Dolly Parton: Singer, Songwriter, Pandemic Savior?

first_imgShe wrote “I Will Always Love You” and “Jolene” on the same day and built a theme park around herself. She has given memorable onscreen performances as a wisecracking hairstylist and harassed secretary. She even helped bring about the creation of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”Now, Dolly Parton’s fans are crediting her with saving the world from the coronavirus. It’s an exaggerated, tongue-in-cheek claim, to be sure. But for legions of admirers, Ms. Parton’s donation this spring to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, which worked with the drugmaker Moderna to develop a coronavirus vaccine, was another example of how the singer’s generosity and philanthropy have made her one of the world’s most beloved artists.- Advertisement – “Shakespeare may have written King Lear during the plague, but Dolly Parton funded a Covid vaccine, dropped a Christmas album and a Christmas special,” the author Lyz Lenz said on Twitter.In April, Ms. Parton announced that she had donated $1 million to Vanderbilt after her friend Dr. Naji Abumrad, a professor of surgery at the university, in Nashville, told her about the work researchers were doing to come up with a vaccine. Dr. Abumrad’s son, Jad Abumrad, is the creator of “Radiolab” and host of the podcast “Dolly Parton’s America.”last_img read more

Winnie’s pain and torture in prison

first_imgThe ever-glamorous Winnie Madikizela-Mandela with a copy of her new book 491 Days, Prisoner Number 1323/69.(Image: Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory) Winnie Madikizela-Mandela talks to Ahmed Kathrada at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory in 2008.(Image: Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory/Matthew Willman)Winnie has lost none of her style and beauty.(Image: ancarchives.org.za)MEDIA CONTACTS • Sello HatangCEO and spokespersonNelson Mandela Centre of Memory+27 11 547 5600.RELATED ARTICLES• The women in Madiba’s life• Women in the struggle remembered• Commemorating 1913 heroines• Women taking SA forwardLucille DavieWinnie Madikizela-Mandela felt particularly close to her jailed husband, Nelson, in October 1970, after she was released from serving 491 days in solitary confinement. She wrote to him on 26 October, saying: “In a way during the past two years I felt so close to you. It was the first time we were together in similar surroundings for that length of time. Eating what you were eating and sleeping on what you sleep on gave me that psychological satisfaction of being with you.”She was responding to his letter of 1 October, which read: “I had to wait for 2 weeks before I could send you my warmest congratulations for serving 491, and still emerge the lively girl you are, and in high spirits. To you and your determined friends I say welcome back! Were I at home when you returned I should have stolen a white goat from a rich man, slaughtered it and given you ivanya ne ntloya [leftover traditional beer and sour milk] to down it. Only in this way can a beggar like myself fête and honour his heroes.”Nelson was 52 years old at the time, and had served six years of his life sentence for sabotage, together with seven of his colleagues. Winnie was 36 years old, and had experienced many spells in detention, but the longest was the 491 days.When he was imprisoned on Robben Island in June 1964, her life changed radically. “The first few weeks and months after Nelson was gone, that was utter hell. Solitude, loneliness, is worse than fear – the most wretchedly painful illness the body and mind could be subjected to,” she recounts in her 1985 autobiography, Part of my Soul Went with Him.Pain and deprivationShe describes the pain and deprivation she endured during those 491 days in detention in a new book entitled 491 Days, Prisoner Number 1323/69, a record of her journal kept during the 16 months she spent in jail, as well as letters to and from herself and Nelson, and others.The journal and papers were discovered recently by Greta Soggot, the widow of David Soggot, who was one of Winnie’s advocates during the 1970 trial. Extracts may be downloaded from the Mandela Cente of Memory website.From the moment of her marriage to Mandela in 1958, Madikizela-Mandela was doomed to decades of harassment, imprisonment and torture at the hands of the apartheid security police. It started in 1958, when she was detained for her participation in a women’s anti-pass campaign.Winnie was born Nomzamo Winifred Zanyiwe Madikizela in 1934 in the Bizana district of the former Transkei, the fifth of eight children. Her parents, Columbus and Gertrude Madikizela, were both teachers. Her mother died when she was 10, and she soon took over the domestic duties – caring for her younger siblings and her father. Madikizela-Mandela attended school where her father was a history teacher. She learned Latin and English, science and maths, and she became his favourite child. In 1952, she arrived in Johannesburg to study to be a social worker, doing her training at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto.ApprehensionWinnie approached the returned journal with some apprehension. She says in the epilogue: “When the pages that make up this journal were returned to me after so many years I did not want to read them. I was afraid. There are memories you keep in a part of your brain; it is part of those things that hurt so much you do not want to remember.”She, along with other anti-apartheid activists, had been detained under Section 6 of the Terrorism Act, a new act which allowed for indefinite detention and indefinite interrogation. On 12 May 1969, the police knocked on her door in Orlando West about 2am, arresting her. She took with her a bag that was always packed for just these moments. Her daughters, Zindzi and Zeni, who were just eight and 10 at the