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Archive Monthly Archives: January 2018

Sell Your Blog: How Much is Your Blog Worth? – PakWired


PakWired

Sell Your Blog: How Much is Your Blog Worth?
PakWired
The entrepreneur / marketer — These buyers are often more interested in what's behind the blog than how much money it's making. For example, I had a PR blog that several PR firms wanted to purchase (these were the highest offers I've received thus far

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Sources: Wide receivers coach Derek Dooley not coming back, other sources say not true – Blogging The Boys (blog)


Blogging The Boys (blog)

Sources: Wide receivers coach Derek Dooley not coming back, other sources say not true
Blogging The Boys (blog)
A report has Derek Dooley gone, but other sources say no decision has been reached. By RJ Ochoa@rjochoa Jan 1, 2018, 8:30pm CST. tweet · share · pin · Rec. Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports. Late on New Year's day, it was reported that the Dallas Cowboys

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How Robert Evans changed movies for ever – and for the better

With The Godfather and Chinatown, Robert Evans revolutionised the movie industry. Now, Simon McBurney is staging the moguls scandalous memoir, The Kid Stays in the Picture. They talk about art, life and America

Half a century ago, Hollywood was at a crossroads. The major studios were in the doldrums, haemorrhaging money on bloated star vehicles such as Paint Your Wagon that were relics from a different era. Iconoclastic social critiques such as Bonnie and Clyde and Easy Rider were generating headlines and queues around the block. No one knew what the public wanted next. All bets were off. There was a brief window where someone could go into a studio and propose any film, explains Simon McBurney, the 59-year-old actor and artistic director of groundbreaking theatre company Complicite, when we meet in an east London cafe.

He sounds so excited by this notion that he would surely be rubbing his hands with glee if his right thumb were not swaddled in a cartoonishly large bandage, the sort that Tom might wear after Jerry has thwacked his paw with a mallet. It was an accident while cleaning the blender: I didnt realise it was plugged in. It took a piece out of my thumb the size of a sugar lump. I wince in sympathy but he looks blankly at me from beneath the brim of his canvas cap. He is too caught up in thinking about that Hollywood revolution to worry about a sore thumb. One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest was for him the clinching film from the American new wave of the late 1960s into the 1970s. As an actor, that was the absolute explosion for me, he says.

McBurney is steeped in the era and its social and cultural impact again now that he is directing an adaptation of The Kid Stays in the Picture, the scandalous, hard-boiled show-business memoir by producer Robert Evans, who transformed the industry when he became head of production at Paramount. In shepherding to the screen hits including Rosemarys Baby, The Godfather and Chinatown, he took the studio from ninth place (of nine) to No 1.

In
In a moment youll ask me another question and Ill tell you some other lie Simon McBurney. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

The dynamic and silver-tongued Evans, who is 86 and still has an office on the Paramount lot, was a former actor who became a millionaire in his 20s after selling the womens clothing business he had started with his brother. (He liked to say he was in womens pants.) He described himself as a half-assed actor but what he knew about was story. In the second half of the 1960s he snapped up the rights to novels including The Detective and The Godfather (when it was still titled Mafia and amounted to a pile of rumpled pages), which he transformed into modestly budgeted mega-hits. He also mastered cross-platforming long before that term was coined: the publisher of Love Story didnt have much faith in that tearjerker but Evans put $25,000 toward expanding its print run when he bought the film rights. He then nurtured relationships among media subsidiaries of Paramounts parent company, Gulf+Western, to guarantee the success of the book, which in turn boosted the movie version.

He was a gambler, to be sure, and the gambles didnt always pay off. Towards the end of the 1970s, he was deeply in debt and addicted to cocaine; in the 80s he was briefly a murder suspect after the death of a potential investor in his film The Cotton Club (a spectacular flop). But he was also a visionary. He changed the movies for ever, and for the better it was he who ordered Francis Ford Coppola to add nearly an hour to The Godfather after the director turned in an initial cut that resembled, in Evanss words, a long, bad trailer for a really good film.

