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‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ Team Talks Bringing a Modern Sensibility to a Period Comedy

Posted: 15 Apr 2018 07:00 AM PDT

The trickiest thing about making “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” was not writing stand-up sets for characters like the titular Miriam “Midge” Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan), her estranged husband Joel (Michael Zegen) or guest stars like Luke Kirby as the famed Lenny Bruce — nor was it casting those parts. Instead, the biggest challenge might just have been finding a way to capture a vibrancy in the pace and tone of the show to match its heroine.

“We didn’t want it to be precious or sepia-tone or have it feel like ‘This is your grandmother’s show,” co-creator Amy Sherman-Palladino said at Amazon’s For Your Consideration event for the Golden Globe winning comedy Saturday. “We wanted this journey, even though it was 1958, to feel energized and vibrant and for an 18-year-old to look at it and go, ‘I get that. And that is my story, too.'”

Sherman-Palladino is known for quick-witted dialogue that also asks its actors to be quick-tongued. But beyond her main cast (which also consists of Alex Borstein, Marin Hinkle and Tony Shalhoub) everyone on set — down to the background extras — had to be able to move quickly. This is why they often hired dancers to flesh out those background roles. Sherman-Palladino herself grew up dancing and says “they can do anything!” Specifically for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” they were brought in for the wide, long one-shot takes the show did so often in its first season.

The team behind the show also took great pains to ensure that the world — from sets to props to costumes — was period-accurate while allowing the actors to just focus on creating real, human characters.

“People living in 1959 thought they were living in the modern world. They didn’t know they were living in our past,” co-creator Dan Palladino pointed out.

The inspiration for the show came to Sherman-Palladino as memories from her youth sitting around the backyard with her comedian father and his colleagues talking about their own experiences playing various clubs. But she also specifically wanted to follow another woman around — “a heroine to go up against things.” And, she noted, “We thought, ‘We’d like to live in 1958 right now!’ I like Ike! So we thought, ‘Let’s do something where a woman who has a really specific place and a specific role to play decides to break out of that role and go against the tide.'”

The idea of putting her in comedy came because of how many conflict areas that would create for the character.

“Being a woman in stand-up comedy today, it’s still ‘Hey baby, show me your tits,'” Sherman-Palladino said. “But to do it in 1958 when a woman was really not supposed to talk too loud or have thoughts that weren’t clean and pure, and Bambi dresses you in the morning when that wasn’t your life and suddenly you’re up there and you’re taking about betrayal and heartache and your husband f–ing somebody else, that could be funny — that could be a way of dramatizing ‘Your way was supposed to go this way and now it’s going this way.'”

The producers noted that putting Midge into the comedy world acted as a “tidal wave that really f–ed up a lot of people around her,” which added to the intrigue in the story as well. Characters including her husband and her parents all became fishes out of water as they tried to navigate what life would be like with Midge embarking upon this new career.

“Everything was a big bang in the pilot, and everybody’s kind of shooting out into space,” Palladino said, adding that they are continuing that in the second season.

No one may have had a tougher time of it than Joel, though, a character Sherman-Palladino lovingly compared to “the hunter that shot Bambi.”

“These were two people who were so deeply in love, and I keep saying, ‘For a man in 1958 to look at that broad to get up at her own wedding and steal the spotlight and say, “That’s the woman for me,” that took more balls than anything else in the world,'” she said.

The pilot episode saw Joel at his lowest, noted Zegel. He left his wife and kids because he wasn’t happy with the life he was living and had a mini crisis over realizing he would never become a professional comedian. But he also saw his wife’s own genius, which Sherman-Palladino felt was important to point out. “The person who had the most to lose from it was the first to acknowledge it,” she said.

When it came to the stand-up, Brosnahan admitted she was thrown in without any special preparation, as she had never done stand-up before. She credited the writers for helping her get through it. Unlike real stand-up comedians, she doesn’t have to worry about writing material — “Somebody else has written these brilliant jokes for me,” she noted. But she does get to hone her material. Only instead of performing night after night in different clubs, she has multiple takes on set.

“There is an audience that’s paid to laugh at my jokes!” she said.

“We specifically picked a style of comedy that was stream of conscious [for Midge] because we knew we were going to get an actress and an actress needs an emotional through-line to latch onto,” Sherman-Palladino added, “so we picked a style that was going to reflect an emotional something that she was going through.”

