Brad Pitt isn’t the attention-seeking Hollywood superstar many people assume leading men and women in the film industry are. That much is clear from his recent interview with New York Times writer, Kyle Buchanan. He didn’t dress in flashy clothing to their meeting at the Los Angeles Griffith Observatory. He wore a gray newsboy cap, a t-shirt, and was unshaven. Pitt is quiet, reserved even, and proves to us that even though he knows how to play a motormouth, that’s all he’s doing—playing, acting.
He attests this to his upbringing in Springfield, Missouri. Like many men who grew up in the 1960’s and 70’s, Pitt was raised with a “be-capable, be-strong, don’t-show-weakness thing,” as he so eloquently puts it. That sort of upbringing molded him into that sort of man, and while he is thankful for some aspects of it, he is fully aware problems have arisen as a result.
“I’m grateful that there was such an emphasis on being capable and doing things on your own with humility, but what’s lacking about that is taking inventory of yourself,” Pitt says. “It’s almost a denial of this other part of you that is weak and goes through self-doubts, even though those are human things we all experience. Certainly, it’s my belief that you can’t really know yourself until you identify and accept those things.”
After years in the industry, Pitt doesn’t spend much time at fancy award shows and parties. He didn’t even attend the Oscars when a film he executive produced, Moonlight, was up for a number of nominations—instead, he was at James Gray’s house, a director and longtime friend of Pitt. He found out about the La La Land versus Moonlight Best Picture debacle second hand, so which he simply replied “Oh wow, that’s cool.”
“He wasn’t unappreciative, obviously,” Gray says, “but Brad won’t get caught up in pomp and circumstance. I think he knows to stay centered.”
The two have collaborated on a number of projects, but as the years have gone on, and Pitt has fallen out of the spotlight, so has the amount of jobs he’s willing to take on. Gray says that this is his “only quibble with Brad,” that he doesn’t star in enough movies despite the fact that he can “command the screen in a way very few other people can.”
Pitt, however, says he isn’t as interested in acting as he once was. He’ll take jobs that call to him, but for the most part, the actor finds himself more drawn to producing. Many may not realize, but Pitt has backed a vast number of critically acclaimed films over the past several years—the aforementioned Moonlight, as well as 12 Years a Slave, If Beale Street Could Talk, and Selma with his production company Plan B.
“Producing just means you don’t have to get up really early and put on makeup,” he jokes. “It’ll be fewer and farther in between for me, just because I have other things I want to do now. When you feel like you’ve finally got your arms around something, then it’s time to go get your arms around something else.”
Read more of the beautifully written piece on the New York Times website.
Veteran-turned-businessman Daniel Shaw found a place for himself in the procurement industry. After years of serving the nation in the Navy, Shaw wanted to continue serving the people of this nation through healthcare. This is how Academy Medical, a certified Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) that helps companies provide cutting edge medical and surgical products to government medical facilities, was born.
In this interview, Shaw discusses his history with the navy, his transition into the world of procurement, and what is in store for Academy Medical.
Interviewology: Tell us a little about your background. What led you to join the military?
Daniel Shaw: I was born and raised in Mobile, Alabama. In 1991 I graduated from the US Naval Academy and was selected to be a Naval Aviator. I chose the Naval Academy because it was a challenge. I was told by a guidance counselor in early high school that I would never get there, and I set out to prove him wrong. I worked hard and stayed focused to show that someone from modest beginnings can not only get into the Naval Academy, but thrive in the competitive environment.
I completed flight training as a Navy Pilot and was deployed around the world in multiple military theaters.
I: How did your experience in the Navy form you as a businessman?
DS: In the military your seniors, peers, and subordinates must be able to trust what you’re saying. Lives depend on it. I firmly believe in honest, straightforward business relationships—“do what you say and say what you do.” That has been the cornerstone of our business approach.
I: What came after the Navy that led you to develop Academy Medical?
DS: I was hired straight out of the navy as a medical distributor. I was considered somewhat of an atypical hire at that time. However, I was hired by a West Point graduate, who later commented that he knew what he was getting. Since then, I formed a partnership and have developed and grew the business into its form today.
Daniel Shaw. Credit: Academy Medical
I: How important of a role does the procurement process and Academy Medical play in the healthcare industry?
DS: The government procurement process is, in many ways, a challenge for all companies, small or large. Today, the government is trying to streamline their procurement process – to become more like a commercial hospital system – with more contracting, better prices, and a smoother ordering mechanism. Many businesses often don’t have the expertise, resources, or even the patience to deal with the bureaucracy and systemic issues embedded in the government contracting process. This most often results in extremely lengthy wait times for products to see the market. Academy Medical is well positioned to help these companies navigate the contracting process– dramatically shortening product wait times which results in quicker access and revenue turns with emerging technologies.
I: Why was it important to you that the company be mostly led by veterans?
DS: Veterans have a strong work ethic and commitment to an overall larger goal. They can be counted on to wake up in the morning, think independently, set goals, and accomplish them. That is the fabric of Academy leadership, but the same goes for our mid and lower level personnel.
I: How does Academy Medical position itself with regard to the technological changes now taking place in the surgical implement manufacturing industry?