What he understood, says McBurney, was fuck stars, fuck distribution. Whats key is story. He worked out that if you get the right story, everybody will go. The more truthful that story is, the more not on the money but slightly ahead of the money, the more it will key into the zeitgeist. People had begun to understand through television that there were some shit things going on in the world and they wanted a degree of that reality.

Clint
Clint Dyer and Danny Huston in rehearsals for The Kid Stays in the Picture. Photograph: Sarah Ainslie/Royal Court

One of the elements that interests McBurney in Evanss memoir is the overlap between art and life. The preface to The Kid Stays in the Picture memorably begins: There are three sides to every story: yours mine and the truth. No one is lying. McBurney smiles at that. The whole question of what is and isnt true is a fascinating one. People say, But is it a real story? Well, all stories are real because they all really do something, they all really engage you. When I told you about my thumb you bought into it because its a good story. I can make it less good Its fine, its just a little cut but I choose to embellish because I enjoy telling stories. This extends even to the nature of our conversation. In a moment youll ask me another question and Ill tell you some other lie. He smiles faintly and takes a chomp on his sandwich.

The distinction between fact and fiction is particularly irrelevant in the case of Evans because of the bizarre hall-of-mirrors effect created by his films. After Love Story was released, the rate of impregnation suddenly shot up. When The Godfather opened, it became the favourite film of the mafia, who then began to dress like the characters in the film. There is this extraordinary interplay in 20th-century American culture, says McBurney, between who people are and who they imagine they are. Look at America now. Everything is corrupt. Everything is done on the fly, with a degree of improvisation. There is the surface where you have the myth and the magic, but underneath its extremely murky. As Evans said to Henry Kissinger, politics is only second-rate show business. Which then of course becomes true with the election of Ronald Reagan. And Kissinger, coming out of The Godfather, says: Its just like Washington but with different faces.

No one familiar with Complicites work would expect a straight adaptation of the book. It seems McBurney is planning to use Evanss story as a prism through which to view the US. Kind of, he says with a slight grimace. Im not hijacking the story. What interests me is the way that something is real and not real, happening and not happening. Theres a story about it and yet the story is the reality.

Marlon
Marlon Brando in The Godfather (1972). Photograph: Allstar/Paramount

The creative process behind any McBurney production can appear precarious to outsiders: A Disappearing Number, Complicites show about the mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, was first staged in 2007 in an incomplete form, and there was still no script for The Encounter 10 days before its premiere in 2015. I can vouch that a script exists for The Kid Stays in the Picture it occupies the seat beside its author while we talk but the details are still up in the air. There are unlikely to be any clips from Evanss movies. That would just make you want to see the rest of the film. McBurney will admit that there is currently a live camera feed in the show. Whether there will be finally I dont know. The actor Danny Huston (whose father, John, was unforgettably sinister as Noah Cross in Chinatown) has been cast in the show but there is a rumour that the role of Evans will be divided among multiple performers, la Todd Hayness Dylan film Im Not There or, indeed, Beware of Pity, Complicites recent Stefan Zweig adaptation.

Of course, there is only one Robert Evans. When I call him at his home in Los Angeles, he is in good spirits. His words sometimes come haltingly he suffered a series of strokes in the late 1990s but the charm is intact and impressive. As is that deep, rich voice, both gravelly and sweet. I ask what makes a good producer and he gives a wheezing laugh. Thats a good question. Every success Ive had has been for a different reason and every failure for the same one I said yes when I meant no. With very few exceptions, thats been the story of my life. Darryl Zanuck told me, If you can introduce your movie in a paragraph youll make it a hit. If you can do it in a sentence, youve got yourself a blockbuster. He was 5ft 4. Height is clearly an important factor here, so I ask Evans how tall he is. 5ft 10! he says with relish. He has the knack of making well-worn stories sound as though theyve just popped into his head. The next moment, he will ambush you with a poignant reflection. Im still alive. A little battered. But I like myself. For not selling out. There are people who have bigger homes, bigger boats. I dont care about that. No one has bigger dreams.

