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Kiss bassist Gene Simmons responded to a lawsuit filed by a woman alleging sexual misconduct Sunday, saying in a statement that he “did not assault the person making these accusations in the manner alleged in the complaint or harm her in any way.”
The lawsuit was filed by a “Jane Doe” — so-called to protect her identity — on Friday, and recounted an incident that allegedly occurred in November during an interview. The woman stated that Simmons made “several aggressive, unwanted sexual advances despite Jane Doe’s active and clear discouragement.” San Bernardino, Calif. restaurant Rock & Brews is also listed as a defendant in the lawsuit, according to the San Bernardino Sun, as the interview for a local rock station took place at the eatery, which Simmons co-owns.
The lawsuit states that during the interview, Simmons “reached over and grabbed [Doe’s] hand and, forcefully, placed it on his knee.” Doe withdrew her hand, “feeling that this was an unwanted sexual advance,” but Simmons continued to reach for it. Simmons also allegedly made salacious comments towards Doe and “flicked/struck” her throat, at which time Doe ended the interview. Afterwards, however, the lawsuit alleges that Simmons “reached towards [Doe’s] buttocks and touched it.”
“Friends, I intend to defend myself against any alleged charges you may have been reading about in the media,” Simmons said in a statement posted to Twitter. “For the record, I did not assault the person making these accusations in the manner alleged in the complaint or harm her in any way. I am conferring with my lawyers with the aim of vigorously countering these allegations. And, I look forward to my day in court where the evidence will prove my innocence.”
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MORELIA, Mexico — Among the films competing in the Mexican feature film section of this year’s festival is Gabriel Mariño’s “Yesterday Wonder I Was.”
“Yesterday” is the latest from a director who has been keeping busy since his 2012 feature debut, “A Secret World,” was selected for competition at Berlinale, having taken part in San Sebastian’s Films in Progress pix-in-post showcase.
Mexican production company UnMundo, which also produced “A Secret World,” returned to produce “Yesterday.” The film will also be screening at Los Cabos and is currently working on securing as sales agent and international distribution.
The film is a body-swapping tale of a solitary soul in one of the world’s most populated cities. The entity, completely unintentionally and unexplained, occasionally wakes up in a new body for an unknown period of time. Gender, age and physical features are all lost, the only thing remaining is the the entity’s consciousness. The film follows the entity through parks, parties, rooftops and its beloved courtyard garden as it tries to make a connection with someone who will love it in return, in spite of its condition.
That possible connection comes in the form of Luisa, a beautiful hairdresser who cuts the entity’s hair after each swap. When finally it wakes up in a body young and attractive enough to instill the necessary confidence, the entity makes its move and begins a relationship with Luisa, not knowing how she will respond to the next swap.
Mariño spoke with Variety in Morelia about the film.
In the film’s most intimate moments of love, isolation and artists creating, the music and sound effects drop out and we only hear the rain outside. What was your intention in isolating that one sound?
I wanted to make a film as sensory as possible: Full of evocations, memories and nostalgia. I think that sound, being a non-visual tool, has the ability to filter deeper into the unconscious. The sound of water, and of rain in particular, is almost palpable. We all relate to something in particular, that is why rain and thunder are sound characters in the film. For me personally, rain can, in a moment, transform a mood.
One of the film’s greatest assets is its photography. Can you talk a bit about that, and your photographer Iván Hernández?
Iván is my biggest cinematographic accomplice. He always pushes my limits and gives my films a visual personality. Beyond the photographic, he brings ideas on the film’s history and characters from the early stages of the script. He photographed this film without lighting, using only the natural light of each location. Usually black and white contemporary films have a lot of lighting work, so it was even more special that Ivan would risk filming a black and white film in such a way. Ivan’s work was able to build a unique atmosphere, full of intimacy and textures, which gives shape to the accumulated memories of the characters.
It’s clear that Mexico City is a third character in the film. What role did the city play in making it, and could you have told this story somewhere else?
I have a love-hate relationship with Mexico City and wanted it to be a character in the film. In my head this story could not have happened as we see it in any other part of the world, because the city seems so great and mysterious that it could well be inhabited by some entity like we see it in the film. For me. this movie is also a crazy love letter to the city where I grew up.
You didn’t use a script, rather just a short story you wrote. How important then were the actors in making this film?
The actors and actresses were very important in the creative process, because I was able to work with them before filming. We did several exercises to build the film’s tone. The dialogues were constructed by me before and during filming, but some lines that were already established before were adapted by the actors on set.
Despite your sterling reputation, you made this film completely independently. Was that a creative choice or was it imposed on you?
More than by choice, it was out of necessity. In Mexico almost all the cinema is subsidized by the state through Imcine (the Mexican Institute of Cinematography) through different funds. I have applied to most of them on several occasions and never been lucky. I came to the conclusion that my film career can not depend on state funds and I have been able to find, in independent production, a place of creative freedom and support with which I feel very comfortable. The lack of capital becomes a tool that pushes creativity, and puts us to work on the edge, which is very exciting.
With a series of recent national crises, what difficulties are being experienced by Mexican filmmakers right now, and how can they overcome them?
