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France's cultural clout resonates during Macrons' US trip

From fashion, to food and even art — the Macrons' visit to the United States has been a PR coup for France.

From the moment French First Lady Brigitte Macron put her well-heeled feet down on American soil Monday, clad in a hot pink cashmere coat by Louis Vuitton, France's cultural prowess has been touted at every turn.

Mrs. Macron's style-looks — all Louis Vuitton — were no less than French brand diplomacy for the world's most lucrative high-fashion house. A pale yellow dress at Mount Vernon was followed by an ecru-colored gown with gold brocade at the state dinner Tuesday night at the White House that was attended by a swathe of French cultural leaders — including Bernard Arnault, CEO of Vuitton's parent company, LVMH.

The three-day trip has showcased France's sizeable soft power — as a world leader in the luxury sector that famously punches above its weight in the cultural sphere.

The Trumps also rolled out the red carpet to French know-how. U.S. First Lady Melania Trump chose to trumpet French style by donning a stalwart of Parisian fashion, Chanel, to the state dinner. It was an active choice, not an obligation for Mrs. Trump to wear clothes by the visiting country, given that Mrs. Macron herself wore clothes by French, not American designers, during the Trumps' visit to Paris last July.

Often criticized for preferring European-made clothes in the face of her husband's "America First" mantra, wearing French on the occasion of the French state visit — a black Chantilly lace haute couture gown, hand-painted with silver and embroidered with crystal and sequins — has shielded Mrs. Trump from the usual criticism and won her rare praise for on-point cultural diplomacy.

Melania Trump's love of French style is no secret and goes back to living in Paris as a young model in the mid-1990s.

The dinner menu was also very French, celebrating Gallic gastronomic influences on American dishes such as Goat Cheese Gateau and Creme Fraiche Ice Cream. Donald Trump, who famously doesn't drink, even took a sip of the wine made from French plants harvested in Oregon.

Ahead of the dinner, Louise Linton, the wife of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, was clear in what she was most looking forward to — "Everything French!"

On Tuesday, the first ladies shared a rapport as they went on a visit to an exhibit celebrating French post-Impressionist painter Paul Cezanne at the National Gallery of Art.

The white, wide-brimmed hat Mrs. Trump wore for that art tour, which has turned out to be her most talked about style choice on the state visit, was also designed by a Frenchman, Herve Pierre.

The statement piece set the internet alight with comparisons to Joan Collins' Alexis Carrington-Colby on "Dynasty," Kerry Washington's Olivia Pope on "Scandal," and even to Beyonce's headwear in the video to the hit "Formation."

Pierre said it might have captured a French touch.

"Designing is too big a word for a hat so classical," he told The Associated Press.

"There is perhaps a certain French elegance in her look as a homage to France," he said, before adding "fashion doesn't always need to be analyzed! There isn't always a 'why,' a message."

The large hat may well have been designed by a man born in France, but it was certainly not designed to facilitate the French two-cheek kiss.

Donald Trump was forced to air-kiss his wife owing to the headwear piece's wide brim.


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10 Years Ago: Def Leppard Take Some Risks on 'Songs From the Sparkle Lounge'

When Def Leppard fans heard that country star Tim McGraw had been brought in as guest singer on a track from the band’s 10th album, 'Songs From the Sparkle Lounge,' they got worried.

Continue reading…

Oliver Stone, visiting Iran, calls US a global 'outlaw'

Oliver Stone, making his first-ever visit to Iran, says the United States is a global "outlaw" that has made a mess of the Middle East.

The director of "JFK" and "Platoon" spoke at a press conference Wednesday during his visit to the country, where he attended an international film festival.

Stone reprised his criticism of the 2003 Iraq war and suggested the U.S. has acted similarly in Libya and Syria, saying: "We are outlaws, we're doing something that is outlawed internationally, we had no permission to invade Iraq from the U.N., we did it, and we continue to do this."