I wonder what he sees when he looks around Hollywood today. Young people, he shoots back without missing a beat. However. Im not into machines. Im not into Mars. I like feelings. How does it feel? That, to me, is the turn-on. And story. If it aint on the page, it aint on the screen, or anywhere else. McBurney concurs: The studios now will only fund something if they know its going to make money if its superhero X, Y or Z, and it did well the first time, then theyll make a second or third. Or, for that matter, a fifth. After all, McBurney himself starred in the most recent instalment of but no, hes already beaten me to the punch. I know, I did Mission: Impossible, he says, turning away from me. I dont know whether to say Shame on me or not. The fact is I have a family, and every now and then I go, Well, Id better pay for some trousers now.

His own brushes with Hollywood have been few and far between but he did briefly approach Coppolas orbit in the early 1990s, when he was flown out to audition to play Renfield in the directors adaptation of Dracula. I spent two weeks in Los Angeles drifting in and out of castings and meetings. Coppola at that point was very heavily protected by his own coterie of people at Zoetrope and reportedly never got to see my tape but, hey, I lost out to Tom Waits.

Robert
Robert Evans with his former wife Ali MacGraw. Photograph: Allstar/USA films

His experience of LA and the film industry is largely typical. I stayed in the house of a producer friend who then gave me keys to someone elses house where the Beatles had stayed. All very bizarre. We were let in, no one was there. My girlfriend and I swam up and down in the swimming pool, wandered around stark naked, drove up to Big Sur. It was kind of crazy. The sense of impermanence, the lack of specificity can, if you are in the least bit sensitive or emotionally unstable, be disturbing. Ive been incredibly lonely there. Its so nebulous and yet its easy, in spite of its vastness, to feel closed-in.

McBurney has often said he makes things so that he can understand them, and The Kid Stays in the Picture is no exception. I dont know about Hollywood and this world and I find a lot of it distasteful. And yet meeting Robert and reading the book there is something fascinating and human about this story of a man who goes right to the top, which in that profession means right to the top of America.

McBurney and Evans seem like unlikely bedfellows but both men emphasise their points of overlap. When no one could fathom Robert Townes Chinatown screenplay, McBurney points out, Evans made it, in a sense, in order to understand it. The producer chuckles at the memory: Everyone thought it was written in Chinese! Though he has met McBurney only once, he thinks they might be kindred spirits. His reputation precedes him, he says admiringly. Ive been told by many people hes a genius. He is an actor and a writer and hes been around a long time. Hes his own man. Sounds familiar, I say. He lets out a laugh like a bowling ball rolling down an alley. Thats my type o guy.

The Kid Stays in the Picture is at the Royal Court, London SW1, from 7 March to 8 April.

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Inside Trump Tower, where the transition plays out in plain sight

The president-elects namesake tower on Fifth Avenue in New York looks like a no-go zone but as hundreds of tourists discover every day, its no fort even now

Anyone can walk right into Trump Tower.

In the month since Donald Trump was elected president, his namesake tower on Fifth Avenue has been fortified. Planes have been diverted from flying overhead. Dull-eyed dogs sniff the pavement out front, where large men in black helmets stand holding long guns. It looks like a no-go zone, which makes sense, because its almost the presidents house.

But as hundreds of tourists and other curiosity-seekers discover every day, Trump Tower is no fort, even now. No serious airport in the country is as easy to enter. Theres a bag scanner, but no visible metal detector for visitors to walk through.

Inside the airy public atrium, its the same shopping mall and food court that Trump conceded to the people of New York City in 1983, the year the tower was finished. With the same stinky public bathroom in the basement and the same concrete-tile patio on floor five, the same brass vitrines at street level, and the same waterfall weeping down five stories of orange Breccia pernice marble on the atriums east wall.

The difference now is, the next president of the United States who is running his presidential transition out of his apartment high above might suddenly pop out of the elevators, like he did on Tuesday morning, to accuse the countrys largest aerospace and defense contractor of doing a little bit of a number on the country. The governor of Iowa might wander by. A billionaire tech executive, or the second-richest man in Japan. Laura Ingraham, looking just like she does on TV.

The buzz lured Kyra Niklewicz and her husband, Dave, to make a detour to the tower on Tuesday before catching the Rockettes on a trip to the city from their home in Rochester, New York. Kyra, a medical technologist who works in a hospital, said the couple was pleasantly surprised at how accessible the tower was.