Sherman-Palladino half-joked that it is “right in [the] wheelhouse” for her and Palladino to write some of Midge’s standup simply because they are always ranting at each other. But they do rely on two specific writers in their room who are both veteran comics and bring many years of road stories to the table — Jen Kirkman and Noah Gardenschwartz.

As Midge continues to perform and begins to be surrounded by other comics, the show will continue to expand the “types” of comics depicted, the producers shared. (Season 1 saw a take on the aforementioned Lenny Bruce and a representation of persona comics in Sophie Lennon (Jane Lynch).) Midge will also continue to hone her craft, take on new topics on stage, and ultimately grow as a person on the forefront of comedy.

“We’ve talked about politics, and we’ve talked about racial relations and divorce and religion and a lot of things that really hadn’t been part of the comedy vernacular before, and that was the path we wanted Midge to take. She can plan her tight 10 all she wanted, but what happens to her five minutes before she walks on stage is what she’s going to talk about — and that can be anything,” Sherman-Palladino said.

But the world of comedy within the actual Amazon comedy is just one part of the storytelling puzzle.

“There’s different aspects to the show — there’s the family aspect to the show; there’s a romantic aspect to the show; there’s the single woman forging a new way [aspect]; and on par and equal with all of them is the female buddy relationship [between Midge and Susie],” Sherman-Palladino acknowledged about Brosnahan and Borstein’s characters. “They have nothing really to talk about, they have nothing really in common, but the need now is so great for both of them. They’re not going to make it apart — they’re only going to make it together.”

Beyonce Marches to a Different Drumline in Stunning Coachella Performance

Posted: 15 Apr 2018 03:53 AM PDT

At Coachella, Beyoncé gave the performance she should have given at the Super Bowl. Granted, she had an hour and 45 minutes to work with at the desert festival Saturday night, versus only 13 minutes to work with at that gig five years ago. But if the network, NFL, Ravens, 49ers and their fans had seen what we saw at the Empire Polo Grounds, surely they would have agreed by acclimation to, you know, just put the third quarter off by an hour and a half.

Part of the brilliance of Saturday’s set was that it was more of a half-time show than her half-time show, in that she took the marching band that has been persona non grata at the Bowl for years and built a 105-minute performance around overpacked horn charts, glorified drum majorettes and nonstop drumline insanity. Who would’ve guessed the missing ingredients needed to ratchet her catalog a step up into greatness were exceptionally arranged tubas and timbales? It was Busby Berkeley meets the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band meets — somewhere in the midst of the extravaganza — actual soul.

The show served as testament not only to Beyoncé as the premier musical performer of our time, but a tribute to the power of the non-disclosure agreement. Only recently did reports emerge that the singer had hired about a hundred backup performers — the actual number was probably a little less, though the cast never stood still long enough for anyone to count — and even then, as rehearsals involved locking down a stage in L.A. for at least three months, virtually nothing about the nature of the performance leaked out, except for rumors about another Destiny’s Child reunion… which ended up being true, even if that part was a nearly superfluous cherry atop the blitz. (Probably any backup performer considering violating the NDA thought of how much worse they’d get it than Jay-Z did on “Lemonade.”)

While a YouTube audience waited at home for the feed to go live, the Coachella audience (comprised of the better part of the 125,000 in attendance for the day) saw nothing but 11 staggered rows of spotlights. Come the appointed minute, the platform holding those lights rose and revealed her cast of dozens, including not only a marching-in-place band but violin players, plus some “bugaboo” Greek pledges (who were male dancers) and majorettes with not an ounce of body fat… to complement Beyoncé, who couldn’t have more than a half-ounce, despite having given birth 10 months ago. Coming down the walkway, mid-audience, Beyoncé initially appeared in a sun goddess/band leader ensemble, then quickly switched to cutoff jeans. That was the first of, surprisingly, only a couple of true costume changes. Part of the cleverness of this show was that it was staged as a series of variations on one epic production, not the series of separate vignettes you get on a typical super-diva tour.

