Thursday, July 31, 2008

Starter Wife Star at TCA

Actress Debra Messing poses on the press line at the 'NBC Universal 2008 Press Tour All-Star Party' in Beverly Hills, Calif. on Sunday, July 20, 2008. Messing wore platinum jewelry by Neil Lane at the “NBC Universal 2008 Press Tour All-Star Party” on July 20th in Los Angeles. She selected a pair of Platinum and diamond drop earrings, a large Platinum cocktail ring and stacks of bangles. (AP Photo/Dan Steinberg)

Pretty Peep-Toes

Stuart Weitzman Holiday 2008; You can Bling in the New Year or have some really, really (really) cool party slingbacks. Check out the amazing heels on these Weitzman. Ornate crystal heels add stylish detailing to our peep-toe silhouettes. We may not be able to walk in these particular shoes, but they are absolutely statement-making. We have a collection of Stuart Weitzman shoes that we treasure and can recommend them for being easy-to-wear yet extremely fashionable, formal and elegant. These will be available in November for $450.

Ludacris as Philanthropist

Grammy award winning rapper and actor Chris "Ludacris" Bridges attended the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Annual Installation Luncheon in Beverly Hills on 30 July 2008, where he spoke on behalf of a grant given to Film Independent Inc. as part of the $759,865 in financial grants the HFPA generously presented to film schools and non-profit organizations. Following the HFPA luncheon and continuing in the spirit of giving, Ludacris spoke about two important causes; muscular dystrophy and the genocide in Darfur & Uganda.

Ludacris made an appeal for the Jerry Lewis Telethon to support children with muscular dystrophy and also shot a public service announcement for Rock4Change, a benefit concert to raise money and awareness for sustainable relief efforts in Darfur via the work of "Aid Still Required" & through the work of "Hands Across Nations" in Uganda. When Ludacris learned that the charities were being charged $800 to use the hotel's suite to shoot the PSAs, he picked up the tab. Ludacris told both organizations he would pay the bill for the room charge.

Amy Balsam, a producer of the Rock4Change benefit concert on Thursday, September 4, 2008, at the Gibson Amphitheatre, previously worked with Ludacris and says, "Ludacris is such a pro! He nailed our Rock4Change PSA in one take and delivered his heartfelt appeal with so much passion and conviction. It was obvious that he genuinely cares about supporting our efforts in Darfur & Uganda along with the work he is doing to help the Jerry Lewis Telethon. He perfectly embodies the spirit of our Rock4Change movement and is exactly the type of artist and role model that will inspire his fans to become a generation of activists who have the power to end the genocide in Africa."

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Glimpse of Kennedy’s Camelot Exclusively Streams Entire 1962 White House Tour By Jacqueline Kennedy, As Featured In Mad Men Season 2 Premiere Episode; New Episodes Of Mad Men Air Sundays At 10 p.m. On AMC

Viewers who tuned-in to the Second Season Premiere of AMC’s award-winning series Mad Men Sunday (July 27, 2008) caught a glimpse of the legendary White House tour documentary given by then-First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy during one of the premiere episode’s scenes.

As depicted in Mad Men, on the night of February 14, 1962 three out of four television viewers tuned to CBS or NBC to watch a A Tour of the White House with Mrs. John F. Kennedy. AMC is now presenting the full White House tour, as it originally aired in 1962, only on

Accompanied by CBS correspondent Charles Collingwood, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy provides a tour of her home and a glimpse into life at the White House and gave Americans a chance to see the restoration and redecoration projects the First Lady had orchestrated.

To view, visit!

(Image: Jacqueline Kennedy with Charles Collingwood. Photo courtesy of the John F. Kennedy Library)

Fatal Escape

Safety-Proofing Our Zoos: Is It Enough? National Geographic Channel’s Explorer Investigates Fatal San Francisco Zoo Tiger Escape

“If you had asked me the day before, was it adequate for holding animals? I would have told you yes. Obviously, it wasn’t. – Manuel Mollinedo, Director, San Francisco Zoo

On Christmas Day 2007, a 243-pound Siberian tiger named Tatiana escaped from her open-air enclosure at the San Francisco Zoo and mauled three young men. Before long, one 17-year-old boy and the 4-year-old tigress lay dead. The incident was the first time a visitor was killed by an escaped animal at an accredited zoo in the United States. How did the tiger escape from an enclosure with a 29-foot dry moat? And could it happen again?

Premiering Sunday, August 10, 2008, at 10 PM ET/PT, Explorer: Zoo Tiger Escape investigates the how and why of what really happened that night — from the possible motivational factors that led the tiger to escape, to the complex evolution of enclosure design. The show provides exclusive documentary access to the San Francisco Zoo’s efforts to reconstruct its tiger enclosure, as well as candid interviews with zoo staff members on the tragedy. Finally, find out how zoo standards across the country are keeping dangerous animals and zoo visitors safe from each other.

“I think our zoo staff, the zoo family, took this incident very hard,” says San Francisco Zoo director Manuel Mollinedo. Contemplating the nature of the attack, he adds, “All I can I say is that something extraordinary happened to motivate that animal to want to leap out of that area. For a cat to expend that much energy, something had to prompt her to want to get out.”

To demonstrate what it would have taken for Tatiana to escape, Explorer: Zoo Tiger Escape looks to expert animal handler Randy Miller, who trains tigers for feature films and entices his Siberian tiger Titan with a piece of meat. The tiger makes a 12-foot jump with ease, but at 14 feet, the tiger refuses to jump. The moat in San Francisco is more than twice that wide, and it seems unlikely that Tatiana would have jumped such a distance. The other way out is up and over a 12-foot, 9-inch wall. Randy tries Titan on a 9-foot vertical wall, which he clears effortlessly, but stops there. So was there another motivational factor besides hunger? Eyewitnesses speculate that the men may have taunted Tatiana or climbed up onto the rail meant to separate her from the public. But there was no hard evidence, and the claim has since been denied.

Then, explore how the evolution of zoo enclosure design could have contributed to such a catastrophic failure. In the early 20th century, zoos began removing traditional bars and using moats as barriers. The San Francisco Zoo’s moated big cat grotto remained virtually unchanged between 1941 and the day of the attack on December 25, 2007.

Explorer: Zoo Tiger Escape examines whether or not this type of old fashioned design was secure enough to contain a more athletic zoo animal like Tatiana, which had a more developed habitat, nutritional program and enrichment activities. Essentially, could the combination of an old exhibit and a very athletic cat have created the opportunity for the tiger escape in San Francisco?

Today, zoos work to balance visitor safety concerns with the animals’ physical and mental health. Explorer: Zoo Tiger Escape travels to the Philadelphia Zoo, where the state-of-the-art Big Cat Falls is redefining animal enclosure design. Each species of cat has its own yard and indoor space, expanded by a series of tunnels and skyways that allows them to circulate from yard to yard. The designers’ job was to give the cats the maximum amount of territory while staying within the confines of the existing zoo. The goal was also to bring people and animals as close together as possible while keeping the public safe. To do this, the designers chose triple-layered laminated safety glass.

“You can actually get a wild animal within inches of somebody’s face. And that was the real profound change at Big Cat Falls, was really allowing that kid to be 2 inches away from the nose of a lion. I mean that’s an amazing experience!” says Marc L’Italien, exhibit designer at architecture firm EHDD.

Other safety precautions are at play in zoos without such modern design. Across the country, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums requires zoos to hold four emergency drills a year to prepare for an animal escape as part of their accreditation. Viewers see staff at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., spring into action during a simulated cheetah escape. If an animal gets loose, a keeper’s primary goal is to recapture it. However, if human life is at risk — as in the case of Tatiana — keepers may have no choice but to kill the animal.

Back in San Francisco, the zoo is getting ready to start afresh with the reopening of the tiger exhibit, two months after the escape. The walls have been rebuilt with a new barrier over 21 feet high, walls with more than 16 feet of sheer concrete and 5 extra feet of glass. Keepers celebrate the addition of three irresistibly cute Sumatran tiger cubs, part of a new breeding plan not only to help save the tiger from extinction but also to allow the public to continue to enjoy these impressive species — from a safe distance.