Were excited about Donald Trump, she said. I think he offers definitely a different perspective. Hes pro-life thats very important to us. And I think we need to give him a chance.

The Niklewiczes were enjoying the scene from two of the best seats in the house, in the lobbys floating Starbucks, which is planted on a catwalk that boasts views of the Fifth Avenue entrance one way, the waterfall the other way, and best of all for people-watching the elevators directly below. The area is banned to TV cameras, but the angles are sufficiently irresistible that cameramen keep appearing there, only to be kicked back downstairs by security guards.

The media is technically restricted to a semicircular pen facing the elevators, set off by red velour ropes on brass stanchions, which were definitely not purchased with this in mind. But reporters without large cameras, like anyone else on the scene, are free to wander about, for example to the downstairs food court, where Trumps communications director, Jason Miller, spent about half an hour eating a buffet lunch.

Were conducting this process daily, said Miller, ambushed as he finished his soda, of the selection of Trumps cabinet. The president-elect is talking to a lot of qualified people every day. Then he smiled, said thanks and jumped in an elevator.

Eric Trump, the president-elects second son, was flushed unexpectedly at midday from the Trump Grill, on which the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences has conferred its Star Diamond award, according to multiple plaques. At the grill, a bloody mary called the Youre Fired costs $15 about right for a tourist destination in midtown Manhattan. Flanked by quick-striding men in suits, the scion escaped through a quiet elevator bank one storey below the main one, which explained how he had snuck in there unseen.

Now, about those prices. Trump is a luxury brand, but the atrium of his tower is an oasis of relative affordability in the middle of one of the most obscenely opulent consumer districts on earth. Prada is across the street, Bergdorf and Van Cleef are kitty-corner, and Gucci occupies commercial space elsewhere in the building.

Tiffany & Co, directly next door to the tower, complained last week that holiday sales were down because of the bothersome security cordons. The jeweler has created an entry corridor, defiantly draped in powder blue, to its front door from a security checkpoint at the end of the block.

Tiffany, at its least expensive, sells glass bowls for a couple hundred dollars. Inside Trump Tower, Trump-branded glassware starts at $3.50. Golf accessories, books and apparel can all be purchased at prices youd find in a campus bookstore. Theres a perfume for less than $20.

Slightly pricier are the items on offer at the basement booth operated by Donald J Trump for President, Inc. Here is the official campaign swag familiar from the rallies: T-shirts $25, hats $30, sweatshirts $50. But dont try buying this gear if youre not an American: proceeds count as campaign donations, which are not legal for non-citizens to make.

Sales at the Trump swag stand were not brisk. No one inside the tower on Tuesday, in fact, was sighted wearing Trump gear. People wore green sweatshirts that said North Dakota, and sports team hats and puffy coats. Maybe they had Trump T-shirts on underneath.

As of 12.47pm on Tuesday, the Trump swag booth had recorded one solitary sale, according to an inventory sheet left carelessly on display. It was a hat.

By far, the best commercial opportunities on the premises are to be found in a souvenir shop in the basements deepest recess, not counting the bathroom. Its where locals go to buy lottery tickets and cigarettes, and where the visitor might pick up a generic Statue of Liberty magnet or an NYPD sweatshirt.

The shops proprietor, who did not want to give his name because his office sits under 63 stories of pure Trump weight, said that while he would love to, he was not allowed to sell Trump-branded gear, because Trump was selling those products himself.

Hes a businessman, man, said the man. Hes a very smart guy. And hes going to make money.

Rising back out of the basement to street level, lifted by an escalator past tourists filming their descents on their phones, one has a prime view of a 40ft tree installed at the base of the waterfall for the holiday season no competition for Rockefeller center, but not bad.

The tree is the centerpiece of the towers Christmas dcor that includes wreaths, prop golden gift boxes with red bows and Nutcracker soldiers standing sentinel on the escalator landings. The background music is Barry Manilow and Bing Crosby Silent Night, White Christmas, Rudolph and the rest.

Its as pleasant as any mall or airport around Christmastime, but with an added air of expectancy. In 44 days, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States.

Meanwhile, at the foot of his tower, anyone can walk right in. And make a purchase.

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