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stars, sex and nudity buzz : 08/15/2012

Just a Performance?
ABOUT CHERRY: Stephen Elliott, Lorelei Lee and Ashley Hinshaw demystify an industry.
by Anna Bielak and Anna Tatarska [Aug 12, 2012]
ABOUT CHERRY
Ashley Hinshaw explores options in 'About Cherry.'
About Cherry turned heads on the film festival circuit this year, from Berlin to San Francisco, and not just because of its envelope-pushing content. It’s a surprisingly high-profile venture from first-time film director Stephen Elliott, starring James Franco, Heather Graham and Dev Patel. Elliott, already well known as an accomplished author (Happy Baby, The Adderall Diaries), activist (from national elections to neighborhood development) and publisher (TheRumpus.net), was himself a former actor in sex films. Along with co-writer Lorelei Lee, who successfully combines writing and lecturing with her blossoming porn career, and with actress Ashley Hinshaw, they tell us how About Cherry came into being while at the same time demystifying myths and stereotypes about X-rated movie-making. The film was made available as video on demand starting August 9; it opens in theaters for limited release September 21. 

Keyframe: To what extent is your story a depiction of porn industry in San Francisco? Is this portrait rather realistic or imaginary?
Stephen Elliot: Well, it is both. I was a sex worker, Lorelei still is one. Moreover, we were shooting About Cherry in the San Francisco Armory, which is the largest adult film studio in the world. And for the whole time of our shoot there were real crews working on their X-rated pictures there. This place is three blocks down from my place, I worked with them, Lorelei still does. We are all part of the same community. So it is very authentic in that way. Porn industry is a world of marketing, resources, technology. Kink has their office with 150 employees there. These people wake up in the morning and go to work, like everybody else. This is the world we are presenting: People making conscious decisions; this is their job. In that way it is real, yet in the other, it is fictional. The film characters are only figures located in a real place, in the world we are extremely familiar with. That kind of environment was helpful to the actors…
Ashley Hinshaw: …extremely helpful! As an actress you don’t have connections with that lifestyle and that environment. I needed to bring myself to a certain place where I can give an interesting portrayal but not necessary a real one, because I do not really know what it means to be in that world. But being around Kink workers, hanging out in the makeup room with all the girls, gave me more realistic sense of it all. There is a general, sensational misconception about this business, while in fact these are normal people who have lives they live and jobs they do. Afterwards they go home to have dinner with their friends, or their grandma. They are like you and me. But as far as taking on this character, working in a different space would turn the energy of the film into something else.
Lorelei Lee: I think that both me and Stephen have seen so many films that do not portray this world in a way that seems real to us. So many stories about sex work and porn are highly dramatized and highly moralistic. And we just wanted to tell the real story. It is not THE story of pornography or THE story of the girl in pornographic business, but it is just one that felt real to us.

Keyframe: When people think about porn they very often think about women as powerless and subdued bodies, objects. This is everything but your character.
Elliott: …because this is just not the porn world as it exists, it’s just not an accurate portrayal of the porn world. Of course, there are really negative stories that are true. Somebody was asking me questions like: ‘What about sex slavery?’ Well, I am against it and never met anyone who was in favor of it. And I’m against indentured servitude too. But that doesn’t mean I am against porn.
Lee: This misconception is amazing to me. In terms of, when I go to work and I am performing for directors, they do not push me to do anything I don’t want to do. If you have a girl in porn doing something she doesn’t feel comfortable with, that’s a bad movie, bottom line! And nobody wants to watch that. At my first-ever shoot, when I needed to take my clothes off in front of strangers, I was terrified of being judged. Female nudity portrayed in media is all about ‘how does she look like, how big are her boobs, how small is her waist.’ And the first thing I noticed on that set was that everybody who was there, was just nice to me, the whole time. That was not because how I look like specifically, but because this is the industry, where nudity is celebrated, the body is celebrated in the way you wouldn’t expect.
Elliott: Mika Tan, a great porn performer, said this very interesting thing. She has acted in regular movies and was sexually harassed all the time while she was in Hollywood. She was never, even once, sexually harassed when making porn.

Keyframe: Was it hard to find proper imagery for the movie? Was it under any discussion what should or shouldn’t be seen, how to balance it not to show too much or not enough?
Elliott: There was definitely a conscious decision: because it is set in the porn world and because there is a certain casualness about nudity when you’re in the porn facility, it should be more casual. There shouldn’t be any shock value, anything gratuitous. It should not be exploitative. I think that because you know you are in porn facility and you know you’re in a movie set in the world of porn, the sex is kind of infusing the movie, you don’t actually need to see it that much.
Lee: And another part is that this world is so familiar to us, but for most people it is very distracting to see someone naked. So we wanted to walk that fine line between making this world real as we know it but also not distracting viewers from the story that we wanted to tell.
Ashley: I remember, I was asked earlier: ‘How much did you talked about the script and take out the parts you said you wouldn’t do?’ And there was nothing, because we had a conversation early on and later there was never anything that I felt was wrong. From the very beginning Stephen wanted the movie to be tasteful, real and honest. There isn’t the necessity for vulgarity. That’s not the story that we are telling. And I think nudity for the sake of nudity is boring. I think telling the story about porn by just showing certain images and going above and beyond, just because you could get away with it, would’ve brought the movie down.
Elliott: Yes, exactly.
Hinshaw: It would’ve made it so much more clichĂ©. This is what you expect to see, this is what you are seeing, goodbye.

