography work for years, Hamilton approached her about doing a photo series related to infertility to raise awareness around the issue and make other women feel less alone.

“I have been very open with my infertility struggle,” she said. “I have been blessed to have met some amazing women along my journey who were struggling to get pregnant. They since have all gone on to have children. It’s a very lonely feeling. Not fitting in. Not being taken seriously or forgotten because you don’t have kids. People don’t understand.”

Hamilton has tried to educate people on Facebook, but decided photography would be an even more powerful way to express how she feels. 

Fox’s photos of Hamilton use symbolic imagery, like a tornado background. “When Vikki first asked me to do this session, I wrote down all the emotions I’ve gone through since the miscarriage,” Fox told HuffPost. “The only thing that I could think of to describe all of the emotions was a tornado. There are so many emotions, ups and downs. Sometimes I could find myself sitting on the couch in a trance and I literally felt that my heart was twisting.”

The butterfly image was also the photographer’s idea. “Shortly after I lost the baby, I started seeing butterflies everywhere and for whatever reason I started associating them with the baby,” she said. “Every time I see one now I smile. I feel like it is God’s way of showing me everything will be OK.”

Another symbol in the photo series was the poppy ― a flower with a powerful meaning for Hamilton and the namesake of her blog, “Beyond the Poppyseed.” In her very first blog post, she wrote about the significance.

“A poppy is an annual plant that flowers between May and August. It’s seeds can lay dormant in the ground for a long time (like my eggs apparently). If the ground is disturbed, the seeds will germinate and the poppies will grow. This is what happened in Belgium and France after World War I. So, the poppies represent the war aspect of my anxiety and infertility.

The poppyseed also represents life and loss.

For those that have ever downloaded some sort of period tracker/pregnancy app, you will know that they count your pregnancy from day one of your last menstrual period. By week four, around the same time that your period is usually due, “baby is the size of a poppyseed.”

I have seen this 40 times since we started trying to conceive in 2013, and I have yet to get beyond the poppyseed.”

During the photo shoot, Hamilton wore a red tutu skirt to represent a poppy.

Another symbol was a rainbow, which represents Hamilton’s hope for a rainbow baby after the storm of infertility. 

The infertility photo shoot experience was an emotionally challenging experience for the photographer.

“I cried many times during the session, and actually had to stop editing a few times with the tornado picture because it is hard to edit through tears,” Fox told HuffPost, adding that she felt in her heart how much the photos would mean to Vikki and other women.

“There is a lot of shame in infertility, and until you have gone through it, you just can’t understand,” she added. “Before I lost a baby I didn’t understand, now I do. I wanted to help open up the communication about it. Women tend to be embarrassed. They blame themselves and don’t want to talk about it. They think they must be doing something wrong. When I talk to women about it these are all feelings they have.”

Hamilton described the experience as an “emotional release.” She hopes people who see the photos and read about the meaning develop a better understanding of what women in her position are going through.

“Hug your babies tight,” said Hamilton. “The next time you have a bad day, remember we would give anything to have a bad day with children. Also, remember how hard baby showers and Mother’s Day is for people going through infertility.”

She continued, “It’s hard to be invited to events, but it’s harder to not be invited. Invite us to events, but let us say no without feeling bad. Pregnancy announcements are best done through a private message before posting on social media so it gives us time to process and grieve. Of course we’re happy for you, but it’s really hard because it’s not us.”

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Beyoncé Is Releasing A ‘Lemonade’ Box Set (And It’s $300)

OK, Beyhive, we know you care: Beyoncé announced Tuesday that she’s dropping an incredible box set inspired by her ineffably gorgeous album “Lemonade.”

“Lemonade” celebrated its anniversary on April 23, but the limited-edition collectors’ edition box set is clearly created for those who want to celebrate it forever. 

Naturally, the announcement for the set is just as beautiful as the work it’s about:

Aptly called the “How To Make Lemonade Box Set,” it retails for a cool $300 and offers a “comprehensive look at Beyoncé’s ‘LEMONADE’ journey.”

It includes a copy of “Lemonade” on vinyl, a numbered 600-page coffee table book with “hundreds of never-before-seen photos” from the making of the album, and audio and visual album downloads.

The massive book features a foreword from Michael Eric Dyson, poetry by Warsan Shire and Beyoncé’s personal writing and lyrics interspersed throughout. 

The $300 price tag is pretty steep, but it is a collectors’ item. Though, Beanie Babies were once considered “collectors’ items” too …We’d say we’re conflicted, but let’s be real: We want one of these. 

 

Twitter seems to agree:

You can snag a box for yourself on pre-order here.

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In An Attempt To Empower Sex Workers, Did Netflix Exploit Them?

