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    California Mayor Charged With Secretly Recording Underage Strip Poker Game
    Screencap: KCRA

    Anthony Silva, the Republican mayor of Stockton, California, was arrested at a summer camp he hosts for disadvantaged youth on Thursday after authorities say they found evidence the mayor played strip poker with and provided alcohol to minors, The L.A. Times reports.

    According to prosecutors, investigators found an audio file on Silva’s cellphone that was recorded during an underage strip poker game in the mayor’s bedroom at the camp, where a witness says Silva had installed cameras. From Reuters:

    Prosecutors said in a press statement that the taped conversation indicated that the participants, who were naked, were recorded against their will.

    “Witnesses stated that Silva had supplied alcohol and made it available to a number of underage counselors at the camp,” the statement said.

    The incident, according to prosecutors, took place last August at the Stockton Silver Lake Camp in Amador County, California.

    Silva now faces one felony count of eavesdropping along with misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, providing alcohol to a minor and cruelty to a child by endangering their health.

    According to The L.A. Times, this is not the mayor’s first brush with the law:

    In 2012, a 19-year-old woman accused Silva of committing sexual battery a year before. No charges were filed and Silva told a local TV station that the woman was a disgruntled former employee.

    A year later, then-City Manager Bob Deis sought an investigation by the San Joaquin County district attorney, claiming that Silva secretly recorded their conversations.

    In 2014, the mayor was handcuffed but never arrested after a fight in a limousine. The limousine driver and passengers sued Silva, including a woman who alleged inappropriate advances by the mayor.

    In 2015, a gun stolen from the mayor’s home was used to kill 13-year-old Rayshawn Harris, according to the the San Joaquin County district attorney’s office. Rayshawn was shot to death Feb. 23, 2015, while he stood in his driveway. The .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol was registered to Silva.

    “They have had all of this evidence for over a year,” said Silva’s lawyer in a statement. “The timing is extremely suspicious as people will only hear 1/2 of the story before the election. He will clear his name.”

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    FBI Releases 18 Hours of Spy Plane Video From the Freddie Gray Protests
    FBI surveillance video taken during the Freddie Gray protests in 2015

    The FBI has just released over 18 hours of surveillance video from the protests in Baltimore that followed the death of Freddie Gray in 2015. The release comes in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by the ACLU and gives a sense of how much visual surveillance the FBI uses during high-profile protests.

    According to the ACLU, the videos are all shot from traditional piloted aircraft. But as the ACLU points out drones can be seen in many of the videos. It’s unclear if these drones were piloted by police, protesters, curious onlookers, or all of the above.

    The videos, which all date from April 29, 2015 to May 3, 2015, switch from infrared (IR) to traditional camera mode and zoom in at various times—though even at the maximum zoom it doesn’t appear that any faces are clearly discernible. All 18 hours of raw video are available at the FBI’s website.

    FBI Releases 18 Hours of Spy Plane Video From the Freddie Gray Protests
    FBI surveillance video of the Freddie Gray protest showing a drone passing through the shot

    After the protests occurred it was revealed in October 2015 that FBI planes using night vision and registered under fake businesses had been operating around the protest locations. This is the first time that footage from those planes has been released. As the ACLU notes, it’s not clear what the FBI’s records retention policy for videos like these might be and how they could be used for future investigations.

    Freddie Gray died in April of 2015 after being in police custody while transported in a van. The 25-year-old Gray was arrested for allegedly having an illegal switchblade. While in the custody of police he suffered severe injuries to his spinal cord. None of the police officers involved in the incident were convicted, though one had been charged with murder.

    It should probably be noted for historical context that when the FBI acquired its first surveillance planes in the 1970s it was actually quite a minor scandal. Their first planes were actually Army surplus from the Vietnam War.

    “The FBI has provided absolutely no justification for establishing its own air force,” Representative Les Aspin, a Democrat from Wisconsin, said when it became public that the FBI was buying up the Army’s old spy planes. “The bureau ought to get out of the air power business as soon as possible.”

    But the FBI quickly calmed everybody’s concerns.

    “It’s strictly an experimental thing,” FBI special agent in charge at the Los Angeles field office told reporters in 1975. “But we think the plane could be very effective in trailing cars involved in extortion or kidnapping plots, for example, or in rescuing kidnapping victims.”

    So we know how that turned out.

    [FBI and ACLU]

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  • 08/05/16--04:40: 94 Days and a Wake Up
  • 94 Days and a Wake Up
    Secret Service corral animal rights protestors at a Hillary Clinton rally in Las Vegas. Photo: AP

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  • 08/05/16--05:45: Donald Trump Admits Mistake
  • Donald Trump Admits Mistake

    An incomprehensibly boring controversy emerged earlier this week after the Wall Street Journal published a poorly-structured piece about Iran involving the return of frozen Iranian funds in the form of cash, which coincided with the release four detained Americans. Naturally, this triggered Donald Trump’s paranoid imagination, and he began ranting about watching a “top secret” video, leaked by the Iranian government, of an airplane covertly delivering the cash. He described the footage as having been shot at a “perfect angle, nice and steady,” which could only have been the work of Iranian state media.

    “I’ll never forget the scene this morning and remember this, Iran—I don’t think you’ve heard this anywhere but here—Iran provided all of that footage, the tape of taking that money off that airplane, right, $400 million in cash. How does a president do that? How do you do that?” he said at a campaign rally.

    “Now here’s the amazing thing. Over there where that plane landed, top secret, they don’t have a lot of paparazzi, you know the paparazzi doesn’t do so well over there, right, and they have a perfect tape done by obviously a government camera, and the tape is of the people taking the money off the plane, right,” Trump continued. “That means in order to embarrass us further Iran sent us the tapes, right. It’s a military tape. It’s a tape that was a perfect angle, nice and steady. Nobody getting nervous because they are going to be shot, because they are shooting a picture of money pouring off of plane.” The Iranians, Trump said, released the video “so that we will be embarrassed.”

