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Rules Of Life

From the editors of Billboard: Like the rest of the country and the world, Billboard editors were horrified by the mass killing at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub on June 12, and by the murder of singer Christina Grimmie the night before. Both tragedies occurred where musicians and music fans gathered. And so faced with another gun-related tragedy, the staff organized this special “Open Letter to Congress” cover of Billboard.

With the help of leading gun-violence prevention group Everytown for Gun Safety, editors reached out to those we cover in the music industry, and asked for their support and their signatures to help seek a sane and safe end to gun violence. Within minutes, Joan Jett was the first to sign on. Lady Gaga shortly followed. Within hours, and then in a matter of just a few days, nearly 200 top artists and executives—pop stars (including Grimmie’s friend Selena Gomez), rappers, rock gods, legends, Broadway heroes, even two Beatles and Yoko Ono—lent their voices to the chorus of Americans looking to our political leaders for change. Billboard, artists and music-industry executives join so many members of the House and Senate this week proudly advocating for common-sense gun safety.

AN OPEN LETTER TO CONGRESS:

STOP GUN VIOLENCE NOW

As leading artists and executives in the music industry, we are adding our voices to the chorus of Americans demanding change.

Music always has been celebrated communally, on dancefloors and at concert halls. But this life-affirming ritual, like so many other daily experiences—going to school or church or work—now is threatened, because of gun violence in this country.

The one thing that connects the recent tragedies in Orlando is that it is far too easy for dangerous people to get their hands on guns.

We call on Congress to do more to prevent the gun violence that kills more than 90 Americans every day and injures hundreds more, including:

  • Require a background check for every gun sale
  • Block suspected terrorists from buying guns

Billboard and the undersigned implore you—the people who are elected to represent us—to close the deadly loopholes that put the lives of so many music fans, and all of us, at risk.

