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    - Melanie Hamlett

    Ilan Deutsch/Paris Match via Getty ImagesAfter being woken up by the sound of a little dog below me humping his favorite teddy bear, I crawl down the ladder of a kid bunk bed and head downstairs to assess the damage of last night’s debauchery. Cigarette butts, empty wine bottles, and half eaten baguettes litter the kitchen and pool area of this mini French mansion my friend Jackie is currently dog sitting at. There’s puke around the toilet in the “cave” downstairs, a hot Frenchie sashaying through the kitchen in his gunties, still high on X, and a middle-aged dude starfished face up on these people’s shmancy leather couch, completely naked. Goddamn it’s good to be going back to normal!Before I was washing bananas with Purell and wearing rubber gloves everywhere (all pointless!), I was a wild, perpetually single lady in my early 40’s having the best time (and sex!) of my life here in France. By the time I got my second dose of Pfizer in June, I’m sharing a life and home with my husband (what?!!) and have adopted a traumatized rescue dog who’s way too obsessed with me. The pandemic seems to have brought about either extreme change or heavy doses of the exact same. Most people I know here are entering the vaccinated stage of this global nightmare as new (sometimes jacked-up-on-Redbull) versions of their old selves, for better or worse. But some are like me—emerging from this police-enforced cocoon of three lockdowns and never-ending curfews, flapping our mangled butterfly wings, no idea how to fly, not really sure wtf happened… but quite certain we ain’t caterpillars no more.When the government finally ended all the curfews, outdoor mask mandates, lockdowns, and permission slips to leave our homes and then let us back into restaurants, bars, and even our beloved sex clubs, I assumed France would collectively bust through the pandemic door, Koolaid-man-style, free at last! But, come to find out, a lot of people, including all of my wilder friends here, weren’t too bothered by a global crisis to begin with. They’ve been partying hard throughout the whole damn pandemic, not the least bit deterred by lockdowns, curfews, or even the threat of a 135 euro fine for defying either.Read more at The Daily Beast.

    - Daniel Modlin

    Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Scouted/VendorsThis July, I went to the beach. I went on a hike. I had a picnic. Everything I missed out on from last year, you better believe I did it. And it seems like you all were up to similar things. From hiking boots to sun hats, our readers favorite products ranged from everything we needed to get outside and enjoy ourselves. Without further adieu, we present you with what you, our dear readers, bought most of this July.Packable Sun Hat: Scouted Editor Jillian Lucas is obsessed with this sun hat, and you should be too. It’s almost comically big, and yet it packs down to almost nothing. Jillian writes, “As someone who will be spending as much time as possible at the beach or near a pool, keeping my face and neck from burning is at the top of my priority list. This Baggu hat is now a permanent staple in any beach bag I bring.”Dad Grass Pre-Rolled CBD Joints: Scouted Editor Jillian Lucas said it best: Dad Grass Pre-Rolls are the best way to enjoy CBD. Each pack comes with five or 10 pre-rolled CBD joints, and they burn slowly. But if you’re a habitual smoker they won’t last you very long. But smoking one is a great way to unwind after a particularly stressful day.Read more at The Daily Beast.

    - Brandon Withrow

    Brandon WithrowThis is the latest in our twice-a-month series on underrated destinations, It's Still a Big World.Where can you find a giant 120-foot baseball bat leaning casually up against a building, a trail dedicated to bourbon that wraps through a city, or a zipline running though underground caves?Louisville, Kentucky. (Yeah, you read that right.)Read more at The Daily Beast.

    - Jason Berry

    Charles Maldonado/The LensPortia Pollack, 60, lived in a cottage in New Orleans’ Seventh Ward, downriver from Louis Armstrong Park. A physical therapist by trade, she was a percussionist in the Sunday drum gatherings at Congo Square, a corner of the park facing Rampart Street.With swinging dreadlocks and a sunny smile, Portia was a mainstay of 33 years with Bamboula 2000 and its successor, the Congo Square Preservation Society, led by veteran percussionist Luther Gray. She played djembe, congas, bongos, and harmonica, Sunday after Sunday.Drawing locals and tourists, the drummers perform on the site where generations ago enslaved Africans resurrected rituals of the mother culture. In ring dances, the Africans paid homage to their ancestors, spinning to the rhythms of hand drums and strings on a vast field behind the rampart, or back wall of the town—today’s French Quarter.Read more at The Daily Beast.