DS: Academy Medical’s goal is to provide the newest, most innovative products to help clinicians improve patient care. Our ability to help companies gain access to numerous government sales channels– often much faster than they could on their own– provides access to new products quickly. Our vendor partners know that we can help them get products on government contracts, and they come to us with any new innovations that would benefit the government medical community. The result is that clinicians can treat veterans, active military, and their families with the best treatment options available.
I: How does being a SDVOSB set Academy Medical apart from other procurement companies?
DS: We at Academy Medical are fiercely proud of being classified as an SDVOSB. We support veterans and work very hard every day to help provide the best possible health care to them and their families. VA statutory requirements place us at the pinnacle of VA purchasing preference, but we take a step further to provide value for that purchase. We work with both our vendor partners and government agencies to provide the best products (including new and innovative therapies) at the best possible prices. That value is then bundled with a technologically-centric platform, all the while streamlining the entire end-to-end procurement process.
I: What role does philanthropy play in your vision as a company?
DS: I strongly believe in giving back to the community, especially to those who have given their all to our country. I hope to continue supporting Veteran causes, and as Academy grows, play a larger role to help those in need.
I: What is the most fulfilling aspect about your job?
DS: At Academy, we’re problem solvers. I really enjoy creating win-win scenarios where our vendors and government partners alike see the value and benefit from their relationship with us.
I: What exciting things are in store for the future of Academy Medical?
DS: Academy has developed key partnerships and cutting-edge technology, specifically focused in the VA market. We’re very fortunate to be well-positioned to help solve several contractual, statutory, and logistic VA issues. Our technology and expertise also allows us to be extremely valuable in pursuit of other opportunities in other governmental markets.
I: How have recent changes in the healthcare industry effected the government process of procuring medical supplies?
DS: All governmental agencies, not only the DoD and VA are coming under more and more scrutiny with respect to their spending as it relates to the return on that spend. The VA and DoD are especially visible, as they treat our heroes, veterans, active military, and their families. As a result of the increased review of departmental spending, we are seeing both the VA and the DoD transition away from the “open market” platform and more towards contracting.
The rationale for using contracts is obvious– more visibility and better pricing. By increasing the utilization of contracting vehicles, the government medical procurement process can save time and money while not negatively impacting the quality of care. In addition, both agencies—especially the VA— are in the middle of attempting to modernize their supply chain and procurement practices to mirror what happens on the commercial side.
I: What does Academy Medical look for in the businesses the company partners with?
DS: First, we look for vendor partners that can manufacture and deliver innovative healthcare technologies to our Veteran community. Second, and just as important, is their ability to see the value of doing business in that space. Gone are the days of varied, arbitrary, and sometimes even inflated pricing. We work with our vendors and contracting to deliver consistent, competitive, and long-term national pricing. We then work together to shape that message and market that total value to the government buyers and users.
I: What is Academy’s advantage over other companies seeking to work with manufacturers?
DS: Academy medical offers more value than competitors in terms of agility, expertise, access points, and competitive platform. Our use of technology offers seamless integration while maximizing continuity and minimizing workflow disruptions.
We have extensive experience in sourcing government solicitations and troubleshooting procurement issues. In fact, Academy Medical fields account executives whose role is to ensure a trouble-free procurement process. Only Academy Medical has Flightline, our robust web-based electronic commerce platform that connects our manufacturing partners with the Government end users and enables real-time order processing and shipment tracking, resulting in a streamlined and traceable purchasing and shipping process.
Academy Medical has numerous contracting sales channels to offer ease of purchases in their appropriate technology and delivery space.
And finally, Academy Medical qualifies and is verified as a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business. We are the VA’s first choice in the purchasing process, but are given priority in all governmental agencies as a preferred buying channel.
In this day and age, there are a handful of names in Hollywood that everyone knows. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t seen any of their films, you know them by name—Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Quentin Tarantino. They are Hollywood royalty.
This makes their film, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood¸ a sort of royal court, and the court doesn’t end there. The production team and cast is full of stars from Kurt Russell to Dakota Fanning, just as a film about the changing landscape of Hollywood should be.
“[This is] probably my most personal [film],” Quentin Tarantino says about the project. “I think of it like my memory piece. Alfonso [Cuarón] had Roma and Mexico City, 1970. I had L. A. and 1969. This is me. This is the year that formed me. I was six years old then. This is my world. And this is my love letter to L.A.”
It’s a well-documented fact that Tarantino’s process of filmmaking is rather different from many of his colleagues. According Leonardo DiCaprio, those differences are down to the feeling one gets when they arrive to set.
“His sets are so magnetic. You don’t walk onto sets like this anymore, where everyone has respect for the process. There’s this celebration of a way of making movies that has slowly become an antiquity in this industry. Quentin puts a tremendous amount of thought into making these characters come to life, making the authenticity of the period come to life. There’s also this freedom—an energy—we feel on his set. It’s become a rarity to have a process the way he has it.”
As the cast and crew have poured their blood, sweat, and tears into this project, the project has poured something back into many of them: a feeling of nostalgia. Tarantino and Pitt, especially, recall growing up in the age the film is based, and how the television and cinema shaped their lives. The film harkens back to a style of filmmaking that is very often neglected in the industry these days.
