Molly misses out on Eurovision final despite note-perfect performance in heat

22 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

How Europe changed its tune- 60 years of Eurovision.

Ireland’s Molly Sterling with last year’s winner Conchita Wurst Singer Maria Olafs from Iceland Monika Linkyte and Vaidas Baumila representing Lithuania The singer wowed the audience with her performance of ballad ‘Playing with Numbers’ at Vienna’s Wiener Stadthalle, but for the second year in a row Ireland failed to qualify. “I’ve had the time of my life,” she said last night. “To be in the final would have been a bonus but to get to Eurovision and represent my country in the first place has been a privilege.” RTE’s head of delegation Michael Kealy added: “I think I can speak for the whole country when I say how proud we are of Molly. It was an absolute pleasure to work with this talented young songwriter and it goes without saying that she has a fantastic future ahead of her.” “There are so many great songs this year. As it hits its 60th year it has gone through several versions of magnificently foolish — from its origins as a serious exercise in postwar peace to the festival of camp excess it has become.

Eurovision is more than just a song contest- its history tells us much about the way Europe has changed politically, culturally and economically since the mid-1950s, and how the changes have not always been for the best. It’s fantastic being in Vienna for such a historic year; it’s the 60th anniversary of the Eurovision and Ireland’s 50th year of competing.” Russia’s entry, ‘A Million Voices’, performed by Polina Gagarina is another frontrunner. Eurovision predates the formation of the European Economic Community (EEC) by several months, but came about from the same desire to bring the countries of Europe (or at least Western Europe) closer together and help prevent future wars. Countries that have close trade links with one another and take part in singing contests together, can’t really go to war against each other, can they?

The first contest, held in Lugano, Switzerland on 24th May 1956, saw just seven countries compete and for the first and only time each country was allowed two entries. Ironically, in this pre-globalization era, there was more genuine cross-cultural fertilization in Europe than there is today, when globalization too often means Americanization. Millions of people across the continent bought the song which only came third for Italy in the 1958 Eurovision Song Contest – Volare, (Nel blu, dipinto di blu, ) sung by Domenico Modugno.

Myself and Greg are going to focus now on working on the album, which will be coming out in the autumn.” Marty Whelan added: “Molly’s performance was marvellous. The quality of the songs was very high in Eurovision in its first twenty years-reflecting the richer cultural life that we had on the continent in the pre-neoliberal era. Les Trente Glorieuses- but just how glorious on so many different levels the period 1945-1975 was, only became fully apparent with the passage of time. Swinging Britain, a happy, vibrant place to be under Harold Wilson’s progressive ‘old’ Labour government, won in 1967 and 1969, and should have won in 1968 too with the upbeat ‘Congratulations’; it’s claimed that Spanish dictator General Franco rigged the contest in Spain’s favor.The 1970s was another vintage decade for Eurovision.

The Seventies started with a first win for Ireland, with the lovely ballad ‘All Kinds of Everything’, with the UK again doing well, finishing a close second. It was great to see the contest become a genuinely pan-European event, but sadly, the expansion of Eurovision coincided with the era of turbo-globalization, a period which has seen national cultural identities weakened, and the contest, despite the participation of new countries, is arguably not as interesting as it once was. Only a small minority of acts sing in their native tongues and instead of a genuinely European cultural experience, where we can learn something about other countries, we’ve got a competition in which too many of the contestants are trying desperately to sound and look American. Modern Eurovision has become a much-hyped high-cost television spectacular, watched by around 180 million people, but they don’t have anywhere near as much charm as the old contests had when the sets were creaky, and it was all about the songs and not the flashing lights. Britain had an excellent record when its foreign policies were relatively peaceful, (the UK won it four times between 1967-81 and finished in the top four in every contest between 1967-78, but its last win was in 1997, the year Tony Blair – with his ‘liberal interventionist’ foreign policy, came to power.

The UK has only had one top ten finish in Eurovision since 2003; and in the last three years, despite having reasonable enough songs, songs, has finished 25th, 19th and 17th. If the UK does want to do well in Eurovision again the answer is clear: kick out the neocons and ‘liberal interventionists’ from the corridors of power and show Europe we’ve changed by putting Tony Blair on trial for war crimes. The country won two years running in the late 1970s, at the time when Israel’s international image was fairly positive on account of the peace agreements with Egypt brokered by US President Jimmy Carter. But it has only won once since then, in 1998, a sign perhaps of how European attitudes to the country have changed in the light of Israel’s wars against Lebanon and Gaza, and the activities of the pro-Israel lobby in cheerleading for US-led wars against Israel’s ‘enemies‘. The advance in LGBT rights is an undoubted positive, but while we have gained equality in some important areas, at the same time economic inequalities have widened.