Multiple women have accused the creators of the new documentary series “Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On” of outing them as sex workers. 

Three sex workers have come forward alleging that directors Rashida Jones, Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus used footage of them without their consent or knowledge in the new Netflix series. The series is the second installment of the feature documentary “Hot Girls Wanted,” released in April of 2015, that explored the amateur porn industry in Florida. 

Two of the sex workers are featured for a few seconds in the last episode of the series in footage taken on the app Periscope.

The third sex worker says she initially agreed to appear in the series and signed a participant release form. After filming began, she told the directors she was uncomfortable with how many personal questions she was asked, and requested that she not appear in the series. According to a report from Vocativ, the woman still appears in multiple scenes in the series. (Head over to Vocativ to read her full story.) 

In an interview with Variety published on Sunday, Gradus and Bauer refuted the allegations and pointed to fair use laws. “Fair use” is a legal term that allows the unlicensed use of copyright-protected works in specific circumstances.  

The footage of the two sex workers on Periscope, which is featured in a montage of other Periscope clips, can be used under the fair use umbrella as a way to side-step reaching out to the women for permission. One way the directors can do this is by using a very short clip of the women’s larger Periscope feed.

“If the use includes a large portion of the copyrighted work, fair use is less likely to be found,” the U.S. Copyright Office website explains. “If the use employs only a small amount of copyrighted material, fair use is more likely.” What constitutes fair use is also determined by the medium through which it was shared, in this case, Periscope. 

Since “Hot Girls Wanted: Turned on” only includes a 10-second clip of the two women’s Periscope footage, the docu-series can legally claim fair use terms. Periscope’s fair use language also allow clips filmed on its platform to be included in documentaries. 

Gradus insisted to Variety that they didn’t put anyone included in the series in danger: “The narrative has kind of become hijacked, that we exposed sex workers and that we put them in danger by telling the world that they were sex workers, when in fact we never ever did that.” 

The six-episode series, which was released on Netflix this month, focuses on the intersections of intimacy, technology and porn. The docu-series explores different aspects of the porn industry including camming (women who perform sexual acts on a live camera from a remote area) and the struggles of being a female producer in a male-dominated industry. 

Both “Hot Girls Wanted” and “Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On” received some critical praise. Other reviews focused on a troubling trend: It seemed as though the very people exploring sex work didn’t have much respect for sex workers and the industry as a whole. 

“The producers seem to be working through their own confusion about the differences between virtual dating, sex work, race and exploitation. They can not seem to understand that porn is work, and like every job on the planet has ups and downs,” one Netflix review reads. “In the process of stumbling upon their own assumptions and gaze they end up exploiting and divulging personal information on several of their subjects.”

For context, many sex workers use porn names or “stage” names that allow them the privacy and safety to live their work life separately from family, friends and often other employers. 

And that’s the most troubling part of these allegations. The very people who are documenting sex work don’t realize how damaging it can be to out a sex worker. 

The producers seem to be working through their own confusion about the differences between virtual dating, sex work, race and exploitation.
Netflix Review

The first two sex workers to come forward are two “cam girls” who go by Autumn Kayy and Effy Elizabeth. Last week, both Kayy and Elizabeth tweeted that a short clip of them on Periscope was included in the series’ sixth episode titled “Don’t Stop Filming” without their consent or knowledge.

“We were not aware at all that ‘Hot Girls Wanted’ was going to use it,” Kayy told HuffPost. “We found out from fellow models and members.”

The episode itself is about 18-year-old Marina Lonina who made headlines last year after she filmed her friend on Periscope while she was being raped. The episode explores how Lonina and many other teens use Periscope as a way to feel connected to their peers. 

Elizabeth confirmed to HuffPost that the docu-series also used footage of her without asking. “I was put into ‘Hot Girls Wanted’ without my consent and zero knowledge of it until it had already been posted,” Elizabeth said.

Kayy told HuffPost she reached out to “Hot Girls Wanted” on Twitter and they responded that someone would be in contact with her to explain “fair use.” When HuffPost asked Elizabeth if she reached out to the series, she responded she hadn’t because “they’ve made it pretty clear they’ll exploit us no matter what.”

Below are screenshots of the conversation Kayy provided to HuffPost.

Bauer and Gradus told Variety that any footage recorded on Periscope is allowed to be used in a documentary under the app’s fair use terms of service. The two directors also pointed out that neither Kayy nor Elizabeth are identified by name anywhere in the documentary.  

“They saw themselves, and then on Twitter, as themselves, using their own handles, tweeted out, ‘Oh my God, we’re on Netflix. Oh my God nobody told us. Oh my God, we’re sex workers and they’ve just shown us on Netflix,’” Gradus said. “So the great irony here is that they identified themselves as sex workers. And really that is a key piece of information that has been lost in this story. We didn’t know who they were. We never would have known, the viewers never would have known, unless they themselves identified themselves.”  

