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Category Archives: Zeitgeist Movement

Ava DuVernay’s Oscar-nominated ’13th’ documentary aims to unlock the truth – The Pasadena Star-News

Posted: February 11, 2017 at 8:22 am

Ava DuVernay has been up until 12:30 a.m. shooting A Wrinkle in Time for Disney, but the director of Selma is enthused to finally talk about the Oscar-nominated documentary 13th.

The former publicist is the first woman of color to direct a live-action film with a production budget of more than $100 million. Last fall, she premiered her first television show, the well-received Queen Sugar, which aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

So DuVernay hasnt much time to discuss her powerful documentary released in October which is up for Oscar and BAFTA awards.

13th takes its title from the amendment that outlawed slavery in 1865, though with the caveat except as a punishment for a crime.

The documentary, available on Netflix, examines how that clause has led to a mass-incarceration system that disproportionately imprisons African-American men. In many of the for-profit institutions, inmates are then used as cheap labor, employed for pennies by major companies, creating a de facto form of slavery.

A note here: DuVernay and I were phone acquaintances in her PR days, although we never met. So it was a pleasure to finally meet her in person. What follows is an edited version of our conversation about 13, and what led her to do the film, including an emotional story from when she grew up in Compton.

Q Has the film been getting the response you were hoping for?

A I have been shocked. I really didnt think it would have this much attention, and I did not think that people react to it as emotionally as they have. It is an intimate topic. It is really about the way that we think about race in this country, regardless of who you are and how we engage with each other and what our belief system is. There are some things in this doc that challenge what we believed or even thought we knew. Its a little disconcerting when we realize what we dont know. I thought it would sit on Netflix as a resource for teachers. I really didnt think it would cross into a cultural zeitgeist kind of thing.

Q Are you getting response from legislators?

A Yes, as a teaching tool like Congressman John Lewis and Sen. Cory Booker. Those people are using it as an entry point to talk to their communities and constituents. I havent heard about any pushback from the other side. Havent heard anything from anyone on the right or any conservatives. Its been oddly quiet.

Q When you made this, it was before the presidential election and reforms were being pushed; now with President Trump in the White House, the film is more relevant than ever.


A Stock in private prisons shot up the day after his election. The executive orders that hes signing signal his intention to bolster policies and practices that favor those who profit off of the least of us. Prisons are clearly in the bulls-eye for this. The deregulation through executive is moving to a place that will undo a lot of work that has been done by a bipartisan coalition taking steps toward reform.

Q What can be done?

A Its important that people continue to assert what they believe. I believe in the power people have and the power in the protest. That isnt just pie in the sky stuff. Three years ago, the Black Lives matter movement was happening and people thought this is a moment, but there has been a concerted, concentrated effort with deliberate action that has not stopped since that day. The Civil Rights Movement at its height was over 10 years. In the two weeks of Trumps presidency, weve seen spontaneous protests at airports and huge numbers at the womens marches all around the country expressing their dissent. Its going to be more crucial now than ever to continue do that, and for artists to continue to promote that and do what we can to amplify it.

Q How did you come to the project?

A I was an African American studies major at UCLA. We were encouraged to do a deep dive into the Constitution, and it has just kind of been putting together the pieces from there understanding there is a direct correlation between that clause and the mass incarceration that were experiencing now. At first, I hadnt done the research to connect the dots, but with some 2.3 million people behind bars it seemed there was something to that. So I began tracing and tracking it and really being able to get down to the kind of granular policies legislation signed that actually perpetuated it. It was important to break down the images of the war on drugs and what was perpetuated by the media. So the assignment for myself was to focus on prison for profit, the way that many companies are profiting on punishment.

Q You reached out to conservatives in the documentary, like Newt Gingrich.

A I know what I think, but it was important to reach out to Republicans and Democrats and liberals. I wanted this to be a conversation like a master class from people of all walks of life. Sometimes we learn from people who dont think anything like us.

Q Youve been pretty busy.

A These films are my children. I dont have kids, and Im not going to have kids. So this is what Im leaving behind. But for this film, I havent had a chance to go out there and beat the drum for it.

Q It seems like everyone in the black community Ive talked to feel connected to this film because of things that happened in their lives.

A Growing up in Compton, police aggression and issues of incarceration were all around. I have a very, very small family. So theres no one in my direct family involved, but when every black man you know has a police story, a lot of the people have been directly touched by it. I tell this story on this Netflix special I did with Oprah about my father being tackled in our backyard in Compton because the police were running through peoples backyards looking for someone else. My father was in the backyard watering the grass. Hes a very dignified man a beautiful, beautiful man. He was tackled to the ground like a criminal, handcuffed in front of his family, cursed at I saw all this berated and belittled because they thought he was a criminal. They had no respect for his property a man in his own backyard and they couldnt hear his protests. These are the kinds of incidences that many people of color in this country are scarred with, and so when I watch 13th, it has a particular vibe to it for me.

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Ava DuVernay's Oscar-nominated '13th' documentary aims to unlock the truth - The Pasadena Star-News

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Q&A: Chef Michel Gurard, a Pioneer of Low-Calorie Cuisine – TIME

Posted: at 8:22 am

Michel Guerard, French chef of the restaurant Les Pres d'Eugenie, poses on September 26, 2013 at his restaurant at Eugenie-les-Bains, France. NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP/Getty Images

"The new gourmet law: hold the butter," reads the strapline of the European edition of TIME's Feb. 9 1976 issue, alongside a cartoon of the French culinary master Michel Gurard, then 42.

Fast forward four decades and the debate over butter and fat intake is still magazine-cover-worthy . But now it's a far more saturated conversation: evidence of links between certain fats and heart disease changes on a regular basis, as does the merit of plant-based dairy alternatives, made from almonds or coconut or walnuts. Thanks to prominent campaigns , the clean eating movement and savvy restaurateurs , healthy eating is more in the zeitgeist than ever before.

However, back in the 70s, Gurard's 'waist-not, want-not' approach was revolutionary. Considered a founding father of 'Nouvelle Cuisine' - a Japanese-inspired cooking style which emphazises freshness, lightness and flavor, Gurard eschewed the copious quantities of butter, large servings and cream-filled sauces ubiquitous with traditional French cooking while still maintaining the highest order of taste. Thanks to Gurard, reported TIME's George M. Taber in 1976, "no longer need a Frenchman dig his grave with a fork."