    In fact, they did not. The video Trump saw was not shot in Iran, but Switzerland: The hostages—journalist Jason Rezaian; former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati; Christian pastor Saeed Abedini; and Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari—are shown disembarking a plane at night in Geneva. From the Washington Post:

    The Washington Post asked Trump’s staff to explain what Trump was talking about and emailed a link to a Fox News clip that showed the January footage from Geneva, asking if that was the video the nominee saw.

    “Yes,” spokeswoman Hope Hicks responded in an email. “Merely the b-roll footage included in every broadcast.”

    Hicks has yet to respond to a follow-up email asking why Trump thought the footage showed a money transfer and not the widely watched prisoner swap, and why Trump said it was recorded by the Iranian government.

    Trump emphatically admitted to the mistake in a tweet sent Friday morning. This is, apparently, the first mistake he has admitted to since telling the New York Times’ Maureen Dowd in April that if he could do it again he wouldn’t retweet an unflattering photograph of Heidi Cruz.

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    I Ran the C.I.A. Now I Work For a Longtime Clinton Ally's Consulting Firm and Am Endorsing Hillary Clinton
    Photo: AP

    On Friday, the New York Times ran an op-ed penned by Michael Morell, a 33-year veteran of the Central Intelligence agency who served as its acting director and deputy director from 2010 to 2013. Contravening political conventions of non-partisanship, Morell not only endorses Hillary Clinton for president but even goes so far as to suggest that Donald Trump “may well pose a threat to our national security.”

    Morell enumerates Clinton’s strengths—her thoroughness, her thoughtfulness, and her abiding commitment to the myth of American exceptionalism—before lambasting Trump’s narcissism and recklessness. These character flaws, while dangerous in themselves, pose an even greater threat to the degree that they can be exploited by others, Morell argues. Like Putin, for example:

    President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia was a career intelligence officer, trained to identify vulnerabilities in an individual and to exploit them. That is exactly what he did early in the primaries. Mr. Putin played upon Mr. Trump’s vulnerabilities by complimenting him. He responded just as Mr. Putin had calculated.

    Mr. Putin is a great leader, Mr. Trump says, ignoring that he has killed and jailed journalists and political opponents, has invaded two of his neighbors and is driving his economy to ruin. Mr. Trump has also taken policy positions consistent with Russian, not American, interests — endorsing Russian espionage against the United States, supporting Russia’s annexation of Crimea and giving a green light to a possible Russian invasion of the Baltic States.

    In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.

    This is a pretty damning assessment! And it certainly seems earnest and correct. However, the fact that a career CIA officer would cast his endorsement of Hillary Clinton as a repudiation of Putin’s attempts to recruit Trump is pretty silly, when what we really have here is a former CIA operative inserting himself into a political campaign by praising one candidate in one breath and laying out a former KGB operative’s intervention in a political campaign (by praising the opposition candidate) with the next. Not to get all Greenwaldian about it, but if Putin’s support for Trump constitutes some kind of clandestine meddling, what does that make Morell’s support for Clinton?

    What’s more, even as Morell touts his three decades of non-partisan service to his country and his (heretofore private) bi-partisan voting record, he fails to disclose that he left the CIA in 2013 to join Beacon Global Strategies, a consulting firm founded by longtime Clinton aide and ally Philippe Reines.

    In a passage criticizing Trump’s rhetoric towards Muslims and Muslim Americans, Morell declines to name the Muslim American man “whom I cannot identify, who ran the C.I.A.’s Counterterrorism Center for nearly a decade and who I believe is most responsible for keeping America safe since the Sept. 11 attacks.” That man is Michael D’Andrea, who the Times has named before and was first outed by Gawker. D’Andrea is credited with leading the hunt for Osama bin Laden and designing the CIA’s signature-strike drone program.

    Anyway, that is of course not to say that Morell is being insincere, just that unfortunately you lose some benefit of the doubt when you join the CIA, spend three decades there, and then leave to do public relations. Oh, and also defend torture.

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    Speaking to an NBC affiliate in Jacksonville, Florida, Donald Trump was pressed (by a former employee) to name a few of the women he might place on his cabinet when he ascends the throne. The only women Trump seems capable of naming on the spot? His beloved daughter, Ivanka Trump and—oh, I don’t know. How about you. Holding the microphone. Yeah, you’ll do.

    More specifically, Trump relied on one of his favorite tactics of pretending that other people keep saying the thing he actually wants to say, telling Angelia Savage:

    I can tell you everybody would say, ‘Put Ivanka in, put Ivanka in,’ you know that, right? She’s very popular, she’s done very well, and you know Ivanka very well. But there really are so many that are really talented people, like you, you’re so talented, but I don’t know if your viewers know that.

    There really are so many talented people out there. Just super, really very talented people. People like Ivanka. Or those directly within his line of vision. Just so talented. And did he mention Ivanka?

    [h/t CNN]

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    Owning a Home Is No Goddamn Picnic Either
    Photo: Chris Goldberg/ Flickr

    We all know that The Rent is Too Damn High. The affordable housing crisis is largely concerned with renters. In fact, though, homeowners are being screwed by the very same dynamics.

    On one hand: it’s nice to own a home. It presumably gives you some equity. But in a city like New York, where affordable housing is in constant crisis and high demand drives prices ever higher, homeowners—not the rich variety who bought the top of the line, but the normal variety who scrimped and saved to get something affordable way out in the boroughs—are finding that, just like renters, a shocking percentage of them cannot afford to live where they’ve been living.

