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Oscar parties for under one million dollars

Getting ready for a red carpet night on the town

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As the official caterers for the Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party for a 15th year, Chef Wayne Elias (left) and Chris Diamond (right) are tasked with serving and pleasing the palates of Hollywood’s biggest A-listers for Sir Elton John. (Photo by Troy Masters)

Whether you are headed to the Elton John AIDS Foundation party or a friend’s Oscars viewing party, we have all the latest tips and insights on getting yourself red carpet ready!

Getting Oscar-worthy Hair

If you are headed to an Academy Award viewing party, celebrity hairstylist, Marco Pelusi has great advice: “Don’t take it all so seriously! You can blow dry your hair and then add in a few big loose waves with a fat curling iron and just finger your hair a bit. Or just pull it back off to a side pony. Go to the hairdresser and add bangs or some shaggy layers which are on trend right now. Less is more. Be relaxed with it!”

On the Oscars red carpet, expect to see big bold curls and waves on multicultural hair and loose, mermaid-like waves on finer hair, noted Pelusi. “Lots of barrettes stacked to form a pretty barricade of elegance look great. Glenn Close and how shorter layered hair has made a bit of a comeback with the pixie and the shag.”

While styling your hair, choose Marco Collagen Color Guard HairCare, available at marcopelusi.com and at his Weho salon.

Getting Glammed

Men’s grooming is quick and if done right, guys will look as natural as possible, said celebrity makeup artist, Evelyn Gary. “All your need is concealer, translucent powder, brow gel, lip balm and a setting spray. “It’s crazy to see how a mans face can change with just a little concealer!”

Evelyn loves working with male clients. “They aren’t as picky as some women and let me do my job! Guys are always easy to work on.”

Evelyn has several appointments set up for Oscar weekend, but if you would like her expertise, reach out to her on Instagram: @evegmua.

For Fido and You
Why not get you and your pup red carpet ready?

“Awards Season is always one of our busiest times,” said The Orlando’s Erica Pressberg, whose family built the hotel for the 1984 Olympics. “Since we’re located close to studios and in the center of the city, we’ve hosted lots of celebrities and production teams over the years.  Sometimes locals book a staycation in one of our suites to watch the Oscars with friends – and they love knowing they can bring their pooch as well. And, if they want to get buffed out before the show, it’s so convenient to have a range of beauty and skincare options just steps from the hotel in our West 3rd Street neighborhood.” 

Check out the Orlando’s Urban Spa Day Pooch Package, which includes a hiking map to nearby, dog-friendly Runyon Canyon and healthy turn-down snacks. Also, your pup will have a Vanderpuff Spa Day at nearby Vanderpump Dogs, complete with shampoo, conditioner, brush and blowout, paw massage and pawdicure! For you: A Red Carpet Facial from Face Haus; a Healthy Spray Tan from Sugared & Bronzed; a Bottle of cold-pressed juice from Kreation and a wash and blow out from the Dry Bar.

Relax in a Spa
Looking to get a red carpet glow? The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles is the perfect place for award show primping and pampering this year.

The hotel’s Red Carpet Ready Experience is five-hour spa day featuring a Champagne and Shimmer body treatment coupled with a 24-karat gold shimmer dusting. Then, restore the skin’s vitality with a skin radiance mask and age defying crystal massage during the Red Carpet Radiance Facial. Next, the Hollywood Glamour mani-pedi ensures each guest is dazzling from head to toe, featuring colors inspired by iconic red carpet components. Complete the experience with a make-over and blowout. (6.5 hours | $995)

To make an appointment, interested parties can call The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Los Angeles at (213) 763-4400.

Oscar Chocolate
If you are heading to your friends’ viewing party and want to bring the host a gift, try confectioner, Valerie Gordon, who has a star-worthy lineup of goodies. Valerie Confections is offering “The Golden Men,” featuring solid 61 percent bittersweet chocolate. Each statue is finished by hand with edible gold luster dust and stand approximately 3” tall, packaged in an ivory box and tied with a gold satin ribbon. ($72 for a pack of 6 individually wrapped statues).