“The positive of the new landscape is you see more people getting opportunities,” Brad Pitt says. “But I see something else happening with the younger generations. I was dismayed at how many twenty-year-olds have never seen Godfather, Cuckoo’s Nest, All the President’s Men—these films that are in the Bible to me. And they may not even get to see them. I’ve always believed every good film finds its eyes, inevitably. But there’s a shift in attention span. I’ve been hearing from newer generations that they’re used to something shorter, quicker, big jump, and get out. And the streaming services work that way; you can move on to the next one if you’re enticed. What I always loved about going to a cinema was letting something slowly unfold, and to luxuriate in that story and watch and see where it goes. I’m curious to see if that whole form of movie watching is just out the window with the younger generations. I don’t think so completely.”
Dr. Larry fan is an esteemed and award-winning plastic surgeon in San Francisco where he founded his nationally recognized boutique medical practice, 77 Plastic Surgery. Dr. Fan leads his medical team with the inspiration of the “beauty that surrounds and resides within all of us.”
The Sophia News recently chatted with Dr. Larry Fan about beauty and plastic surgery trends and issues. This interview was inspired by Dr. Fan’s prominence in the world of cosmetic and plastic surgery. In the interview Dr. Fan shared his philosophy for helping people reach their realistic goals for beauty, and gain more self-confidence in the process.
Sophia News: Please describe your passion and career path towards becoming a plastic surgeon.
Dr. Fan: When I was in college I decided to be a doctor, I wanted to help people in choosing my career. I enjoy being a surgeon When I was 21 I broke my nose playing basketball and I did not think it was a big deal at the time but over the years my nose became very crooked and it became a big issue for me over time. My nose began to make me very self-conscious, when I was out and about I could see people staring at my face and I was very comfortable.
I ultimately decided to get my nose fixed and with that experience I learned what it means to be unhappy with your appearance. That lead me to plastic surgery. When I was in medical school I realized, I liked plastic surgery more than other parts of medicine. I wanted to work with my hands and be very active. I grew up being an athlete and this physical aspect of plastic surgery appealed to me greatly. I find it very fulfilling.
The impact of positivity it has on people’s self-esteem is very powerful and I know it firsthand.
SN: How would you describe your average patient?
LF: My average patient is that there is no average patient. The ages and cultural backgrounds all vary. The reasons for coming to me and wanting plastic surgery are many and everyone has a unique story. Demographically, my patients are 85% women, though I have a greater portion of men compared to other doctors.
The age varies from young women who want larger breasts in their 20s to women in their 70s. Being in San Francisco I have all ethnicities, a very diverse patient format. Many south Asian, Hispanic, all sorts.
SN: Do you find that standards of beauty and sexuality vary greatly between San Francisco and Los Angeles or across the country?
LF: First, I think across the USA, everybody wants to feel beautiful, younger, and geography does not have much an impact about it. It’s a timeless desire for women. There are some subtle differences in expectations and pace in San Francisco Bay Area than Los Angeles. In San Francisco, they are more discreet and favor more natural looking results, versus L.A. that wants more dramatic or extreme.
In San Francisco, the people don’t want others to notice the surgery procedures as much as perhaps other cities. In L.A., it’s more dramatic and more flashy and more noticeable. In Beverly Hills for example, the population is far more made up and beauty-conscious than in San Francisco. There is a noticeable cultural difference in terms of beauty and self-awareness between San Francisco and Los Angeles, which is reflected in subtle ways.
SN: What do you find most fulfilling as a plastic surgeon?
LF: Helping people feel better about themselves. What I love about my career is that I get to help people; that I have firsthand experience that improving your appearance can help you lead a fuller more confident life. I have patients who come in dissatisfied and struggling with self-confidence. Something as simple as helping a flight attendant who was bothered by the size of her ears. She came to me to help her reduce the size and took time and courage for her to do this. She was in her 70s. Once she saw the difference she shed tears and gave me a hug; telling me, “I can’t tell you how much this helps me, and it was something I was dealing with and struggling with my entire life.” I feel lucky to help people in a profound way.
SN: Do you see the future of breast augmentation change greatly in terms of technologies and implants?
LF: It’s one of the most popular cosmetic procedures in the entire world. My patients generally have a challenging relationship with their breasts. This could mean desiring larger breasts, smaller breasts or changing their appearance or shape via a breast lift. Breast augmentation is a procedure that has been popular for a few decades and that over the years the procedure has become more refined and safer both medically and aesthetically. That means the implants have continually improved. Twenty years ago, there was a concern about leakage and safety of silicone. There were many studies and panels, and after five or ten years everyone agreed that silicone implants were safe and risks were dramatically reduced. Over the past ten years, new implants are more durable, hold their shape better, and appear more natural. The procedure is better and safer than ever as a result, though one must always remember there are risks associated with any surgical procedure.
In addition, our understanding of the variables involved with breast implant technologies is better than ever as a result of these studies. We can now, as a result of the knowledge, make precise pockets and calculations when inserting the implants; respecting the patient’s tissue and other variables that decrease the risk of problems in short and long term. Understanding the variables help with the safety and overall cosmetic results.
