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  16. The series continues to hold its own with new judges this season. On average, it has retained 93 percent of its audience in the 18-49 demo, and 99 percent of total viewers.

  17. All of these designers will be bringing their spring 2012 collections for Hollywood stylists and editors to see – and, we expect – a few celebrities as well, though the celebs will probably get private viewings. Burberry model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is hosting. The Starworks team in L.A. is manning the pr and doing the invites.

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  19. Luxury retailer has transformed its 84-year-old Christmas catalog into an application for what’s anticipated to be this year’s hot electronics gift: Apple’s .By putting the 2010 Christmas Book into an iPad app, Neiman Marcus is keeping up with its customers, said Gerald Barnes, president of the Dallas-based company’s catalog and online division. That doesn’t mean the printed catalog is dead. Neiman Marcus still plans to mail more than 1 million copies to customers, and the entire catalog is viewable on its website.The Christmas Book has been online since 2006 and now almost all of the company’s direct sales are made on its websites. Its Internet revenue increased 10.7 percent last year, while catalog sales fell 19.2 percent.Last year, about 85 percent of Neiman’s direct sales were online, up from 80 percent last year and 75 percent in 2008, according to the company’s annual financial report.Going mobileOne advantage of an iPad app is customers can browse the catalog from anywhere without an Internet connection once they download it, Barnes said.Imbedded in the iPad app and the online catalog are videos showing fantasy gifts, such as this year’s his-and-hers gift: a 48-by-12 houseboat with 7-foot ceilings and $250,000 price tag.There’s also video of this year’s car ? a 2011 Neiman Marcus Edition Camaro convertible with a 6.2-liter V8 engine that sells for $75,000.Other catalogs also soon will be accessible from the iPad app, Barnes said. “Catalogs continue to be a very important part of our advertising. This is how we get into our households.”Mailed catalogs are up slightly this year from just less than a million last year, Barnes said. Before the recession, the company mailed 2 million Christmas Books.Price rangesAbout half of the 450 items in this year’s 163-page catalog are again priced below $250 ? showing the retailer’s sensitivity to cost-conscious buyers.After skipping the $1 million and up price tag last year, this year the famed book contains a gift costing $1.5 million: International artist Dale Chihuly will transform a swimming pool into an original, private work of art.The least expensive item is a $15 silver-plated candlewick trimmer.Neiman Marcus extends its reach with catalogs. About 40 percent of its online and catalog customers in the last two years have been from cities where it doesn’t operate a store. And customers who shop both stores and online spend about four times more than single-channel customers.Last year, Neiman Marcus circulated about 48 million catalogs, down 25 percent from the prior year, as shoppers shifted to the Internet. It also sends out daily e-mails to about 4.7 million customers, alerting them to new merchandise and special offers.Even before online shopping took over, catalog represented only about 10 percent of annual catalog sales.His and hersBritish success story Burberry revealed today that it had hit a stumbling block as the luxury brand issued a profits warning.In a surprise update, the group said it had been hit by a slowdown in spending across the world.The darling of the fashion scene had once enjoyed sales growth in double digits, but today it reported that like-for-like sales ground to a halt in the 10 weeks to 8 September. Chief financial officer Stacey Cartwright said: “In the last two weeks there has been a global slowdown. We have seen this across the board in Asia, the US, Europe and the UK.”Despite its issues, the brand is gearing up for where it will present its womenswear spring/summer show on Monday.Cartwright said: “We have Fashion Week, and the tremendous new flagship on Regent Street that has just opened — our largest in the world — while our menswear-only Knightsbridge store will open in a few weeks. Traffic has been down globally but we will not change tack.”Burberry warned that profits for the full year of 2013 would be at the bottom end of market expectations at about pounds sterling 407 million. Retail sales, including from new stores, were up 6 percent.The slowdown compares with strong first quarter trading where retail sales had grown by 14 percent.Luca Solca, luxury brands expert at CA Chevreux, blamed Burberry’s reliance on very high-end clothing rather than accessories such as handbags. He said: “Apparel — on which Burberry is more dependent than other mega-brands — is softer. In difficult times consumers prefer leather goods and hard luxury accessories as they are more visible and work better as status symbols.”Analyst Kate Calvert at Seymour Pierce downgraded the stock to hold and said: “This news will obviously hit sentiment towards Burberry. However, we still consider Burberry a strong long-term growth story.”The company has enjoyed a remarkable decade with its shares rising fivefold. Today the stock slid more than 18 percent, down 249p to 1125.5p, on the news.However, Mike van Dulken at Accendo Markets said: “This morning’s selling may be overdone, providing a short-term trading opportunity.”___(c)2012 London Evening StandardVisit the London Evening Standard at Distributed by MCT Information ServicesDiamond baubles from Cartier glittering in one window, Louis Vuitton’s signature leather bags beckoning from across the street and another storefront displaying ‘ silk scarves.Within months this is the scene that will greet visitors to Miami’s Design District, as the neighborhood begins its dramatic metamorphosis into the new hot spot for luxury shopping.Cartier and have just opened their doors. Louis Vuitton will do so on Oct. 19. Hermes and Men are under construction. Right behind that will be Pucci. By the time and the holiday shopping season arrive, there should be 8 to 10 luxury brands lining the Design District’s Northeast 40th Street corridor. These openings are a sign of Miami’s ascent as a fashion destination.”For most luxury brands Miami is one of the top three markets in , along with New York and Los Angeles,” said Valerie Chapoulaud-Floquet, president and chief executive officer of Louis Vuitton North America. “The Miami market has grown quicker than the rest of North America.”For decades the Bal Harbour Shops offered the only option for luxury in Miami-Dade County. But no longer is having one store in the market enough for these luxury brands.”Miami has been under retailed for luxury because of the strength of the local market and the strong growth of tourists coming to Miami,” said Emmanuel Perrin, president and chief executive officer of Cartier North America. “This market can support several Cartier boutiques. It was just a question of time before the luxury market evolved. Everyone has been waiting for the right project to come along.”Louis Vuitton and Cartier both left Bal Harbour Shops last summer because the mall didn’t have the space for them to expand. The retailers were also prohibited from opening a second store within 20 miles unless Bal Harbour’s owners got a piece of the new store’s revenue.Now, Louis Vuitton already has opened another store at Mall and Cartier is assessing the market. It’s all part of an unfolding game of musical chairs that ends the monopoly of Bal Harbour, which has controlled the luxury retail market since 1965.By 2014, developer Craig Robins expects to have 40 to 50 luxury brands spread throughout the Design District, creating a new urban destination for fashionistas. Already committed to the area are about 30 tenants, including , Bulgari, Pucci, De Beers, Zegna, Tom Ford, Burberry and Marc by . They will join the district’s original fashion tenants Christian Louboutin, and Martin Margiela.”We’re starting to build critical mass,” Robins said. “We continue to find that more and more brands are interested in coming. This is an exciting moment for the Design District. People are going to feel the transition and the power of integrating fashion with art, design and food.”Many of the brands are giving up space at Bal Harbour, which the International Council of Shopping Center recently designated the top producing mall in the world. But they say they don’t believe the move will have any negative impact on their business.”We have made a seamless transition,” said Vira V. Capeci, president of Celine. “Our clients have followed us to this exciting location.”Right now, Cartier’s name sparkling against the backdrop of a bronze storefront may look a little out of place as the area undergoes a transition. But soon Louis Vuitton will make a dramatic statement across the street with a storefront covered by an original work of art from graffiti artist Marquis Lewis, known as RETNA.There may be growing pains in this gentrifying neighborhood. Will consumers be willing to spend thousands of dollars on jewelry, handbags and clothes just a few blocks away from some of Miami’s more impoverished neighborhoods?At Cartier a security guard stands close by watching over an offering that includes a rare yellow diamond and a $310,000, diamond-encrusted panther pendant and necklace.”I like the idea of an urban neighborhood where you have crackheads here and Cartier over there,” said Denia Roth, a Miami resident who was lunching this week at Michael’s Genuine in the Design District. “The diversity brings everyone together.”The retailers have more freedom to design the look of their stores and open bigger showrooms featuring a wider variety of offerings. Cartier’s new store is three times larger than what it had at Bal Harbour.And these stores are only the beginning. Cartier and Louis Vuitton are among several brands opening temporary locations, until they can design and build flagship stores. When these stores open in 2014, they’re expected to be among the brands’ largest stores in the U.S. outside of .”We want to take our client experience to the next level and serve our clients in comfort,” Perrin said.Louis Vuitton felt it was important to get into the Design District early.”We like to be part of building a story, it’s part of our pioneering spirit,” Chapoulaud-Floquet said. “We think we’re going to be able to communicate with a very different clientele that is younger, more trendy and much more open to art and culture.”Although it’s been a year since Louis Vuitton and others started leaving Bal Harbour, operating partner Matthew Whitman Lazenby says same store sales continue to grow — up 16 percent for the first six months of the year compared to last year.But Lazenby says his family has had a change of heart about allowing tenants to remain at Bal Harbour and still open a second location in Miami-Dade County.”You can’t deny there has been demand expressed by more than one tenant,” Lazenby said. “Miami has reached the point in its evolution where more than one store can be sustained. We are adapting to the marketplace and trying to accommodate the needs of our tenants.” ___(c)2012 Visit The Miami Herald at Distributed by MCT Information Servicesdesigner Monica Pedersen can be seen regularly on programs such as “Bang for Your Buck,” where she shows homeowners how to maximize their living space and beautify their homes. A well-seasoned traveler, Pedersen — who lives in the Midwest — sees the potential in taking trips to Wisconsin, as well as heading overseas for a longer vacation.Q: What is your favorite vacation destination? A: , Fla. It’s a low-key town right next to and about 45 minutes from . It is my go-to spot when I really want to relax. Working on TV for me means being constantly surrounded by the noise of saws and drills. So a vacation with good weather, the comfort of a private home, a charged golf cart in the driveway and no pressure to look presentable is heaven!Q: Where are your favorite weekend getaways?A: Kohler, Wis., is definitely at the top of my list and is a place my husband and I go at least twice a year. The American Club (destinationkohler.com) is charming, the golf is spectacular and the food is mouthwatering. Another fun place to go in Wisconsin is the Osthoff Lake Resort (osthoff.com).Q: What are your favorite hotels?A: The Pelham Hotel (pelhamhotel.co.uk) in London has beautifully decorated rooms. The Ritz-Carlton (ritzcarlton.com/neworleans) in New Orleans is comfortable and in a great location. The Four Seasons (fourseasons.com/dublin) in Ireland treated my mom, who was very sick while we were there, like a queen. The Soho Grand Hotel (sohogrand.com) in New York for its location. The bar can be pretty fun as well.Q: What are your favorite restaurants?A: Il Cantinori (ilcantinori.com) is my favorite restaurant in New York. I love great Italian food! In Las Vegas, definitely the Wynn Hotel and the Bartolotta Ristorante (wynnlasvegas.com/#dining/bartolotta), which is incredible.Q: When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?A: Comfortable shoes, a variety of outerwear — like scarves, sweaters and my plaid Burberry rain poncho — BlackBerry, cheap pair of backup sunglasses, a good book and a small container of moisturizer.Q: What are your five favorite cities?A: San Francisco is so romantic. It’s where my husband proposed to me. New York for its great energy. Napa Valley is sophisticated yet friendly and has great food and wine. I love the details in New Orleans’ architecture. Charleston, S.C., is elegant and loaded with Southern charm.Q: What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?A: I talk to friends and do a ton of research online. A Web site I am working with, mastercardmarketplace.com, is a great resource for vacations.Q: Where would you like to go that you’ve never visited before?A: Buenos Aires, . I am heading there soon to shoot an episode of a show I work on called “Bang for Your Buck,” and I cannot wait. I am also going to track down the balcony where Eva Peron sang “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” and do my own version. I’m kidding!For more from the reporter, visit ."I’M NOT saying I’ll never be with a prostitute again. But it’s hard. Parts of it are soulless and parts of it are nourishing. It’s always a roll of the dice."That’s our always candid friend, , talking to Playboy magazine for July/August ("Massive Summer Double Issue" it says, directly above cover girl .) Charlie is Charlie. Don’t try to make sense of anything he says, because mostly it doesn’t. And he knows it. Is it malarkey or the real deal or some wild combination of the two, which seems to be working for him. (His new show, "Anger Management" is doing well.)Yet at least he admits to being unfair to his longtime "" co-star , in the heat of Sheen’s firing. "I whaled on him unnecessarily … he’s a beautiful man and a fabulous dude and I miss him. I need to repair that relationship, and I will. I will reach out to do whatever is necessary."As for the now-legendary tale of a suitcase full of cocaine being delivered to his house, in the midst of a wild party, Sheen insists it never happened. Nope. He was watching a Dave Chappell sketch on TV and laughed so hard it gave him a hernia. The hernia did not occur because of too much partying and illegal substances.Look, that’s his story and he’s sticking to it. And even if he doesn’t, it apparently won’t make one bit of difference to the fans who support him.WHICH LEADS us to the conundrum of . Tom doesn’t smoke (anything) drink, or carouse with hookers. He has never assaulted a woman or been accused of such a thing. He takes care of himself, his popularity has not waned. He is still, according to Forbes magazine, the highest paid actor in the world. And yet, on the front pages of the newspapers, Tom is the devil, scaring poor so much that she has to have a ring of bodyguards surrounding her when she ventures out. What’s Tom crime? He’s a control freak who belongs to the mysterious and controversial Church of Scientology. OK, maybe that’s not pleasant to live with, but the public seems to find his driven personality and religious/spiritual beliefs more unsavory than anything Charlie Sheen does.I guess bad boys do, somehow, get more breaks.As for Miss Holmes, she will be fine. She’s made her point, with her bodyguard photos, and the bits of business that have slipped out; her fears for Suri, etc. Nobody is going to be kidnapped or forced to do anything they don’t want to do. She’s been clever. I suppose she’s had to be.Let’s not forget, she knew exactly what she was getting into. It’s not like Tom became a Scientologist during their marriage. There were plenty of warning signs. But Miss Holmes, apparently, was in love or lust or infatuated with his image and the attention he showered on her. And so it has come to this sorry state of affairs.Tom? Another hit movie and people will probably go back to shrugging off his beliefs. Next time (if there is a next time) Tom should marry a nice, docile Scientology girl with whom he can share his religion.I WAS chatting with a friend last week about how much Internet technology and computers, cellphones, iPads, etc., have taken over every part of our lives. Everything is controlled and connected it seems to one huge grid. What if everything blanked out one day, even for 24 hours? We’ve all become so dependant.Well, just a day or two later, the had a story about a summer storm in Virginia that took out part of Amazon’s "cloud" computing service, in which hundreds of companies store data. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been, and Amazon responded pretty well, but this story gave me pause. The Times reported: "The ability to deal with failures has long been a feature of any computing system, but like much else in the cloud, there are no common standards to guide how much protection against disaster is enough."We are so concerned about our borders on the ground. Perhaps we should spend more time with our heads in the clouds. That’s where I think the real storm of apocalyptic nightmares stores its "data."WELL, IT’s beginning to look like all the fan-whining over is evaporating as "" continues to break records even before this all-important weekend. (But then these days, every weekend is "all important.") The film, which co-stars , has, as of yesterday, made more than $35 million in the United States. In Asia, the take was more than $50 million and climbing.So he was too tall, too gawky, too British, not ? Well, whatever he is or isn’t, Mr. Garfield is probably set for two more installments, and set for life financially, as well. That skin-tight Spidey suit is no fun to get into for hours on end. (And it’s impossible to wear anything under it.) But in-between films, he’ll be able to devote himself to more comfortable Prada, Brooks Brothers, Calvin Klein or Burberry. (He wears Burberry in a deep blue shade on the cover of Teen Vogue. He’s paired with Miss Stone, who is supposed to be his real-life girlfriend. Well, at least until the film hits the $500 million mark.)NOW THAT has come out, will on be as much smirky, giggling fun as it has been? Oh, you know — Anderson’s friend, comedienne , would come on and tease him relentlessly, implying, but never saying, what everybody knew.They’ve got to cook up a new act.(E-mail at .)Shortly before Daniel Hernandez moved from L.A. to Mexico to write a book about its roiling capital, a friend gave him an order. “I don’t want to see you back from Mexico City until it’s physically altered you, until you are different,” Hernandez was told. The Western Hemisphere’s largest metropolitan area, with about 22 million people, has its existential challenges: toxic air, epic traffic jams, “express” kidnappings. But it also can bestow transformative benefits on those willing to dive headfirst into its urban mosh pit. FOR THE RECORD: Daniel Hernandez: An article in the April 28 Calendar section about author-journalist Daniel Hernandez identified Hernandez as a former Los Angeles Times staff writer. Hernandez is a former Los Angeles Times staff writer and a current staff blogger and news assistant in the Times’ Mexico City bureau. — During a recent L.A. visit, Hernandez spoke about how his adopted hometown since 2007 has altered him and how he hopes to alter others’ perceptions of it with his just-published book, “Down & Delirious in Mexico City: The Aztec Metropolis in the Twenty-First Century” (Scribner). “I think as a journalist Mexico City pushed my barometer of crazy in my life,” said Hernandez, 30, a former Los Angeles Times and L.A. Weekly staff writer. “But of course sometimes it’s overwhelming and you think you’re going to pass out, you need a limonada. You need a run out of town.” Hernandez strives to capture that craziness with a combination of memoir, bildungsroman and an impressionistic essay-album of edgy young lives in a city that often feels perched on the precipice of chaos. Some reviewers have invoked Jack Kerouac and Bret Easton Ellis in characterizing Hernandez’s first-person immersion in Mexico City’s louche atmospherics. Matt Sledge of the Huffington Post wrote that “Hernandez’s book tells the stories that we should know, if for no other reason than American culture is increasingly Mexican culture, as his journey makes clear.” That journey, of course, is the reverse of one that thousands of Mexicans attempt every year. “The irony is not lost on me,” writes Hernandez, who’ll be appearing at this weekend’s L.A. Times Festival of Books. “While millions of Mexicans are migrating northward, I go south. It is an act of rebellion. My parents, who left Tijuana and settled in San Diego in 1976, shake their heads in disapproval.” Growing up as a bilingual, bicultural U.S. citizen, Hernandez often heard horror stories about Mexico City’s crime, smog and corruption. But rather than dissuade him, they aroused a desire to get to know this off-limits part of his cultural heritage. What he found, upon arriving, was a cosmopolitan, multilayered city (pre-Columbian, colonial and modern) with a complex web of youth subcultures: emos, “anarco-punks,” Condesa scenesters, rich trendy fresas from Polanco. “I just kind of went deeper and deeper,” Hernandez said. “I was adopting certain aspects of the subcultures. I realized I had to not judge anyone’s music or their style or their fashions but [ask] why had they adopted it, and to pinpoint what I see as the contradictions.”, an English professor at Loyola Marymount University, said that countless young Mexican Americans have made the reverse-odyssey to their ancestral homeland over the decades, but few have written about it in long form with Hernandez’s insightfulness. “Daniel is saying that the borders have to be crossed on all levels, including the self,” said Martínez, author of “The Other Side: Notes From the New L.A., Mexico City, and Beyond.” The haunts Hernandez describes in “Down & Delirious” are far from the places most tourists see. He hangs out with graying Marxists at the weekly El Chopo open-air swap meet and parties till sunrise with coked-up chilango teens and twentysomethings in the bohemian Roma neighborhood. He canvases fashion shows, gets swept up in a surging mob at a soccer match and flees an Aztec temazcal (sweat lodge), “gasping for oxygen” and deeply skeptical of whether ancient rituals can act as curatives for the ills of modern life. In surreal detail, he recounts pilgrimages to the worship halls of Mexico City’s dueling spiritual icons: the beloved Virgin of Guadalupe, the country’s church-sanctioned protector since she allegedly appeared to the peasant Juan Diego in 1531, and the fearsome, skeletal Santa Muerte, “Saint Death,” the unofficial patron of prostitutes, crime lords and cab drivers working the graveyard shift. Some episodes in “Down & Delirious” will ring familiar to readers of Hernandez’s blog, , which has a following on both sides of the border, particularly among readers 30 and younger. (Disclosure: Hernandez and I have been casual acquaintances for many years.) Just out of UC Berkeley, where he studied English literature, Hernandez first visited Mexico City in 2002 and stayed 10 weeks with relatives, an experience that “recalibrated” his life. Then in 2006, he was assigned by the L.A. Weekly to write a piece about Mexico’s upcoming presidential election, which led to the contract for “Down & Delirious.” Laurie Ochoa, the former L.A. Weekly editor who , said that while “Down & Delirious” touches on Mexican politics and hot-button issues like immigration, its greater achievement is to personalize the phenomenon of second- and third-generation Mexican Americans reconnecting with their cultural roots. “Through his individual story, he’s telling the stories of a lot of people,” Ochoa said. Although his book doesn’t dwell on it, Hernandez writes with an awareness of the drug-war mayhem that has swept Mexico since late 2006 and of the toll that the country’s economic and social afflictions have taken on its youth. One section deals with the curious persecution of Mexico’s ambisexual “emo” youth, whose ambiguous identity aroused the wrath of other urban tribes. Perhaps the book’s most affecting chapter, “A Feathered Serpent in Burberry Shades,” recounts Hernandez’s adventures with his late friend, the designer and “semi-androgynous party boy” Quetzalcoatl Rangel Sanchez. “You’re dealing with real histories here and real traumas and real violence and real loss,” Hernandez said. So how has his Mexico City sojourn physically changed him? Hernandez pointed to a pair of tattoos that he’s acquired since living in Mexico: “La Libertad” (Spanish for “liberty”) and another depicting a symbol for “speak,” derived from a . “I’m a nerd, I’m a bookish Berkeley nerd,” he said, “but living here has just flipped everything upside down for me.” For now, Hernandez’s plan is to keep getting flipped in Mexico City and maybe inspire other young searchers — his target audience, he hopes — to do the same. “I think it would make me most happy if it were a younger reader like that, a young reader interested in learning something about Mexico.”Dear Answer Angel: I’m a little embarrassed to ask this question. I’ve been using the same deodorant since I was in high school, and it has always “done the job.” Now, many decades later, it isn’t working. I was in a crowd the other day, and I started thinking someone near me had not taken a shower after a workout or something. And then I realized that I was the guilty party. The product I’m talking about is the “regular” red label Ban roll-on. When that changed to a green container, I stuck with the roll-on “regular” with a red label. But lately, I’ve been having not-so-good results. Did I change, or did the deodorant?— Not So Fresh AnymoreDear Not So Fresh: Your favorite Ban roll-on has changed. I asked the company and learned that it did make “relatively minor” changes in the formula. But that might not be the cause of your problem. It could be you. Ban research leader Erica Palmer says, “We are learning that as people age, they may need to switch products to compensate for physical changes in body chemistry.” Palmer suggests you switch from roll-on to solid. Roll-on is gentler but “not as effective in controlling odor and wetness” as the solid, she says.You didn’t ask, but others have inquired how to remove the inevitable white deodorant streaks on your sweaters and shirts that you notice just as you’re racing out the door. Easy and cheap: Rub the area with dry pantyhose (or knee-highs) or a dry Mr. Clean Eraser household cleaning pad.Dear Angel: I have been struggling for years on my quest for a raincoat that’s stylish and has a hood. All the stylish raincoats/trench coats I find lack a hood. I carry an umbrella with me on rainy days, but I would still like a hood to protect me from the humidity, not just the water. Are there any affordable waterproof, stylish raincoats/trench coats out there with a hood, or am I asking for too much?— Mary B.Dear Mary: In fashion (as in life), you can never ask for too much! The perfect coat — with a hood — is out there. But it will require some searching. I like to touch, feel and try on, so online shopping isn’t my favorite. But it’s the way to go when you’re looking for something really specific, such as your perfect coat. An online search for “hooded trench coat” (or leopard rain boot or whatever esoterica is on your wish list) will turn up a ton of options. In your case, I found a high-end lemon sorbet-colored taffeta Burberry for (gulp) $1,295 () and a cute Marc New York in black jersey knit with a hidden hood, $255 at ). Also: Gallery makes cute, colorful coats with detachable hoods, including one in bright spring green for $118 at . Happy hunting.Dear Answer Angel: Can you settle this dispute with my wife? We were in a restaurant, and the people at the next table were having a lively discussion about a movie we were about to see. We actually had just purchased the tickets — for a ridiculous $11 apiece, I might add. I asked them in a pleasant way if they’d change the subject because we were about to see the film and wanted to be surprised. They seemed OK with that. But my wife wasn’t. She was mortified and says I was out of line. I say I was just protecting my investment.— Spoiler AlertDear S.A.: I’m on your side. As long as you were nice about it, you’re fine. And, because your dining neighbors did stop talking about the movie, they, too, must have been OK with your request. Whether the issue is free upgrades on your cell-phone contract, honoring an expired discount coupon or a change of topic at the adjacent table, I say it never hurts to ask — politely.Dear Answer Angel: I found the perfect jacket at a consignment store. The sleeves had been altered by the previous owner and it fit me perfectly. It’s clear that whoever consigned it is exactly my size. Is it possible to find more clothes from whoever my body double is? How?— No more tailoring billsDear No More: Yes! Many consignment stores — such as the national chain Second Time Around () — have computer software that can track all the clothes in the store from that same seller. Even without a computer program, managers of consignment stores often know their sellers so well that if you ask (preferably keep tags and receipts with identifying numbers), they can locate all the clothes in their shop from that person.Woof. Reacting to my advice to people complaining that their best friends’ dogs leave them covered with hair, several e-mailers raved thusly: “Buy your friends a Furminator. Best dog comb ever.