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by MediaExpert

Ghanaian Rapper-Turned-Director Taps Traditional Themes in 1st Film

A new film called “The Burial of Kojo” is a tale of family tensions with an overlay of magical realism. Set in Ghana, it is first feature from Samuel “Blitz” Bazawule, an Ghana-born musician and director who wanted to avoid the cliches of many films set in Africa, themes of war and famine. 

Bazawule maintained creative control of the project by using the crowd-funding site Kickstarter, and he hired a Ghanaian cast and local crew. The Burial of Kojo is now reaching a global audience on Netflix.

Bazawule lives in Brooklyn but says the story is reminiscent of the tales that he heard as a child in Ghana. It concerns a girl, Esi, her father, Kojo, and his brother, Kwabena.

“One of the brothers goes missing on a mining expedition,” Bazawule explains, “and his daughter has to go on the magical journey to rescue him.” The quest lands Esi in a dreamlike world.

Rapper and filmmaker

Bazawule, known as Blitz from his days as a rapper, wanted to move from musical to visual storytelling, and this film includes both. He wrote its script and composed the film’s soundtrack. With several short films already under his belt, this was his feature debut.

The project was initially self-funded, and he completed the film by raising $78,000 through the website Kickstarter. That “gave us the autonomy that we needed,” Bazawule said. “We didn’t have anyone looking over our shoulder, we didn’t have anyone telling us what to do, what not to do. It was always us deciding with ourselves, does this make sense for this narrative?”

Showing on Netflix

The film is being shown on the streaming service Netflix as part of a distribution deal with ARRAY, a Hollywood company founded by filmmaker Ava DuVernay, that highlights the work of filmmakers of color and women directors.

“Netflix is in 190 countries, so that’s a lot of places where you can find beautiful work,” said ARRAY’s Tilane Jones.

It’s good for movie lovers, Bazawule added, and international filmmakers are also finding an audience. 

“You build credibility for the stories that you’re telling,” he said, with fresh faces and new voices bringing art from countries like Ghana to the screen.

by MediaExpert

‘Real Housewives’ Husband Giudice Loses Immigration Appeal

“Real Housewives of New Jersey” husband Joe Giudice has lost his appeal to avoid deportation to Italy.

His attorneys said Thursday they are “extremely disappointed” by the Board of Immigration’s decision and have appealed to the federal circuit court in Philadelphia.

Giudice and his wife, Teresa, pleaded guilty in 2014 to financial fraud. Giudice is an Italian citizen who was brought to the U.S. as a baby and says he wasn’t aware he wasn’t an American citizen. 


Teresa Giudice served nearly a year in prison and was freed in December 2015. Joe Giudice was released from prison last month and was sent to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facility in southeast Pennsylvania.


by MediaExpert

Debate Over Future Notre-Dame Spire Fuels French Divisions

President Emmanuel Macron might have hoped he was striking a note for modernity and openness in announcing an international competition to design a new spire for Notre-Dame cathedral, but he may have opened a can of worms instead.

There was already debate about whether his goal of rebuilding the church by 2024, when Paris hosts the Olympic Games, was overly ambitious, but now he’s unsettled those who would prefer to return the national symbol to just how it was.

“Since the spire wasn’t part of the original cathedral,” the Elysee Palace said in a statement late on Wednesday, “the President of the Republic hopes there will be some reflection and a contemporary architectural gesture might be envisaged.”

Computer-generated pictures online included ideas for a soaring glass needle to replace the 91-metre (300 foot) spire, which was added to the cathedral in the mid-1800s, replacing a Medieval one that was removed in 1786.

But that appears to be too much for many French, especially those with a traditional or Catholic bent.

In an online survey conducted by conservative newspaper Le Figaro, more than 70 percent of the 35,000 people who responded said they opposed any contemporary style design.

Francois-Xavier Bellamy, a 33-year-old philosopher who will head the right-of-center Les Republicains party list in next month’s European Parliament elections, said Macron’s government lacked humility in suggesting a modernist rethink.

“We are the inheritors of patrimony, it doesn’t belong to us, and it’s important therefore that we hand it on in the way that we received it,” he told Reuters.

“There are rules in France about protecting national heritage. The President of the Republic is not above the law.

It’s not up to him to decide to build a modern spire.”