For two people making a documentary about sex workers, both seemed rather flippant about the emotions and privacy concerns of sex workers. 

I was put into ‘Hot Girls Wanted’ without my consent and zero knowledge of it until it had already been posted.
Effy Elizabeth, Webcam Performer

Bauer’s and Gradus’ response to these allegations highlights two main issues. The first is that many sex workers use Twitter as a way to promote their work and often use pseudonyms to conceal their real identity, as both Elizabeth and Kayy do. Identifying someone as a sex worker on Twitter is very different from identifying them on one of the largest entertainment platforms in the world. 

The second issue is the context in which “Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On” used the short clip of Kayy and Elizabeth. The episode in question focuses on people’s use of Periscope, particularly young teens like Lonina. There are multiple sections that include different clips of people using Periscope in the episode. While the viewer watches these short montages, 18-year-old Lonina explains how she feels connected to her friends using the app.

Kayy is 26 and Elizabeth is 21. It feels like an oversight that the directors included a clip of two adult professional sex workers in an episode about teenagers and Periscope. 

On April 28, Free Speech Coalition ― the national trade association to the adult entertainment industry ― published an open letter to Netflix and the directors and producers of “Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On.” 

“Yes, the use of a [publicly] available live web show may technically fall within legal guidelines of ‘fair use,’” the letter reads. “But it is unethical and dangerous for producers who claim to be on the side of the performers to then take those images, and use them to ‘out’ vulnerable workers.”

The letter continues:

It is ironic ― and disturbing ― that a mainstream series which purports to address workplace ethics among adult film performers and focus on issues of empowerment appears to exploit them for its own gain. If the allegations against this project are substantiated, the producers may be perpetuating unfair labor practices against adult performers on their own production.

Privacy is a huge issue for performers, and in direct correlation to their personal and physical safety. Many performers face daily threats of harassment and violence from over-zealous fans and stalkers, and many are stigmatized for the work they do by families and communities. Paradoxically, this series may have made the lives of the workers featured in it substantially less safe by increasing the visibility and accessibility of their private information, such as birth names, and by broadcasting images without consent, and without regard to how that might affect these performers. The dismissal of such concerns with a reference to “fair use” speaks volumes, as do Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus’ remarks discrediting and dismissing the claims and experiences of the workers affected by the series. 

Head here to read the full letter.  

Gradus chalked up the backlash to a “defensive” porn industry that often doesn’t like how it’s portrayed in mainstream media.

“The industry is very defensive about people coming in and shining a light on the industry and doing stories about it,” Gradus told Variety. “The allegations that have come out are probably the result of pressure they are feeling to stand in solidarity with the industry.” 

While everything the “Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On” directors did seems to be legal under fair use terms, the whole ordeal leaves viewers with a bad taste in their mouth.

One Netflix reviewer summed up the issue well, writing: “So let me get this straight: You make a series allegedly trying to shed light on the experiences of women in the sex industry ― and you do so by exposing them and not caring *in the slightest* about their concerns?! Legal or not, it’s unethical.”

The Huffington Post reached out to the directors of “Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On” and Netflix but did not hear back before the time of publication. 

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The Best University Art Museums in America

For Architectural Digest, by Elizabeth Stamp.

While we may not all get accepted into the country’s most elite universities, visiting the museums at these top schools may be just as good (and far less expensive than four years of tuition.) Colleges across the United States show off their impressive collections of everything from antiquities to contemporary art in equally striking buildings by architects such as Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Michael Graves, and Cesar Pelli. Whether they’re located at Ivy League universities, small liberal arts schools, or big state institutions, these exceptional museums alone are worth a college tour.

RISD Museum, Providence, Rhode Island

Founded in 1877, the museum of the Rhode Island School of Design is composed of five buildings on the east side of Providence that date from 1893 to 2008, with the latest addition designed by architect Rafael Moneo. The institution’s impressive permanent collection features approximately 100,000 objects, from historic textiles to paintings by European masters to experimental video works. risdmuseum.org

Michael C. Carlos Museum, Atlanta

Emory University’s collection began in 1876 on the original campus in Oxford, Georgia, and the museum was officially founded in 1919 in Atlanta. Located in a postmodern building by architect Michael Graves, the institution is home to an extensive collection of art and artifacts from ancient times to present day, with particularly notable sections devoted to Egyptian, Greek, and Roman antiquities. carlos.emory.edu

Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, Massachusetts

With an emphasis on modern and contemporary works, as well as American art from the late 18th century on, the Williams College Museum of Art is a repository of more than 14,000 pieces, including the world’s largest collection of works by Charles and Maurice Prendergast. The museum is housed in Lawrence Hall, originally built in 1846 as an octogonal library by Thomas Alexander Tefft and expanded in the 1980s by architect Charles Moore. wcma.williams.edu

Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis

Located in a spectacular Frank Gehry building along the Mississippi River, the University of Minnesota’s Weisman Art Museum brings together over 20,000 works of art, including a breadth of traditional Korean furniture, American modernist art, and ceramics. The museum also offers a rental program that permits students, employees, and university departments to display select pieces from the collection in their homes or offices. wam.umn.edu

Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington, Indiana

The institution, which is set in a 1982 building by architect I. M. Pei, has an encyclopedic collection of more than 45,000 objects, from paintings by Monet and Picasso to a complete set of Marcel Duchamp’s 1964 “Readymades” to nearly 5,000 pieces of ancient jewelry. artmuseum.indiana.edu

Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin, Ohio

Established in 1917, Oberlin College’s Allen Memorial Art Museum is located in an Italian Renaissance building designed by architect Cass Gilbert. A gallery for modern and contemporary art by the firm Venturi, Rauch, and Scott Brown was added in 1977. The museum’s collection includes more than 14,000 objects, including Dutch and Flemish paintings from the 16th and 17th centuries, Japanese woodblock prints, and modern landscape paintings by such artists as Cézanne, Monet, and Turners. The museum also oversees the Eva Hesse archives and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Weltzheimer/Johnson House. oberlin.edu/amam

Saint Louis University Museum of Art, St. Louis

Though it was founded only 13 years ago, the institution has become well established, with a collection that features artists such as Kiki Smith, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Claes Oldenburg. The museum occupies a Beaux Arts building that was once home to the St. Louis club, and in keeping with the school’s Jesuit tradition, the third floor is dedicated to art and artifacts from western missions. slu.edu/sluma-home

View more university art museums here.

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Is It OK To Ignore A Friend Request? Emily Post Is Here With A New Guide To Internet Etiquette

For W magazine, by Marisa Meltzer.

In a world that is constantly evolving it’s comforting to know that how we interact with one another still matters, and it is both rooted in tradition yet flexible enough to keep up with a rapidly changing and culturally diverse world.”

So begins the just-released Emily Post’s Etiquette: Manners for Today, 19th Edition (William Morrow), written by Lizzie Post (a great-great granddaughter of Emily Post) and Daniel Post Senning (a great-great-grandson). Long gone are the questions of ashtrays on the dinner table and chaperones from past editions. Etiquette, they write, is a newly relevant topic in the era of technology.

Related: Met Gala: The Must-See Bold Hair and Makeup on the Red Carpet

What they are too polite to come out and say directly is that we live in a most impolite time. Yes, the internet, social media, texting, online dating are all relatively new and we’re all trying the best we can to make up the rules as we go along. But as anyone who has so much as glanced at their Twitter mentions or realized their best friend from high school unfollowed them on Instagram can tell you, people are monsters online. (I am tempted to use a less polite word than “monsters” here but I’m making an effort.) Luckily, the Posts have some ground rules for social etiquette in our online lives.

Let’s start with conversation. The Posts liken it to a tennis volley. “Mastering the art of everyday conversation means remembering that it’s a two-way street, with thoughts and ideas shared in both directions,” they write. Trouble comes when we come face-to-face with “the electronic brick wall” of online communication. They identify the problem as a combination of the mistaken belief we are anonymous, the ease of rudeness when not saying something to one’s face, and lax social skills. The antidote all of this is to “tear down your electronic brick wall” by spending time with others IRL.

Online communication is not just easier, in many cases, but unavoidable. Luckily there’s a chapter for that. They advocate for the send delay/undo send function on email, remind us that all caps means yelling online, and to use caution when replying all. They also weigh in on FaceTime/Skype (”take care with your appearance — or what’s going on in the background — before you switch it on”) and such matters as sharing devices (“your game can wait if someone has real work to do”). They take a hard stance against “read” receipts as insulting to the recipient.

They include a case study of someone who wrote an email including some “pretty catty comments” about a poor soul named Diane. Unfortunately, Diane was accidentally sent the message. Their advice? Contact her immediately and meet up, preferably in person, and apologize. “Admit your insensitivity and tell her how terrible you feel about hurting her…Ask for forgiveness, but don’t expect the friendship to be patched up overnight.”

There is something hugely satisfying about the Posts giving you permission to act a certain way. In a chapter called Life Online, the Posts guide us through further online dilemmas. It’s okay to: Ignore a friend request, untag yourself from a photo, delete comments, unfriend someone. There is in fact a whole section on unfriending and unfollowing. For example, they advise exes with children to consider staying friends online so kids can tag both parents in photos.

