Vase Found Being Used As A Doorstop Sells For Eye-Popping Amount At Auction

If ever you needed motivation to sort through your old knickknacks, this is it.

 
 

A blue and white vase that was for years used as a doorstop by a family in Birmingham, central England, turned out to be a rare 18th century Chinese artifact – which sold at auction on Friday for an eye-popping £650,000 (around $860,000).

 
 
 
 
 
 

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The unidentified seller inherited the 26-inch high vessel, believed to have been made during Emperor Qianlong’s reign between 1735 and 1799, from his antique dealer great aunt Florence in 1978.

 
 

Florrie, as she was affectionately known, had reportedly acquired it while living in Cornwall, in southwest England, during the 1920s. 

 
 
 
 
 
 

“It is a quite spell bounding vase,” Charles Hanson, managing director of Derbyshire-based auctioneers Hansons, said via a press statement prior to the auction, adding it was “possibly manufactured by the Imperial kilns for the Emperor’s Summer Palace.”

 
 

The vase had been estimated to fetch between £300,000 and £500,000 (around $400,000 to $660,000).

 
 

But the sale price ended up topping those predictions after the auction house received “significant interest” from across China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, Hanson told the BBC. The buyer’s identity has not been revealed.

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Kid Who Took A Cone From National Park Tree Fesses Up In Adorable Apology

This apology is so adorable, it’s impossible to reject. 

 
 

The Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Facebook page recently shared a heartfelt note from a young visitor with a cone attached to it. The visitor had taken the cone from Kings Canyon on a recent visit and wanted to take ownership for the act. 

 
 
 
 
 
 

“To whom it may concern: I took a pine cone out of the forest and I wanted to return it,” the note, which was received in the mail, read. “I am sorry for my decision.”

 
 

The Parks staff was moved by the child’s honest actions and commitment to nature. 

 
 

“We are so glad this young person thought about the park’s preservation messages,” the Parks’ post read. 

 
 

The child also requested that the cone be given back to the General Grant tree, where the cone — which is actually a giant sequoia cone and not a pine cone — was taken. 

 
 

Dana Dierkes, branch chief of communications and outreach of the Parks told The Huffington Post that it’s actually against park rules to take anything from the grounds. She explained that if all visitors bring home a piece of nature from the parks, “there’d be nothing left.” Furthermore, these objects are of big importance to other living things. 

 
 

“Different types of plants and cones like that are used by wildlife,” Dierkes said. “You could be taking something that’s a food source for an animal.”

 
 

She noted that even taking a rock changes the character and the makeup of the park, and that the could potentially affect other plants or animals there. 

 
 

The Parks is happy the child did the right thing. 

 
 

“Thanks for leaving Sequoia and Kings Canyon Parks as you found them,” the post read. “And, thanks for sending this back, buddy!”

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Aisle View: Long Night’s Journey

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Jessica Lange in Long Day’s Journey into Night.

 
 

Photo: Joan Marcus

 
 

The Roundabout has just wrapped up one of its finest seasons in memory, with smashingly good productions of Noises Off, The Humans, The Robber Bridegroom and She Loves Me. Their 50th season ends on not quite so high a note with an above-average–but merely “above-average”–revival of Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night.

 
 
 
 

There was a time when even a satisfactory production of this masterwork was much welcome; it took thirty years for the famously long-and-weighty four-hour drama to be revived on Broadway. O’Neill wrote the semi-autobiographical play in 1942, sternly prohibiting publication until 25 years after his death (which occurred in 1953). It was nevertheless published and produced soon thereafter, in 1956. In the second thirty years, though, we have seen productions starring Jack Lemmon; Jason Robards and Colleen Dewhurst; Brian Dennehy and Vanessa Redgrave; and–off-Broadway–Brian Murray and Frances Sternhagen. And that’s just in Manhattan.