Because of the economic changes that have taken place since the late 70’s, the feelings of solidarity and comradeship between people are not as strong as they once were. Rugged ‘me first’ individualism and the rise of identity politics have led to more fragmented societies in Europe, particularly in countries where neoliberalism is most entrenched, such as Britain. He protested about the song because one of the captions in the song’s video contained the words: “2014 – Gaza – two-thirds of the victims were civilians, including more than 500 children.” I’d call that censorship, but the West’s free speech anti-censorship crusaders weren‘t at all interested. Keith Walker, of Euronews, did though pick up on the irony ‘Israel who’s PM marched in Paris defending free speech, protests’ Hungary’s Eurovision entry’ Just imagine the furor if the Russian ambassador had intervened to try and get changes made in another country’s Eurovision entry. Then we’d have been treated to a plethora of unbearably pompous oped pieces in neocon and faux-left publications expressing ‘outrage’ over how Putin was trying to destroy “free artistic expression at the Eurovision Song Contest” and calling for Russia to be banned.

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Finding the ‘Joy’ in Jennifer Lawrence

20 Jan 2016 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Joy’ review: Jennifer Lawrence cleans up in enjoyable biopic.

Writer-director David O. Their latest collaboration — following in the footsteps of Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle — is a biographical picture about the life and times of Joy Mangano.Jennifer Lawrence groans when she’s asked about singing the classic Nancy and Frank Sinatra duet Something Stupid with co-star Edgar Ramirez in her new film Joy. “David [O Russell, the movie’s director] texted me last night to ask if he could put it on the soundtrack and this is what I texted him back,” the actor says as she digs around for her mobile phone and reads out her response verbatim. “‘David, no!!!’ and it is three exclamation marks.In a very abbreviated nutshell, that actually happened to Joy Mangano, 59, the fabulously successful Long Island entrepreneur/inventor and HSN pitchwoman whose rags-to-riches journey started with the invention of a mop.

Russell has made three kinds of movies: offbeat romances (“Flirting With Disaster”), surreal comedies (“I Heart Huckabees”) and dramas about dysfunctional yet appealing families (“The Fighter”). In real life, Mangano is the Long Island housewife and inventor who became famous and eventually rich after bouts of near-bankruptcy, by creating and marketing her Miracle Mop. Out Boxing Day in Australia, the film stars Jennifer Lawrence in the fictionalised life story of Joy Mangano, a single mum from Long Island who made her fortune selling a mop. On Christmas Day, “Joy,” a movie inspired by her struggles as a divorced, single mother turned mogul by way of that mop, will open at movie theaters across America.

This was before she hooked up with the giant Home Shopping Network, becoming their most effective pitch person and eventually selling her parent company, Ingenious Designs, to HSN. Gross, I can’t listen to it; I have to go to bed.’ And I said yes, but it’s a groaning, reluctant yes.” It’s the kind of unfiltered moment you come to expect when interviewing Lawrence, who may now be one of the most famous actors on the planet but still blurts out whatever she’s thinking with such self-deprecating charm it’s impossible not to be, well, charmed.

Jennifer Lawrence’s performance as Miracle Mop inventor and QVC pitchwoman Joy Mangano glues the movie together, but it threatens to unravel at any time. Lawrence, 25, looks genuinely surprised when complimented about how unchanged she seems from our earlier interviews before the fame and Oscars. “But there would be no reason to change,” she says with a shrug. “I just have a job and I love my job. In the film, Lawrence’s Mangano is a colourful character, a single mom with a unique relationship and friendship with her ex-husband, and an enterprising woman who parlays her creativity into an incredibly successful business.

Mom (Virginia Madsen) stays in her bedroom and watches soap operas, until she falls for a Haitian plumber (Jimmy Jean-Louis) who fixes a hole in her bedroom floor. She landed minor roles on TV shows such as Monk, Cold Case and Medium before her 2010 indie film Winter’s Bone led to her becoming the second youngest best actress Oscar nominee in history. This is true even when the film tilts off its rocker with a bit of Russell-esque madness built into the screenplay, and with the director failing to always keep the energy going. That resulted in not only a string of critically acclaimed films, an Academy Award and another Oscar nomination, but also her very own mega-franchise as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games.

Joy’s grandma (endearing Diane Ladd) delivers messages of empowerment and smooths over constant fights, but she’s opposed by the money-grubbing rich woman (Isabella Rossellini) who dates Joy’s dad and sends negative messages about her. Lawrence’s endearing habit of speaking her mind resulted in a controversial essay she penned on Lena Dunham’s website about her discovery during the Sony hacks that she was being paid less “than the lucky people with dicks” on her recent films, including American Hustle. “I completely understand when people say actors shouldn’t talk about politics and things they don’t know about, but this was my gender at stake and it was being threatened with unfairness and I thought, ‘What is the point of having this voice if it’s not to speak out for myself and for everyone else who can’t?’,” she says unapologetically.

