It’s the end of the day. Most of you have probably already slipped into your best sexy Olaf costumes by now, but for those of you near a computer, here’s a special treat: a short horror film from Arcade Fire called Festi. The 20-minute short follows Win Butler on his 27th birthday, centering on the “27 Club Curse.” What should be a fun, celebratory day takes an eerie turn. The band’s standout orchestral violins, for instance, are much more reminiscent of Psycho than Funeral. Be sure to keep an eye out for special appearances by Peter Gabriel, Slash, James Murphy, and more.
Relatives of a family of five found dead last month in the upstairs bedroom of their Springville, Utah, home, tell PEOPLE exclusively that they believe Benjamin and Kristi Strack took their own lives and the lives of their three children because the couple suffered from long-term mental illness and substance-abuse disorders. The Stracks were found dead by an older son, Janson McGee, with cups of red liquid next to their bodies, on Sept. 27. The children – Benson, 14, Emery, 12, and Zion, 11 – were found lying on and around the bed, covered with blankets up to their necks, with empty bottles of liquid methadone and boxes of cold and flu medication nearby. Investigators have determined the cause of death to be accidental or intentional poisoning (autopsy results won't be released until the end of November), but Benjamin Strack's brother says the deaths were no accident. Isaac Strack, 39, says family members cleaning out the Stracks' home a few days after the grim discovery found a notebook with a letter inside, written by Benson Strack to one of his best friends. "It was pretty clear that it was a goodbye letter," says Strack. "It indicated that Benson was aware that something was going to happen. Benson at least had some idea that he might be found dead someday." He and other distraught family members say that looking back, they now realize that Benjamin, 37, and Kristi, 36, were showing signs of mental illness, especially in the weeks before their deaths. "They had isolated themselves from neighbors and some of the family," he says, "and it had been awhile since Ben had been to work." Isaac and another relative, Bob McGee, Janson's uncle, say that Benjamin and Kristi Strack were also exhibiting "irrational fear," afraid that something or someone was going to harm them. "Their mental illness combined with substance-abuse disorder is what led to this tragedy," says Isaac. "Some of the changed behaviors before their deaths seemed out of place and didn't make sense at the time. But looking back now, they make sense. And now we want to speak out to prevent other people from having to endure what we are enduring." Extended family members believe that the couple were "victims of their minds," says McGee, with their mental illness caused and made worse by drug use. "This one action does not define the Ben and Kristi that we remember," he says. "They were caught in a vicious cycle that many people face in this world. There needs to be a greater sense of dialogue and urgency in our country regarding mental illness. It is simply a disease of the mind, and like any disease, we should work to cure it and prevent it." Lt. David Caron of the Springville Police Department told PEOPLE that while he appreciates the family members' concerns for people suffering from mental illness, it would be inappropriate to make any comment concerning the case. "Our contacts with the family were fairly limited in scope," he said. "Therefore I would defer to the family members who both knew and loved Ben and Kristi, and who are grappling with the sorrow caused by this tragic event."
FAMEFLYNET PICTURES When Kourtney Khloé Take the Hamptons premieres on Sunday, we'll see the start of the sisters invading the posh beach community.But that's not stopping us from already thinking of what locale Kourtney Kardashian and Khloé Kardashian should take on next."Kourtney was saying that she's never been to Dubai," Khloé told me while the two were promoting the Hamptons installment of the Kardashian franchise. "I would love to take her and the kids to Dubai. It just gets really hot in the summer."Kourtney chimed in, "I'm so ready.""I love it there," Khloé said, before adding, "I mean I would definitely would want to go to a place I've never been before. I think that adventure in itself is cool."Khloé admits spending so much time in the Hamptons wasn't exactly her cup of reality tea: "It was way more emotionally draining than I thought it was going to be and I went there as support for Kourtney and Scott because she asked me to go and I thought, Whatever, why not? Our houses are being redone, so it's like why not?" VIDEO: Khloé Kardashian talks about traveling to South Africa with French Montana AKM-GSI She added, "Being in the Hamptons for three months, it's a long time. It's a beautiful place so serene and great, but that's a weekend place in my opinion. Not a three-month place."Kourtney disagrees. "I would go next summer," she said. "I like it."Khloé has insisted that the extra pounds she put on over the summer was sympathy weight for pregnant Kourtney, who was struck with big bagel cravings."I had them literally for dinner every night," Kourtney said. "A bagel with cream cheese and jelly. I would have plain ones just in my bag at all times. Khloé would be like, 'What's in your purse?' I'd have two bagels at all times."But she probably won't have trouble taking off the pregnancy weight."You don't work out, so even when you're done with the baby, it falls off of you—you are a freak," Khloé said. "I literally work out every day and I beg for a pound to drop and it doesn't, so you and I are two different bodies. I can look at a box of vanilla wafers and gain weight."Khloé also explained that she realized her weight gain late this summer when she split her pants (she wasn't wearing underwear!) while she was dancing at the Made In America concert in Los Angeles.Kourtney Khloé Take the Hamptons premieres Nov. 2 on E! at 9 p.m. PHOTOS: The Kardashians as kids RELATED VIDEOS:
Starting to build the pre-release buzz, Paramount Pictures has just released a new teaser trailer for “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.” The much-anticipated flick features big name stars like Antonio Banderas, Tom Kenny, Clancy Brown and Rodger Bumpass, all under the direction of Paul Tibbitt. Per the synopsis, “SpongeBob goes on a quest to discover a stolen recipe that takes him to our dimension, our world, where he tangles with a pirate.” “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water” is slated to hit theaters on February 6th, 2015 so stay linked to the GossipCenter for all the latest details.
