'True Blood's' Stephen Moyer on Bill, Eric's sexual tension

stephen moyer

Stephen Moyer, who plays vampire Bill Compton on HBO’s “True Blood,” says he’ll occasionally bite his fans, but only when they ask him to.

“If the person looks clean and wholesome, I might oblige,” Moyer told The Advocate.

In the interview, which appears in the magazine’s August issue, the actor talks about “True Blood’s” dedicated LGBT fan base and the sexual tension between his character and Eric, played by Alexander Skarsgård.

When asked if Bill and Eric would ever be intimate, Moyer said, “Alex and I would absolutely embrace that. Last year, when Sookie had her fantasy about the two of them with her, we even suggested it.”

Of course, as we reported in 2010, Skarsgård declines to cover his goods with a modesty sock while filming the series, now in its fifth season. But Moyer, who opts to don the sock, says he doesn’t mind.

“We all know each other really well, and it’s not that I care about what the actors think, but I don’t think the crew necessarily needs to see my bits,” he said.

One costar Moyer knows extremely well is wife Anna Paquin, who plays Sookie on the vampire drama. The pair are currently expecting twins, according to US Weekly.

As to whether or not “True Blood’s” broad sexuality alienates some viewers, Moyer says, “We live in a very different world than we grew up in, so if people can’t embrace that aspect of our show, then that’s a shame.”

Image : CNN

Rolling Stones celebrate 50 years of raucous rock'n'roll


rolling stones
At the beginning of 1962, Britain barely figured as an influence on the rest of the world of popular music. By the end of the year the fuse was lit for an unprecedented explosion of creativity that would turn the entire music business upside down. At this stage, "pop music" - especially "pop music" in the shape of rock'n'roll - was still regarded as a second-rate and largely disposable noise, even within the entertainment industry itself. That year, a bunch of spotty blues, and rhythm & blues fans from Liverpool and London would set in motion a process of change that transformed this perception dramatically and swiftly. The Beatles and the Rolling Stones would create a new, artistic language uniquely suited to reflect the concerns, hopes, and fears of their generation.

Rolling Stones gather to plot 50th anniversary bash

In October 1961, nineteen-year-old father of three, Lewis Brian Hopkin-Jones (born 28 February 1942), and a fellow blues enthusiast, Dick Hattrell, attended a concert by Chris Barber's Jazz Band in their sleepy, conservative hometown, Cheltenham. During the interval, one of the members of Barber's band - the guitarist Alexis Korner - gave his own blues performance. Such was the purist attitude amongst the small community of blues cognoscenti in Britain, that Korner and his previous outfit had been sacked from their regular gig at the London Blues and Barrelhouse Club when they dared to introduce electric amplification. According to Barber, ever the supporter of fresh ideas (Bill Wyman calls him "virtually a founding father" of the British rock scene), Korner was the only British blues player who was amplifying his guitar at the time. Brian Jones was blown away by what he saw. Already known around town as a bit of a lad and a talented guitarist, he had no trouble being admitted backstage to speak to Korner and exchange telephone numbers. Two months later, Brian descended on the Korners in London, staying several days and spending most of his time perusing the older man's record collection. Discovering, amongst others, Elmore James, Howlin' Wolf and Robert Johnson, he purchased an electric guitar as soon as he was back in Cheltenham and began to practise with an obsession matched only by his pursuit of female companionship. Indeed, the influence he would later exert over the nascent Rolling Stones might not just have been in terms of music, but also in terms of attitude and lifestyle.