Nearly two dozen tracks got at least a partial hearing, from an early rendition of her greatest recent single, “Freedom”-which gave way to an extended coda of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” (also commonly referred to as the “Black National Anthem”) to opportunities for Jay-Z, Solange and the other two-thirds of Destiny’s Child to say their name, to the Jack White-assisted stab at Jay, “Don’t Hurt Yourself,” that occasioned an additional costume change to angry acrylic black. Some snippets were so short they didn’t even appear on the backstage setlist, like a few lines of “Irreplaceable.” For a while it seemed like the only flaw of the show might be not taking a moment to breathe amid all the medley-izing… and then she stopped to sing the tender, unhurried “Love on Top,” and even that slight objection melted away.

It’s hard for anyone in the room, as it were, to know how it came off to the home viewers it was just as much designed for-although one suspects we’ll soon get a reprise with some sort of home video release. But on the premises, this sustained gambit of a rocking R&B show felt historic. Could Michael Jackson, who was best in micro-moments, not at long-form conceptual shows, have pulled off something like this? Does mentioning her in the same breath of a Gene Kelly do justice to her dancing and conceptual abilities, but not her voice, which would be superstar-making enough? Comparisons were already hard enough to come by before this show, fairly unique in the annals of massively scaled pop one-offs, upped the ante even more. The precision of the choreography and sheer work ethic could’ve made the production seem more intimidating than ingratiating … but there was real joy in Beyoncé’s performance, too, not just genius and sweat.

“I was supposed to perform at Coachella before,” she told the crowd –unnecessarily for the live part of the audience, probably, many of whom saw Lady Gaga as her fill-in last year– “but I ended up getting pregnant. So I had time to dream and dream and dream with two beautiful souls in my belly, and I dreamed up this performance.” If the hormones really did help with that, a lot of creatives would love to have what she was having.

China Bans Gay Content Online (Report)

Posted: 15 Apr 2018 01:21 AM PDT

Gay-themed content has been scrubbed from Sina Weibo, one of China‘s largest social media platforms.

The action was reported by state-owned tabloid newspaper The Global Times, which said that the detoxification program is to last three months.

Sina said that it had cleaned up over 56,000 unregulated posts, closed 108 accounts and removed other discussion topics.

The action in being taken to “further make a clean and harmonious community environment” and is being done “according to laws and regulations such as the Cyber security Law,” Sina said in a notice posted on its site.

Sina said that its targets included pornographic, violent or gay-themed cartoons, pictures, videos and articles, as well as such contents as “slash, gay, boys love and gay fictional stories.” The notification itself was reposted more than 20,000 times.

In a parallel move, the Beijing International Film Festival this week removed gay-themed “Call Me By Your Name,” which had previously been announced as part of its selection.

Whether homosexual content is illegal or not in China is currently a subject of debate. In June last year, China Netcasting Service Association, a non-government organization administered by SAPPRFT banned service providers from releasing programs that “present abnormal sexual relations or behavior,” such as incest, homosexual relations, sexual harassment and sexual violence.

In a rare move, filmmaker Fan Chunlin has been granted permission to challenge the ruling in court. Fan has questioned why China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT),categorizes homosexual relations as “abnormal.”

Destiny’s Child Reunites with Beyonce at Coachella

Posted: 15 Apr 2018 01:05 AM PDT

Beyonce got the band back together on Saturday night.

On the group’s 20th anniversary, Destiny’s Child reunited for a special performance during Beyonce Knowles’ headlining set at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival.

The R&B trio, featuring Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, last performed together during the 2013 Super Bowl halftime show.

Their Coachella set included three numbers: “Lose My Breath,” “Say My Name” and “Soldier.”

Beyonce’s epic desert performance, which featured over 100 dancers and a drumline, also saw a cameo from husband Jay-Z.

Watch the performance bel0w:



Elizabeth Olsen’s home dream

Posted: 15 Apr 2018 01:00 AM PDT

Elizabeth Olsen wants to be a “homemaker”.

The ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ actress – who is in a relationship with Milo Greene rocker Robbie Arnett – renovated her house whens he bought it a year ago and loves being at home doing things like cooking her own meals from scratch.

She said: “All I want to do is be a homemaker. I started baking bread in January. I want to make my own yeast next.”

The 29-year-old beauty may have been raised in California, but she’d love to live in the British countryside at some point.

