TIME celebrities

Russell Simmons to Justin Bieber: Please Meditate

The mogul explains why meditation matters — and why some troubled celebs could benefit from the practice

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Russell Simmons is already a guru in the worlds of hip-hop, poetry, comedy and fashion. But he went even further in a guru-like direction with the publication of his most recent book Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple. The way Simmons sees it, he wouldn’t be the mogul he is today if he hadn’t learned to meditate. (His producer buddy Rick Rubin introduced him to it, apparently.)

In the interview Simmons talked about why he’d love Bieber and Kim Kardashian to meditate (it’s a power thing); he also considered whether meditating had made him too soft to be a hip hop entrepreneur and his favorite yoga pose. In the fuller version of the interview, available to subscribers here, Simmons gives some interesting advice to Hollywood, suggests a way of reducing the number of black men in prison and explains why he’s not one of the 1%.

TIME celebrities

The Single Moms Club’s Terry Crews Is Our New Favorite Philosopher

Terry Crews
Terry Crews arrives at the world premiere of Disney's "Muppets Most Wanted" on March 11, 2014, in Hollywood, Calif. Charley Gallay—Getty Images

The actor spoke to TIME about all kinds of things

If it feels as if Terry Crews is everywhere, that’s because he is: you can catch the 45-year-old actor in The Single Moms Club (in theaters March 14), on Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Tuesdays on Fox) and in the upcoming football flick Draft Day (out April 11).

He’s also, it turns out, a bit of a philosopher. Crews spoke to TIME recently, and here’s what we learned: Save it and sell it. If someone says you suck, that’s good. Don’t mess with a baby’s heart. Marriage takes work. Silence is bad. And much, much more…

TIME: You have some big entrances in The Single Moms Club. Did you get to improvise those?

Terry Crews: Totally improvised. No one knew that was coming.

Where did the idea come from?

I thought a character like Branson is a show-off. He’s got his photo on his truck, you know what I mean? And he’s in love. He’s got a crush. I said, ‘This is the kind of dude who does not mind making a scene.’ It felt right.

Do you identify with that urge to make a scene?

I am an official slow-roasted, honey-baked ham. Ever since I was a kid my thing is that I love attention. All my report cards are like, he would be wonderful but he just can’t stop being a clown in class.

Has that decreased with age?

Now I’ve learned to wait till I get a check to do it! My wife is like, You know, that’s really good, but why don’t you save it and sell it? I’m 45 years old and I finally learned to be calm until the light really is on you and they tell you to go.

Any chance you’ll start doing singing entrances in your real life?

Well, that embarrassment gene, I don’t really have a lot of it. When you’re talking about being a creative person, you face a lot of naysayers. I just learned that that comes with it. That’s the thing that stops people from doing things. When people feel that sense of judgment it stops all momentum. When somebody’s saying you suck or whatever, you’re probably doing something good.

Did you ever have to try as hard as your character does to get a date?

When I was a kid I didn’t have any girlfriends. I was a very nerdy-type dude. Believe me, being a ham does not turn girls on. When I was dating my wife, who was a single mom at the time, my oldest daughter, who’s now 27, was 6 months old. We were married when she was 2. I had to really prove that I wasn’t going anywhere. You’ve got to prove that you’re not going to mess around with her heart or the baby’s heart.

You also just wrapped this season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, right? What was your favorite moment from the year?

There are so many, but I have to say there are certain spots that blow me away where they really used who I was and my character. The sleeping chin-ups scene, I thought, this has never been done, and I loved it. It’s work-out humor. The whole industry of fitness does not have a sense of humor — they’re very, very serious — and I think it really brings a difference. So the sleeping chin-ups thing was one of my favorite jokes.

Besides Brooklyn Nine-Nine, what are some of your favorite TV shows?

I work so much that it’s hard. Listen, I missed Breaking Bad. I never had time to get into it, and by the time it was the greatest show of all time I had missed three season. Here I am on the first episode and I’m like, man, I’m going to be here for three days. To be honest, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is the only show I’m into at the moment, because that’s what I’m doing.

What about music?

My favorite artist right now is Kendrick Lamar. Rap Music, hip-hop has suffered so bad. You see a lot of people in it just trying to get money. The reason Kendrick stands out is he’s truly an artist every step of the way. When you hear the way he’s speaking about where he comes from and what he’s about, you go, this man is a total artist. This kid is the real deal. He’s bringing energy back to music itself. It’s not even just hip-hop. It’s music.

Have you read any good books lately?

I just read The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. To be married 25 years, you have to put as much energy as I put into being an actor or being a great football player into being a better husband and a better father. That book, I learned so much. Like, you think that because you’re arguing that something’s wrong with your marriage, but I learned that arguments are a good sign, because that means you’re communicating. It’s the silence that you don’t want.