 
 
 
 

What Jonathan Kent’s production has going for it, foremost, is a bravura performance by Jessica Lange. One expects that critic and audience reports will begin with encomiums for Ms. Lange. Deservedly so, likely followed by a Tony nomination next Tuesday morning. But when people stream out of Long Day enthusing about the actress playing Mary Tyrone–the morphine-addicted wife and mother of the brood–you can be sure that something is lacking. Colleen Dewhurst and Vanessa Redgrave were highly praised for their portrayals in 1988 and 2003, respectively, but in each case they were matched by a towering leading man.

 
 

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Gabriel Byrne and Jessica Lange in Long Day’s Journey into Night.

 
 

Photo: Joan Marcus

 
 

Lange is not. Gabriel Byrne is a fine actor, as he has demonstrated in his two past Broadway appearances (in O’Neill’s A Moon for the Misbegotten and A Touch of the Poet). But James Tyrone–the character–is not a fine actor, at least at the time that O’Neill sought to memorialize him. He is a grand, scenery-chewing barnstormer who has long past traded talent for fame. While this does not necessarily translate into how a man behaves in his living room, away from the audience and the greasepaint, James Tyrone appears to need at least some bravado. Once or twice in the fourth and final act, Byrne does indeed fall into dramatic poses (as when he climbs on the table to reach the chandelier, suggesting he’s mounting the parapet for a final assault against the enemy). Byrne’s fourth act is quite effective; there’s a thrilling moment, here, when he tries to hide his shame behind a handful of playing cards. But his performance is way too long in simmering, leaving full attention on Mary. All told, we feel like we are watching The Mary Tyrone Show–O’Neill’s own version of I Remember Mama–for too much of the evening.

 
 
 
 

Lange–who first played this role in an unrelated 2000 production in London–is matched by Michael Shannon, as the wastrel brother Jamie. Shannon (Bug, Killer Joe and the recently opened “Elvis and Nixon”) is one of those actors who seem incapable of giving a less-than-mesmerizing stage performance. O’Neill filled this role with despair, and Shannon serves it to us drink by drink. But Shannon and Lange, with a partial victory by Byrne, are not quite enough. John Gallagher, Jr.–a Tony-winner for Spring Awakening–simply doesn’t work out as stand-in for the playwright. The wrong actor in the wrong production, he doesn’t seem tortured, frail-with-consumption, or part of the family Tyrone whatsoever.

 
 

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John Gallagher, Jr. and Michael Shannon in Long Day’s Journey into Night.

 
 

Photo: Joan Marcus

 
 

Director Kent has impressed us in the past with the Diana Rigg Medea and in the present with Imelda Staunton’s towering Gypsy. He made a jumble of the Brian Stokes Mitchell Man of La Mancha, though, and he does not show a firm hand here.

 
 
 
 

Even so, this is a welcome opportunity to see the play, and the chance to see a top-flight performance by Jessica Lange. But when you leave Long Day enthusing about the actress playing Mary Tyrone–well, that doesn’t seem to be where O’Neill was heading.

 
 

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Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night opened April 27, 2016 and continues through June 26 at the American Airlines Theatre

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This Adorable Little Girl’s Friendship With An Owl Lawn Ornament Is A Hoot

 
 
 
 

Sylvie and Whootie are BFFs. They take car rides together and play together; they even nap together — snug as a rug, side by side.

 
 

Sylvie is 1-year-old girl who lives in Massachusetts. Whootie, on the other hand, is an owl … lawn ornament.

 
 
 
 
 
 

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The little girl’s love for her owl friend first caught the Internet’s attention earlier this week when Sylvie’s uncle, Pat Tobin, shared a few photos of the unlikely duo on Twitter.

 
 
 
 
 
 

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According to Sylvie’s mom, Rebecca, Whootie had actually been a gift for her husband.

 
 

“It was meant to scare birds from his boat,” she told ABC News. “But Sylvie immediately took to the owl, bending down and picking it up, and saying ‘Hi owl! Hi owl,’ over and over. I think she found the bird curious and endearing.”