    A new study from the Furman Center quantifies just how unaffordable the American dream of homeownership has become for the residents of America’s greatest city. Among the findings:

    • “The majority of sales in New York City in 2014 were too expensive for the vast majority of New York City households. Households earning up to $114,000 (comprising 77% of New York City households) could only afford 42% of 2014 home sales in New York City. Households earning to $83,000 annually (comprising 66% of New York City households) could only afford 22% of 2014 sales in New York City.”
    • “New York City had far lower rates of homeownership among households earning up to $55,000 than the U.S. in 2014. In 2014, just over half (58%) of households earning up to $55,000 in the U.S. owned their homes. Among these households in New York City, homeownership rates were far lower; only 25 percent of households earning up to $55,000 annually in New York City owned their homes in 2014.”

    Yes, New York City is expensive. But the fact that New York City’s home ownership rate is less than half of the the American average goes to show that there is a fundamental disconnect between the real estate market and the city’s real economy. Almost half of NYC homeowners spend more of their income than the 30% threshold that is considered “affordable.” The numbers don’t lie.

    Owning a Home Is No Goddamn Picnic Either

    If you believe that owning a home is something that should be done primarily by absentee foreign millionaires looking for a stable place to park their cash in case their home government collapses, then the NYC housing market is fine. If you think that owning a home is something that regular working people should be able to aspire to without it resulting in financial ruination, we have some work to do. “People don’t need to own homes in an expensive place like NYC,” you say? Fine. If fewer people own homes, then more people rent. That means higher demand in the rental market. And we currently have an affordable housing crisis for renters. Not much of a solution.

    Seems like we should build more housing. Also, take from the rich.

    [The full report]

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    The media is in a wellness bubble.

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    Donald Trump Donor: "Donald Trump...Eats...People of All Races and Religions"
    Image: Getty

    See if you can spot the typo in this press release about how Donald Trump is totally not a racist, which was sent to reporters by a Donald Trump donor yesterday:

    NEW YORK, Aug. 4, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — I am one of eleven people who donated the maximum amount under law to Donald Trump during the primaries. I am very conservative when it comes to issues related to the United States Constitution, supporting law enforcement and lowering taxes for businesses to grow. However, when it comes to social issues, I am probably more liberal and progressive than most Americans. Although that I believe that abortion is morally wrong, I do not believe that the government should be involved with telling people what they can or can not do with their bodies. In terms of people and their sexual preferences, I could care less what people do behind closed doors and if two people love each other, the government should allow them to get married. In terms of racial relations, our neighborhoods, places of employment and public schools in New York City are more diverse than anywhere in the world. When people on the news call Donald Trump a racist, I find that statement difficult to believe. Like myself, Donald Trump is a life-long New Yorker. Donald Trump lives, works, eats and employs people of all races and religions. Like many of my fellow New Yorkers, Donald Trump speaks his mind and that type of behavior can easily be misunderstood by people who are not New Yorkers. Defending yourself does not make you a bully. The real bullies are the people who are attacking Donald Trump and then claiming that they are the victims. The fact of the matter is that Donald Trump has rolled up his sleeves and he is trying to stir up debate to find real solutions to real problems. It was Martin Luther King, Jr. who said “the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” The Republicans running away from Donald Trump are sending a message to the American people that they do not want to find real solutions to securing our borders, keeping security risks out of our country and bringing jobs back to our country. Donald Trump is not dictating his beliefs, but he is rather stirring up debate. God bless him.

    Sean O’Loughlin identifies himself as “one of eleven people who donated the maximum amount under law to Donald Trump during the primaries” in the release, and FEC filings show that he has indeed contributed $2,700 to Trump’s campaign—the highest donation amount allowed from an individual to a presidential campaign committee in a single election.

    If O’Loughlin thinks his big donation means he’ll be spared the next time Donald has a craving for the ultimate delicacy, he’s got another thing coming.

    h/t @RiotWomennn

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    Ira Sachs on Little Men, Gentrification, and the Value of a Movie That "Doesn't Work Economically”
    Photo: Getty

    I have begun to think of this film as a metaphor for the place of personal cinema in our culture,” Ira Sachs (Love Is Strange, Keep the Lights On) told me one recent morning over coffee in New York’s Marlton Hotel. He was referring to his new movie, Little Men, which includes gentrification among its themes. When white married couple Brian (Greg Kinnear) and Kathy (Jennifer Ehle) inherit Brian’s father’s house in Brooklyn, they move there from Manhattan and face a tough decision: Should they allow the Chilean owner of the dress shop downstairs, Leonor (Paulina García) to remain and continue to pay rent that’s thousands of dollars below market value or kick her out? Since Brian’s an unsuccessful actor, his family could use the boost in salary that another tenant would provide. Complicating the plot is the quick bond Brian and Kathy’s 13-year-old son Jake (Theo Taplitz) forms with Leonor’s similarly aged son Tony (Michael Barbieri). The ensuing drama carefully props up each character’s situation on another’s, deliberately transmitting everyone’s motivation and dilemma to the viewer. To describe his movie succinctly in interviews, Sachs has been borrowing a quote from Jean Renoir: “The awful thing about life is this: Everyone has their reasons.”

    The phrase “quietly devastating” could have been invented to describe this movie. It is patient, it is keenly observed, and it is acted impeccably, especially by teens Taplitz and Barbieri. The latter has prodigious charisma that portends a future superstar. While generally sober, Sachs finds levity in some brilliant one-off scenes, like one that takes place in a matinee nightclub for kids or the film’s show-stopping centerpiece in which Barbieri’s character spars with his acting coach in a Meisner repetition exercise. The joys of Little Men are varied and numerous.

    Sachs and I discussed his intricate plotting, Jake’s pre-gay sensibility, and making a quiet movie like this in an industry that is increasingly blaring with blockbuster bombast. An edited and condensed transcript of our conversation is below.

    Gawker: The plot of Little Men would have taken up five minutes in another movie about a family that moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn. Maybe we would have seen a cameo from the woman who was pushed out downstairs. Refreshingly, here it’s the story, and the woman is a principal character.