time, clung to her skirt, crying: “Mummy, mummy don’t go.”She describes the conditions in prison. “You are imprisoned in this little cell. When you stretch your hands you touch the walls. You are reduced to a nobody, a non-value. It is like killing you alive. You are alive because you breathe. You are deprived of everything – your dignity, your everything,” she writes.Extremely illDespite Winnie’s strength of mind and fierce fighting spirit, she became extremely ill during her 491-day stay in prison, the result of long months of solitary confinement and the poor diet, which often consisted of porridge with maggots in it. She suffered chest pains, palpitations, body spasms, haemorrhaging, loss of appetite and chronic weight loss.She was admitted to hospital several times. Then she decided on a new course of action. “I decided I would commit suicide but would do so gradually so that I should die of natural causes to spare Nelson and the children the pains of knowing I had taken my life,” she wrote in April 1970. “I thought there would be no better method of focusing the world attention on the terror of the Terrorism Act than this.”Her illness continued, until she was taking 12 drugs daily, but she never carried out her decision, although the feeling lingered. “I was so happy at times I fell asleep and hoped I would not get up the following day even if I had not gone as far as the hospital, I did not care anymore.”After five sleepless days and nights of continuous interrogation, she signed a confession. Finally, in October, she appeared in court with 21 others, charged under the Suppression of Communism Act and the Unlawful Organisations Act, including furthering the aims of the ANC and conspiring to commit sabotage. The charges were withdrawn, and her confession was never produced in court.But as they were leaving the court, the police again arrested the group and returned them to jail. In August, they were charged with 540 offences, which were almost identical to the previous charges. On 14 September, the charges were dropped and they were free to go. Two weeks later, Winnie was served with a five-year banning order and was placed under house arrest.She survived solitary confinement but also endured shorter spells in prison. “Solitary confinement was designed to kill you so slowly that you were long dead before you died. By the time you died, you were nobody. You had no soul anymore and a body without a soul is a corpse anyway. It is unbelievable that you survived all that,” she writes now.Banning orders, prison sentencesWinnie’s life of bannings and imprisonment started in 1962, four years after she married Nelson. She was banned and restricted to Johannesburg for two years in 1962, the same year in which Nelson was sentenced to five years in prison for leaving the country illegally and organising a mass stayaway.It went on for years: in 1965, she was banned for five years and restricted to Orlando in Soweto. In 1967, she was sentenced to 12 months in prison for failing to give her name and address to the security police. In 1971, she was sentenced to 12 months in prison for communicating with a banned person in her house. The conviction was set aside on appeal, but in 1972 she was again sentenced for having visitors at her house. Again the sentence was set aside on appeal.In 1973, she was sentenced to 12 months suspended for three years for having lunch with her children in a vehicle in the presence of a banned person. The sentence was reduced on appeal to six months, which she served at Kroonstad prison. In 1976, she was detained without trial for four months after the June 16 Soweto uprising, in which marching schoolchildren were fired upon by the police, and some 500 died across the country on the day.In 1977, her banning order was renewed for five years – in 13 years, she lived for only 10 months without a banning order.BrandfortThen, in May 1997, in a devastating move, she was banished to Brandfort, a tiny town in Free State province, some 200 kilometres from Johannesburg, with her 16-year-old daughter, Zinzi. She lived in a small box house, with “no running water, no electricity, and the house had no floors or ceilings. The town was hostile, and the people spoke mainly Sotho, Tswana or Afrikaans, and hardly any Xhosa, which was Winnie’s home language,” says Sheila Meintjies in a 1998 report, Winnie Madikizela Mandela: Tragic figure? Populist tribune? Township tough?But Winnie wasn’t daunted. Carrying a bucket of cold water back to the three-roomed house, she showed she still had style. “She might have looked despondent, but it didn’t show. Instead she looked superb, wearing a smart skirt and jersey, a fashionable pair of boots, and a silk hat on her head,” recounts Emma Gilbey in The Lady, The Life and Times of Winnie Mandela, published in 1994.She opened a clinic and a crèche, and initiated feeding schemes for the young children of Brandfort, where she lived for nine years.Return to SowetoBut she defiantly returned to Soweto in 1986, where she formed the Mandela United Football Club – the members, in effect, were her personal bodyguards. In 1991, she was charged and convicted for the assault and abduction of 15-year-old activist Stompie Seipei. She received a six-year sentence which was reduced to a fine of R15 000 and a suspended sentence.Perhaps she herself offers an explanation of what went wrong: “Throughout the years of oppression, I think my feelings got blunted because you were so tortured that the pain reached a threshold where you could not feel pain anymore. If you keep pounding and pounding on the same spot the feeling dies, the nerves die,” she writes in 491 Days.Today, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela continues her political service to the ANC – she serves on the National Executive Committee – and she is a member of parliament.last_img read more