Brian Jones's father, Lewis, was an aeronautical engineer and his mother, Louisa, a piano teacher. He grew up in the quiet environment of a comfortably well-off family, whose attitudes had been shaped by memories of the War itself and the uncertainty of the post-War austerity years. He was clever, sporty and popular in school. Aged fifteen, he joined a skiffle band, playing washboard. He liked trad jazz -- aka Dixieland, the dominant style of dance music in Britain at the time -- until he discovered the saxophonist Charlie Parker. And then, Brian Jones went off the rails in spectacular fashion. Discipline became an anathema to him. Refusing to go to university, he was sacked from a long series of jobs, usually for helping himself to the contents of the till. Friends and acquaintances despaired of him, so wantonly did he abuse their generosity. He even featured in the national press as an example for the wayward and amoral ways of modern youth, when one of his underage lovers became pregnant. If Brian Jones cared, he certainly didn't show it, and he most definitely didn't change his ways. According to perspective he was a damned nuisance, a peril to society, or a charming, modern-day libertine.

Gallery: Stones in pictures

On the morning of 17 October 1961, eighteen-year-old Mick Jagger (born 26 July 1943) was waiting on the platform of Dartford railway station for the train to take him the 16 miles into central London, where he was a mediocre student at the highly respected London School of Economics. He was clutching a Chuck Berry album, Rockin' at the Hops, and The Best of Muddy Waters under his arm. Shortly afterwards, seventeen- year-old Keith Richards (born 18 December 1943) arrived on the same platform on his way to Sidcup Art College. The two young men recognised each other from primary school. Studying the records on the train, Richards became even more envious of Jagger when he heard that he had actually seen Buddy Holly live in concert.

Time: Celebrating 50 years since they "start it up"

Two years earlier, Keith had received his first guitar as a gift from his mother. He was the only child of Bert, a factory worker, and Doris, whose mother had been the mayor of the Municipal Borough of Walthamstow (which is now part of the London Borough of Waltham Forest). Keith was a loner who was often bullied and the older he got, the more difficult he found it to accept the teachers' authoritarian rule. Music ran on his mother's side of the family; his grandfather had toured Britain with a big band, Gus Dupree and his Boys. Bert, on the other hand, was not keen on his son's growing interest in the guitar, especially after he was expelled from school for a variety of misdemeanors. As in school, two different worlds came up against each other in the family. "My parents were brought up in the Depression, when if you got something, you just kept it and you held it and that was it." Richards wrote in his autobiography. "Bert was the most unambitious man in the world. Meanwhile, I was a kid and I didn't even know what ambition meant. I just felt the constraints. The society and everything I was growing up in was just too small for me." By the time Richards arrived at art college -- it was the inspired idea of an art teacher to send him there -- he was deeply engrossed in music. Having started with Little Richard and Elvis, he had moved on via Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran, Marty Wilde and the like, to Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and Lightnin' Hopkins. British art colleges, then as now, have always been a fertile breeding ground for musical ideas. It was the one side of his education Keith relished.

Top 5 Best Exercises to Lose Belly Fat


loss fat
Most people involved in weight loss believe that it's all about the calories. If you burn calories more than you take in, you lose weight. If you take in more calories than you can burn, the body gains fat. While this piece of logic may make sense, it is only partly true. What burns calories nonstop is actually the lean muscle mass underneath body fat that allows more intake of calories without weight gain.

The body actually adapts to the changes it undergoes. Losing weight without exercising increases the risk of losing lean body mass, slowing the metabolism and putting the body into fat-storing mode. People who have lost body fat and muscle mass may notice that they don't have the muscle mass they once had. Worse yet, once they overeat even a little bit, they start filling up on body fat once again.

Building up muscle mass

An important thing to remember when undergoing a weight loss program is to understand what needs to be done. Realistic and achievable goals can help in building the confidence needed to make the necessary leap for the achievement of a desired weight.

Researchers at the Biomechanics Lab at San Diego State University took a look at some popular abdominal exercises and ranked them. Results of the study revealed that exercises that require constant abdominal stabilization and body rotation resulted in the most muscle activity in the abdomen.

Below are the top five belly exercises as ranked by the study:

1. The Bicycle Exercise - best for targeting the six pack muscles and the obliques. To do this exercise, get into a supine position with hands at the back of your head. Bring knees to the chest while lifting shoulders off the floor. Slowly bring your right elbow towards your left knee as you straighten your right leg. Switch sides and continue in a pedaling motion. Do 1 to 3 sets with 12 to 16 repetitions.

