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The Silver Linings of Big Sky: A Review of Sebastian Barry’s ‘Days Without End’


Death lurks around every corner in Irish novelist Sebastian Barry’s new book Days Without End. But narrator Thomas McNulty is a survivor: the potato famine in Ireland, the immigrant fever sheds and mass graves in Canada, the Indian Wars, the Civil War and the random violence of the postbellum South. He has witnessed enough tragedy to darken 10 lifetimes. And yet, in spite of those horrors, Days Without End is suffused with joy and good spirit.

A hefty chunk of Thomas’ pleasure in life comes from comrade-in-arms John Cole. They meet as ragamuffin boys scrounging for food in a frontier town, “two wood-shavings of humanity in a rough world,” and eventually find work in a saloon putting on prom dresses cheap and dancing with lonely cowboys for 50¢ a night. There, Thomas comes to two understandings: that his handsome best friend is the love of his life, and that he enjoys dressing as a woman. He stays by John’s side throughout Army campaigns across the South and West, and dons dresses in peacetime. Between wars, the couple take in Winona, a Sioux girl who becomes a daughter to them and redoubles their joy. Unlike the doomed couple of Brokeback Mountain, this pair make a happy, stable family. “My heart is full of Winona but also John Cole,” Thomas writes. “How come we got to have Winona? I don’t know. We been through many slaughters, John Cole and me. But I am as peaceful and easy now as I ever been. Fear flies off and my box of thoughts feels light.”

Through Barry, the frontiersman has a poet’s sense of language. His thoughts on his sergeant’s visible aging: “Like we got 10 faces to wear in our lives and we wear them one by one.” If you underlined every sentence in Days Without End that has a rustic beauty to it, you’d end up with a mighty stripy book.

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03:27 Publié dans dress | Tags : dresses, marieprom | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


8 Top Wedding Planners Predict 2017’s Biggest Trends


Trends and weddings usually don’t go together. Why? No bride wants to look back at her wedding pictures five years later and regret that bubble-hemmed gown. But once trend-related mistakes are avoided, there’s something to be said for embracing the spirit of the new—and having an affair that feels cutting edge. So as wedding planning revs up for many brides-to-be, we reached out to eight top event planners to hear their predictions for 2017. A return of color, and greenery especially, in lieu of the all-white wedding was noted virtually across the board. But to hear the experts elaborate further, and to learn a few more hypotheses, read the below.

“Guest don’t need to wait until midnight for the traditional rice-toss or sparkler moment. Brides and grooms are looking for the celebration to begin with the first kiss. Whether that is followed by a confetti blast, fireworks, or marching band, the celebration is starting at the ceremony. The other big one is large scale installations. For example, filling a ceiling with drapery, flowers or even floating orbs will add a sense of wonder, creating a beautiful and long-lasting memory.” —Bryan Rafanelli

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“I think vivid and high-tech lighting techniques will become even more affordable and therefore will be more utilized by designers. I also think more lounge seating will added around dance floors and on outer edges of the room to encourage guests not being stuck only at dinner tables.” —Marcy Blum

“Brides and grooms will recognize more that their ceremony is the sacred part of their celebration, but that the reception afterwards is a party. And like any party, it can be fun, theatrical, expressive, and whimsical. Traditions can be altered, personalized, or ignored altogether. Yes, many couples will still want to cut the cake, while others will opt to serve ice cream sundaes from a cart.” —Bronson van Wyck

“Trees! We’re seeing a huge interest in trees of all kinds—from olive to citrus, cypress to birch. I love the impact of their scale in a space, and whether rented or purchased and planted in the ground after the wedding, trees are a wonderful antidote to disposable wedding décor.

I also think we’ll see after-party transformations. It used to be that an after-party consisted of a DJ coming on to replace the band at the end of the night for an hour or two and ‘the young people’ would dance on. But 2017 will see fully developed after-party themes that stem directly from couples’ personal loves. Electronic music festivals? Your favorite cabaret hot spot in Paris? A beach party in Mykonos? This is the time for everyone to let loose in a new environment that has become a full-on focal point of the wedding night for the entire crowd.” —David Starkhttp