Keyframe: Could you say anything about how you worked on making Ashley comfortable in front of the camera?
Lee: Did I tell her anything? Oh, I don’t think she asked me anything. (Laughs.)
Elliott: Because we were doing it in a porn facility everything seemed more casual. Ashley has never been naked in a movie before and initially we were careful with her: closed set, always a robe close at hand. The case is, almost everybody that play porn actors in About Cherry, other than Ashley, is in fact real porn performer. They would come and hang out on our shoot, while they were shooting their stuff. So someone would come naked or dressed in some sexy lingerie… By the second or third week, when we were doing the boy and girl sex scene, Ashley already felt comfortable with the role of person who actually works in porn. In between takes she walked around in her lingerie playing pool, oblivious to the world.
Lee: This is a place where no one would stare at you when you’re in your lingerie.
Hinshaw: It was incredibly intense! I was on the phone with my mom and in comes Isis Love [a top porn actress] in her leather, amazing get-up. I was like: ‘Oh, but she’s just in her uniform.’
Elliott: That world was really infusing. It was so important for the actors, I think. I would have never gotten that any other way.
Hinshaw: These guys know that this is their lifestyle. We actors, we were ready to go there, but we needed guidance. I knew that going in there I would probably walk away with a very different view of the porn industry. I come from a very small town full of religious people. But I was modeling for years before I acted and thanks to that I was living on my own, seeing the world… that was the time my eyes opened. Sexuality is something that I have never been afraid of or had walls up to. Whether you admit to it or not, so many people—I can’t say everybody—watch porn. Let’s just be real about that. But then the same people are going to judge and throw nails at the people who are involved in the business. But porn is around for a reason, because there is audience, a market for it. As an actor, to go into that, and know that you are taking this on today… there is a certain amount of ‘I need to leave myself n the hotel room.’ I am walking in this building as Angelina, and until I take my make-up off I need to stay in this. Because it would’ve taken so much more energy and would’ve been so much more of a struggle to go in and out of it, in and out… rather than just pack up and say, ‘Here we go, let’s sink or swim,’ and stay at that level all day.

Keyframe: In your film, the director, played by Heather Graham, is a woman. How many porn directors are female? How often actresses turn into directors?

Elliott: Lorelei has directed a lot of porn… it is getting much more common.
Lee: A lot more women are involved in porn and making images they believe in very strongly. There is a whole genre of feminist pornography. Porn as an industry has been controlled by men the same way that every industry has been controlled by men. Yet, more and more now, you see women who are saying, ‘Those images do not represent me or what I want.’ And also a lot of pornography that’s been directed at women has shown their sexuality the way they would not like it to be presented. There are a lot of women influencing porn now, both performers, who are driving the scene in direction they would like it to go, and directors.
Hinshaw: When you think about it, porn needs women, so better respect them! (Laughs.)
Elliott: It is just a matter of shifting, the labor taking control of the process. People that made porn are becoming the owners, becoming directors. When you look at the NBA, the players don’t own the team, you know, but you always hope that labor ends up in charge of something.

Keyframe: Lorelei, is the common belief that female demand for porn is rather minimal true?
Lee: No, I don’t think so, I think that’s just a stereotype. I agree that women who openly talk about their sexuality or who are open about watching porn are judged much more harshly. This is the Madonna/whore complex that is centuries old. So I think there is a difference in the way people are judged for viewing porn. But I don’t think there is necessarily a difference between the desires of men and women to want to see explicit images.

Keyframe: Stephen, this is your first film, and it touches upon a tricky subject. Yet you’ve managed to gather this amazing cast: Ashley, James Franco, Heather Graham, Dev Patel…
Elliott: Amazing, right? Well I already knew James, because he had optioned my book, The Adderall Diaries, so I presented him the script because of that. He was also optioning my novel Happy Baby. I think Heather Graham and everybody else just really responded well to it, they liked the writing. Actors are my favorite people in Hollywood and I don’t have many people I like there. I love the actors because they are on the creative edge; it’s so vulnerable. What could be more artistic than acting? You are putting yourself fully out there, risking so much. Actors I found were very enthusiastic about working with a writer. They respected my writing, my books, and that went so far with them, much further than it did with the financiers or anybody else. They really responded to it. Once we had good actors, everything started gaining shape. It is extremely important to get good actors when you are getting your crew together, as well as having a first-rate cinematographer, first-rate director, first-rate costume designer. It is very helpful.