Gurard's main restaurant, Les Prs d'Eugnie, which specializes in low-calorie, full-flavour cooking, won the chef three Michelin stars: in 1974, 1975 and 1977. Now 83, he remains a key figure in educating and changing perceptions of healthy cuisine.

The pioneering chef celebrated the ruby anniversary of his three Michelin Stars this week. He spoke to TIME in an email interview about how the culinary industry has changed during his 69 years in the industry, clean eating and what he thinks of people's obsession with photographing their food.

TIME: How have attitudes towards healthy food changed during your career?

Michel Gurard: When I launched my slimming cuisine back in 1975, it triggered a wave of outrage within the culinary world. I will never forget my friend [chef] Paul Bocuse saying to everyone that if they go to Gurards, they should take their medical prescription with them. My attitude towards food did not make sense to chefs at the time; I was at worst an outcast and at best a crazy cook. Fortunately, I had two Michelin stars at that point, which spoke for my professionalism.

Today, health has become fashionable and it is reassuring to see that trendsetters have caught up with the idea. I was very appreciative of Michelle Obamas fight , for instance. I know that Im one of the people who have mattered the most in this realization. But I dont draw any pride in that: it was only a matter time before public health and governments were obliged to do something.

Although healthy food has been a hot topic for a while, it doesn't mean that all problems are solved. Healthy food remains something that wealthier people can enjoy; it excludes the poor and it will be a long time before they benefit from the trend.

And how is the world of haute cuisine different today?

Certainly the rise of the celebrity chef. We all got out of the kitchen and into the media. Today, you cannot take a walk without seeing chefs everywhere. The upside is that the move has meant a lot of people now choose to be a chef - when I started out, that was not the case. I understand that I contributed to this rise, but the media frenzy around cooks has become extreme and sometimes ridiculous.

Another change is that food and gastronomy have become a globalized product. I find it striking that you can eat exactly the same things in New York as you can in Paris. This was not the case 15 years ago and I dont know what to make of it. Should we fear this standardization of taste? I dont think so, but we should still remain cautious as some of our culinary heritage has been disappearing for some years. There is surely a risk that our national cuisines will one day fade to nothing.

Are there foods you think people should and shouldn't eat?

I am not a guru wholl tell you what to eat and what not to eat. As long as food comes from nature herself, I dont see why you shouldnt eat it - and just as a reminder, Dominos Pizza does not come from nature! I believe you can eat anything as long as you keep a balanced diet.

Which cuisines and ingredients excite you the most?

I am a big fan of Chinese cuisine, which is very precise with its seasonings. The Chinese have beautiful cooking, like Peking duck. When it is done the traditional way, it is like a piece of art.

I dont have a favourite food. But I like to work with ingredients that can surprise you. For instance, once I wanted to create something with oysters and I wondered for many months what taste or what other ingredient I could combine with their very particular flavor. Finally, I decided on green coffee. Served as a frothy chiboust like a cloud on an oyster, it is sumptuous and delicious.

What do you remember about your TIME interview in 1976?

I had previously done interviews with American media, but the TIME cover was a total surprise. To me, the only French people who would make a TIME cover were individuals like General de Gaulle. It was when I did the cover that I became aware of how unique what I was doing was; it made me realise that my work was important. The journalists who interviewed me had a premonition that health would become a cornerstone of cooking.

Do you think social media has changed the way people eat?

Professionally, my daughters [take photos of their food in restaurants] all the time, to feed our websites and digital accounts. It shows everyone that follows us what we do, who we are and what were working on for our guests. It entices people; its publicity.

But from a personal point of view, I have a hard time understanding what seems to have become an addiction. People are living by proxy through their phones. They want to show everyone how great their lives are, choosing carefully what they display. It makes sense in a way; its self-promotion that reflects the individualistic society we live in.

I find it a little bit sad that for some the picture has become more important than the food itself; the fact that the picture must be pretty has had a huge influence on cuisine and pastry. In most high-end restaurants, it is unthinkable to serve something that doesnt look great except what looks smart doesnt always taste nice.

Pastry has become a dog and pony show for desserts I mean cold desserts that can be made and dressed prettily in advance. Minute pastry, like souffl, is disappearing. And I think its a pity because the know-how is disappearing too. Some chefs are so attached to the way their dishes look that they refuse to change the recipe when people mention that they dislike the taste. They know it will end up on the Internet, so they want to make sure it looks the way it is supposed to.

If you were going to predict the biggest food craze in 50 years time, what would you say?

Ten years ago, we predicted a lot of funny things such as dried food like astronauts or even food tablets. But the act of eating is about much more than just filling a physiological need: it gives pleasure and its a social ritual. We will carry on eating as weve been doing for tens of thousands of years. However, Im sure healthy cooking will become even more important than it is now.

Finally, what would you choose as your last supper?

I would like this supper to be completely natural. The chef cooking it would have to have great experience, as well as a sensitivity which would allow him to play with his culinary creation freely and effortlessly. I would like to taste something that surprises me and would make me think: "How did I not come up with this this myself?".

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9 Ways the Grammys have Totally Blown It – Newsweek – Newsweek

Posted: at 8:22 am

Every awardshows history is riddled with controversial selections andsnubs, but the Grammyspast is especially turbulent. Its voters have repeatedly proven that they areout of touch to a staggering degree. This was the case in the 60s, when they couldn't let go of Sinatra, in the 70s, when they favored disco over Elvis Costello and Debby Booneover "Hotel California," and in the 80s, which we'll get to. By the time the 90s arrived, the Grammys lost most of its cach. Just ask Homer.

Not much has changed.

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In anticipation of Sunday's ceremony, we'vecompiled some of the most egregious flubs in Grammys history, from crowining one-hit wonders as the Next Big Thingto all butignoring entire genres of music.

Related: Beyonc, Adele lead Grammy nominations

In 1985, the competition for Album of the Year seemed to be a tight race between Princes Purple Rainand Bruce Springsteens Born In the U.S.A.So it was surprising when the award went to...Lionel Richies Cant Slow Down.Sure, it was a solid recordAll Night Long (All Night) and Hello are perfect pop songsbut the album came out in 1983.Even though ittechnically qualified for Album of the Year based on the Grammys' seemingly arbitrary rules, it was certainly not the best album of thatyear.