… It is amazing.” (furminator.com)Shop, drop, ask for helpYearning for a friend (only better) to tell you what to choose, where to look, how to get good value? Relax, now you’ve got an angel on your shoulder. Send questions large and small to Tattered, precious clothes: Can’t bear to throw out your beat-up, beloved favorites? Those jeans? A baseball cap? A shredded sweater? Tell me your stories. Even send a photo! E-mail me atThe proprietor of Handbags in the City has a fashion sense that favors the classical, whether he’s wearing a belted Burberry trench coat with a standup collar, lounging in a cashmere sweater or modeling a jacket lined with shearling.And Sparky’s owner, George Sakellaris, also in Burberry, doesn’t look too shabby, either. “He’s a little old man, and he loves dressing up,” says Sakellaris, co-owner of the store at 840 Aliceanna St., the shop where Sparky, a 13-year-old Brussels Griffon, can be found most days.”Sparky has worn clothes ever since he was a baby; now he has two coats and about a dozen sweaters. Mostly, we dress him because he’s short-haired and he gets really cold when he goes outside. If it’s raining, he doesn’t like to go out at all, but he minds it less if he’s wearing a raincoat.”Despite the recession, Baltimore dog owners have been snatching up sweaters, coats, raingear and, yes, even booties this winter to help keep Fifi and Fido toasty and dry.”You’re talking about a passionate product for a passionate consumer, and passion overrides any economic downturn,” says Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst at the NPD Group, the New York-based market research organization.”Even during the recession, where the consumer was cutting back, certain items became identified as necessary luxuries. Pet owners wanted to insulate their and cats against the recession in the same way that they wanted to isolate and protect their children.”For instance, Beth Crisman, who lives in Northwest Baltimore, can’t afford designer duds for herself or her dog on what she earns as a practicing artist and part-time professor. (She teaches photography and art history at several area community colleges.)But Crisman would no more go without sweaters in winter for Cody, her 3-year-old Boston terrier, than she would go without a coat for herself.”Bostons don’t do well with either extreme temperatures of hot or cold,” she says, adding that she orders Cody’s clothes either through online sites or catalogues, spending about $10 on average for a sweater.”But he looks really cute, and he loves the attention he gets when we go for a walk. What dog wouldn’t?”Virginia Byrnes, co-owner of Dogma in Canton estimates that about 30 percent of her canine customers come into her shop wearing attire of some sort. Across town, Chris , co-owner of Pretentious Pooch in , estimates that canine apparel makes up between one-fifth and one-quarter of his winter sales.Cohen said that boutique-style stores peaked in popularity about five years ago — or about the same time that such top labels as , and Coach decided to expand into the pet market.Once the recession hit, many boutiques had to branch out into other dog and cat products, such as food and bowls, to remain in the black.Baltimore is a city that places a high value on being down to earth, Woodside said, so frou-frou products that sell strongly in such cities as New York, Los Angeles or even Washington do less well here.”People in Baltimore are definitely more practical,” he says. “It became clear a year or so ago that we were either going to have to morph into selling other products or close the front door.”Still, there’s practical, and then there’s “practical.” A sweater or coat may be a necessity for short-haired dogs such as chihauhaus, terriers or even Dobermans who walk outside when temperatures are in single digits.And if that coat happens to be quilted, beige and made by Gucci (retail value, $280) or a striped Coach cashmere sweater ($148 and up), that doesn’t make it less functional.For instance, Cathy Brennan, an attorney who lives in Rodgers Forge in , enjoys dressing Dante, the surviving member of a pair of Boston terriers, in sweaters, a cape and bow ties.After their two sons headed off to college, Bill and Carolyn Walter thought the time might be right to downsize. Coming from a large, single-family home in , they wanted something smaller with a strong community association to handle outdoor maintenance, and also in the same area of northern Baltimore County.The house-hunting ended when the two came across a lovely villa for sale in the nearby community of Pebble Creek. Carolyn Walter knew instantly she wanted to move into the traditional home that connected to four others on the street, resembling a row of cottages with deeply pitched roofs and front dormers. The interior design, with meticulous attention paid to details such as two wood-burning fireplaces, wide molding and oak flooring, appealed to her taste for traditional furnishings.In spite of herself, Carolyn Walter gushed over the great find. “I told her, ‘Don’t say you love it so much when I’m trying to negotiate price,’” Bill Walter said, decidedly, but with a smile that indicated the outcome was inevitable.The Walters, who would be the second owners of the house, paid $410,000 for a two-level, plus finished lower level, 4,000-square-foot home on approximately one-tenth of an acre. While the home, built in 1994, was in very good condition, the Walters have made several improvements and upgrades since they moved in in 1998. During the past twelve years, the couple added new kitchen appliances, cabinets and granite countertops, hardwood flooring on the home’s second level, and a deck. They had the master bathroom renovated.The couple also added a decorator wall from the entrance to the kitchen. In keeping with the traditional aspects of the interior architecture, Carolyn Walter called upon a construction design company noted for its exquisite restoration, renovation and millwork, SouthFen Inc. to create the paneled wall over the original plain one. The raised panels, Colonial in style, are painted the same shade of eggshell found in the living and dining rooms, with the trim painted a deep shade of wheat. The sight of this angled wall, embellished with three brass sconces, upon entering the hall sets the formal tone for the rest of the home.”We live in the kitchen and the family room that has two doors out to the deck,” said Carolyn Walter. These rooms, with walls painted a deep shade of Duron’s Burberry Red, contrast in a casually elegant style with her vast collection of Delft pottery and porcelain prominently displayed in every room, on every shelf and wall and in every cabinet. From platters to large bowls, houses, urns, plates and even an umbrella stand, the delicately painted blue and white pieces perfectly accent every room’s decor and wall color.The formal elegance of the dining room is enhanced by a crystal chandelier that drops from the 23-foot ceiling. A mahogany suite of Chippendale-style furniture features a double pedestal table that will seat 12 and a china closet filled with a Royal Copenhagen service for eight.The living room boasts one of the home’s two wood-burning fireplaces, while cherry furniture and an entire wall of framed prints depicting various scenes of horse and hound hunts give the room a decidedly English country feel. The look is carried out in the second-floor hallway, where several services of silver sit atop mahogany side tables.The second-floor bedrooms, especially the master, which is painted soft yellow, have a distinct, manor style achieved with artwork, artfully placed armchairs and benches, needlepoint pillows and rich fabrics on furniture and beds.The finished lower level follows the same circular flow as the two above it. A library filled with hundreds of books segues to a sitting area before moving to a craft studio and finally, a separate office for Bill Walter.The couple shares a laugh over the mention of their new home being almost as large as the one they left.”Yes, but we’re close to everything, and the community has strict covenants when it comes to exterior work,” Carolyn Walter said.”And it’s maintenance-free. We lock the door and go!” her husband added.Have you found your dream home? Tell us about it! Send an e-mail to .Making the dreamDream location: Bill and Carolyn Walter’s villa home is located in Pebble Creek, a neighborhood development in Timonium. Though nestled in a wooden area, they are close to the amenities on the York Road corridor.Dream design: The homes are painted a light khaki and cream color with wooden trim at windows and doors that feature arched transoms. Chunky stone chimneys, stone half-walls, double-car garages and sloping roofs with prominent gables contribute to the traditional design of each house in the row.Dream element: A large, angular entrance hall presents onto a winding oak staircase that sweeps to the open hallway of the second level. The circular flow of the first floor leads to a rear kitchen and breakfast room. The layout is, Carolyn Walter says, “great for parties. Everyone is comfortable, [and] every room is used.” What is it about the British and great fashion?Even in his death, ‘s exhibit drew thousands upon thousands to this year. Effects of the royal wedding are dominating a number of fashion trends for women this season. Lace, fancy hats are still huge. Tartan patterns, tweed, fur accents are a must. Peter-pan collars are regularly sported by personality and British import Alexa Chung, And British songstresses such as Adele, Duffy, and Estelle are red carpet regulars. And let us not forget style icon . The British are here to stay. And so are browns, grays, and nudes, which will all be big colors this season. Pop colors such as red and blue will also be everywhere.Many of these trends don’t come cheap. Yes, you could head to Burberry and dress like one of their mannequins, but what is the fun in that? Be authentic and go vintage for some of those classic looks that top designers are recreating right now. Plus, doesn’t it sounds so much better when you can say that a piece of clothing is vintage?About the shootb teamed with CoverGirl and Towson Town Center to conduct a regional model search for this Fall fashion spread. The models: Christie Beran, Natalie Hessler, Farrah Palmer, Michael McVearry and Ramar Robinson, were chosen from more than 100 hopefuls. CoverGirl makeup products were used exclusively for the shoot.Styling: John-John Williams IVAssistant styling: Adee Lawal and Toria TurnerHair and Makeup: Leah Sarah Bassett, T.H.E. Artist AgencyPunters have donned their tin hats and are feeling defensive today.Riskier stocks — including most of the mining sector — dived to the bottom of the index with Vedanta Resources and Anglo American falling hard.Revelations of a mining scam in India pushed Goa to place a temporary ban on mining. The state is the country’s second-biggest iron ore producer and the news has hit Vedanta Resources. Vedanta’s Indian arm Sesa Goa is currently merging with Sterlite Industries and both have been hit by the ban. Vedanta lost 45p to 957.75p but experts expect the ban to not impact the business in the long term.Anglo American, down 83.5p to 1918.25p, which is facing legal action in the High Court from African gold miners who claim that health and safety conditions have caused their lung diseases, received a downgrade today. It denies liability. Analysts at cut its price target to 1750p from 1900p.A cautious feeling swept the City ahead of a German court’s ruling on its participation in the planned European bailout.Defensive stocks were in favour with British American Tobacco leading the FTSE 100, up 47.5p to 3171.5p.Hopes of progress in the eurozone were crushed as a hurdle emerged in the process to sign off the ‘s bond-buying scheme, causing European markets to stutter.The FTSE 100 lost 19.63 points to 5773.57.Software giant Sage fell 1.9p to 302.45p despite being given a buy rating yesterday by Galvan Research on rumours of M&A activity. Analysts said there was “the distinct possibility that Sage could be a target of German sector peer SAP”.At the bottom of the FTSE 100, luxury fashion group Burberry found itself down 249p to 1125.5p, after a profits warning. The 18 percent fall saw this year’s share price rise disappear. Its highest point this year came in April when it hit 1586p. But the fall today prompted some traders to start bottom-fishing and buy the shares.On Aim, drug discovery company Summit has signed a technology license agreement with US based and its shares gained 0.88p to a healthy 3.38p.Sefton Resources, the US focused oil and gas group, reported that oil production increased in the first half but it recorded a loss for the period as costs increased. The California and Kansas-focused explorer saw its shares tumble 0.24p to 1.58p. Unlike many other oil and gas explorers, Kazakhstan-focused Zhaikmunai Group has announced it will pay a dividend but its shares lost 0.46p to 9.14p.There was a bad smell in the air for environmental technology group Aerte. It needs more cash after an order of air disinfection products, that it manufactured and delivered in May, were cancelled by the Chinese buyer.It found itself at the bottom of the AIM index, losing more than 41 percent, down 0.24p to 0.34p.The board said it will be “difficult to recover payment for these devices in the medium term and it is no longer expecting to receive further orders from this distributor”.___(c)2012 London Evening StandardVisit the London Evening Standard at Distributed by MCT Information Services"HE’S QUITE … blessed!" says Calamity Chang, a British burlesque star who appeared with actor/leading man/hunk in some of the many nude scenes in the movie "Shame."Fassbender is the one made a sexy reference to at the — in case you’ve been under a rock. But the actor, of German and Irish extraction, has a real claim to fame. It is in being one of the hardest-working men in international films. He has completed a 20-month spell of work where he shot six movies.I just saw him onscreen being kicked through a door by martial arts expert Gina Carano in the perfectly silly movie "Haywire." (This is the one your teenage male offspring are so crazy about.)WAIT FOR it! The’70s super band is about to release its first new song in 20 years. In April, their first album since 1994 will be out. It’s titled "A Twinkling Star to a Passing Angel.""" — the hit musical based on ABBA songs — is still seen worldwide, still making money since it opened in 1999 in London’s West End.UGGIE, the dog from the award-winning silent film "The Artist," is being retired by its trainer, Omar Von Muller. He doesn’t want to put ‘Uggie’ through anymore long hours. Von Muller says, "He’s getting tired." But does this mean the adorable Uggie won’t turn up at the ? Say it isn’t so.THEY SAY only seven people turned up for actor Nicol Williamson’s burial the other day. The bad boy of English theater had not worked since 1997 and had turned down some great offers in his time.His obit describes him as a hell-raiser; one of the patron saints of bad behavior, "almost deliberately badly behaved," prone to walking offstage in mid-performance, throwing things, an exhibitionist and the last of a breed.One of Williamson’s obits by Roger Lewis refers to the actor as being possibly influenced by and method acting. This led to the story of and in "Marathon Man." To look sweaty, Hoffman ran around a football field. He was panting when Oliver remarked, "Why don’t you try acting, dear boy? It’s far easier."I SEE why movie stars like don’t like to give interviews. He gave one to the recently in which he cited his "depression" in the 1990s when he was coping with ‘the celebrity thing.’Depression is serious stuff. But almost everybody suffers from it occasionally. Headlines reporting his remarks make it seem he is seriously "down." But Pitt seems very happy these days. He has Oscar nods, a stimulating relationship, lots of good charity efforts and six children.IN THESE days when the 1 percent is being excoriated, guess what? Even though the global market is shaky and buying of luxury goods is a bit shaky, LVMH is still going strong. Sales of Louis Vuitton and Loewe handbags, Krug champagne and Hennessy cognac, Tag Heuer watches, and other spirits, leather, feather and fashionable goods, including Burberry, seem to be soaring.MICHAEL JACKSON began his showbiz career as an adorable, phenomenally gifted child. He didn’t need a lot of razzmatazz to showcase his pure voice and amazing dance technique, a technique that even the great would come to admire.But as the years rolled on, Michael ramped up the sets, the style and the strangeness. Sometimes he appeared to get lost under the "stuff," when all he really needed was to sing and dance, period. But when people pay hundreds of dollars for concert tickets, they want spectacle as well as talent. Perhaps more of the former than the latter.And spectacle is certainly the attraction of tribute show, titled — with typical understatement — "Immortal." The show features all the usual Cirque bells and whistles: acrobatics, LED screens, huge balloons, animatronic recreations of Michael, and, but of course, his real image and voice, as compelling as ever.Apparently, although the show was a huge hit in Montreal and Las Vegas, raking in more than $100 million, some consider it tasteless, overblown, exploitive, especially as the Jackson family is involved. Well, they have to be involved. The Jacksons, in tandem with , control Michael’s music and likeness. While Michael was alive, the Jackson family didn’t seem to be thriving, nor did their golden goose.But now Michael is the most successful dead celebrity ever. His estate has garnered a whopping $450 million since the pop icon’s tragic death almost three years ago. Michael, who loved to break records and boast of his accomplishments, would be so happy to know he’s still the King of Pop, so crowned by his friend . Michael’s children, Prince, Paris and will never know a day of financial need. Nor will anybody else in the family."Immortal" has plans to move on to London and other spots in Europe. As one newspaper review stated, "It’s like a Michael Jackson tour, without Michael." But that seems to be good enough for Michael’s fans.Oh, and these fans don’t care if some condemn the show as "tacky, sentimental and visually overloaded."It’s as close to the old Michael Jackson experience as those who adored him can get. They love it.(E-mail at , or write to her c/o Tribune Media Services, 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, NY 14207.)Historically, travel hasn’t been fashion-friendly. No matter how you pack, your clothes are destined for Wrinkleville. And that expensive bottle of perfume in your checked bag is likely to arrive broken or not at all.But fret not. Designers and cosmetic companies have taken note, launching mini-sized, wrinkle-free or collapsible products that help travelers stay fashionable while jet-setting. “So many designers and companies are conscious of travel-friendly fabrics and products,” said Stephanie Bradshaw, a stylist based in Cockeysville. “And cosmetics have certainly come a long way — particularly in the past few years.”Wrinkle-free clothing has been downright hideous in the past. Not anymore. Designers such as Jude Connally and Desiqual offer colorful, trendy clothes that will hold up to the bumps of travel. And you don’t have to go far to find them — local boutiques have stocked up with plenty of the fashionable threads.At Trillium, a high-end boutique in Green Spring Station, some of the best-selling items are travel-friendly, said owner Sima Blue.”Most of my customers travel a lot,” Blue said. “They go back and forth to their second homes. They travel abroad. They want to look good when they travel.”Travel-friendly selections at Trillium include wrinkle-free raincoats by Mycra Pac, cashmere ruanas by Minnie Rose and wash-and-go T-shirts by Michael Stars.”These clothes are great because they are great on the plane,” Blue said. “They are easy to pack. And they don’t take up a lot of room.”Frances Burress, owner of the boutique Caviar and Cobwebs, carries Desiqual, a popular line of clothing based in Spain that happens to be wrinkle-free.”The colors are bold and beautiful,” Burress said. “They are washable, and they hold up very well.”She said the line has a distinct European feel that allows wearers to stand out in a crowd.”They are contemporary, and they fit people,” said Burress, who added that the designer has lines for men, women and children. “Their styles are for folks from 8 to 80.”Octavia II, a boutique in Cross Keys, carries Jude Connally, an American line that touts its wash-and-wear clothing.”You can just throw them in your bag and go,” said owner Betsy Wendell, who was wearing one of the designer’s dresses. “They don’t wrinkle. I’ve slept in this dress. It looked just the same when I got out of bed. They are perfect for travel.”In the past, customers would scoff at the thought of wearing wrinkle-free clothing, Wendell said. Those times have changed.”The clothes have gotten much better,” she said. “These clothes work into everyone’s busy lifestyle.”Cosmetics companies have also made changes to their products, mostly as a result of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Since the Transportation Security Administration limits the amount of liquid passengers can take in their carry-on luggage, a number of companies — including cosmetics giant MAC — have launched travel-size products that meet airline regulations.Travalo is a fairly new product that allows travelers to transport smaller amounts of perfume on airplanes. Other companies are offering new features aimed at protecting a product’s pricey contents. Burberry, the luxury clothing line that also has a line of cosmetics, now offers lipstick packaged in magnetized gunmetal tubes to prevent spillage during travel.Stylist Bradshaw likes the new offerings for cosmetics and clothing. She said the latest advances have left travelers with no excuses to look sloppy when they are on vacation.”It’s just as easy to put on a pretty dress as it is to put on your juicy sweat suits,” said Bradshaw, who added that the days of T-shirts, sneakers and khaki shorts are over. “Why not chose to be pretty? Pretty is fun. It also communicates to the rest of the world how you feel about yourself.”Miles of styleCockeysville stylist Stephanie Bradshaw suggests packing these fashionable and practical items for a trip:Scarf: “I always carry a scarf with me when I travel,” Bradshaw says. “Sometime you get cold on the plane.” When you arrive at your destination, scarves are perfect to dress up an outfit. “You can put a scarf on any outfit and look chic in two seconds,” she adds.Sensible shoes: Pack the more flexible shoes, and wear the bigger shoes on the plane, Bradshaw says. She also suggests that you put any sparkly shoes in a plastic bag so that the glitter doesn’t get on your clothing.Fashionable bag with a comfortable handle: “I would like to take something a little more chic,” Bradshaw says. Pick a bag with a supple, durable leather handle, according to Bradshaw. “It won’t dig into your skin,” she says.A good cosmetics bag: ‘s eco-friendly cosmetics bag works because it’s a good size for fitting everything for a weekend getaway, says Bradshaw. “It’s not too big and not too small. The fact that it is fabric means that it can squish down in your travel bag.”With the holiday shopping season already under way, many of the nation’s leading retailers say they plan to avoid the kind of deep, across-the-board discounts that gave last year’s season an air of desperation — and crimped profits.Instead, many are using more subtle, under-the-radar promotions to lure shoppers this year. Several big chains, including and Limited Brands Inc.’s Express division, are cutting back on the number of blockbuster discount events that they’ve relied on in past years to pack their stores.Even , whose buy-one-get-one-free deal helped spark a frenzy of similar activity among rivals last year, insists it’s changing course.”We think that particular promotion for our store has gotten a bit stale,” said , a spokesman for the New York-based chain.Wall Street likes the new discipline.”The trend has been to rein in harmful promotions,” said Todd Slater, an analyst with Lazard in New York. This year, he said, “retailers may be prepared to leave some pockets of business on the table, which is healthy.”Better outlookRetailers can’t afford to reprise last year’s disappointing holiday season, when sales of apparel, toys, electronics and other gifts rose by a modest 2.2 percent, according to the National Retail Federation in Washington. Early warning signals abounded last year: Sales actually slowed heading into the holiday season, prompting many merchants to rev up the promotional machine in earnest.John Morris, an analyst at Harris Nesbitt Gerard who has been tallying holiday discounts for several years, said the number and severity of markdowns increased 10 percent in 2002, on top of a 15 percent rise in 2001.This year, thanks in part to a healthier economy, retail sales are accelerating as the holidays near. And despite the better outlook, stores generally have refused to stock up on extra inventory, which means they have the luxury of being more measured in their discounting strategies.”It is going to be a less-promotional holiday selling season,” Morris said.Still, even while they are avoiding undignified 50 percent-off signs, some retailers are encouraging their best customers to come in early with special, targeted discounts.”I think people are tired of the all-day sale,” said JoAnn Brosi, general manager for the Galleria, a mall in California. “When they’re on a mailing list and they’re asked to be part of a small promotion, it makes them feel special.”Invitation-only salesSharon Chortek, a Dallas-based TV producer, has a stack of special pre-holiday promotions she’s received in the mail over the past three weeks. Each come-on has a little different twist.One, from — a top-tier Texas mall anchored by Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom and — offers a $25 to $50 gift check to any number of Galleria specialty stores, including , Coach and Cartier.To qualify, shoppers need to spend $200 at the mall. The promotion, which began Nov. 7, runs until supplies last — a “big incentive to get there early,” Chortek said.Last week, Chortek was invited to the special three-hour sale at called Private Night, offering 25 percent to 40 percent off on such merchandise and products as Burberry, which rarely go on sale.Things just keep getting sexier along Stevens Creek Boulevard.To the north, diamonds and pearls shimmer at the newly expanded Tiffany & Co. inside a Westfield Valley Fair mall that’s gone gaga for glitz.To the south, 10-year-old Santana Row is bursting with new retail, residential and office projects. There’s a new lingerie line at the beefed-up H&M opening this week, a hipper-than-thou Italian coffee joint coming soon, and a high-end rental complex called Misora — which, for those of you not fluent in Japanese, means “beautiful sky.” With the dawning of Valley Fair’s and Santana Row’s “resort-style” rental apartments packed with status-hungry scenesters, the Stevens Creek corridor near Interstate 880 may well start calling itself the South Bay’s Champs-Elysees. And its denizens and visitors are both fueling and feasting upon the region’s ever brightening business climate.”With the Silicon Valley economy coming around, especially in tech, you’ve now got 20-year-old entrepreneurs in flip-flops buying Cartier watches,” said Valley Fair senior general manager Gavin Farnam, standing near the high-end jeweler, just one in a cavalcade of top-drawer stores settling into the mall’s luxury lane. “And it’s not just luxury items, but everything. We’re at our highest sales level now in the history of the mall.”This bifurcated boom could cause whiplash for passing motorists. With dozens of projects under way at bothsites, a tale of two malls is unfolding to the sound of jackhammers and ringing cash registers.”This retail expansion is another indicator of the jobs and wage growth helping Silicon Valley lead the rest of the nation out of the recession,” said Steve Levy with the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy in Palo Alto. “And for companies like Apple (AAPL) and (GOOG), employees are seeing their stock worth more, too, so it’s kind of a perfect storm, at least within the tech world. People in the valley have more to spend, and that’s spilling over into retail.”Santana Row seems to be firing on all pistons as it celebrates its 10-year anniversary next month. Despite initial criticism that the upscale retail-residential complex would suck the life out of downtown San Jose, and naysayers who questioned whether the European-style village concept would ever work, the project now claims design awards and traffic numbers that would makeany shopping mall green with envy.”It took people a while to sort of get this place,” said Collette Navarrette, spokeswoman for the mall’s publicly traded owner, . “It was a whole new concept when it opened in 2002 with just 35 tenants and no office space. Ten years later, we have 100 merchants, 403 rental homes and 219 condos, as well as 115,000 square feet of office space.”As Santana Row’s residential occupancy rates push 100 percent, Silicon Valley’s boom is reflected in real time inside the erstwhile Borders on the faux village’s faux main street. This week, the popular Swedish clothing retailer H&M formally moves a few hundred feet down the Row into the closed book store, tripling in size to 27,000 square feet and adding new lingerie, maternity and children’s sections.Lifestyle is the Row’s middle name. And with a boutique hotel, spas, wine bars and enough luxury retail to satisfy the most discerning shopaholic, its owners are planning yet another phase of the expansion: They’re planning to build a 220,000-square-foot office tower, then fill it with employees who can tap into the smorgasbord that surrounds them. Federal Realty’s West Coast president, Jeff Berkes, said the tower is part of the economic evolution under way in the region.”San Francisco and Silicon Valley are leading the United States through its economic recovery,” Berkes said. “We started to see that first in 2009 in the performance of the Hotel Valencia and our restaurants, followed by the occupancy levels and rents we’ve been able to get for our apartments. Then we saw it in retail. And these are all signs of the confidence people have in the local economy.”While it pretties itself up with new paint, a beefed-up valet station, and even plusher seating in its common areas, Valley Fair is welcoming a roster of luxury stores to a mall that has seen double-digit sales growth every month this year. Along with Cartier, a new Burberry, TAG Heuer and Wolford are joining the family.With business booming on both sides of the boulevard, the two malls say the synergy between them serves both well.”Anytime you have retail nearby, it’s competition,” Farnam said. “But when you have that lifestyle component like you’ve got at Santana Row, with residential and offices, that brings more people to the area and helps all of us.”Contact Patrick May at 408-920-5689. Follow him at Twitter.com/patmaymerc.A Tale of Two MallsWestfield Valley FairSpring merchandise has officially hit the stores, and one trend should be immediately noticeable: bright colors. They were everywhere on the spring-summer 2011 runways, including at the show, where candy colors managed to look minimal when shown with crisp white shirts or layered with sleek black coats, and at and Burberry, where various tones of shocking aqua and cobalt were paired for a cool (and somehow punchy) look. Color blocking, as seen on the runway, is another major trend.Other designer and contemporary brands explored the color wheel as well. “For spring we bought a lot of color, from acid pinks to orange-red to cobalt blue to tangerine,” says Jeannie Lee, owner of 3rd Street’s Satine Boutique, which stocks lines from designers including , , and . Retailer Hillary Rush, who owns her eponymous boutique, also on 3rd Street, has already starting seeing the color craze take effect with customers. ” The oversized raglan shirt from Monrow has totally sold out in the hibiscus color,” a coral-orange Rush says. “When a bright color like that sells out before the black or white, it’s always a statement that people are wearing color that season.”On the other end of the spectrum, shoppers are likely to encounter lots of white. The natural, yet luxe look of an all-white ensemble (which also works in winter, but is a lot more practical in the warmer months) looked fresh in the runway collections of , and . is also turning out a number of white items, from easy button-downs to wide leg trousers, all in shades of white and off-white and in stores this summer. And there’s no shortage of white jeans, which are showing up in the spring and summer lines of J Brand, MIH and 7 for All Mankind.Shoppers may also notice a ’60s and ’70s aesthetic dictating the shape of denim this season.”Denim flares are really hot,” says Caprice C. Willard, vice president-regional planning manager for Macys, where brands such as and Levi’s have incorporated the style. Flared and wide-leg jeans are also big sellers on the boutique level; Satine’s Lee says wide-leg jeans have been flying off the shelves.On spring-summer 2011 runways such as ‘s, models wore wide-leg jeans with tucked-in white button-downs and chic wedge sandals. On the street we’re bound to see a more relaxed version of the look, with women wearing bell bottom-style jeans with T-shirts and sandals or perhaps flared jeans with a tucked-in tank top and a blazer for evening.The other denim trend for spring is a gamine, ’60s crop. The pant leg ends at least 2 inches above the ankle. The jeans look great with ballet flats or a low-mid wedge sandal.The ’70s vibe also includes versions of the maxi-length skirt and dress. Floor-grazing styles were featured in the collections of and Jil Sander and are showing up in stores such as the Gap, and Club Monaco. “The maxi-dress is really important this season and we are seeing a resurgence with it,” Willard says. “The maxi length actually stays important in Southern California all year long.”Holiday travel is right around the corner, and you probably already dread some of the beauty pitfalls.Try to breeze through airpo