Keyframe: Ashley, weren’t you afraid that, image-wise, playing in a film about porn industry at such early stage of your career, could be a risky idea?
Hinshaw: No. My team, which presented this script to me, also presented the pedigree behind it, that, in my opinion, speaks for itself. It was all up to me to decide whether I wanted to do it or not. It was an artistic decision and I made it. There are so many dynamic relationships that this young girl has that are letting her down. She is a very real 18-year old girl who wants to have love in her life, who wants to give love. To me, when I first read it, the porn industry part was an imperative part of the movie, but it isn’t what could make my decision or not.

Keyframe: In the film Angelina is continuously judged by the outside world. First of all by her mother, then by her best friend…
Elliott: …Who thinks that she shouldn’t do boy-girl porn, but he watches her in girl-girl porn and likes it, which is very common.
Hinshaw: Making this movie we all knew that people were going to have varying opinions, some would oppose it strongly. At the same time, isn’t the idea to be creative and just make artistic projects to provoke conversation? This is just one story, nobody wanted to change the way the world looks at the porn industry…
Lee: Yes we were. (Laughs.)
Hinshaw: I think it opens up people;s eyes and gives them another opportunity to look at this world in a different light. But at the end of the day, to each his own. You’re entitled to your own opinion. Yet, this world, and this girl specifically, is just who she is, she doesn’t need you to agree with her decisions.

Keyframe: I think there is a difference between how Hollywood or mainstream films and porn film tell their stories. Were you afraid that your professional experience is going to affect your ability to tell a story that’s not porn?
Lee: No. (Laughs.)
Elliott: Lorelei is a very accomplished writer. She graduated from New York University, she lectures there, has been awarded a NFAA award [National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts youngARTS Scholarship]. AND she makes porn. So what? Almost all of the best writing—all my favorite writing—is protagonist-author: On the Road, The Bell Jar, The Sun Also Rises… I’ve written seven books from personal experience.
Lee: When you are telling a story in porn, the point is actually to titillate, to be vulgar, to excite people through the sexual imagery. But that is not the point of the story that we were telling. It was to tell a story that’s much more fleshed out about people involved.

Keyframe: In porn, seduction is the key. Stephen, Lorelei, you are both authors. Is writing about seducing the reader too? 
Elliott: I think my writing is particularly flirtatious. More so than the average, maybe. Especially my letters, which I have been writing for almost three years now, and sending out to a email list that now has almost ten thousand people on it.
Lee: During one of my classes last year, there was a whole lecture on seduction in writing. What they meant was that it should draw you in from the first page, the same way you would have on a date. The person should not even know they’re being seduced. It’s a funny metaphor.
Elliott: But it’s true, for some people. On the other hand, some authors want to remove themselves from the experience, some readers prefer that as well. Not me. In my novels the protagonist is always a stand-in for me.

Keyframe: How much is About Cherry about boundaries?
Lee: Boundaries are something that goes back and forth all the time, both in life and in pornography. One of the points of the film is pointing out that people are crossing boundaries all the time and they’re not even willing to question them once. Characters in the film are people who are making choices that are right for them at that time.
Hinshaw: I don’t think that Angelina has shame or ever regrets decisions she makes. To me she became very real and very close. When you see the film and think about her as a human being, her life continues after we leave her. Maybe she decides to leave it later, maybe she doesn’t. There is a possibility that she is doing things in a different way. This is just a story of growing up.
Lee: The truth is that she IS fighting shame. The shame that society wants to put on you all the time. Boundaries are fixed ideas to some, and that’s probably an easier way to live. People like tradition or religion to tell them when to be ashamed. When you’re queer, like myself, you’re questioning them all the time. You’re breaking them just from what’s inside you.

Keyframe: Does your experience make you redefine certain terms and definitions, for example humiliation, or shame?
Lee: Before I started working in porn, I worked in a coffee shop. I was getting up at 4 am, working morning, going to school, then working at night at a different place. I was exhausted all the time. I thought: Why is this scenario supposed to be SO MUCH better for me?
Elliott: Why is this supposed to be less humiliating? Who decides what is humiliating and what isn’t? Would you lecture someone who’s working in Walmart, wearing that stupid little coat with buttons on it, being a slave to a corporation? Walmart was encouraging their employees in how to get aid from the government! How is working for them less humiliating than making porn? Of course, for some people the answer is obvious. We all have right to think differently.
Lee: For most people it is easily laid out what is humiliating and what isn’t. For those of us, for whom those rules do not apply, you have to figure it out for yourself. And that is what takes a long time.

Keyframe: What about shame?
Lee: When you perform, it is absolutely different than in real life. It’s an outside experience in a way, not vulnerable, not emotional. It’s all a performance.
Elliott: Well, it is vulnerable in a way. You are putting yourself out there to be judged. I believe that every time you come out of the closet, there is another closet. You don’t know the depth of your shame until you begin turning in that direction. It’s like a transvestite who puts on a dress for the first time in his home, then goes outside for the first time, then some time later he dances openly in the club, being who he is… soon he realizes he has all those issues with his parents he wasn’t able to explore earlier, because he was so preoccupied with wearing a dress. The process of keeping your desire inside and hidden is so consuming of your intellectual facilitiy that you won’t be able to deal with all those other things. There’s always another point of shame and only coming out of the closet allows you to address it.