She gushed: “The countryside there [in the UK] is my happy place, I love Suffolk. I love Somerset, I love the Cotswolds.

“I love the people. I love pub culture, Sunday roasts, long walks, even the rain… I’ve been there in every single month of the year. I would love to live in England for some portion of my life.”

But Elizabeth wants to raise her own family “in the woods” in California, though not just yet.

She said: “[The next step is] raising children in the woods in northern California. But I’ve got to earn my right to live in the woods. So for now, I still have to hustle.”

And that’s not the only dwelling dream the ‘Wind River’ star has for the future.

She admitted to the Sunday Times’ Style magazine: “[I have a fantasy of] living in a village next to a rocky sea wearing a fisherman’s hat in the rain.”

If Elizabeth decides she wants a different career in the future she already has a realtor’s license after working for her estate agent godmother after high school, and admitted property is a big interest for her.

She said: “I want to ‘flip’ properties. But with other people’s money.”

The ‘Oldboy’ actress tends to shun the Hollywood scene and isn’t a big fixture on the red carpet.

She admitted: “I only go to these things if I’m in the mood. Generally, I’m not.”

The Saturdays ‘never discuss reuniting’

Posted: 15 Apr 2018 01:00 AM PDT

The Saturdays never discuss getting back together when they see one another.

The ‘Issues’ hitmakers have been on indefinite hiatus since 2014 and Una Healy has admitted the decision on when to end their self-imposed break has become a “taboo” subject between herself, Rochelle Humes, Frankie Bridge, Vanessa White and Mollie King because they’re all so busy with other things.

She said: “I hope there will be [a reunion].

“I’d certainly like to be part of it and hope it would be all five of us.

“I don’t know how the others feel because we never bring it up.

“We chat about everything else, but it’s a bit of a taboo subject for us because it’s not on the cards.

“Everyone is busy doing something else and It requires commitment from everyone and I don’t think everyone is ready for that just yet.”

But the 36-year-old singer – who has children Aoife, six, and Tadhg, three, with husband Ben Foden – doesn’t get to see the rest of the band very often these days.

Una explained that because she doesn’t live near to any of the other girls, it’s become increasingly difficult for them to get together.

She said to New! magazine: “I’m living in Northampton and I haven’t seen them in a while now. But when we do see each other, it’s like we’ve never been apart.”

The ‘Never See Me Cry’ singer also insists she doesn’t feel pressure to do better than her bandmates in her solo efforts and there’s no competitiveness between them.

Asked if she feels under pressure to be most successful, Una said: “Absolutely not! People almost put you under pressure when they ask that.

“[Are we in competition?] No, we’re five individuals who support each other.”

Niall Horan takes Hailee Steinfeld to golf

Posted: 15 Apr 2018 01:00 AM PDT

Hailee Steinfeld accompanied Niall Horan to the US Masters golf tournament.

The ‘Pitch Perfect’ actress has been romantically linked to the ‘Slow Hands’ hitmaker for some time, and it seems the 24-year-old singer is thinking seriously about the 21-year-old star as he invited her to join him in watching his favourite sport earlier this month.

According to the Mail on Sunday newspaper, Hailee, Niall, and his professional player friend Thomas Bjorn all shared a house in Augusta, Georgia, during the four-day event.

The news comes a few weeks after it was revealed the pair are “casually dating”.

A source said recently: “It’s true that Hailee and Niall are dating, but at this point it’s still pretty casual.”

In February, the couple enjoyed a weekend in Las Vegas, where they went to see Backstreet Boys perform at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino before taking a stage table at XS Nightclub during a DJ set from Diplo.

Meanwhile, Niall will be able to give Hailee further lessons in his favourite sport as the former One Direction star – who has his own Modest! Golf management company to help scout new talent – recently had a golf room installed in his house.

The singer recently took to Twitter to show off the room, which has been decked out as a mini golfing green, complete with a hole and an outer rim of fake grass.

He captioned the snap: “thank you @prolawnturf and @celebrity greens for sorting me out with this room . (sic)”

Whilst it is likely Niall’s new room will be used for him to indulge in his hobby, he may also use the mini green to hone his skills.

The ‘This Town’ singer previously revealed that he plays with a handicap of nine, and would never consider swapping his music career for a life as a professional golfer, as he doesn’t think he has the natural skill required.