“People are moving away from stereotypical ‘wedding venues’ in exchange for locations that more special and rare. Think an alfresco meal at a long dinner table in front of a historic mansion, or tents on top of a cliff overlooking the ocean in Big Sur. These are the types of immersive experiences people now want their guests to have. It isn’t just about having a wedding, it’s about transporting guests to something magical, and allowing them to experience to something once in a lifetime.” —Alison Laesser-Keck and Bryan Keck

“We’re going to see a lot more greenery in place of abundant wedding flowers. Flowers will certainly never go out of style, but this year they may have to move over for bright and beautiful leaves. It doesn’t hurt that Pantone supported this movement by electing Greenery as the Color of the Year. Also, hiring an expert mixologist to make unforgettable artisanal cocktails for you and your guests will be the experiential cocktail hour every wedding in 2017 requires.” —Colin Cowie

“Nighttime ceremonies. So long to sunsets and welcome dusk. This means lighting and candles can become the focal décor element and not necessarily the florals.” —Yifat Oren

“As much as we love neutrals, a big splash of color is exactly what we’ve been wishing for the past few years. We’re very excited to be incorporating more color in every element of our weddings in 2017.”

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03:59 Publié dans wedding | Tags : wedding, 2017, trends, marieprom | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


 The Great Trump Heist Is Underway


Donald Trump, the real-estate mogul and reality-television superstar, descended the steps of the Capitol around 11 am to take the oath of office as president of the United States. An audacious looting of the country had begun.

In attendance were several corporate titans on the verge of the biggest merger and acquisition of all time—the ExxonMobil CEO who may soon take control of the country’s foreign relations, the fast-food CEO ready to take over the Labor Department, and the handful of powerful Wall Street titans who have appointed to almost every critical economic post. Not least is Trump himself, who brazenly decided to essentially remain in control of his corporation while simultaneously directing the affairs of the country.

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In true Trump style, he painted a picture perfectly at odds with this reality during his inauguration speech. “For too long, a small group in our nation’s Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost,” Trump declared. “Washington flourished—but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered—but the jobs left, and the factories closed.” “That all changes—starting right here, and right now,” Trump declared.

One would be tempted to think Trump and his team won’t get away with it. But his inaugural address was a skilled, cynical stirring of the populist sentiment that has already gotten him this far. Much like his speech at the Republican National Convention this summer, Trump painted a bleak picture of the country, like “the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.” Trump promised, “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”

He also described how America was being ripped off by the rest of the world: “The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire world,” Trump said. He declared an end to all of this, promising to put “America First”—a slogan he used often in the campaign, and one with a dark historical lineage.

Trump was vastly overstating the case on jobs and crime, as left-leaning fact-checkers were quick to point out. But fact-checking may not be enough to thwart Trump: He was nevertheless speaking to real phenomenons of deindustrialization and outsourcing that stripped wealth from many parts of the country. He offers no real solutions, but he has effectively capitalized on a lot of real economic pain in order to advance his own vision and his own ends. That was perfectly clear on Friday afternoon.

It was a remarkable and unfamiliar moment—as were the scenes outside the inauguration.

Not long after Trump retired to the Capitol for the traditional post-inaugural luncheon, chaos erupted in downtown Washington. Cable-news networks cut away from the pre-meal blessing to show flash-bangs and tear gas filling K Street, not far from the White House, as anarchist protesters smashed windows and lobbed objects at the police.

In the morning, peaceful civil disobedience was happening at several inauguration checkpoints. On the same street as Ford’s Theater, at least one hundred protesters formed a human chain across the entire inauguration entrance gate, several people deep. They politely informed inauguration attendees that “this entrance is closed,” and breaking out often into chants like “No Trump, No KKK, No Racist USA.”

The blockade was surprisingly successful. Most of the visitors, clad in “Make America Great Again” gear, surveyed the scene and turned back. A few angry ones bull-rushed the line, but were repelled as protesters screamed in their faces. A handful made it across with the help of police, which was always met with a repetitive chant of “shame!”

Xan Joy was a diminutive, older woman who traveled from California to protest. She was among those on the front lines of the human chain, telling Trump inauguration attendees they had to find another way in.

“Those of us with our eyes open, we know that the people of this country have fought for our rights,” she said during a break in the action. “And have gotten in it, and have gotten in through civil disobedience, have gotten it through nonviolent actions, and have gotten it even through violence. We have to step up our action,” she said. “We’re killing the whole world.”

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04:00 Publié dans dress | Tags : trump, dresses | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)