2. The Captain's Chair Leg Raise - This exercise requires a captain's chair, a rack with padded arms allowing for the legs to hang free that is commonly found in gyms or health clubs. To do this exercise, stand on the chair and grip hand holds. Press back against the pad then raise knees to the chest to contract the abs then lower them back down. Do 1 to 3 sets with 12 to 16 repetitions.

3. Exercise Ball Crunch - For this exercise, an exercise ball is necessary. In this routine, the abdomen does more exerting but will still need the entire body to stabilize it throughout the routine. To do this exercise, lie on the ball with your lower back fully supported. Place hands behind the head. To lift the torso off the ball, contract the abs to pull the bottom of the rib cage towards the hips. Keep ball stable as you curl up, then lower back down to stretch the abs. Do 1 to 3 sets with 12 to 16 repetitions.

4. Vertical Leg Crunch - Performing this exercise is similar to doing a leg crunch except that the legs are straight up, forcing the abs to work and adding intensity to the routine. To do this, lie on the floor with the legs straight up, knees crossed, and place the hands beneath the head for support. Contract abs lifting the shoulders off the floor and keep legs in a fixed position to crunch. Do 1 to 3 sets with 12 to 16 repetitions.

5. Long Arm Crunch - This is a variant of the traditional floor crunch where the arms are held straight behind you, adding a lever to the move and making for a challenging exercise. To do this, lie on the floor or a mat then extend arms straight behind, keeping them clasped and next to the ears. Slowly contract abs and lift shoulders off the floor carefully to keep the arms straight. Do 1 to 3 sets with 12 to 16 repetitions.

The best strategy to weight loss is to observe a healthy diet coupled with exercise of at least an hour a day. Although there is no sure fire way to deal with belly fat, there are a number of activities from which to choose and enjoy. As long as you're having fun, you can lose weight without realizing it. It is important to look for an exercise you enjoy. If the suggested exercises above do not suit your taste, taking a hike, swimming or biking are just as effective in burning fat and toning muscles.

Morgan Freeman: Obama, Mandela, Batman and me


morgan freeman
If you enjoy hearing, as I do, a spirited denunciation of stubborn Republican resistance to Barack Obama over the past three years, then you could do a whole lot worse than have it declaimed to you by Morgan Freeman in his warm and ever authoritative baritone.

"At the outset of Obama's administration, the political right [meaning Senator Mitch McConnell] literally said, out loud: 'The No1 project of this party is to make sure that this guy – this guy – only serves one term.' How do you make sure of that? You don't allow him to do anything good or worthwhile. Every chance you get, block him, and that's what they've done. Which now allows them to say: 'He's failed, he can't get anything done.' If he loses, it simply proves what you always feared, that democracy can be bought, and that the country is owned by the rich. And if everything gets bought, how do we ever get the country back?"

For all the subdued anger in his voice, Freeman is, as expected, a cool and emollient presence as around him the press junket for The Dark Knight Rises noisily unfolds. The last time we met, he stood up and I got a sore neck waiting for him to reach his full height. Now, quite still, with long slender arms on the chair arms, back straight and knees bent, he creates an impression of serpentine undulation, like a slinky-toy spooling itself down steps.

So, the election of an African-American president has not cast us into a sunlit utopian "post-racial" society? "No, not at all, instead the whole thing uncovered" he pauses in sorrow or anger, "plenty of maggots still squirming around there under the stone."

We're here to talk about the concluding panel of Christopher Nolan's Batman triptych, which he resisted directing for a while, having failed to answer for himself the pertinent and sobering question: how many movie trilogies have a triumphant part three? Once all doubts had been cast off and filming began, though, Nolan threw himself into the project, a calm head at the centre of the whirlwind, like Napoleon leading his grande armée film crew across the globe. Not that he's Napoleonic, says Freeman.