There will always be a level of risk since it is a surgical procedure, and I tell my patients, “you need to understand that getting breast implants is a lifetime choice.” I tell them, “there are risks and over the next ten years there is a small chance you may need a second procedure to replace the implants or for some other reason.”
In the last two years, there has been a small link between silicone breast implants and a rare form of lymphoma that has garnered media attention and it is something I tell my patients. I try to tell my patients that the chance is extremely low; I want people to be aware of all the risks.
SN: What level of consultation do you provide for married women and their husbands concerning expectations? Is it common for you to temper expectations?
LF: Many of our patients are married women. Typically, the husbands are involved at various levels. The most common scenario is that the women are doing the procedures for themselves. Typically, the husband is supportive and will say, “I think you are perfect and you don’t need anything, but if this is important to you then I am here to support you.”
At the same time, I tell all my women patients that it is important that you should only make changes to your body that you want and not do it for anyone else. When I do on occasion see that a woman feels pressured to undergo a procedure because of pressure by her husband, I will convey my input.
SN:Do you ever have patients who are celebrities or in the public eye? If so what types of special services do you offer them for privacy?
LF: I do get celebrities and public figures regularly. When people in the public eye come in we do provide a level of customized care for privacy and discretion. My team is experienced in providing privacy and special needs to all patients, not just celebrities. I value everyone’s privacy, regardless of whether or not a patient is a celebrity. I am comfortable with the needs of those in the public eye. For example, I have a famous millionaire who is a male patient, and we work with him and our assistants to give him a few special requests regarding services. We try to minimize waiting times and we are happy to help people with special needs such as hours of visit, security, and other things. We try to accommodate everyone’s special requests.
SN: What is the most challenging aspect of being a plastic surgeon today?
LF: I think one of the most challenging aspects is managing the expectations of my patients. As a surgeon, I want perfection, and so do my patients; whether it is the result, the care, or the appearance that someone has. And yet plastic surgery, like all surgery and all medicine, it is both an art and a science and there are factors that are out of my control or our control. It is impossible to guarantee any results. Complications and poor results are possible.
Patients have various levels of understanding and expectations of what they are going through. Especially people who are younger, they expect things to be perfect with no hardship, even if they are starting from a base of genetic appearance, their expectations are sometimes unrealistic.
For example, I do get women who are perfectly fit or beautiful who may have put some weight on and want to be a size zero when they are already fine. They want liposuction to work magic and make them meet an expectation of self-image that is not realistic. I spend a lot of time communicating the importance of realistic goals and expectations to them. Even when I spend a few hours with my patients about this, at the end of the procedure I can tell they may still be struggling with disappointment, and this is a challenging for me personally.
SN:Why do you think so few actresses are willing to admit they have had a cosmetic surgery procedure?
LF: It is true that cosmetic surgery is far more accepted by society at large than by celebrity culture. More and more people are actually considering plastic surgery procedure. And yet if you look at cosmetic surgery from certain perspectives and traditions within the USA, there are people who are more moralizing, and there is a big divide culturally in American society where it is not accepted.
In Hollywood, beauty standards are all about entertainment and fantasy. For movie stars their cache is predicated on looking like goddesses and gods who cannot do anything wrong, who are naturally perfect and who do not need any medical intervention to maintain their appearances; hence the reluctance to discuss and admit to plastic surgery procedures. Hollywood perpetuates this fantasy of perfection and beauty, which is not real and not realistic. For an actress or actor, the appeal must be that their looks are effortless and God-given. This is an illusion. Plastic surgery puts a lie to this myth, this image of fantasy perfection. I imagine one day with the continuing popularity of cosmetic surgery procedures Hollywood’s attitude may evolve.
SN: Does philanthropy or charitable giving play any role in your work and career?
LF: Yes, philanthropy is important.
I performed emergency and elective reconstructive surgery for the indigent and underserved in the San Francisco Bay Area on a weekly basis for more than a decade (at a public hospital, San Mateo Medical Center). I stopped earlier this year because of the business of my practice and because taking call was talking too much time away from my family.
Chuck Cady has been the primary owner and operator of Cady Reporting since 1981. The Cleveland-based firm is a family business that has been a major part of cases across all areas of practice, big and small. Because of their longevity and dedication to customer service, Cady Reporting has become a staple of not only the Cleveland legal scene, but the Ohio legal scene.
Interviewology: What intrigued you about the field of court reporting?
Chuck Cady: Getting a ringside seat to what fascinates so many people– the goings-on of court cases. You get a slice of so many aspects of life and education.
I: How long have you been with Cady Reporting?
CC: I began with its prior iterations in September of 1981.
I: Is there a specific aspect of business that you would say your firm does better than others?
CC: Like so many services, it can become easy to be commoditized. I think the best way to stand out and that we stand out is being pleasant to work with and making people feel that we’ll happily go the extra mile to take care of their needs.
I: What led you running your own firm, as opposed to working with another?
CC: Our buyout took place in January of 1999, and at that time I had been with the firm for 18 years, so it seemed like a natural transition.
I: How does acting as a court reporter for a specific field of law—say, criminal—vary from working in a different field—say, maritime law?
