Khalid Owns Nine Spots On The Hot 100 This Week, Marking The Best Frame Of His Career


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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – APRIL 07: Khalid performs onstage during the 54th Academy Of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 07, 2019, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/ACMA2019/FilmMagic for ACM)

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As his sophomore album rules the Billboard 200, Khalid also dominates the Hot 100 singles chart with more hits than anyone else on the important tally. In fact, this week has turned out to be the best in an already stellar career for the R&B musician, as he controls more real estate at one time than ever before.

This week, Khalid’s name appears in nine slots on the Hot 100, a feat reserved for only the most popular figures, and typically only when they drop new albums. While he may not be sitting atop the all-genre songs ranking, owning nine spots is very impressive, especially since only a few are debuts, meaning the rest have been performing well for some time now.

Leading the way is Khalid’s current single “Better,” which this frame bolts into the top 10. While the song isn’t his first appearance inside the highest tier on the Hot 100 (it’s his fourth, actually), it is his first to reach the region unaccompanied by another artist.

Four recent hits all come next, with “Eastside,” which is powered by super-producer Benny Blanco and which features Halsey, settling at No. 14. Following that former top 10 smash is recent single “Talk” at No. 18, “My Bad” at No. 55 and “Saturday Nights” with Kane Brown just two rungs down. “Talk” was originally released as a single from Khalid’s 2018 EP Suncity (though it’s featured on his new full-length as well), as was the solo version of “Saturday Nights.” The new take, which features country talent Kane Brown, is present on the current chart-topping album Free Spirit, which also counts “My Bad” as a promotional cut.

A quartet of debuts round out his nine appearances on the Hot 100 this week, meaning more than half of his current charting singles have already spent some time on the listing at some point. “Outta My Head,” which credits John Mayer as a featured act, is new at No. 58 (just one step behind “Saturday Nights”). Another collab, “Don’t Pretend,” this time with an act named SAFE, begins at No. 84. Two fellow Free Spirit album cuts, “Bad Luck” and “Right Back,” enter at Nos. 87 and 93, respectively.

Here’s a quick reminder of where all of Khalid’s nine current Hot 100 hits rank this week.

No. 8 – “Better”

No. 14 – Benny Blanco – “Eastside (ft. Halsey and Khalid)”

No. 18 – “Talk”

No. 55 – “My Bad”

No. 57 – “Saturday Nights (ft. Kane Brown)”

No. 58 – “Outta My Head (ft. John Mayer)”

No. 84 – “Don’t Pretend (ft. SAFE)”

No. 87 – “Bad Luck”

No. 93 – “Right Back”

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Buy PulteGroup And Sealed Air


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Photocredit: © 2019 Bloomberg Finance LP

© 2019 Bloomberg Finance LP

The performance of the S&P in the coming week may very well reflect the prior week. In the new week  the S&P is likely to be flat or down. The 29th is a projected turning point and is the beginning of the April-May period of end-of-month (EOM) strength. That date is likely to be the next short-term low.

The weekly price cycle for PulteGroup bottoms now. In the last year, eight of nine buy signals have been profitable. The three-up chart that is below the cycle graph depicts the daily, weekly and monthly technical action. The top strip in each time frame is the closing price, the middle strip is a momentum measure and the bottom strip is the relative strength versus the S&P 500. The weekly section shows higher lows in momentum. The monthly section depicts an upturn in momentum and a long relative strength base. The stock may reach $32-$33 by the time of the next cycle peak on May 11th.

Chart 1

The cycle is giving a buy signal.

Cycles Research Investments LLC

Chart 2

This is a picture of technical strength.

Cycles Research Investments LLC

The weekly cycle for Sealed Air has bottomed. All seven buy signals have been successful in the last twelve months. The stock could rally to $46.9-$47.0 by the projected cycle peak on May 7th. The monthly price graph is constructive. The momentum oscillator is oversold and has turned up. Relative strength has broken a three-year downtrend. This suggests continued outperformance through 2019.

Chart 3

The weekly cycle has bottomed.

Cycles Research Investments LLC

Chart 4

The indication is for higher prices by yearend.

Cycles Research Investments LLC

 



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WWE’s Employee Morale Sinks To New Lows: A Timeline


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Sasha Banks and Bayley’s loss at WrestleMania 35 gave way to Banks’ current sabbatical as she reportedly contemplates leaving WWE.

Credit: WWE.com

On paper, 2019 was supposed to place WWE squarely on easy street.

From a financial standpoint, the promotion is poised to have its biggest year in history—its first of many—on the strength of a pair of billion-dollar television deals with Fox and NBCUniversal.

Profits will only continue to rise under the current business-friendly (not to mention McMahon-friendly) Donald Trump administration with its lowered corporate tax rates. WWE is in Year Two of a lucrative, albeit controversial, partnership with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that netted the company an estimated $40 to $45 million in 2018. 

WWE is printing money and will be for quite some time. But, unfortunately, money can’t buy harmony.

Another short-lived championship reign for Sasha Banks appeared to be the final straw.

Credit: WWE.com

A combination of systematic issues have given rise to a flash subculture of unhappy campers. With so many roster spots, so few main event spots, so much ambition and so many thriving independent and international wrestling promotions, WWE has been met with an onslaught of reported sabbaticals, public requests for release, private requests for release and even unrest within Vince McMahon’s inner circle.