"If you walked on the set and I said go talk to the director, you'd have a hard time picking him out. And even then, you might look straight past him. He's quiet, but it's a quiet authority, and he enjoys doing it."

It was always going to be a problem topping Heath Ledger's vivid and unsettling performance as the Joker in the second film. Here, Christian Bale's Bruce Wayne, reclusive, inactive for eight years, weakened and chastened, comes out of his obscurity to tackle Bane (Tom Hardy), a giant who wears an immovable mask that pumps perpetual doses of anaesthetic into his bulked-up body. Where Ledger was chaos embodied, Bane is unstoppable brute strength. As Freeman has it: "Bane is to Gotham what bats were to Batman, a fear the city has to overcome."

What impact did the death of Ledger after The Dark Knight have? "Well, it's a downer when anything happens to an actor in mid-production. In fact, he didn't die during production, his part was wrapped up, but the movie itself wasn't out yet. People connected the character to his death because the character was so ... evil – people imagine that the role leaks into the man or something. And I don't think that was the case at all."

Like its two predecessors, The Dark Knight Rises contains political echoes of the zeitgeist. The League of Shadows had an al-Qaida-ish lust to destroy what they saw as an incorrigibly corrupt Gotham, while The Dark Knight's Joker embodied chaos, which Freeman calls "a quality I associate with the right". For the villain in The Dark Knight Rises to share a name, during this election, with Mitt Romney's increasingly infamous investment group – Bain Capital – seems almost too good to be true, especially since Bane also makes ever more demagogic appeals to a Gotham populace polarised along Tea Party/Occupy-movement lines, even as he is readying the immolation of their city.

I couldn't quite make the timeline work on this, though: surely shooting had wrapped before Occupy took off? Freeman clarifies: "Someone asked Christopher that question yesterday, and he said he didn't intentionally think of anything political in the development of the story. So I think the politics here, if there are any, is like art or beauty, it's largely in the eye of the beholder."

In the midst of all this stand Bruce Wayne's father-surrogates, Michael Caine's avuncular Alfred and Freeman's Lucius Fox, CEO of Wayne Enterprises and personal armourer to the Batman, ever eager to show off his new toys, which this time include "the Bat", a tooled-up helipod that, yes, comes in black. When I remind Freeman that Nolan has expressed interest in doing a Bond movie, he chuckles long and hard, imagining what franchise-invigorating mayhem the director might wreak on Bond. "Funny thing is, with Lucius Fox, Chris is already halfway there – after all, Lucius is Batman's 'Q'."

Father-surrogate to Batman or not, Freeman's career, at the age of 75, is inevitably taking on certain crepuscular, autumnal hues. Recently he featured in the Geritol Generation dream-cast of oldsters in RED ("Retired"), and The Bucket List, his "dream-come-true to work with Jack" [Nicholson], a comedy about facing impending death with dignity, a large scotch and a parachute. His next movie, Last Vegas, features Freeman and fellow pensioners Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken and Michael Douglas on an old farts' bachelor weekend in Sin City. "Guess which one's the Lothario skirt-chaser?" he asks, and we enjoy a dirty laugh at Douglas's expense.

Many of his co-stars of the same age are walking off into the sunset, including Gene Hackman, Freeman's tormentor from Unforgiven. "Gene and I share the same agent, and he is fully retired. He's like, nah, I wanna stay home and write my novels and paint." And although Unforgiven director Clint Eastwood has also largely retired from acting, Freeman says: "He will keep directing literally until he drops dead. Working for him was three of my happiest times in the movies. He's the same way John Huston was: 'The art of directing lies mainly in casting; once you cast somebody, get out of the way.' I love that. And Huston kept directing right till the last moment, too."

So what keeps Freeman going, now that he's worth an estimated $70m (£45m) and should by rights be sailing his 40ft ketch in the Caribbean, instead of slogging it out with the media?