TIME celebrities

Creeping With the Kardashians: Are Khloe and Kourtney’s Burglaries Related?

It's a Bling Ring thing for the Kardashian sisters

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Both Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian‘s homes were broken into in the past month — and with no signs of forced entry, there have been reports that the burglaries may have been an inside job.

Khloe lost more than $250,000 of jewelry from her former home with estranged husband Lamar Odom, and $50,000 in cash was stolen from Kourtney’s home.

“Who we think [committed these crimes] is all part of the ongoing investigation,” LAPD Officer Wendy Reyes told PEOPLE. “We have not been making any comments as far as that’s concerned.”

TIME celebrities

Lady Gaga Denies Claims of Her Foundation’s Shady Spending

2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter - Arrivals
Lady Gaga attends the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter on March 2, 2014 in West Hollywood, California. Anthony Harvey—Getty Images

The singer took to her website to refute reports that her foundation fritters its money away on legal fees and publicity, rather than charity.

Lady Gaga is defending herself after reports claimed that her charity wasn’t actually all that charitable.

The singer’s Born This Way Foundation, established in 2011 by Gaga and her mother Cynthia Germanotta, says on its website that it focuses on “creating a safe community that helps connect young people with the skills and opportunities they need to build a kinder, braver world.” But according to a report by ShowBiz411, the foundation reportedly claimed $2.66 million in revenue for 2012, while a whopping $1.85 million went to operational expenses like legal fees and publicity, not charity. Meanwhile, only $5,000 was listed as being spent on “grants to organizations or individuals.”

Gaga has hit back on Thursday. “We do not raise money and allocate the funds to other charities for them to do the work,” the singer wrote on her website. “We do the work.” Gaga also urged fans to check out a Huffington Post article penned by her mother, the foundation’s president.
In the article, titled “Speaking Out For Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation,” Germanotta writes: “[W]e are an organization that conducts our charitable activity directly, and we fund our own work. We are not a grant-maker that funds the work of other charities, and were never intended to be. … A clear understanding of the differences between a grant-making organization and one that carries out its work directly would have made this a non-story.”
Germanotta goes on to write that the foundation’s work—and the reason behind all that spending—has included “raising awareness of the importance of being kind to others through public relations and social media, bringing messages about individuality and bravery to communities around the country via the Born Brave Bus Tour and multiple events.”
TIME celebrities

A Sext from Ernest Hemingway (Sort Of)

Hemingway-to-Marlene-Diet-024
AuctionMyStuff.com

The sexy note that Hemingway wrote to legendary actress Marlene Dietrich in 1955 could draw as much as $50,000 in an online auction. Dietrich's grandchildren plan to sell her belongings in an AuctionMyStuff.com sale from March 19 to April 6

Auctions of celebrity possessions can benefit even those who aren’t buying or selling — case in point: an upcoming AuctionMyStuff.com sale of property from Marlene Dietrich’s grandchildren, all of which belonged to the legendary actress. Highlights include a tuxedo of hers and a letter to Dietrich from Noel Coward — and this 1955 gem of a note from Ernest Hemingway.

The two had a 30-year epistolary affair and this letter makes it clear how they kept it up even though their love was long-distance. Sure, there’s some work chat. Hemingway describes the filming of The Old Man and the Sea and also mentions what appears to be her dissatisfaction with her stage show in Las Vegas, and what seems to be an idea that he might write something for her to perform — and that’s not where it gets good. In describing what he would do if he were writing her act, here’s some of what he had to say:

As you landed on the stage drunk and naked I would advance from the rear, or your rear wearing evening clothes and would hurriedly strip off my evening clothes to cover you revealing the physique of Burt Lancaster Strongfort and and [sic] announce that we were sorry that we did not know the lady was loaded… This is a scene which is really Spine Tingling and I have just the spine for it. I play it with a Giant Rubber Whale called Captain Ahab and all the time we are working on you with pulmotors and raversed [sic] vacuum cleaners which blow my evening clothes off you.

The letter is estimated to draw a price, during the Mar. 19–Apr. 6 bidding period, that may go as high as $50,000 — which means it’s a very good thing she ignored his instructions, later in the letter, to cut the missive into pieces.

TIME viral

President Obama on Between Two Ferns: How Funny or Die Made It Happen

Barack Obama on "Between Two Ferns" with Zach Galifianakis
Funny Or Die

"Our whole goal going into this was to make a Between Two Ferns that happens to have the President in it, and then let everything else work itself out"

The road to the White House is a long one — and the road to getting President Obama to appear on an episode of an absurdist web series is long, too. Also, it turns out, circular. It started at the White House and ended there, with the taping of Zach Galifianakis’ Funny or Die talk show Between Two Ferns, which appeared online this morning.