But also, considering how well Princesand Springsteens work has held up respective to Richies, the decision is a spectacular misstep. These are the kind of brilliant classic records that one can argue in favor of just by adding curse words to their titles:Born In the God Damn U.S.A.! Purple Fucking Rain! See? End of shitting argument. Joe Veix

In 1981, RunD.M.C. and the Beastie Boys both formed in New York. That year the Grammys were busy fawning over Christopher Cross. As hip-hop emerged as the most significant musical and social movement of the 1980s, the Recording Academy was characteristically late to the party. The Best Rap Performance category was added in 1989, but it wasnt actually included in the televised ceremony, prompting nominees Will Smith, LL Cool J and Salt-n-Pepa to lead a Grammy boycott. (Some more politically charged rap acts, like N.W.A, were ignored altogether.) During the 1990s, seminal albums like Nass Illmatic and A Tribe Called Quests The Low End Theory were overlooked. It was not until 1999 that a hip-hop album finally won Album of the Year: Lauryn Hills The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Even in the Best Rap Album category, the Academy cant seem to get it right, with Macklemore famously responding to his own win with a sheepish texted apology to Kendrick Lamar.Zach Schonfeld

Santana's meme-friendly Supernatural edging out the Backstreet Boys, TLC, the Dixie Chicks and Diana Krall in 2000 was a portentous start to a decade that thoroughly confused Grammy voters. The following year, a thoroughly forgettable Steely Dan album was honored over Beck, Radiohead and Eminem. In 2002, the award was given to a motion picture soundtrack (O Brother, Where Art Thou?) over Outkast's Stankonia. A few years later, in 2005, a posthumous Ray Charles album won. This is fine, but it illustrates the Grammysinability to tap into the zeitgeist. This brings us to the decades most egregious snub. In 2006, a Herbie Hancocks jazz tribute to Joni Mitchell won over both Amy Winehouse's Back In Black and Kanye West's Graduation. And music lovers also groaned when U2 won for How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb in 2006, an album best listened to in an iPod commercial. Ryan Bort

In 1989, Jethro Tull won Best Hard Rock/Metal Performanceover Metallica. This is "Jump Start," fromCrest Of A Knave, the album Jethro Tull won for:

This is "Harvester Of Sorrow," from Metallica's ...And Justice For All:

You be the judge of what qualifies as "metal/hard rock." (Hint: it's not the one with pan flute.) Ryan Bort

The Best New Artist category is, in theory, a well-intentioned idea: Give an award to a musician fresh on the scene, who might not be able to compete in the Best Album category against bigger acts like Michael Jackson or The Rolling Stones or Milli Vanilli. The only problem is the Grammys have a really bizarre definition of new. According to rule changes implemented by the Recording Academy in 2016, artists only become ineligible for the award after releasing more than three records (or 30 singles). Also, they cant have been nominated more than three times, and must have achieved a breakthrough into the public consciousness and impacted the musical landscape during the eligibility period. So: not exactly new! A pedantic music nerd could make the case that multiple bands from the 70s could still be eligible.

Not surprisingly, this broad definition translates to some choices that are...unconventional. Just a few examples: Bon Iver won Best New Artist in 2012five years after his breakout debut For Emma, Forever Ago and two years after guesting on Kanye Wests My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Lauryn Hill won the award in 1999, even though she released two prior records with the Fugees years earlier. Going further back, the Beatles won in 1965, even though by then they werekind of a big deal. If the Grammyswere concerned about accuracy, the category should really be called Best Artist That the Recording Academys Kids Just Told Them About. Joe Veix

Its customary for the Grammys to acknowledge trailblazing weirdo geniuses decades late if at all. So when David Bowie was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006, it felt more like an apologetic shrug than a wholehearted endorsement. Speaking of lifetime achievements, Bowie released 25 albums during his life. Only one of them, 1983s Lets Dance, was nominated in the most prestigious category: Album of the Year. (It lost.) The Grammys roundly ignored Bowie during the 1970s, when he arguably reached his creative peak (Ziggy Stardust, Low, etc). And even in death, the Thin White Duke is being snubbed: Blackstar, Bowies final album, was shut out of the top category and instead was nominated for Best Alternative Music Album,proving that alternative music is about as meaningless a phrase in 2017 as fake news.Zach Schonfeld

The 60s can claim arguably the richest musical output of any decade since someone first figured out how to run electricity through a guitar. The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, the Velvet Underground, Led Zeppelin, the Who. The list goes on. Of all of these artists, only the Beatles would take home one of the decade's Best Album Grammys when they won in 1968 for Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. In fact, the Beatles were the only pop rock artists even nominated for the award. The same can be said for Song of the Year. The Beatles won in 1967 for "Michelle." In 66, "Yesterday" lost to Tony Bennetts "The Shadow Of Your Smile." The latter is a lovely song, but its win proves that Grammy votershave always been behind the times. Ryan Bort

Tony Bennett won Album of the Yearfor "The Shadow Of Your Smile" in 1966, and then again 30 years later in 1995, for his MTV Unplugged album, which was filled with old standards like "Fly Me to the Moon" and "I Left My Heart in San Francisco." These are great and all, but shouldnt the Grammys recognize the years achievements in original music? Shouldn't the winners be in some way indicative of the current moment? Do voters not want their choices to reflect the music that had the deepest cultural impact? Apparently not, which was evinced in an even more egregious fashion two years earlier... Ryan Bort

More proof that the Grammys are perennially 20 years stuck in the past: Eric Clapton was persona non grata during his Cream/Derek and the Dominos heyday but swept the 1993 ceremony with his live Unplugged recording. (Tears in Heaven, Claptons heartfelt tribute to his late son, garnered several prizes of its own that year.) Similarly, during this same era, Nirvana did not receive a Grammy win until the band softened its sound for its own MTV Unplugged in New York album. By this point, Kurt Cobain was already dead. Nevermindarguably the most culturally significant album of 1991was denied an Album of the Year nomination, perhaps to make room for Amy Grants Christian pop sensation Heart in Motion.Zach Schonfeld

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Bernie O’Rourke: An Irishman’s Passion for Business – Caldwell University News

Posted: at 8:22 am

When Professor Bernard ORourke plans the itinerary for a Business Division study-abroad experience, he takes a good hard look at the nation his students will visit. Every country has a story, he says. I determine the essence of the countrys business to get its business zeitgeist. He frames each trip so students can learn through an immersion in a nations economic and business life.