CC: Because we deal in terminology in creating a written record, knowing the terms in a specific field is vital to making sure the transcript properly reflects the intended meaning. And for the information to flow well to the fingers of a court reporter, it has to flow through the brain smoothly, with little or no hesitation.
Since you specifically asked about maritime law, one of my favorite examples of requiring familiarity with terminology is knowing the term fo’c’sle, pronounced “fokesul,” which is a shortened form of “forecastle,” a superstructure at or immediately aft of the bow of a vessel, used as a shelter for stores, machinery, etc., or as quarters for sailors. That one can throw you for a loop, especially spoken with a thick Canadian accent. And that is a very big part of our challenge, understanding not just the terms spoken but many times with an accent involved.
I: Since you first became a certified court reporter, how has the field changed in regards to technology and culture?
CC: It has changed very much so. In the past we needed our steno machine, paper, a Dictaphone, and a typewriter. As with pretty much every field now, it required computerization, along with the necessary software for creating the transcript, as well as allowing attorneys to use a real-time feed if they choose, either in person or streamed remotely. And our firm, like most others, couldn’t operate without a dedicated IT person for security and know-how.
I: You’ve referred to the firm as a family business. Do you think that connection has a direct influence on your quality of service?
CC: Yes, it absolutely does. Our name is on the door. We need to back that up.
I: What are some aspects about court reporting you think people misinterpret?
CC: That it’s an easy job merely because we’re sitting there quietly doing our job, (or, at least, we should be), and, therefore, the pay doesn’t seem commensurate with the job skill. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The completion rate in reporting schools is around 7%, and I feel one of the reasons is because people underestimate the skill involved. They have no idea all the gears whirring away in the court reporter’s brain and sometimes their stomach as they strive to deal with a fast-speaking expert witness with a heavy accent, or just a very fast deposition where people are not aware of making a good record.
A pianist has the opportunity to practice his or her piece many times before a performance. Imagine a pianist having to play the notes in front of an audience as the notes are streamed across their eyes, never having seen them before. The court reporter has to do the very same thing with words streamed into their ears and transferred to their fingers and keyboard at a very high rate of speed, and no one tells us what they’re about to say before they say it.
I: What do you think it takes to be a good court reporter?
CC: Besides having the requisite skill level, it takes good attention to detail, which requires a high level of caring about the transcripts that you produce. It also takes good people skills and discretion to know how to conduct yourself in a way as to do your job well without being intrusive. Most reporters I know are total perfectionists; they fret over whether they should use a comma or a semicolon. As a sort of bottom line, I have yet to find a situation that doesn’t fall into one of the two basic vital categories for success: professionalism and communication.
The jump between film and photography is a lateral one that many take one way or another. Colin Lane when to the University of Texas for film, a long way from his New England roots. When he made the transition to a photographic focus, being a band’s principle photographer had not been his goal—but between 2001 and 2006, he achieved just that.
One slender hand cloaked by a black, Chanel glove rests easily on the lower back of a nude woman, who leans forward and arches her back. The shot is a close composition, and reveals absolutely nothing seemingly “inappropriate” by any means. We see her shape and her smooth skin—nothing more. By simply describing the piece, one would have no idea just how erotic and eye-catching the photo truly is.
Though he had just spent the day at a fashion shoot, the photo was not among those taken in a professional setting. He was at his apartment, wanting to use up the rest of his Polaroids. The woman in the photo is not a renowned model (at least, we don’t know for sure, as the identity of the woman has never been revealed), she is his at-the-time girlfriend.
…when she slid the glove on and bent forward, I knew it was the perfect shot – simple, straightforward, graphic and just so sexy. When I developed it, I stuck it in my portfolio and thought nothing more of it.”
Photography for the Strokes
Fast forward a year or two to early 2001. Colin Lane has been commissioned by the Face, a fashion magazine popular between the 1980s to the mid-2000s, to photograph an up-and-coming band, The Strokes. It was Lane’s first commission, and it was The Strokes’ first real photoshoot. They snuck up to the roof of a building to get great shots of the band against the New York Skyline at sunset.
A few weeks later, Lane was called upon again by the band to take a few more pictures and just hang out. Lane brought his portfolio on a whim, and out of sheer luck, their art director called and insist they find an album cover for their first album,Is This It. So, Lane handed it over, and the band picked the photo of Lane’s ex-girlfriend.
From then, until 2006, Colin Lane became their regular photographer. He toured with them, shot the lead singer’s wedding, and became friends with them. When things began to unravel between bandmates, Lane moved on to other acts—such as Kings of Leon, Beck, and many more, but Lane says, “nothing has ever compared to the Strokes.”
It’s a shame, because they were incredible: even when they were on top of the world, they never became jerks. To the end, they always were welcoming, intelligent and humble young guys who deserved their success.”
Popular song from The Strokes’ first album, Is this It.
For over 35 years, Sean Penn has been a star people across America easily recognize. Be it a result of his five Oscar Nominations and two wins for Mystic River and Milk, his directorial ventures, his ties to actress Robin Wright, or perhaps a scandal, Sean Penn is a man who as truly established himself as a righteous force in Hollywood.