  20. With Britain preparing to host the games for the first time since 1948, it appears as though local talent will be in no short supply for the festivities.Madonna It's Madonna everywhere all of a sudden. Her new movie W.E., Oscar-nominated for its costumes, opens in a wider release imminently, and you can catch the video of her new single "Gimme All Your Luvin'" (from the upcoming album M.D.N.A.) online now. It debuted on American Idol Thursday night to big ratings (natch), and features Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. backing up the diva as Madonna's personal cheerleaders. And of course — there are a lot of costume changes!our editor recommendsMadonna’s ‘Give Me All Your Luvin” Full-Length Music Video Debuts (Video)

  21. We tested the performance of the LAM 100 (also known as the Marshall F-88), a semiautomated oscillometric device for discontinuous BP measurement at the finger, which could be very suitable for self-recording of BP because of its small size and convenient mode of operation. The LAM 100 was compared with the random zero sphygmomanometer and with BP measured by the Finapres for beat-to-beat measurement of finger arterial pressure in 40 patients following guidelines of the AAMI. Compared with the random zero sphygmomanometer the LAM 100 underestimated SBP by 9 mmHg (SD 12) and DBP by 7 mmHg (SD 9). These differences exceed the limits set by the AAMI. The differences between the LAM 100 and the random zero spghymomanometer could not be explained by physiological peripheral pulse wave changes because Finapres SBP was underestimated by 4 mmHg (SD 15) and DBP was overestimated by the LAM 100 by 8 mmHg (SD 10). We conclude that the LAM 100 is not suitable for the diagnosis and manag!

  22. Sanchez, aka Your Future American Idol (too soon?), nailed her take on "How I Will Know," rocking a retro-inspired cropped jacket, side ponytail and skinny jeans. The 16-year-old California girl, naturally, garnered a collective A-plus for her pitch-perfect, seemingly effortless effort.

  23. A blend of documentary and fiction, Remains is about recollection and fading memories. Combining three years of recorded voice messages with stunning macro photography, the film documents a relationship from its inception to its end.

  24. Philips next sang Damien Rice's "Volcano," a song about a guy letting a girl down easy. He used minimal lighting and some excellent backup singers for the moody, guitar-driven number, prompting three thumbs up from the judges.

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  28. Madonna channels her Material Girl ringlet-haired 1980's self in one scenario. In another, she dons a chic Burberry trenchcoat and big black sunglasses. In a sexier scenario, she wears a Bebe (yes, Bebe) variegated black leather cropped jacket with Kiki de Montparnasse tap pants. It's a real romp through various Madonna personalities and alter egos, and it has all the visual stimuli you'd expect from a Madonna video. It also has a pretty fantastic range of hairstyles, ranging from big — to bigger.

  29. This is the film that also stars Charlotte Gainsbourg and Shia LaBeouf, who has revealed that the sex will be for real. "It is what you think it is," LaBeouf explained to MTV. "There's a disclaimer at the top of the script that basically says, we're doing [the sex] for real."

  30. This season, four girls have gone early on. Was that something you and the other girls has been concerned about or discussed before the finals began?

  31. 9:35 p.m. American Horror Story's Ryan Murphy and Emmy winner Jessica Lange make their way through the party, stopping for a pic with EP Dante DiLoreto. They later form an informal two-person conga line to wade through the crowded artery from one side of the Fox party to the other.

  32. The exhibit is interesting timing considering that Madonna's film, W.E, about the life, loves and looks of the Duchess of York, Wallis Simpson is hitting theaters.  In the film, costume designer Arianne Phillips, recreated some of Schiaparelli's dresses worn by The Duchess or York, including the iconic scroll dress, a navy suit with white leather scrolls stitched on the lapel.