Since 2001, ORourke, associate dean of the Business Division, has led short-term trips to Belgium, Holland, Ireland, France, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Austria, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Panama. In setting the agenda, he reaches out to government agencies, which are often eager to help with appointments that showcase a countrys economic profile and direction, and networks with business contacts.

In Costa Rica students toured a coffee plantation and a free-trade zone. In Panama they explored the iconic Panama Canal. In Austria they visited the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. In the Czech Republic they saw the workings of the Skoda auto plant, which was regenerated when the country reverted to a free-market economy after overturning the communist regime. In the Dominican Republic they walked the floor of the Baldom food manufacturing company.

ORourkes taste for international business and travel began when he was a young man in Ireland in the 1970s. He was eager to help his homeland. What spurred me was the intent to move Ireland forward, to move it out of poverty, he says. Growing up in an impoverished region of Ireland, with little beyond farm and retail work available for most school leavers, I instinctively knew that Ireland needed to move forward with the times and somehow begin a new investment revolution to provide jobs for those who did not wish to emigrate to the U.K. or the U.S. as generations before had done.

The vision for a new Ireland was provided by an aggressive investment promotion program in which Ireland scoured the world for state-of-the-art industries that could generate good-paying, export-focused jobs for the rising generation of well-educated Irish men and women. ORourke knew he had to be a part of the movement to regenerate Ireland and help create opportunities so the country might become prosperous and self-sustaining and not just a source of talented immigrants for the rest of the world. It grabbed me and a lot of young people at the time, he says.

He had received an undergraduate degree in economics with a political science minor from the biggest university in Ireland, University College Dublin, and then a law degree from Kings Inns, Irelands oldest school of law, qualifying him to go as far as pleading a case in the Irish courts. But practicing law was not his interest; he had a drive to work in international business to raise Irelands profile in the global marketplace.

ORourke grew up in Inniskeen, a small village in County Monaghan just beside the border with Northern Ireland. The town was a farming community in the traditional Irish countryside. He and his seven younger brothers and sistersone of whom drowned at the age of twowere raised by their Catholic parents, who encouraged education. ORourke and his siblings attended grammar school in a two-room schoolhouse with 60 students. His father, a miller, sold cornmeal products for farm animals, and ORourke learned on the familys small farm how to gather potatoes and cut hay, barley, oats and wheat.

It was the 1950s, and he recalls how a few families in Inniskeen still rode horse-drawn carts to church on Sunday. Television became available when he was about 9 years old, but people had to go 25 miles to the other side of the mountain to pick up the hazy signals for British programs. It was still amazing, says ORourke. In his early teens Irelands Troubles were still years away, so he would ride his bicycle across the border into Northern Ireland where we could get better and richer candies and cheaper dairy products like butter. He was exposed to the big city of Dublin since the family frequently visited his grandparents there. After sixth grade he went to Castleknock College, a boarding prep school outside Dublin run by Vincentian priests.

After receiving his undergraduate and law degrees, ORourke worked for his father in Ireland for a short period, but it was evident that times were changing in farming. He took a legal position at the Irish Development Agency, hoping to bring foreign investors to the Emerald Isle to create jobs. The position gave him a nice taste of travel, he says, including a trip to Helsinki. Eventually he was offered a post in Manhattan. I was given territory in New England and had to find any companies interested in manufacturing in Ireland, and the government agency would give them grants and tax benefits. Then he began chasing textile companies in the South.

His professional journey next took him to managing Belleek china for the Waterford Crystal company where he gained legal, marketing and operational experience, learning to deal with computer software and to keep the books. He picked up his MBA along the way at Fordham and developed investments and marketing plans for Irish companies in America. After many years in business, ORourke started teaching international business at Fairleigh Dickinson University and found he enjoyed it. Doors opened for teaching at Caldwell, and he eventually made his way into higher education full time, sharing his multifaceted business experience with students.

ORourke has been a leader in advancing Caldwells Business Division, overseeing the department when it added programs including undergraduate degrees in financial economics, health care administration and sport management and masters in accounting and in business administration.

He is excited about the significant increase in enrollment in the undergraduate programs and about the new programs, including the bachelors in health care administration, a good fit because of our other health-related programs, the bachelors in sport management and the new online MBA program. ORourke hopes that the division can take the impact of technology to the next level with enhanced programs in IT and that it can pursue more international students for the MBA program.

His experience in international business makes him value the contributions of the divisions Business Advisory Council, which provides a bridge between the business community and the university and is made up of senior executives and business owners.

The council provides networking opportunities for students and professors and forums for showcasing faculty and student research and best practices in business and mentorship. We are fortunate that our Business Advisory Council members are supportive in facilitating student internships, says ORourke.

Most rewarding for him is seeing students developthe progress they make over the semester and how they grow in understanding and relating to the worldand then watching them receive their diplomas when they are ready to go out into the world of business.

ORourke is convinced Caldwell has something bigger schools dont, citing as an example a student who was eager to leave for a big-time university but who transferred back to Caldwell after two months. There will always be a need for the Caldwell ethos.

Every country has a story. I determine the essence of the countrys business to get its business zeitgeist.

As a young man working in Manhattan, he joined the New York Athletic Club rugby teama quick way to be integrated into a good group of people, even playing in a tournament in the Cayman Islands.

He and his wife Sheila, Caldwells vice president for institutional effectiveness, have two grown daughters, one grandson, Ronan, and another grandchild on the way.

He served as president of the West Essex and Essex Fells school boards combined for nearly 16 years. I ran three weeks after becoming a citizen. It helped me understand the school system. He testified before Congress on behalf of the New Jersey School Boards Association.

Why we should visit his Ireland: As my wife says, It will always live up to your expectations. There are 40 shades of green. People really are fun to deal with and enjoy. The scenery is fantastic.

It was almost a third world country when I was growing up. In the last 30 years, based on the economic development, it has become one of the richest countries in Europe. Thats not to say it doesnt have its problems; it has many problems; it certainly suffered in the last recession.

The party time and fun timethat exists as an authentic Irish experience.

Everybody deserves to go at least once.