Plus ca change…

While Bellamy is a conservative Catholic and might be expected to campaign for returning the 850-year-old Gothic masterpiece to exactly how it was before the fire, his views are shared by some architectural historians.

Patrick Demouy, an emeritus professor of medieval history who specializes in the Notre-Dame de Reims cathedral, said it would be difficult to imagine something starkly different to the 19th century spire, even if its architect, Eugene Viollet-le-Duc, was himself quite inventive with his design.

“Personally, I’m in favor of restoring it to how it was because that’s the spire that has imposed itself on the collective memory,” he told Reuters. “It would be hard to perceive [a contemporary spire] because we wouldn’t really recognize it any longer as being Notre-Dame.”

Macron’s culture minister, Franck Riester, said it was important the nation debated the issue and generated ideas.

There is likely to be months if not years of discussion before a design — contemporary or otherwise — is fixed upon.

“The masterpiece that Viollet-le-Duc left us is exceptional, but we must not dogmatically insist that we recreate an identical cathedral,” he told BFM TV. “We must let the debate take place, see what ideas are presented, and then decide.”

Paris has a track-record of being experimental with its architecture, whether via buildings such as the Pompidou Center, or the glass pyramid at the heart of the Louvre, which blends modernism with classical lines.

Other constructions, such as the 210-metre Montparnasse tower or the vast empty square of the Arche de la Defense, have come in for more criticism, even if they have fans, too.

For Jean-Michel Leniaud, an art historian at the National Institute of Art History, Notre-Dame is special because it is both a work of art and among the nation’s greatest monuments, a source of unity for citizens in times of strife.

“The restoration of Notre-Dame de Paris shouldn’t be the opportunity for creative architects to show off their inventive spark,” he told Reuters. “We should go back to the original, the spire of Viollet-le-Duc,” he said.

“The best way, the most consensual way to overcome this terrible disaster is to return it to the original state.”

by MediaExpert

Yemeni Artist’s Murals Depict Costs of War

As the war in Yemen continues to inflict suffering on its millions of civilians, a Yemeni graffiti artist is taking her art to the streets of Sanaa to draw images of war and hunger in the conflict-torn country.  


Haifa Subay, 28, is weaponizing her art to disseminate messages of peace at home and to try to bring the world’s attention to the toll that war has taken on Yemenis, particularly women and children. 


“I wanted to send a message of peace, a plea to stop the fighting and alleviate the suffering caused by the ongoing war,” Subay told VOA from her home in Sanaa. 


Subay said her art campaign focuses on various humanitarian and social consequences of the conflict, including famine, land mines, displacement, child soldiers, child marriage and domestic violence against women. She chose Sanaa’s most populated areas to make sure her striking art is seen by as many people as possible.  

​’Just a Leg’


One of her popular works, called “Just a Leg,” shows a one-legged boy who is holding his amputated leg, the result of a land mine accident. Another artwork, “Child of Bones,” portrays a mother holding her malnourished son. 


“All of my murals are of real people and real situations,” Subay said,  and each one “has a story behind it representing an aspect of the conflict. My favorite mural is of the child victim of land mines holding a leg he lost in an explosion.”

The war in Yemen started in 2015 when a Saudi-led coalition entered the conflict in support of the internationally recognized government of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi after Iran-aligned Houthi rebels staged a takeover of Sanaa and large swaths of Yemeni territory. Since then, the conflict has morphed into a proxy war between neighboring Saudi Arabia and Iran.  


According to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, a database tracking violence in the country, the conflict has, since early 2016, caused 67,600 deaths; 7,000 of those victims were civilians.   


The United Nations has warned that Yemen is facing the world’s most urgent humanitarian crisis, with two-thirds of all districts in the country in a “pre-famine” state and an estimated 80 percent of the population in need of some form of humanitarian assistance.  

​Yemeni women  


The agency said women and girls are paying the heaviest price in the conflict, with many being prevented from going to school or even having access to public spaces. 


According to a report released in February by the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), the conflict has forced about 4.3 million Yemenis to flee from their homes, with almost half of the displaced being women and girls under age 18.  


“With limited shelter options, displaced women and girls tend to suffer most from lack of privacy, threats to safety and limited access to basic services, making them ever more vulnerable to violence and abuse,” UNFPA reported. 