  33. Tfank isn’t the first designer to reference the iconic 1960s and 1970s photographer. Rebecca Minkoff, who had Ryan Lochte and Lauren Conrad on the front row at her show, loosely reinterpreted Aaron’s glamorous images for spring. She catered to a younger society crowd — think tweed short-shorts with little matching jackets and bright buttoned-up floral print blouses with distressed denim.

  34. Team Dmitri & Melissa: For me, this was the best dress and the best runway walk of all the looks. April really stomped the runway and made us proud! I thought the high neckline in the front paired with that plunging back was a daring contrast. I could see a lot of young Hollywood starlets wanting to look like this on the red carpet. Effortless and elegant.

  35. Glenn Close is an Armani loyalist, and Meryl Streep tends to wear very simple things, so not much curiousity there. Tilda Swinton and Michelle Williams will be the fashion gets for designers at the SAGs — both nominated for best actress, and both with definitively chic and quasi surprising styles.

  36. Moving on, the judges agreed that Ven & Fabio’s dress looked very expensive. Nina Garcia liked the color and length, but Michael Kors didn’t think this design would be memorable on the red carpet. I have to agree with him. It was a cute dress, but not a winner for me.

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  43. When the time for Nationals came, the McKinley High students were all down to business. Lindsay Lohan (“America’s sweetheart,” pro-New Directions) and Perez Hilton (“gossip legend,” pro-Vocal Adrenaline) served as two of the judges at this year’s Nationals competition, which kicked off with Mercedes, Tina, Santana and Quinn singing a cover of Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory” followed by Rachel’s rendition of Celine Dion’s ballad “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now.”