Explorer: Zoo Tiger Escape Premieres Sunday, August 10, 2008, at 10 PM ET/PT

(Image: Tatiana, a Siberian tiger, mauled a zookeeper in December 2006. She escaped and San Francisco police officers killed her. Chronicle file photo by Kurt Rogers)

Jewelry Gift Guide (Just Because)

Haute and Hot: Jewelry

It may be a little early for winter holiday gifting (four months; then again, you may want to save up), but once in a while we like to check out what your options may be for serious jewelry gift giving. Here are a few pieces to consider and some jewelry collections you may want to keep an eye on.

Urban Posh

Madagasgar Ring $1,395.00
14K Gold with Mystic Topaz
This ring is custom made and will take 2-3 weeks for delivery.

Hannah Earring $120.00
Gold Vermil, Teal Hydro Quartz, and Apetite.
1.25" Drop

About Urban Posh founder, Jewelry Designer, Jeanne Kirkland.
As a child Jeanne remembers her grandfather telling stories of hiking to mines through the jungles of Africa and Sri Lanka. Her grandparents were gemologists and traveled the world searching for the highest quality stones. They encouraged her to pick up stones and learn about their various attributes. This deep understanding, heritage and passion goes into all Urban Posh pieces today . Jeanne studied business at the University of Texas at Austin. She spent 5 years in high tech, before founding Urban Posh in 2004 and dedicating her career to designing world class jewelry.

Queen Baby

Crowned Heart Pendant & Fleur-de-lis Chain
The iconic crowned heart pendant hangs from a fleur-de-lis chain.
• Sterling silver.
• Lobster clasp.
• 16"L.
• Made in the USA.
Queen Baby by King Baby Studio
Crowned Heart Pendant & Fleur-de-lis Chain
Price: $490.00

Crowned Heart Earrings
Sterling silver. Crowned heart drops with fleur-de-lis and gothic cross chain accents. Pierced backs. 2 1/2"H X 3/8"W. Made in USA.
Queen Baby
Crowned Heart Earrings
Price: $190.00

About Queen Baby:
Queen Baby is the women’s line of King Baby chunky jewelry.
King Baby Studio & Queen Baby Jewelry and Accessories: In the 1970’s, when Mitchell Binder, designer and owner of King Baby Studio jewelry was a teenager, he and his mother moved from Jackson, Mississippi to Los Angeles. It was when music reflected a new spirit of idealism, and new found freedoms.

At 15, Mitchell became a jeweler’s apprentice and shortly thereafter began designing on his own. With his trademark charismatic personality, he soon made the right contacts and quickly became the ‘go-to jeweler’ for both Hollywood and rock stars. The biker crowd soon caught on, requesting personalized jewelry and buckles. Being an avid biker himself, Mitchell has always considered the origin of King Baby Studio jewelry “half rock & roll and half outlaw biker.”

Designing with men in mind, he soon realized many women were buying for themselves. In 2007, King Baby Studio officially launched Queen Baby jewelry for women, with extraordinary success.

The Santa Monica-based King Baby Studio offers handcrafted jewelry and accessory pieces that unite chunky sterling silver with precious stones and leather. Mitchell’s creations are bold and substantial, featuring edgy motifs such as skulls and daggers for the King Baby jewelry and accessories line, and slightly scaled-down feminine motifs such as roses and crowned hearts for the Queen Baby’s out there. Many King Baby and Queen Baby jewelry and accessory styles span both collections appealing to that ever-expanding “chosen few."

Sydney Evan

Feather Pendant Necklaces
• Feather Pendant Necklace, Rose Gold: 14-karat rose gold. Pink sapphire detail, 0.55 total carat weight.
• Feather Pendant Necklace, Yellow Gold: 14-karat yellow gold. Diamond detail, 0.44 total carat weight.
• Feather Pendant Necklace, Rhodium: Rhodium. Diamond accents, 0.44 total carat weight.
Pendant, 1 1/2"H x 1/2"W. Chain, 16"L. All, lobster claw clasp. Imported.
Sydney Evan
Feather Pendant Necklace, Rose Gold
Price: $1,050.00
Sydney Evan
Feather Pendant Necklace, Yellow Gold
Price: $1,550.00
Sydney Evan
Feather Pendant Necklace, Rhodium
Price: $1,550.00

About Sydney Evan:
Roseanne Karmes conveys personal sentiment in this trendy, hip and expressive collection of edgy charms. Some of her signature pieces include the hamsa and evil eye pendants which are spiritual protection pieces. Life, love and family are all reflected in Karmes’ stacks of bracelets and pendants, all executed in diamonds and gold.

Judith Ripka

BeansTalk contributor Lesley Althaus has an amazing Ripka pave diamond pendant and matching necklace that is her signature fashion statement. Here are a couple of cool examples of the collection.

Maltese Cross Pendant Necklace
Sterling silver and 18-karat yellow gold. Diamond accents, 0.04 total carat weight. 17"L. Lobster claw clasp. Imported
Judith Ripka
Maltese Cross Pendant Necklace
Price: $350.00

Diamond Circle Earrings
• Sterling silver with 18-karat yellow gold heart and circle detail.
• PavĂ© diamonds; 0.162 total carat weight.
• Pierced backs.
• 1"H x 1/2"W.
• Made in the USA of imported material.
Judith Ripka
Diamond Circle Earrings
Price: $450.00

About Judith Ripka:
Award-winning designer Judith Ripka creates jewelry of understated elegance that is meant to be worn everyday, from day into evening. Taught by her mother, a European couturier, to see the beauty in all the little things around us, each piece of jewelry Judith designs is an expression of that beauty as shared through the eyes of her mother. Taking cue from her busy life as wife, mother, grandmother and business woman, Judith designs versatile jewelry that is classically informed, yet modernized to complement today's wardrobe.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

BeansTalk Hearts Lockheart

Last fall, someone we worked with at our day job showed up with a totally gorgeous purse. We were instantly filled with envy. She then mentioned that it was the new line from the original designers of “Isabella Fiore.” It had been given to her. We were further filled with even more envy. At any rate, we’ve kept a longing watch on Lockheart, whose designers, Trang Huynh and Jennifer Tash, were originally with Isabella Fiore. Readers of BeansTalk know that we are huge IF fans and have had, at one time or another, some 15 Ifs.

In 2006, the designers – who were nominated in 2001 for the prestigious Perry Ellis Award for Accessory Design from the CFDA, and for the ACE Award soon after – combined to create their own line of leather goods called Lockheart.

Tash and Huynh began the IF business in 1995, when Tash, who had a background in visual display merchandising, and Huynh, who worked in bridal couture, began creating intricate silk scarves, fashionable fabric flower lapel pins and evolutionary evening shawls. They found success, selling to specialty boutiques and department stores across the country. A little “experiment” into handbags sent them into a stratospheric trajectory. Believe us, we’ve stood in the ridiculous line at the Bellflower factory for the company’s rare sales.

When our friend, the rep sent us the following on Lockheart bag: [they] are not just about leather “goods”, but more about leather greats! Great quality, great shapes, great details, great leathers” BeansTalk has to agree.

The one thing that impresses BeansTalk about Lockheart is that they are beautifully made and the quality is very apparent. In fact, the bags are so well made, an investment (which we admidt is substantial) in a bag that can serve as a daily purse.

More from the Lockheart rep: "The design team’s passion for the use of different raw materials such as sumptuous leathers, raw linens and chunky embroideries lend themselves to a wide range of eclectic and individual designs that are geared toward a free-spirited way of life. …Lockheart is all about sass and sophistication. “

The name is derived from the promise that the visionary design team made – locking their hearts together in a lifelong passion and commitment to creating luxury leather goods for women who really care about stamping out the message of their own personal style and individuality.

Tash, Huynh and the Lockheart team are based in Los Angeles.