As a female artist, Subay said she wanted to use her work as a tool to express women’s suffering due to the war and their abilities to make positive change when they are given an opportunity.  


“When I started painting on the walls of my city, some people were surprised by seeing a woman drawing graffiti on the street. But my illustrations of war touch the hearts of every Yemeni,” Subay told VOA. 


“With time, the gazes of surprise have turned into support and encouragement,” she said, adding that she has been able to change the attitude of many toward women’s abilities.  


Similarly, she hopes her murals can also help promote peace and respect for civilian lives as warring sides seek a compromise to end over four years of war.  


​Peace talks 


The Saudi-backed government and Iran-backed Houthis reached a U.N.-backed cease-fire agreement in December that demanded all parties pull back from the main ports and parts of the strategic city of Hodeida. The agreement, however, fell short of its goals as the parties started accusing each other of using the cease-fire to prepare for war.  


The U.N. on Monday said efforts were under way to get the warring parties to the negotiating table again.  


“I hoped for a peace that alleviates the suffering of Yemenis, but my hope is fading as the conflict is deepening my people’s agony. … My country’s grave suffering is a wound in my heart,” Subay said. 

by MediaExpert

Beyonce Drops Surprise New Album

Beyonce has surprised her fans by releasing a soundtrack to her Netflix documentary “Homecoming.” 


The 37-year-old superstar debuted “Homecoming: The Live Album” Wednesday, the same day a Netflix documentary exploring her historic performances at the 2018 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival was released.

She was the first black woman to headline the event in which she paid tribute to America’s historically black colleges.

The album features 40 tracks including “Single Ladies” and “Crazy in Love.” There’s also a special version of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by her oldest daughter, Blue Ivy. 


It is available through most major streaming services.

Beyonce first surprised fans when she unexpectedly dropped her fifth studio album, “Beyonce,” in 2013.

by MediaExpert

France Launches Global Contest to Replace Notre-Dame Spire

France on Wednesday announced it would invite architects from around the world to submit designs for replacing the spire of Notre-Dame cathedral after a devastating blaze, as the government braced for a mammoth restoration challenge.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the contest would decide whether the monument should have a new spire at all and if so, whether it should be identical to the fallen 19th-century model or be a wholly new design.

The world looked on in horror Monday as flames engulfed the 850-year-old gothic masterpiece seen as encapsulating the soul of Paris and the spire came crashing down.

Explaining that having no new spire at all was an option, Philippe noted that Notre-Dame had been without a steeple for part of its history.

“The international contest will settle the question of whether we should build a new spire, whether we should rebuild the spire that was designed and built by [Eugene] Viollet-Le-Duc, in identical fashion, or whether we should… endow Notre-Dame cathedral with a new spire adapted to the techniques and the challenges of our era.”

Philippe described the task of rebuilding it as “a huge challenge and historic responsibility,” a day after President Emmanuel Macron said the entire restoration should be completed in just five years.

The bells of French cathedrals were to ring out at 1650 GMT on Wednesday to mark the exact moment when the fire started on Monday.

Macron had vowed to rebuild the iconic monument, the real star of Victor Hugo’s “Hunchback of Notre Dame” by 2024 when France hosts the summer Olympics.

“We can do it,” he said Tuesday, calling France “a nation of builders.”

On Wednesday afternoon, he was set to chair a meeting of senior government, church, conservation and Paris city officials to launch the reconstruction process.

Rebate debate

No sooner had firefighters extinguished the flames than pledges of donations towards restoring France’s best-loved monument, which attracted 12 million visitors in 2018, began to pour in.

Within 24 hours, the pledges had reached more than 800 million euros ($900 million), with French business magnates and corporations jostling to outshine each other with displays of generosity.

But the slew of announcements raised eyebrows in France, with some leftist politicians arguing that the ultra-rich could best help protect the country’s cultural heritage by fully paying their taxes — or helping the “human cathedral” of people in need.

The huge tax breaks available on the donations also caused some unease, prompting Francois-Henri Pinault, the billionaire CEO of the Kering luxury goods empire, to announce he would forfeit his rebate.

“The donation for Notre-Dame of Paris will not be the object of any tax deduction. Indeed, the Pinault family considers that it is out of the question to make French taxpayers shoulder the burden,” Pinault said in a statement.

Pinault had led the pledges of donations starting Monday night with a promise of 100 million euros.