With the screen being such a prominent part of our understanding of Penn, many did not expect the actor who portrayed stoner Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High a topical and experimental novel.
A New Brand of Limelight
Bob Honey Who Just do Stuffis Sean Penn’s debut novel. The 176-page boook revolves around title character, Bob Honey, who partakes in a number of odd jobs from selling septic tanks to Jehovah’s Witnesses to assassinating the elderly. The plot is non-linear, the narrative is loose, and the satirical tone of the book has produced two realms of thought: some see the story-telling techniques as unique and comic, while others feel it is too undisciplined and a mess of incoherent writing.
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Penn discusses his ambitious work, as well as the transition from the world of film to the world of fiction. Feeling burnt out with the movie-making industry, Penn enjoys how writing a novel offered him “freedom from collaboration,” as he, “got to where [he] was not enjoying playing well with others as much as [he] used to.”
However, similar to the story itself, the book did not have a traditional conception. Penn wanted to release the book before the election in 2016, but hadn’t realized how time consuming publishing truly is. As a result, he released an incomplete version on Audible.
Some compare the novel’s style to those of Terry Southern and Thomas Pynchon, complex and satirical writers of the 20 century, Penn insists the potential impact other writers may have had on him was never a conscious one.
The influence that a writer can have on you is that you get a sense of how somebody has a freedom with words or something, and makes you want to find freedom with your words… You find a voice like you find a character and it’s not from a movie—it’s from life. It’s not from a book—it’s from life.”
A Complex Novel for a Complex America
It is clear feelings on the book extend from one extreme to the other, but many can agree on one aspect: it is politically charged. “America’s a complex place that’s doing all it can to be without any complexity at all,” Penn says.
Though he vocally disapproves of our current president, when asked about a portion of the story that seems to refer to Donald Trump, Penn insists that “at the end of the day, the book isn’t about leadership in our country. It’s about the culture in our country,” and even if there are some controversial aspects of the story and that people dissect it and point fingers, ultimately, it is fiction.
My business is to be clear that what I leave behind is going to be in sync with what I intended to leave behind.”
Kathleen Turner is a woman that, nowadays, you may not recognize her name, but you recognize her face, and more likely than not, her raspy voice. Those who grew up in the 80s, however, know her for her many diverse roles in movies such as Body Heat, Peggy Sue Got Married, and The Jewel of the Nile.
Her battle with rheumatoid arthritis and an addiction to alcohol put an unfortunate left turn in her career. But even in the face of difficult circumstances, Kathleen Turner refused to quit her passion. Perhaps her screen-work is not what it once was, but she has had a long and vibrant career in theater over the past many years. In a recent interview with Vulture, Kathleen Turner reflects on her life and work, but not without her iconic “steel and sass” that made her so appealing in the 80s.
The interview begins with a clear example of that non-conventional, yet strangely appealing attitude. The interviewer begins by addressing the differences between Elizabeth Taylor’s depiction of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?and Kathleen Turner’s interpretation. With no hesitation, Turner claims that she “[doesn’t] think [Taylor] was very skilled,” and that she was “lucky she got to do the play…and show the humor in it…”
It is clear, in just a couple of questions, that Kathleen Turner does not care about appearing too crass or forward. Turner is unapologetically herself—a rare and beautiful attribute for stars in Hollywood, and more impactfully, women in Hollywood.
What else, aside from luck, has driven your career?
Where does that anger come from?
Injustice in the world.
How does rage show up in your work?
In my cabaret show I use this passage from Molly Ivins… “Beloveds, these are some bad, ugly, angry times. And I am so freaked out. Hatred has stolen the conversation. The poor are now voting against themselves. But politics is not about left or right. It’s about up and down. The few screwing the many.” She wrote that over ten years ago and it’s no less true today.”
Among social and political opinions, Turner discusses the injustices she faced even as a household name in Hollywood. Many of her male cohorts, such as Michael Douglas and Jack Nicholson, seemed to view Turner as a trophy to be won, an “unspoken assumption that women were property to be claimed,” she says. The presumptuous culture and vapid air led Turner to live her life away from Los Angeles.
Along with her sass and supposed difficulty to work with, Kathleen Turner feels that it is partially there not being a “Kathleen Turner type character” that caused Hollywood to turn away. While creatively, playing such a wide range of characters was exciting and rewarding, Hollywood “never put her work together” and it ultimately was not “good for her financially.”
Despite being one of the most popular actresses in Hollywood, Turner reveals that she never studied acting. Different acting techniques and method acting seem unnecessary to the legend, who says that if the information she needs on the character is not in the script, “it’s not a good enough script.” Even her master class is called “Practical Acting,” where Turner claims “You just shut up and do it.”
At an age where many actors and actresses turn away from the stage lights, Kathleen Turner is still going strong. She describes herself as a tree “where the trunk is strong enough, and the roots are deep enough, that [she] can branch out in any direction.” Branch out, Turner certainly does, and it seems that she will only continue to flourish in the years to come.
Mark Shalloway is an Elder Law Attorney based out of West Palm Beach, Florida. His practice, Shalloway & Shalloway P.A. has been changing the lives of the elder and special needs communities in his areas for many years, but his work has had a national effect.