Related: The Seven Lessons You Need to Date Online Today

I would love to distribute their advice on commenting far and wide through some of the more untamed spaces online (Reddit, Kylie Jenner’s Instagram selfies). When commenting, the Posts remind, “Don’t insult, attack, or impugn someone’s character or even make fun of their typing skills.” It’s also not okay to use text-speak abbreviations when not texting, or to ignore punctuation for that matter.

The section on online dating is all too brief and largely covers safety and general rules of thumb. They advise online daters not to lie or embellish their profiles at the risk of losing trust. At the same time, you don’t have to respond to everyone who messages your online dating. And please, no ghosting. That is “hurtful and inappropriate.” This is mostly geared at the traditional online dating profile à la Match.com; there is no advice for searching for love on Tinder. And for those looking for something a little less committed than that on Grindr and the like, there is no advice on how to politely hook up with near strangers. Online porn is also, predictably, left out.

Even though this new edition of Emily Post makes some real forays into the online world most of us live in — for better or worse — there is much that goes uncovered. I started to keep a list of questions inspired by modern, technology-fueled life I had wished they would weigh in on. Like, how little can you wear in a selfie and still maintain that you’re a respectable, professional person? What does it mean when a married man sends you a perfectly innocuous Instagram DM? How many pictures can you post of your baby or puppy before your Facebook friends hate you? Is it bad taste to post photos of lavish vacations? Is it weird to reference a something you Tweeted in a conversation in real life? What if someone is pretending to be you on Tumblr? Can you send them an all-caps email then?

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The original Emily Post said that, “Whenever two people come together and their behavior affects one another, you have etiquette.” The overarching message of the book is that it’s not our fault we are confused by these matters; it’s human nature. It takes practice to remember that every interaction, whether it’s online or off, affects other people and to act accordingly. And that is what it means to mind your manners.

And for those with conundrum that aren’t answered in the book, there is hope online. In their introduction to this edition, the Posts plug their podcast Awesome Etiquette and website for further advice. That’s apparently entirely appropriate.

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10 ‘Austin Powers’ Moments That Are Totally Shagadelic 20 Years Later

Allow himself to reintroduce himself. It’s been 20 years since the world fell in love Austin “Danger” Powers despite his bad teeth, ability to turn just about anything into sexual innuendo and highly questionable espionage abilities. Or perhaps these were things that endeared us to the International Man of Mystery, brought to life by Mike Myers, who also took on the role of his pinky-tipping nemesis, Dr. Evil. 

“Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery” hit theaters in 1997 and Myers went on to appear in “The Spy Who Shagged Me” (1999) and somehow convinced pre-deity Beyoncé to star alongside him in ”Goldmember” (2002). He’s even gone on record saying he’d “love to do another,” teasing the possibility of a fourth entry, if the right story comes along. 

The quality of the films were put into greater question as the franchise went on, but the original flick still retains a certain creative punch that enshrined Myers and Powers in a special place in pop culture history. 

Some moments in the film have aged better than others (the less said about Will Ferrell playing a prototypical Arab villain the better), but there’s an undeniable wit, charm and, dare we say it, heart to “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery” that still makes it infinitely watchable 20 years later. 

 

1. Mike Myers ‘Parent Trap”-ing like the rent is due. 

Say what you want about Mike Myers’ brand of comedy (puerile, offensive, should be jailed for thinking the “Love Guru” was ever funny), but the way he creates two distinct characters out of Austin Powers and the arch-villain Dr. Evil is pure comedic genius.

The two characters rarely appear on screen together ― everybody play spot the body double when they do ― but thanks to a bald cap, prosthetics and a mean scar, you completely forget that Myers is playing both hero and villain and making us laugh till it hurts all the while.

 

2. The opening musical number was better than 90 percent of “Glee.”

As soon as the jet black boots and striped blue suit showed up on screen, we knew we were in for something special. To open the film, an always game Myers twisted and shouted with the best of them in an all-out musical extravaganza set to the signature “Austin Powers” theme. 

The scene not only immediately communicated to the audience what kind of movie they were watching, it also established Myers as a nimble performer who’d do just about anything to get a laugh. Note to all future filmmakers out there: starting a film with your hero leading a marching band through the streets of London isn’t a bad way to go. 

 

3. Fembots are the greatest invention since the wheel. 

Sexual politics aside (we know, that’s a big aside) fembots are an undeniable part of the “Austin Powers” legacy. With their “Valley of the Dolls” hair styling and an iconic entrance to Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made For Walking,” the fembots were the perfect hypersexualized match for the International Man of Mystery.