Billionaire Bernard Arnault and his LVMH luxury conglomerate, Total oil company and cosmetics giant L’Oreal also each pledged 100 million euros or more, while US tech giant Apple said it would give an unspecified amount.

French corporations are eligible for a 60-percent tax rebate on cultural donations.

The government said Wednesday that figure would remain unchanged, but increased the rebate to 75 percent on individual donations for Notre-Dame of up to 1,000 euros.

Bigger private donations will continue to qualify for the standard 66 percent rebate.

Rebuilding for 2024 Olympics

On Tuesday evening, Macron set out an ambitious timeline for restoring the landmark that took nearly two centuries to build and which has played a role in many of the defining moments of French history.

“We will rebuild the cathedral even more beautifully and I want it to be finished within five years,” Macron said in an address to the nation, in which he hailed how the fire had shown the capacity of France to mobilize and unite.

In a sign of the monument’s resilience, the copper rooster that topped its spire was found Tuesday in the rubble of the roof, “battered but apparently restorable” according to a spokesperson for the culture ministry.

The walls, bell towers and the most famous circular stained-glass windows also remain intact.

But the floor of the nave was left strewn with blackened roof beams and chunks of the collapsed upper vaulting.

Experts have warned that full restoration could take longer than five years, with one of the biggest tasks involving replacing the precious oak “forest” that propped up the roof.

“I’d say decades,” Eric Fischer, head of the foundation in charge of restoring the 1,000-year-old Strasbourg cathedral, told AFP.

‘Long, complex’ investigation

Investigators trying to determine the cause of the blaze are questioning workers who were renovating the steeple, an operation suspected of accidentally triggering the blaze.

The police have already spoken to around 30 people from five different construction companies.

Public prosecutor Remy Heitz has said the investigation threatened to be “long and complex”.

Meanwhile, work to secure the cathedral continues.

Junior interior minister Laurent Nunez said Tuesday that although “some weaknesses” had been identified, overall the building was “holding up OK”.

by MediaExpert

Rwandan Albino Woman Gains Fame from Music Video

A Rwandan albino woman has appeared in a music video, attracting widespread attention and helping alleviate the stigma of albinos in Africa. Claudine Mukarusine has described the video as a spark of light in a life filled with discrimination and fear.

Mukarusine is a 28-year-old graduate from the University of Rwanda with Albinism, a genetic condition that makes her hair, skin and eyes pale.

In parts of Africa, Albino body parts are considered to have black magic that brings luck and wealth. Their graves are dug up and bodies stolen, while the living face constant fear of abduction and murder.

But here in Rwanda, Mukarusine has become famous.

She shows a reporter a music video by Rhythm and Blues singer James Ruhumuriza, known as King James, which she acted in. The music video, for the song called “Igitekerezo,” meaning “Ideas,” shows King James serenading Mukarusine in the city and countryside.

In Rwanda it has gone viral.

She says this video played a very big role in her life because many people have come to realize that people with Albinism can do something that is good and appreciated.

Albinos killed

The United Nations says nearly 100 albinos were killed in Tanzania alone in the past two decades, including at least 10 children whose bodies were found in January.

For Mukarusine, the song released in January is a spark of light in her dark days of fear that she too could be killed for being albino.

She says on the first day she heard about this threat, she cried a whole day in class. She used to cry also in her bedroom, it strongly affected her, Mukarusine said. She used to worry so much, wondering if she is going to die. But she couldn’t share her sorrow with anyone, Mukarusine said, and it affected her studies.

A good message

Singer King James says he composed the song after watching accounts of albinos being killed in Rwanda’s neighboring countries.

“That’s when I decided, that I can feature her so that I can give a good message to people that even if they are albinos, they can do anything we can do, anything they want to do,” he said.

Mukarusine works as a mentor at the National Union of Disability Organizations of Rwanda. She helps three groups of 300 people learn about saving money and accessing finance.

She has hope and confidence that her future will be good, and she will have a family, Mukarusine said. She will contribute in developing the lives of people with albinism and other disabilities in general, she says, as well as her family and country.