Close your eyes and picture a witch. You probably see one of two things: A wrinkled, gaunt old woman dressed all in black… or Willow Rosenberg. Fairy tales and the literary classic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) gave us the haggard, broomstick-riding variety. The latter also gave us beautiful, “good” witches, but the “evil” one took hold in the public consciousness. That’s how people envisioned witches for decades. (You may have pictured her green thanks to the technicolor film version of The Wizard of Oz.) Pope Gregory IX authorized the execution of witches in 1200, and their fate didn’t improve from there. Fear and hatred brought the inevitable association with undesirable physical characteristics. Now go to Party City’s website and search for “witch.” You’ll find the Neon Witch, the Kandy Korn Witch, and the Purple Carousel Witch, among many others, naturally modelled by young, fit women. Now, I’m not here to find fault with any of these costumes — some of them are super cute, ridiculous as they sound — but the only thing they have in common is a pointy hat. Which brings us to the question, what does a witch look like? For the answer I turn to television. (For the purposes of this post I’ll stick to live action, prime time television because including animated and children’s programming would quickly become unmanageable.) Witches were hot on TV in 1964 with Bewitched and The Addams Family debuting, spurred by the popularity of the film Bell, Book and Candle. These were among the first small screen portrayals. Each one attempted to debunk the assumption that witches live solitary lives in castles by plunking their heroines into domestic life. Bewitched moved further along the spectrum, dressing Samantha like any housewife and even lampshading the notion of pointy black hats in its pilot. Her mother, also a witch, while old-ish by television standards still didn’t fit the classic picture. Magic-wielding women experienced somewhat of a setback with the Star Trek episode “Catspaw” in 1967. The crew visits a planet where aliens use sorcery to shape-shift into the things they suppose humans most fear. The first fear is a trio of cackling old hags reminiscent of Macbeth. This Halloween episode (first aired on October 27) then brings our intrepid crew into a creepy castle inhabited by a man and a woman, both adept at mind control. The woman is the real villain of the pair, referred to as a sorceress. She’s also quite the vixen, changing her appearance to try to seduce Kirk then lashing out when he refuses her. And then she turns into a giant cat or something. Night Gallery did an episode, “Witches’ Feast” in 1971, regurgitating the shrieking trio of pointy-nosed hags. So for a while there, it was comedy that stretched the boundaries while science fiction liked its witches traditional, thank you very much. When fans of today’s genre TV think of witches they’re more likely to think of younger, everyday women — the aforementioned Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Halliwell sisters of Charmed, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Sleepy Hollow’s Katrina, or for you history buffs, the characters of Salem. Shows like these have conspicuously eschewed the fairy tale. Phoebe decries the “hook-nosed hag” representation of witches in pop culture in a season 3 episode of Charmed and Willow remarks more than once how she hates witch stereotypes. To our modern ears, asking what a witch looks like is akin to asking what a gay person looks like; they look like a person. But despite their modern fashion sense, it’s hard to ignore that most TV witches fit within a narrow range, which is to say they’re overwhelmingly young, female, white, thin, straight (Willow and Tara being the obvious exceptions), and conventionally sexy. When I was young and my mom would catch sight of herself in a mirror without make-up, she would exclaim, “Ew, I look like a witch”! Witch meant ugly. Ugly, in turn, tends to mean “bad,” not only for witches but for all kinds of pop culture characters, especially women. Witches as protagonists, i.e., those we’re supposed to empathize with, then need to be attractive. So, have we just traded one stereotype for another? Historically, the image of the witch was tied not only to “ugliness” but to old age. In fairy tale lore, ugly and old were often, if fact, inseparable. The association with old age derives from the crone aspect of the triple goddess. The maiden, mother, and crone are three aspects of the divine feminine and revered by many Pagans and other nature-based spiritual practices. The crone equals age, not in the negative way we treat often treat it today, but in its wisdom. Crone energy is echoed by the changing of the fall leaves, the waning moon, and death, though not with “evil.” Death and old age can be frightening to us puny humans so naturally, these things have been labelled bad. In pop culture, however, old is a relative term. “Old” has tended simply to mean “older than the heroine.” (Margaret Hamilton was only 37 when she played The Wicked Witch.) Furthermore, contemporary television has a way of cramming all three aspects – the maiden, mother, and crone – into narrow age range. Take Once Upon a Time. The show begins by introducing a trio – Emma, Snow White, and the evil queen, who Snow White declares “nothing more than an evil witch” – whose ages range over perhaps a decade, thanks to a curse that froze some characters in time. Charmed managed to depict the trio with sisters. Prue acted as the “old soul,” with the nurturing Piper in the middle and headstrong Phoebe playing the maiden. The divisions were less clear cut when Paige replaced Prue. More recently, American Horror Story: Coven spread out the ages of three interconnected women along a broader continuum. It also makes the association between age and attractiveness a driving force for crone character Fiona Goode. Jessica Lange looks great at 65-ish, but her character is actually much older, obsessively battling aging with ...