Both employee and independent contractor morale appear to be reaching tumultuous levels and have become prevalent enough to warrant commentary and criticism from the likes of Drew McIntyre and Chris Jericho.

March 8, 2019PWInsider reported Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson turned down new contracts with WWE. They were last seen taking part in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 35.

April 8, 2019—After canceling an appearance on The Wendy Williams Show at the last minute, Sasha Banks posted a cryptic statement on Twitter. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t Wrestling Inc) later reported Bank tried to quit at WrestleMania 35 after learning she and Bayley would be losing the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships and spitting up.

April 11, 2019—Longtime WWE apologist and Twitter bad boy “Road Dogg” Brian James stepped down as head writer of WWE SmackDown Live per Mike Johnson of PWInsider. James was said to be frustrated with WWE’s implosive creative process, which often involved last-minute rewrites and overhauls by Vince McMahon.

James is expected to take an extended break while the two sides reassess his role with the company.

April 16, 2019—Luke Harper issued a public statement on Twitter requesting his release. Said Harper, “as of this evening I have requested a release from WWE. The past six years have been a simply amazing journey around the world and back with lifelong friends and family.”

As of this writing, Luke Harper remains under contract with WWE. His contract is reportedly up in November.

April 16, 2019—Alexander Wolfe issued a public statement on Twitter requesting his release. As of this writing, Wolfe has not been granted his release and remains under contract with WWE.

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America Should Stop Supporting The Lavish Life Of Pakistan’s Rich


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Photographer: Asad Zaidi/Bloomberg

© 2018 Bloomberg Finance LP

America should stop providing aid to Pakistan, which ends up supporting the country’s rich and powerful.

It should let China and Saudi Arabia do it.

Providing financial aid to poor countries around the world makes a great deal of sense for America, both on humanitarian and geopolitical grounds.The trouble is that in some cases, American foreign aid ends up supporting the lifestyles of
the elite rather than the lives of the poor.

Pakistan is a case in point.
For decades, Washington has been very generous to
that South Asian nation
, according to Akbar Zaidi, a Karachi-based political economist and Columbia University Visiting Scholar. It helped the country deal with chronic debt crisis.

 

“Washington support is often reflected in its endorsement of Pakistan’s applications for aid from international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank,” says Zaidi. “It helps to have the United States as an ally when it comes to seeking assistance from multilateral sources.”

 

Pakistan’s Corruption Index

Koyfin

Like back in December 2001, when Washington brokered
a $12 billion IMF debt relief package for Islamabad, in exchange f
or
support to fight Islamic militancy in the region.

 

So w
hy Pakistan is running into debt problems that require foreign aid to solve them?

 

Because the country’s elite is refusing to pay its fair share of taxes, according to Zaidi.

 

“These problems are perennial—it would be incorrect to call them a “crisis”—largely because of the Pakistani elite’s ability to avoid taxing itself,” says Zaidi. “Instead, successive governments have preferred to leverage Islamic militancy, ignoring the risks of doing so) while relying on financial aid from outside countries with geopolitical interests in the region from international financial institutions.”

 

The Pakistani elite
, he continues, “
frightens foreigners into proving funds to stabilize the country against  a self-created, false threat of extremists taking over a nuclear state.”

 

Meanwhile, foreign aid allows the country’s elite to live a lavish life. “This is a classic moral hazard problem: the luxury of always being
bailed out
has allowed the Pakistani elite to live with great impunity. Beyond responsibility in cocoons of lavish unaccountability. They feel little need to undertake structural reforms of the economy and institutions that would result in a fairer, more just, and more equitable form of government and representation.”

 

Instead, they prefer
London, New York, and Dubai more than
they do
Karachi 

when it comes to investing and partying with their money, that is.

 

That’s according to the former director of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for Pakistan
,
 Marc-André Franche.  

 

“You cannot have an elite that takes advantage of very cheap and uneducated labour when it comes to making money, and when it is time to party is found in London
;
when it’s time to buy things, in Dubai; and when it’s time to buy property it invests in Dubai or Europe or New York. The elite needs to decide do they want a country or not,” Franche 
stated
 in an 
interview
 with the 
Business
 Recorder.

 

All good reasons why
America should let China and Saudi Arabia, Pakistan’s new allies, support the lifestyle of
their
rich and powerful.

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‘The Division 2’ Restarts Its ‘PvE Dark Zone’ Debate With The Arrival Of 515 Gear


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I thought we would be having this conversation again at some point after The Division 2’s launch, but I didn’t think it would be this soon, or for this reason.

Massive recently introduced 515 Gearscore gear, over the current cap of 500, to drop in the Dark Zone. While 515 gear will join it when the raid arrives, many players are upset that they are being forced to travel to the DZ as the only place to farm this gear as it’s something that doesn’t interest them, at least not in its current form.

This has resparked a very old debate, one from the early days of The Division 1, where there’s an idea that there should be a PvE version of the Dark Zone free from Rogues and gank squads, so people can explore and farm these areas without being bothered by other players when they have no interest in PvP.

The counterpoint to this is that removing PvP and Rogue would destroy the entire concept of the mode, and people just need to “get good” if they want to survive in what is supposed to be the most harrowing zone on the map. This is roughly the position that Massive has taken as well, as despite all the requests for a PvE Dark Zone in The Division 1, that never happened.

