HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY to Tom Holland who turned 24 June 1st.
OBAMA addressed the nation about the George Floyd protests occurring nationwide.
WRITER Bruce Jay Friedman has died at age 90. Friedman was a friend and mentor to me in my early 20s when I began my career in New York City. He’d written one of my favorite pieces of writing from the 1970s, The Lonely Guy’s Book of Life, a trenchantly uproarious treatise on adult solitude that began as a series of essays for Esquire magazine and that was adapted by Neil Simon for a 1984 film, The Lonely Guy, starring Steve Martin and Charles Grodin. Among other things, he gave Mario Puzo [who wrote The Godfather] his first writing job.
He also had spent his time toiling in men’s magazines as his peripatetic career success over the years had many ups and downs.
He took me to Elaine’s [the former famous restaurant owned by Elaine Kaufman on Manhattan’s Upper Eastside and something of literary salon] for the first time (and many times afterwards) and introduced to me to a world of New York literary intelligentsia that I would’ve never had access to. May he rest in peace.
The New York Times says of Friedman, “[He]… also wrote the screenplays for the hit film comedies Stir Crazy and Splash, was an unusual case in American letters: an essentially comic writer whose work skipped back and forth between literature and pop culture and who, after an early decade of literary stardom, seemed almost to vanish in plain sight. Like his contemporaries Joseph Heller, Stanley Elkin and Thomas Pynchon, he wrote what came to be called black humor, largely because of an anthology by that name that he edited in 1965. His first two novels, “Stern” (1962) and the best-selling “A Mother’s Kisses” (1964) — tales of New York Jews exploring an America outside the five boroughs — and his first play, the 1967 Off Broadway hit “Scuba Duba,” a sendup of race relations that is set in motion when a Jewish man fears his wife is having an affair with a black spear fisherman, made him widely celebrated. The New York Times Magazine in 1968 declared Mr. Friedman “The Hottest Writer of the Year.”
It goes on, “A deadpan prose stylist with a keen ear for the absurdly self-involved dialogue that emanates from neurosis, Mr. Friedman was, at his best, a savage social satirist. He took advantage of the social upheaval he lived through in the 1960s and ’70s to write about race and gender relations from the suddenly uncertain perspective of men like, well, himself, gleefully tweaking the white male psyche’s tenderest spots.”
Red the full obituary here.
LEGO is taking a firm stand in support of protestors and the Black Lives Matter movement. Vulture reports, “On Wednesday, June 2, Lego announced on Twitter that it would donate $4 million to “organizations dedicated to supporting black children and educating all children about racial equality.” The toy company behind the popular TheLego Movie franchise and The Lego Batman Movie did not stop there, however, as it went on to announce that it would remove any marketing for any toy sets that include police characters or are based around a police theme. An email acquired by Toy Book sent to Lego’s affiliate marketers requests removal of product listings and features for more than 30 Lego building sets, mini-figures, and accessories that include representation of police officers, firefighters, criminals, emergency vehicles, and buildings. Given the political undertones of The Lego Movie, it’s no surprise that Lego is putting its money where its mouth is in regards to issues pertaining to social justice. Everything is not awesome, but Lego is doing its part to fix that.”
— LEGO (@LEGO_Group) June 3, 2020
BEN & JERRY called on Americans to “dismantle white supremacy” and “grapple with the sins of our past” as nationwide protests against racial injustice stretch into their eighth day. CNN reports: In a forceful statement posted to the company’s website late on Tuesday, Ben & Jerry’s describes the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, at the hands of a white police officer as the result of “inhumane police brutality that is perpetuated by a culture of white supremacy.” What happened to George Floyd was not the result of a bad apple; it was the predictable consequence of a racist and prejudiced system and culture that has treated Black bodies as the enemy from the beginning.
— Ben & Jerry's (@benandjerrys) June 2, 2020
“Slavery, Jim Crow and segregation were systems of legalized and monetized white supremacy for which generations of Black and Brown people paid an immeasurable price. That cost must be acknowledged and the privilege that accrued to some at the expense of others must be reckoned with and redressed,” the company said in its statement.
Ben & Jerry’s, which also publicly supported the Black Lives Matter movement, called on President Donald Trump to disavow white supremacists and nationalist groups that “overtly support him.”
The ice cream maker also called for the US Department of Justice to reinvigorate its Civil Rights Division, and for Congress to pass H.R. 40, a bill that would create a commission to study the effects of discrimination since African slaves first arrived in North America in 1619 and recommend remedies.
HBO’s Welcome to Chechnya (2020), is coming June 30. This documentary uncovers the horrors suffered by LGBTQ folks in Russia and particularly the Republic of Chechnya which has been engaging in anti-gay purges that include internment in concentration camps.
HOSPITAL workers show solidarity with protesters in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. “Hospital staff come out to applaud #GeorgeFloyd protestors in New York – demonstrators shout back ‘Thank You’.”
— Sarah Walton (@SarahWaltonNews) June 2, 2020
FASHION PHOTOGRAPHER Xevi Muntané posts on Instagram, “This is me in Montjuic 😻😻😻
My sister is taking photography classes and we did a few shoots together so she can practice. Using me as a model😻😻 @mireiamuntane_#art#fashion#fashionphotography#blackandwhite#blackandwhitephotography
KISSING IN THE TIME OF COVID “In pandemic times we use masks. This photo is so that in the future we can tell our children because we were wearing masks and explain the chaos that was the world.” [Translated from Portuguese]