"What keeps anyone going? I have work. I have things to do. I prefer working to idleness. And I like my job. I'm lucky, I'm not working because I have to; I'm working because I love to."

He especially loved playing Nelson Mandela in Eastwood's Invictus. He has known Mandela for years. "It's funny how we met – he kind of summoned me. When he published Long Walk to Freedom, he was asked: who would you want to play you in the movie? And he said: 'Morgan Freeman.' Which was pretty nice of him, I thought. So I met him at his house in Jo'burg. I said: 'If we do this, I'm going to need to have access to you, to be close enough to hold your hand.' So every time we were in any kind of proximity or I had a shot at being around him for a while, we sat down together." What's he like? "From a distance, he has an aura, that legendary quality. Up close, the reassuring thing is, he's just a guy."

And South Africa? "First time I was terrified, in 1992, I think. Mandela was out of jail, but he wasn't president yet. The Zulus and the Nationals were combining because they knew that the ANC had the numbers behind them. So riots were sprouting up all over the place. We were there to make a movie called Bopha [Freeman's directorial debut, starring Danny Glover, 1992]. It was about a black policeman, a guy his own community basically ostracises as an agent of apartheid, when he's really just trying to keep chaos at bay. We asked permission to film in Soweto, we had two riots to shoot, and we just figured, well, we'll just start a riot today," and he bursts out laughing at the suicidal idiocy of the idea. "We did it elsewhere in the end."

Hama Massacre: Syria Forces Reportedly Kill Over 100


syiria
BEIRUT — Syrian activists reported a new massacre late Thursday in the central Hama province, saying regime forces killed more than 100 people in shelling and other attacks.

There were few details on the attack, which was reported by the Local Coordination Committees activist group and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The Observatory said it was aware of up to 100 killed from sources on the ground, but the group had only confirmed the names of 30 people so far.

Death tolls are nearly impossible to independently verify in Syria, where the government restricts journalists and where more than a year of violence has convulsed much of the country.

There were few details of the violence in Hama's Tremseh area.

Activists say more than 17,000 people have been killed since the uprising against President Bashar Assad began in March 2011, and he is coming under growing international pressure to stop the violence. But as the bloodshed continues, and the conflict morphs into an armed insurgency, hopes for a peaceful transition are dimming.

The latest report of violence came in the wake of the highest-level defector yet from President Bashar Assad's regime – his ambassador to Iraq.

Defections from the Syrian regime have stirred hopes in the West Assad's inner circle will start abandoning him in greater numbers, hastening his downfall.

But the tightly protected regime has largely held together over the course of the 16-month-old uprising, driven by a mixture of fear and loyalty.


The latest official to flee, Ambassador Nawaf Fares, announced that he was joining the revolution, asserting Thursday that only force will drive Assad from power.

"There is no road map ever with Bashar Assad, because any plan, any statement that is agreed on internationally he delays on and ignores," Fares told the Al-Jazeera satellite channel. "There is no way that he can be pushed from power without force, and the Syrian people realize this."

Syria's Foreign Ministry denounced Fares, saying he should face "legal and disciplinary accountability."

In Washington, State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell hailed what he called the "first major diplomatic defection," adding: "We think this a wider sign that the regime is feeling the pressure. The pressure is up and the regime is really starting to fall apart."

Fares is the second prominent Syrian to break with the regime in less than a week. Brig. Gen. Manaf Tlass, an Assad confidant and son of a former defense minister, defected last week, but has not spoken publicly.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Tlass has been in contact with the Syrian opposition. He would not comment on reports that Tlass was in Paris.

"I know that there is some closeness between the opposition and the general... Contact has been made," Fabius told journalists in Paris.

Assad's regime has suffered a steady stream of low-level army defectors, who have joined a group of dissidents known as the Free Syrian Army, now numbering in the tens of thousands. There have been several high-level defections in the past – including a Syrian fighter pilot who flew his plane to neighboring Jordan during a training mission in June in a brazen move.

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