    Ira Sachs: I think the actors and the people who paid for the film and myself, we understand that in a way, there’s nothing that’s bigger than these very small moments—the drama that’s going on in these people’s lives. And more personal in some ways, in terms of each of our attempts to hold onto our homes and take care of our families or ourselves. These are the questions of every single day.

    And similar to the questions of Love Is Strange.

    I think in a way, all of my films are about economics and intimacy and how the two interplay. Economics being central to both character and drama—not narrowing but being part of the texture of who we are in the world and how we get through our days.

    Given the economic climate, exploring that relationship is more pertinent than ever.

    When I read the papers and I think about the challenges people are facing—immigration, neighborhoods, class difference, racial disparity—it’s like, it’s sort of what the story is about in one block. I think it speaks to things of our time.

    Did you choose to shoot in Williamsburg for that reason?

    In my mind, [the neighborhood depicted] is a fictional neighborhood. It’s not an exact neighborhood. In my fictional world it’s more Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst. That corner of Williamsburg is a longtime Italian community.

    We found that in location scouting, the number of people who said, “This is what I’m going through” was pretty much 50 percent of the stores we walked into who said [situations similar to the plot of Little Men] is what they’re facing. I wanted a neighborhood that had that history but that also wasn’t a neighborhood that had already moved into a totally different economic place. It wasn’t 7th Avenue in Park Slope, where I’m sure this stuff happens but it’s not as transitional in terms of its economic history. The acting school, all those kids were from Bay Ridge. You have a very particular mix that I think gives the film authenticity.

    A word that comes up a lot in reviews to describe your directing is “compassionate.” Do you agree with that assessment?

    I do—“empathy” is maybe a better word. The more empathy I have for the characters, the more potential I have to understand and portray them. It’s kind of like why directing is not totally different from being a psychotherapist. There is a sense that anyone who comes into your room has value, and your job is to have empathy and analytic ability. That’s what I look for in a therapist. Both of those things need to be prime. If one trumps the other, you get into sentimentality or exploitation.

    This story is so carefully constructed. Everyone’s situations are propped up on each other’s—the kids’ connection is at the mercy of their parents’ feud, for example.

    I think that was the thing that took the most rigor in making the film, from the script [to the] shooting, but really in editing was [where the movie found] refinement. That took a lot of shaving and decision-making. When I now watch the film, it begins very open and wide and as it plays it becomes narrower and more focused on these five characters. It becomes very theatrical, and much more intense than I might have known, by the last act of the movie. Not to compare in terms of quality, but there’s almost an Ibsen quality. For me, watching with an audience, it feels like a suspense film of emotion. And that’s satisfying.

    I really wanted to make a film about kids from an adult perspective, but that also had some of the qualities of cinema that as a kid I really loved. Specifically, I wanted to make a movie about childhood that wasn’t about cartoons or superheroes, but that was just as significant and just as accessible. How the market hits that is really interesting, meaning that the market defines what our young people will see based on capitalism and the modes of operation. I have begun to think of this film as a metaphor for the place of personal cinema in our culture. In a way, you can look at the dress shop as that kind of film. You can also say, “It doesn’t work economically in terms of the greater systems of capitalism.” And yet, there’s still value.

    What does that mean for you practically speaking? When you think about making a movie like this, what is the best-case scenario in terms of reach? That it’s a sleeper hit? That it does $40 million, like a Woody Allen-sized hit?

    No, no. I’m not naive to think those numbers. That it finds a distributor, that it finds an audience, and that it’s well-received. And that individuals enjoy and appreciate it. That’s partially what you have to do as a filmmaker. The fact that you like it means something to me. You have to hold onto those interpersonal experiences. There was a decision in the course of making this film not to go to one of the larger outlets, meaning the television outlets. That, in a way, gave the possibility for this film to be released individually in countries throughout the world. There was a question of: Do you go the global route, or do you go the individual theatrical distributor route? We chose to go that [latter] route. This is a larger question, because what Netflix and Amazon are doing are taking away the role of the arthouse distributor internationally. They can’t participate in the global economy.

    So those movies just don’t get seen?

    They get seen but not in the theater. And not in the theater means the end of arthouse distribution in those territories and the end of arthouse theaters in those territories, if they become obsolete in the economy. Interesting things are happening post-Sundance. Because of the clout and economic power of these new distribution models, meaning Netflix and Amazon, independent distributors are for the first time getting involved in production. They want to get involved earlier in order not to lose all potential content.

    Your decision was cultural? Moral?

    Not moral. Maybe the residual effect has a moral-like support of a particular economy, but the challenge of distributing on an instant global platform as opposed to a neighborhood platform is you are not part of the cultural conversation. You’re just in the culture. You’ve skipped the moment of interaction in some ways. A good example for me is Pee-Wee Herman’s movie [2016's Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday]. We all heard, “Pee-Wee Herman’s making a movie.”

    It came and it went.

    You saw a TV review and that’s it. That happened. People are probably watching that movie, maybe more [than would have if it were distributed otherwise], but there’s no place where it interacts with you.

    I probably would have covered that as a movie, but as a Netflix special, I didn’t even watch it. And I have Netflix. It’s still on my list.

    The story of this film is a minor story—how the movie’s made, how it’s distributed—but it’s also a major story because it represents larger truths of our economy and of our time.

    There are hints that Jake might be queer, but that’s never explicitly stated. I wonder why you went that route.

    Ultimately, as a director it did not feel comfortable or authentic to impose a future on either of these kids. Occasionally, when I considered the more explicit [telling], it felt more disconnected from these particular boys. I think that’s because when I started to cast, it was clear to me that for kids this age, there’s a very big difference between 12, 13, and 14. Maybe not just the numbers, but kids who are pre-aware of their sexuality, involved with the questions of their sexuality, or know their sexuality. I think these kids—particularly Jake—were on the pre side. I felt that as soon as I cast the film.

