WASHINGTON - MARCH 09: First lady Michelle Obama stands with the inaugural gown she wore to the inaugural balls before it went on display at the Smithsonian Museum of American History on March 9, 2010 in Washington, DC. Mrs. Obama continues a long tradition of first ladys who have donated their inaugural gown to be on display at the Smithsonian.
WASHINGTON - MARCH 08: U.S. President Barack Obama (R) looks at his wife, first lady Michelle Obama (L), as she speaks during a reception in honor of International Womens Day at the East Room of the White House March 8, 2010 in Washington, DC. The reception honored women from around the world and their achievements.
By LINDA DEUTSCH, AP Special Correspondent – Thu Mar 4, 5:20 pm ET LOS ANGELES – A dispute over an exhibition of gruesome evidence from famous crimes escalated Thursday, showing that time does not heal the scars to murder victims' families even after four decades.
The son of assassinated Sen. Robert F. Kennedy wrote he was horrified that his father's clothing from the night he was assassinated in 1968 was being displayed in Las Vegas. He called it "a macabre publicity stunt."
After a complaint from the Kennedy family, Los Angeles police removed the items from a display at a homicide investigators' conference. The exhibit titled, "Behind the Scenes: the LAPD Homicide Experience," was opened to the public Wednesday and Thursday after those attending the conference viewed it privately.
As spectators lined up by the thousands to view the famous evidence, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck and District Attorney Steve Cooley issued a joint open letter Thursday saying they never meant to compound the grief of murder victims' families. Beck and Cooley said they sought to depict the horror of homicide in hopes of deterring violence.
"Homicide is by nature horrific," they said, "but the entertainment media often portrays it as sterile and benign. When people see the reality of murder, it becomes an unthinkable act."
They said the displays were teaching tools for investigators and were "very carefully designed so visitors would gain a better appreciation for the tragedy of murder and the difficult jobs law enforcement detectives have in solving often very complicate cases."
They added it's now clear that some crime victims' families were offended. "It was never our intent to cause grief to victims of crime or their families," they said. "Our organizations strive to bring justice to homicide victims not to cause sorrow for their families."
Cooley recently announced he's running for California attorney general. Beck was named police chief in November to replace William Bratton, who resigned.
Maxwell Taylor Kennedy, who was 4 years old when his father was slain at Los Angeles' Ambassador Hotel, wrote an op-ed piece for Thursday's Los Angeles Times.
He said he spoke personally with Beck and, "The chief maintained to me that hanging my dad's bloody shirt from a mannequin in a casino was part of an effort to train detectives. Perhaps he believes that, but to me it seems like a cheap bid for attention.
"It is almost like a traffic cop inviting motorists to slow down and take a good look as they go past a tragedy," Kennedy wrote.
He added, "It is almost incomprehensible to imagine what circumstances would have led to a decision to transport these items across state lines to be gawked at by gamblers and tourists." Kennedy previously opposed an effort to preserve the site of Kennedy's assassination at the Ambassador Hotel as a memorial.
Relatives of Manson family murder victims Sharon Tate and Jay Sebring also expressed dismay at the exhibit, which included such artifacts as a rope that was tied around Tate's neck and murder weapons used in the killings of seven people. Sharon's sister, Debra Tate, said the families should have been notified in advance about the exhibit so they could prepare themselves emotionally.
Sebring's nephew Anthony DeMaria viewed the exhibit Wednesday at the Palms hotel and casino. He said he spoke to an LAPD detective there and asked to have a picture of his uncle removed from the display, but he said he did not plan to press the issue with the department. DeMaria said he thinks famous crimes become glamorized and he was dismayed at the sight of the crowd lined up to see the exhibit.
Other cases highlighted included Marilyn Monroe's death, the Black Dahlia murder, the O.J. Simpson case, the 1997 North Hollywood bank shootout and the 1974 Symbionese Liberation Army shootout.
If you thought Michelle Obama's inauguration gown was museum quality, you'll appreciate the artistry in this: Jason Wu's one-shouldered organza and chiffon dress is headed to the Smithsonian.
A representative for the Smithsonian Natural Museum of History in Washington, D.C. tells StyleList that Mrs. O will present the dress, along with the shoes [Jimmy Choo] and jewelery [Loree Rodkin] she wore to the inaugural celebrations, on March 9.
The pieces, we're told, will be part of a new gallery called 'First Ladies Debut,' which will include 11 gowns worn by first ladies -- from Mamie Eisenhower to Michelle Obama.
Viewing of the Obama gown will be open to the public beginning March 10.
Part of the ongoing First Ladies at the Smithsonian exhibit, the gallery is displaying dresses, portraits, china and personal items from the likes of Jackie Kennedy, Grace Coolidge, Eleanor Roosevelt and more.