Instead, what we saw was kind of alternative for PvP-focused players rather than the thing PvE players wanted. That’s how we have Conflict, a dedicated PvP experience which improves PvP play for those who were tired of trying to kill enemies in the Dark Zone who didn’t want to fight at all and just wanted to run and be left alone. But the PvPvE element of the Dark Zone remains, and now some people are getting annoyed by it once more.

It may not surprise you to learn that I am on the side of “yes, the Dark Zone would benefit from a PvE option.” I don’t think you need to remove the PvPvE mode that currently exists for the game. Those that like that aspect can still play it, but offering a PvE version has too many upsides to ignore. I know plenty of players that have not even done so much as the intro quest for the Dark Zone because they remembered how much they disliked it in The Division 1. I did the intro quest and got up to level 10 or 15 or so in the DZ, but I haven’t been back since for the same reasons. I have no real interest in fighting other players, be it well-geared adversaries or easily killable noobs. I have no interest in farming for loot only to end up losing it because of ganks or other mishaps. And so I farm activities that are more reliable, won’t pit me against other players and don’t have the risk of losing anything. But I would love to explore an additional 25-30% of the map in the Dark Zone areas with a PvE version of the DZ, because otherwise it’s just wasted space to me. This was also true of the first game where the DZ was even larger and kept getting larger with future updates.

There is always a hardcore contingent of Dark Zone players who push back on all this, but I am genuinely unsure of what they’d lose if PvE was just an option for the Dark Zone. Players who like the current Dark Zone could still queue up for that version. To me, this is more about denying players zones and loot they haven’t “earned” because they can’t stand the heat of the “real” Dark Zone which is stupid gatekeeping I don’t respect or appreciate.

I have no way of checking this, so far as I can tell, but I am willing to bet that as vocal as the hardcore Dark Zone community is, the DZ has a fraction of the players of the larger PvE world, and probably only a fraction of those actively want to be there and would care if there was a PvP option. I think there’s a reason that Massive put 515 gear in the Dark Zone, because they’re trying to lure people to actually play it. Right now, tons and tons of people are avoiding it completely because it’s much easier to queue up for missions or bounties or strongholds with a more straightforward path to loot, working with other players rather than against them. And if they do want to fight other people? That’s what Conflict is for, and that too comes with no risk of surprise attacks and lost loot.

The Dark Zone has always been Massive’s pet project, the concept that was supposed to make The Division stand out compared to its competition. And yet it has always remained my least favorite aspect of the game, and that has not changed in the sequel. If we didn’t see a PvE Dark Zone in all the years of The Division 1 doubt we’ll see one now, but I think it’s a bad path forward for Massive to try and simply bribe people to play the DZ when clearly something is gone wrong if they have to do that in the first place.

Follow me  on Twitter  Facebook  and  Instagram . Read my new sci-fi thriller novel  Herokiller , available now in print and online. I also wrote  The Earthborn Trilogy.



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Housing Will Weaken Further In 2019 And 2020


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Strong home price appreciation last year led many to wonder if housing was unsustainably strong. I thought not and in November 2018 wrote Housing Forecast: Not A Bubble In 2019. This update shows that housing will continue to soften, though not quite so much as previously expected.

The most important factor determining housing construction and pricing is the underlying demographics. Housing is mostly built to accommodate new residents; just a little new construction replaces demolished or abandoned housing. My first gauge of the housing market is construction relative to population growth. The accompanying chart shows how many housing units were started per 100 new residents. New residents come from births in excess of deaths, plus net foreign immigration. The population data include estimates of illegal immigration, though there’s obviously some uncertainty there.

Housing starts per 100 new residents

Dr. Bill Conerly based on data from U.S. Census Bureau

This ratio shows we are in the ballpark of building just the right amount of new housing, single family homes plus apartment units. This is a low-fidelity measure, ignoring factors such as mobile homes shipments, demolitions, and houses abandoned in rural counties as people migrate to cities. Nonetheless, it gets us in the ballpark of whether we are grossly overbuilding or underbuilding.

Key to this chart is the slow population growth of recent years. The United States population growth last year was the lowest percentage increase since 1937. Many people in the lumber business think of 1.5 million housing starts as normal, but that was back when population growth was much faster. Today, 1.1 million is a normal year, and we built 1.2 million housing units in 2018, though with a downward trend in the second half.

U.S. Population Growth

Dr. Bill Conery based on data from U.S. Census Bureau

The other benchmarks for current conditions that I watch are housing vacancy rates. They are running about normal for both owned (owner-occupied if not vacant) and rental properties. The quarterly data from the Census Bureau don’t align perfectly with other data sources, but they do indicate gross disparities from normal.

U.S. housing vacancy rates

Dr. Bill Conerly based on data from U.S. Census Bureau

To dig deeper into current conditions I look at home prices, measured by the Federal Housing Finance Administration. Home prices have increased in a fairly narrow range averaging about six percent, though the latest data point is quite low. I also watch the price of newly constructed houses and see that homebuilders are moving down-market.