In photos:

Lockheart Pipeline Shiloh Tote Bag

Soft, supple leather bag features a removable shoulder strap and loads of pockets for added versatility.
Finished with silvertone hardware and stitched details
Double shoulder straps, with 71⁄2" drop
Removable shoulder strap, with 20" drop
Flap tab with turn-lock closure
Front pockets: two zip and two flap with magnetic closure
Back zip pocket
Inside pockets: Five open and one zip
Blue lining
16"W X 131⁄2"H X 4"D

Lockheart 'Rosarita' Gwen Tote

Introducing the Lockheart handbag line and this exquisitely styled tote in luxurious grey leather, accented with a distinctive logo plate, and stunningly finished with artisan detailing, including intricate embroidery and handles with knotted bows. Dimensions: 14"L x 6"W x 12"H; 10" drop handle.

Lockheart’s Latest Press Release:

The Urban Collection for Fall 2008 is simply sophisticated, with a decidedly nostalgic retro twist; Lockheart loves running through time, and taking a slanted look at the fashions.

The elegant nature of the leathers disguises the revolutionary spirit that is behind this collection. Soft Italian leathers, hand hewn hardware and the expected stylistic flair of Lockheart are combined in this refined grouping of handbags. The workmanship showcases Lockheart’s well-known, inexhaustible and multi-faceted creative detailing. Many of the leathers and fabrics are imported from Italy. The colors of this season are black, asphalt, ruby, chocolate, moss/parrot and a metallic flash of steel.

Main shapes in this collection include the Brogan Bowler, a puffy satchel in milled Italian aniline leather with darling hand tied bows on the sides; Destiny, a mid-sized hobo with a halter bit and long messenger styled strap; Alicia, a new, sophisticated, day to evening shape with a quilted front pocket and royal gold studded hinge closures; Becca Satchel, a larger convertible zip top bowler/tote with a large, roomy quilted front pocket, sneaky back zip pocket and double hinge strap attachment; Hannah, a fresh take on a glittery, jeweled dream of a bag; Bailey Bowler, a retro, large bowler tote with aniline leathers arranged in an "op-art" style of zigzag stitched ribbons of leather arranged in a dimensional block pattern that was a common design element on old quilts from the 30's and 40's; Felicia Flat Clutch, a retro-styled flat clutch with the "op-art" geometric zig zagged block pattern; and Wendy Satchel, a casual, gently side-ruched satchel utilizing an intricate and detailed weaving technique.

The City Slicker Collection for Fall 08 has a decidedly modern edge, with a very independent and dynamic personality. This grouping is a version of our latest metropolitan evolution.

We concocted an incomparable cocktail of style, comfort and pure elegance that reflects a distinctive classically modern style, blending contrasting chic elements with contemporary shapes. The materials in this collection are Italian aniline leathers, pebbled cow leather, and laminated metallic skins. Hardware is either shiny nickel, or regal gold.

Main shapes include Carrie Bowler, A Small, chic, double zip bowler tote with two separate compartments, a rounded zipper front pocket, equestrian buckles, and leather belting circling the bag; Jodie Satchel, a versatile bowler/satchel with a “bondage” theme – leather belting, domed studs and metal keepers; Charlotte Clutch, a Slim, rich and elegant clutch with leather belting, keepers, domed studs, and equestrian buckles, plus a metal zippered pocket on the front; and Dawn, a smaller drawstring bag in buttery, Italian smooth leather with a trapunto sporty racing stripe down the center.

The Pipeline Collection adds a new shape to our Pipeline family. The same raised welting and hand saddle stitching is done on a fresh silhouette that we are all excited to wear.

This collection includes the Zahara, which is a little bit quirky, a little bit vintage, and infinitely wearable. featuring three metal zipper compartments that keep everything organized, accordion pockets on the face, Ruched gussets and gradiated shoulder straps.

The Medusa Collection for Fall 08 is a real "charmer" of a bag collection in Italian, shiny, lasered, embossed snakeskin patterned leather, and trimmed in buffalo grained cowhide. We have employed various techniques from patchwork to tonal luxury in this special collection.

Shapes in this collection include our best-selling Bailey Bowler; Hannah and Wendy Satchel shapes, and well as Jolie, a “disco bag” with an added frame bag layered on top and then strapped onto the face with a harness strap and an inlaid zipper; Faith, a Sleek, sexy, slim clutch in embossed solid toned snakeskin leather with covered flower studs arranged in a daisy pattern; Large frame continental, a patched snake with a foldable handle and all the compartments of a regular wallet, plus a frame pouch on the inside; and Zip Around, a Snake embossed zip around wallet.

Monday, July 28, 2008

U.K. Teen-Centered Series,
Skins, Comes to BBC America

“Teenagers grab life by the balls” say reps from BBC America, promoting the net’s mnew comedy drama, Skins. Starring Nicholas Hoult (About a Boy, The Weather Man), and with a writers’ team with an average age of 22, the award-winning show is a coming of age story for 2008. Skins, which won the Golden Rose d'Or for Drama and was nominated for a BAFTA award for Drama, premieres Sunday, August 17, 9:00 p.m. ET/PT with back to back episodes. It moves to its regular 10:00 p.m. ET/PT time slot the following week.

Tony (Nicholas Hoult) is the leader of the pack. He undermines his dad on a daily basis and effortlessly covers up for his little sister, Effy (Kaya Scodelario), the only one Tony really cares about, even if she does drive him mad. As the best looking and most popular boy in town, Tony’s always taking the gang off on a new mission and loves a laugh at someone else’s expense. He’s dating Michelle (April Pearson), otherwise known as ‘Nips’. Drop dead gorgeous, Nips’ wit keeps everyone on their toes, and Sid (Mike Bailey), Tony’s best friend, lusts after her. Poor Sid is a virgin with no confidence and Tony plays him like a fool. But Sid isn’t as stupid as he seems – he’ll get the girl of his dreams one day, just not the girl he thinks.

Cassie (Hannah Murray) is the self-harming, anorexic with zero self esteem At the opposite end of the scale there’s Chris (Joe Dempsie), who is always game for a laugh and will do just about anything. Chris’ passion is his psychology class, because nothing motivates him quite like his teacher, Angie.

Abigail (Georgina Moffat) is the posh one. Pretty and pumped full of prescription medication, she lives in a world of imported carpets, private school and constant therapy - Tony has great fun with her. Anwar’s (Dev Patel) family want him to study the Koran, but his interests are less spiritual. Completing the group are Jal (Larissa Wilson) and Maxxie (Mitch Hewer). Jal is Nips’ best friend and the most talented young classical clarinet player in the country. Maxxie is magic on his feet, a whiz with his hands and can have any boy he wants.

Season 1 & 2 of Skins airs as a single season on BBC AMERICA

Cast & Production

Tony Nicholas Hoult

Sid Mike Bailey

Michelle April Pearson

Cassie Hannah Murray

Chris Joe Dempsie

Jal Larissa Wilson

Maxxie Mitch Hewer

Anwar Dev Patel

Effy Kaya Scodelario

Abigail Georgina Moffat

Created by Bryan Elsley and Jamie Brittain

Writers Bryan Elsley

Jamie Brittain

Simon Amstell

Ben Schiffer

Jack Thorne

Guest Stars:

Jim Harry Enfield

Anthea Morwenna Banks

Anna Arabella Weir

Malcolm Danny Dyer

Marcus Neil Morrissey

Margeritte Naomi Allisstone

Ronnie Frazer Mark Monero

Fat Bastard Geoffrey Hughes

Fighting Bath Man Charlie Creed Miles

Mary Sarah Lancashire

Mark Peter Capaldi

Liz Josie Lawrence

Anwar’s Mum Nina Wadia

U.K. Press:

“Skins is clever, bouncy and has all the right moves to become a show of the year…Tony is like a state educated Ferris Bueller-Pete Doherty hybrid…” The Times

“...This show may just capture some of the chutzpah and peril of being young in Britain today – which makes it something akin to public service…” The Independent

Cast Interviews:


There have been a lot of attempts to make dramas about and for teens. What makes Skins different?

I think it doesn't hold back. Everyone knows the issues about kids, what happens, what they really get up to. Skins just gets straight to the point. It's been written really well like that. Another important thing is that it's being played by people who are teenagers. A lot of dramas done now, you're looking at 30-year-olds playing 18-year-olds, so they can't relate as well to what they're playing. And the writers aren't afraid of being realistic, of a little bit of controversy.