In general, Mexicans are accustomed to working in the middle of a crisis. We continue to go from crisis to crisis. I think the worst enemy of Mexican cinema is not natural disasters or external phenomena, but our government and its neo-liberal policies on national culture in general. Each year, it cuts more the budgets for culture in Mexico and makes decisions that beat down protections for creators and cultural goods. Nevertheless, the raw material that feeds cinema in Mexico resides in the Mexican filmmakers themselves, and their desire to continue making cinema.
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Univision Communications plans to name Vincent Sadusky, a former senior executive at Medua General and Telemundo, as its next chief executive, according to press reports.
A spokeswoman for the Spanish-language media company declined to comment.
Sadusky would take over the role from Randy Falco, who is expected to step down by the end of 2018.
More to come….
A Los Angeles man admitted to police that he placed a faked emergency call to 911 operators last year that led to a fatal police-involved shooting in Witchita, Kansas, an L.A. police detective testified in a Kansas court Tuesday, the Witchita Eagle reports.
Tyler Raj Barriss, 25, was charged last year with involuntary manslaughter, giving false alarm, and interference with law-enforcement officers. He was extradited to Kansas from California. In his preliminary hearing on Tuesday, the judge in the case ruled that there was sufficient evidence to hold Barriss for trial.
Wichita police say Barriss made a fake phone call to authorities on Dec. 28 after an argument over a small wager on a “Call of Duty” match. The person he argued with allegedly gave Barriss a false address, which Barriss used to lead police to the home of 28-year-old Andrew Finch. Finch was shot and killed by police when he came to the door.
Tuesday’s hearing included testimony from the Los Angeles police detective who questioned Barriss following his arrest as well as the Wichita police officer who fatally shot Finch.
In his testimony, Los Angeles police detective Edward Dorroh told the court Tuesday that Barriss admitted to going to a local library in Los Angeles to sign into the WiFi there with his smartphone and place the fake calls to police.
“To cut to the chase, he confessed,” Dorroh said Tuesday, according to the Witchita Eagle. “It was straightforward.”
The detective also said that Barriss told him he knew how dangerous making those calls was and then read what Barriss told him, from a transcript of the police interview: “I did know that, yeah. I’m not gonna deny that. I did know. It’s just the fact that the worst possible outcome happened is so unfortunate.”
Wichita Deputy Chief Troy Livingston previously said that police arrived at Finch’s home shortly after receiving calls to the city’s town hall. They arrived at the address given, believing they were responding to a murder and hostage situation. Police shot and killed Finch after he appeared to lower his hands while standing in front of his home. After the shooting, police discovered four other people inside, but no body or any hostages. This is believed to be the first swatting incident to involve a fatality.
The officer who fired the fatal shot will not be criminally charged, the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office announced last month. But the DA added that the shooting should not have happened and noted that the investigation only weighs potential criminal charges, not civil liability or potential police department policy violations.
In making his determination, District Attorney Marc Bennett concluded that the officer who fired the single fatal shot from his rifle believed that Finch had drawn a gun from his waistband and was raising it to shoot at officers who thought they were responding to a deadly hostage situation.
The officer who fired, identified as Justin Rapp, testified in court Tuesday that he didn’t see a weapon in Finch’s hands before firing his gun at him, according to the Witchita Eagle.
Barriss faces unrelated charges in connection with another swatting incident that occurred in Canada, according to the Globe and Mail. Calgary police say they charged Barriss with mischief and fraud following a swatting incident on Dec. 22. Calgary 911 said it received a phone call that day from a man who claimed he shot his father, and was holding his mother and younger brother hostage. He gave them an address in Calgary’s Bankview neighborhood belonging to an unnamed woman, who told police she was targeted because of her online persona. No one was hurt in the Calgary case.
The Sedgwick DA’s office is also looking into an April incident in which Barriss apparently managed to get on Twitter from jail, where he threatened to swat others, the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office said.
Barriss’ next appearance is in June.
The Fire Department of New York quickly extinguished a fire on the 50th floor of Trump Tower in Manhattan. One civilian has been seriously injured with firefighters sustaining three non-life-threatening injuries, according to the FDNY.
The President’s son also expressed his gratitude in a tweet, noting that the fire was located in a residential apartment in Trump Tower. “The @FDNY and @NYPD are truly some of the most incredible people anywhere!” he wrote.
The FDNY Alerts Twitter account first reported the fire at 2:57 p.m., writing “2-alarm 721 5 Ave, High Rise (Trump Tower).” A following tweet reported three alarms had gone off, and another from the FDNY account reported no injuries and that fire fighters were on the scene.
The FDNY later upgraded the fire to four-alarm, and said that a civilian had been seriously injured, with three non-life-threatening injuries to firefighters reported.
The New York Police Department tweeted that the area between 5th Avenue and West 57th Street could expect police and fire department activity, and attendant traffic and street closures due to emergency vehicles.
The President is not at Trump Tower, having relocated to Washington, D.C. for the weekend. His offices are on the 26th floor.
Flames can be seen emerging from the windows of the 50th floor in videos and photos posted to Twitter Saturday by onlookers and FDNY.
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