U.S. home price appreciation

Dr. Bill Conerly based on data from U.S. Federal Housing Finance Agency

The cause of recent weakness is most likely mortgage interest rate increases. From September 2017 through November 2018, the interest rate on 30-year mortgages increased from 3.8% to 4.9%. Sales of existing homes dropped sharply, with about a one-month time lag. Sales of newly-built single-family houses peaked just after mortgage rates started rising, then dropped sharply in the following months, hitting bottom in December 2018. Mortgage rates obviously affect the affordability of a house, but the changes in mortgage rates also affected expectations of future affordability. Homebuilders moved quickly to avoid the worst sting of the higher rates, then returned to the market at the first signs of rates easing.

U.S. mortgage interest rate

Dr. Bill Conerly based on data from Federal Reserve

The income part of the homebuying equation has been steadily improving. Disposable income has increased by four to five percent over the past few years, driven by increases in employment and even greater increases in wage rates.

U.S. disposable income growth

Dr. Bill Conerly based on data from U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

Looking forward, the demographic trends won’t change much, unless the United States suddenly lets in a great many more immigrants. That seems unlikely, even if President Trump  is not re-elected in 2020.

Interest rates have dropped every month since November 2018. Part of this is a global drop in long-term interest rates, and a secondary factor is the recent Federal Reserve policy shift, which involves both short-term rates as well as the Fed’s large portfolio of long-term securities. I expect rates to be level for a few months and then to rise again, as the Fed sees more signs of inflation in the economy.

Household income growth should continue to be strong. Weakness in employment would most likely be driven by labor shortages rather than soft demand. The labor shortage will continue to drive up wage rates, boosting total income.

Rolling these factors together, we are currently close to a reasonable range for housing construction, but a little bit high. The slight oversupply will put downward pressure on price appreciation. If I am right that inflation will accelerate—and be warned that this is now a minority view—then higher interest rates will dampen demand. Combining weaker demand with a little too much supply, and home price appreciation will slow. A major price decline is unlikely, but don’t expect to make easy money simply owning a house.

As I talk to people about the economy, I hear a range of opinions. The gloomy old men see housing as overpriced and younger people too profligate to be able to afford to purchase a home. The real estate professionals panic at the thought that mortgage rates could rise over five percent, as if we haven’t survived much worse. And investors don’t understand that the economy is not the same as the stock market. A good solution to the inherent biases that we humans have is to slow down, roll through the fundamental factors, and ignore headlines as much as possible.v

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Music Industry, Family, Fans Celebrate Luther Vandross With ‘Fandross’ On The Late Singer’s Birthday


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Singer Luther Vandross sings the US National Anthem at the Louisiana Superdome before the start of Super Bowl XXXI in New Orleans, Louisiana. 

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As the world prepares to celebrate what would have been the Grammy-winning crooner’s 68th birthday, the family and friends of Luther Vandross are preparing to bring a lot more Luther to a lot more people.

Enter Fandross. It’s the brain baby of Vandross’ niece, Seveda Williams, and it’s officially official.

“We are celebrating and continuing [his] musical legacy,” says Seveda Williams, whose April 20, 2019 New York City “Fandross Bad Boy/ Having a Party Birthday Celebration 2019” event was hosted by fellow R&B legends Ashford & Simpson at their much-lauded Sugar Bar. “We’re doing it with quality events. They’re authentic and beautiful because I am surrounded by the actual singers and musicians who played and worked with him.”

Fandross officially launched in 2018 with a two-day music festival and memorial designed to both comfort and energize long-time fans of the crooner’s signature hits. But 2019 will see a lot more action from the group, which is backed by Sony music, says Williams, who is the CEO of Fandross, Vice President of Development and Marketing for Vandross LLC, and is the family’s official liaison with Sony Music/Legacy Recordings.

After over a year of planning, the NYC Fandross event will, eventually, travel to Chicago and Philadelphia, among other cities. It’s an official remembrance tour for Vandross, who was the sort of performer whose music transcends ages and time. With songs like “Dance With My Father,” “Never Too Much” and “A House Is Not A Home,” the R&B legend’s catalog generates tribute concerts seemingly every other weekend in a number of cities, but the difference with Fandross is that it includes the band and is sanctioned.

Luther Vandross & Whitney Houston (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)

Getty

Williams hopes that Fandross will eventually teach a new generation about the wide reach of her uncle’s talents. Not only did he sing, but he wrote music that has been sampled by others. She also hopes that fans stick with Fandross rather than other outfits that use his name. That said, she reminds diehard fans that her organization won’t be doing anything disrespectful with his legacy.

“We’re not trying to be him,” she says. “Please understand that. But I will be creating situations that are always respectful to the man and his art and I want to introduce people. I want people to see how you can have a great career without compromising your dignity and I want to remind people who have been to good performances what quality singers are all about.”

On top of having five Grammys, five American Music Awards, and seven NAACP Image Awards, Vandross also built his career singing and working with other greats, including Barbra Streisand. This year he will be inducted into the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture’s “Musical Crossroads” section, says Williams, where the museum will display one of his meticulously-created performance suits. The singer died in July 2005 from complications due to a heart attack. Meanwhile, his 2003 hit, “Dance With My Father,” is one of many modern classics still in heavy rotation for Father’s Day, memorial services and weddings – something that prompted Williams to work with Sony music to solidify the next steps of this official fan and memorial club.

When asked why Fandross didn’t get organized until the past year, Williams says she just needed time to sort things out. As she mentally prepared for the logical next steps, she got together with the band annually and they sang and celebrated. Who knew they eventually would work on the same team?