 
 

Since their first meeting a few weeks ago, Sylvie and Whootie have been inseparable, says Rebecca, and the bond is clearly a unique one.

 
 

“Whootie is the first toy she’s insisted on sleeping with. She had a lot of things she has passing fancies with, but we think her friendship with Whootie is special — almost like she views him as a peer,” Rebecca said.

 
 

But it seems Sylvie’s love for owls actually stretches back to a pre-Whootie era.

 
 

“We have a bedtime book about owls that she loves, and we read it every night. We also have a lullaby video of an owl singing ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ that she loves and pretty much watches every night. So I think she associated this owl with those owls,” Rebecca told Buzzfeed. 

 
 

Sylvie’s affection for this particular owl, however, appears to be one not shared by members of her family: 

 
 
 
 
 
 

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Teen Totally Freaks Out When Her Parents Show Up At School Dance

 
 
 

To teens, parents can be a bit embarrassing. So you can only imagine a 14-year-old’s horror when both her mom and dad show up at her high school dance to surprise her … and to capture her reaction on camera.

 

Earlier, Beth Bagley, a freshman, had made her parents promise not to chaperone the school dance, perhaps to ensure there would be no awkward parental run-ins.

 

And so Beth was happily dancing to the music with her friends, having a fabulous time, when she was suddenly interrupted by both her parents. They were at first just filming her dancing — but then found themselves filming her truly epic reaction.

 

“Get out!” was the only thing the mortified teen could muster. 

 

Beth’s father, Judd Bagley, said he and his wife, Kristen, thought it would be fun to surprise their daughter — not to embarrass her — and to watch her having fun.

 

Judd was not only surprised by his daughter’s reaction, he’s also been blown away by the video going viral.

 

He posted the video online just over a week ago and it has since gotten over 750,000 views on YouTube. 

 

“I’m shocked anybody beyond the few friends I put the video online for would see it,” Judd told The Huffington Post. 

 

As for folks concerned about Beth’s embarrassment, just know she isn’t hiding under a rock somewhere. 

 

“Beth is having a great time with this,” Judd said. “Her spunk and sense of humor are both the reason she comes off so hilariously in the video and the reason she’s able to laugh at this situation and the unpredictable nature of the Internet.”

 

Well played, Mama and Papa Bagley. 

 

 

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Moms Get Honest About Postpartum Depression In Powerful Video

 
 
 
 
 
 

For women struggling with postpartum depression, one of the most powerful tools is the knowledge that they’re not alone.

 
 

In an emotional new video from BuzzFeed, four moms who experienced postpartum depression share their stories and offer advice to other mothers going through hard times.

 
 

From the moms’ descriptions of how they felt, to their different ways of dealing with the issue, one message is constant: You can get help and get better.

 
 

 

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Mariah Carey, Jeffrey Katzenberg Honor Brett Ratner at Silver Circle Gala

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Brett Ratner and Mariah Carey at the Silver Circle Gala 2016

 
 

Monday Evening the Beverly Hilton Hotel’s grand ball room was the venue for the Silver Circle Gala, benefitting the famous free Venice Family Clinic which has been in operation since 1947 and serves over 24,000 needy families, children and teens every year.

 
 

This year the clinic honored Producer and Director Brett Ratner, known for the Rush Hour films, X Men Last Stand and Tower Heist, and presented him with the Humanitarian Award, following in the footsteps of previous recipients and Hollywood luminaries including CBS President Les Moonves and film maker Judd Apatow. Mariah Carey, Anthony Michael Hall, Claire Fiorlani, Brian Grazer and others were in attendance and Larry King was the master of ceremonies.

 
 

Supported generously by the philanthropy of Los Angeles as well as the Hollywood establishment, the star studded event felt at home in the same ballroom that the Golden Globes had occupied only a few weeks ago. Blind auction bidding and other donations during the evening raised $1.55 million dollars for the clinic that night.