How to Find Beauty in the Ordinary with Filmmaker Mathieu Provost

first_imgLets take a look at how to capture amazing footage in everyday situations with these insights from professional video producer Mathieu Provost.As filmmakers and video producers we’re often forced to shoot in less-than-ideal situations. It’s not uncommon to have to shoot in an ugly office, echo-filled room, or dark interior. But good filmmakers know how to bring out the best in every situations. Through creative camera work and a fundamental knowledge of composition you can get extraordinary shots in everyday locations.One filmmaker with a keen eye for finding beauty in everyday situations is Mathieu Provost. The Canadian filmmaker uses a combination of everyday filmmaking tools to draw out hidden beauty in seemingly everyday locations. I recently came across Mathieu’s aerial reel on Vimeo and was instantly blown away by the footage quality.In fact, one of the most impressive things about the work that Mathieu is doing is the fact that it is seemingly everyday work, yet the result is amazingly striking footage. His setups aren’t complex or expensive. I asked Mathieu a few questions about his work and he was kind enough to share his insights with us.Q&A with Mathieu ProvostWhat tools do you use to capture your amazing footage?On a shoot I always bring two cameras, different lenses, and, of course, the drone. I have the regular phantom made by DJI, but most of the time I prefer the DJI Inspire 1. More powerful, more stable, and more variety of lenses as well. On the ground, I always have my Sony a7RII with the 70-200 and 24-105. My colleague also uses the Canon lens 11-24 for really wide and cool shots on the ground with glide cam. And, of course, slider and tripod!How much of your cinematography is planned out before the day of the shoot? Before each shooting (ground and in flight) I really like to go on Google Maps to check the exact location of the shoot and the environment around. That will help me to know a few things about the area (permit needed, obstacles, etc.) Also, if we can have access to the location, I will go first by myself and take pictures of the environment, beauty shot, sun position, and everything related to the shoot. I also try to find information on the web about the location, the stories… Once I’m back home, the movies start playing in my head… Visualization for me is the key. I also produce a production plan/document with the different kind of footage I imagined, and information that I think is important on the location etc. Once we are there, it’s easier to follow this kind of bible to make sure that we covered every aspect. We are also really sensible for each little intuitive moment that can happen on a set. Sometimes, theses moments are keepers for sure.You’re exceptionally good at finding hidden beauty in everyday moments. How can other filmmakers develop an eye for shooting great shots in everyday situations?Life is full of small moments that we can immortalize with our camera. I think that each person has their own way to see the world and be amazed by little things. That’s how the images will show on a film. I had this gift in my life to find everything nice around me. I always look everywhere in case that I found the perfect amount of light, the perfect amount of wind, etc… For me, each situation, each moment, each flower, each river deserves to be on film with their beauty. The only thing I can say is just look around you. I don’t think we can learn how to be sensible for things. Challenge yourself by creating a nice video with small little things around you. Do you have any tips for someone looking to shoot awesome drone footage?The more you shoot, the more comfortable you will be when flying your drone. You need to know your drone by heart. You need to know your limit and your drone’s limit as well. Play with the sunset and