Young designer Wu will find his gown in good company: Other designers of inaugural gowns include Oscar de la Renta [Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush], James Galanos [Nancy Reagan] and Arnold Scaasi [Barbara Bush].
WASHINGTON - MARCH 05: U.S. first lady Michelle Obama (L) kicks a soccer ball as US Soccer Foundation President and CEO Ed Foster-Simeon (R) looks on as they participate with local school kids in a youth soccer clinic March 5, 2010 in Washington, DC. The clinic is to promote the national fight against childhood obesity and in support for the first lady's 'Let's Move!' campaign that encourage children to get 60 minutes of active play each day.
First lady Michelle Obama, right, applauds the students of Brinkley Middle School in Jackson, Miss. , Wednesday, March 3, 2010, before speaking about her healthy schools campaign, "Let's Move!".
First Lady Michelle Obama, right, confers with Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, left, and his wife Marsha Barbour as they tour the walking trail and playground at Pecan Park Elementary School in Jackson, Miss. , Wednesday, March 3, 2010. Obama will visit two schools in Jackson to promote health and physical activity. Pecan Park principal Wanda Quon, and two students accompanied the Barbours and the First Lady on a walk along the track.
Poppy colours are next up for natural makeup trends
Natural makeup continues to be a top trend for 2010 and poppy colours, such as pink and orange, are set to be incorporated into the minimalistic look, according to an expert.
Robin Narvaez, make-up artist at one of New York's top beauty boutiques, Salon Eliut Rivera, told My Fashion Life: 'For March, April and May bright pinks work best on lips paired with kohl rimmed eyes, getting rid of dark greys and deep purples.'
Makeup artist Pat McGrath also highlighted the natural beauty of models for the Issa show at London Fashion Week.
She recently told The Sun that she was inspired by former first lady Jackie Onassis in creating the 60s-style, almond-coloured eyes for the show.
Meanwhile, Ms Narvaez said that dark, statement lips will be replaced by more subtle, natural lipstick.
Women will instead go for dark, eye-catching lashes which will be combined with a dusting of gold shadow over the lids, she told the news provider.
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama speaks to hundreds of school nutrition professionals to advocate for adequate funds for healthy school meals, at the School Nutrition Association annual legislative action conference in Washington, March 1, 2010.
White House announces new social secretary Posted: February 27th, 2010 02:13 PM ET
The White House has announced its replacement for outgoing social secretary Desiree Rogers, pictured.
Washington (CNN) - The White House announced a new social secretary Saturday, a day after confirming that Desiree Rogers planned to step down from the position.
Julianna Smoot, who is chief of staff for the office of U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, will replace Rogers.
"Julianna shares our commitment to creating an inclusive, dynamic and culturally vibrant White House, and Michelle and I are pleased to have her join our team," President Barack Obama said in a statement.
Rogers' office came under scrutiny in recent months after a couple who lacked an invitation were allowed into Obama's first state dinner.
In an interview with CNN on Friday, Rogers said she was leaving voluntarily and that her decision was unrelated to the fallout over the security breach.
"It has nothing to do with that," she said. "It's Secret Service's job to handle security. Not the Social Secretary's office."
The president and first lady acknowledged Rogers' exit in a statement Friday that did not mention last November's party-crashing incident.
"When she took this position, we asked Desiree to help make sure that the White House truly is the People's House," they said, "and she did that by welcoming scores of everyday Americans through its doors, from wounded warriors to local schoolchildren to NASCAR drivers.
"She organized hundreds of fun and creative events during her time here, and we will miss her. We thank her again for her service and wish her all the best in her future endeavors."
In an e-mail to CNN earlier on Friday, Rogers said, "It has been incredible setting the foundation for the [White House] for this historical presidency. Headed back to private sector."
"I accomplished initially what I came to do," Rogers told CNN later. "I like strategy. I like building something. It's built... the foundation of the [social secretary's ]office is good and solid."
Rogers did not say where she'll be working. She said she'll be "around to work on the transition" to a new social secretary at the White House.
She summed up her experiences at the White House in another note: "330 events. Halloween for 3,000. Easter egg roll for 30,000. Music series with performances and the performers teaching the students during the day. Latin, jazz, country, civil rights. "
In December, the White House was accused of stonewalling as Congress investigated the party-crasher security breach at Obama's first state dinner. At issue was whether the White House was protecting Rogers from testifying about how Tareq and Michaele Salahi were able to crash the first White House state dinner. The couple did not have an invite but were allowed in.
Rogers' office planned the dinner.
At the time, Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan said his agency would take the heat for the incident.
"This is our fault and our fault alone," he told federal lawmakers. "There's no other people to blame here. ... Look at me and blame me," he told members of the House Homeland Security Committee.