A number of New Jersey residents got the shock of a lifetime this week.Rapper Kanye West made a surprise appearance at The Dopeness restaurant for Open Mic Night on Wednesday to support family friend and 17-year-old rapper, Jahmila Sandifer, aka Jay Hype, and, of course, people went nuts."There was a girl that was slowly starting to show her face around here. She silently invited him without telling anyone," restaurant owner Jon Scanlon tells E! News."We have a music engineer who sets everything up and he was told within minutes of Kanye's arrival. Her set was later on and the engineer was told minutes before that they had to bump up her set because Kanye was on the block." LOOK: Kanye West Stops Paparazzi on the Street to Take a Photo of His Sweater Scanlon was immediately called to the front door to meet Yeezy and escort him and his two bodyguards through the restaurant. John's wife was working the door and Kanye was cutting jokes with her while he was waiting for John to escort him. The restaurant owner couldn't help but make a point to say how friendly Kanye was, and how his demeanor was different than what he expected. Kanye was, "Totally chill and cool. Quiet, cool, and collected. It was awesome," Scanlon tells us."[Jay Hype] went on set and immediately it was all love. It was all about the performance, the crowd and the energy." Once word quickly spread that Kanye was in the room, the energy became "electric."After Jay Hype was done with her set, she went over to Yeezy and "gave him a big hug and a kiss." She then proceeded to walk outside with him where they spoke for a few minutes and took some photos. There were about 60 or 70 people at the open mic event, which has been going on at The Dopeness for around a year and a half. Kanye stayed for 15-20 minutes and saw three sets. PHOTOS: Kanye West Through the Years RELATED VIDEOS:
Angela Weiss/Getty Images for City Of Hope Gavin Rossdale celebrated his 49th birthday last night with a happy family pre-Halloween dinner!The Bush rocker enjoyed a b-day dinner at Hakkasan Beverly Hills Thursday night with wife Gwen Stefani, their two oldest sons Kingston and Zuma and a family friend.The group enjoyed Hakkasan signature dishes such as the steamed dim sum, smoked ribs, Salt and Pepper Squid, Hakka Noodles, Tofu Aubergine, Chilean Sea Bass with Chinese Honey and more. Gavin, Gwen and their kids, who were incredibly well behaved during the meal, mostly talked about Halloween and their costumes throughout dinner. PICS: Celeb birthday bashes AKM-GSI The highlight of the night was the desserts. The gang enjoyed the Strawberry Crème Fraiche Mousse Cake and an exotic fruit platter with a custom "Happy Birthday Gavin" note in chocolate attached.While the group was leaving dinner, they ran into their good friend Simon Le Bon from Duran Duran as they were leaving. The pals all hugged and chatted for a bit and wished Gavin a happy birthday!After dinner, Gwen and Gavin attended Kate Hudson's Halloween party in the Pacific Palisades. The cute couple arrived wearing coordinating vampire costumes. Gwen's featured sexy black boots, red plaid shorts and a black and white top while Gavin's was comprised of black pants and a white shirt. Both wore matching capes.Inside the bash, they danced and caught up with friends, including Hudson's fiancé Matt Bellamy. PHOTOS: Stars celebrate Halloween RELATED VIDEOS:
Two more new fall comedies are going into the trash heap because of low ratings. NBC will yank Bad Judge and A to Z after they complete their initial 13-episode runs on Thursdays. After five weeks, Judge, which starred Kate Walsh as a party-hearty judge, has only averaged 5.7 million viewers, while the romantic comedy A to Z, with Ben Feldman and Cristin Milioti, trailed with just over 4 million viewers. Hey, it's not so easy airing opposite ABC's Scandal and CBS' comedy block! Then again, it's also not easy launching a new comedy amid heavy criticism from certain women. Bad Judge raised the ire of the Miami-Dade of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers, who took issue with Walsh's irascible character. Chapter president Deborah Baker wrote a letter to NBC CEO Steve Burke that said the comedy was a “step in the wrong direction,” because it “depicts a female judge as unethical, lazy, crude, hyper-sexualized, and unfit to hold such an esteemed position of power.” Last week, ABC was the first network to pull the trigger by killing off Manhattan Love Story, a comedy that followed a new couple played by Analeigh Tipton (Crazy Stupid Love) and Jake McDorman (Aquamarine). That comedy only attracted 2.6 million viewers on Tuesday.