    - Nick Schager

    Netflix“If you’re going to build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?” Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) states about his era-hopping DeLorean in Back to the Future, thus cementing that vehicle’s place in the American pop-culture imagination. It was certainly easy to see why director Robert Zemeckis chose the car for Doc and Marty’s sci-fi ride—with two gull-wing doors that suggested it might be able to fly, and a body made out of stainless steel, the DeLorean looked like something out of the 21st century. The irony, however, was that by the time that 1985 movie blockbuster arrived in theaters, the DeLorean was already a thing of the past—a notorious failure that had crashed and burned thanks to the headline-grabbing scandals of its inventor.Myth & Mogul: John DeLorean delves into the rise and fall of the DeLorean Motor Company (DMC), which was founded by its namesake John DeLorean, an automotive industry superstar aiming to revolutionize the business that had brought him fortune and fame. Directed by Mike Connolly, it’s a sharp and insightful portrait of ambition, greed and desperation, told through new interviews, archival news stories, and non-fiction footage shot by Oscar-winning duo D.A. Pennebaker (Don’t Look Back) and Chris Hegedus for their 1981 documentary DeLorean. In three concise and expertly assembled episodes, it captures a multifaceted sense of its subject, a social and political moment in time, and the way in which pioneering titans are sometimes made and destroyed by the same impulses. Premiering July 30, Myth & Mogul: John DeLorean eschews straightforward chronology in recounting the flashy life of DeLorean, who grew up in Detroit with an alcoholic immigrant father who worked at Ford. According to author Gail Sheehy, who interviewed him for her book Passages (about midlife crises), DeLorean’s desire to not wind up like his dad was apparently amplified by a childhood visit to a friend’s mansion—as well as by his formidable intellect, which was so great that his early automotive designs were plastered around his school for all to admiringly see. DeLorean was a uniquely talented engineer, and he proved that upon arriving at General Motors, where—sensing an opportunity to capitalize on a 1960s youth culture that loved fast cars but couldn’t afford them—he developed the Pontiac GTO, to rousing success.Read more at The Daily Beast.

    - Anna Nemtsova

    HandoutKYIV—In an exclusive interview with The Daily Beast, famed Ukrainian television presenter and producer Karolina Ashion shared what she describes as the most painful moment of her career: when her former boss—then the director of Ukraine’s 1+1 media conglomerate and current Minister of Culture Alexander Tkachenko—allegedly told her that her appearance on a popular morning show would hurt the network’s ratings.Ashion is a Black Ukrainian. Her father came to Leningrad, USSR, from Nigeria to study engineering. Even now, six years after the incident took place, Ashion is emotional talking about it, and struggles to find the words to describe her manager’s behavior.The presenter said the conversation with her then-boss began when she asked him why nobody would invite her to take part in the morning show’s broadcasts. She was working as an on-air talent at two weekly television shows at the time, but had a long-time dream to be featured in the major lifestyle program Snidanok z 1+1, the Ukrainian equivalent of Good Morning America.Read more at The Daily Beast.

    - Kevin Fallon

    BurberryThis is a preview of our pop culture newsletter The Daily Beast’s Obsessed, written by senior entertainment reporter Kevin Fallon. To receive the full newsletter in your inbox each week, sign up for it here.It’s a big week for haunted horses. First, there was the viral story about a horse in France who travels through the halls of a hospital, choosing which terminally ill patients deserve his visit. I need to be as clear as possible on this, so listen closely: If I am ever in a hospital that employs a therapy horse, you keep that galloping angel of death far from me. Unless, of course, he is mounted by a shirtless Adam Driver, in which case this very specific manifestation from a romance novel my aunt probably read in 1992 will surely bring me back to life.Driver joins the hallowed ranks of celebrities who star in over-the-top, gorgeously produced, and intensely pornographic fragrance ads for luxury companies. This is a microgenre of entertainment that I am fascinated by. Not even some of the Oscar-winning films that these actors star in boast such sumptuous cinematography and adrenaline-spiking storylines. That the storylines are utter nonsense and typically offer no indication that what you are watching is meant to sell a scent in a bottle is besides the point, or maybe exactly the point.Read more at The Daily Beast.

    - Karol Markowicz

    Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty ImagesWhen Joe Biden followed the lead of local Democratic officials and announced this week that federal employees and contractors would have to be vaccinated or else tested constantly and barred from traveling, the reaction from union leadership was swift and largely negative.With the people who were most eager to be jabbed having already done so and the Delta variant spreading across America, vaccinations have turned from a mass event to an individual one. No longer are people grabbing midnight appointments at sports stadiums or posting selfies on social media. The rush has slowed to a trickle, to the point where Biden also encouraged states to pay people $100 for getting vaccinated.But as the country grapples with the right way to encourage vaccination, while allowing people to maintain some semblance of personal choice, unions have been openly opposing any push to force their members to vaccinate. This is particularly true of public sector unions.Read more at The Daily Beast.