    That said, my films are very personal and I think there’s a way in which Jake reflects my sensibility as a gay man. The film was also inspired by my husband, who moved to New York from Ecuador with his single mother and lived in Williamsburg and was a visual artist and ended up going to LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts and discovering both the possibility of the life he lives as an artist and as a gay man. There was this thing that creative lives can sometimes do for people.

    And this way, you avoid telling yet another coming-out story.

    I felt that a film about a primal friendship was one I hadn’t seen enough of. When I show that film to audiences, I ask if people had that kind of friendship and about half the audience raises their hand remembering some particular childhood friend.

    It’s also modern to not bog yourself down with labels. Kids today are more queer than ever but seem to dislike stating as much.

    I have this retrospective at MoMA, and part of what’s interesting is to have to consider the work I’ve done since I’ve started making films, narratively, as a story. I made a film called The Delta early on, which is really about the tortuous nature of a young man’s acceptance of his own sexuality and the aftershock that torture creates for other people—the consequences of the closet. The difference of tone in this film reflects the difference in our times. I think really what it reflects is that I was more tortured myself as a 28-year-old man making The Delta. The film has a fraught nature that is not reflective of my life today.

    Did you notice any difference in terms of funding or response given that this film is less explicitly gay than many of your others, including the two that preceded it?

    Those are always factors. The choices we make in terms of who we tell stories about are profoundly affected by our culture and economy. None of us can resist that dialectic. I would say it matters as much that I chose to make a film about a Chilean woman instead of a white American woman. That has an impact on the reception.

    What this movie really captures for me is being a kid and feeling trapped—like there’s nothing you can do to change your situation because of your lack of power.

    I think what’s happening in that moment is that you’re also aware of how things work. And part of that awareness is growing up.

    Little Men is in select theaters today.

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    Who Is This Man Who Disarmed and Killed a Gun-Wielding Robber in Rio and Then Pretended to Be a Russian Diplomat?
    Rio: Getty

    Yesterday in Rio, a man shot and killed a mugger who tried to rob him while he was stuck in traffic. It would have been a fairly unremarkable story by Rio’s standards except that the victim-turned-killer—a man named Marcos Cesar Feres Braga—told police that he was a Russian diplomat, a tidbit that filtered up into news headlines.…

    The story went as follows, via the Daily Mail:

    The Russian vice-consul in Rio de Janeiro dramatically shot dead an armed mugger who had tried to hold him up in his car - just after the Olympic torch relay had passed by on the last day before the Rio 2016 opening ceremony.

    Marcos Cesar Feres Braga, a Brazilian lawyer who holds the vice-consul post at the Russian consulate, reportedly grabbed the attacker and pulled him into his BMW X6 after he had smashed the car window and pointed a gun at him, demanding he hand over his watch.

    A struggle ensued inside the diplomat’s car until he managed to grab the assailant’s gun, which he used to shoot him dead at point blank range, according to police.

    Mr Braga is trained in jiu-jitsu and was travelling with his wife and daughter at the time, local media outlet Globo reported.

    But some hours later, the Russian consulate in Brazil said, via state-run news, that Braga had no connection to the embassy. Via CNN:

    Vladimir Tokmakov, the Russian general consul in Rio, said that no consular staff members were involved in a shootout and that the shooter could have been posing as a diplomat, according to Russian state-run Tass news agency.

    “All Russian diplomats and personnel of Russian foreign institutions located in Rio de Janeiro are safe and sound and are of no relation to the aforesaid incident. The man who was involved in the incident could have presented himself as a general consulate employee,” Tokmakov told Tass.

    According to RT, a Russian state-run English language website, Braga is a 60-year-old Brazilian national who was driving a BMW X6, but aside from that details appear to be scarce.

    So who is this wealthy old man with expert fighting skills who, while sitting in a luxury car with his family, disarmed a would-be robber and then used his gun to shoot him dead? Is he actually a Russian diplomat who has forced the Kremlin to cover his tracks? If not, what kind of apparently highly-trained killing machine would try and pass himself off as one? Is this Jason Bourne viral marketing?

    In any event, please don’t tell him I’m asking.

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    John Waters on Multiple Maniacs, Transgender Bathroom Laws, and the Potential End of His Film Career
    Image: Lawrence Irvine, courtesy of Janus Films

    Yesterday, the Gawker office was graced with the presence of legendary director John Waters, who’s promoting the rerelease of his 1970 movie Multiple Maniacs. The delirious movie, which features Divine being raped by a giant lobster as its centerpiece, has been restored by the Criterion Collection and is being distributed by the illustrious Janus Films. Thus, the king of bad taste meets the epitome of cinematic refinement. Waters told me the seemingly unholy union made sense.

    “When I was young in Baltimore, I would go down to the three art theaters: The Five West, The Seven East and…the other one, there were three of them,” Waters explained. “And they would always show art films and serve espresso coffee and they were always from Janus Films. It was Bergman, but Bergman was porn in Baltimore sometimes. They would cut out the dialogue and leave the tit scenes in. And Bergman had vomit too. These were really important. So Janus Films [restoring Multiple Maniacs] isn’t irony anymore, it’s coming complete circle to where I started. I always said I wanted to make exploitation films for art theaters and I did.”

    Waters has stories for days (he’s been touring his one-man show “This Filthy World” for over a decade now), and he shared generously during our conversation, which lasted nearly 30 minutes. Some highlights:

    On whether Waters’s cast of Dreamlanders, especially Edith Massey were in on the joke or playing it straight:

    There was no joke about Edith Massey to me. I thought she was an outsider comedian. Edith didn’t care. She just liked being in movies and she worried constantly about saying her lines, remembering her lines. I think Michael Musto said you can see her thinking of her lines before she says it, and you can tell in all my movies when she has a line coming up because her head starts moving right before like a Bobbit doll. But that’s part of her charm. In on the joke? I think the whole thing was group madness that she was happy to join because she really worked in that bar, Pete’s Bar, where we filmed it… She just liked that she was in movies. She joined up with us very easily. She was our Gracie Allen. She was the crazy grandmother...