 
 

CEO of Dreamworks Jeff Katzenberg took the stage to present the award to Ratner in a speech showing his admiration and friendship while poking fun. “Brett is renowned for many things,” said Katzenberg. “His attention span is not one, so hang in there Brett and I’ll try to make this quick,” After the laughter died down Katzenberg extolled Ratner’s virtues.

 
 

I talked to 12 of his closest friends, and the same words came back to describe him: generous, charitable, always ready to give his time, or himself. With Brett you can always find a house full of people, probably because being around him just makes you happy. And he’s most amazing with his family. His grandmother still lives with him.

 
 

Venice Family Clinic CEO, Elizabeth Bensen Forer, spoke of how the clinic started with two doctors in a borrowed dental clinic 45 years ago. One of those doctors, Dr. Meyer Davidson, was there that night and received a round of applause. Today they have 10 clinics that provide health, dental, eye and abuse counseling serving the poor, the unemployed and uninsured. She reminded the packed ballroom that Los Angeles has more homeless people than anywhere else in the county.

 
 

She extolled the leadership of William Flumenbaum of The Capital Group Companies, the second winner of the night, with the Irma Colen Leadership Award for his work and involvement with the clinic. Flumenbaum, who’s worked with the clinic for 20 years, thanked them for the honor, and “20 years of work, marked by real growth. My mother was a volunteer as long as I can remember, and I’m grateful for this award.”

 
 

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Brett Ratner and William Flumenbaum

 
 

When Brett Ratner accepted his award, he thanked Katzenberg for his mentorship in Hollywood. He kept the moment light mentioning how he himself had been one of the producers of the Revenent, and could now reveal the truth that Katzenberg was actually the one in the bear suit for the famous attack on Leonardo DeCaprio.

 
 

But his reflections quickly turned serious, mentioning how Katzenberg always talked about his own Mentor Kirk Douglas. And how Douglas always talked about giving back and how meaningful that had been to him.

 
 

I grew up in one small house and my room mate was my great grandmother. Until I was 13. And I had to help dress her in her girdle every day, where she also kept her cash. We lived with my grandparents as well. So when I moved to Hollywood, and I was on my own, I felt that something was missing, and I realized that it was my family. And I brought them to live with me. But my dad hadn’t been with us. And I later found out he was homeless and didn’t have a place like this clinic. So working with them, is ‘bashert’, which is Yiddish for ‘meant to be.’ My great grandmother said everything in life is ‘bashert’. It’s a word used about life and how things work out.

 
 

Ratner also spoke about his grandfather, and how he inspired him.

 
 

I go to the doctor any time I feel sick, but that’s because I’m a hypochondriac. But when I saw the clinic, and the work they do, it made me think of my grandfather who I saw giving back to the veteran’s administration for so many years. So tonight I want to dedicate this award to Dr. Marion Pressman, my grandfather.

 
 

Before closing, Ratner brought Maria Carey up on stage with him. She was not there to sing, as she was on ordered vocal rest preparing for an upcoming show in Las Vegas, but Ratner auctioned off VIP tickets to that Vegas Show along with back stage passes, and transportation on a private jet. As Mariah laughed and encouraged him, that bid alone went for $20,000.

 
 

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Frankie Vali and the Four Seasons

 
 

The evening culminated in an astonishing performance by Frankie Vali and the Four Seasons, who at 81 is still in excellent voice and rocked the ballroom with a string of his hits across the decades while the audience cheered in delight.

 
 

The event was presented by UCLA Health and the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine.

 
 

PHOTO CREDIT: Todd Williamson & Michael Kovac for Getty Images

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New Artist Reviews: Jim Wellman

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There are many faces of music which cater to the many faces of humans. Founding member of the group the Brand New Heavies, Jim Wellman, is set to release his upcoming solo project titled Dawn to Dusk, a record of dissent. “The album is social commentary but viewed through perspectives of human psychological evolution and analysis of mass communication and propaganda,” Wellman describes. “The core of the work is the understanding that Man lives in a world of amazing technological development but is still encumbered with medieval forms of government by representatives who serve mainly the interests of the elite.”