He went on to say that "national security has trumped artistic freedom," claiming "you cannot make a film critical of the United States' foreign policy."

His remarks drew applause.

Fleetwood Mac Announce Expansive 2018-19 Tour Without Lindsey Buckingham

Fleetwood Mac are ready for their first tour since parting ways with Lindsey Buckingham.

Continue reading…

Edna St. Vincent Millay's NY farmhouse could be closed

Edna St. Vincent Millay's farmhouse in New York's Hudson Valley is in danger of being shuttered.

According to The New York Times , the Millay Society says the historic site in the Columbia County town of Austerlitz will close in November unless $1 million is raised.

Millay and her husband bought the property in 1925, when it was still a blueberry farm.

In the poem "Steepletop," published posthumously in 1954, she wrote about tending to the plants there.

Millay lived at Steepletop until her death in 1950, and the couple is buried there.

The site was named a National Historic Landmark in 1971 and became home to the Millay Colony of the Arts, which offers residencies and workshops. The Millay Society opened the house and gardens to visitors in 2010.


Information from: The New York Times,

JUST IN: Pizza Hut to expand in Dayton area 

The Ohio-based franchisee for Pizza Hut has signed leases for two new Dayton-area restaurants after determining that the region is  under-served by the national pizza chain.

“We are expanding in Dayton, and we are very excited,” Carol Magazzeni, director of marketing and public relations for Hallrich Inc., based in Stow in northeast Ohio. Hallrich purchased the rights to operate Pizza Hut restaurants in the greater Dayton market from the Pizza Hut corporate company in June 2017.

>> The best Mother’s Day brunches in Dayton

Hallrich has inked deals to open restaurants in the former Papa Murphy’s pizza restaurant at 1195 N. Fairfield Road in Beavercreek, and in a former United Dairy Farmers convenience store at 900 E. Dorothy Lane at Ackerman Boulevard in Kettering, Magazzeni said.

The Beavercreek Papa Murphy’s restaurant, located across from Beaver-Vu bowling alley north of U.S. 35, shut its doors in December 2017 as the result of a dispute between a franchise owner and corporate, according to a sign posted on the door of the restaurant. 

>> RELATED: Local pizza shop shuts down abruptly, lashes out at ‘corporate’

The Kettering space is adjacent to a newly opened OinkADoodleMoo barbecue restaurant, formerly Dayton Beer Company’s initial tasting room and brewery. Pizza Hut operated a carryout store for many years in the Fountain Square shopping center on Far Hills Avenue, but it shut down several years ago.

“We found two un-serviced areas, and we are happy to bring delivery and convenient pick-up service to Beavercreek and Kettering,” Magazzeni said.

>> LaRosa’s speaks out on restaurant closing, Dayton market

With the addition of Montgomery, Clark, Greene, Warren, Darke, Logan and Champaign counties, Hallrich now operates about two-thirds of the Pizza Hut restaurants in Ohio, the franchisee’s spokeswoman said. 

Beavercreek officials approved a zoning permit for the North Fairfield Road location on Tuesday, April 24. That location will likely open before the Kettering location, although specific timelines have not been set, Magazzeni said.

>> Here’s how a Xenia brewery is saluting life-saving weatherman in the 1974 tornado

The new Pizza Hut locations will join an already competitive Dayton-area pizza market, which has long been dominated by venerable hometown chains such as Cassano’s Pizza King and Marion’s Piazza; by national chains such as Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Little Caesar’s and Papa John’s; and by the dozens of smaller chains and single-store independents that call the Miami Valley home. 

 In recent years,  other smaller, mostly regional chains have invaded those established market players’ turf, including LaRosa’s, Godfather’s, Dewey’s and Jet’s, among others.