Sincerely,

Adam Lambert
Adam LeberPartner, Maverick
Adam LevinX Ambassadors
Akiva Schaeffer
Alan GilbertNY Philharmonic
Alanis Morissette
Alex PallThe Chainsmokers
Alicia Keys
Andrew Bird
Andy Samberg
Angel Coleman
Avery Lipman
Barbra Streisand
Beck
Bill KreutzmannDead & Company
Billy Joel
Bo KosterMy Morning Jacket
Bob WeirDead & Company
Bonnie Raitt
Boyd Muir
Brad DelsonLinkin Park
Bradford CobbPartner, Direct Management Group
Brandon CreedManager/The Creed Company
Brendon UriePanic at the Disco
Britney Spears
Butch Walker
Calvin Harris
Cam
Cameron StrangChairman/ CEO, Warner Bros. Records
Carl BroemelMy Morning Jacket
Carole King
Casey HarrisX Ambassadors
Charlie Puth
Charlie Walk
Cher
Chester BenningtonLinkin Park
Christina Aguilera
Christina Perri
Chromeo
Conan O’Brien
Courtney Love
Craig KallmanChairman/CEO, Atlantic Records Group
Cyndi Lauper
Dan McCarrollPresident, Warner Bros. Records
Daniel EkCo-Founder/CEO, Spotify
Daniel GlassFounder/President, Glassnote Entertainment Group/Insieme Music Publishing
Danny Bennett
Demi Lovato
Dina LaPoltFounder, LaPolt Law
Diplo
Doug Morris
Drew TaggartThe Chainsmokers
Eddie VedderPearl Jam
Elle King
Ellen DeGeneres
Elvis Costello
Emily RobisonDixie Chicks
Eric Hutchinson
Faisel Durrani
Fher OlveraManá
Glenn KotcheWilco
Gregory Porter
Halsey
Iggy Pop
Irving AzoffChairman/CEO, Azoff Madison Square Entertainment
Jack Antonoff
Jackson Browne
James Corden
James H. GosnellPresident and CEO, APA
Jason KuppermanAgent, Paradigm Talent Agency
Jason Mraz
Jay MarcianoCOO, AEG; Chairman & CEO, AEG Live
Jean-Michel Jarre
Jeff AmentPearl Jam
Jeff ChimentiDead & Company
Jeff TweedyWilco
Jeffrey Harleston
Jennifer Lopez
Jeremy ZimmerCEO/Co-Founder, United Talent Agency
Jim JamesMy Morning Jacket
Joan Jett
Jody Gerson
Joe HahnLinkin Park
Joe Jonas
John EspositoPresIdent/CEO, Warner Music Nashville
John Janick
John Mellencamp
John StirrattWilco
Jorge HernandezLos Tigres del Norte
Josh Groban
Julia Michaels
Julie GreenwaldChairman/COO, Atlantic Records Group
Justin Tranter
K.D. Lang
Kaskade
Katy Perry
Kelly Rowland
Kesha
Kevin LilesCo-Founder, 300 Entertainment
Kid Cudi
L.A. Reid
Lady Gaga
Lecrae
Lee DanielsDirector; CEO, Lee Daniels Entertainment
Lin-Manuel Miranda
Sir Lucian Grainge
Lyor CohenCEO/Founder, 300 Entertainment
Macklemore
Marc GeigerPartner/Head of Music, William Morris Endeavor
Mark PinkusPresident, Rhino Entertainment
Mark Ronson
Martie MaguireDixie Chicks
Martin Bandier
Martin ErlichmanManager, Barbra Streisand
Martin KirkupPartner, Direct Management Group
Matisyahu
Matt CameronPearl Jam
Meghan Trainor
Melissa Etheridge
Michael Bublé
Michael RapinoPresident/CEO, Live Nation
Michael Stipe
Michele Anthony
Michelle Jubelirer
Mickey HartDead & Company
Mikael JorgensenWilco
Mike CarenCEO, Artist Partners Group; Creative Officer, Warner Music Group
Mike D
Mike Dungan
Mike McCreadyPearl Jam
Mike ShinodaLinkin Park
Monte Lipman
Natalie MainesDixie Chicks
Nate Reuss
Nels ClineWilco
Nick Jonas
Nicky Jam
Pasquale RotellaCEO/Founder, Insomniac Events
Pat Monahan
Pat SansoneWilco
Patrick HallahanMy Morning Jacket
Paul McCartney
Pete Wentz
Peter Edge
Peter Tork
Phil McIntyreCEO/Founder, Philymack
Prince Royce
Pusha T
Questlove
Ricky Martin
Ringo Starr
Rivers Cuomo
Rob BourdonLinkin Park
Rob LightPartner/Managing Director/Head of Music, Creative Artists Agency
Rob Thomas
Roger GoldCo-Founder, 300 Entertainment
Rosanne Cash
Rufus Wainwright
Russell SimmonsHip Hop Mogul & Activist
Ryan LeslieProducer
Ryan Lewis
Sam GoresChairman/CEO, Paradigm Talent Agency
Sam HarrisX Ambassadors
Sara Bareilles
Scooter BraunFounder, SB Projects
Scott BorchettaPresident/CEO, Big Machine Label Group
Selena Gomez
Shakira
Sia
Stephen CooperCEO, Warner Music Group
Steve Barnett
Steve Bartels
Steve JensenPartner, Direct Management Group
Steve LevinePartner/Co-Head of Worldwide Concerts, ICM Partners
Stevie Nicks
Sting
Stone GossardPearl Jam
Stu BergenCEO, International and Global Commercial Services, Warner Music Group
Talib Kweli
Terence Blanchard
Thom Yorke
Tim WestergrenCEO, Pandora
Todd MoscowitzCo-Founder, 300 Entertainment
Tom BlankenshipMy Morning Jacket
Tom Corson
Tom WindishPresident, The Windish Agency
Tony Bennett
Tori Amos
Trent Reznor
Troye Sivan
Vic Mensa
Wayne Coyne
Yoko Ono
Zayn Malik

It’s not often that courtroom transcripts go viral, but in the case of The State of Georgia v. Denver Fenton Allen, it’s an undeniable triumph of the human spirit that says W…T…F? The back-and-forth between Mr. Allen and the presiding judge in the case, the honorable J. Bryant Durham Jr. is one not even Hollywood could have made up. To read the entire thing, click here but here are just some of the best moments.