    Even with my later movies, I said to Tracey Ulmann, “Don’t ever wink to the audience. Play it as if you believe every line.” On Multiple Maniacs, they did believe every line. You should have been scared of us then. But no, I agree with that, and that’s why Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is so great.

    On the enduring shock of Multiple Maniacs, almost 50 years after it was made:

    You’re seeing it in a time capsule. You know it was made a long time ago. The people who saw my movies grew old with the people in them. Mink Stole, Mary Vivian Pierce, they’ve been in all of them, up until the end really. I think that distance makes it very strange to try to imagine. Because even I watch it and think, “What was I thinking about? Oh my god.”…I’m proud of the fact that most things that were thought of as transgressive 45 years ago are pretty tame today. And this is not. You can hate it, but I don’t think anybody can say it’s tame.

    On reality TV perverting some principles that were visible in Waters’ early work, like Maniacs’ Cavalcade of Perversion, and Pink Flamingos’s “filthiest person alive”:

    I hate reality TV... I don’t think I’ve ever made fun of my characters. To me, reality TV looks down on them and asks you to feel superior. I don’t think I’ve ever done that in one of my movies. You can hate my movies, but I don’t think anyone could say I’ve humiliated… well, I guess you could say, “Divine ate dog shit.” But Divine ate dog shit for art. It was a Dadaist moment… It was for politics in away. Against the tyranny of good taste I was raised with. Thank god my parents taught me all the rules to break. It was in defiance of movies like David Lean. He was our enemy.

    On gay culture:

    Gay is not enough anymore. It hasn’t been for a long time. In Provincetown, I always think that hetero people should have a parade because they’re the minority. But it all depends on where you are. In rich colleges, can gay people say they’re discriminated against? I think straight people are. In some maybe less fortunate neighborhoods, it’s still a problem. That’s where gay parades should be. Not Manhattan. In the deepest town where they’re hassling gay people.

    On whether he’s ever used Grindr:

    No, that would be a joke. I have seen [profiles] that used to be like, “Come over, we’ll watch John Waters movies and have sex.” I thought I should just say, “Hi, I’ve got ‘em all.” But no, I don’t… no. Grindr, what a great name, though. That was a brilliant name the way it’s spelled. But in Provincetown, I see people dancing in gay bars looking at Grindr. They don’t cruise anymore.

    On bathroom bills:

    Everybody’s [talking] about the transsexual bathroom law. To me, nobody should shit in public. Shit at home. It’s disgusting. Gay, straight, trans, anything, fucking shit at home. Don’t go out, it’s repulsive.

    On his legendary lifetime supply of poppers:

    I don’t [have them] anymore, they’re gone. I gave ‘em away a lot. And then the owner of the popper company committed suicide, which I felt bad about. Years ago… I haven’t been doing poppers much lately.

    On Leslie van Houten, former Manson girl and Waters’s friend, who was recently denied parole yet again:

    This is about being funny and that’s a very serious subject to me. She was denied parole, and obviously I don’t agree with that. But Leslie and her lawyer are the best people right now to talk about that… I think I’m not going to comment on that right now. I’m very thrilled that the parole board were as brave and correct as they were, and if you read her hearing online, which it’s available, I don’t think anybody would think that it wasn’t very real and legitimate and she deserves a second chance, except for the victims who have the right to say exactly what they feel.

    On whether he’ll make another movie again:

    Who knows? My last movies didn’t make money, my last two books did, so I signed a two-book deal. I’ve got work for the next five years. Two more books, plus I do my Christmas show. I’m going to 20 cities. I do my “This Filthy World” show. I’m doing it in Fire Island Saturday night. I have a job, yeah...

    I have 16 movies out. You know where to find them. They’re not hard to see. They’re on TV. You can rent ‘em, you can download ‘em. If I never make another one, I have spoken.

    You can watch our entire conversation here:

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    Source: Jared Kushner's Cousin Might Run Against Donald Trump Jr. in 2017 NYC Mayoral Election
    The Trump-Kushner clan. Photo: AP

    Jon Kushner, cousin to Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law, is considering a run for New York City mayor, a person familiar with the young businessman’s thinking told Gawker. “He’s always had political ambitions, but he’s not an asshole,” the person said. “They’re the good Kushners.”

    Earlier this week, over dinner at 2nd Avenue Deli, Kushner, 38, and a group of college friends discussed his mayoral prospects. “He wants to be mayor. It’s his dream. It’s a fantasy of his. His only reservation is that he’s still too young,” the person said. “We were talking about it, and egging him on, and he admitted that his people, his attorneys, were advising him, were pushing him—they think it’s a perfect storm for next year’s election.”

    Dissatisfaction with Bill de Blasio has prompted speculation about the Democratic mayor facing primary challenges from people like City Comptroller Scott Stringer or Congressman Hakeem Jeffries. Earlier this summer, Donald Trump Jr. said that he might consider running for mayor, which Anthony Weiner took as a challenge (for whatever reason).

    “People don’t like Donald Trump Junior, and people don’t like Weiner,” the source said. “Plenty of people like de Blasio, but if all these clowns get in the race, that hurts him.” Kushner is the president of the Kushner Real Estate Group—which is not to be confused with the other side of the family’s business, Kushner Companies. Neither he nor representatives for KRE Group have responded to multiple requests for comment from Gawker.

    Kushner, who is “liberal on a lot of issues,” would run as an independent, the source said. Meanwhile, Trump Jr. would run as a Republican. Also: In August 2004, Jared Kushner’s father Charles pleaded guilty to 18 felony counts of tax fraud, election violations, and witness tampering after being accused of blackmailing his brother-in-law, who was a witness in a federal investigation by setting him up with a sex worker and filming the liaison.