    - Kelly Weill

    YouTubeA month after organizing a rally that led to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, Ali Alexander and his organization Stop The Steal finally got around to blaming eight people for the day’s violence.In a report titled “agitators,” the group uploaded pictures of seven men and one woman it accused of being infiltrators who lured unsuspecting “patriots” into the Capitol. Those supposed outsiders were missing from an FBI database, the report claimed.But, in fact, the woman pictured is not off the FBI’s radar; the agency has released wanted posters with her face. And far from being a mysterious entity, she is a public figure—Candace Williams, ex-wife of NFL star Terrell Suggs, The Daily Beast has learned.Read more at The Daily Beast.

    - Kevin Fallon

    Photo Illustration by Kristen Hazzard/The Daily Beast/Photos GettyIn some respects, Brendan Hunt pulled off the most difficult job of all on Ted Lasso. He’s the guy who made you fall in love with the annoying lead character.Sure, the Apple TV+ comedy series—which just broke an Emmy nominations record for season 1 and premiered season 2 last week to rave reviews—is celebrated now. It’s a show about an underdog British football team, yes. But it was also so profound in depicting the power of a positive outlook in hard times that audiences discovering it at the harshest moments of the pandemic championed its now-legendary “niceness” as healing.People would get so excited when talking about it, almost as if they were spontaneously breaking into a soft-shoe dance of joy—something that Ted Lasso himself inexplicably does several times in the show’s early episodes.Read more at The Daily Beast.

    - Pilar Melendez

    Photo Illustration by Kelly Caminero/The Daily Beast/Photos by Burlington Free Press/GettyIt should have been Rita Curran’s time to shine.It was July 1971, and the 24-year-old had just moved into a ground-floor apartment on Brooks Avenue in Burlington, Vermont, with two roommates, marking the first time she lived outside her parents’ home. On her summer break, the second-grade teacher at Milton Elementary School took graduate courses at the University of Vermont and worked part-time as a chambermaid at the nearby Colonial Motor Inn.Curran was described in one newspaper account as “quiet, almost painfully shy.” But she had recently put herself out there and joined a local barbershop quartet. According to a local report at the time, she was practicing alongside them until about 10 p.m. on the night of July 19 before going home, only for her roommates to leave about an hour later for a late bite with one of their boyfriends.Read more at The Daily Beast.

    - Michael Daly

    Joe Raedle/GettyWith his brief suborbital flight to the edge of space, Jeff Bezos the billionaire succeeded in repeating what was first accomplished by Ham the Chimp six decades ago.If Bezos wants to really take a step for mankind—and womankind—he need only require all 1.3 million Amazon employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19.The newspaper Bezos owns, The Washington Post, is among a growing number of smaller enterprises that are instituting vaccine mandates. So are such major enterprises as Netflix, Facebook, and Google.Read more at The Daily Beast.

    - Harry Siegel

    Win McNameeThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new guidance this week reversing course and again recommending that vaccinated people wear masks indoors in places where the Delta variant is spreading had a lot of heads spinning, even before the CDC then trickled out some of the ominous new findings that led them to issue that guidance.So I reached out to Dr. Irwin Redlener, who’s—take a deep breath—a pediatrician and physician, a professor of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, the founding director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, the author of the books Americans at Risk: Why We Are Not Prepared for Megadisasters and What We Can Do and The Future of Us: What the Dreams of Children Mean for Twenty-First-Century America, not to mention a columnist for The Daily Beast.In an hour-long phone conversation on Friday that’s been edited for space and clarity, he talked about how Trump poisoned the waters, Biden’s messaging mistakes, why he sees more surges ahead after this one, and much more.Read more at The Daily Beast.

    - Margaret Carlson

    Drew Angerer/GettyIt was just after Christmas with eviction from the White House imminent and the clown crew led by Rudy getting nowhere in its campaign to overturn the election when Donald Trump personally phoned the apolitical Justice Department to pressure the Acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen for help.According to documents that the Justice Department has now turned over to Congress, and that were made public for the first time on Friday, Trump called to discuss his phony voter fraud claims, as if the very political William Barr hadn’t conceded, on his way out the door, that despite looking, he’d found none.When reminded of that by Rosen, and of the fact Justice couldn’t change an election anyway, Trump said not to worry. All he needed was just one word from him: “Just say that the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me.”Read more at The Daily Beast.