“Time helps you get along. This is a lot later than 2005 and 2007 but I wasn’t ready,” she says.  “I’m ready now. He’s prepared me. Over the years, there’s a reason why I kept gathering the band and everybody together.”

Now with the help of core members including Alfa Anderson (from Chic) and Vandross’ frequent co-writer and music director Nat Adderley Jr. (nephew of jazz legend Cannonball Adderley) the show will go on.

“Not all of the members are involved but core members like Alfa and Nat? You’re not going to get that anywhere else,” says Williams. “There will always be tribute shows by other people, and I think those are beautiful that people are still very much in love with him. But here we are, the Luther team. This has been inside of me for years; developing. That’s my energy behind this. I’m about moving forward. He taught me to move forward. I’m doing it with all the love and respect I have. Get on board this good train right here. This is what I’m doing and it’s good.”

 

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The Devilishly Compelling ‘Hail Satan?’ Challenges More Than Preconceptions


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Baphomet monument in front of the state capitol building in Little Rock, Arkansas, featured in Hail Satan?

Magnolia Pictures

Hail Satan? probably isn’t the documentary you’re expecting it to be. It’s also possibly a documentary that many will balk at purely because of the name and the subject matter and, as a result, avoid like the plague. People are absolutely entitled to but that, in my opinion, would be a mistake.

Having premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, Hail Satan? is now getting a theatrical release, and it is perhaps one of the most surprising pieces of work I have watched in recent memory – it is undoubtedly far funnier than I expected. So how difficult is it to fund a documentary about The Satanic Temple, its origins and grassroots activism?

“It was not that hard,” Penny Lane, Hail Satan?’s director, told me. “Satan has always sold tickets!”

“The reaction to it has been much more positive than I expected. I think that is a testament to documentary audiences: the film absolutely requires an open mind and heart and a willingness to update your priors in the face of new information. The fact that so many people not only come to understand the Satanic worldview but to embrace it is a pretty astonishing thing to happen in only 95 minutes.”

Lane admits that audience reactions to the documentary have taken her surprise, saying: “Try figuring out what to say to people who clutch your arm and say with wide eyes and a very confused smile, ‘I think I might be a Satanist?’”

Amongst an ensemble of participants, the documentary’s key figure is Lucien Greaves, the co-founder of The Satanic Temple.

“We had received countless pitches for documentaries and other film projects before Penny approached us, and I had grown quite used to turning them down. I was almost certain that I wouldn’t agree to any documentaries at all by the time Penny contacted me, he explained. “I was exasperated by the constant appeals to “humanize” or “normalize” The Satanic Temple, these pitches that promised to tell our own stories.”

“What they did not realize, but Penny did, was that we weren’t interested in seeking the approval of the public at large or in glorifying ourselves individually. From the start, we’ve only sought exposure in relation to our campaigns and the issues we champion. The story of The Satanic Temple is not the story of any one of the people that you see in the film or even any collection of them. It’s the story of an idea, a movement, a new religion, and a culture war that will define the future for generations to come. It’s a film about all of us because the issues explored in the film have ramifications upon all of our lives. Your role in the story is only limited to your willingness to engage with it directly.”

Lucien Greaves, co-founder of The Satanic Temple, the nontheistic religious and political activist group based in Salem, Massachusetts.

Magnolia Pictures

Greaves admits that Hail Satan? has challenged his own preconceived ideas about how the story being told would be received, especially by journalists.

“I had grown used to the idea that most interviews I would do would be hostile debates,” he explained. “I am still disoriented by the Sundance experience where mainstream press journalists would introduce themselves while describing my work as ‘inspirational’ or even ‘heroic.’ I did not believe that such opinions would gain such open acceptance in my lifetime.”

Hail Satan? isn’t afraid to address some pretty significant issues head-on from the Satanic panic of the 1970s and 1980s to the separation of church and state and their fight to maintain it.

While not a political documentary, Greaves admits that the documentary’s timing, something that was years in the making, is perfect and thinks people will be surprised by its poignancy.

“I think they will, and I think that the current political-cultural environment helps people to more easily understand the meaning of Satanism,” he explains.

“It’s one thing to describe the notion of Christendom as a superstitious Dark Age theocratic aspiration in relation to which Satanism stands as a new cultural mythic framework for enlightenment values, but it’s another thing to actually witness the rise of an Evangelical Nationalist theocratic coup while Satanists fight to preserve pluralism and individual freedom. Satanism is soon to be an expected and accepted religious presence, and we partly have theocratic evangelicals like Mike Pence to thank.”

Hail Satan? director, Penny Lane has been “astonished” by the way audiences have embraced the documentary.

Magnolia Pictures

Anyone coming to Hail Satan? looking for the classic preconceived tropes and traits of Satanism will probably be sorely disappointed. Nudity and sacrifices? No. Litter picking, community initiatives and a fight to uphold the United States Constitution? Absolutely. Greaves’ Satanic Temple has excommunicated those who contradict their principles and who they believe counter their seven fundamental tenets.

“The biggest misconception about Satanists, in general, is that we venerate evil and engage in a conspiracy of organized criminality,” Greaves explains. “The biggest misconception about The Satanic Temple, in particular, is that we are just atheist ‘trolls’ merely trying to get a rise out of Christian nationalists.