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Young Artists Lead Through Emotional Expression, Powerful Voices and a Conviction for Social Justice – Youth Today

Posted: February 10, 2017 at 3:11 am

News By Allen Fennewald | 22 hours ago

Photos by Allen Fennewald

The D.C. Youth Slam Team qualifying competitors gather at D.C. FreeStyle Center.

Washington Poetry propels young people onto stages in front of hundreds of people and in the midst of world leaders.

Slam poetry is a growing artistic platform among youth, and programs have sprouted in schools and out-of-school organizations across the nation, fostering hundreds of spoken word poetry teams who compete in national contests like Louder Than a Bomb and Brave New Voices. Explosive performances on stages travel far beyond crowded auditoriums via the internet to inspire the next generation of performers and offer insight to those in power on the state of the youth zeitgeist.

[Its about learning] that there is an explanation for the state that youre in, and that once you can see that web of causality, you can actually effect change in a positive way, said Joseph Green, poet and Split This Rock Youth Programs coordinator. Your words can get in front of people who matter, and its not good policy if its not informed by the people who are going to be affected by it.

Split This Rock Youth Programs is a part of the national socially active poets network whose members have performed for advocates like the Coalition for Juvenile Justice and for government officials at the White House. Their website unabashedly calls for youth to engage in public leadership for social justice: Calling poets to a greater role in public life and fostering a national network of socially engaged poets. Youth programs offer poetry training and workshops, host open microphone events and assemble the D.C. Youth Slam Team for Louder Than a Bomb, which they won last year.

Whats unique about those spaces is that they are from young people, yet they are facilitated by adults, said Tara Dorabji, director of strategic communications for Youth Speaks, a 20-year-old nonprofit that produces youth poetry slams and festivals, including the annual Brave New Voices slam poetry competition. Our mission is to work with young people and facilitate spaces where they can really activate their voice through arts and arts experiences, and then build skills from there and apply their voices in different ways, at times, making choices and having opportunities to apply their voice and their poems in the context of larger social justice issues and movements.

Split This Rock Youth Programs coordinator Joseph Green speaks to the audience before the D.C. Youth Slam Team qualifying competition.

One of the eight team-qualifying slams for the capital city team was held on a warm fall evening in the basement space of Real Talk D.C. on Pennsylvania Avenue, about a half mile from the United States Capitol. The qualifier was part of the weekly Floetic Fridays open-microphone event, held in the safe sexual health awareness organizations headquarters, known as the FreeStyle Center.

Although adults organize these events, Dwayne Lawson-Brown, Real Talk D.C.s youth health educator for social mobilization, said the slams show how the youth take ownership of the events through the words they share.

Here in D.C., the adults who organize it recognize that this is for the youth, Lawson-Brown said over stacked boxes of donated pizza as hip-hop beat through the basement arranged with metal folding chairs and couches that faced a small triangular stage. This is their voice. During the slams and the open mics, for the most part, adults arent really involved. Youth ... or near-age youth are hosting the event.

Lawson-Brown said the only role adults play is setting the stage in a community that fostered the 2014 National Youth Poetry Slam champions. Washington has a tight poetry scene, he said, which allows poets to feel comfortable and accepted in their work. The active spoken word poet offered himself as the sacrificial goat poet, speaking the first poem of the night, which is meant to loosen up the crowd and judges before the contest begins.

Young people participate in poetry for many different reasons personal expression, therapeutic outlet and social action. Qualifying competitor Antonio Poetic Hardy, 17, said he writes poetry to keep the creativity and passion of his inner child alive, which helps his work in the graphic design business he recently started. I feel as though you should always keep that fire alive, and thats what writing and expressing myself through pen and paper means to me.

Andrew Hesbacher, 19, earned third in the qualifier. Hesbacher got addicted to bacher got addicted to spoken word when he attended the 2014 Brave New Voices contest in Philadelphia, which the D.C. Youth Slam Team won. I was hooked immediately, he said.

Youth Slam Team qualifying competitor Antonio Poetic Hardy, 17, eats donated pizza behind the front desk and PA system before the slam begins.

As he has progressed as a poet, Hesbacher said he has learned to take on social issues and promote change. For the longest time [poetry] was a way to get feelings out of myself, he said. As Ive gotten older, and Ive gotten better at dealing with my mental health, Im finding Im writing a lot more about things that I care about.

Trae Stocks, 19, took first place out of seven competitors at the qualifier with his poems Mans n Them and Tune. Mans n Them is a rendition of Rasheed Copelands work of the same name. Stocks was so inspired by Copelands piece that he asked permission to write his own version of the poem created by the 2015 second place Individual World Poetry slam winner and former D.C. Youth Slam Team member. Its about the ironies and struggles of growing up as a black man.

Stocks perceives poetry as a youth-led movement, because young people often instigate changes in poetic craft and delivery. Its youth-driven because most of the newer changes that happen come from the youth, he said. I do feel like we have our own style of poetry thats specific to my generation. I hear poems where they speak poetry for a certain amount of time, then they start rapping, then they sing, then they go back into the poem. They incorporate so many more styles into the poetry. I think a lot of the things my generation gets inspiration from is more free-flowing, the music, the fashion, theres no boundaries anymore.

Breaking down boundaries is why Anne MacNaughton created one of the first spoken word youth poetry teams in New Mexico in 1994. She was a Taos High School English teacher and cofounder of the World Heavyweight Champion Poetry Bout at the Taos Poetry Circus professional spoken word competition. When she saw students getting into trouble for cussing in the hallway during rap battles, she decided to give them a place to speak their minds without fear of punishment.

I went out and swept them into my room and closed the door, she said. I allowed them to continue to express themselves, and they really had a good time. Thats when I started [teaching them] poetry.

In the beginning, the poetry club met before and after school to learn and listen to each others work. MacNaughton said students who had problems with authority and troubled lives found an outlet that made them feel heard and appreciated.

About a year later, MacNaughton said the Taos youth poetry group hosted the first statewide youth spoken word competition in the nation. The event was based on the teachings of experienced slam poets, Juliette Torrez and Matthew John Conley. We ended up creating the first state championship poetry slam event. At that time it was all individuals. There werent teams, yet. As the state-wide event grew, we actually moved on to using teams.

Even the trash cans at Real Talk D.C.s FreeStyle Center are canvases for expression.

MacNaughton believes youth use poetry not only to speak out to adults, but also to build a generational relationship and break down boundaries between each other by sharing what theyre going through.