>> RELATED: LaRosa’s in Huber Heights shuts its doors (November 2016)

More recently, “fast-casual” pizza chains that focus on customized, fast-baked pizzas have added a new layer of competition. Kettering-based Rapid Fired Pizza has led that surge locally, and Seattle-based MOD Pizza operates two Dayton-area restaurants. A third competitor, Cleveland-based PizzaFire shut down its only Dayton-area location late last year. LaRosa’s also has closed two of its Dayton-area locations since late 2016.

Photos: Jennifer Lopez, other honorees walk Time 100 Gala red carpet

Jennifer Lopez and other stars attended the Time 100 Gala celebrating the 100 most influential people in the world at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 24, 2018, in New York.

Eric Idle looks at the bright side of (his own) life

Eric Idle is writing a memoir, and Monty Python fans can guess the title: "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life."

"We used to be babe magnets. Now we're fridge magnets," Idle said in a statement Wednesday. "I thought it was time to tell my tale before I suffer from Hamnesia, which is what happens to elderly actors."

Crown Archetype told The Associated Press that Idle's book is coming out in October. Idle is calling the publication a "Sortabiography." Crown is calling Idle "A legend in his own lunchtime."

"With anecdotes sprinkled throughout that involve close friends and luminaries such as Mick Jagger, Steve Martin, Paul Simon, Mike Nichols and many more — let alone the Pythons themselves — Idle captures a time of tremendous creative output with equal hilarity and heart," according to Crown.

Idle's previous books include "The Greedy Bastard Diary: A Comic Tour of America" and the novel "The Road to Mars."

US filmmaker Martin Scorsese wins Spain's Asturias art prize

American filmmaker Martin Scorsese has been awarded Spain's Princess of Astorias award for the arts, with the jury describing him as an uncontested major figure of contemporary cinema.

New York-born of Italian descent, Scorsese has produced and directed dozens of fiction and documentary films, including "Taxi Driver", "Cape Fear", "Casino" and "The Wolf of Wall Street."

The 75-year-old has also worked on popular TV series and performed as an actor.

The jury says describes his work as "transcendent," uniting "mastery, innovation and classicism."

The 50,000-euro ($61,000) award announced Wednesday is the first of eight prizes —also including social sciences, sports and scientific research— handed out annually by a foundation named for Crown Princess Leonor. The awards are presented each fall.

‘What Had Happened Was’ Podcast: Dead in Dayton -- a mayor trapped in a brothel, a former slave claps back, and a gypsy queen cliffhanger

You know who can give you life? Dead people. 

Some of the nation’s most fascinating, previously-living citizens have found final resting places at Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum in Dayton. 

>> Daytonian of the Week: Angie HoschouerWhat Had Happened Was host Amelia Robinson and Angie Hoschouer, the cemetery’s development and marketing manager, pull their stories from the grave in this podcast episode. 

There is dirty secret of a former Dayton mayor trapped in the city’s most popular whorehouse, a former slave that clapped back at his former master, the truth about a gypsy queen funeral and so much more in this ridiculously lively episode about dead people. 

>> These Best of Dayton winners might surprise you 

Angie even gets into her childhood at the Shawen Acres orphanage and why she likes talking about dead people so much. 


Get the latest episodes delivered directly to you. Find it on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher and other services. 


“What Had Happened Was” is a podcast for Dayton, powered by You won't believe the stories that come from right here. Host Amelia Robinson shares the best tales from the Gem City, Land of Funk and Birthplace of Aviation: Dayton, Ohio. 

This podcast is brought to you by Cox Digital Marketing


EPISODE 7: Tusks, Fireball and belly shirts with the magical McKibben Brothers

EPISODE 6: Sweet sticky things with John “Turk” Logan

EPISODE 5:  Watch for 10,000 ‘leprechauns’

EPISODE 4: The Yellow Springs vagina tree’s knobby side

EPISODE 3: All funked up with Ohio Players’ Diamond Williams

EPISODE 2: Bourbon, Beards and Joe Head

EPISODE 1: The Rubi Girls explain

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