Adorable husky rescued from freezing waters outside Boston 

Sylvie, a 13-year-old husky, had bolted during his morning walk, only to fall through the ice of Castle Island in South Boston. Firefighter Sean Coyle comes to the rescue, inching out and pulling the trapped and trembling pooch to safety.



Last Best Show: Hozier at House of Blues Boston Photos by Ted Fitzgerald

The problem with a monster hit is that you can hear it so many times that you stop really listening.

“If I’m a pagan of the good times, my lover’s the sunlight.”

The lyric is from Hozier’s smash single “Take Me To Church,” which I am fairly certain you have heard more times than you’ve visited your house of worship in the last year, but when the Irish bluesman crooned the words last night during a gripping set at the House of Blues, it took on a different sort of traction. When you see Hozier playing the Song of the Year nominee on TV with Annie Lennox at the Grammys, it’s easy to be swept up in the sprawling scope of the thing.That’s the luxury of the live show – it’s an opportunity to strip away some of the spectacle and see what’s left.

Last night, I was impressed by Hozier’s ability to sing. But what made the biggest impression was the elegance of the songwriter’s voice.

Maybe I’m just the last to notice. After all, Hozier’s self-titled debut album could not have been a much bigger success, and the attending sold-out audience seemed to know and cherish every word of it. During the set, he rifled through a rotation of guitars, each tuned to change the sound just enough to suit his next soulful confession. From the sulking “To Be Alone,” to the love dirge of “In A Week,” and the insistent optimism of “Someone New,” (which he noted was fittingly and “tragically co-written by an ex-girlfriend,”) Hozier showcased a honed capacity to marry an intimate, folk-inflected blues sound with the sweeping power of synth-soaked modern radio. He’s got the musical chops to hang with the Newport Folk Festival set, but isn’t afraid of the sonic power of the laptop.

His fascination with striking the balance between tradition and modernity was never better illustrated than in his encores, when he unplugged on a solo acoustic version of “Cherry Wine,” before going full-on maximalist for his cover of Ariana Grande’s scorned pop anthem “Problem.” And the guy must read a lot of Buzzfeed and Jezebel, because he seemed to know the power he was unleashing when he played the encores with his ‘80s-length-but-modern-conditioned hair up in one of those faux-chic man buns that seem so popular in the hipper areas.

The easiest thing to notice in Hozier’s body of work is his command of powerful hooks, but seeing him live helped unpack both his influences and lyrics, which revealed the meaty poetry of his verses. And he’s no slouch on the axe, either. His band was notable for a few reasons – he had a cellist, there was no one strumming a bass, the aforementioned laptop, and every member of the band lent vocal backing to the performance, which had a stirring effect. The house was obviously torn down when he performed “Take Me To Church.” His cover of Skip James’s “Illinois Blues,” seemed to be as personal a statement as any, and he closed the show with strength on “Work Song,” which he teased as the next single. I enjoyed the music, but in the listening, I found myself most moved by the writing. And in writing, it’s important to cite your sources. So my most satisfying moment came early, during a fantastical daydream about the life he wanted to build with his new flame:

“We’ll name our children Jackie and Wilson, raise 'em on rhythm and blues.”

Meet the rising Hollywood stars of 2016

Stephen Schaefer Tuesday, January 05, 2016

New faces — they’re the lifeblood of Hollywood’s star-making machine, which each year finds and promotes previously undervalued, ignored or undiscovered talent and transforms them into potential box-office magnets.

Last year gave us John Boyega and Daisy Ridley, the new “Star Wars” discoveries.

Just two years ago Chris Pratt was known as a voice of “The Lego Movie” and Anna Faris’ husband. Now he’s a Hollywood player thanks to planned sequels to “Jurassic World” and “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

The faces to watch for 2016:

Alexander Skarsgard —

“The Legend of Tarzan” (July 1): A name player thanks to his famous father Stellan and HBO’s “True Blood,” Alexander, 39, could vault to Chris Pratt-level stardom in this reboot as the English lord raised by apes. In this latest installment, he returns from London to safeguard his African jungle.

sources: the Boston Herald, photo by Jonathan Olley/Warner Brothers
Vandals plant explosives in Massachusetts LGBT newspaper box
The Rainbow Times, the largest LGBT publication in New England, was targeted by assailants at 1:19 a.m. Tuesday.

Earlier this week, seven people in the town of Salem, Massachusetts planted fireworks in the newspaper box that holds copies of the local LGBT publication, the Rainbow Times. 

This is the 11th time the newspaper has faced some kind of vandalism, including one attack during Pride month. This attack happened on a normally busy shopping street, around 1AM. The police chief referred to it as a hate crime, but it’s unclear whether it’s being formally prosecuted as such.

Nicole Lashomb, the editor in chief of the Times, said she was shocked by the surveillance footage of the incident.

“When I first saw it, I gasped and cupped my hand over my mouth,” Lashomb told the Boston Herald. “It was that shocking to me. After the explosion went off the box is sitting there in flames until the officers arrive.”

She believes that the vandals were sending a clear message.

“The message is they don’t want us there,” Lashomb said, adding: “I think you have to be concerned about violence. I think with the presidential race and the political climate … it could lead to more violence.”

Times publisher Gricel Ocasio added that the paper will not back down in the face of hatred.

“This is a form of censorship,” Ocasio said. “I guess, perhaps, they thought they can silence us and we would be gone. We will not be silenced. We have two new boxes coming into the city. We are not deterred.”

There are a lot of ways to express violence toward a community, and this is one of them. Hoping they can move forward with resilience and strength.

Many fans ship Carol and Daryl (Norman Reedus) as a couple.

“They share an unusual and very deep bond,” McBride said. “They come from similar places pre-apocalypse, where their own ability to be independent and express themselves was squashed and diminished by someone who dominated over them, and they kind of get this in each other. They are personal allies in this — to support one another — to take control, to be what you wanted to be. It’s a lovely bond, just a sweet support.”

But as for romance between the two? McBride is coy.

“You’d have to ask the writers.”

—  Melissa McBride, October 10th, 2014 - Boston Herald 

‘1989’ is different than any other album I’ve made,” Swift said in what was possibly the night’s only understatement.

It is, and it isn’t.

The genre might have changed, but the brand hasn’t. Now 25 and a bona fide pop culture phenomenon, Swift isn’t selling music so much as individuality, self-confidence and the willingness to own how you truly feel and embrace who you really are — even if it’s not exactly who you used to be.

—  1989 tour review. (Boston Herald)