How much input did you have on the character of Sid? Were you allowed to give suggestions about him?

Yeah, pretty much. Sid is actually based on one of the writers. I didn't want to get to know the writer too well, because I wanted to be able to make the character of Sid my own. But we were certainly given a chance to have our say, to give our input into the character. So we could stand up and say 'Actually, I don't think my character would say that'. Or we'd put in a few lines, do a bit of improvisation. I think we got a lot of say in our characters because they wanted it to look as realistic as possible, so we had to be comfortable with the parts we were playing and the lines we were saying.

What is Sid like?

He's basically the sidekick to Tony, who's the coolest guy around. He does whatever Tony says, like a little kid following his mum. But he also gets bullied by Tony quite a lot. He doesn't realize it, but he is getting verbally and mentally bullied, to the extent where it’s beginning to get through to him. But he keeps following Tony around because he's in love with Tony's girlfriend, and without Tony he couldn't be anywhere near her. He's a good guy, he knows where his loyalties lie, he has a lot of friends, but he has a really bad family life. He doesn't get on well with his dad, who thinks he's a waste of space. But he's got a big heart, he's always there for his friends.

Did you put elements of yourself into him?

There are elements of myself, definitely. I put aspects of myself into him, as any actor does into a character, but I wouldn't say I based him on myself. I could relate to people I know who are like him.

Is this a comedy or a drama?

There are very definite elements of both in there. It does cover all the issues of life as a teenager, but it does it with a very comic approach, so you don't exactly feel like you're being taken through the issues. I think it's somewhere between the two. It's probably more towards drama, but there are some brilliant comic moments in it.

How accurate a reflection do you think it is of being a teenager today?

I think it is dramatized a little bit - it has to be, TV has to be watchable. If you wanted to watch real teenage life, you could just stick a bunch of teenagers in a room and film them for a reality show. This is a drama, it's got to be entertaining, and so you've got to move things along a bit quicker. But I think it portrays the realities of teenage life quite well.

Some would argue that a drama about teenagers and drugs and alcohol and sex should carry an obvious moral message. What would you say to that?

I think this is based around real life, that's the key. Real life doesn't always carry an obvious moral message every time you do something. If it's going to have an element of realism, you can't just tack a really strong message on the end of every story telling young people what they can and can't do. In some programs, there might be a moral at the end of it, but only if that's the way real situations happen.


What sort of a character do you play?

Michelle is 17, she's friends with the rest of the gang, she goes out with Tony, who is the love of her life, and is almost a trophy husband, in a way. She's got the hottest guy in school and she's not going to let him go, even if she knows that he's not always the nicest of guys. She's got a pretty rough life at home, her mother's been married seven times in the last three years, and she doesn't get much attention from her, so she seeks that from boys by wearing short skirts and low-cut tops.

Is it embarrassing to play a character who flaunts her sexuality so much, or can you just play up to it and enjoy it?

It's not something that I would do, but it's quite a fun role to play. It gives me the chance to be the outgoing, confident girl that I'm not necessarily in my own life. At times you think 'Oh God, I've been standing on this street for four hours now in a tiny skirt, what am I doing?' But basically it's cool, I like it.

So there's not much of you in the character?

I think in any character you have to bring a certain element of yourself, but I like to think that we do things differently. She's not really bothered about what she does at school, she's more interested in going out, and what she looks like. I hope I'm not quite that superficial.

Is Skins an accurate portrayal of teenage life?

I think it's accurate to the extent that it shows what kind of things go on in teenagers' lives, but I think it exaggerates it for the purposes of comedy and entertainment for young people. It's not all about 'this is what teenagers do, it's very bad'; it's more 'this is what teenagers do, let's make it funny'. This is a teenage show, and at the end of the day the whole point of it is to be entertaining. If it was a documentary, then maybe it would be different, but it's suppose to be light-hearted and funny. Teenagers don't always want to watch something and be bombarded with 'you mustn't do this, you mustn't do that' - besides, that'll probably make them rebel and want to do it more.

A lot of your scenes are with Nicholas Hoult. Was he quite helpful with all of his experience in front of the camera?

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, half the time I forgot that Nick was more experienced than we were, because he's so normal and friendly. But he always seemed to know what was coming next, which made me feel more relaxed. My first scene was with him, and he knew all the jargon that the director would say, and it was part of his everyday life. So that kind of relaxed me, made it all a bit less scary.

What was it like having to film the more intimate kissing scenes with him? Was it embarrassing?

The first few times it was quite tough, because obviously you're thrown together in this situation, I'd never met him before, and one of the first things we were asked to do was stick our tongues down each others' throats. But after a while we got to know each other and became friends, and it was much easier. It's odd, but when he's Tony and I'm Michelle, it's just supposed to happen.

Series co-creator, executive producer and writer

In October of last year I was pondering an upcoming meeting with Company Television to discuss new formats for television drama. Sitting with my son Jamie Brittain, an English student, I ran my slightly lackluster set of drama ideas past him:

“That’s all boring bollocks Dad.” he remarked, rather unkindly I thought.

“So what would you suggest? Smartarse.” I countered.

He sat blinking and thinking for a moment.

“You should do something for kids; but not the usual crap. Get rid of the moralizing, the constant pumping rock music that old people seem to think kids like, the fantasy sequences, the flashbacks, the wobbly camera work, the middle aged portrayals of emotions, the stupid issue-based stories, the crap voiceovers, the glammed-up 20-something actors who play them. Get rid of all that shite and do something FUNNY instead.”

The next day, Company Pictures, amazingly, seemed to like the idea and offered it to E4, who almost bit our hand off. The fastest commission I ever got. Cheers Jamie.

So work starts and the Skins Writers Group is born, with an average age of 22. There are teenagers, school kids, comedians, artists, musicians, and screenwriters, one of them me, one of them the amazingly talented Jack Thorne (26) who has written two of our episodes as well as writing for Shameless.

The group would meet every Wednesday in the dingy basement underneath Company Television to hash out our ideas and watch a lot of television together. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Laurel and Hardy, Gregory’s Girl, Best in Show; we take it in turns to bring in our favorites. We talk things over. Work out how to do it. Back each other up. Eat. I never knew television screenwriting could be this much fun.

In one corner is Simon Amstell, the presenter of Never Mind the Buzzcocks and co-writer of episode seven, sitting hunched over a script idea with Daniel, a 17 year-old black kid from the Hampstead Theatre Youth Group. In another corner is Josie Long, fresh from her ‘Best Newcomer’ triumph at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival this year. She’s working with Althea, a fiendishly clever kid of Indian heritage. Althea’s so bright you forget after 30 seconds that she’s not 18 yet. She’ll write an episode by herself next year. I just know it. The room is packed and sweaty. We’ve been working over Jamie’s first television script, episode five. He’s almost died and come back to life to make it work, but he’s grinning. The writers group like it. By tomorrow afternoon The Dawson Brothers, our young ‘joke monkeys’ will have worked over the gags. Jamie will have sent the draft to our perfectionist script editor, Chloe Moss. No half measures for her. If it’s not good, it’s not in - no matter how young and talented you are. Kids will have wandered in and out of my office, making jokes, complaining, and eating. They’re always eating.

A year later and nine, one-hour episodes of Skins are in the can. An amazing cast of 17 year-old Bristol kids - some of whom had never acted in their lives before - have turned in subtle, complex and above all, funny performances, far above my wildest expectations. They have been led from the front by Nicholas Hoult, formerly the geeky kid in About A Boy. He gives one of the most shaded and nuanced performances by any actor, young or old, that I have ever met. While a gaggle of celebrities - Harry Enfield, Neil Morrissey, Sarah Lancashire, Peter Capaldi, Danny Dyer, Arabella Weir, Charlie Creed Miles, Josie Lawrence, Geoff Hughs - to name a few, have played the hapless Bristol parents trying in vain to stay in control of their teenage kids. We’ve laughed all summer. I mean, really pissed ourselves.