To make things more interesting, these bionic women aren’t taken down by fists or bullets. No, they’re simply overwhelmed by Powers’ raw sexuality when he strips down for dance in his British flag-patterned undies. And, for what it’s worth, they count Britney Spears as one of their own. 

 

4. The catchphrases, C’MON.

What’s the last line from a movie you’re able to recite off the top of your head? Whether you chalk it up to the influence of foreign markets or lazy writing, gone are the days of memorable movie quotes.

But “Austin Powers” had it’s own ’60s-inspired lexicon, not to mention the stream of hilarious one-liners that came out of Dr. Evil’s mouth. Phrases like “Yeah, baby,” “Do I make you horny” and “Oh behave” have become part of the cultural zeitgeist for better or worse.

 

5. Name a more iconic Hollywood animal than Mr. Bigglesworth.

You can’t. 

 

6. “But dad, we just had a breakthrough in group.” 

Seth Green is the unsung hero of the “Austin Powers” franchise if only for playing his scenes as Dr. Evil’s son, Scott, completely straight in a movie that rarely has a sincere moment in its one hour and 34 minute running time. 

“All of my thoughts in respect to this character were to play it deeply sincere,” Seth Green recently told The Hollywood Reporter. “I thought that would be funniest next to Mike’s broad character. If you look at me in the movie, I am in a drama.”

 

7. You forgot Carrie Fisher was in this, didn’t you? 

Carrie Fisher popped up in a handful of bit parts throughout the ‘90s, but none more memorable than the therapist for a group for troubled fathers and sons. Her scene only lasts minutes but Fisher was a riot, interpreting Dr. Evil and son Scott’s grandiose issues as metaphors for everyday struggles. 

Myers and Fisher were apparently friends at the time. He personally requested her for the part and sent the script over to her house. Of course, she was down. Myers described Fisher as incredibly supportive of his vision on set, saying she loved “how weird the choices are.”

 

8. Elizabeth Hurley’s head-to-toe iconic looks.

The leather catsuit. The futuristic metallic number Judy Jetson wishes she had in her closet. The lacey nighty. The cutoff white turtleneck. Honestly, even the yellow dress in a plastic bag marked yellow dress. Before “Austin Powers” hit theaters, Elizabeth Hurley was already well-known for her bold fashion choices (she made safety pins a thing long before they were a political statement, OK?) and everything she wore in the movie was pure heaven. 

 

9. No one does sight gags like “Austin Powers” anymore. 

This is a safe space, so let’s all admit that one time or another we tried to impress someone with the “I’ll take the stairs” bit behind your living room couch.

Myers has always been a gifted physical comedian and his talents are no better used than here. Be it the expert staging of his nude scenes as Hurley treats herself to some breakfast, the three-point turn gone awry, or his post-cryogenic chamber urination, sometimes scenes with little dialogue were still the most memorable. 

 

10. Literally anything Frau Farbissina says.

”SEND IN THE GUAAAAAARDSSSS!”

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The Musical Nerds Of Twitter Took The Stage For #StarWarsMusicals

This week brings us both the Tony award nominations and “Star Wars” Day, May 4. 

So we figured, for this week’s HuffPost Comedy hashtag game, why not combine the two?

Here are some of the absolute best #StarWarsMusicals!

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Arts Funding Gets A Boost From Congress After Trump Suggested Slashing It

WASHINGTON ― Arts organizations won a major victory this week with increases for arts funding in the congressional budget agreement ― a rebuke of President Donald Trump’s proposal to gut federal support.

The bill to keep the government operating until September, expected to pass both chambers of Congress later this week, allocates $150 million each to the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities ― $2 million more than the previous year. It preserves the current level of funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The Trump administration in March proposed gutting funding for the three entities, prompting arts groups around the country to lobby lawmakers and hold rallies. Congress’ budget agreement also increased funding for science research, another area where Trump proposed deep cuts.

Many of Trump’s proposals, including funding for a border wall, his signature campaign issue, were not included in the bill, reflecting limited bargaining power on Capitol Hill that contradicts his assertion that he “makes the best deals.”

Republican lawmakers likely would have faced consequences going along with Trump’s arts cuts because federal funds provide significant financial support in small towns and rural areas — places that tend to vote for the GOP.

The NEA budget, for example, funds grants that pay for arts organizations, cultural groups and projects in every single congressional district. As arts groups told HuffPost in March, those grants are often among the only sources of financing for the arts in rural parts of the country because there are fewer private sources of arts funding than in large, metropolitan communities.

Similarly, television and radio stations in rural areas would be hit hardest by cuts to public broadcasting funding.