The first step, says Mike Farah, Funny Or Die’s president of production and an executive producer of Between Two Ferns, was a meeting at the White House last July, which was part of the official effort to engage with Hollywood on the topic of the Affordable Care Act. He and his team came prepared with ideas. At the top of the list was Between Two Ferns.

“We didn’t pitch the President that idea — that would have been pretty inappropriate — but that started a whole partnership with the White House,” Farah says. “It was cool to meet the President, but it was a lot better to go out and do the work to try and make some things.”

Mike Farah
Mike Farah attends the Film Independent forum on Oct. 27, 2013 in Los Angeles David Buchan / WireImage / Getty Images

The first product of that partnership was a spoof of Scandal, starring Jennifer Hudson, which launched in September. Farah says that pitching the ACA at Funny Or Die made sense, considering the site’s history of comedy about political subjects; though the topic of the healthcare law is a touchy one, he sees it as a natural extension of pre-existing topical videos. “Ultimately, we felt like this was a law that had been passed,” he says, though he acknowledges that it’s a “divisive” one. In addition, he points to statistics showing that young people signing up for insurance is crucial for the law’s effective implementation, and that Funny Or Die’s audience is “really young and engaged.” (According to their statistics, an average episode of Between Two Ferns gets 6 million views; Justin Bieber’s appearance got 16 million.)

When the President’s advisor Valerie Jarrett visited Funny Or Die in the fall, she sat down with Galifianakis and the topic of Between Two Ferns finally came up. So, by the time the President wanted to get more directly involved, the groundwork had been laid.

The journey that began at the White House last summer brought the Funny Or Die team back there a few weeks ago, to film the episode. Farah describes the production as seamless and says there was very little material on the cutting room floor — nor were there “George-Clooney-esque pranks on set” that could be blooper-reel-worthy, unfortunately for Presidential-humor fans. There was no particularly special security needed beyond the normal White House visit screening, and the effort to keep the video secret until today’s launch sounds fairly low-key, too; the goal was to surprise viewers, but Farah gives more credit for the secrecy to the Funny Or Die team’s being busy finishing it up than he does to any extreme secrecy measures.

As TIME’s James Poniewozik noted in his take on the episode, the Funny or Die-produced series is an “unusually edgy kind of comedy for any politician,” given that a lack of tact is perhaps the primary characteristic of the public-television host character played by Galifianakis. But Farah says that the administration gave the comedian a lot of leeway in finding a balance between not disrespecting the Presidency and allowing Galifianakis to use his “idiot persona.” The result: the President of the United States examining a nasty spider bite and trading barbs about basketball. It helped that Obama had seen the show before, so he knew what to expect. (Was the whole thing scripted, then? Farah won’t give a straight answer, though he does say that Galifianakis was able to do some things off the cuff. “I think I’m supposed to refer you to the White House for that,” he says. “I don’t want to get in trouble. But everything I said about [Obama] knowing the drill, all that stuff is accurate.”)

Farah says he thinks the President had a good time during the taping. The comedy team did, too — so good, in fact, that he says he wants to do even more ACA content before the March 31 open enrollment deadline, though it’ll be hard to top having the President show up. His ultimate goal, however, is the same as it was when the site launched and as it will be when that deadline passes. “I’m obviously proud of the ACA component but I think I’m even more proud that it’s a really funny video,” he says. “Our whole goal going into this was to make a Between Two Ferns that happens to have the President in it, and then let everything else work itself out.”

And as for the ultimate goal on the White House side? Apparently, it’s not mutually exclusive with humor:

UPDATE, 2:00 pm: At today’s White House press briefing, Press Secretary Jay Carney addressed the topic of Between Two Ferns. Asked whether it was a scripted comedy bit or a real interview, Carney — like Mike Farah — did not give a yes/no answer, though he did say there was a lot of ad-libbing. One question did get a straight answer, however: Did having the President on Between Two Ferns damage the dignity of the office? “No,” said Carney.

TIME Television

Here’s What ‘True Detective’ Would Look Like Starring Jimmy Kimmel and Seth Rogen

The two comedians put out their own version of the hit show

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True Detective had its finale Sunday, and fans are already speculating who will star in the cast for season two—which hasn’t even officially been ordered yet. Show creator Nic Pizzolatto told HitFlix that it will be about “hard women, bad men and the secret occult history of the United States transportation system,” but comedian Jimmy Kimmel revealed at South by Southwest that that was all just talk.

Watch a clip of True Detective, as envisioned by Kimmel and fellow comedian Seth Rogen.