sunrise, play with trees, with textures, rivers, etc… And the most important, fly your drone smoothly and slowly on any shots. For me, smooth and slow is the key… Bring your viewers somewhere else.If they take time to watch your video, give them at least a free ride, a free flight with emotions. Take your time to shoot. You never know if you will have the chance to come back where you are and in the same light situation etc. Sometimes I use the entire battery lifetime on filming only one shot! So almost 20 minutes! I want to have the perfect shot for me, for my eyes, for the vision I have at that perfect moment. Also, try to film different points of view to do variety into your shot. I also really like to include ground shots with drone shots.How do you determine your color palette when grading?I usually don’t use a lot of color correction in post. I really like natural colors and clean images. I play a lot with the natural effect of light, golden hour, etc. Contrast and saturation sometimes, but most of my video doesn’t have any color correction… Or almost.What role does music play in telling your videos story?For me, the most important thing in cinema is the choice of the music. This will drive all your images, the feeling you want to demonstrate, and, of course, the sensibility. Sometimes I can spend hours searching for music. All that time spent will make the difference at the end. Before filming, I was a music composer for TV commercials, short films, and other commercial stuff.In my time off, I was always playing with World War footage. I was trying to reproduce different kinds of music on the same footage (classical and heavy metal) to show people the important place that music can have in a film. When you have a chance, try this test at home. You will find that combining World War footage and classical music is almost artistic.What resources/websites/courses have helped you the most as a filmmaker?Our X generation is really lucky to have all the internet options/access to learn from everywhere and from everybody in the world. I really take advantage of this every time I can. I think that everybody needs to learn from different tutorials, at least the basic rules of film and/or photo. YouTube and Vimeo have been great friends for me, of course!When we want to buy new equipment, we check all reviews before to make sure we have the best possible gear for our need, etc.  I also spent a lot of time with really good cinematographers that share the same vision that I have… I learned bags of information with these people, for sure. Don’t be shy about asking questions. When you have your answer, work on it, try to find information on it, try different ways to practice, etc. Practice makes perfect, there is no doubt! This sentence will help you to understand more the vision I have about filmmaking… I read this quote a few years ago: “Work until your idols become your rivals.”What is the most important lesson you’ve learned as a filmmaker?All filmmakers have their own way to learn. For me, learning from people, experience, and technique and, of course, practice was the key. Be curious. If you have questions, ask people or go find by yourself what you looking for on YouTube, Vimeo or other platform available to you. Also, be patient… There are thousands of filmmakers all around the world who produce fantastic footage…But one day, somebody will knock at your door to tell you that your work is also fantastic… That was my case a few days ago with the PremiumBeat team. So everything is possible. Be respectful for the talent you have in life… This is a gift. You need to feed it with passion.Where can people go if they want see more of your work?Subscribe to our Vimeo and YouTube, follow us on Twitter and Facebook channel. We’d be happy to answer any questions you have! Have any questions for Mathieu? Share in the comments below.last_img read more