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Fast-food Strip-search Drama Compliance Looks Hard at What Movies Usually Look At
After its Sundance premiere, Compliance might be infamous as the film that inspired a woman to cry out "Rape is not entertainment!" However, writer/director Craig Zobel is not Daniel Tosh. Judging from the film itself, which keeps its final sexual assault entirely off-screen, Zobel seems to agree with that heckler/critic. He has clearly learned a lot about unpleasure and anti-erotic uses of nudity from European artsploitation films, but the Ohio fast-food joint setting and minimum-wage-slave characters could hardly be more all-American.

Zobel draws on Michael Haneke's films, especially their use of off-screen space, during Compliance's harrowing middle section. If he can't match the Austrian director's formal mastery, he thankfully lacks Haneke's combo of sadism and self-righteousness. Compliance's underlying humanism and political conscience lift it beyond being a macho endurance test.

Based on a true story, Compliance begins on a busy day in a fictional ChickWich restaurant. Sandra (Ann Dowd) gets a phone call from a man calling himself Officer Daniels (Pat Healy). The cop claims that a young employee, Becky (Dreama Walker), has been seen stealing money from a customer's purse. Sandra takes Becky into a back room and obeys the instructions from Officer Daniels: to take off all of Becky's clothes and search her for the stolen money. But no amount of strip-searching can satisfy him, and from there, his commands quickly grow extreme and silly.

On one level, it's ridiculous that someone would take the nudity-obsessed Officer Daniels for a real cop. His relish in degrading Becky is all too obvious. On the other, it's a little absurd that we have to take off our shoes to board an airplane. More than any other recent narrative film, Compliance allegorizes the loss of civil liberties and creeping authoritarianism—even the sexual sadism that popped up at Abu Ghraib—we have come to passively accept since 9/11.

Considering what happens in Compliance, Zobel is relatively sparing with naked flesh; it's a testament to his skill as a filmmaker that some critics have described the film as more explicit than it actually is. Zobel's images of female nudity reveal Becky's vulnerability rather than offer audience titillation, but it's crucial to his project that Walker is a young, attractive woman. If male spectators desire her, they come to feel complicit in Officer Daniels's funny games.

Compliance lets neither men nor women off the hook. Obviously, its narrative involves men raping Becky, directly and by proxy. But men are also the only characters who rebel against Officer Daniels, while Sandra greases the wheels of Becky's degradation. We'd all like to think we'd say no to tyranny; Compliance shows how hard it is to tell authority figures to fuck off. As critic Adam Nayman suggests, the reassuring note struck by its finale compromises the film's political meanings, though it also keeps Compliance from slipping into nihilism. Still, no happy ending can take back the chill of Pat Healy's Mister Rogers–gone-perv visage.
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30-years old Canadian actress and nudity dodger 
Jewel Staite in The L.A Complex [S02.E05]

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Steve Wozniak : Web crackdown coming, freedom failing
Apple's co-founder fears that freedom of information is under attack, with the internet controlled and regulated in unnecessary and harmful ways. RT talked to Steve Wozniak on a range of topics, from Wikileaks to Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom.

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SVOD Networks Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Dive Into Original Programming, Threaten Networks

by Rachel Bennett

I’ve watched a lot of television shows this summer: The Vampire Diaries, How I Met Your Mother, and The Wonder Years, to name just a few.

What’s more, I didn’t even have access to a TV.

Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and other online streaming outlets have changed the way we watch our favorite shows — and, now that they are diving into the world of original programming, are about to change it even more.

With more and more outlets buying streaming rights for broadcast network and cable content, purchasing exclusive deals is becoming much pricier, and streaming companies are finding it increasingly difficult to stand out. By creating original content, these online networks will have content they control (creatively and financially) and have exclusive use of.

Netflix and Hulu have already dipped their toes in the water, while Amazon recently announced its plans to create shows. In February, Netflix debuted its first original series, Lilyhammer (which stars The Sopranos‘ Steve Van Zandt as a mobster who goes to Norway under the witness protection program), and Hulu premiered its first, Battleground (a “mockumentary” that follows a Wisconsin political campaign).

Neither show has gotten much fanfare or overwhelmingly good reviews, but critics say it may not matter. As Jeremy Scott, of ReelSEO.com, puts it, “Battleground isn’t an original web series… it’s an advertisement for the Hulu brand. It just happens to also be a web series at the same time.”

Netflix and Hulu Plus are subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) providers, each costing $7.99 a month. They make money from subscriptions, and original series allow them to grow their brands.

