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Favorite Ladies: Keira Knightley
“If only I wasn’t an atheist, I could get away with anything. You’d just ask for forgiveness and then you’d be forgiven. It sounds much better than having to live with guilt.”

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I just want to say that I am so proud of every Armenian and non Armenian who marched today. I want to thank all the people across the world who marched. The fact that you remember our past and demand for justice shows a lot about your character. You are a true humanitarian. We were amazing. And even if you didn’t march, as long as you stayed home it is a big message.

Friday, April 24, 2015, marks a century since the start of what has become known as the Armenian Genocide, a time when Armenian intellectuals and others were rounded up, arrested and later executed by the Ottoman Turkish soldiers as part of a movement to “Turkify” the region.

As a result, 1.5 million Armenians are said to have perished.

The Turkish government continues to say the deaths were a consequence of betrayal and civil unrest in what was then a collapsing Ottoman Empire. Scholars and historians, however, say the killings involved the systematic cleansing of the Armenian existence from the region, where Assyrians and Pontic Greeks also were affected. Priests and intellectuals were beheaded. Women and children were terrorized as they were marched out of their homeland and into the Middle East.

Thousands of people are expected to take part in today’s six-mile March for Justice event through Los Angeles. Armenian-Americans and human rights activists want to call attention to the genocide as a crime against humanity. While Armenians were left disappointed when the White House this week confirmed that President Barack Obama won’t use the word “genocide” in a speech he has planned for Friday, they and their supporters still plan to demand that the U.S. pressure Turkey to recognize the events of 1915 to 1923 as such.

Today’s March for Justice will start at 10 a.m. at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Western Avenue in Hollywood and wind its way down toward the Turkish Consulate at 6300 Wilshire Blvd.

For more information, go to www.march4justice.org/event/armenian-genocide-centennial-march-for-justice/. #ArmenianGenocide #1915NeverAgain #Hollywood #LosAngeles #AboveTheIgnorance #SeekTheTruth #MarchForJustice #WeAreOne #OneLove #RaisingAwareness

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Meryl Streep’s inspiring solution to Hollywood’s ageism problem might actually work 

American comedian Amy Schumer blew up social media this week with a parody sketch brilliantly skewering ageism in Hollywood. The skit,“Last F**kable Day,” features Schumer stumbling upon a trio of actresses, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, and Patricia Arquette, enjoying a beautiful celebratory picnic. The occasion? Louis-Dreyfus’ last f**kable day—according to the media—after which she will only be considered for roles as mothers, grandmothers and other characters generally deemed “undesirable.” As Louis-Dreyfus explains it, you know your career has officially peaked in the eyes of men (and some women) when “you go to wardrobe and the only thing they have for you to wear are long sweaters that cover you up head to toe.”

The skit is so bitingly funny in part because female viewers understand a much uglier truth is lurking just beneath its surface: sexism in Hollywood is still rampant, and the women involved are totally over it.

Now, increasingly, they’re also doing something about it.

One of the big ways women and minorities can ensure more accurate, equitable representation is by diversifying the people who devise the plots. Women’s involvement in Hollywood hovers around 30% industry-wide; when it comes to screenwriting that number drops significantly to about 15%. This eye-popping disparity  may be why a new writer’s lab for female screenwriters over 40 has already received so much attention.

Funded largely by Hollywood superstar Meryl Streep, The Writer’s Lab is a partnership between New York Women In Film and Television (NYWIFT) and IRIS (a collective of female filmmakers) that will select eight female screenwriters for a three-day workshop of intensive script development and screenplay polishing. Each participant will be paired with already-successful female, writers and producers; the hope being to give a leg up to a demographic too often overlooked.

As NYWIFT director Terry Lawler noted in a statement: “After decades of ageism and sexism in our culture and in our films, the complex voices of mature women are in danger of being lost entirely. Women must address this inequality by taking ownership of that narrative.”

Reese Witherspoon Is Building the Ultimate Book Club

Viewers probably won’t leave Luckiest Girl Alive wishing they had a friend just like TifAni, but they may see elements of the friends they already have in her. And if they liked Gone Girl, they’ll be thrilled to see another woman who’s allowed to be smart and mean, vulnerable and detestable. In another Hollywood, she might be a secondary character, a mean girl who serves as a foil to an ingenue’s goodness. Here, she can bask in the limelight.