“Just by taking a naked look at who The Satanic Temple are and what we do, the documentary serves to dispel the myth of the homicidal Satanic cult conspiracy while showing the authentic religious attachment our membership has to non-theistic Satanism.”

We appear to be in something of a golden age when it comes to documentaries doing solid business at the box office. 2018 saw the likes of Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, RBG, Three Identical Strangers, and Free Solo secure rave reviews and domestic grosses of $22.61 million, $14.01 million, $12.32 million and $9.65 million respectively – one of the best years for documentaries ever.

“I remain skeptical that the big business side of the documentary industry really extends to too many films without celebrities, but there’s no doubt we have seen lots of big docs,” Lane muses. “New technology has allowed for better “production quality” at a level people associate with the big screen, so that helps.”

“Also a whole generation or two has been raised on reality TV which surely has had an impact on our feeling that “real life” is super entertaining. As far as my film goes, yes, there is no doubt that the current political climate has a lot to do with the success and appeal of The Satanic Temple, and we expect that concerns about Christian nationalist lawmakers trying to inch us toward a theocracy will only increase.”

As eye-opening as Hail Satan? will be for viewers, sharing his world with others has been an equally eye-opening experience for Greaves.

He explains: “I appreciate meeting some of the really conventional, reserved types who suddenly find themselves feeling an unabashed kinship with Satanists. The profound effect that this film visibly has on many of the viewers who have come to the initial screenings is incredible. I haven’t got the proper words to describe it.”

Hail Satan? is in theaters now.

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Ready To Quit Your Job? Here Are 3 Money Lessons You Can Learn From This Woman


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Marilyn Van Alstyne, CEO of EMVE Management

EMVE Management

The 90s are known as the “Golden” era of hip hop music, and some of the most dynamic and influential recordings came out of New York City. With a passion for music and entertainment, Marilyn Van Alstyne, a teenager living in the Bronx, heard that music mogul Sean “P. Diddy” Combs (also known as Puff Daddy) was looking for interns. She immediately stopped everything, applied, and ultimately landed her dream internship.  While still in high school, Van Alstyne traveled 1.5 hours each way to the Combs Office in Manhattan. Back then Uber did not exist, and taxi cabs didn’t come to her neighborhood, so she did what needed to be done.  While only being compensated with two tokens and $5 a day, Van Alstyne dedicated her life to being one of the most reliable and respected women at Combs Enterprises.

After 4 years of answering phones, reconciling accounts, and doing anything and everything to help grow the businesses, Van Alstyne received an opportunity to become a full-time employee at Combs Enterprises.  “My first check as a full-time member of the team was for $300, and at that moment, my life changed,” says Van Alstyne.  At the height of hip hop, she played a vital role in the development of policies, procedures, marketing, promotions, and human resources for all the companies under the Combs Enterprises umbrella.  With her desire to be the best, and to surround herself with the best, Van Alstyne helped Combs Enterprises go from 20 to 300 employees.  She’s often known as the glue that helped hold everything intact.

As each of Diddy’s businesses grew, Van Alstyne’s responsibilities grew with it. “I believed in Puff, and what he was doing,” says Van Alstyne. She managed the day-to-day operations and company culture while working alongside some of hip hop’s favorite artists such as Meek Mill, Rick Ross, and French Montana.  She even played a crucial role in all the marketing and promotion, social media strategy, and brand placement for Ciroc Ultra-Premium Vodka.  With her commitment to the brand and her marketing expertise, Van Alstyne helped take the Ciroc brand from 60,000 cases in a year to one million cases per year.  She built the foundation, hired a team, and helped run the companies as if it were her own.

Filled with the passion, determination, and heart of a champion, Van Alstyne dedicated 20 years to building Combs Enterprises while working side-by-side with P. Diddy until one day her passion lead her to leave. “After realizing that I worked alongside Puff for 20 years, I started to think to myself, if I worked for a genius and he has built all of this, what can I build on my own?” After long days of self-reflection, Van Alstyne did what millions of people yearn to find the courage to do: She quit her job.  On December 31, 2014, Van Alstyne resigned from her 20-year career working alongside one of Hip Hop’s biggest icons, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs. Like many, Van Alstyne had fear inside of her, but that did not stop her from becoming the successful entrepreneur she is today. “For a while, I’d ask myself, what if I do not make it? Now that there is no Bad Boy or Puff to lean on, can I do this on my own?” pondered Van Alstyne.  After crying for days, she got up and decided that she was going to build her own full service marketing and management company.

Marilyn Van Alstyne and Sean “P. Diddy” Combs

EMVE Management

Marilyn Van Alstyne is now the founder and C.E.O. of EMVE Management, a consulting company that provides brand strategy, marketing, and management services for celebrities, start-up, and large companies. With powerhouse clients such as Ciroc, Kmart, Mona-Scott Young, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Tweedl, and Rap Snacks, EMVE Management creates marketing and business development strategies to help grow their clients’ brands.  She has taken all that she has learned while working in the entertainment industry, and now runs a successful marketing and management company that is well respected in the entertainment industry.