Scott feels that debuting these so-so series before higher-quality original shows is actually a good tactical move that allows their backers to perfect their marketing strategies. Moreover, as the Associated Press’ Jake Coyle has explained, these series are conversation starters to let industry insiders and viewers know that these networks have arrived.

In 2013, Netflix will offer no fewer than five original series, chief content officer Ted Sarandos has told Bloomberg. In addition to Lilyhammer, these include the highly anticipated return of Arrested Development and the debut of House of Cards, a political drama starring Kevin Spacey and directed by David Fincher. (Spacey and Fincher are also executive producers of House of Cards.) The other two shows will be Orange is the New Black, from Showtime’s Weeds creator Jenji Kohan, and Hemlock Grove, a horror series from Eli Roth (Hostel).

Hulu will soon have 10 original series, according to Nick Summers of The Daily Beast. Kevin Smith’s show Spoilers has already debuted, as has one episode of Up To Speed, a travel documentary series from director Richard Linklater (The School of Rock).

Amazon, which is looking to get into the same game, is now accepting pitches for shows from anyone who has a pilot script and ideas for following episodes. The network is specifically looking for comedies and kids’ shows, and one idea will be selected and developed per month.

Although online series have yet to grab audiences as such cable shows like Mad Men and Girls, it’s a safe bet that they will – and soon.

“A year ago, it was difficult to have people audition for our show because they just thought, ‘Oh, it’s just going to be on the Internet,’” Battleground creator J.D. Walsh told The Daily Beast. “Now we don’t have that problem anymore.”

From the standpoint of producers and writers, SVOD providers are, in fact, preferable to broadcast or cable networks in a number of ways. Not only are there no network suits around to try to change a series (they don’t employ any), but they can also pretty much show and say whatever they’d like (as they are not bound by the FCC’s broadcast regulations). There will also not be any cable carriage disputes, such as the one with which AMC has recently been engaged.

“Their position was, ‘You know how to make TV shows, we don’t, go do what you do.’ It’s incredibly, incredibly freeing, and delightful,” Orange is the New Black‘s creator Kohan tells The Daily Beast.

In some ways, the SVOD providers’ plans may be more appealing to viewers, too. Unlike broadcast network and cable shows, their series will not have to compete against others in scheduling wars – something that has caused the death of many critically acclaimed shows that failed to deliver competitive ratings.

Likewise, a full season of episodes for Netflix’s series will be posted all at once as opposed to weekly, something that Hemlock Grove‘s Roth hails as an important development. “Viewing habits have changed,” he told The Daily Beast. “I don’t think people necessarily want to have a show stretched out for six months. People would much rather have it stretched out over six days.”

Netflix plans to allocate five percent of its content budget toward original programming, or $3.7 billion over the next five years, says chief content officer Sarandos. Although they do not disclose how much money they are paying in licensing costs to stream content from Hollywood studios, it’s safe to say that the company is quickly becoming a threat to some networks.

To buy the rights to House of Cards, Netflix outbid HBO and AMC by reportedly paying as much as $100 million up front. The company also ordered two seasons – without seeing a pilot. That’s 26 episodes at $4 million each.

If Netflix becomes a direct competitor of such cable networks as HBO and AMC, as it appears it is on track to do, then we could soon see a world in which TV viewers cancel cable subscriptions and sign up for Netflix or another SVOD provider. We could even, conceivably, witness a takeover of the Emmys by a Netflix series, much like shows from cable networks have quickly come to dominate shows from broadcast networks in recent years.

“People keep saying, ‘Oh, you’re going to become like HBO?’” Sarandos says. “I say, ‘No, no, no. HBO is going to become like Netflix.’ We just have to get really great at original before they get really great at all the stuff that we do.”

For now, though, most broadcast and cable outlets don’t regard Netflix or other SVOD services as huge or imminent threats — they are actually making money from streaming. CBS, ABC, and Fox, among others, make more money from putting shows on Netflix than they did when the same series were sold in syndication to cable and local TV stations. (Dramas especially do well on Netflix, whereas comedies tend to do better in syndication.)

“Certain CEOs think of Netflix as the antichrist, and others embrace it as a second coming,” says Leslie Moonves, the president and CEO of CBS. Moonves’ reasoning is that most of the money CBS makes is still from advertising, and Netflix doesn’t really threaten that. Plus, CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox have survived with HBO and other cable channels in existence – why can’t it survive with Netflix, too?

Although Netflix’s direct influence on broadcast and cable networks has yet to be really determined, there’s no doubt the company is having some effect. In June, The CW announced that the fall premieres of its shows won’t happen until October. This move was made in part to cut back on the show’s hiatuses and repeats, which often result in the loss of viewers. With viewers’ ability to watch episodes back-to-back on Netflix, their impatience with network scheduling may continue to grow.

Similarly, many people enjoy watching full seasons of shows without interruption. If viewers decide en masse to put off watching shows until they’re available in their entirety on Netflix, Hulu, or another SVOD provider, then this will surely hurt networks’ ratings. And the fewer people who watch shows on networks, the more these networks will lose on advertising, which is where they make the most money.