The Most WTF Court Transcript In History

The Most WTF Court Transcript In History

The Most WTF Court Transcript In History

The Most WTF Court Transcript In History
The Most WTF Court Transcript In History

 

The Most WTF Court Transcript In History

Waterworks officials in a small town southwest of Ottawa are monitoring a funeral company that has become the first in Ontario to use an alkaline solution to dissolve human remains, and then drain the leftover coffee-coloured effluents into the sewer system.

Aquagreen Dispositions began operating in a rental unit within the former Rideau Regional Centre in Smiths Falls in May 2015 after receiving a licence from the Ontario government. Hilton’s Unforgettable Tails, a parallel business handling the remains of pets, had been using the same process for a couple of years prior to Aquagreen Dispositions, but it took longer to get a licence to handle human remains.

The owner, Dale Hilton, who is from a family of funeral home operators in Smiths Falls, said he watched as the “green wave” swept through the funeral industry, bringing biodegradable caskets and urns.

Hilton said he started the alkaline hydrolysis business in the newly named Galipeau Centre as an alternative to the traditional, energy-using flame-based cremation process.

“It brings your body back to its natural state,” Hilton said. “It’s the same way as being buried in the ground, but instead of taking 15, 20 years to disintegrate, it does it in a quicker process. And it’s all environmentally friendly.

“You’re entering yourself back to your natural state as you come into this world. You come in by water, and you leave by water,” said Hilton. “It’s green, all the way around.”

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“Alan Rickman is undoubtedly one of the greatest actors I will ever work with. He is also, one of the loyalest and most supportive people I’ve ever met in the film industry. He was so encouraging of me both on set and in the years post-Potter. I’m pretty sure he came and saw everything I ever did on stage both in London and New York. He didn’t have to do that. I know other people who’ve been friends with him for much much longer than I have and they all say ‘if you call Alan, it doesn’t matter where in the world he is or how busy he is with what he’s doing, he’ll get back to you within a day’.People create perceptions of actors based on the parts they played so it might surprise some people to learn that contrary to some of the sterner (or downright scary) characters he played, Alan was extremely kind, generous, self-deprecating and funny. And certain things obviously became even funnier when delivered in his unmistakable double-bass.As an actor he was one of the first of the adults on Potter to treat me like a peer rather than a child. Working with him at such a formative age was incredibly important and I will carry the lessons he taught me for the rest of my life and career. Film sets and theatre stages are all far poorer for the loss of this great actor and man.”

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Listen.

If someone tells you what a story is about, they are probably right.

If they tell you that that is all the story is about, they are very definitely wrong.

Any story is about a host of things. It is about the author; it is about the world the author sees and deals with and lives in; it is about the words chosen and the way those words are deployed; it is about the story itself and what happens in the story; it is about the people in the story; it is polemic; it is opinion.

An author’s opinions of what a story is about are always valid and are always true: the author was there, after all, when the book was written. She came up with each word and knows why she used that word instead of another. But an author is a creature of her time, and even she cannot see everything that her book is about.

Why do we need the things in books? The poems, the essays, the stories? Authors disagree. Authors are human and fallible and foolish. Stories are lies after all, tales of people who never existed and the things that never actually happened to them. Why should we read them? Why should we care?

The teller and the tale are very different. We must not forget that.