As one of the first certified Elder Law Attorneys in the United States, Mark Shalloway is a vocal advocate for proper care of our more vulnerable populations, and has served on a number of elder care committees and boards as both a member and chairman. He works to protect, but also educate the public on how to properly prepare themselves and their families for these more difficult aspects of life.
Interviewology: Tell us a bit about your journey into the legal field.
Mark G. Shalloway: My journey would begin being the son of an attorney. Some of my earliest memories are sitting in a chair at Dad’s office, playing with equipment. Funny thing is, I thought Dad said he was in “lost school,” not law school.
I was never pressured or even encouraged to go into law, but I found it fascinating. As I got older, I found an appreciation of lawyers. They’re the brunt of many jokes, but they help with such a wide spectrum of important topics. I found a compelling calling to be a part of a profession that Dad was a part of, but one that is also so diverse.
What I do day to day is very different from others. My field is different from real estate, criminal defense, tax law, or any number of other fields. There are people with law degrees who hold a political office, or work in a corporation. My journey into law recognized that latitude. I liked that. As a young guy, I didn’t know what path I would take, but I wanted an area where I could chart my path.
I: What inspired you to specifically take on the field of elder law?
MS: I had attended a continuing legal education class. One day in particular, there were a group of panelists looking for people who wanted to serve as advocates for elder communities and homes. I wanted to be civically and socially engaged in my community, so this caught my attention and I got involved.
That experience spun off into folks facing a need to pay for care in those facilities. They weren’t then, but now nursing homes are priced at $10,000. Most of us in middle class cannot afford that. Elder care lawyers look into these problems to find ways to benefit others. That is the heart and soul of elder law.
There were not a lot of books or guides for elder law when I started, and no board certification. Lawyers came together across the country in the early 90s and built this legal field. Compared to others, elder law is a young field. I have the privilege of serving in the charter class of board certified elder attorneys.
The field grew from traditional wills and trusts, to death and tax planning. People come to me looking to help secure life for family after they are gone. Elder law shifted to incapacitation. It turned into, “What happens when I get sick, not die?” So, they have to look into estate planning documents. This deals with diseases like Alzheimer’s or stroke.
We repurposed these documents to help people at home in assisted living places. The middle-class people struggle paying for this added monthly cost—$3,000 to $10,000 a month—for dressing, bathing, helping. Since these people need an aid and not a doctor, it isn’t covered, and we have to look into how Medicaid can benefit these people. We had to learn how to full disclosure shelter these assets with elder law. We can’t shelter every asset, but with planning we can work something out so they can qualify for Medicaid and nursing home care and not be broke.
I: Was it always the plan to create your own firm?
MS: I would say I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I learned that with one of my first jobs. I was working at a commercial litigation firm, and I treasured that experience, but it was too stifling. Not only was it the wrong field of law, banking, but it was far too rigid. My undergraduate work was theater, so I wanted to shape and grow my law firm with the creative vision that I had. I would need to be partners in a firm where I could really influence others with personality and culture.
I: How did you come about forming Shalloway & Shalloway with your father?
MS: When I had my experience with that first firm, I reached out to Dad and said “Look, I love where I’m at, but I would either prefer my own firm or to find a firm and become partners. Dad, are you interested in forming Shalloway & Shalloway, P.A.?”
Dad worked as an attorney when specialization was rare. In his time, it was much more common to be a general practitioner. He would work in real estate one day, then criminality, then divorce. I started in late 80s, so specialization was starting to catch on. I didn’t know how specialized that would get, and we started together. Early on it was more diverse—I was doing more estate planning and he was more generalized—and as I quickly grew into more elder law, he scaled back anything that was diverse and we focused on elder/special needs law.
I: You’ve worked with a number of elder law committees and boards as a member and chairman. What is the main goal of these organizations?
MS: Each of these organizations fall in different domains. Some are professional bars that help with professional legal development. The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA)—which I believe influenced me with ethical development, growth, and practice capacity—is made up of lawyers across the country that helped mature the field. I became the chairman in 2008, and I did a lot of travel working in different aspects of the field. I provided assistance to the group and the congress. It gave me a fascinating perspective on the federal level, and I was able to see how other states were working.
At same time, was I had local clients. I was working at Stetson, teaching elder law. In a little over 15 years, they have built up a master’s degree and elder law program for that school, and host nationally reputed special needs conference annually. This has had a profound influence on the special needs practice for clients under 65. We most recently extended to veterans’ benefits advocacy to educate the JAG (Judge Advocate General’s) corps.
Community service and engagement are constituencies we serve and understand, because they need long term care. We get involved in multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s communities to gain insight in order to better serve them. We learn and listen to what they go through, and teach what they need so we can advocate better for legislatures and congresses.
I: What are some misconceptions about elder law that you face in your career?
MS: Elder law is thought to be mostly wills and trusts work. I laugh when others say they are elder lawyers, but are specifically traditional, because elder law focuses on more than long term care planning. People not fluent in the field think it’s a new term for estate planning, but it’s nothing of the sort. It’s recognized by the bar, and it has national certifications and state certifications. There is a real distinction. It is more than a marketing word for wills and trusts, or estate planning.