He said: “I’m a sports fan in general and I watch a lot of sport and when I was 12 or 13 I joined my local golf club and fell in love with golf then. I play off 9, it basically means I’m not as good as the pros, if I wanted to be a pro I’d have to be plus 5 or 6 so I’m quite far away from that. If I had natural talent for golf then I would go pro. I’m a plodder and a hacker, like all the other amateurs. I’m even worse at mini golf!”

Evan Rachel Wood drew strength from character

Posted: 15 Apr 2018 01:00 AM PDT

Evan Rachel Wood was inspired to open up to Congress about being raped by her ‘Westworld’ character.

The 30-year-old actress gave a harrowing speech in February, in which she told how she’d been forced to have sex by an abusive ex-boyfriend, and was later sexually assaulted again by someone else, in a bid have the Sexual Assault Survivors Bill to be passed in all 50 states as it was passed in just nine in 2016.

And Evan drew strength from her android alter ego, Dolores Abernathy, who has made her “believe” in herself, and even wore a locked containing a photo of the character during her testimony.

She said: “Playing this role completely changed my life – it transformed me.

“For me, ‘Westworld’ is about finding a power that you just didn’t know or believe you had access to, or that you had been programmed to give up. Dolores changed that for me. She made me ask more questions. She made me believe in myself.

“She has become this kind of beacon for me, of a strength that I didn’t know I had.

“And sometimes, when I doubt myself, I think: ‘Dude, you’re Dolores. You’re good’. I really hope she does that for other people, too.”

The ‘Wrestler’ actress – who has a four-year-old son with ex-husband Jamie Bell – admitted she was “terrified” about addressing the room because she’d told so few people about being attacked and her subsequent suicide attempts.

She told the Sunday Telegraph: “I’d really only told my story to about five people – I can count them on one hand – so to go from that to the world knowing, that was overwhelming.

“It was terrifying to think that everyone would know this about me and what people might think of that. But the fact that I was so afraid to tell my story, and so ashamed, just made me want to do it more.”

Hidden debt makes wife want to run and hide

Posted: 15 Apr 2018 12:01 AM PDT

Dear Amy: I’m in a long-term marriage. I have hidden debt (in my name only).

The debt is around $45,000. I incurred this debt through light gambling, buying clothes, makeup, travel, hobbies, gifts to adult children and also moving it around to prevent my husband from finding out about it.

I completely manage this debt because my income covers it.

In the marriage, part of our income is shared for household needs and the remainder is for each spouse to handle as they wish, with the expectation of much of it going to savings as we are nearing retirement.

I’m torn between telling my husband about it, which may or may not end the marriage, and just leaving the marriage without telling him about it.

Except for some diminishing of retirement expectations, the debt has not affected our financial strength. The lying and dishonesty, however, is affecting the emotional strength of our relationship.

Obviously, there are other issues involved in our long marriage, but at this point, this is the question: Should I tell my husband about this hidden debt and incur his wrath and the possible end to the marriage? Or should I not tell him of the debt and leave the marriage by my own choice?

Or should I stay the course and, since it’s manageable, assume that everything will be OK when the debt is paid off?

I think I know what I’m going to do, but I’m still interested in your response.

— Imprisoned

Dear Imprisoned: You don’t mention if you have stopped your spending – but you must. I also don’t quite know what qualifies as “light gambling,” but this is another issue for you to be brave enough to address.

You could start by seeking treatment and group support through Debtors Anonymous (debtorsanonymous.org), or another similar organization.

You need to understand that your entire question is about the value you see in running, hiding and leaving the relationship over this. So please don’t think that this debt is “manageable,” or that it isn’t having a huge impact on your life, because your debt is running the show.

Of course it is affecting your relationship, as well as your financial future. All of the money you are plowing into servicing this debt is money you are not investing in your retirement.

There are ways to negotiate lower rates and payments to your debtors, and you may be able to substantially lower your burden by facing this and communicating with them.

And, yes, you should tell your husband. I can imagine that this will be disappointing and possibly devastating news for him, but your silence and secrecy is imprisoning you. When you disclose this, you will start your recovery.

Read “How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt and Live Prosperously (Based on the Proven Principles and Techniques of Debtors Anonymous),” by Jerrold Mundis (2012, Bantam).