First Lady Michelle Obama greets Mrs. Margarita Zavala de Calderon, the First Lady of Mexico, in the Yellow Oval Room of the White House, Feb. 25, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)
Karen Finley's solo performance of The Jackie Look is a narrative told by a resurrected Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The show focuses on the trauma endured by the First Lady and how the pain was translated to the public through news, photography, and fashion. Told to the audience in a lecture format (complete with slide shows) The Jackie Look is a series of comments on society and our intense fascination with celebrity, tragedy, and the world of media.
Jackie Finley is a woman known for pushing the limits with her performance art. She is the recipient of two Obies, two Bessies, and multiple grants from the NEA and NYSCA. She has toured internationally with pieces including Make Love, George & Martha, The American Chestnut, A Certain Level of Denial and The Return of The Chocolate Smeared Woman. In 1990, Finley became an unwilling symbol for the NEA when she, along with Tim Miller, Holly Hughes & John Fleck, sued the NEA for withdrawing grants on the grounds of indecency.
With a history such as this it is no surprise that Finley's turn as "Jackie O" makes audience members squirm in their seats. She begins her ‘lecture' with a computer projection, searching the website of the The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, a museum housed on the spot where John F. Kennedy was killed. In a sweet breathy voice Finley's "Jackie" takes us through the horrifyingly desensitized site which features videos of JFK's assassination, postcards of the street where the fatal shot took place, and Christmas Ornaments depicting the grassy knoll. This introductory portion of the lecture plays a key role in setting the tone for the rest of the show; the horror of the event and the flippancy with which it is tossed about on The Sixth Floor Museum's website is so ridiculous and terrible that it becomes comical.
The rest of the show carries on in a sort of poetry slam format, with our star reading disjointed and repeated sentences from pages placed on a podium. As "Jackie" Finley fluctuates between hysteria and anger, lamenting the loss of her husband and the continuous tragedies of the Kennedys while also spitting in the face of those who scrutinized as she mourned. Finley's anger is apparent; her eyes well behind her glasses as she pleads and yells and whispers.
Much of her anger and blame is focused on those in front of her, as we all play a main part of the celebrity and media driven society that she is condemning. It is during these tense and emotional moments that the audience is at a loss for how to respond. Those who were surprised by the serious nature of the show (it is dinner theater after all) break into timid laughter, only to be faced with uncomfortable silence from those around them (and perhaps some anger from our host who at one point scolded a giggling woman by saying "this is not funny").
A few jokes would have been a nice break from the constant bombardment of pain and shame that Finley throws our way. The actress does not fill any delayed moments with casual banter or humor and she offers us no relief from the bitter and sarcastic words that keep pouring from her mouth. However this too is all part of Finley's overall statements about our society and the position Jackie O played as a vessel of trauma. Instead of focusing on her deeds, we admire her as a model of fashion and poise. Finley goes on to identify the scrutiny faced by Michelle Obama, leaving us with a modern situation that could easily escalate into a similar fixation.
There are a few major glitches in The Jackie Look. One is that the show hits lags when relying on the projections. Computers must be restarted, windows opened, and icons dragged- relying on the Internet is never a good idea. The slide show is effective but short and the looping loses its meaning after some time. Finley lets these awkward moments lag, so we lose whatever focus we may have had. Some of the dialogue borders on poetry, sounding a bit rehearsed and cliche, but still evokes genuine curiosity and emotion from the audience.
Finley's message resonates loud and clear. She is able to embody all of the ugliness and passion and emotion that Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis kept from her public persona. Finley is bigger, sloppier, louder, and visibly distressed. She is the personification of pure emotion- a character, not a woman. Though The Jackie Look is an effective piece of performance art, as far as dinner theatre goes, it is a Heavy Dish to swallow.
THE JACKIE LOOK runs through March 27, Saturdays at 7:30pm. The Laurie Beechman Theater is located inside West Bank Cafe at 407 West 42nd Street -- at Ninth Avenue, accessible from the A,C,E,N,R,V,F,1,2,3 trains at 42nd Street. Tickets are $20, plus $15 food/drink minimum, available at 212-352-3101 www.SpinCycleNYC.com.
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama walks into the East Room of the White House to meet with music students to view a special preview performance for the White House's annual Governor's Dinner in Washington February 21, 2010.
WASHINGTON - FEBRUARY 21: First lady Michelle Obama raises her glass during the White House Governor's Dinner in the State Dining Room on February 21, 2010 in Washington, DC. The nation's governors are congregating in Washington this week for their annual National Governor's Association annual meeting.
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama speaks at the National Governors Association winter meeting about important role of governors as leaders in combating childhood obesity and achieving the goals of the Lets Move initiative in Washington February 20, 2010.
First lady Michelle Obama tours a Fresh Grocer store in Philadelphia, Friday, Feb. 19, 2010. Mrs. Obama's visit to the store was to highlight Philadelphia's efforts to get healthy, affordable food to its communities.