  44. Houston is currently charting this week on Billboard's tallies as a featured player on the soundtrack to her final film, Sparkle. The album debuts at No. 26 on the Billboard 200, selling 12,000 copies in its first week. It includes two cuts by Houston: "Celebrate" (a duet with her co-star Jordin Sparks) and a cover of "His Eye Is On the Sparrow."If you are not a baker, finding a gift for one can be a bit of a challenge. How can you know which rolling pin is the most practical, or which spices are the most sought after? Well, have no fear, we took all the questioning out of the gift giving for you this year and put together a collection of gifts perfect for anyone who enjoys baking, sweet or savory. We have gifts for both the professional or amateur baker; from master tip piping sets for serious cake decorations to retro kitchen timers to help ensure that burning delectable treats never happens again. Any baker will be pleased with these. So, rest assured and look no further, your holiday gift giving has just gotten that much simpler. Just click through the slideshow and you will see. So it looks like “Call Me Maybe” is the song of the summer, which means it’s also the parody, spoof, cover, lip dub du jour. It doesn’t matter where you go these days, it seems like there’s someone singing it right at your ear holes.While some of these homages to the Carly Rae Jepsen hit are pretty great, plenty more are downright scary. And there’s most certainly more to come.With that in mind, we’ve attempted to do a public service by coming up with a list of 25 people who absolutely should not, under any circumstances cover “Call Me Maybe.” Take heed, you 25… the future of planet earth may just depend on you.Related on HuffPost:These are my poutine recommendations next time you guys are in Montreal. La Banquise (Rue Rachel, a block east of Parc Lafontaine) 24H, really busy after 3 a.m.Chien-chaud Victoria (Rue de la Gauchetière and Côte Beaver-Hall) Business dristrictLe resto du Village (Rue Wolf and Ste Catherine East in the gay village) 24HPatati Patata (Rachel and St Laurent) Small portions and FRESH ingredientsRapido (St Dennis and Mont-Royal) Frites Alors (Several locations)Over the topFoie gras Poutine at Au pied du cochon (Duluth and St Hubert)The on Canadian soil was long overdue. It is the right thing to do and justice has finally been served. This saga has put our values and principles to the test. Many people have cried out loud to ban him from the country altogether. They were willing to abandon our judicial system and throw our values in the garbage bin. Their personal views and prejudice has blinded them from treating the case with a sense of balance, objectivity, fairness and justice. His faith and the ethnic community he belongs to did not help him either to win sympathy in the wider society or even from his own government. To be a Muslim these days is double jeopardy. It is a crime itself in the public arena where you are convicted beyond reasonable doubt and you are guilty until proven otherwise. If the exact scenario surrounding this young man was applicable to another child who belonged to a different culture, the perception might have been quite different. If he for instance was the son of the Prime Minister or the cousin of the Governor General, we would have witnessed a different movie altogether. The same people who are advocating for closing the doors on him would have changed the tone altogether. They would have protested day and night to make sure justice is served. They would have portrayed him as a young child who deserves sympathy from everyone. A child is a child, they would have argued. These people who are upset to see the government’s move to bring him back to Canada should learn to accept the reality of our system. The system should be applied the same to everyone whether the person in question is someone we like or not. If they still find it difficult to accept the reality of having the government fulfilling its obligation towards one of its citizens, then they can try to get help from therapists to overcome the difficulty they are going through. They can train their minds into believing that the young man is not Omar Khadr. He is rather Joseph Smith and is their relative who is caught in difficulty abroad. Once they train their minds to have a different perception of him, their psychological trauma will settle down. They will be able to reconcile the difficulty they are having and they will treat him like everyone else. What this young man has gone through leads me to question whether I am still considered a real Canadian. If I, or someone like myself, go through an ordeal overseas, would I be looked at differently by my fellow Canadians and treated like someone who doesn’t really belong here? Learning from the Omar Khadr saga, I am fearful and uneasy. In spite of been granted citizenship, I feel that I am somehow judged as someone else — perhaps a second class citizen. The only reason why this young man got the treatment he got from the government and also the general public is due to being different. In spite of his citizenship and being born here did not help him get a fair share of the system. I wish we wouldn’t lie to each other anymore. We should not keep each other in the dark. We should develop a more transparent system to reflect the reality of who we are and where we stand when it comes to our sense of belonging. Perhaps there should be first class, second class and even third class Canadian citizenship. At least we would know who we really are and each person would know what to expect. I am neither a supporter of this young man nor a fan of the extreme ideology of al-Qaeda. As a matter of fact, al-Qaeda has murdered more Muslims than anyone else. They don’t even consider me as a true Muslim. I am pro justice and fairness. That is why I crossed miles and oceans to come to Canada because of its system that is based on justice and freedom. But I am greatly disappointed the way this lad has been treated all along. I feel that there is a lot that need to be done to overcome prejudice and to be able to live up to our own principles which have built this country and made it envy to the entire world. People come here not because of what Tim Horton’s has to offer; not to watch hockey or listen to Celine Dion. They have made Canada their own home due to the judicial system that we have. This Khadr saga has shown our hypocrisy which we should all be ashamed of. While we sing the slogans of equality, such words did not show any significant meaning towards this man who deserved fairness irrespective of who he is or the faith he belongs to.The estranged father of singing superstar Adele has begged forgiveness from his pregnant daughter.Adele recently announced she and charity…For many of us, the British Chancellor’s annual budget announcement is a familiar ritual. We watch out for the extra couple of pence on a pint of beer or a glass of wine. We wince at the inevitable hike at the petrol pumps and wait hopefully for a few pounds back in tax credit or personal allowance. But the UK budget doesn’t just matter to 60 million Brits. Admittedly, not many of the world’s poorest people will be gathered around the television watching George Osborne at the despatch box on Wednesday – but for some of them, his words are a matter of life and death. ONE decided to get to the bottom of the figures and find out just how important they are.Our report, , reveals, for the first time, the true impact of UK aid around the world. This new audit of British aid spending plans shows that UK aid will put 15.9 million children in school, protect 5.8 million mothers during childbirth, provide safe drinking water to 17 million people and help over 9 million people overcome malnutrition in the next four years. But all this will only be achieved if the Chancellor confirms in this week’s budget that the UK government will reach its target of investing 0.7% of national income in international aid next year. This new research makes it clear: now would be the worst possible time for Britain to walk away from its promise to the world’s poorest. Not just because lives and futures depend on it, but also because in tough times, smart aid is not just good for the poorest countries. It’s good for Britain too. Aid helps countries grow, and as they grow they become potential markets and trading partners for UK plc. This isn’t about creating a never ending cycle of aid. demonstrates how UK aid will help bring forward the day when aid is no longer needed. In the next four years UK aid will help 77.6 million people access formal financial services, such as bank accounts or credit – the basics needed to start a business. And it will help create employment opportunities for 19.3 million people by investing in infrastructure, supporting entrepreneurs, developing markets to sell goods, encouraging trade and investment, and increasing agricultural productivity. During David Cameron’s recent visit to the United States he and Barack Obama said that “As two of the world’s wealthiest nations, we embrace our responsibility as leaders in the development that enables people to live in dignity, health and prosperity.” Cameron is right to recognise our responsibilities as a wealthy nation – and he also knows Britain’s aid promise is affordable. Even at 0.7% of national income, UK aid will account for just 1.6 pence in every pound of government spending. In tough economic times, keeping our aid promise is more important than ever. No other budget achieves so much for so little. The government’s bilateral and multilateral aid reviews demonstrated its commitment to fund the most cost-effective projects available and just last week the Department for International Development (DfID) to ensure that any allegations of misuse of funds are properly investigated. Nobody claims aid is perfect, but British aid is good and getting better.Each of these statistics on their own is remarkable but together they add up to one of the wisest and most far-sighted investments our government can make. No one wants aid to continue forever but if done properly this is an investment that will save and transform lives, boost economic prospects and help to bring forward the day when extreme poverty – and aid itself – is a thing of the past. Follow Adrian Lovett on Twitter:I’m exhausted from Wal-Mart’s 50th birthday bash held in Fayetteville, Arkansas last Friday for shareholders like me. described it as an “upbeat event,” but aside from the Nashville/Hollywood glitz on the stage — the event was more of a corporate mea culpa. I didn’t even go — but I’m exhausted from reading the reports about how Wal-Mart has found a new determination to “act the right way,” to quote Sam Walton’s son, Chairman of the Board, Robson Walton. In light of the Mexi-gate bribery scandal, it’s reassuring to know that after half a century, Wal-Mart has discovered “there is no grey area between right and wrong,” according to CEO Mike Duke. “”It’s either the right thing to do or we shouldn’t do it.”For community activists like me, it wasn’t Justin Timberlake or Celine Dion who livened up the Wal-Mart party. Instead, it was Wal-Mart’s slow-growth pattern from its financial statements that heartened us. Say what you will about Wal-Mart’s stock peformance — the good news is that Wal-Mart is building far fewer superstores than in the past. And what they are building is getting smaller. Twenty years ago, Wal-Mart was adding a new store every 2.3 days. The company added 158 stores in 1993. From 1992 to 1995, Wal-Mart boosted its U.S. store count by an average of 127 stores per year. But since 2009, the retailer has increased domestic stores by an average of 70 stores per year, a 45% slow-down in growth. In 2011 the rose by only 49 units, and in 2012 by only 64 stores. This translates into fewer stores to fight, fewer neighborhoods on the defensive, and fewer headlines about Wal-Mart confrontations. It also means Wal-Mart Realty has had a chance to focus on filling the “dead stores” the company has accumulated during its major growth years. In 2005, I reported on that Wal-Mart was carrying 356 dead stores, with nearly 27 million square feet of empty space on the market. Today, has 143 buildings either for sale or lease. More than 60% of these buildings are larger than 100,000 square feet, so it takes a lot of real estate agents to fill up buildings that large. Typical of what happens to these cast-off buildings is that they sit idle for several years, and then some less productive resuse is made of them. For example, there is a store for lease in that was 115,348 square feet when Wal-Mart abandoned it. Today a church is leasing 27,843 square feet, and the other 87,508 square feet are empty. In , Wal-Mart shut down its discount store, and is building a supersize me directly across the road. Their 120,000 square foot discount store sits empty on 15 acres of land, waiting for someone to lay out $4.65 million to buy it. On the same day that the Walton family was parading across the stage in Bud Walton Arena, the company they grew unspeakably rich from was quietly settling a federal religious discrimination against it by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The suit charged that Wal-Mart had threatened to fire a Morman employee who refused to work on the Sabbath—a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. As part of its settlement, Wal-Mart agreed to pay $70,000 and train its HR people on how to accommodate the religious practices of its workers. So perhaps Rob Walton was on the level when he “Acting with integrity is not negotiable. You have my word. We will act the right way.”I wonder if the company will translate that into Spanish?Finally, as I read the long list of celebrities who performed on stage, I kept wondering how many Wal-Mart workers in the audience could have been decently paid from the retainers charged by Taylor Swift, Lionel Richie, Justin Timberlake, and Celine Dion. Wal-Mart continues to exploit its workers, and instead of doing the right thing, the company spends its money to buy workers an afternoon with Justin Timberlake in grass hula skirt. Al Norman is the founder of . His book was released this month. It’s embarrassing to admit, as a 42 year old man, that I have enjoyed watching idol with my wife for 3 or 4 years now…if Urban and Minaj (makes me shutter to even type those two names) become judges, I will be forced to stop watching altogether. While Keith is a nice enough guy, he is part of the ONLY musical genre I just simply can’t find a singe ounce of respect for…Pop Country. There isn’t a musical genre that is more product over art than that. Plus, it seeks to reinforce over-romatic, low info conservative “gut feel” ideolgies. I just saw Rascal Flats on TV, getting a new promo car getting built by West Coast Customs…they wanted a Red Camaro for their song “Red Camaro”…they couldn’t even identify the Camaro as a Camaro on the guy’s lot…lots of inner experience going into those lyrics…And Minaj? She must be one of the most corporate-produced market research bots of all time.LOS ANGELES — Mariah Carey, Celine Dion and Mary J. Blige are among the heady names being tossed around as potential judges for “American Idol” after Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez skipped out on next season.Star power, after all, is what judges add to TV talent shows that otherwise feature unknowns whose performances can range from surprisingly good to stunningly awful.But Fox’s “American Idol,” trying to right itself after shedding viewers in its 11th season, may also need to play a numbers game – as in the age of the judges brought in to revitalize a show whose audience is getting smaller and older, neither a plus for advertisers.”They need judges who will resonate with young people,” said media analyst Brad Adgate.Carey, Dion and Blige, undeniably winning stars, all are in their early 40s.The median age for the “American Idol” audience rose above 50 last season, the first time ever, and Adgate suggests it take a page from “The X Factor” playbook, as devised by its creator and producer, Simon Cowell.”Cowell beat them to the punch” by hiring Britney Spears and Demi Lovato after “X Factor,” the Fox version of Cowell’s British hit, stumbled in its debut last season. Spears, 30, and Lovato, 19, replaced Paula Abdul, 50, and Nicole Scherzinger, 34.(Worth noting: The male judges, Cowell, 52, and producer Antonio “L.A.” Reid, 56, are staying put for season two.)Lopez announced her departure on Friday, a day after Tyler (an unlikely senior statesman at 64) said he was leaving “American Idol” to concentrate on his role as Aerosmith’s frontman. Both appeared for two seasons.”I honestly feel like the time has come that I have to get back to doing the other things that I do that I’ve put kind of on hold because I love `Idol’ so much,” the 42-year-old actress-singer-dancer told “Idol” host Ryan Seacrest on his radio show.Fox may be scouting for an entirely new panel, with some reports suggesting that original “Idol” judge Randy Jackson, 56, could shift to another role while Carey, whom he manages, becomes a judge. Jackson’s and Carey’s publicists did not respond to requests for comment.The makeover comes at a critical time. In May, “American Idol” posted its lowest-rated finale ever after a season that marked its poorest showing yet among young adult viewers age 18 to 49. A pattern of overall declining viewership continued for the show, which fell from the No. 1 spot for the first time since the 2005-06 season, placing second to NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.”"Idol” needs to stem its audience losses and level out, Adgate said, which would be enough to keep it a Top 10 program and a “force to be reckoned with.”Among the younger possibilities who might help, 19-year-old Miley Cyrus fits the Lovato mold. Speculation also has focused on former “Idol” winner Carrie Underwood, 29, and finalists Jennifer Hudson and Adam Lambert, both 30.Lambert addressed the possibility this week in an interview in London, where he appeared in concert with Queen.”Well, nothing’s been confirmed yet. If I were to be asked, I’d love the job. I think that would be great. That’s `if,’ because nothing’s been asked yet,” he said, adding that he’d enjoy being a panelist who could “help other artists reach their dreams.”Nigel Lythgoe, an “Idol” executive producer who recently joked about hiring Jerry Lewis and Charlie Sheen as judges, was circumspect about Lambert.”The minute `American Idol’ is discussed and judges are discussed there’s gonna be a lot of names flying around, and this is an interesting one,” he said. “I happen to like Adam Lambert a great deal but I’m not sure where this has come from probably from Adam Lambert’s fan club. We’ll wait and see.”Youth isn’t all, of course. Other factors at play involve the fan base that judges bring or develop, their skill on live TV and their chemistry with fellow panelists.Casting a talent show judge, while less daunting than making a Supreme Court pick, can be tricky. The right person has enough celebrity cachet and success to be desirable, but not so much to be unattainable. It’s unlikely that Rihanna, at least for now, sees a judgeship as a career ambition.Predicting who will flourish in a reality TV setting is another hurdle. Who would have guessed, for instance, that the hard-living Tyler would display such impish charm?Conversely, popular daytime host Ellen DeGeneres was a short-lived “Idol” judge, appearing ill-at-ease and timid in her contestant critiques. Songwriter Kara DioGuardi had serious music credentials but wasn’t ready for prime-time.Whether panelists will mesh, or for how long, also is hard to predict. The love-hate banter between Cowell and Abdul delighted viewers on “Idol” but had worn thin when they reunited on “X Factor.” On NBC’s “The Voice,” country star Blake Shelton and rocker Adam Levine have proved a fun and feisty duo.”Idol” producers have so far been circumspect while fans toss around names like Carey, Dion and Blige. While millions of dollars are at stake for networks, celebrities weighing a career move to “Idol” know a hefty paycheck may be just the start of their windfall.When Lopez signed a reported $12 million, two-year deal with “Idol,” she hadn’t triggered real excitement in the record world for years and her box-office value had taken a hit with flops including “The Back-Up Plan.”But on “Idol,” the glamorous, warmly appealing Lopez restored her popularity and converted it into new opportunities, including a TV show about global Latin talent. Tyler’s image adjustment did the same for him.”Who would have thought Tyler would be doing Burger King commercials and Lopez would be hosting `Saturday Night Live?’” analyst Adgate said. “They got back into the mindset of pop culture followers.”___Associated Press Writer Alicia Rancilio in New York contributed to this report.___Related on HuffPost:It’s been quite a week in “” news, and a few other big changes may be headed to the Fox singing competition show. , Mariah Carey is in talks to join the judges panel, while Randy Jackson may be stepping down. “They are in serious talks with Mariah and it’s very close to being a done deal,” a source told Us. “And they will move Randy into a more mentoring role.”On Thursday,“After some long … hard … thoughts … I’ve decided it’s time for me to let go of my mistress ‘American Idol’ before she boils my rabbit,” the Aerosmith singer said in a statement. “I strayed from my first love, Aerosmith, and I’m back — but instead of begging on my hands and knees, I’ve got two fists in the air and I’m kicking the door open with my band.”. “I’ve enjoyed it so much, but I am thinking it’s maybe time for me to go and do other things I really love to do like films … and performing,” Lopez said on “Today.” “I know everybody wants that definite ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ and … all I can let you in on is my own thought process with it, because that’s where I truly am.” Do you think Mariah Carey would make a good “American Idol” judge? Sound off in the comments. Related on HuffPost:If the magazine industry was a pyramid, would be on top — all by itself. After 120 years of production, Vogue has made itself into a fashion bible and it helps define what we will be buying and seeing for seasons to come. For this year’s September issue — which weighs roughly the same as a newborn baby — Vogue has found 120 of the most influential musicians, models, designers and actresses all under 45 who are shaping fashion as we know it. And we predict they will still be influencing us in five, 10 or 20 years time. Here are 10 of the beautiful photographs — shot by — that you’ll find on .Designer digs for a fraction of the price. Yes please. Check out these outlets that offer heavily discounted luxury items from just a seasons or two past. Bicester Village – EnglandFoxTown Outlets, Mendrisio – SwitzerlandGotemba Premium Outlets – JapanJeremy’s – San FranciscoJoyce Outlet – Hong KongLa Vallee Village – FranceThe Mall Outlet – ItalyThe “Space” Prada Outlet – ItalyYeoju Premium Outlet – KoreaWoodbury Commons – New YorkAmy Chan is the Director of Marketing for , the world’s largest luxury hotel reviewer. To read more of her articles, visit Follow Amy Chan on Twitter:Two years ago, Amy Voelker was enjoying a getaway with her extended family at a rental house in Redington Beach, Florida — and a second meeting with her four-month-old grandson. “I had only seen the baby once,” Voelker said, “and was looking forward to spending more time with him — with everyone, all together.” The party included her husband of 20 years, Elroy “Roy” McConnell II; their son Kelly, 19, and his girlfriend; Amy’s stepsons, Roy III, 28, and Nathan, 24, and their wives; Nate’s two-year-old; and Roy III’s new baby. Photos of the weekend capture a happy afternoon on the beach, the younger men in swim trunks playing football on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. And then the nightmare began. Voelker’s husband and three sons had gone to see a late-night movie while the women watched a DVD and went to bed. At around 4 a.m., one of Voelker’s daughters-in-law awoke to discover the men hadn’t returned. Over the next two-and-a-half hours, the frantic women called the men’s cell phones, the police, hospital emergency rooms, anything they could think of. They found an online news report about a bad accident but couldn’t determine the make of the cars involved from the photo.Voelker was on the phone for the fourth time with local police when the officer on the line asked her to open the front door for the victim support team, which confirmed the worst: All four men were dead, killed by a drunk driver who ran a red light and crashed into their Ford Fusion.”We knew it; we just knew it,” Voelker said.What followed was a blur. Charges were filed against the 20-year-old driver of the other car. Those days in court were among the hardest, Voelker said. She and her husband’s former wife — the biological mother of the two older boys — sat shoulder-to-shoulder, supporting one another. The driver eventually changed his plea to guilty and was sentenced to 44 years in jail. The ensuing days ran together, the only common thread her constant grief, said Voelker. It was hard to get out of bed some days, and at times even the love and support she was getting felt overwhelming. Voelker said her church family and her employer — the University of Central Florida — were “just terrific,” understanding both her need to take time off and to get back into the groove of normalcy. On some days she would go to work, but just not be able to get through the day. One daughter-in-law and her youngest son’s girlfriend stayed around for a month or so. The three women “medicated with food,” Voelker said, and eventually joined Weight Watchers together.Voelker knew that exercise helps heal both body and mind — her husband had participated in races and triathlons, and was a regular gym rat. In fact, he had persuaded her to join him there in the months before he died, and she began getting into shape. But after the accident, she couldn’t bring herself to go back. “It was just too hard,” she said.Then one day, Voelker was mindlessly thumbing through the AARP magazine — she had just turned 50 and received her first issue — when she noticed an ad for a “Take Charge of Your Future” contest the organization was running. It seemed to “speak” to her, she said, and on something of a lark, she penned a 300-word essay and sent it in. The prize: a personal trainer to help her meet her fitness and life goals. Voelker won. “I never won anything,” she said, and her shock was enough of a jolt to motivate her. She decided to begin training for the Roy McConnell Mango Sprint Triathlon — a race that was renamed for her husband, who had completed it several times. In her contest entry, Voelker wrote that she not only wanted a fitness makeover, she wanted to use that newfound fitness to pursue her goal of helping others understand the consequences of drunk driving. She joined Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), and expects to do more public appearances once she is in better physical shape. With just six weeks of training under her belt, Voelker said she already feeling stronger, lost some weight and feels better emotionally.Through exercise and training and the support of friends and family, Voelker has found a new vision of herself, she said. “I’m able to look forward.” As for the man responsible for killing her family, she feels it’s important for her to forgive him.”I’m not 100 percent there yet, but I know it’s important for me to forgive him,” she said. “If I didn’t, I would be allowing someone to have control over me.”Photo: WireImageSee more looks from the show below and see more New York Fashion Week coverage here. var src_url=”http://pshared.5min.com/Scripts/PlayerSeed.js?sid=577&width=548&height=398&colorPallet=%239FC5E8&companionPos=bottom&hasCompanion=true&relatedMode=2&relatedBottomHeight=60&videoControlDisplayColor=%23006699&autoStart=false&playList=517158630&aol_level=Living:StyleList…”Shooting babies isn’t all sh*ts and giggles… It’s mostly sh*t. All over the floor.”Much like how we discovered that Lisa Frank was actually , a new comedy sketch from shows us that the world’s most famous baby photographer actually f#@&ing hates babies.Sure, Anne Geddes used to be a famous fashion photographer in the 80s, but that was before she found the perfect subject, one that’s always under 90 lbs and never has a cocaine problem. Spending time with these drooling, crying half-people was her only choice.Plus, if it weren’t for photographing babies in cabbage, old boots or garbage cans, she would have never became best friends with Celine Dion. Sacrifices, people. Sacrifices.Also on HuffPost:She has his name tattooed in a heart on her right arm but Antonio Banderas’s wife, Melanie Griffith, may want to consider getting it removed after hearing the latest rumors.The couple has been together for 15 years, but after at a Cancun nightclub on top of several other incidents, the Spanish hunk has struggled to woo his wife back, reports RadarOnline.While Banderas partied in Cancun, his wife was at home in LA caring for their daughter, Stella, .As photos of Banderas and the unknown woman began to spread, Melanie’s initial response to the alleged infidelity, , was a quote posted online: “BoyfriEND, girlfriEND, friEND, everything has an end, except for family.”It seems she began considering an “end” to Banderas last week when photographers discovered her out on the town — without her wedding ring. “Melanie’s a mess. Not only is she in jeopardy of losing the love of her life, but her career is in the toilet while Antonio’s star is continuing to rise,” . “I think Melanie’s self esteem hit an all time low and she believed Antonio was torturing her. For years, it’s as if she’s been consumed with jealousy over his flirting and outspoken love for beautiful women.”Banderas has been attempting to quell the rumors and is “desperately trying to win Melanie’s trust back,” . He’s also been quick to point out the wedding ring is still on his finger.While all the drama shakes out, Melanie has headed to the family house in Aspen. “The last thing Banderas wants is a nasty high-profile divorce,” . “Despite their problems he still loves her and will do anything to keep her from leaving him.”Indeed, the Hollywood jet-setters have endured many prior strains to their relationship, most notably . During that time, Banderas said of their relationship, “We love each other, and above all we love our family. We’ve figured out how to get past obstacles … and if you get past those, you only get stronger.”Banderas and Griffith recently made our list of “Odd Celebrity Couples.” See the whole list below: and are joining forces.No, it’s not a masterplan to destroy hipster minds everywhere. Rather, the pair will be part of a good cause — a benefit concert to support the family of Denis Blanchette, a lighting technician who was at a victory party earlier this month when the separatist Parti Québécois won the .Blanchette was shot when Richard Henry Bain opened fire during Quebec’s premier-designate Pauline Marois’ speech. Bain has been charged with murder.Where the artists come in is the Denis Blanchette Benefit Concert, being held October 1 at Metropolis in Montreal, Quebec. The funds raised will go towards providing for Blanchette’s young daughter as well as co-worker Dave Courage, who was also shot, but survived.Arcade Fire and Celine Dion have already committed to performing, but a number of other high profile Quebec musicians are also playing as well, including Patrick Watson, Coeur De Pirate, Ian Kelly and Vincent Vallières. Organizers are also suggesting there may be other surprise guests.Tickets will go for between $80 and $175 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster.The Three Weissmanns of Westportby Cathleen ShineFarrar Straus and Giroux 292 pp $25.00NormanceBy Louis-Ferdinand Célinetranslation and introductionby Marlon JonesDalkey Archives371 pp $14.95 Bagatelles pour un massacreBy Louis-Ferdinand CélineParis: Denoël 379 pp 1938There are days, Helen Mirren’s lady detective efforts notwithstanding, that we seem stuck in a self perpetuating gender warp; the gents, still influenced by Humphrey Bogart and “The Big Sleep” go through one door, while Mma Ramotswe (played by Jill Scott) and her hilarious detective agency in Botswana, another. My question for Cathleen Schine’s marvelous The Three Weissmanns of Westport is – does the publicity for it, insisting on its “homage to Jane Austin’s Sense and Sensibility ” create unnecessary static ? Is there too much signaling of ‘chick lit?’ Of Channel 13′s Jane reruns? (I will get to Céline further along.) I bring this up because potential readers may be inadvertently robbed of the amazing originality of Schine’s current novel, and its homage to the new rather than the old. Yes, of course, the inimitable Jane is inimitable, and many male novelists, including Harold Brodkey have drawn inspiration from her, but novels should give us new news of the external and internal world. Has the author put us on to a fresh foot path? I remember as a student coming home from Paris, bringing with me a Dyna Panhard, a tiny sea blue French car, buying a copy of Catcher in the Rye, and sitting in my parked Dyna (in the 1950s Madison Avenue was relatively empty) – I’ve often written about that day – and not getting out of the car until I’d finished Catcher. The literary skies suddenly opened up. I didn’t need to be burdened with Simone de Beauvoir’s chic smarts, war novels, southern eccentrics, Faulkner’s Temple Drake, Tolstoy’s Anna dead beneath the Russian railroad tracks, Blanche DuBois or even Mary McCarthy. Salinger gave my generation a permission to write about our lives, our very ordinary adolescent times. He gave us our voice, our right to be serious in our own postwar, perhaps over-privileged, tones. The Three Weissmanns of Westport has gotten superlative reviews. Still a contemporary artist wouldn’t want his/her work too tightly nailed to say, Matisse or Picasso, and this over insistence on Jane ignores the book’s originality. Schine has a wide range — her New York Times’ book review last year of Alexsandar Hemon’s The Lazarus Project is a complex account of the way Eastern Europe is now. And her Westport isn’t the place of 20 years ago, and certainly not the Westport with memories of F.Scott Fitzgerald and theatre folk, nor the arty crowd, nor the later advertising bunch, and it certainly isn’t the anti-Semitic Connecticut of Gentleman’s Agreement. Her Westport has become a provincial town, prosperous and dreary, somewhat like Emma Bovary’s Tostes, near Rouen. Betty Weissmann, in her mid ’70s, isn’t dreaming of lovers: her romantic “love” is Manhattan from where she has been temporarily banished. She and her two grown daughters, Miranda and Annie, have joined economic forces in order to combat her husband’s divorce lawyers, who are attempting to filch the family assets, namely her beloved Central Park West apartment. The Holocaust is a distant drum beat, it might as well be taps played in the last century, its only relevance is that rich Uncle Lou spreads his generosity to all the inhabitants of the novel – Jews and Christians alike – as a result of having been welcomed into America as a child escaping the Holocaust. Lou provides the three women with his beachfront extra cottage, so that they have the means to wait out the divorce lawyers.Betty wanders disconsolate through Westport: “There was nothing to do, no one to do it with, and she wouldn’t drive at night, so on top of everything else there was no way to get there. She daydreamed about the buses in New York with their interesting bits of poetry or quotes from George Eliot, their ads for Con Ed or the Bronx Zoo. How civilized and communal New York seemed from the vantage point of this lonely land of cars and crows and Lanes and Drives and Crescents….’Very cosmopolitan little town,’ Betty had answered her friend in her most chipper voice. But Westport struck her as neither cosmopolitan nor little. In fact, it did not even strike her as a town. It was large and spread out and bustling and provincial.” Its geographic advantage has disintegrated into its nearness to COSTCO gallon vodka bargains; even its weather seems a bleak knockoff of Manhattan skies.Jews and WASPS co-mingle, references to Hanukkah and Christmas have become mere after thoughts. In fact, the only WASP to make an issue -or celebration – of his WASP heritage turns out to be a phony: a third rate actor from the West Coast into movieland pretend who has invented his WASP background. Miranda falls in love with Leanne, a Westport doctor into good works in Africa – again, their lesbian marriage causes no melodrama. Betty, still dreaming of her return to her great Central Park West apartment with its grand faux fireplace, barely takes note of this change of mores. Alas, her legal win has a wistful tragic note. She dies of a staph infection before she can repossess her home, but, due to her foresight, the inheritance will pass on to her daughters. In her astonishing novel, Schine grounds her witty dialogue and sharp new way of seeing the familiar with bursts of authentic feeling between the unmoored mother and her protective daughters. Meanwhile, in a totally different take on the effect of influences, Wyatt Mason’s much needed reappraisal in The New York Review of Books of Louis-Ferdinand Destouches (Céline), on the occasion of Dalkey Archives’ publication of Normance is excellent. He correctly points to a lack of balance and a lack of knowledge of the author’s total works (the murderously anti-Semitic Bagatelle pour un massacre still is banned in France) in the admiration of his American writer fans. Voyage au bout de la nuit with its furious, hot, first person voice had particular appeal to the Beats, who saw in Céline’s anti-bourgeois stance one of their own, but we shouldn’t ignore that Céline’s true buddies, the Nazis, were also anti-bourgeois democracies. Mason quotes from the English translation of Philip Roth’s remarks (Roth is also a fan) on Céline originally published in 1984 in La Quinzaine Littéraire: “To tell you the truth, in France, my Proust is Céline! There’s a very great writer. Even if his anti-Semitism made him an abject, intolerable person. To read him, I have to suspend my Jewish conscience, but I do it, because anti-Semitism isn’t at the heart of his books, even Castle to Castle. Céline is a great liberator. I feel called by his voice.” Well, “liberator” – though we know Roth means to admire Céline’s voice, is hardly le mot juste for a writer who called for the death of all Jews. And what does Roth think Castle to Castle is about, if not Céline’s successful attempt to escape from a French trial for his war crimes? Can we so neatly chop into separate compartments voice, morality, stylish style, and intent? This sort of muffled debate – a debate that never seems to quite see the light of day — was further mangled by John Updike, who imagined Céline as being mainly a “sweet country doctor.” In my 1991 interview (reprinted after his death in The Daily Beast), Updike said: “I think what I was trying to say [in one of his essays] is that there aren’t any anti-Semitic portraits in Céline as deadly as Bloch in Proust. I may be wrong. But Céline’s views didn’t seem to carry over into his art. He didn’t bother to give us caricatures of Jewish people.” Really? Proust, in his insistence on the fluid nature of his characters, was one of the first novelists to liberate Jews from fictional stereotypes, while Céline turned them into dangerous anti-Semitic caricatures. In a letter to his mother, Proust describes the anti-Semitic ravings of a friend’s father, besotted by the anti-Semitic radical right rag Libre Parole, later so useful to the Nazis, whom in La Recherche he transforms into Baron de Charlus’s ravings against Bloch. In a letter to Violet Schiff (usually ignored is that many of Proust’s most profound friendships were with people who were Jewish or part Jewish) he points out that Swann who starts out effete, in another volume becomes okay: “He becomes a Dreyfusard.” While granting Céline’s talent, particularly in Journey to the End of the Night, isn’t his American fan club a bit too nonchalant? Or, one wonders – might it be that Proust, the chronicler of the Dreyfus Affair, simply accomplished too much for Roth and Updike? Or were they simply playing Peck’s bad boy? Saul Bellow had no use for Céline, and managed a hot, intime voice quite on his own. Now, about Norman Mailer. Both his biographer Michael Lennon and I feel that the back jacket of Frédéric Vitoux’s biography Céline needs a tad correcting. George Steiner claims that (among others) Norman Mailer’s novels would never have been written without Céline’s precedent. In my interviews with Norman I never heard him mention Céline, and Céline was certainly not on his mind when I first met him in Paris. According to Lennon, Mailer told him that the French writers in order of importance to him were: “Stendahl, Proust, Malraux, then Flaubert, Zola, Gide, Huysmans, Baudelaire’s journals, Sartre, Simenon, and Jean Malaquais – the largest single influence on my intellectual life.” Lennon says he never heard Mailer mention Céline, and he believes that Céline’s works were not in Mailer’s extensive library. So why are American writers so casually inclined to give Céline, including his ideas and actions, a pass? I think it is hard for us to grasp (we see World War II in terms of military battles) that words — the Nazi propaganda machine – were a potent instrument of war. We cannot imagine a society in which every bit of media, and every publishing house, is controlled and manipulated by the enemy. French writer collaborationists helped destabilize the French government in advance of the “phony war”, thus facilitating the German control of the French government and population, and the sending of Jews to the death camps. Céline, who called for all Jews to be killed and the French and British governments destroyed, went on an “intellectual” junket to Germany, and, more significantly, was on Dannecker’s and Ambassador Otto Abetz’s list of candidates to head the Vichy established “central Jewish office”, which put in motion the final solution. Dannecker, a chief architect of the final solution, committed suicide in 1945. Abetz, whom Céline, along with Petain and Laval, joined in Sigmaringen Castle in their attempted flight from France (Céline’s flight is the subject of Castle to Castle), was convicted by the French of war crimes and the deportation and murder of Jews. A long way off from the experiences of the Beat Generation, Philip Roth and John Updike.The past few days have proven debilitating for disco fans, as two of the genre’s biggest legends have lost their respective battles with cancer. Donna Summer , and Bee Gee . The Bee Gees were one of disco’s greatest groups, changing pop music forever with hits like “Stayin’ Alive” while also releasing deeply emotive tracks like “To Love Somebody” and “How Deep Is Your Love.” Of Robin, Maurice and Barry Gibb, the brothers who formed the band, only Barry remains alive. Here at HuffPost Entertainment, we’ve collected a number of their songs for your enjoyment in the gallery below. Give the songs a listen and share your memories of the iconic band in the comments below. For more on Gibb’s passing, .Also on HuffPost:Here in Quebec, we have an original approach to youth crime that works. In 2010, the severity of youth crime in Quebec was the lowest in Canada, proof that we are not “soft” on crime but rather that we are smart and “tough” on its root causes. But now the Harper government wants to ignore the evidence and change that approach.The fall 2011 men’s shows have just finished in Milan. The fashion road show is moving to Paris next where Louis Vuitton, Lanvin and Dior Homme show their collections. But while there have been exciting trends to come out of the Milan shows (such as the snappy colors at Jil Sander and the 70s tailoring at Prada) and more to come surely from the City of Lights, I still feel that men are sometimes left out of the fashion game.I say this because I really want to wear something from Phoebe Philo. But sadly, the designer of Celine who changed the way women dressed in a single season does not make men’s clothes. True, there are menswear designers who create clean minimalist clothes like Raf Simons, Simon Spurr and Italo Zucchelli at Calvin Klein, but fashion is all about the Philo mania right now and I would like to join in on the craze as do the many guys who have snapped up the Celine totes just so they can say that they own a piece of the designer’s genius. The very stylish Ines de la Fressange has been quoted saying that “it’s better to spend your money on Celine than on Botox.” I would like to be able to say something to that effect too.I think that some of Philo’s designs for Celine will translate well to menswear like the color blocked leather t-shirts and the sleeveless coats with no lapels. I personally would wear the white trousers with green and blue stripes on the sides from her spring collection if she cut them for men. If she does create menswear, I can see her filling the void left by Helmut Lang. Modern urban warriors in very streamlined clothing. I doubt she will cross over though. But a man who loves fashion can dream.I’d also like to see Tory Burch create a men’s line. No, I am not looking to wear tunics or her famous Reva ballerinas. I’d like to see how she’ll apply her love for vibrant colors and patterns to men’s clothes. I like to think that Tory Burch Man — should there ever be one — will be filled with luxe boho pieces inspired by J.P. Getty and Paul Bowles. Robes in paisley prints, shorts with geometric patterns, shirts in degrade colors and maybe an embroidered trouser or two for glamorous Moroccan themed parties. I can also see her making a trench coat in crushed linen with a wild exuberant lining. And think about the accessories — an orange canvas beach tote perhaps or Kelly green moccasins or braided leather bracelets or Panama hats in shades inspired by a gelato stand. Oh, St. Barth’s here I come.If Victoria Beckham extended herself to men’s fashion what would her clothes be like? Would she pilfer from her husband’s Dolce & Gabbana and Giorgio Armani filled closet or would she surprised us in much the same way she baffled her naysayers when she launched her eponymous collection? That a former Spice Girls with an affinity to gold lame and chain mail can produce such strong, sophisticated and polished women’s wear is nothing short of amazing. Her men’s collection I imagine would have architectural blazers that are nipped in at the waist by unexpected darts, sharp and skinny trousers paired with draped multi-layered belted cardigans and tuxedos in rich jewel tone colors.And while on the topic of women’s wear designers doing men’s clothes, it would be great if Jason Wu, Proenza Schouler and Thakoon lent their creative vision to men’s fashion as well. Their contemporaries Phillip Lim, Alexander Wang and Richard Chai are already doing it. Men’s fashion would be a lot more fun if they were in the mix. Follow Blue Carreon on Twitter: is officially the hardest working comedienne in the business. Her weekly primetime Bravo talk show, “Kathy,” has been renewed for a second season. This comes just a week after she picked up another Emmy nomination (she has two wins for “”) for her stand-up special “” — her third nomination in the Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special category — and the same day her new one-hour comedy special, “Kathy Griffin: Seaman 1st Class,” premieres (Thurs., July 26, 10 p.m. ET).”I’m coming back in January! The Bravo folks have been really great about letting me figure out what the hell the show is,” Griffin said when we reached out to congratulate her. “We started with 12 episodes, and it’s my favorite job I’ve ever had. I’m having the time of my life. I love it … As far as I know, we’re going to stay on Thursdays at 10, and I’ve been told we’re going to start the first week in January.”“Bravo’s relationship with Kathy Griffin has outlasted Katie and Tom’s, Ashton and Demi’s, and while we won’t be couch jumping, we continue to be in awe of her quick wit, rude humor and spot-on analysis of pop culture and celebrity happenings,” Frances Berwick, President of Bravo Media, said in a statement.As for her schedule until January, Griffin is still touring regularly, and she’s got a packed schedule of comedy specials for her home network. “I would like to ask you overtly to make the point that no comedian has ever done four specials in one year, much less a female comedian. We are still fighting the good fight of females in comedy, and I am not gonna have it from these gals that are saying that sexism in comedy doesn’t still exist because it does,” Griffin said. “So I was like, ‘Fine. I won’t do one special a year. I won’t do two. I will be doing four in one year. Chris Rock was like, ‘You’re doing a special a year for four years?’ And I said, ‘No, no, no — I’m doing four in one year.’ Then Jon Stewart was like, ‘Why do you wanna do a special a year?’ And I was like, ‘No … I’m doing four.’ Watch a sneak peek of “Seaman 1st Class” here, then keep reading for more on finally allowing celebrity guests on “Kathy,” wanting guests to sit on her face and getting into Tumblr with her pal Cher.The first season of “Kathy” had several “did that just happen?” moments, but I’m entertained any time you whore your assistant Tiffany out to random firemen … There are so many moments that stick out from the first few episodes, but people are fascinated by Tiffany. They fell in love with her on “The D-List” and now she’s lost all this weight. I get all these tweets about her — she’s our Carrie Bradshaw. She represents that single girl in the city, and I love that she totally wears clothing from the Kardashian Kollection at Sears. She is now juggling some bitches — I think she was texting with one of the firemen, then that didn’t work out, so she was texting with the guy she met on our fake dating game, and they really went out on a date, and tomorrow night she’s having girls night at something called Tequila Tuesdays. She’s living the dream. I love it. You know, when , you were pretty adamant about not having celebrity guests, but that quickly changed. Is there a certain kind of celebrity you want to have on now?I kept saying, “No celebrities, no celebrities — or, if they come, they have to come to play and they have to know what they’re getting into.” It’s not going to be a typical talk show, and it certainly hasn’t been, if you saw the Jane Fonda episode. It certainly wasn’t Jane promoting “The Newsroom” and talking about her latest book. What’s great is that every single celebrity came to me, including Jane. Jane said, “I heard you have a show, and I’d love to come on.” We were emailing back and forth, and you’d think I was trying to talk her out of it because I was like, “I don’t think you know how loose this show is — it’s a very loosey-goosey, kind of a European-style show, where all three people are on the couch at once, and you can’t just promote stuff.” She’s like, “I won’t promote anything. Sounds great.” And then, of course, when she came on, clearly she had never seen the show, but she was great. She just immediately took to my mother, which I knew she would, and wanted to get my mom’s anti-aging secrets. Little does she know it’s wine and cheese from a bottle. But that show is one I’m so proud of — that’s really what I hoped would happen, with civilians or celebrities, that kind of conversation. Lisa Ling was so perfect because she’s so smart, and she’s able to make fun of herself. And that’s what I loved about Anderson Cooper. It all started with Chelsea Handler — Whitney Cummings said, “Oh Kathy’s going to do a show!” and Chelsea said, “I want to come on.” And I said, “Oh no, no, no … people have to really let it rip, and I just don’t trust celebrities.” She said, “Do you have a first guest?” And I said, “Yeah, it’s my dog walker and a couple of friends.” And she was like, “You’re insane.” Having her and Whitney on with my dog walker was really perfect. He’s a very real person, and he is someone that I classify as my favorite guest, just unintentionally funny. I’m still going to continue to mix it up with whatever celebrities come to me, come to play and kind of know what they’re getting into. Well you have all these famous friends who want to support you … Yesterday, Cher called me and she was on speaker and Ryan the dog walker came to pick up the dogs, and he’s like, “Oh my god — Cher can yell at me anytime.” And I said, “Well, who knows, Ryan? It could be in your future.”I love your life.It’s crazy! It’s just taken years of brow-beating Hollywood down until they finally realized it was a joke. I went to see the Celine Dion show a few weeks ago in Vegas, and I’ve met her a few times, but I don’t know her well, and I certainly don’t know her to be somebody who’s necessarily thrilled with the way I’ve portrayed her in my act. But then I get a call from her assistant, and she wants to see me afterward and hang out, and I’m like, “Really?” And she was lovely, and we took a couple funny pictures. She gave me the highest compliment — she said [in her Celine Dion accent], “And remember: Keep me in your act. I want to still feel like I am hot!” It’s really been fun. Celebrities are finally getting, after all these years, that it’s a joke. I’m having less celebrity rage. Fewer celebrities leave the room when I enter — though there’s still a few. And now they come on the show to have fun. I’m going to f— with them, but I’m not in the business of ruining careers. I’m going to make a joke at your expense, and I’m certainly going to make 10 more at my expense, but nobody’s going to leave in tears. Ironically, Anderson was on my show a week before he came out. And yet, I certainly in a million years wasn’t going to out him for ratings. Never! But you probably had a moment of like, “Couldn’t you have just done it a week earlier maybe? I didn’t want to do it, but couldn’t you have done it on my show?”[Laughs.] Well, I think when he was saying things like, “Bitch, what are you doing?” And, “Girl, it’s not gonna happen” … that’s the kind of conversation that I live for on the “Kathy” show. I guess if I want to refer to the couch as “my face” and ask the guests to “sit on my face,” that may not work with Anderson, but I think it would be unique to have a talk show where I can invite guests to sit on my face. But you know what? I don’t win every battle with Bravo. That may not be my new logo … I may not be able to convince Bravo to go from “Watch What Happens” to “Sit On My Face.”You do always pick great names. I loved “Tired Hooker,” so congrats on the Emmy nomination.I was very, very excited that “Tired Hooker” got nominated. I truly wasn’t counting on it; it was a genuine surprise. Once again, I’m out to crush the Kennedy Center Honors because they win that category every single year. But I’m just happy to, once again, give the Academy a title that they should at least consider would be funny to hear: “And the Emmy goes to ‘Tired Hooker.’” America just wants to hear it! Even if it’s a mistake or there’s a tie, or oh my gosh I made a mistake — I just want somebody who has been in a lot of episodes of “Law & Order” or someone from “The Newsroom” to have to stand there and say, “And the Emmy goes to ‘Tired Hooker.’” I have dreams. And this new special has “Seaman” in the title. It does, though it’s spelled in the nautical fashion. Once again, Bravo didn’t want to name it that, but I was doing it in Long Beach … and I wasn’t on the Queen Mary, but there were plenty of queens onstage and in the audience, and I stood in front of a gigantic poster of the Queen Mary. [Laughs.] So I thought “Seaman: 1st Class” was completely appropriate.Who are your biggest targets in this one?The Baptist church, I have a new and improved prison fan letter and I talk about Grammys — there’s a lot of backstage dirt from the Grammys. And there’s a new and updated Cher story. Everybody loves Cher. I did a Tumblr with her, and you should check it out because it just went live: . The gays are abuzz with excitement because I went to Cher’s last week and I made her do my make-up and then we did an impromptu iPhone photoshoot. They’re not exactly the level of photography status that she’s used to … but it’s a lot of glitter.”Seaman: 1st Class” premieres Thurs., July 26, 10 p.m. ET; “Kathy” returns to Bravo Thursday nights in January.Tell us: Are you excited for more Kathy and more “Kathy” on TV?Also on HuffPost:TORONTO – Only a small percentage of Canadian women appear to opt for breast reconstruction following mastectomy, despite the safety of the procedure and its positive effects on a patient’s self-esteem, researchers say.In a review article in this week’s Canadian Medical Association Journal, Toronto researchers say there is a dearth of data on how many women in the country are currently having reconstructive surgery after mastectomy for breast cancer.But rates in Canada have been historically low, said principal author Dr. Toni Zhong, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Princess Margaret Hospital.An Ontario study in 1994-95 found a breast reconstruction rate of 7.7 per cent, while a 1991 analysis for Nova Scotia showed 3.8 per cent of women in that province had the procedure.In contrast, rates were higher in Australia (almost 10 per cent in 1982), Denmark (14 per cent, 1999) and England (16.5 per cent, 2006). In the United States, breast reconstruction rates rose from as low as 3.4 per cent in 1985 to a high of 42 per cent in 1997 at specialized cancer centres.Use of immediate reconstruction at the same time as mastectomy has also increased in the U.S., in part due to a recommendation by the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons in 2001 to incorporate the practice in the treatment of early-stage breast cancer.”All I can say from this review is that this isn’t a topic that has been visited,” said Zhong. “At least in Ontario, this topic hasn’t been visited since the mid-1990s.”National statistics on breast reconstruction aren’t kept, but Zhong and her colleagues are now trying to gather that information province by province.”A lot of us have a hunch that maybe Canada is lagging behind what … (other) high-income countries are doing. But we don’t know.”Research has shown that breast reconstruction performed at the same time as mastectomy for women with early-stage cancer is a “completely safe practice to do from a cancer perspective and it’s actually a good thing to do for patients because they get benefit from it,” she said.Zhong said women tell her that having a breast surgically restored enhances their feeling of being whole and feminine.”And I think when you look down and you don’t have the mastectomy scar and instead you have a fairly normal-looking breast mound, it’s less of a reminder that you went through this cancer treatment.”It’s a sense that you’ve put this battle behind you.”At cancer centres like Princess Margaret Hospital, Zhong said there is a concerted effort to identify mastectomy patients who are good candidates for immediate breast reconstruction and offer them the surgery.”But that’s on an institution basis and we want to see that this uptake is going to be uniform across the country, whether you live in Nova Scotia or Saskatchewan or Ontario, whether you live in a rural place versus an urban place, that shouldn’t matter,” she said.Zhong said there is a misconception that for older women, it’s not safe to do breast restoration. But she said that’s not true.”It has to do with their physiological age or how healthy they are. One really healthy, fit 60-year-old is not the same as a 40-year-old who’s diabetic, a smoker, obese. So there are other factors that play into this and make someone a good candidate or not a good candidate.”Factors that would preclude immediate reconstruction include whether a women will need followup radiation and the stage of cancer at diagnosis. If called for, radiation should be started within three months of mastectomy, but that critical treatment could be delayed if reconstruction healing isn’t complete.And for women with later-stage breast cancer prescribed radiation and chemotherapy — because of concerns about recurrence — reconstruction will usually be postponed for at least two years, she said.Zhong said once researchers have a better sense of current breast reconstruction rates across the country, the next step would be for medical experts to develop national guidelines outlining which patients are good candidates for the surgery and would benefit most.”Once we decide that, then all women, whether you live in Thunder Bay or live in downtown Toronto should know about these guidelines. And I think that’s the best way to make this uniform across the board.”WATCH: TORONTO — Women who lose a breast to cancer report improvements in their state of mind and well-being three weeks after breast reconstruction surgery, a new survey indicates.However, 20 per cent of the women experienced minor or major complications related to the reconstruction surgery, and many of the women were grappling with significant deterioration in the strength of their abdomen — the donor site for tissue to reconstruct the breast.But study co-author Dr. Toni Zhong said that even when complications, lack of strength at the donor site, scarring and time off work were factored in, the positives outweighed the negatives.”The overwhelming answer was these patients did not regret it and were highly satisfied,” said Zhong of the University Health Network Breast Restoration Program at the University of Toronto.The women were questioned three weeks after their surgery, when they were still recovering and probably still in pain, and again three months after the surgery.”As early as three weeks, these patients were reporting really quite significant improvement in all sorts of quality-of-life issues, like psychosocial well-being, sexual well-being, body image and things like that,” said Zhong.She and her colleagues collaborated on the research with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.The study is published Monday in the early online edition of Cancer, a journal of the American Cancer Society.The 51 women who were surveyed didn’t have implants, but rather surgeries utilizing tissue from the abdomen: free muscle-sparing transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous (TRAM) flap reconstruction or a deep inferior epigastric artery (DIEP) flap reconstruction.Zhong said muscle-sparing surgery was first described in the literature about a decade ago, and has become more popular in the last five years.She said only four surgeons in Toronto, and a total of about 10 plastic surgeons in Canada, do these breast reconstructions which require specialized fellowship training, equipment and nursing staff, and competence using a microscope during surgery to hook up blood vessels.Many of the complications reported in the study were minor, Zhong said, such as a stitch coming through the skin or scabbing that required dressing changes.Major complications were defined as having to return to the operating room for unexpected reasons, and this was the case for about 10 per cent of the patients surveyed, she said. Eventually these patients healed fine too.”Despite having even a major complication, though, these patients reported that they felt overall the reconstruction achieved the purpose that they wanted,” she said.Zhong was surprised by the findings on abdominal outcomes, as patients are normally counselled that the donor site should be back to normal at eight weeks.Complaints about abdominal weakness could include difficulty lifting groceries, for example, or getting out of bed — instead of just sitting up, the woman might have to roll onto her side first.”Maybe there are things we can do before surgery to optimize these patients’ conditions. For example, maybe it’s a good idea for us to have a devoted physiotherapist who can focus on doing abdominal strength training before surgery,” she said.The research will help doctors counsel patients about the pros and cons of surgery so they know what to expect, she indicated.Dr. Melinda Musgrave, a plastic surgeon at St. Michael’s Hospital who was not involved in the research, said the study looks at what she calls the “Cadillac of breast reconstruction” that uses abdominal tissue and tries to save muscle.”She’s shown a pretty consistent outcome, that patients in the long run are pretty happy about reconstructive surgery, and that as early as three weeks afte