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Hey everyone!

So there is this new show on the CW called “The Messengers”. The second episode is premiering tonight (April 24th) on the CW at 9:00pm!

My uncle, Todd Lawson (pictured-photos by me), is going to be in the episode tonight! He has been trying to land an acting job for a very long time, and this could be a big break for him. He suffers from a Bipolar disorder, as does my brother, and it is often hard for him to find a job.

If you are staying in tonight, PLEASE consider watching it, i’m really proud of him and it would mean a lot to me and a lot to him. :)

Thanks guys!

Jacaranda Blues

One of the loveliest sights in Los Angeles is the annual blooming of the jacaranda trees. Trees that are nice enough but fairly pedestrian for most of the year suddenly erupt into clouds of gorgeous purple flowers that mean spring is here.

For a subset of people who live in LA, they also signify another springtime ritual, one that fills those same people with anticipation and dread in equal measure. 

It’s hard to unthink this once you’ve thought it, so if you’re sensitive and impressionable – and work in TV – and don’t want to risk having jacarandas ruined for you, just look at this pretty picture and click away.

Last chance…

Okay. 

The period in LA when the jacarandas bloom coincides more or less perfectly with TV staffing season.

I have Jeffrey Stepakoff’s book about the TV biz, Billion-Dollar Kiss, to thank for introducing me to this insight. In his words:

Visitors to Los Angeles often remark how beautiful the city is year-round. It is true that lavatera and hibiscus, even some bougainvillea varieties, adorn the L.A. basin throughout the year. Still, there is nothing as far as I am concerned that compares to the jacaranda tree bloom in late April. For me, and I believe (on some level), for most TV writers, this is like a billion little purple flags being run up thousands of flagpoles from Burbank to Santa Monica, signaling the official commencement of television staffing season. No matter where you live or what you do, if you are an Angeleno, you can’t miss it. When I saw the purple flowers all over the city… I knew that the meetings were about to start.

The jacarandas are indeed flowering right now, and the streets of LA are full of TV writers driving across town in their Meeting Outfits, half-empty bottles of water and expired studio drive-on passes littering the floors of their cars, meeting with executives and showrunners in hopes of landing a job on a show.

Other TV writers are on hiatus, trying to recharge their batteries while perhaps not knowing if their show has been renewed and or if they’re being asked back for the next season.

A smaller number of writers actually get to sit out staffing season, because they’re on a different schedule than broadcast TV (e.g. a cable or digital show), or the room started early, which is the case with us on The 100.

But whether you’re out there trying to staff, or are friends with people who are, right now is an unsettling time of year albeit tempered with hope and excitement. In just a few weeks you’ll know if you (or they) have a job for the coming year. And, not surprisingly, there are a lot more writers than there are jobs.

When the jacaranda trees lose their flowers, that means the game of musical chairs is over. Stepakoff again:

The first day of the first week of June is a special demarcation point for TV writers. It is a day of celebration, or a day of grief. To have your staff gig lined up by this day means that your season is set. You know what you will be working on. You know that your mortgage will be paid. You know what your life will be like for at least the next few months, which is the most a TV writer realistically hopes for. But if you don’t have a position by this day, then you join all the other writers still competing for a handful of errant positions still left during the first week or two of June. After that, the music has stopped. The jacaranda blooms fade, and the city is covered in a silent shower of purple. Like tattered confetti, they line the gutters along Hollywood Way and cover windshields of newly leased cars on backlots from Culver City to Century City. The party is now over.

(Billion-Dollar Kiss is a good book, by the way, worth checking out)

So now you know why, in Los Angeles, April is the cruelest month–also May, and a little bit of June. And while I’m speaking here about TV writer staffing season, the same whirlwind of anxiety followed by depression or elation is happening now for actors, producers, directors, and executives whose pilots are getting picked up or consigned to the dustbin of TV history. 

Basically, if you know someone who works in TV, give them a hug when you notice the jacarandas are in bloom.