The SVOD providers, aside from Hulu, also provide the added benefit of no commercials, which seem to get more plentiful every season on traditional broadcast and cable networks — excluding, of course, premium cable outlets like HBO and Showtime. (Hulu may be able to get away with that, for now, as it offers more current episodes of TV than Netflix or its other competitors.

The bottom line is that a lot remains to be seen: the SVOD networks could evolve into another HBO; they could hurt the big networks to the point where the big networks will determine that licensing their content for streaming is no longer beneficial; or they could fail to produce programming of a quality that poses much of a threat at all.

Whatever happens, I’ll be watching. And, chances are, so, too, will you.


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Sexy girl undergoes gross transformation in horror movie clipSexy girl undergoes gross transformation in NSFW horror movie clip
Looks can be deceiving—and that's disturbingly true in the following clip from Frogz Legz. It's an upcoming horror movie that catches viewers by surprise with its ... developments.
Frogz Legz is a work in progress from director Corin Hardy. The title gives you an idea of what it's about, but words don't do it justice. Even though it's still in production, this terrifying scene gives us an idea of what we're in for. The completed film is expected to be out next year, but only time will tell.

Frogz Legz preys on the unexpected. As a viewer, you never know when the other shoe will drop. The camera's set at a P.O.V. angle. We see everything but are at the mercy of the action taking place. That's a vulnerable position to be in.

Without further ado, here's an attractive French woman who's not at all what she seems.


If you're interested in more of Hardy's work, check out his blog.

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How India's first Playboy model Sherlyn Chopra defied conventionSherlyn Chopra 
Bollywood starlet Sherlyn Chopra is the first Indian to model nude for Playboy magazine, attracting a barrage of abuse on social networking sites. Writer Soumya Bhattacharya talks to Chopra about what it is that drives her to defy convention and looks at what may lie ahead.

This is a story about Sherlyn Chopra, the 25-year-old who has become the first Indian to model for Playboy magazine. But this is not a story merely about Sherlyn Chopra.

This is a story about ambition forged on the anvil of desperation. This is a story of a woman putting out on the social networking site, Twitter, naked photographs of herself frolicking in the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles and attracting a barrage of abuse in a country that sent into exile one of its greatest modern artists for depicting a Hindu goddess in the nude in one of his paintings.

This is a story that stands at the confluence of an India at odds with itself, torn between hypocrisy and its opposite.

'A diva'

When I meet Sherlyn Chopra in the suite of a hotel in the western city of Mumbai, she is in a black top, ripped jeans, and suede boots with pencil heels. A Louis Vuitton belt with an oversized buckle cinches her waist.

I ask her how shooting for Playboy was different from other shoots she has done. "We would start at 10:30am after some Jack Daniels and vodka. Never have I done a shoot with such confidence and joy."

The confidence, she says, was engendered by the stylist of the mighty magazine praising her breasts before the shoot got under way. "When I took off my robe, she went wow. These aren't real, you know, I told her. But she said my breasts were beautiful. After that, once I had put on my body make up, I felt like a diva."

She met Hugh Hefner, the 86-year-old founder of Playboy, the day after she arrived at the Mansion.
Sherlyn Chopra Sherlyn Chopra has acted in a few Bollywood films

When Sherlyn talks about Mr Hefner, her tone turns reverential.

"I was told that Mr Hefner likes to see a woman dressed in the most feminine way possible."

This must presumably be when Mr Hefner formally meets them in person for the first time, because, by all accounts, he prefers them undressed and splayed in as many ways possible in his magazine and DVDs.

"I wanted to wear a jumpsuit, but it was suggested that I wear a short dress or an evening gown."

She decided on the short dress. Then they played dominoes. "We all had to put money on the table for the game; Mr Hefner put $5 (£3) on the table on my behalf. And I lost." It sounds like a terrible betrayal.

Appearing in Playboy has been on Sherlyn's mind over the years.

In 2009, she had sent her photographs to the magazine.

She says she was asked to show up for a trial.

"I panicked and didn't go. I didn't know if I'd be able to do it, if I'd be able to come back and live here in this country."

So what changed? Was desperation added to ambition to take inhibition out of the equation?

'Daddy's girl'

"Earlier I was fearful of my folks in Hyderabad. About what other people would say… Something changed after Big Boss [the Indian reality TV show modelled on Big Brother that she entered and was evicted from in 2009]. I stopped worrying about people; I started thinking that I would be answerable only to myself."

Which is something you had better stick to doing when people on Twitter are asking you: "You are a whore. How much do you charge per night?"

How does she feel about this? "If total freedom comes with the perceived notion of being a whore, then so be it."

Today, she is famous. But famous is something she has wanted to be for many years.

She grew up amid a great deal of domestic violence.

Her parents finally separated. She was, she says, "always a daddy's girl".

Her father - a paediatrician - passed away in 2005.