    - Matt Wilstein

    The Daily Show is currently on an extended summer hiatus—with host Trevor Noah set to return with a “brand new look and feel” starting in mid-September. But that hasn’t stopped the team of writers and researchers from working diligently behind the scenes to hold Fox News hosts and other conservatives accountable for spreading dangerous misinformation.This week, the show took aim at Fox for changing its tune on the dangers of COVID-19 now that they want to scare viewers about the potential that immigrants are bringing the virus over the U.S.-Mexico border. To make that point, they presented a series of juxtapositions that seemed almost too perfect in their brazen hypocrisy.Here’s Sean Hannity warning of “migrants, many infected with COVID, pouring across in record numbers,” while he previously downplayed the virus’ mortality rate. Then there’s Laura Ingraham, who seemed very concerned that COVID cases among migrants were up 900 percent when she once told viewers that “the risk to the average person does remain quite low.”Read more at The Daily Beast.

    - Zoe Richards

    Baltimore County Police DepartmentFor about a year, a Baltimore woman allegedly drove a car with a gruesome secret: the dead body of her 7-year-old niece stashed in a suitcase in the trunk. Then in May she allegedly cracked the trunk’s lid to dump the body of her 5-year-old nephew beside it.It wasn’t until months later that police discovered the decomposing bodies of siblings Joshlyn Marie James Johnson and Larry Darnell O’Neal.Baltimore County Police said in a statement Thursday night that they were grieving over the “unspeakable deaths” after discovering the kids’ bodies when they pulled 33-year-old Nicole Johnson over in a traffic stop late Wednesday.Read more at The Daily Beast.

    - Jose Pagliery

    Dustin Chambers/Bloomberg via GettyGeorgia’s top election official said he believes the COVID-19 pandemic is “gone,” making the efforts enacted last year to expand voting access no longer necessary—and it’s one reason he’s opposing a Justice Department lawsuit against his state’s new voting law.“It was a once-in-a-century event. We are now back to a situation where more Georgians will want to return to vote in person,” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told The Daily Beast on Friday.​​In a document filed in court on Wednesday, Raffensperger and the state officials asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit, making the case that the new law is not as draconian as critics make it seem.Read more at The Daily Beast.

    - Jordan Julian

    Interscope RecordsAfter a unanimously lauded debut album like, say, Billie Eilish’s 2019 Grammy-sweeping hit When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, the pressure and anticipation that surely precedes a new release is unfathomable to the average person. This, by way of broader commentary on the dark side of fame, is the foremost theme of Eilish’s sophomore album, Happier Than Ever.Released on Friday, Happier Than Ever marks a sonic and thematic departure from its predecessor. But don’t be fooled by the name. Billie fans who felt seen by the teen’s refusal to shy away from candidly sharing the darkest aspects of her psyche will still find emotional comfort in the way she articulates feelings you didn’t even know you had (and does so damn beautifully). The 16-track album is as sombre and emotionally honest as Eilish’s debut. In fact, it even trades some of the playfulness of the first album, which shone through in sudden throaty giggles and jokes with the singer’s brother-slash-producer, Finneas, for a tone that straddles the line between wistful and jaded.Nineteen years old now and having been thrust into stratospheric fame at 15, Eilish has learned enough about the world to be skeptical. She has been loved and been in love. She is angry, she is longing, she is sure of herself. Throughout the album’s 56 minutes, she careens through emotions that will be familiar to anyone who has felt what it’s like to be a teenager on the cusp of adulthood, even if the exact circumstances she describes—having to check into hotels under a fake name and asking a guy to sign an NDA post-hook-up—are totally unfamiliar.Read more at The Daily Beast.

    - Philippe Naughton

    VINCENZO PINTORussia’s Olympic Team are the pariahs of the Tokyo Games. And, by golly, they’re enjoying it.Grudgingly accepted into the Games under the flag of the Russian Olympic Committee after an international investigation uncovered years of systematic state-sponsored doping, Russia’s athletes arrived in a prickly mood, sending home reports of cramped living conditions, cardboard beds, and broken showerheads.Then, in the past few days, the team has eased back on the whining and started winning. Defiantly so.Read more at The Daily Beast.

    - Daniel Modlin

    Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Scouted/VendorsNew Kids on the Block helps you navigate all the new and exciting launches from our favorite brands, all in one place.Revival Recess Rug Collection:Tired of cleaning your rug? Revival Rugs, which is one of our favorite places to shop for rugs, just released a line of machine washable rugs. But you would be hard pressed to tell by looking at them.Heat Lover’s Set: Omsom, which is Scouted Editor Jillian Lucas’ foolproof way to make asian cuisine at home, just launched a Heat Lover’s set to help you spice things up. The starter’s include Thai Larb, Korean Spicy Bulgogi, Thai Krapow, and Chinese Mala Salad.Read more at The Daily Beast.

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