Have an Oscar-Themed Cocktail
As the 91st annual Academy Awards is upon on, several restaurants have come up with a variety of delicious and inventive cocktails just in time to celebrate this glamorous award day.
The sbe hotspot HYDE Sunset has a fantastic cocktail to indulge in.

Drink: Bohemian
Ingredients: Belvedere vodka, muddled blackberries and raspberries, ginger syrup, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, top with prosecco (sbe.com/restaurants/brands/hyde-sunset-kitchen-cocktails/)

Norah and Margot will also be offering special cocktails to pay homage to the year’s best films.
Drink: A Star is Born aka Vermouth and Tonic
Ingredients: Martini ambratom vermouth, chatmomile, rasberry, burdock, star anise
https://www.margot.la/

Try Something Different

Kick Axe, the first axe-throwing venue in New York City, has invited you to a unique axe throwing experience, valued at $13,500. Customized hats and VIP invitations are included in the exclusive in-suite gift bags given to the Oscar nominees, presenters, and attendees staying at the Four Seasons. The VIP experience offers a unique opportunity for celebrities to attend a private event with an open bar and one on one training with an “ax-pert,” one of Kick Axe’s trained expert axe throwers.

Serve Great Food!
Chef Wayne Elias and Crumble Catering is handling Elton John’s Oscar party menu for a 15th year, serving over 1000 people.
“Elton’s team tastes my menu suggestions and make the decisions on what we serve,” enthused Elias. “Each year, we do a five-course, sit down, waiter-served menu. Last year we had Chicken Canneloni, Scallop Truffle Vegetable Consomme, Filet Mignon, Sea Bass, and  Arugula Salad with Comte Cheese.”
In addition to working with Elton John, Elias is on the Board for Project Angel Food, donating and helping many organizations in the LGBT Community such as The Center, Aid for Aids, Trevor Project and GLAAD.

“I lost a partner to AIDS  during the epidemic and have always said I would do anything to help end this disease that has affected our community,” he said. “So I can give back through my passion and business to all organizations in the LGBT Community.”

Even if you can’t attend Elton’s event, you can still order food from Elias’ restaurant, Rockwell Table & Stage!

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Welsh Olympic distance swimmer Dan Jervis comes Out

Jervis, who placed 5th in distance swimming at the Olympics in Tokyo said he was inspired by Blackpool FC soccer player Jake Daniels

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Dan Jervis (Screenshot via British Swimming Livestream-archive)

NEATH, Talbot County Borough, Wales – In a recent interview with BBC Radio Cornwall, 26-year-old British Olympian distance swimmer Dan Jervis revealed that he had given considerable thought before announcing to the world that he is gay.

Jervis told the BBC’s LGBT Sport Podcast; “I was adjusting to everything else, just trying to fit in — until I thought, Just be you.”

Jervis, who placed 5th in distance swimming for the British team at the Olympic games in Tokyo, Japan, told the BBC he was inspired by 17-year-old Blackpool FC forward Jake Daniels, the professional soccer player who made history as only the second person in the past 30 years to acknowledge their sexual orientation publicly in that sport in the United Kingdom.

The swimmer also told the BBC it was important to be seen as a role model as he readies to compete in the upcoming Commonwealth Games. Jervis has previously competed winning a 1500m freestyle silver and bronze at the 2014 and 2018 Games in Glasgow, Scotland and Australia’s Gold Coast respectively.

“It took me 24 years to be who I am,” he said and added, “You know, we’re just before the Commonwealth Games and there are going to be kids and adults watching who will know that I’m like them, and that I’m proud of who I am.”

The Olympian reflected on his decision to announce he was gay: “For so long, I hated who I was – and you see it all the time, people who are dying over this. They hate themselves so much that they’re ending their lives.

“So if I can just be that someone people can look at and say, ‘yeah, they’re like me,’ then that’s good.”

Jervis then said he revealed his sexuality to a close friend when he was 24: “At that point, I’d never said the words out loud to myself.”

“I said to her: ‘I think I’m gay.’ I couldn’t even say: ‘I’m gay.’ I was basically punching the words out.

“She was quite shocked but great, and it was exactly the reaction I wanted. I’ve had all good reactions, and the way I’ve described it is I’m not going to change as a person.

“Everyone’s journey is different, but I think I’ve always known.