Its about verbal expression of internal growth that allows you to assess your situation in the world, she said. The kids are talking to each other in these poems.

As a junior in high school Yonas Araya, Split This Rock Ushindi Performance Troupe member, used the platform of poetry to talk about substance abuse at the White House, for Queen Silvia of Sweden and at the Kennedy Center.

The greatest part of the experience for the 16-year-old was seeing people in positions of power emotionally moved by a poem about his aunt who was addicted to heroin.

There were some people in the crowd that were crying, he said. At that moment it was the first time that I realized my words can have a big effect on, if nothing else, someones emotions. I think thats the core of everything, because if you can be moved emotionally by what someone says it can drive you to act on those emotions. People will forget what you say, but they will never forget how you made them feel.

Lauren May, 16, also felt the powers of emotional poetry during a D.C. Slam Team trip to South Africa. The Split This Rock Ushindi Performance Troupe and former D.C. Youth Slam Team member wasnt speaking to high-ranking officials, but was still capable of promoting change. Her poem about rape culture had a large impact on a class of South African high school students.

May said rape is a serious and taboo issue in South Africa. One young woman connected with Mays poem so much that she stood before the class, thanked May for her bravery, and recited a personal poem, just written after Mays performance. Her brand new verses spoke of being shamed as a rape victim. The student received hugs from her classmates, and her poem sparked a group discussion on the rarely discussed subject.

Im like, oh my goodness, this girl in another country has the same kind of problems that I have, and that was the first time that I experienced something as huge as that, May said. What I say actually matters to people across the world. After that moment, I vowed to never stop [writing poetry].

Seeing people come together is how Green measures success at Split This Rock Youth Program. Through all of the slams he has supported, the most beneficial outcome from the youth poetry movement he witnessed was on the D.C. Metro: I ran into a group of young people that consisted of folks from D.C. and Virginia [who] I didnt know knew each other, Green said. Id worked at both of these schools. Id seen them meet each other at the Louder Than A Bomb festival, but I didnt know that theyd kept in touch to the point where they were just hanging out.

The multiracial group of students was simply spending time together the simple product of what organizations like Split This Rock hope to deliver; a movement of acceptance and community. Green reflects: That is a real-life, tangible product of allowing young people a space where they are safe, and where they can begin to create connections that will hopefully if the connection itself does not last a lifetime will teach them to take chances with people who live outside of where they come from.

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What to Watch at the Grammys – Wall Street Journal

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Wall Street Journal
What to Watch at the Grammys
Wall Street Journal
But Grammy voters have a habit of favoring traditional songcraft (Adele) over pop-music zeitgeist (Beyonc). Last year, Taylor Swift's ... At the end, a black screen reads: Freedom of movement should be this easy for all legal immigrants. Not just the ...

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Salman Rushdie’s New Novel is About Political Correctness and the Culture Wars – Heat Street

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Salman Rushdie, the writer marked for death by the Ayatollah of Iran for writing The Satanic Verses, is working on a new novel set in contemporary America.

His new book, The Golden House, is a thriller set against the backdrop of modern-day American culture. It covers the eight-year Obama presidency and incorporates the cultural zeitgeist. It includes the rise of the conservative Tea Party movement, 2014s GamerGate hashtag campaign, social media, identity politics, and the ongoing culture war against political correctness.

In other words, its the modern world through the lens of Salman Rushdie, an author who received numerous death threats and even attempts on his life after he penned a novel critical of Islam.

Many stores refused to carry the book following its publication in 1988, and those that did were targeted by terrorists with firebombs and explosives.

The Iranian government put out a hit on Rushdie, which lasted until 1998, calling on jihadists and their allies to take the authors life.

In more recent years, Rushdie has called for the defense of freedom of speech. As the target of assassination attempts over his ideas and writing, the Booker Prize-winning author is uniquely intimate with the subject.

During the election last year, Rushdie spoke out against the furor over the pro-Trump chalk slogans in Emory University in what became known as #TheChalkening. Campuses that saw the rising incidences of chalk messages banned the calcium carbonate writing tool.

Rushdie called the dust-up silly and said there was no reason for art to be politically correct.

When people say, I believe in free speech but , then they dont believe in free speech, he said. The whole point about free speech is that it upsets people.

Its very easy to defend the right of people whom you agree with or that you are indifferent to, Rushdie said. The defense [of free speech] begins when someone says something that you dont like.

There are no safe spaces against offensive ideas, said Rushdie.

Rushdie has come to lose his confidence in the progressive leftincluding those who once defended his controversial book. Speaking in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, Rushdie expressed dismay at the leftist protests that followed the PEN writers association to honor the fallen artists and writers.

Speaking to French magazine LExpress, Rushdie said that people learned the wrong lessons from the threats he faced in the 80s and 90s.

Instead of realizing that we need to oppose these attacks on freedom of expression, we thought that we need to placate them with compromise and renunciation.

Ive since had the feeling that, if the attacks against The Satanic Verses had taken place today, these people would not have defended me, and would have used the same arguments against me, accusing me of insulting an ethnic and cultural minority, said Rushdie. We are living in the darkest time I have ever known.

In Rushdies new book, the main villain is described as a ruthlessly ambitious, narcissistic, media-savvy villain sporting makeup and colored hair. Make what you will of that.

The books publishing director at Jonathan Cape, Michal Shavit, describes The Golden House as being about identity, truth, terror, and lies for a new world order of alternate truths. Its out this September.

Ian Miles Cheong is a journalist and outspoken mediacritic. You can reach him through social media at@stillgray on Twitterand onFacebook.

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Five things to know from Netflix’s 2017 launch – Newstalk 106-108 fm

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Just a day after Amazon Video Prime announced that it would unroll some of its original content, already available in other territories worldwide, Netflix has hit back with its ambitious plans to solidify itself as the worlds favourite channel.

After already debuting Santa Clarita Diet and A Series of Unfortunate Events this year, a Netflix even held in New York yesterday offered a sneak peak into whats to come over the next few months. It all amounts to more than 1,000 hours of new content across a wide variety of television genres, as Netflix looks to cultivate taste communities fond of a few hours of binging.

Here are the five big takeaways from yesterdays event...