That is when she left Hyderabad for Mumbai. "I wanted to get away. It wasn't easy to live with my mother under one roof."

What has her mother had to say about the turn her life has taken? "The last I spoke to her was on 7 May." She went to Los Angeles for the shoot on 2 July.

Her sister, a disc jockey in Hyderabad, is thrilled. "She always encouraged me to be a go-getter."

Which is what she tried to be in her first, struggling years in Mumbai.

There is no count of the Bollywood hopefuls who turn up every week in Mumbai, who turn up in the city of dreams, and keep on dreaming.

There is no count either of those who, when their dreams are shattered, turn into husks of themselves.

But then, without ambition, without the dreaming, without that stroke of luck to back talent, where would anyone be?

Sherlyn acted in a few low-budget films. She modelled.

She put out her own line of merchandise. She got nowhere.

"It was the most painful part of my life. I was vulnerable. I took whatever work came my way. I got involved in messed-up, partially abusive relationships."

She also got caught in a vicious cycle. "I did B-list films because I couldn't find A-list ones. And then when I approached A-list directors with the experience I had gained, I was told that it was too late because I had done B-list films."

'Power from money'

And the years were slipping by, until now.

If only time could be frozen at this instant, unless what is to follow is more remarkable.

There is the money, of course; she won't say how much, but does speak of how much she covets money.

"Power derives from money. I always wanted to make a lot of money on my own, to have power from that."

There will be promotions back in Los Angeles, and DVDs and appearances at events.
 This file photograph taken on July 23, 2012 shows Indian Bollywood film actress Sherlyn Chopra posing during the press meeting for the first Indian woman to pose nude for "Playboy" magazine in Mumbai. Chopra will appear in Playboy's November issue

Sherlyn is neither a Playboy Bunny nor a Playmate.

Hers is one of the series of "celebrity pictorials" - the phrase used by Playboy's publicity department - the magazine features.

Playboy did not say what appearing in one of those fetches.

But as with cricketers who play for India, the real money is not in the one shoot, but the endorsements and promotional work that the shoot engenders.

So this, for Sherlyn, may well be the beginning of a rather different career from the one she envisaged when she arrived in Mumbai.

The adult movie industry - lucrative but fragile - may be one way to go. Other options are likely to appear.

In The Post Office Girl, the posthumously published, harrowing masterpiece about the power of money by the Austro-Hungarian author, Stefan Zweig, the novel's heroine, Christine - a wretchedly impoverished, provincial girl who works in the local post office - travels to urbane Vienna.

There, she sees the moneyed people swanning about in expensive shops and restaurants.

"They're the same, she thought. There's not much between us. There's a way up somewhere, a little step to climb, you've just got to find it."

Sherlyn has found that way.

She has climbed that step. From here, the vista appears full of allure.

What she does with those prospects, and what people who are empowered to bring those prospects to fruition do with her, will define the next chapter of her story.

Soumya Bhattacharya is the editor of Hindustan Times, Mumbai. He is the author, most recently, of the fatherhood memoir, Dad's the Word.
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Is Diana Krall’s new album cover too sexy? Too sexist? NSFW?
jazzblogca326 Is Diana Kralls new album cover too sexy? Too sexist? NSFW?

The Verve Music Group yesterday revealed the cover for Diana Krall’s new CD, and I do mean revealed.
Perhaps this will be the jazz world’s attention-getter/talking point of fall 2012. On jazz writer Ted Gioia’s Facebook page — where I glimpsed the Krall pic — much commenting has ensued. Among the various assertions and questions:
20821278 1e03 43f1 b42d 37451471fa18 Is Diana Kralls new album cover too sexy? Too sexist? NSFW?
– the Krall cover is in bad taste
– the Krall cover beats all those the usual boring jazz CD covers
– Verve put Krall up to it
– It was all Krall’s idea
– Do sexy images help sell jazz CDs?
– Should sexy images help sell jazz CDs?
– As a top-selling artist, Krall doesn’t need a CD cover like this to sell boatloads of discs
– With so much music selling digitally, who’s going to see the CD cover anyway?
– Many classical CD covers are just as “boudoir”
– Krall should act her age
– Krall’s music is mediocre
– Krall’s music was better before she hit the big-time
– Krall’s a “damn good singer and pianist”

The official word from Krall’s website:
Diana Krall has collaborated with Academy Award winning costume designer, Colleen Atwood and acclaimed photographer, Mark Seliger to create a series of beautiful and striking images for Krall’s new album, Glad Rag Doll. They are inspired by Alfred Cheney Johnston’s pictures of the girls of the Ziegfeld Follies taken during the 1920s.
Said Krall, “If there was an era to which I could choose to go back in time, it would be the 1920s, just because of the whole wildness of it all.”

Although many of the songs on Glad Rag Doll were also written and first performed in the 1920s and ‘30s, Krall says, “There was never any thought of simply recreating what was already done in the past.”
I will only add that when I interviewed Krall by phone in the fall of 2010 for this profile, she seemed quite affable, down-to-earth and nuts about jazz. I neglected to ask her what she was wearing.