Taking that leap of faith was once terrifying for Marilyn; however, it is now one of the most enlightening experiences of her life.  Some may think she is crazy, brave, stupid or impulsive for leaving Combs Enterprises, but Van Alstyne’s decision to leave is what makes her smart.   As a prominent and well-respected woman in entertainment, Marilyn Van Alstyne isn’t just your average entrepreneur in it to make money.  She is changing the game for how women run and create businesses.  While many are hustling their way to success, Marilyn is “wealth building” her way there.  EMVE Management not only generates revenue as a company, but it also owns equity in some of its clients’ businesses.  “If I learned one thing from Puff, it was how he operated as a businessman,” says Van Alstyne.  This dynamic woman understands that real wealth is not built solely by generating cash flow, but also through ownership.  Riches are, unfortunately, not spread evenly across society, so it is essential to build wealth on your own!  As a woman who left the side of one of the wealthiest men hip hop, Van Alstyne’s career provides 3 keys money tips for all aspiring entrepreneurs looking to leave their jobs and build a successful business:

1.  Retainers are great, but equity is what matters.

“Rich” is having a lot of money right now, while “wealth” is having a lot of money forever, generation after generation.  Playing smart for the long term is vital.  You must believe that if you do not come from a wealthy family, then a wealthy family must come from you. While it is great to watch others build wealth and live the life of their dreams, it is even more significant when you can to start working towards a prosperous life of your own.  Generating cash is excellent, but equity allows you ownership of a company. As that company grows, so does your net worth.  If you have a vested interest in the company you work for, or like Marilyn, if you have a vested interest in the success of your clients/affiliations, maybe you should consider owning a portion of that company.  Women like Marilyn are changing the dynamics of how women are running businesses and building wealth.  Follow her lead.

2.  True wealth isn’t always found in the dollar amount, but also in the experience.

For 4 years, Marilyn Van Alstyne worked a part-time job, while also interning at Combs Enterprises for countless hours for only $5 and two tokens a day.  Not once did she complain. Not once did she give up.  Marilyn knew that her opportunity to work alongside P.Diddy was an opportunity that she could not pass.  Money can come and go, and it is something that you can make or lose.  However, knowledge and experience is something no one can ever take from you.  Marilyn shows us that true wealth lies in what’s in both your mind and heart.

3.  Your employer is your investor.

Many people have the desire to leave their fulltime career, but they aren’t sure if they are financially ready to do so.  Your current job may not make you the happiest, and yes you may not have a boss like P. Diddy, but it does not mean that you are in a bad position.  Spend time while you are employed to start running a part-time business.  Spend time researching and executing so that you are financially ready to take that leap like Marilyn.  Do not spend your time complaining or hating Mondays.  Your employer is your investor.  While you spend time building your business on the side, your employer is paying your bills, right?  Your employer is making sure that you have enough money to eat and to have a roof over your head.  Without the basic fundamentals, you wouldn’t be able to run your business on the side.  Use your employer to gain everything you can, such as the knowledge and for the financial resources they provide.  Of course, you’re not making all the money in the world, but at least your investor aka your employer is providing you with seed capital until you get that business up and running. Life is all about perception.  If you can change your mind, you can change your bank account.

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Here’s Your Chance To Tour HGTV’s Groovy, Restored Brady Bunch House


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‘The Brady Bunch’ house is as iconic as its TV stars. Its staircase will be a key feature of HGTV’s ‘A Very Brady Renovation.’ (ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)

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If you think ABC milked The Brady Bunch franchise, HGTV is squeezing every last residual drop from that cash cow. Get ready for the rerun of your lives—2019 will be a very Brady year.

‘The Brady Bunch’ house is the second most visited house in the United States. (PG/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

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Since buying the iconic “Brady Bunch” house, HGTV has gone all-in, employing its top on-air talent and The Brady Bunch cast to faithfully restore the Los Angeles home to its 1970s pop culture glory before its upcoming big reveal. Filming is already under way.

Jasmine Roth, host of ‘Hidden Potential’ on HGTV

HGTV

Behind the White House, the mid-century modern San Fernando Valley estate is the second most visited home in the USA. Only the home’s façade was prominently featured in the cult hit TV series, which aired from 1969 to 1974. But that hasn’t slowed its status as a tourist attraction. HGTV bought the house for $3.5 million last summer, outbidding all parties for the $1.89 million-listed property.

‘The Brady Bunch’ kids, 1970. (Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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HGTV is marketing the hell…(sorry Brady fans, the heck) out of the under-renovation house in imaginative fashion. That includes a future home makeover show featuring The Brady Bunch “kids” (A Very Brady Renovation); a behind-the-scenes digital series (Building Brady); an online crowdsourcing search for authentic Brady Bunch furnishings (A Very Brady Scavenger Hunt); and a just-announced charity auction which offers one lucky Brady Bunch fan a design consultation and a chance to tour the landmark house before it’s officially unveiled.

‘The Brady Bunch’ cast stand before the iconic house in Los Angeles as its being restored to mirror the TV show.

HGTV

Did you hear that Lance Bass? You’ve got another shot at this! Former NSYNC singer Bass was outbid on the house and expressed his disappointment until he found out HGTV was the new owner. His fans petitioned HGTV so passionately, rumors swirled that the network may cast him in one of these Brady-centric projects (perhaps as a cousin Oliver-style cameo or a pitty producer). Or, are these rumors just more Bass fishing?