Release dates for some of Netflixs most popular shows new seasons were announced, with Orange is the New Black set for an explosive return on June 7th. Love, starring Gillian Jacobs and Paul Rust, was renewed for a third season, before its second one even starts to stream on March 10th, and The OAs unanswered questions may get some answers as the show gets a second season.

Release dates and teaser trailers dropped for a host of new original shows, including the Britt Robertson-starring Girlboss, streaming from April 21st. The show, based on the memoirs of eBay-retailer-turned-CEO Sophia Amoruso, promises to explore entrepreneurialism and flawed female characters.

Also coming on May 12th is Anne, a reworking of the classic Canadian childrens book series Anne of Green Gables, with Irish-Canadian actress Amybeth McNulty taking on the lead as the flighty redhead. Written by the Emmy-winning screenwriter of Breaking Bad, the series promises to bring Lucy Maud Montgomerys literary heroine to a new global audience - and proves she's got a smack in her to rivalIron Fist.

According toBloomberg, Netflix is looking to cash in on the lucrative merchandising side of the entertainment business, and will look to license its content for books, comics, gaming toys, collectables, soundtrack, and apparel. Having recently conducted a successful trial with the US retailer Hot Topic selling Stranger Things merchandise,

Netflix is reportedly looking to ape Disneys model to promote our titles so they become part of the zeitgeist for longer periods of time.

Perhaps its unsurprising that in the 2017 media climate, the announcement of a Netflix show based on a pre-existing feature film has already seen calls for a boycott.

When the 34-second trailer for Dear White People, a social satire about African-American students on an Ivy League university campus debuted, the hashtag #NoNetflix started popping on Twitter, amid calls that the show is anti-white. Since being uploaded yesterday morning, the trailer has been given more than 81,000 thumbs down and just 4,000 up on YouTube, and attempts to start a protest movement of people cancelling their Netflix accounts have seen swift online retribution...

Across all genre of television, scripted and unscripted, Netflix is launching an attempted coup to provide all of the programming a family could want. From parents to kids, with plenty of stunt casting to merge the two (Julie Andrewss show Julies Greenroom will feature guests stars like Alec Baldwin, Carol Burnett, Ellie Kemper, Titus Burgess, Idina Menzel, while Bill Nye Saves the World will see the science presenter work with Karlie Kloss, Zach Braff, Donald Faison, Rachel Bloom, and Joel McHale).

Even fans of the 1980s computer game Castlevania are covered, with an animated series set to be written by British novelist Warren Ellis.

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Regal ‘Seagull’ – South Philly Review

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An East Passyunk Crossingresident is directing a reveredRussian icons first full-length play.

Lane Savadove has long loved celebrating the merits of cerebral texts, contending that We should not apologize for our brains. Through his 26-year affiliation with EgoPo Classic Theater, he has looked to offer such powerful pages with zero pretension, with the entitys festival-heavy identity assisting in that venture. The 49-year-old has finally realized a decade-long pursuit by helming Seagull, a symbolist take on Anton Chekhovs The Seagull, the first full-length play in the beloved scribes canon.

Hes such a titan in the field, the East Passyunk Crossing resident said of the playwright whose 1895-penned piece is the second element of EgoPos Russian Masters Festival. No matter what setbacks we have, well always want to feel life on our skin again. Chekhov is great at helping us to do that because he writes so viscerally.

As the Center City-headquartered companys artistic director, Savadove cherishes choosing which works will encourage the firing of synapses among audiences. With Seagull, which is running through Feb. 19 at the Latvian Society Theater, he has called upon many brain cells to give kudos to Chekhovs vast awareness of humanitys depth.

I feel Ive put everything that I can into it, the overseer said of the project, to which he devoted one year of consideration to fulfill the aforementioned decades worth of desires to stage it. Its brought me to the point where I feel I could cover his work for the next four years and feel incredibly blessed and content to have those opportunities.

Savadove is guiding a South Philly-rich cast, including wife Melanie Julian, in what promotional material calls a moving portrait of the yearning for human connection. The tale finds the playwright Konstantin, embodied by Newbold resident Andrew Carroll, trying to enhance theaters possibilities by inventing a form and style quite unlike the tone found in traditional stage-based offerings. The writers reliance on symbolism, which works to address the tectonic plates of our psychic lives, using dreamlike, poetic language and movement to convey often existential themes, as opposed to direct narrative, endowed Savadove with the idea to mesh realities, as his interpretations patrons become the audience in Konstantins brainchild. That decision brings to the fore considerations of melodrama, Naturalism, and Expressionism and has helped the director to grow more fervently attached to Chekhovs output.

It was definitely among my dream plays, Savadove said of The Seagull, which, he added, offers an amazing introduction into the increasingly popular playwrights ability to incite a deeper experience of theater. Its an essential work in thinking about how we approach and appreciate art and also how we set out to make it. It sets the wheels turning and guarantees you a great mental workout.

In that respect and through EgoPos training regimen that instills in the performers robust vocal and physical styles of acting, Seagull stands as a perfect advertisement for the members allegiance to the belief that greater emotional truth will become evident courtesy of listening to the body and following its impulses. That satisfaction through sensory awareness certainly gives credence to Savadoves point about exhausting every means to capture the essence of the plot.

Theres still so much fun to have even if a text calls for you to be mindful of every component, he said. In fact, Id argue that responsibility makes it more enjoyable, and Im in awe because Im among people who likewise want to give everything to getting at the heart of how art sustains us.

The New Hope native has promoted the need for bold, director-driven work in Philadelphia since his 2005 arrival here. Forced to flee from New Orleans, where he had hoped for EgoPo to become a long-tenured contributor to the citys burgeoning theater scene, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, he arrived wanting to evolve in his passion for promoting theater as an art form and has come to credit the metropolis for its creative fluidity and emotional integrity.

It can be easy to accept the estimation that were not a place thats bursting with deep thinkers because so many outsiders see us strictly as inhabitants of a blue collar city, the Haverford College and Columbia University, School of the Arts alumnus said. And, of course, thats complete nonsense. Its been my experience that theres plenty of brain power generated on a daily basis, and I think thats particularly evident when you look at theater companies and what theyre collectively trying to convey to us, namely, that its perfectly acceptable to seek answers and apply your findings for the good of so many.