I’ve tried to think about what makes Skins different. I think it’s that Skins reflects the nuances of teenagers’ lives, which are as complex and as emotionally rich as any adults. We’re so busy telling teenagers how to behave that we miss the whole picture. We’re obsessed with drugs, with drinking, with sex. Young people accept these things as givens. Lecturing them is hopeless. Understanding them is impossible. You can only watch and wonder at how well the vast majority of them survive. That’s what Skins is about. And it’s funny. Will it work? I don’t know. But one thing is for sure. It will be like nothing else you have seen before.


Episode 1

Tony is a smart 17 year-old. So smart, he believes he can even get his best mate Sid laid, and make a profit – and Abigail’s party seems like the perfect place to do both. Inevitably a dope deal goes wrong, and so does Sid’s quest to lose his virginity. But when the stolen car goes into the river and takes the unpaid-for drugs with it, Tony and his mates are really in trouble.

Episode 1 premieres Sunday August 17, 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.

Episode 2

Cassie can trick everyone. The skinny, crazy girl manages to fool everyone that she’s beating her eating disorder especially her parents Marcus (Neil Morrissey) and Margeritte (Naomi Allisstone). Good old geeky Sid inadvertently steps out of Tony’s shadow to win a place in Cassie’s heart, by being the only person to notice the truth - except Allan, the taxi driver who takes her to the clinic. He is the only adult she trusts, and the only person who’s ever seen her eat anything. Meanwhile, Michelle has a food issue of her own when her mom returns from holiday to find the house has been the scene of one almighty food and drink fight. But, with new husband Malcolm in tow, will she even notice?

Episode 2 premieres Sunday, August 17, 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.

Episode 3

Jal is not your average ghetto girl. But what’s the point of having the ‘Young Musician of the Year’ competition within hand’s reach, if those around you don’t even notice? Jal’s problem is her dad - he may be Bristol’s answer to P Diddy but when it comes to his daughter he’s lost the plot. Sid has got a big problem of his own - a problem who goes by the name of Mad Twatter. Mad T won’t rest until he’s got his hands on his drugs, his money, or Sid. As usual, Tony has left his best mate to take it on the chin – literally.

Episode 3 premieres Sunday, August 24, 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.

Episode 4

Happy-go-lucky party animal, Chris, wakes up one morning with a hangover, before discovering $2000 in cash and a note from his mum saying that she’s gone away. So, like any not-so-average 17 year-old, Chris embarks on a bender. But what do you do after you’ve thrown the mother of all parties and blown all the money? Well, you sell everything that isn’t nailed down, and start again - and just hope that everything else will start to make sense. Sometimes though, life can make a little more sense than you want it to and Chris has to face up to the fact that his mum might never be coming home.

Episode 4 premieres Sunday, August 31, 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.

Episode 5

Sid is in trouble - deep trouble. He’s failing at everything. His history coursework hasn’t made the grade and he’s only got a week to write something decent or he’ll fail the year. And, of course, he can’t get Michelle, his best friend’s girlfriend, out of his head. Will Sid ever buckle down and focus on his future - will his dad ever give him a break - and will he ever wake up to Tony’s manipulative ways?

Episode 5 premieres Sunday, September 7, 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.

Episode 6

What happens when two friends suddenly get to the limits of their friendship? Maxxie and Anwar are about to find out. And on top of that, one of them is dealing with advances from his straight male friend while the other is trying to fend off the father of the Russian girl he’s fallen for. And it’s all happening on the most disastrous school trip ever. Surely an entire history class can’t get deported from Russia?

Episode 6 premieres Sunday, September 14, 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.

Episode 7

Time’s up for Tony. His girlfriend Michelle has had enough. She’s also had enough of her mom’s latest husband/toy boy/business failure/serial idiot, Malcolm. But then a shining knight appears on the horizon with the promise of a happy ending. Seventeen, heartbroken and on the rebound, Michelle jumps right in. But Tony is determined to make sure the new prince in Michelle’s life turns into the biggest toad of them all.

Episode 7 premieres Sunday, September 21, 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.

Episode 8

Hasn’t anyone noticed that Tony’s little sister Effy never utters a word? Hasn’t anybody noticed that this 14 year-old school girl sneaks out at night? No-one apart from Tony that is. But then Tony doesn’t give a damn about anybody or anything, except his little sister.

Episode 8 premieres Sunday, September 28, 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.

Episode 9

It’s Anwar's birthday party, yet no-one is in the mood to celebrate. Sid thinks he's got his act together, but when he tries to tell Cassie how he feels he ends up in a padded cell. Tony is also in the mood to make up, but it seems his luck has run out too. There are scores to be settled. And settled they are, with some unexpected yet dangerously wonderful consequences.

Episode 9 premieres Sunday, October 5, 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.

Friday, July 25, 2008

China's First Emperor

He would become an emperor more powerful than Napoleon … capture more territory than Alexander the Great… create the largest army the world has ever seen … destroy all enemies ... and become the greatest conqueror of all. It happened in 240 B.C., a thousand years before the West knew his immense realm even existed. He was Chin Shi Huang Di, the ruler of the Kingdom of Qin, who defeated six states to create an empire that lasted for more than 2,000 years – China!

The three-hour special China’s First Emperor tells the epic story of how Chin Shi Huang Di rose to absolute power in just a decade, creating an empire and laying the groundwork for the China we know today. Lavishly produced in China and co-produced with CCTV, China’s national television network, China’s First Emperor premieres Monday, August 4th, at 9pm on History.

Chin Shi Huang Di declared himself a living god and ruled his empire with tyrannical might. His reign brought advances such as standardized currencies, weights and measures, unified written and spoken language and transportation systems. In battle, too, he was centuries ahead of his time – creating assembly lines (two millennia before Henry Ford) to mass-produce precision-crafted swords, arrows and other weapons. Qin soldiers used crossbows fitted with bronze triggers for increased power and speed that European archers didn’t come close to until ten centuries later.

The long shadow of the Qin Dynasty is still visible today in the Great Wall of China to the north, and the army of 8,000 life-sized terracotta warriors and horses that guard his empire in the afterlife. In addition, China is named for him.

The wars to unify China took a terrible toll, claiming the lives of over 1.2 million men. But the threats from the Huns from the north and from the Viets from the south made warfare a way of life. Even within the empire, Chin Wang had powerful enemies. His citizens grew tired of war, conscripted labor, and laws that dictated every detail of their lives. Chin Wang’s most vicious enemy was himself.

Fear for his own and his empire’s safety helped drive Chin Shi Huang Di into severe paranoia. He sent out his spies and became homicidally intolerant of criticism. For speaking up against him, he exiled scores of scholars to years of hard labor at the Great Wall—itself a death sentence—and ordered hundreds of others buried alive. He also burned scores of books, destroying centuries of Chinese thought. In the end, many believe, he became so obsessed with his own immortality he poisoned himself while trying to find a potion to achieve eternity.

Yet, in a way, he lives on, guarded by that terracotta army he ordered built to guard his final resting place. The tomb remains sealed to this day.

China’s First Emperor is based on interviews with leading experts from China, Europe and the United States, including Zhang Wenli and Yuan Zhongyi of the Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum, Jeffrey Riegel of UC Berkeley, Robin Yates of McGill University, Wu Rongzheng of Beijing University, Michael Puett of Harvard University, Hans van Ess of the University of Munich and Jens Peterson of the University of Copenhagen. The film includes original footage of the unearthing of the terracotta army and the necropolis in which it was found—a massive project which began in 1974 and still continues.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Dogtown Returns &
Michael Vick's Dogs

Behind the Scenes of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary as Former Fighting Dogs Rescued From Vick's Property Learn to Curb Aggressive Behavior and Live Peacefully Two-Hour Season Premiere Friday, September 5, 2008 at 9 p.m. New Episodes Air Every Friday at 10 p.m. beginning September 12

In April 2007, the nation was shocked when dozens of traumatized pit bulls were discovered during a police raid on a property owned by Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick. The dogs were housed at Bad Newz Kennels, an illegal dogfighting venture operated by Vick and three other men. At Bad Newz Kennels, poor-performing dogs were executed, and many of those that survived showed signs of past injuries and psychological trauma. Many people believed that these pit bulls were too far gone to be rehabilitated and should be put down, but 47 were given a chance at a better life. The 22 toughest cases were sent to Dogtown.