Patrick Butler, president and CEO of America’s Public Television Stations, said in a statement Monday that the budget deal shows “powerful evidence of the growing bipartisan support for our work in education, public safety and civic leadership.” He added: “We are particularly appreciative of the leadership of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees for being such stalwart champions of public broadcasting.”

But arts organizations warned on Monday that their victory could be short lived. Republicans frequently target arts funding in budget negotiations, arguing that initiatives like the NEA are wasteful. The NEA, NEH and CPB made up a combined 0.02 percent of the federal budget last year.

“When you start looking at places that we reduce spending, one of the questions we asked was can we really continue to ask a coal miner in West Virginia or a single mom in Detroit to pay for these programs? The answer was no,” White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said in March. “We can ask them to pay for defense, and we will, but we can’t ask them to continue to pay for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.”

Actors’ Equity, the union that represents stage actors and managers around the country, advocated against Trump’s cuts by focusing on the role that community and regional theater plays in providing jobs and economic development in smaller cities and towns.

“We won an important battle this week, but the war is far from over,” the union’s executive director, Mary McColl, said in a statement. “Next year could look very different. When Congress starts work on the next budget, Equity’s talented members and elected leaders will be there to remind Congress that any cuts to the NEA would undermine middle class arts jobs in every congressional district in the country.”  

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Malcolm Jamal-Warner Uses Poetry In New Video Calling For Unity In America

Malcolm-Jamal Warner wants to keep folks “woke” in a new short film titled, “You Can’t Hear Me.”

Starring and written by Malcolm-Jamal Warner, spoken word artist-producer David Bianchi, and spoken word artist Chris Wood, the five-minute short film displays the trio citing spoken word poetry that highlights some of America’s civil and social ills including systematic oppression, deportation and mass incarceration.

Warner tells HuffPost that he wants the socially-conscious film to serve as an symbol of solidarity at a time we need it most. 

“Our differences ― in race, sexual preference, economic ― have always been used as distractions to keep us divided,” he said. “We get so wrapped up in our own stories that we can’t hear each other. I want the take away to be that we are all in the same boat.”

“To ignore injustices such as the few we address in the film simply because they may not seem to affect you directly right now, is to leave yourself unprepared when their effects show up at your front door,” he added. “That’s the awareness we want to continue to bring to light as we stand in solidarity with activists and the politicians who really are doing their work for the people.”

The film is part of a spoken word series called “Spinema.” As the creator behind “Spinema,” Bianchi ― who has also partnered with the digital storyteller platform Outspeak ― decided to highlight some of America’s criminal justice issues using visual metaphors. 

“We decided that having our hands tied and blindfolded was the metaphor for living blind justice, but having a jet-black figure of Lady Justice that wasn’t blindfolded was the juxtaposition,” Bianchi told HuffPost.

Director Chris Folkens added that the short film is his “creative answer to a lot of questions posed in our world today.”

“So many of the struggles and damage we are seeing reflected in our community are symptoms of deeper issues like racism, bigotry, greed, police brutality, etc,” Folkens said. “This piece showcases the struggle that many people are experiencing and also the fractured nature of each person’s struggle.”

For Warner, spoken word has always been a vehicle to raise awareness around important issues in society. He tells HuffPost poets and spoken word artists are vital.

“Since the beginning of establishment, poets and spoken word artists have always been both vocal supporters and critics of government,” he said. “And in this age of Trump as President, alternative facts, falsehoods becoming truth at the send of a tweet, it’s vital that spoken word poetry does its job helping to keep folks ‘woke’ and not numb or shut down.” 

Check out Malcolm Jamal Warner in “You Can’t Hear Me” in the clip above.

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This Is Rei Kawakubo, The Designer Breaking Down Binaries At The Met

Categories can be presented as choices, but more often, they designate limitations to our freedom. Between options lurks an “or,” a subtle warning of our “this or that” restrictions.

“Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between,” the exhibition opening this week at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, operates differently. The show, honoring iconic Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo, is divided into several categorical pairings, such as “Then/Now,” “East/West,” “High/Low,” and even “Clothes/Not Clothes.” Yet the slash stuck between each pairing isn’t intended as an “or.” Instead, it’s meant to demarcate an in-between, a space that turns dichotomies into cacophonous harmonies. 

The exhibition, decisively described as not a retrospective, features 150 garments from Kawakubo’s collections, divided into binary categories she then proceeds to break down. All of the pieces are presented at eye-level, so the viewer can properly observe the magic of their construction. There is no wall text whatsoever, a nod to Kawakubo’s consistent refusal to define her work in rigid terms. “The meaning is that there is no meaning,” she said in 1995.