Elder law is unique in that we define work by the client, not the subject. Divorce and real estate are both subjects, but elder law covers 13 different areas— from guardianship, living wills, and public benefits like Medicaid. We use wills and trusts, but we also use long term care facilities and taxes. I’ve tagged briefly number of subjects that fall under the umbrella. People don’t realize that the field covers over 12 areas.
Florida is known as retirement state, but we ironically only have a little more 100 certified elder law attorneys among the 100,000 attorneys in total. This is not the case for most other specialty areas. I find it ironic, given the amount of retirees.
I: How did you develop these free seminars you host on estate planning, and a number of other topics?
MS: It was organic in that it was out of need and awareness. Part of the reality of legal profession is that I am not organized as a non-profit, so getting law out helps, but education is more important. Speaking is done in many different venues. We speak a few times a month to create education and awareness. This creates an easy forum for someone who does not regularly work with lawyers.
There is intimidation and fear with booking with lawyer. If referred by someone else, that is a helpful resource, but if they need an elder law attorney, there is a lot of worry and fear. What we have found is that by offering the workshop, people can sit in audience anonymously, and the seminar serves as a free, low-key sample consultation. They can sit in room, hear a lawyer speak, and understand personality. They are exposed to the subject matter and can understand if it will help. If it’s not right fit, they just leave. If they want more, they can follow up. You can go on internet, read articles, but you can learn much more if you show up to a seminar. If that’s all you need, you leave, but if you want more it’s easy to continue.
MS: I work hard to try to establish what I call “objective credentials.” How does one measure what makes a good lawyer in the mind of client or referral source? I could stand on roof and say I’m good, but as a resource how does someone establish what makes a good lawyer? One standard of measure is bar certification. You have to maintain certification so knowledge is updated. Another is various reviews, where they give you a rating, or superlawyers, where other lawyers who have worked with you can give reviews. It is humbling. Reputation is easily damaged if you’re careless. I know I’ve got to earn it. It means the world to me. It comes from values my parents raised me on.
I: What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
MS: Easily the gratitude that I am blessed to receive when I am able to help family or individual who is going through most difficult season of life. When families reach out they are middle, not rich, some are pro-bono, but most are middle class. The middle class fall through the cracks because they don’t fit the requirements for benefits, and they are not very rich. They work hard—they could be teachers, or doctors, or journalists, or other good, hard working people who have saved and are facing Alzheimer’s, stroke, Parkinson’s, or have a spouse or child with special needs. They can face these diseases for years—for the rest of their lives—and that can impoverish you. If we can do Medicaid planning, that can help.
We get thank you letters, and cookies, and pictures. I don’t know where else we could make a livelihood and still make such a positive impact. I love coming into work and making a difference— to shelter the asset so that a person in a home can pay for a private room, or duty aid, or have a van and wheelchair lift. To me, that is not wicked debauchery and self-indulgence, it’s being a human being. If you can have joy and the lift take you wherever you want, you can’t do if you’re paying $10,000 at nursing home. But if Medicaid and savings can do that for you, it gives you a little sunshine. That stuff gets us this gratitude.
If there’s one thing we learned from Andy Warhol Museum Director, Patrick Moore, it’s that life can take us in all sorts of directions. Working as museum director at the world’s largest collection of the late and great Andy Warhol wasn’t a realized dream of Mr. Moore initially.
Winding Road to the Warhol
Patrick Moore didn’t major in art history of anything of the sort. He got his degree from Carnegie Mellon in theater directing. His first gig was in a space in New Your City known as “The Kitchen,” which was highly influenced by artists in the area. Much of the world done at this location was centered around the AIDS crisis, and this led Mr. Moore to a non-profit—The Estate Project for Artists with Aids—where he eventually became director.
Though the work was impactful and important, it is the type of work that takes a toll, and Patrick Moore burned out. In need of a stark charge, he packed his bags and changed paths once more. In Los Angeles, Mr. Moore became a writer and producer for Yahoo!. It wasn’t until his husband wanted to discover on new horizons that The Warhol came into focus.
…we came upon the idea of Pittsburgh, which I had always loved from my college days. It was then an obvious idea to get involved with The Warhol as Andy had always been my favorite artist and my background had been in the art world.”
Success in Pittsburgh
At the Warhol, Patrick Moore thrives. In an age where many feel that museums are dying, the Warhol is flourishing. It’s the careful balance of visual art, film, and music that makes the Warhol a “first day” attraction in Pittsburgh. The five unique floors delight Warhol curators and newcomers alike.
A large part of Andy Warhol’s platform—socially and work-based—was inclusion. Patrick Moore feels that is part of what makes the museum so successful, and what makes Warhol’s art consistently relevant for years to come.
He brought together every possible kind of person, both in his personal life, his creative environment of The Factory, and in his work itself. These were people of differing economic backgrounds, sexualities, races, genders. You name it. It was the mix that made it interesting. Uptown and downtown was just the start of it. And The Warhol is the same… We have one of the most diverse staffs of any art museum in America… There’s space for lots of different people at The Warhol and that’s because of the richness of Warhol’s legacy.”
To learn more about Patrick Moore and the Warhol, read the full interview at The Sophia News.