National Geographic Channel's (NGC) popular series Dogtown returns with a special two-hour season premiere, Saving the Michael Vick Dogs, on Friday, September 5, at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Viewers follow the journeys of four of the most challenging dogs -- Cherry, Meryl, Denzel, and Georgia -- as Dogtown's team of dedicated experts works to help them overcome their violent pasts and live happier, healthier lives. On the front lines with the Vick dogs are assistant dog care manager and trainer John Garcia; dog care manager Michelle Besmehn; veterinarian Dr. Patti Iampietro; and trainer Ann Allums.

Dogtown, a shelter for lost canine souls, is part of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, one of the largest no-kill animal facilities in the country. Located on 33,000 acres of southern Utah canyon country, the sanctuary hosts hundreds of dogs from all around the country, along with cats, horses, rabbits, goats and various other farm animals -- about 1,500 animals at any one time. For the animals that find a home in one of 12 lodging facilities, a staff of more than 60 oversees their every need -- including medical attention, training and rehabilitation -- with the eventual hope of placing as many as possible with loving owners. Dogtown is often the last hope for dogs requiring specialized or urgent medical attention or for abused and neglected animals. This is especially true for the group of dogs from Bad Newz Kennels.

In Dogtown: Saving the Michael Vick Dogs, the team faces its toughest challenges yet. The four dogs the special episode follows are Cherry, Meryl, Denzel and Georgia.

Cherry, who may have been used as bait to train more aggressive fighters, is terrified of people. It will take a lot of love and support to help him gain confidence. When he arrives at Dogtown, Cherry flattens himself to the ground and refuses to walk on a leash. By slowly introducing him to new faces and experiences -- including a recording of dogs "laughing" -- Cherry's trainers begin to draw him out of his shell. Can Cherry overcome his extreme fear and possibly become ready for adoption?

Meryl is seriously aggressive and was ordered by the court to stay permanently at Dogtown. Trainer Ann Allums loves a challenge and believes that a patient approach can help calm Meryl's dangerous impulses. After she gains Meryl's trust, Allums starts the dog on obedience training -- always focusing on rewards instead of punishments. Meryl proves a quick study and moves on to agility training, seeming to gain confidence and self-control from her new skills. Although this unpredictable pit bull can never be adopted, she now has a chance for a happy life in Dogtown.

Denzel arrives with a potentially life-threatening illness, and Dogtown's medical team must determine what's making him so sick. He is diagnosed with a tick-borne parasite sometimes found in fighting dogs, which may mean the other pit bulls rescued with him are at risk as well. At first he seems to respond to treatment, but he soon relapses. Can a new medication help Denzel recover?

Georgia's body tells the story of her hard life. She has the scars of a prize-winning fighter, shows signs of having had many litters and had all her teeth pulled at some point in her past, possibly so she could be forcibly bred. Can this traumatized pooch learn to interact with humans and other dogs? To break Georgia of the bad and potentially dangerous habit of guarding her food, trainer John Garcia tries feeding her by hand -- a risky maneuver. Even with no teeth, the dog's powerful jaw could still do serious damage. Soon Georgia is making great progress and easily mastering basic commands. If she can pass Dogtown's Canine Good Citizen Test, Georgia has a chance at a better life in a loving home.

In additional episodes we meet the rest of the Dogtown team, including medical director Dr. Mike Dix, animal care operations manager Jeff Popowich, behavior & training consultant Sherry Woodard, trainer Pat Whitacre, adoption coordinator Kristi Littrell, and caregivers Analia Gutierrez and Betsy Kidder.

Future premieres include:

Dogtown: New Beginnings
Friday, September 12, at 10 PM ET/PT

A young hound named Wylee heads to Dogtown for much-needed medical attention. Hit by a car and left for dead, Wylee can no longer use one of his front legs. Veterinarian Dr. Mike Dix decides to amputate the mangled limb and then works to help Wylee make the difficult transition to life on three legs. Meanwhile, assistant dog care manager John Garcia meets new arrival Nochi, a terrier mix with a history of biting. Garcia falls for the feisty little dog and resolves to get to the bottom of his bad behavior. A walk into town provides an opportunity for Garcia to help Nochi find new ways to channel his excitement. Back at the sanctuary, dog care manager Michelle Besmehn decides to personally foster Willa, a Scotty traumatized by her experience as a breeder in a puppy mill. Besmehn hopes that the extra attention and calm environment will help the dog overcome her fear of the world so that she can be adopted into a loving new home.

Dogtown: Project Rescue
Friday, September 19, at 10 PM ET/PT

Johnny, a one-year-old golden retriever, is happy, affectionate -- and seemingly incapable of learning. Can trainer Pat Whitacre help the wayward pup perfect the social skills he needs to live happily with a family? Meanwhile, dog care manager Michelle Besmehn and animal care operations manager Jeff Popowich rush to the Nevada desert to save a group of dogs left neglected by a hoarder. Among them are Baxt, a young puppy with possible head trauma, and Tuffy, a little dog near death from wounds suffered in a vicious attack. Under the watchful eye of caregiver Analia Gutierrez, little Baxt gets the nourishment and attention he needs to thrive. Although Tuffy's deep wounds and serious infection seem grim, veterinarian Patti Iampietro has high hopes for his recovery. Throughout the dog's ordeal, Popowich checks in on Tuffy, hoping that the pooch he rescued can have a chance at a better life.

Dogtown: New Lives
Friday, September 26, at 10 PM ET/PT

Wycheck, a border collie mix, arrives at Dogtown unable to walk without extreme pain. He has a dislocated hip, likely the result of being hit by a car. Dr. Mike Dix hopes some time on Dogtown's high-tech underwater treadmill will help Wycheck lose weight, which will help take the stress off his hip. Another new arrival, a senior Weimaraner named Knightly, is paralyzed with anxiety. Until recently, he had lived in a loving home. When his elderly owners became sick and required daily visits from caregivers, Knightly became confused and anxious by the presence of strangers and his owners' inability to take care of him. After a nipping incident, he was removed from his home. Now behavior consultant Sherry Woodard must help Knightly regain his self-confidence so that he can be adopted by new owners. Meanwhile, trainer Ann Allums has a different kind of challenge on her hands. Her latest charge is Karina, an out-of-control stray. Can this exuberant pup learn to behave and manage her energy?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Flynt Exposed

IFC presents the US premiere of documentary Larry Flynt: The Right To Be Left Alone on August 7, 2008 at 9 PM ET/10 PM PT

Both hero and villain, purveyor of pornography and tireless civil rights advocate, the always controversial publisher of Hustler magazine, Larry Flynt , is the subject of new tell-all documentary Larry Flynt:The Right to be Left Alone.

In a timely response to a current political climate in which the fundamental civil rights of Americans are being challenged, the film offers an eye-opening and authoritative overview of Flynt's long-standing struggle to expand the parameters of free speech and expose the hypocrisy of elected leaders. Featuring rarely seen footage, as well as in-depth interviews with Flynt himself, the documentary focuses on the self-confessed smut peddler's usually contentious entanglements with politics from his precedent-setting Supreme Court case, to his campaign runs for both California governor and President.

Delving beyond Flynt's political career, the documentary offers an intimate glimpse of the publisher's personal life, including the assassination attempt that left him paralyzed and his first wife's battle with AIDS. Ultimately, Larry Flynt: The Right to be Left Alone delivers the full, unvarnished story of one of America's most unlikely defenders of civil liberties.

Encores: Thursday August 7 at 1:45 a.m. and Sunday August 31 at 9:45 p.m. and 3 a.m.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Christian Bale Arrested in London

It was a sad shock to hear that Dark Knight star Christian Bale was arrested in London for allegedly assaulting his mother and sister before the hit film's premiere. While we can't call them friends exactly, we did have lunch once with Bale's mother Jenny, 61, when she visited in the U.S. a few years ago and did have some email contact with Bale's sister Louise, 40, when the Bales' father David (who we also were acquainted with) died. (We're actually just supposing it is Louise who AP is referring to; it can also be one of his other sisters, Erin or Sharon -- BeansTalk has not met either -- Reports have not named her.)