 
 
 
 

After leaving the Brand New Heavies, Wellman had no intent of rekindling a career in the music industry. As he lived out his life, he became unsettled by various world events, in particular, the Western support of fascism in the Ukraine as well as the manipulative propaganda constantly spewing from the mainstream media. Like most artists, his musical dormancy was reactivated as he began to write music as a way to express his disdain for our world’s dissent.

 
 
 
 

Spending over a year in production, Wellman created a new jazz/funk/disco concept album entitled Dawn to Dusk which he considers to be his magnum opus. Driven by subversive subject matter, Wellman’s attempt was to use music as a tool for change, as many other artists have in the past. He digs deep into the the mechanisms of human evolution to show how enormously flawed our society has become. He is an advocate for new forms of direct democracy and examines the very core of society’s proverbial knot that is very far from untangling.

 
 
 
 

Musically, Dawn to Dusk is neatly composed and sweet sounding to our ears. Smooth melodies, sweeping vocals and swishing percussion deliver a heavy message with ease. The dichotomy of his upbeat style and his quest for change makes for a powerful combination as he avoids aggressive sounds to allow the music to reach a wider audience. After all, the herald must be heard in order deliver his message.

 
 
 
 

Soundcloud | Bandcamp | Website | Facebook

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Amy Schumer Denies Stealing Material From Three Comedians

 

Amy Schumer has been accused of lifting material from three comedians after a tweet on Monday night set off a string of allegations against the star, according to The Interrobang.

 

In a series of tweets, Wendy Liebman, Tammy Pescatelli and Kathleen Madigan all commiserated about Schumer allegedly lifting material from each of them. 

 

“Between Amy Schumer doing 1 of my best jokes on her HBO special and this meme of my joke, I’m done with social media,” Liebman wrote in a tweet that has since been deleted (the jokes in question can be seen here). 

 

Comedian and “Arrested Development” writer Chuck Martin got in on the action and directed Liebman to speak with fellow comedian Kathleen Madigan. 

 
 
 

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Tammy Pescatelli also answered Liebman’s tweet about Schumer. Though her reply has since been deleted, Refinery29 was able to snap screenshots before they were taken down. 

 

“What has always been amazing to me is that she purports to be a feminist and yet only steals from other female comedians. If we call her on it we are ‘jealous’ or career shamed. Be successful. WE want you to do well, just do it will your own material,” Pescatelli tweeted on Tuesday. 

 

Pescatelli also highlighted the “Slap Chef” sketch that appeared on the first season of “Inside Amy Schumer” as one of the jokes Schumer allegedly stole from Madigan:

 
 
 
 

Schumer denied the allegations on Jim Norton’s SiriusXM radio show on Wednesday. 

 

“I’m being accused of stealing jokes and I wanted to come and talk to you about it and clear my name,” said Schumer. “Because I would never, ever do that and I never have. And I’m literally going to take a polygraph test and put it on my show this season.” 

 
 
 
 

Schumer also took to Twitter on Wednesday afternoon to again deny she had stolen any material. 

 
 
 

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And while Liebman’s tweets set off the controversy in the first place, she has since gone on to deny that she ever accused Schumer in the first place.

 
 
 

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Schumer was previously accused of lifting a joke from her friend, the late comedian Patrice O’Neal, in October 2015. When approached by TMZ about the lifted material, Schumer denied she’d ever done anything

 

“The thing you’re talking about is — Patrice is my really good friend I never saw him do that [the jokes in question],”Schumer told TMZ. “The thought that I would maybe see those jokes and then go, ‘Ooh, I like those, I’m going to close my HBO special with them’ is crazy.”

 

Below is a video with examples of Liebman and O’Neal jokes and Schumer’s material: 

 
 
 

 

 

Also on HuffPost: 

 

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