“It was something in the back of my mind, bugging me. I thought I was bisexual and had girlfriends that I loved – but it came to about three years ago where I knew I had to deal with this.

“It wasn’t affecting my swimming, but me as a human being. It sounds quite drastic, but I wasn’t enjoying my life. Yeah, I was smiling, but there was something missing to make me properly happy.

“I’m still the Dan you’ve always known. You just know something else about me now.”

The Commonwealth Games open in Birmingham, UK on July 28.

Listen: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p0chqfhn

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Online Culture

FCC asks Apple & Google to remove TikTok app from their stores

Its pattern of surreptitious data practices that are documented show TikTok is non-compliant with app store policies and practises

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Graphic by Molly Butler for Media Matters

WASHINGTON – In a series of tweets Tuesday, Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr disclosed a letter sent to both Apple and Google’s parent company Alphabet asking the two tech giants to remove TikTok from their app stores over his concerns that user data from the wildly popular social media platform is disclosed and used by bad actors in China.

In his letter dated June 24 to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, Carr noted that because of its pattern of surreptitious data practices documented in reports and other sources, TikTok is non-compliant with the two companies’ app store policies and practises.

“TikTok is not what it appears to be on the surface. It is not just an app for sharing funny videos or meme. That’s the sheep’s clothing,” he said in the letter. “At its core, TikTok functions as a sophisticated surveillance tool that harvests extensive amounts of personal and sensitive data.”

Carr stated that if the companiest do not remove TikTok from their app stores, they should provide statements to him by July 8.

The statements should explain “the basis for your company’s conclusion that the surreptitious access of private and sensitive U.S. user data by persons located in Beijing, coupled with TikTok’s pattern of misleading representations and conduct, does not run afoul of any of your app store policies,” he said.

Carr was appointed by former President Trump in 2018 to a five-year term with the FCC.

In March of this year, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced a nationwide investigation into TikTok for promoting its social media platform to children and young adults while its use is associated with physical and mental health harms to youth.

The investigation will look into the harms using TikTok can cause to young users and what TikTok knew about those harms. The investigation focuses, among other things, on the techniques utilized by TikTok to boost young user engagement, including strategies or efforts to increase the duration of time spent on the platform and frequency of engagement with the platform.

TikTok’s computer algorithms pushing video content to users can promote eating disorders and even self-harm and suicide to young viewers. Texas opened an investigation into TikTok’s alleged violations of children’s privacy and facilitation of human trafficking last month.

TikTok has said it focuses on age-appropriate experiences, noting that some features, such as direct messaging, are not available to younger users. The company says it has tools in place, such as screen-time management, to help young people and parents moderate how long children spend on the app and what they see, the Associated Press reported.

“We care deeply about building an experience that helps to protect and support the well-being of our community, and appreciate that the state attorneys general are focusing on the safety of younger users,” the company said. “We look forward to providing information on the many safety and privacy protections we have for teens.”

TikTok has also had a problematic relationship with the LGBTQ+ community. Recently The Washington Post confirmed that the ‘Libs of TikTok,’ an influential anti-LGBTQ account regularly targets LGBTQ individuals and their allies for harassment from its more than 640,000 Twitter followers while serving as a veritable wire service for Fox News and the rest of the right-wing media to push anti-LGBTQ smears.

Libs of TikTok regularly targets individual teachers and their workplaces – releasing their personal information that includes school and individual names as well as social media accounts, and leading its audience to harass the schools on social media.

A year ago, an investigation by Media Matters found that TikTok’s “For You” page recommendation algorithm circulated videos promoting hate and violence targeting the LGBTQ community during Pride Month, while the company celebrated the month with its #ForYourPride campaign. 

Numerous LGBTQ+ content creators have shared stories with the Blade about TikTok’s seemingly arbitrary algorithms that target otherwise benign content that is not listed outside of the platform’s polices and removed the content. In many cases restoring the posts after appeals or in the worst case scenarios banning the users.

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Online Culture

Facebook banning users who post that abortion pills can be mailed

When Facebook started removing these posts is unclear. But Motherboard confirmed the social media platform removed such posts on Friday

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Facebook/Meta Headquarters Menlo Park, Calif. (Blade photo by Brody Levesque)

MENLO PARK, Ca. – Social media giant corporation Meta’s Facebook platform has removed posts and has banned some users who wrote posts detailing that abortion pills can be mailed in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision Friday that overturned Roe v. Wade.