Assam to be oil exporting hub for Southeast Asia

first_imgAssam is slated to soon become one of India’s major oil exporting hubs catering to the eastern neighbours of the country and Southeast Asia, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Friday.The Minister based his prediction on a slew of projects for augmenting oil exploration, refining and transportation capacity in various stages of completion in the region. Eight of these projects under Hydrocarbon Vision 2030, worth more than ₹1,500 crore, were inaugurated in Guwahati. “Assam will soon send petrol and diesel to Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Southeast Asian countries,” Mr. Pradhan said.last_img read more

Vajpayee Government does minor reshuffle of portfolios

first_imgIN HIGH PLACES: (From left) Adsul, Verma, Geete, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Vajpayee, Shekhawat and L.K. AdvaniThe minor reshuffle of portfolios in the Vajpayee Government was indeed minor. The move to depute two BJP ministers for party work fizzled out.While Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee was forced to replace Shiv Sena’s Suresh,IN HIGH PLACES: (From left) Adsul, Verma, Geete, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Vajpayee, Shekhawat and L.K. AdvaniThe minor reshuffle of portfolios in the Vajpayee Government was indeed minor. The move to depute two BJP ministers for party work fizzled out.While Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee was forced to replace Shiv Sena’s Suresh Prabhu with Anant Geete as power minister following Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray’s diktat, he stopped short of positive action.While senior Union ministers Arun Jaitley and M. Venkaiah Naidu stepped down from the Cabinet to strengthen the party last month, Vasundhara Raje and Uma Bharati are having second thoughts.The BJP brass has been unable to persuade Minister of State for Personnel Raje to work out a time-table to take over as Rajasthan party chief.After Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat’s move to the Centre, there is a vacuum in Jaipur, but Raje hasn’t yet obliged. Neither did the former sports minister.Bharati’s shift to the Coal Ministry though is rather surprising, coming as it does after her high-profile presence at the Manchester Commonwealth Games. She was supposed to take over from Madhya Pradesh BJP party president Vikram Verma, who has been given the sports portfolio, but didn’t. Former chief minister Kailash Joshi has been named for the post.The BJP’s “generational shift” strategy has come apart within a month. The other addition in the Vajpayee ministry – now 78 strong – is Sena MP Anantrao Adsul. If Adsul and Geete fail to deliver on Thackeray’s demands, there might be another reshuffle.advertisementlast_img read more

Coach That John Calipari Confronted About Cheating Allegations May Be Cincinnati’s Mick Cronin

first_imgJohn Calipari wearing a Kentucky pullover while pointing with his left hand.ARLINGTON, TX – APRIL 04: Head coach John Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats points while the Wildcats practice ahead of the 2014 NCAA Men’s Final Four at AT&T Stadium on April 4, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) kentucky basketball jones calipari kidd-gilchrist teagueTwitter/@tneelOn Tuesday night, we shared a clip from Gary Parrish’s radio show, in which he told a story about John Calipari accosting a fellow coach over recruiting allegations. Kentucky Sports Radio has look further into things, and as it turns out, this story might not be a new one. KSR’s Drew Franklin found an old story from Parrish in 2010, that is largely the same as the one he told this week. The coach in question? Cincinnati’s Mick Cronin.Parrish noted that Calipari will let people know when he has problems with others and he liked the fact that he is up front. He told a story about a confrontation Calipari had with Cincinnati Coach Mick Cronin after he heard Cronin had told some associates that he didnt understand how he could go to every game for a kid and then Calipari could come in at the last minute and take him (presumably Marquis Teague). Calipari heard the comment, went to Cronin and basically said “you have to go see all the kid’s games…I can sit back and decide which kid I want and come and get them.”While we’re not totally sure that Cronin was the example given again, it does seem like this is the same story. It’d probably be hard for Calipari to get away with using the same rant too many times. This is probably not something Cincinnati basketball fans want to be reminded of too often, though.last_img read more