The news comes just as Bale was announced as starring in the fourth Terminator film. We've interviewed Bale on several occasions and for a long-time we were enthusiastic about his career. He's a wonderful actor who's worked for a long time and who is now just gaining recognition. We hope that if the allegations are true, that Bale will get help (and want it, too).

Your Sweet Scent

Our first thought when we heard about Body Mint was “Do they have it for dogs?” At any rate, we have long heard that chlorophyll is a great odor-absorber, for both humans as well as canines. We’ll keep you posted after we’ve (the humans at BeansTalk) tried a round of them.

Body Mint is a new, natural way to prevent body odor and bad breath -- and it works from the inside out.

Body Mint was developed in Hawaii to keep body-conscious Hawaiians smelling their best and feeling fresh even in the most tropical heat. It works neutralize all body odors...from morning mouth to body odor. Body Mint made of a highly specialized derivative of chlorophyll, the compound found in all green plants and vegetables and contains no herbs, colorings or preservatives -- safe, natural and tasteless . Imagine waking up and never worrying about morning breath again...or taking off your running shoes at the gym without worrying. Day and night, no matter what the temperature, before during and after exercise, Body Mint, says the company rep, provides an extra level of confidence. They must be confident, because Body Mint comes with a 100% guarantee.

In Hawaii, Body Mints are as essential to good grooming as showering and brushing teeth. Now available on the mainland U.S., Body Mints are also available throughout the U.S..

In Southern California, they're sold at Whole Foods, Longs Drugs, Henri Bendel in N.Y.C. and Fred Segal Stores in Los Angeles, and other retailers. Retail price is $15.99 for 60 tablets. Even CNN raved about Body Mint, which the company recommends for waking up without morning breath, combating body odors derived from stress or exercise.

Walsh Wows in Platinum

Kate Walsh arrives at The 2008 Espy Awards in Los Angeles, Calif. on Wednesday, July 16, 2008. Walsh wore a pair of long Platinum earrings, a Platinum cocktail ring and two wide Platinum bangles. (Fashion Wire Daily/Maria Ramirez)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Liz Phair Performance News

BeansTalk loves the melodies and biting lyrics of Liz Phair’ music. She’s also a good actress. We thought Jewel did a very good job in “Ride with The Devil,” but Phair did an equally surprising bit of thespian-ic work in a little-seen, but underrated film, “The Intern” which starred Dominique Swain.

That said, BeansTalk recently received this release regarding songstress Phair.

In celebration of the 15th year anniversary of the groundbreaking album Exile in Guyville and its reissue by ATO Records, Liz Phair will perform the entire album at three engagements: August 27 at Theater of the Living Arts in Philadelphia; August 28 at 9:30 Club in Washington DC; and August 29 at The Paradise in Boston. Tickets go on sale Wednesday, July 23 via Ticketmaster.

These three additional shows come on the heels of four hugely successful sold out June events - two in New York City and one in each San Francisco and Chicago. Said Jon Pareles of The New York Times in his recent review of one of Phair's Exile in Guyville shows, "After 15 years of other people's indie-rock idiosyncrasies, "Exile" still holds up in all its conflicting impulses: its determination to be 'adamantly free' and its longing for someone to trust, its swagger and its pain." A modern classic, Pitchfork recently gave the album a 9.6 rating while both Rolling Stone and Blender gave Exile in Guyville a perfect score of five stars ("*****").

Exile in Guyville, which was out of print, is again available on CD, vinyl and - for the first time ever - in digital format. The special reissue package includes three never-before-released songs from the original recording sessions: "Ant in Alaska," with Phair simply accompanying herself on guitar, "Say You," which features Phair and a full band, and an untitled instrumental with Liz on guitar. Phair has also just completed a new, 80-minute DVD, "Guyville Redux," for the reissue.

In "Guyville Redux" - which features an introduction by Dave Matthews, founder/co-owner of ATO Records - Liz and the "guys" of Guyville take us back to the making of the album, the male-dominated, Chicago independent music scene of the early 1990's (which included Urge Overkill, Material Issue, and Smashing Pumpkins), and the Wicker Park neighborhood where it all happened. Phair interviews Gerard Cosloy and Chris Lombardi of Matador Records, which originally released the record, famed indie producer Steve Albini, Ira Glass of NPR's "This American Life," John Henderson of the elusive indie label Feel Good All Over, Brad Wood (producer of Exile In Guyville), John Cusack (who founded the Chicago avant-garde theater group New Crime Productions), Urge Overkill, and more.

Conceived as a song-by-song response to the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street, Exile in Guyville was released in 1993, and ranked #1 that year on both the Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics poll and Spin magazine's year-end critics poll. Incredibly influential to this day, its place as a seminal rock album has been reaffirmed by its inclusion in countless historical "best of" lists over the past 15 years, including: "Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums of All Time," Spin's "100 Greatest Albums, 1985-2005," Rolling Stone's "Women in Rock (the 50 essential albums)," Blender's "Best Indie Rock Albums of All Time," Pitchfork's "Top 100 Albums of the 1990's," and VH1's "Greatest Albums Of All Time," to name but a few. Exile in Guyville is, in the words of Pitchfork, "a certifiable indie roadtrip classic."

Phair is currently working on new studio album for the fall.

Friday, July 18, 2008

NatGeo Premieres

NatGeo is one of the channel’s BeansTalk checks through the on-screen cable guide – we DVR shows that interest us… we just received their premiere releases and we’ve listed some here, including the descriptions of two new “Taboo” episodes – they’are a little sensationalistic, but fascinating nonetheless.

“Taboo: Touching the Dead” *SEASON PREMIERE*

Wednesday, August 6, at 9:00 PM ET/PT (World Premiere)

Seeing death can fill people with horror, and touching the dead, to many, is taboo. But every society needs people to handle our physical remains. In the Philippines, residents of densely populated Manila can’t escape overcrowding … even in death. Unable to afford permanent burial plots, the poor can only rent temporary resting places for the deceased. Meet one of the men who “evict” bodies when their five-year lease expires. Then, travel to Los Angeles, where an autopsy entrepreneur is tapping the growing market of Americans willing to pay money to find out exactly how their loved ones died. And in Bangkok, Thailand, a volunteer rushes to the scene of a fatal traffic accident. After she helps prepare the body for its trip to the morgue, she will stay at the scene of the accident and perform Buddhist rituals to help ferry the lost soul to the next life.

“Taboo: Extreme Kids”

Wednesday, August 6, at 10:00 PM ET/PT(World Premiere)

For many Americans, childhood is a time of innocence. But what one society sees as a normal way to grow up might seem extreme in the eyes of another. Could you send your young sons to a festival where men cut themselves with knives and razor blades to prove their religious devotion? For Shi’a Muslims in India, participation in this annual ritual of self-mutilation teaches one to overcome a fear of death and to face one’s own mortality. Next, would you let your 3-year-old step into a boxing ring to fight for money? In Thailand, young children earn extra income for their families by engaging in highly dangerous kickboxing matches. And in Australia, a 5-year-old boy continues to be breast-fed by his mother, despite being old enough to go to school.

Additional primetime highlights include:


“Howard Hughes Revealed”

8:00- 9:00 PM ET/PT

How and why did a man so rich, so accomplished and so visible become so reclusive, phobic and fragile? How much truth is there in the popular image of Hughes' descent into madness? And what can recent medical discoveries contribute to our understanding of this man, his habits, seemingly bizarre behaviors and final years? NGC reviews recent studies of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, the effects of repeated head injuries, the neurological damage of syphilis and the impact of addiction, to shed new light on America's most bizarre billionaire.