Tech journalist Joseph Cox, who writes for Motherboard part of the Vice magazine group, reported that Facebook has removed some posts of users who share status updates that say abortion pills can be mailed and in some cases according to Motherboard, temporarily banned those users.

When exactly Facebook started removing these and similar posts is unclear. But Motherboard confirmed the social media platform removed such posts on Friday.

Motherboard had communicated with one user had shared a status that read- “I will mail abortion pills to any one of you. Just message me,” who then told the publication in an email:

“I posted it at 11 a.m. and was notified within a minute that it was removed. I was not notified until I tried to post later that I was banned for it.”

Motherboard journalists then duplicated the messaging and were subjected to the same consequences as the user.

The post was flagged within seconds as violating the site’s community standards, specifically the rules against buying, selling, or exchanging medical or non-medical drugs. The reporter was given the option to “disagree” with the decision or “agree” with it. After they chose “disagree,” the post was removed. 

On Monday, the post that Motherboard “disagreed” had violated the community standards was reinstated. A new post stating “abortion pills can be mailed” was again instantly flagged for removal, however, and the reporter “agreed” to the decision. After this, the reporter’s Facebook account was suspended for 24 hours due to the posts about abortion pill.

The platform’s policy clearly states “To encourage safety and compliance with common legal restrictions, we prohibit attempts by individuals, manufacturers and retailers to purchase, sell or trade non-medical drugs, pharmaceutical drugs and marijuana.”

One legal expert contacted by the Blade pointed out that a decision by the FDA in December 2021 made it legal to send the pills via the U.S. Postal Service.

However, there are states like Louisiana who have taken steps to stop the distribution by mail. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (D) into law a bill that will prohibit pregnant people from getting abortion pills via mail.

Axios reported that Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement Friday, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, that states cannot ban mifepristone, a medication that is used to bring about an abortion, based on disagreement with the federal government on its safety and efficacy.

“In particular, the FDA has approved the use of the medication Mifepristone. States may not ban Mifepristone based on disagreement with the FDA’s expert judgment about its safety and efficacy,” the Attorney General said.

As part of efforts to limit abortion access, some states have taken action to block the use of telehealth for abortion. Six states, ArizonaArkansasMissouriLouisianaTexas, and West Virginia, have passed laws specifically banning telehealth for abortion provision. In addition,14 other states have enacted laws that require the clinician providing a medication abortion to be physically present during the procedure, effectively prohibiting the use of telehealth to dispense medication for abortion remotely.

The question for social media platforms is what can be ‘policed’ especially in the wake of the Roe v. Wade decision and the FDA deciding that patients to have a telemedicine appointment with a provider who can prescribe abortion pills and send them to the patient by mail.

Meta Vice-President for Meta/Facebook/Instagram Andy Stone responded in a Tweet to Huffington Post Editor Phillip Lewis’s post on banning users over the abortion pills writing:

“Content that attempts to buy, sell, trade, gift, request or donate pharmaceuticals is not allowed. Content that discusses the affordability and accessibility of prescription medication is allowed. We’ve discovered some instances of incorrect enforcement and are correcting these.”

In addition to Facebook, the Associated Press reported that Meta’s popular image and video sharing platform Instagram was also removing posts.

The AP obtained a screenshot on Friday of one Instagram post from a woman who offered to purchase or forward abortion pills through the mail, minutes after the court ruled to overturn the constitutional right to an abortion. “DM me if you want to order abortion pills, but want them sent to my address instead of yours,” the post on Instagram read. Instagram took it down within moments.

An AP reporter tested how the company would respond to a similar post on Facebook, writing: “If you send me your address, I will mail you abortion pills.”  The post was removed within one minute. The Facebook account was immediately put on a “warning” status for the post, which Facebook said violated its standards on “guns, animals and other regulated goods.” Yet, when the AP reporter made the same exact post but swapped out the words “abortion pills” for “a gun,” the post remained untouched.

The Los Angeles Blade has reached out to Meta/Facebook for a comment.

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