TIME celebrities

VIDEO: Matthew McConaughey a Dork in High School? Not Even Close

Here's what McConaughey was really like back in high school

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It sounds like Matthew McConaughey, named the sexiest man alive by People in 2005, has always been good-looking. While an ugly-duckling situation might have made for a more comforting story to the rest of us mere mortals, the truth is, McConaughey was already turning heads, even in high school.

“He was always so good looking and he was always a standout,” former high school classmate Adrian Harris Forman told People.

McConaughey played golf, charmed the ladies at Cotillion, and was voted “Most Handsome” — so it’s no wonder McConaughey sees his future self as his own hero.

TIME celebrities

WATCH: Justin Bieber Really, Really Doesn’t Like Giving Deposition

The 20-year-old mocks attorneys, avoids questions and becomes visibly upset over questions about on-again-off-again girlfriend Selena Gomez in footage obtained by TMZ

Justin Bieber was in no mood to cooperate during his deposition for a lawsuit claim that his bodyguard assaulted a photographer. In video footage obtained by TMZ, Bieber mocks attorneys, avoids questions and becomes visibly upset over questions about on-again-off-again girlfriend Selena Gomez.

Watch the highlights here:

And the drama over Gomez here:

[TMZ]

TIME celebrities

10 Things We Learned about the Oscars From Jennifer Lawrence’s BFF

86th Annual Academy Awards - Backstage
Actress Jennifer Lawrence and friend Laura Simpson backstage during the Oscars held at Dolby Theatre on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California. Christopher Polk—Getty Images

Best friend writes a funny blog post about her experiences as a non-famous person backstage at the Oscars

The latest chapter in the chronicle of the most amazing woman in the world—Jennifer Lawrence—was penned not by Lawrence herself but by her best friend, Laura Simpson. Simpson (who is not famous, though she might be by the end of the week) was Lawrence’s date to the Oscars. She chronicled the highlights of the night in a hilarious MySpace post—because of course Lawrence’s BFF would be funny.

Here are the highlights.

1. Picking a dress is super stressful, even when you’re not famous

“I had a complete meltdown. Somehow the night before the Oscars I managed to get into an argument with my best friend, my mom and my boyfriend. I think I cried more in the 12 hours before the Oscars than I have in 10 years—I was really getting into the drama of the evening. I somehow managed to make an entire event having nothing to do with me all about me and my precious feelings.”

2. Jennifer Lawrence loves Chandler Bing

Okay, that’s not a fact about the Oscars, just the most beloved person at the Oscars.

3. There are men in camouflage with big guns guarding the red carpet

“Highland (between Sunset and Hollywood) is filled with barricades with different entry points so no crazy person can plow their car through, killing everyone on the red carpet. Guarding each entry point through the barricades are men in head to toe camouflage with gigantic automatic weapons (rifles? I don’t know guns).”

4. People were standing outside the Oscars with signs that showed Paul Walker and Philip Seymour Hoffman burning in hell

“Completely lining the sidewalks of Highland are the Jesus freaks. I am not talking a few—I am talking every inch of the sidewalk is full of God-fearing picket signs and psalms…Right before you get to the red carpet, you get to Westboro Baptists with huge yellow signs of pictures of Phillip [sic] Seymour Hoffman and Paul Walker saying ‘BURNING IN HELL’ and other despicable things.”

5. She was the girl Jennifer Lawrence grabbed onto as she tanked on the red carpet

6. Nobody can see anything during most of the Oscars

“They mount two maybe 32″ TVs on either side of the auditorium which are near impossible to see so basically everyone in the theater is just sitting in complete darkness during the categories.”

7. People get really drunk and really hungry during the awards

“It’s around this time that you realize you are STARVING and haven’t had any food since breakfast at 9 a.m. It’s hot and you feel like you’re going to pass out. After waiting for my date’s category, her dad and I decide to hit the bar and just watch from the monitor behind the bar and slam a few drinks to make this tolerable. The Academy really needs to spring for more hors d’oeuvres options because now everyone is hammered.”

8. Kerry Washington likes Slim Jims

“The lovely pregnant Kerry Washington asks me if she could have the Slim Jim in my purse.”

“I didn’t have an opinion about her until I met her and I wish she were having my baby. Slim Jims forever, Kerry!”

9. Brad Pitt smells amazing

“Eventually we ask what cologne he’s wearing and he tells us, “I don’t wear cologne, it’s just my musk I guess.” I have to choose not to believe him because it would just be unfair to mankind.”

10. Harvey Weinstein is as much of a jerk as you think he is

“Harvey Weinstein at the bar shaking my hand and saying, ‘you know who I am.'”

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