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  46. The British director Steve McQueen is an eccentric guy whose mind leads him to unusual places, and the Irish actor Michael Fassbender is a true-believer who seems willing to follow him wherever it goes: for their last collaboration, Hunger (2008), Fassbender dropped nearly 40 pounds to play a hunger striker, and for this one, an NC-17 drama about a sex addict, he spends much of the film fully naked and engaged in a wide variety of sexual activities. During a recent interview, McQueen told me that he and Abi Morgan penned the script after discovering how widely prevalent sex addiction is — he likened it to AIDS in the eighties, in the sense that it is a real affliction that is all around us but that few of us are aware of or choose to acknowledge — with the goal of enlightening others about it, as well. The film, which was shot over just 25 days in New York on a budget of only $5.5 million, chronicles the lives of and relationship between Brandon (Fassbender), a single, handsome, successful 30-something New Yorker who is secretly a sex addict, and Sissy (Oscar nominee Carey Mulligan), his emotionally-unstable younger sister who moves in with him when she has nowhere else to go. Brandon, we soon learn, constantly pursues orgasms from any and every available source — magazines, websites, and online chatrooms; women and men; coworkers, strangers, prostitutes, and maybe, it is hinted, even his sister — but seems to derive no pleasure from them at all. Instead, like the Orthodox man at the end of Steven Soderbergh's The Girlfriend Experience (2009) who orgasms from merely being touched, he is just desperately seeking a connection, but, tragically, can't stop himself from pushing away anyone who offers him one. The film's ending is haunting.