    Asked whether Jon was looking to thumb his nose at the other side of the family, the source demurred: “Jon says that he and Jared are on good terms. He’s not the kind of guy who would ever say anything negative about his uncle or Jared.”

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  • 08/05/16--10:00: Have Two Drinks at a Party
  • Have Two Drinks at a Party

    Everyone has their own relationship to and tolerance for alcohol, but next time you’re at a party, you might do well if you have exactly two drinks. If you are a person who has found that zero drinks, or one drink, is the right number for you, then that is the number to stick with. For everyone else, try two.

    Here “party” means anything bigger than an intimate group of family or friends. If people are gathering and drinking alcohol, and those people include people you don’t really know, or people you don’t really like, or especially people you have to work with (see previous two categories)—at a party like this, it is a good idea to consume, in the course of the event, two alcoholic beverages.

    Does this seem low? It’s not, really. Having two drinks—specifically, one drink, and then later on another drink—is moderate social drinking. It will probably make you a little more relaxed and easygoing. It is unlikely, however, to leave you sloppy or belligerent. You will not be the life of the party. Being the life of the party is usually a mistake, especially around people you don’t like and/or have to work with.

    How do you go about drinking only two drinks in the course of a party? First, have one drink. Make it something you enjoy drinking, but also something you know that you’re drinking, so you don’t thoughtlessly rush through it. If you’re slurping down a delicious fruity alcoholic beverage because it’s delicious and fruity, you’d be better off having a delicious nonalcoholic smoothie.

    The current craze for ostentatiously bitter IPAs can be helpful here. The idea that bitterness is the signature of sophisticated beer is obnoxious and false, but bitterness can be a feature of some good beers, and if you enjoy a bitter beer, it encourages you to sip your way through the bottle. You may be only halfway down when your friend or not-really-friend drains their own first beer and offers to go get everybody some more. “Thanks,” you say, “I’m still good with this one.”

    The same result can be achieved by slowly sipping a glass of bourbon or scotch. Taste it. Savor it. Let other people rush to the bottom of their drinks, if they must.

    What about the old college maxim, “Liquor, then beer, never fear; beer, then liquor, never sicker”? It doesn’t matter, because you’re only having two drinks.

    Eventually you will get to the bottom of your first drink, because you are not not-drinking. Now is the time to get something else: a nice, refreshing glass of seltzer. Maybe a bracing cup of cranberry juice. Maybe cranberry and seltzer together. The sort of people who pay attention to what other people are drinking may notice and say something. No one owes these people any sort of explanation, but you may hoist your beverage half an inch or so and smile and say, “Pacing myself.” That is what you are doing, in fact: You are pacing yourself.

    The truth is, even if you are setting out to drink six or eight drinks (a bad idea), you should follow your first drink with a hydrating, nonalcoholic beverage. Everyone at a party is better off with a little fluid in the system.

    By the time you reach the end of your nonalcoholic drink, some of the people around you will be on their third drinks, maybe even their fourth. They may be saying things that are indiscreet. Rather than taking this as an invitation to say something indiscreet yourself, you may take it as a reminder of the value of discretion. Or, if you wish, you can say something that seems indiscreet but is carefully considered. You are under control.

    Now that you have fallen completely off the pace, have another drink. Again, choose something you enjoy. Savor it. If you accidentally find yourself in possession of a drink you don’t really like—a flavored Uncanny Valley simulacrum of a beer, for instance—get rid of it at once and replace it with something you do like.

    At this point, the people who are on their way to getting good and drunk will have lost count of your drinks, if not their own. They will see you and your drink, and you will register as one of them. Your drink will slowly warm you up, and you will feel convivial; you are one of them. Just not a sloppy or reckless one.

    Nor will you be desperate to join them in the line to go to the toilet. You’re well hydrated but not sloshing.

    Enjoy your drink. Chat with the people you want to chat with. You will find it surprisingly easy to maneuver around the bores and troublemakers. If shots appear, do not take any. This may require a little resolve, but you will have plenty of resolve. You’re not going to lose an argument with a drunk.

    Eventually your second drink, like all good things, will come to its end. If you were having three or more drinks, a third drink would seem like a good idea. But you are having two drinks. Look around. Is this party still a place you want to be? If it is, get another seltzer or juice, or go outside and hang out with the smokers. If it is not—when it is not—say your polite goodbyes to people who are still capable of listening, get your stuff, and go. It is not your job to sustain a thinning party.

    Venture out into the night. Feel the noise and stimulation of the party lift from you, leaving you clear-headed and alert. Go home and get a good night’s sleep. You’re not missing anything.

    Illustration by Sam Woolley.

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    For the first time in months, Hillary Clinton has actually agreed to take questions from the press. Granted, this wasn’t an actual press conference but an appearance at the National Association for Black and Hispanic Journalists convention in Washington, as off-the-cuff as she’s likely to get. Which is why we got to hear two minutes of Hillary Clinton listing her many black friends.

    The question came from The Undefeated’s Kevin Merida, who asked Clinton to name the most meaningful conversation she’s had with an African American. Here’s Clinton’s response:

    Can I tell you that I am blessed to have many—a crew of great friends. And I’ve had two chiefs of staff who were my African American women friends, Maggie Williams and Cheryl Mills. I have been blessed to have people by my side in politics, like Minyon Moore who is one of the leaders of my campaign. I’ve had a great group of young people who I have been really motivated by and frankly learned from.

    So I really have had a lifetime of friendship, going back to my college years when one of my best friends was an African American student. So I can’t compress into one conversation—they’ve supported me. They’v chastised me. They’ve raised issues with me. They’ve tried to expand my musical tastes.