“China's Warrior King”

8:00 -9:00 PM ET/PT

As China’s first emperor, Qin was known as a brilliant strategist and the most powerful man of the ancient world. He led one of the most advanced civilization of his time, planned the first Great Wall, and built his most widely known legacy: his self-designed tomb and the amazing army of terra-cotta warriors, which will be exhibited in the United States. in a four-city tour beginning this spring. What motivated Qin to pursue his goals with merciless determination while sacrificing hundreds of thousands of his subjects? Now, NGC goes inside his massive mausoleum, using the latest archaeological research and imaging techniques to get an unparalleled glimpse of the treasures in the emperor’s tomb. 3-D reconstruction takes us on a virtual journey through this vast labyrinth and into the burial chamber of the emperor himself, a place not entered in more than 2,000 years.


“Lockdown: Newbies”

8:00 – 9:00 PM ET/PT

At the Wyoming State Penitentiary (WSP), 30 new correctional officers have one thing in common: none of them have ever worked in a prison before. WSP is chronically and dangerously, understaffed - even the inmates know how dire the situation is. To find new officers, the prison went recruiting in states rife with unemployment. The COs moved to Wyoming for a job. Now, NGC follows three rookies, including a recent college graduate, a carpenter and a 27-year-old mother of two, about to face the toughest criminals in the state. Witness firsthand the challenges of officer training, manipulative inmates and working in this dangerous environment. Witness firsthand the challenges of officer training, manipulative inmates and working in this dangerous environment.


“Break it Down: Bridge”

8:00 – 9:00 PM ET/PT

It was once one of the longest bridges in the world, but now it must come down. See how 24,000 tons of steel and concrete from the Carquinez Bridge in San Francisco are dismantled and recycled. Witness how engineers attempt to do it in a new way: They turn spans of the bridge into ships and then sail them away in less than 48 hours. But this new innovation brings new risks to all involved, including two functioning bridges on either side that stand dangerously close.


“Battle of the Bears”

8:00 – 9:00 PM ET/PT

In the heart of Yellowstone National Park, there is a vicious struggle between two of the world's most powerful creatures - black bears and grizzly bears. When a black bear was found slain by a grizzly bear in 1990 it was the first documented case in 60 years of research. Over the next 15 years, three more slaughtered black bears were discovered and researchers struggled to determine the factors behind these deaths. Now, the National Geographic Channel, with a team of scientists, investigates this Battle of the Bears.

“Decoding the Dead Sea Scrolls”

9:00 – 10:00 PM ET/PT

The Dead Sea Scrolls are considered one of the most significant discoveries of the 20th century but also one of the most controversial. Representing nearly every book of the Jewish Bible and the Old Testament of the Christian Bible, they provide intriguing insight into a passionate belief system which challenges long-standing traditions and beliefs. In Decoding the Dead Sea Scrolls, a dream team of archaeological and theological experts unravel their mystery and explores theories surrounding their creation, including the Church’s 50-year unofficial embargo on their publication.

"King Tut and the Lost Dynasty "

10:00 – 11:00 PM ET/PT

Narrated by Emmy award-winning Alfre Woodard, King Tut and the Lost Dynasty documents a high-tech forensic investigation by international experts lead by Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, dedicated to resolving the fate of the famed queen.


“Dangerous Encounters with Brady Barr: Undercover Hippo”

8:00 – 9:00 PM ET/PT

Armed with a specially designed, lifelike 200-pound Kevlar hippo suit that is covered in hippo dung and mud, Dangerous Encounters’ Brady Barr goes on a mission to get within arm's reach of hippos without harming them or injuring himself. The goal: to extract a sample of wild hippo "super sweat" and analyze its protective agents, which one theory suggests may hold powerful antibiotics and sun-blocking properties. If the secrets of hippo sweat are unlocked, it could lead to the development of new antibiotics and sun blocks for humans. Research of this kind has been done on captive hippos, but never on wild, unsedated hippos.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Travel Channel Celebrates the Staycation

In light of sky rocketing gas prices, increasing airline costs, airport security measures, and a weakening exchange rate, many travelers are staying closer to home for that much need vacation. Instead of opting for pricier options, vacationers are looking to their own backyards and staying closer to the city limits for a ‘staycation.’ During the week of August 4-8, Travel Channel will present, STAYCATION WEEK, a week of programming dedicated to indulging in the unique destinations viewers all ready call home.

Staycations, trips taken closer to or at home, allow travelers to truly enjoy, relax, and indulge in the places that might otherwise be overlooked. Experiencing an at-home vacation is an excellent travel option free of the stress of airports, lines, and budget restraints.

STAYCATION WEEK on Travel Channel will be completely interactive. With online tips, and relevant VOD, viewers will have all they need to plan their own staycation. For more information on planning a staycation, including videos and one tank of gas trips, visit

Programs for Staycation Week:

Monday, August 4


US Southwest

Premiering at 10PM

Tony sets off for a great American road trip, ready to explore the country's Southwest region.

Tuesday, August 5


New York

Encore at 9PM

Andrew heads to his hometown to recharge his battery and get a reminder of why he got involved in global food foraging in the first place.


Encore at 10PM

Andrew explores the state he calls home, Minnesota, tasting everything from deep-fried bar food to sophisticated cuisine. He discovers you don’t have to travel the globe to enjoy bizarre foods.

Wednesday, August 6


Encore at 8PM

From the best grub to the only truck stop with parking spaces for horses, EXTREME TRUCK STOPS takes viewers to the biggest, best and wildest truck stops in the US.


Premiering at 9PM

EXTREME WATERPARKS takes viewers on a water coaster that rockets uphill to a bowl ride that spins riders at a dizzying 35 feet per second.


Encore at 10PM

ALL YOU CAN EAT PARADISE is the show for epicureans with unending appetites, featuring the lavish chocolate bar at Boston’s Langham Hotel, the bountiful Brazilian barbeque at Gaucho’s Grill in Los Angeles, and Las Vegas’ famous Bellagio buffet

Thursday, August 7


Encore at 8PM

The hot dog is the ultimate leisure food - fast, fun, and served in a bun. HOT DOG PARADISE explores everywhere from Pink's of Hollywood to Nathan's famous in New York.


Encore at 9PM

Explore the country for the best burgers in the land, from Louis in New Haven, CT, to the rise of burger chains and even to wild game burgers pushing the boundaries of a typical burger.


Washington, DC

Premiering at 10PM

Sam explores the colorful, fun side of DC by eating Ethiopian food, checking out a bohemian poetry event, shopping in Eastern Market and dining at a drag queen brunch.

Friday, August 8



Encore at 8PM

Samantha explores the neighborhoods of Orlando. She meets the locals, discovers the downtown art-scene and a fantastic soul food eatery, as well as Winter Park, Orlando’s premiere shopping and dining district.

San Francisco

Encore at 9PM

Samantha travels to San Francisco where she visits some of her favorite dining locations and takes an interactive culinary tour. She discovers underground supper clubs and attends a competitive cookery classes.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Brit Series It’s Me or the Dog Comes to U.S.

Animal Planet Brings British Hit Across the Pond, Seeks Families In Need Of Assistance With Their Disorderly Dogs and Each Other--

Sleepless nights, friends making excuses for not coming to visit or frequent arguments over snuggling with man’s best friend instead of your spouse -- these are issues international dog trainer Victoria Stilwell helps families deal with in the U.S. version of Animal Planet’s It’s Me or the Dog. Ricochet Television is searching for families with one or more rambunctious canines whose behavior is negatively impacting their relationships.

In this new installment, Stilwell travels to Los Angeles and Atlanta and try to restore harmony in homes where the dogs are running riot, and the family is in the dog house. Stillwells’s reward-based training techniques seek to make dogs obedient family members; in turn relieving stress from pet owners so they can focus on their relationship with each other instead of the household havoc inspired by their pooch. The series debuts on Animal Planet this fall.

An author and dog trainer, Stilwell is from Wimbledon, England. She has trained dogs in London and New York since 1990 and is the co-founder of Dog Trainers of New York, a dog training and behavior modification company, which has a second location in New Jersey. She’s written a companion book to the U.K version of the series called It’s Me or the Dog: How to Have the Perfect Pet, and her second book called Fat Dog Slim was released in February 2007. She’s certified by the Animal Behavior and Training Associates and is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. She also dedicates her time and skill to working with shelter animals to help increase their prospects of being adopted.