The designer was born in Tokyo in 1942, the oldest of three children and the only girl. At university, Kawakubo studied the history of aesthetics, which incorporated elements of Asian and Western Art. It was in 1973 when she established her now-famous label Comme des Garçons (which means “like some boys”), opening her first store just two years later. 

Kawakubo made her Western debut in Paris in 1982, disrupting the era’s wave of glamorous power suits with saggy, lopsided black frocks accentuated with holes, shredded fabric and excess layers of more black. Like many great avant-garde works of art, Kawakubo’s collection was initially met with shock and disdain; critics described it as “ragged chic,” “Hiroshima’s revenge” and “post atomic.”

One of her most iconic collections came over 10 years later with the spring/summer 1997 collection “Body Meets Dress, Dress Meets Body,” featuring skintight stretch dresses pulled over ballooning pads. The form-hugging attire accentuated the pads’ bizarre humps and swelling, radically transfiguring the wearer’s silhouette. The dresses, which were later adapted into costumes for a Merce Cunningham dance, epitomize Kawakubo’s radical ability to defy the assumptions about clothes you never knew you had. 

Even if you’re not into identifying fashion designers, recognizing Kawakubo’s work is a cinch. Mostly because her designs barely resemble clothing at all, boldly defying the laws clothes are intended to serve. Most garments cater to the body of their wearer ― flattering the figure by enhancing certain body parts and downplaying others, all in accordance with ideal beauty standards. Even more fundamentally, they follow certain elementary guidelines ― for example, shirts and pants have a set amount of holes.

For Kawakubo, these items of clothing are hardly that simple. As she told The Guardian: “I built my work from within instead of satisfying a demand for sexualised and ostentatious clothing.”

At times, a Commes des Garçons piece can resemble a cocoon or a gift in haphazard wrapping paper. Some tops contain far too may holes for human arms to occupy, as if designed with another species in mind; others have none at all. Many feature bulging protuberances, while other extreme finishing touches like ruffles or collars seem to be exacting revenge on the wearer.

Kawakubo’s designs tend to transform those who don them into mythical personae, otherworldly creatures or conceptual artworks. Instead of aspiring to make a woman look long and lean, Kawakubo endows her models with pillowy hunchbacks and architectural nests for hair, destabilizing the gaze that often governs fashion.

For centuries, the act of dressing up has proven capable of turning women into characters ― the bride, the professional, the vixen, the princess, the tomboy. The ability to embody an alter ego just by slipping on a dress can be liberating, though of course, the range of available characters can also be limiting. They can seem like choices that, in reality, are anything but.

Kawakubo, however, explodes the vault, queering established feminine tropes and ushering in the masculine, the inanimate, the surreal. Instead of being an “old Hollywood starlet” for a night, how about a pillowcase? A cluster of barnacles? A cobweb? Kawakubo’s clothing invites women to transcend and transmute their bodies, weaving fairytales from their own flesh. In Commes des Garçons’ world, there are no stereotypes, no laws, no masters and no categories: the freedom is absolute and often breathtaking.

You might not realize how similarly individuals dress until you set eyes on a woman wearing what looks like a blowfish carcass, something so unmistakably distinct. Even at The Met Gala, where Kawakubo was the theme, Rihanna’s army of petals ― one of the few actual Comme des Garçons dresses worn ― made jaws drop.

Today, Kawakubo is known as one of the most respected designers of all time ― only the second living designer to be honored with a Met exhibition, after Yves Saint Laurent’s in 1983. Some repeated themes in Kawakubo’s work include the colors black and red, bulging shapes, punk plaid, allusions to bridal and princess gowns ― somehow mangled and resuscitated ― tattered holes, shredded layers, asymmetrical hems and a sculptural intensity that’s rarely seen on the human body.

Most of all though, she’s defined by her inability to be defined. Her work’s most identifiable quality is its sense of boundlessness, which brings into being visions so viscerally peculiar most of us couldn’t conjure them in a dream state. In an interview with The New Yorker, the famously silent Kawakubo revealed that she had “never belonged to a movement, followed a religion, subscribed to an ideology, or worshipped a hero.”

She has even denounced those who have hailed her a feminist icon, refusing to belong to any such category. “I am not a feminist,” she said in 2009. “I was never interested in any movement as such. I just decided to make a company built around creation, and with creation as my sword, I could fight the battles I wanted to fight.”

Comme des Garçons does, however, liberate women from the monolithic male gaze, from the fashionable tradition of dressing up as a mode of self-improvement. But the label does more. It frees art from existing, cold and untouched, in glass cases and frames. It releases pants from the expectation of being two-legged. And it emancipates human beings from their flesh, inviting people to embody intangible ideas that defy categorization.

“Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between,” runs until September 4 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. See photos from The Met Gala here. 

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