    So we’ve had a lot of great times because of our friendships, so I can’t really pick one conversation out of 50 years of conversations.

    To Hillary’s credit, it’s clear she realizes what’s about to happen before she can even get the words out—hence the quick switch from “many friends” to “crew.” She’s not tone deaf, but there’s also not exactly a good way for her to answer this question.

    So enjoy watching Hillary squirm while you can, because god knows how long it will be until she talks to journalists again.

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    Donald Trump Has All The Best Steves On His Economic Advisory Council
    Photo: AP by way of Sam Woolley

    Today, Donald Trump released a list of the members of his economic advisory council. All of them are white, half of them are named some version of Steve, they mostly all have backgrounds in real estate and business, and none of them are women. “I am pleased that we have such a formidable group of experienced and talented [Steves] that will work with me to implement real solutions for the economic issues facing our country,” Trump said in a statement.

    The council is also co-headed by one non-Steve named Dan Kowalski, and one Steve named Stephen Miller—a former aide to Michelle Bachman and, most recently, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama. Let’s go around in a circle and learn one fun fact about each of them, to help us keep all the Steves helping President Trump decide on the best and Steviest economic policies:

    Steven Feinberg

    Official Trump Bio: Feinberg is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. Mr. Feinberg has led the firm since its inception in 1992 and has developed Cerberus into one of the world’s leading deep value asset management firms. Cerberus manages affiliated funds and accounts with over $30 billion of assets under management in four complimentary strategies: Private Equity (operationally challenged companies, non-core/under-performing divisions or subsidiaries and businesses undergoing restructuring); Distressed Securities and Assets; Corporate Middle-Market Lending; and Distressed Real Estate. Prior to founding Cerberus, Mr. Feinberg managed capital for Gruntal & Co. from 1985 to 1992. He began his career at Drexel Burnham Lambert, where he traded proprietary pools of capital. Mr. Feinberg is a graduate of Princeton University

    Fun fact: Cerberus, which notably helped Chrysler lose billions of dollars, owns Remington, the manufacturer of the AR-15. Cerberus is also the reason Gawker employees are still getting paid to write this bullshit.

    Steven Mnuchin

    Official Trump Bio: Currently serving as Finance Chairman for Donald J. Trump for President. He is Chairman and CEO of Dune Capital Management LP, a private investment firm and previously served as Chairman and CEO of OneWest Bank Group LLC. He has over 30 years of experience in the private sector with extensive management and investment experience especially in Banking, financial services, real estate, media, and technology.

    Fun fact: Mnuchin has been friends with Trump for at least 15 years, despite the fact that Trump sued him in 2008 over a building deal. He also seems to enjoy investing in the arts: He has an Upper East Side art gallery and co-produced “American Sniper” and “Mad Max: Fury Road.” Good to know, since that Cerberus loan from Steve F. won’t last forever.

    Stephen Moore

    Official Trump Bio:
    Moore is a well respected economist, and was the founder of Club For Growth. Mr. Moore has served on the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, and is now the chief economist for the Heritage Foundation. Mr. Moore was the senior economist of the Joint Economic Committee under Chairman Dick Armey (R-TX).

    Fun fact: He’s one of only three actual economists on the economic advisory council. Unfortunately, he is not very good at making economic predictions.

    Steven Roth

    Official Trump Bio: Roth is Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Vornado Realty Trust. Mr. Roth is the co-founder and Managing General Partner of Interstate Properties and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Alexander’s Inc. Barron’s Magazine, in its March 2005, 2006 and 2007 issues named Mr. Roth one of the World’s Thirty Most Respected CEO’s. In its January 2006 issue on the Best CEO’s in America, Institutional Investor magazine designated Mr. Roth as the top CEO in the REIT industry.

    Fun fact: Roth reportedly co-owns a building with Trump.

    Stephen M. Calk

    Official Trump Bio: Calk is the Founder, Chairman and CEO Federal Savings Bank, and National Bancorp Holdings, which is primarily focused on increasing home ownership among veterans of the Armed Forces. He is a commissioned Army Officer and received his M.B.A. from Northwestern University. Under his leadership, the Federal Savings Bank was named the most profitable bank in America in its class by the American Bankers Association Journal.

    Fun fact: He actually goes by Steve.

    The team also includes, among its non-Steves, a former Bear Stearns chief economist who said in 2007 the housing crisis was never going to happen, a man who made billions betting it would, and a man who owns companies that make cigarettes.

    The Trump campaign says more members will be added later; smart money says it’ll be a man named Steve or a woman named Ivanka.…

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    We Named A Planet In No Man's Sky [Update]

    Rest in peace, buddy. The cosmos will never forget you.

    We Named A Planet In No Man's Sky [Update]

    For what it’s worth, this is the dossier that No Man’s Sky gave us on the planet when we originally arrived:

    We Named A Planet In No Man's Sky [Update]

    In other news there is also a Kotaku planet out there, which you’ll be able to discover once No Man’s Sky is officially out on Tuesday.

    Update 6:11 PM: No you won’t!…

    And for those of you who are confused: if you discover a planet in No Man’s Sky, it allows you to name it whatever you’d like. We’re not 100% sure of what words the game censors yet, if any.

    You can watch us play through the first hour of the game, including the naming of the Harambe planet, here.

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    Get a Load of This Guy Running for Congress in Minnesota

    Who is Matthew Erickson? Matthew Erickson is the guy who compares himself to Clint Eastwood characters and writes creepy tweets about cute 17 year olds who can’t vote for him.

    Matthew Erickson is the guy who has taken these five policy positions:

    • BORDERS - Build the Wall
    • VETERANS - Honor the Promise
    • TERRORISM - Finish the Job!
    • GUN RIGHTS - Shall Not Infringe

    Matthew Erickson is the guy who does extremely good memes.

    Matthew Erickson is the guy who did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this story.

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