Brady Bunch fan Lance Bass. (Mike Pont/WireImage)

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HGTV has all hands on deck to renovate the famous house—Hidden Potential’s Jasmine Roth; Property Brothers twins Drew and Jonathan Scott; Restored by the Fords siblings Leanne and Steve Ford; and Good Bones mother-daughter duo Karen E. Laine and Mina Starsiak Hawk. This project truly is a family affair.

‘Property Brothers’ Jonathan Scott and Drew Scott are among the HGTV hosts renovating ‘The Brady Bunch’ house. (Jenny Anderson/WireImage)

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The hosts are toiling night and day to genuinely makeover the home with the familiar extra-long long staircase, shag carpets, and lots of groovy retro furnishings, aided by fans and Flea Market Flip host Lara Spencer.

Roth and her HGTV colleagues will bring authenticity to ‘The Brady Bunch’ house.

HGTV

“It’s been 50 years since The Brady Bunch originally aired, but when you step into this fully-renovated house, you will swear it was yesterday,” says Roth, an HGTV designer and owner of Built Custom Homes. “We are restoring the house to mimic the exact Brady Bunch set, down to the most minuscule detail (think wall color, furniture, even those iconic orange kitchen countertops). Remember the [Jack and Jill] bathroom the boys and girls shared? The den where Mike had his drafting table and all the tough conversations? And who can forget the staircase?”

‘The Brady Bunch’ house will be restored by HGTV to its mid-century modern brilliance—long staircase, stone walls, front double doors, Mike’s den, and orange kitchen counters included. (ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)

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Speaking of steps (sisters and brothers), The Brady Bunch stars Barry Williams, Maureen McCormick, Christopher Knight, Eve Plumb, Mike Lookinland and Susan Olsen are looking over the HGTV hosts’ shoulders, verifying the authenticity and actively assisting the renovation in a real-life Brady homecoming.

Sibling HGTV hosts Drew and Jonathan Scott (‘Property Brothers’), and Leanne and Steve Ford (‘Restored by the Fords’). (Amanda Edwards/Getty Images for Discovery, Inc.)

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They’re helped by millions of scavenger hunting fans encouraged to locate and donate grandma and grandpa’s Brady-like furnishings that resemble those of the original show. Good luck finding those functioning cathode-ray tube TVs.

Roth is one of eight hosts working day and night to renovate ‘The Brady Bunch’ house.

HGTV

“We have watched every episode of The Brady Bunch, paused, screenshot, and most importantly asked the people that would know best—all six Brady kids, to completely recreate the iconic Brady Bunch house,” says Roth, who admits working with these Brady icons is “100% surreal.” “We’ve knocked down walls, shopped for furniture from 50 years ago, sang in the rain, danced to Broadway tunes. I wasn’t sure how much they’d want to get their hands dirty, but let me tell you—Marcia can swing a sledgehammer!”

Maureen McCormick actively participates in the restoration of ‘The Brady Bunch’ house. (Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)

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Sorry Maureen, you’re still Marcia to us. The house recently unlocked its new “Honey I’m home” mid-century modern double door, courtesy of the Scott Property Brothers, McKnight (“Peter”) and McCormick (“Marcia Marcia Marcia”), who considered bidding on the house herself last summer.

Maureen McCormick as Marcia Brady in ‘The Brady Bunch’ living room. Does anyone own a lime green rotary phone? (CBS via Getty Images)

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Roth will offer the winning bidder a private design consultation for their own home and personally give the exclusive room-by-room Brady Bunch home tour into the 1970s along with Olsen (“Cindy”), courtesy of a special charity auction sponsored by IfOnly and Discovery Networks (parent of HGTV).

Roth will give an exclusive house tour of ‘The Brady Bunch’ house with Susan Olsen (Cindy) to the highest bidding fan of the IfOnly charity auction, benefitting Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights.

HGTV

IfOnly creates “unforgettable experiences for great causes,” working with 350+ charities and more than 3,000 celebrities including Barbra Streisand, Beyoncé, Celine Dion, Jennifer Lopez, Katy Perry, Chris Rock, James Corden, Keith Urban and Ray Romano. The auction just went live and ends May 7. Bidding starts at $5,000 and proceeds will benefit Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights.

Susan Olsen will join HGTV’s Jasmine Roth during the first-look ‘Brady Bunch’ house tour when its renovation is completed. (Greg Doherty/Getty Images for The Thalians)

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“This tour will be a trip into the past,” says Roth. “[It’s] a once-in-a-lifetime experience for one lucky fan. As Brady Bunch fans, we grew up watching our favorite TV family grow up in this house, never imagining that we would be able to walk through it one day. It really is a groovy opportunity.”

Susan Olsen as Cindy Brady in ‘The Brady Bunch’ family room, near its retro green couch. (CBS via Getty Images)

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It’s groovy, cool, excellent, awesome, dope, lit and other fantastic slang that’s come, gone and come back again since The Brady Bunch series ruled the airwaves. Beyond the house, it seems the hosts are literally traveling back in time. Either that or they’re overworked at the moment.

Potato sack race in the Brady’s backyard. Red wagon, anyone? (Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

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“We are still working around the clock to get this project done, but the finished product will be the grooviest, hippest, and most Brady project in existence.” See?

The Brady family home and their station wagon from 1973. Is there anyone on earth who still drives one of these? If so, contact HGTV. (CBS via Getty Images)

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Maybe it wasn’t the stories, plots, laughs or lessons. Maybe this house is the way we all became The Brady Bunch?

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