EgoPo, whose name derives from the French for The Physical Self, has enabled Savadove to educate the masses across the country and abroad, with Indonesia and Croatia as international recipients of its quest to revitalize the great classics of theater and literature. Those stops have intensified what the seven-year South Philly resident deems the companys rich entrepreneurial identity and has coupled, since the 07-08 season when he and his peers staged a trio of homages to Tennessee Williams, with festival pieces to reinforce how innovative and provocative their line of work can be. Their aspirations have yielded lengthy discussions on what will comprise their slate, with this seasons selections, due to our political climate in the wake of last years general elections, proving quite apt.

We like to reflect on the zeitgeist to lead us to answers on what were going to do, and were usually dead right when determining what smells like its needed to receive treatment, Savadove said. Were hearing so much these days about Russia with respect to government matters, but when you move beyond that, its undeniable how amazingly influential its creative practitioners have been.

Indeed, the Seagull release tabs the European land in many ways, our closest cultural sibling. Savadove et al have relied on that relation to present a fall tribute to Fyodor Dostoyevsky and the current regard to Chekhov and will cap their veneration of vaunted writers in the spring through Anna, a nod to Leo Tolstoys Anna Karenina. As the artistic director and his contemporaries consider the future of EgoPo, with Savadove having proudly spoken of rising subscription tallies, he can also take delight in his full professor of theater designation at Rowan University, whose vigorous physical training program could certainly transform present students into future hires.

Were looking to grow by continuing to tour and simply being daring, Savadove said. You have to be all in if youre trying to make some ripples.


Playing through Feb. 19 at The Latvian Society Theater, 531 N. Seventh St. Tickets: $25-$32 267-273-1414

You can reach Joseph Myers at

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The rise and rise of clean beauty – Evening Standard

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Your fridge is full of courgetti, your kitchen cupboards are stocked with almond butter and your wardrobe is kitted out with sustainable fashion.

Now, its time to turn to your attention to your bathroom shelf because while clean eating and conscious fashion were the buzz phrases of last year, its the clean beauty movement thats causing a stir.

Remember when eco-brands were a bit of a joke, derided for their New-Age formulas and clumpy hemp packaging? Today, enticingly Instagrammable and eco-conscious labels such as This Works, Vanderohe, Bjrk & Berries, Pai and Romilly Wilde which forgo synthetic ingredients in favour of naturally occuring botanical sources and not only smell divine but also come in packaging that would make Coco Chanel purr are being taken very seriously indeed.

Eat Beautiful, by Wendy Rowe (20;

According to trend forecasters The Future Laboratory, the UK natural cosmetics market is currently worth just over 54m, and is set to reach 34bn globally by 2019. Natural beauty stores are flourishing: in the US, new chain Credo, akin to Sephora and selling brands that use safe, sustainable, and ethically sourced ingredients already has popular branches in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco. Here in London, chic natural tinctures can be picked up in Content Beauty on Marylebone High Street, while Holland & Barrett around the capital is becoming the new destination to buy your tinted lip balms thanks to a trendy image makeover. Online, the Beauty Counter is a modern Avon for those after natural skincare.

And much like the makeover that healthy eating underwent thanks to the Hemsley sisters, Amelia Freer and Deliciously Ella, the clean-beauty movement has a new cast of soign ambassadors, too. Burberry make-up artist Wendy Rowe has written a guide on how to use your diet to nourish your skin called Eat Beautiful, while Londoners Elsie Rutterford and Dominika Minarovic, who mix up their own organic face oils and sell them for 35 a bottle via their website, have just published their first book, Clean Beauty.

Clean Beauty co-founders Elsie Rutterford and Dominika Minarovic

The woman buying into it is already conscious about what she eats: skincare and make-up are the natural next steps, explains New York-based make-up artist Kirsten Kjr Weis, founder of the eponymous Kjr Weis, a line of organic cosmetics housed in refillable silver trinkets. Disappointed by the lack of high-performance natural brands in her kit, she developed her own 95 per cent organic pigments (meaning the ingredients come from organic farms and are grown in organic soil untouched by chemicals for at least three years) using minerals such as the light-reflective micas group which add shine.

But this isnt just about feeling healthy and virtuous. We live in a society where we want everything, says Kathy Phillips, ex-Vogue beauty director and founder of This Works, which uses natural and organic ingredients. We want to say we are natural but also look half our age. Nothing drives sales like results and the natural ingredients used in some of these clean beauty players are as potent as many synthetics. The sustainably sourced Cacay oil that youll find in Oilixias Amazonian Oil (48; for example, contains an amount of retinol (about the only clinically recognised anti-ageing ingredient that reduces wrinkles via cell renewal) comparable with any non-natural retinol product on the market.

Natural can be scientific, agrees Susie Willis, who founded plant-based brand Romilly Wilde last year. She uses so-called bio-identicals that is, lab-grown ingredients comparable to those found in the wild to make her products more sustainable. The laboratory I work with takes one cell from the plant algae, for instance and instead of stripping the seabed for more, they stimulate the environment in the lab so the cell can be reproduced again and again.

@credo-beautys Instagram

Sustainability is not just a buzzword for these new brands. You need to think about the complete360-degree footprint of your brand and try to use each choice as a potential solution to a bigger problem, says Marcia Kilgore, the founder of Soaper Duper, which launched last year using largely natural ingredients and recycled plastics and is currently stocked in Liberty. We consider the net effect of the bottle or tube on plastic landfill, the net effect of the formulation on our groundwater resources, the net effect of the product on the person using it, and of course, the net effect of the personality of the brand on overall zeitgeist. This ethical stance is not the cheapest of life choices her bath soaps come in at around 7.50 but who said clean was cheap?

As with any prominent trend, copycat and less squeaky-clean brands will jump on the bandwagon. Its impossible to tell from the label on the bottle, for example, whether your face oil contains frankincense sourced sustainably from a fair-trade farmer or whether it has been harvested by an exploited worker. And for a brand to advertise itself as natural, it only needs a tiny percentage of the formula to be natural (unlike organic).

It can be a green maze, warns Willis. The trick? Do your research visit brands websites, as well as the Soil Association website, Paulas Choice and Ecocert, where you can learn about different ingredients.

Look for third-party authentication stamps that prove how natural it is. Also look at the ingredient listing: the blanket word fragrance is often a red flag for synthetics and if there are any unrecognisable words, google them.

With the right products, you can keep your conscience as clean as your complexion.

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