Upon learning that Lawrence would be playing her mom, Miranne says, “I braced myself so I wouldn’t fall on the floor.” As for Mangano, she says Lawrence playing her “made me feel old, number one. Lawrence hangs out with a posse of celebrity girlfriends, including Amy Schumer and singer Adele, but the reason is simple. “The friendship gets expedited a lot when you meet someone you know beyond a shadow of a doubt has no agenda,” she says. Draining her savings and taking out loans, she started off small, selling her mops to local boat owners. “She persuaded QVC to take a thousand, but sales were poor and they tried to send them back,” says Mason. “She suggested letting her demonstrate it herself, and the channel agreed.” Sales skyrocketed and Mangano’s career as a QVC pitch woman was launched. That’s so amazing there aren’t even words.” Mangano and her three children didn’t view “Joy” until the Dec. 13 premiere in Manhattan, though a family outing to see “Trainwreck” included a trailer.

This is, after all, the self-confessed reality-show junkie who confessed in a recent Vogue interview that on the night of her 25th birthday party, friends surprised her with a visit from reality queen Kris Jenner, who presented her with a cake inscribed, ‘Happy Birthday, you piece of shit!’ The only time she seems tongue-tied is when asked about her relationship status, after a four-year stint with X-Men: First Class co-star Nicholas Hoult and a year with Coldplay singer Chris Martin before their breakup earlier this year. “Next!” Lawrence says in a no-nonsense voice, pausing as she decides if she’ll continue that thought. For one thing, Mangano’s childhood is not that interesting for a film, despite some flashbacks to her as a youngster (when she is played by 10-year-old Isabella Cramp, who does actually look like we imagine Lawrence could have at the same age). A satire on the acquisitiveness of the public? (Here, QVC foists unnecessary things on gullible viewers who could better save their money.) Russell doesn’t seem to know. And, of course, the grave ending would be a lie: Mangano is very much alive at the age of 59, still inventing, still pitching products, still a superstar of the American home shopping universe. There’s the Clothes It All luggage system, essentially a rolling suitcase with a removable garment bag, and the Super Chic vacuum, which releases fragrance into the air.

If I even casually say something to a reporter, that quote haunts me for the rest of my life,” she says, “so I am never, ever, ever talking about boys again!” I don’t think any of us brought enough tissues!” A good portion of the film was shot last winter in Boston, and though the always-busy Mangano was twice scheduled to visit the set, snowstorms made travel impossible. He has mixed genres successfully before, as in the anti-war comedy-drama “Three Kings,” but the blender often grinds to a halt in “Joy.” Just as we’re getting used to the realism of Mangano’s fight for respect, Russell photographs Rossellini as if she were a gargoyle.

One of her creations, the thin and velvet-covered Huggable Hanger, remains a bestseller for HSN, at more than 300 million sold, and was endorsed by Oprah Winfrey. Yet in “Silver Linings Playbook,” Cooper, De Niro and Russell all supported her with fine work; here they lay back and make the movie a one-ring circus where she has to be acrobat, bareback rider and clown.

He had a presence all of his own.” At one point, Miranne says, “Jennifer grabbed Joy’s hand and said to David, ‘Look at the nails, a French manicure.’ ” (That manicure is a Mangano signature.) Lawrence revealed that in studying for her part as Joy, she watched recordings of the inventor’s early pitches on HSN, including ones for “Huggable Hangers” and found her so compelling that she wanted to buy them on the spot. There is something special when creative people get together.” Mangano’s take on Lawrence? “She’s beyond her years, so brilliant, hysterical and so talented.

Critically, Russell’s sense of wonder and beauty turns elegiac moments — especially when Joy Mangano becomes fully realized as a woman and as a business executive — into scenes of great beauty. Lawrence recently said on “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” that the movie was “half Joy Mangano’s story and half [Russell’s] imagination and other powerful, strong women who inspired him.” The director mined much of his Mangano material by phone.

The cast includes Edgar Ramirez, Diane Ladd, Virginia Madsen, Isabella Rossellini, Susan Lucci (in a mock TV soap opera that gives Joy some of its silliness) and even Melissa Rivers as her late mother Joan Rivers. There’s no situation Joy cannot overcome or circumvent.” At a Newsday photo shoot at Mangano’s luxurious but serene 42,000-square-foot mansion on 11 acres in St. As for parting advice for the ambitious? “If this movie inspires even just one more person to believe in themselves and to go after their dreams, then it’s made a very special impact in this world.

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