Glad Rag Doll will be released Oct. 2.

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Parkour dog from Ukraine


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In Defense of Boudoir Photography: Lynn Michelle on Sexy Wedding Shots
For awhile, Lynn Michelle considered altering her body. Like so many women, she's successful -- well-educated; a small business owner; an award-winning, peer-recognized career woman -- and beautiful, funny and personable. But she believed there was something missing.

"There were things I wanted to change," she says. "I considered a breast augmentation, but when I saw myself, I realized I am proportionate. I didn't need it."

Now, she says, helping other women "see themselves" is a day at the office. She got her start in wedding photography 13 years ago, and while that practice has remained successful, she was contacted about seven years ago by a pleased client who had a slightly less traditional request: a provocative pre-wedding photo shoot. Since then, Michelle has incorporated so-called "boudoir" sessions -- which caused a minor internet dust-up this week -- into her repertoire, setting up a private home studio, aptly named The Eye Candy Studio, replete with four distinct shooting rooms: The Runway, The Loft, The Boudoir and Vintage Glam.

Over the years, she learned techniques that made her clients feel natural and sexy and, as a result, made for the best shots. It meant listening, learning which insecurities are hindering a client's happiness and determining ways to light and position the client to emphasize their strengths and highlight their idiosyncrasies in a new and pleasing way. But when she turned 30 and decided to do a shoot of her own, she had no idea the experience would be so illuminating.

"I'd brought several outfits, but I was naked so quickly it wasn't even funny!" she says, laughing. Michelle had chosen a photographer who she trusted to do what she does for clients: make her feel safe and empowered. When she looked at the results, she realized her body -- even the areas she'd considered problematic -- was wonderful without alteration.

A burgeoning trend, boudoir photography has received a lot of buzz this week, some of it as unflattering as the big hair and sequined shoulder pads we tend to associate with its 1980s predecessor, the Glamour Shot. The Daily published an article on Saturday, immediately picked up an regurgitated by Jezebel on Sunday, disingenuously emphasizing relatively small aspects of the trend's appeal.

lynnmichelle2.jpgMichelle was quoted in each -- and then misquoted, as some of her statements were incorrectly attributed her happy client, Carlie Rose -- about some of her more conservative clients' motivations behind the shots: "A lot of women do boudoir because they're afraid their fiancés are looking at porn," Michelle said, "and they'd rather them be looking at her."

But while there is certainly truth to boudoir photography's titillating qualities, she says that her statement about women fearing their husbands were looking at porn -- which received the most popular interest and sneering analysis -- were taken out of context.

"It's such a minority," Michelle says. "Mostly it's about empowerment. I'll have a mother of three who hates her stomach and she'll be overwhelmed both by the way she looks and how it feels just to be pampered."

That's not to say that every women who enters Michelle's studio is immediately (or ever) ready to shimmy down to her skivvies and stilettos. Her clients come from varying walks of life and comfort levels, and many of them are church ladies and wives of ministers -- this is Texas, after all.

But Michelle says that for the majority of them, those whose photos are geared for their husbands or finances are less about anxiety and more about staying connected. Her first boudoir client had used Michelle for her wedding the year before and, since the first wedding anniversary's theme is "paper," she thought it was an excellent way to keep the honeymoon alive.

Besides, Michelle's work would hardly be considered a "safe" alternative to pornography. In fact, the majority of her clients are comfortable enough -- and delighted enough -- with their shots to allow Michelle to use them on the Eye Candy blog. In essence, that means racy and seedy are not synonymous, and looking lustfully at the female form is not inherently shameful. But Michelle does note that, when it comes to her shots, "I always say nothing Hustler-style, nothing gynecological!"

"People tend to think of Dallas as very conservative," Michelle goes on. "And many of us do present that in our daily lives. But I think Dallas is glamorous and a little saucy at its core. All I can say is, even with ministers' wives, I've never had a husband complain. Mainly, they say, 'When she comes back you should do this!'"
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Dillion Harper : The Girl Next Door
Dillion Harper is a Floridian who has come to Porn Valley to make her name in the Adult Entertainment Business. She's the archetype of "girl-next-door"...although that archetype has turned into a stereotype, I suppose. Maybe "cliche" is a better word. Anyways, Dillion loves the Adult Entertainment Business, and she'll tell you why in this interview. She'll tell you lots of things, actually.

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Zoey Foxx : Adventurer, Musician, and Adult Actress.
Hailing from Humbolt, CA, Zoey Foxx http://www.freeones.com/html/z_links/Zoey_Foxx/ has been in the adult industry a few months. She's a beautiful girl, and today she talks to Mister POV about fun, family, and her chosen career as an adult actress. My favorite part of this is when Zoey sings. She's good. I think she's good enough to jump in a van, travel around the country playing coffee houses, and, at night, find spot by the river to camp out.
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