Dear Amy: My brother and I have not gotten along well in the last few years. It stems from his “ghosting” our family during a medical crisis of mine. His behavior was prompted and encouraged by his girlfriend.

Fast-forward to now, and he is engaged to this same woman. I know that I will be invited to their wedding, but my question is, am I obligated to attend, as this is my brother? Several family members and family friends will be going, so my absence would likely be noticed. However, if this was a friend who had treated me as such during my medical emergency, I would choose to send a polite card and decline to attend the wedding.

What are your thoughts?

— Estranged Sibling

Dear Estranged: You should do whatever you want to do. I would encourage you to attend, however. The reason is this: families are built on occasions, celebrations and shared experiences.

You know that if you don’t attend, your estrangement will become solidified. As it is, your witnessing this important celebration is demonstrating to your brother how family members should behave. They should show up for one another. Yes, your brother should have shown up for you when you needed him, and if your relationship is more active, you will be able to express this to him.

Dear Readers: I still receive, read and appreciate “Ask Amy” postal mail. I have a new postal address which some newspapers haven’t yet posted, so I am noting it here. People wanting to write to me can address mail to “Ask Amy” PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068.

(You can contact Amy Dickinson via email: askamy@amydickinson.com. Readers may send postal mail to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or “like” her on Facebook.)

OMARR’S DAILY ASTROLOGICAL FORECAST, For release 04/15/18 for 04/15/18

Posted: 15 Apr 2018 12:01 AM PDT

BIRTHDAY GAL: Actress Maisie Williams was born in Bristol, England on this date in 1997. This birthday gal earned a 2016 Emmy nomination for her portrayal of Arya Stark on “Game of Thrones.” She also played the recurring role of Ashildr on “Doctor Who.” On the big screen, Williams’ film work includes “The Book of Love,” “The Falling,” and “Heatstroke.” She will next star with Elle Fanning in the upcoming biopic “Mary Shelley.”

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Your future can be remolded like clay. Because the future is malleable it isn’t wise to base your decisions only on the latest news. Conditions can change swiftly in the week ahead.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Your flare for fashion or people skills might come in handy as this week unfolds. Find ways to enhance your appearance and make yourself more attractive in the week ahead.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): People will be happy to perform favors or give you the support you need in the upcoming week. A significant other may be intrigued or obsessed by something out of the ordinary.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Every fantasy fan knows it isn’t wise to poke a sleeping dragon. You could be tempted to rebel against authority or challenge the status quo. Focus on living up to responsibilities in the week ahead.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Star quality comes in many shapes and forms. Someone might remind you that you possess many talents. Your job and business obligations need to be taken seriously in the week to come.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Keep your eye on the prize. With taxes out of the way you can set your sights on future financial security. In the week ahead perform those little chores that will set the wheels in motion.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Surround yourself with interesting people and mingle with movers and shakers in the coming week. You can’t be depressed if you have lively conversations and take an interest in others.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Nothing is impossible to achieve if you set your mind to it. Determination is a key asset in being successful in the week ahead. Be sure you get all the facts straight before you act.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Battles are won or lost in the preparation. Your financial condition can improve this week if you are organized. Take a break from people who think inside the box or who refuse to be flexible.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Raise the bar a notch higher. You’ve done well for yourself and achieved a moderate level of success. This week go even further and plot a future that will offer romantic and financial comforts.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Indulge in a sense of adventure and explore the way the “other half” lives in the week ahead. Don’t let anyone stand in your way or discourage you from pursuing a worthwhile objective.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): It isn’t necessary to buy something to bolster your self-esteem. You may long to own a unique collectible or the latest computer gadget. You may be prompted to make impulsive purchases this week.

IF APRIL 15 IS YOUR BIRTHDAY: During the upcoming three to four weeks you may be aggressive about standing up for your own rights to the point where you may be distracted from achieving something of importance. Your restless desire for expressing your ideals may be best played out by working harder at achieving your material ambitions in June. Your inspired vision of possibilities could help you make the connections necessary to climb higher on the ladder of success or to make astute decisions about investments or finances. You can make lasting friendships or business contacts in July. Your golden opportunity might appear in October. That is the best time to begin anything of great importance, ask for favors, or to make crucial decisions.