  47. From 28-year-old filmmaker Drake Doremus comes one of the most engrossing and affecting films about young love in years: a semi-autobiographical drama about an American boy (Anton Yelchin) and a British girl (Felicity Jones) who meet in college; fall in love; are torn apart by forces beyond their control; fight to get back together again; and, along the way, begin to question if the struggle is worth the pain it causes both of them. Doremus and his best friend/writing partner Ben York Jones presented the actors not with a traditional script to be followed line-by-line, but rather with a bunch of scenarios that they wanted the actors to follow wherever they led them. They turned on their lightweight digital cameras just one week after Yelchin and Jones first met (remarkable considering how much chemistry exists between the two), and rarely turned them off over the course of the next month, during which the actors remained in-character and constructed a relationship of their own. (The chair at the center of the film was constructed by a professional chair-maker, but the vast majority of the letters, photos, and other mementos are the work of the actors themselves.) The film premiered last January at Sundance, where the film was awarded the Grand Jury Prize, Jones was voted a Special Jury Prize for her performance, and Paramount won a bidding war for its domestic distribution rights. It hasn't made a fortune at the box-office since its release, which seems particularly unjust when one considers how many people swooned and cried over, say, The Notebook (2004), which this film exceeds in every respect. Indeed, like all of the best films about young love — from Wuthering Heights (1939) to Love Story (1970) to Blue Valentine (2010) — it offers an unvarnished look at its good, bad, and ugly sides, and leaves you rooting for the two people at its center to find a way to work things out.

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