Ideas, written ideas, are special. They are the way we transmit our stories and our ideas from one generation to the next. If we lose them, we lose our shared history. We lose much of what makes us human. And fiction gives us empathy: it puts us inside the minds of other people, gives us the gift of seeing the world through their eyes. Fiction is a lie that tells us true things, over and over.

Neil Gaiman, Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, and What Science Fiction Is and Does

Challenges and problems can derail your creative process … or they can make you more creative than ever. In the surprising story behind the best-selling solo piano album of all time, Tim Harford may just convince you of the advantages of having to work with a little mess.

When talking about the problem of refugees, we use dehumanised language, which reduces human tragedy to numbers and statistics. But this suffering concerns real people, who – just like us – have families, loved ones, friends; their own stories, dreams, goals… Only when you sit down opposite a specific person and look into their eyes, you no longer see an anonymous refugee, one of the migrants, and notice the human before you, just like yourself – loving, suffering, dreaming…

20 years ago, psychologist Arthur Aron discovered that 4 minutes of looking into each other’s eyes can bring people closer. Using this discovery, we decided to carry out a simple experiment, during which refugees and Europeans sat opposite each other and looked into each other’s eyes. Clearly, it is most important to give each other time to better understand and get to know each other.

The experiment was conducted in Berlin: the city, which – first of all – is a symbol of overcoming the divisions, and secondly, seems to be the centre of the contemporary Europe. We wanted the movie created on the basis of the experiment to be as symbolic as possible – and to touch upon the general divisions between people.

The experiment participants were ordinary people. The situations were not staged; we wanted to get natural, spontaneous reactions. The people sitting opposite each other had not known each other before and saw each other for the first time during the experiment. What is important, the refugees mostly came from Syria and had not been living in Europe for longer than a year.

We’re not in a bad period where everybody is evil, or where everybody is buying into all this stuff. A lot of people are just confused.

I mean… the way things are, they’re a lot worse than they were in the early seventies. It’s an atmosphere that I recognize. It’s the atmosphere that made me do Horses. Because I looked around and thought “What the hell’s going on?”, you know, “what’s wrong with people?” They’re forgetting who they are. And um, in some ways, we’re forgetting who we are. New generations will make records or write poems or get involved in politics. There are always good people that are ready to make change. And you know, I feel discouraged sometimes, especially in my country – my country is very discouraging. But on the other hand, I just, I don’t know what it is…but…I mean life is beautiful.

We have a relatively short life span. But of all the things that we can get, you know, all the material things, life is the best thing that we have. And if you’re living and you’re breathing, you have a chance. And I just think at any moment people can start turning things around. You know, for me, just the fact that you asked a question like that, I think is optimistic.

I still feel young. I don’t feel like like your grandma I’m talking to you. You know – we’re like two humans…not that there’s anything wrong with a grandma. I’m just saying that I don’t feel severed by that. Because what we’re doing is we’re communicating. And that’s what…that’s how change will be made. And uh…I don’t know, it’s a rough time. All I can say is you know, try to be happy and take care of your teeth.

Drink a lot of water. And take care of your teeth, because if you don’t, it’s really a drag when you get older. So keep your teeth clean. I really spend a lot of time talking to people about their teeth because my generation had the worst teeth and the worst dental care. And when you get older, it’s a pain in the ass.

People think ‘It’s just your teeth’ and so they’re worried about their kidneys or their liver. But your teeth are really important. So, take care of your teeth as best you can. Drink a lot of water. Cultivate your mind. And try to be happy. Because the world is fucked up. I can’t pretend, or say “Oh, it’s not as bad as you think.” Yes, dear, the world is fucked up.

And a lot of reasons it’s fucked up is my country. But with all that, as an individual…I tell my kids too…you know…you like to think of yourself like a captain, and you’ve got this little boat. And sometimes the weather’s good, and you’re just sailing, and sometimes big storms hit, and you know, you’re in a stormy sea, but just ride it out, ride it out. Because it’s good to be alive.

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