There are no accurate statistics on the number of albinos in Rwanda. But Mukarusine hopes her music video fame raises attention to their plight and helps remove some of the stigma and fear for other albinos as it did for her.

by MediaExpert

Young Albino Woman in Rwanda Gains Fame With Music Video Appearance

A young Rwandan woman, who is an albino, has appeared in a music video that has attracted widespread attention and has helped alleviate the fears and stigma attached to albinos in Africa. Claudine Mukarusine has described the video as a spark of light in a life filled with discrimination and fear. Eugene UWIMANA has more from Kayonza, Eastern Rwanda.

by MediaExpert

‘Avengers: Endgame’ Movie Directors Plead: ‘Don’t Spoil It’

The directors of “Avengers: Endgame” pleaded with fans on Tuesday not to spoil the movie by giving away storylines after reports that some scenes had leaked online.

In an open letter posted on Twitter under the hashtag #DontSpoilTheEndgame, Joe and Anthony Russo said they and the vast cast of the upcoming Marvel superhero movie “have worked tirelessly for the last three years with the sole intention of delivering a surprising and emotionally powerful conclusion” to the saga.


“When you see Endgame in coming weeks, please don’t spoil it for others, the same way you wouldn’t want it spoiled for you,” they added.

Walt Disney Co.’s “Avengers: Endgame” marks the conclusion of a story told across 22 Marvel films. The plot has been shrouded in secrecy, with no advance screenings for the entertainment press. Sales of advance tickets earlier this month surpassed those of 2015 movie “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

The film, which brings together multiple comic book characters, starts its rollout on April 24 in Australia and China before arriving in the United States on April 25.

Some fans said on Tuesday they had seen brief, grainy scenes on Reddit, YouTube and other platforms, but the footage was swiftly removed. Reuters has not seen the leaked scenes and Disney declined to comment. 

The #DontSpoilTheEnding hashtag was one of the top Twitter trends on Tuesday. Some fans who said they had viewed the leaks said they only increased their anticipation for the movie. 

“I was upset for about 0.2 seconds then realized how cool it was and it made me so hyped,” a person with the user name thestaggie posted on Reddit.

Chris Smith, a contributor to the BGR.com entertainment and tech news site, wrote that he had seen a leak but that it “doesn’t really give away the ending” of the movie, although it contained scenes that had not been shown in any of the trailers or official clips released so far.

“I don’t consider that the leak has actually ruined the movie for me. It just makes me want to watch it even more than I already did,” wrote Smith.

by MediaExpert

Americans, Frequent Visitors to Notre Dame, Begin Fundraising Efforts

The fire that devastated Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Monday prompted fund-raising appeals in the United States, as people horrified by the blaze began making commitments to restore a global landmark even before the flames were extinguished.

The New York-based French Heritage Society and the Go Fund Me crowdsourcing platform were among the first to offer help for a cathedral that is a must-see destination for visitors to Paris from all over the world.

French President Emmanuel Macron said an international campaign would be launched to raise funds for the rebuilding of Notre Dame Cathedral.

The French Heritage Society, an American non-profit group dedicated to preserving French architectural and cultural treasures, launched a web page on Monday to raise money for the cathedral’s restoration.

“Notre Dame is obviously an architectural marvel and most certainly a monument that should be restored,” Jennifer Herlein, the executive director of the society, said by phone.

Herlein could not immediately say how much her organization had raised for Notre Dame on Monday. Eventually, the funds raised will go directly to the cathedral, she said.

The organization, which was founded in 1982, gave two grants last year totaling more than $430,000 for restoration projects at France’s national library, she said.

50 campaigns 

At the website GoFundMe, more than 50 campaigns related to the cathedral fire had been launched globally on Monday, John Coventry, a spokesman for Go Fund Me, said by email.

“In the coming hours we’ll be working with the authorities to find the best way of making sure funds get to the place where they will do the most good,” Coventry said.

Some of the Go Fund Me campaigns had not listed any money raised by late Monday, and several joke campaigns were created through Go Fund Me to help Quasimodo, the fictional character in Victor Hugo’s 19th century novel “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

“I think the challenge will be whether or not people who give the money agree with those who are doing the rebuilding about how the cathedral should be rebuilt,” said Lisa Bitel, a professor of religion and history at the University of Southern California.

“This is a national monument in France and they will not spare money to rebuild,” Bitel said. “I don’t think the Americans will get much of a say in how to do it.”

Notre Dame Cathedral has looked to international donors for past renovation efforts.

In 2017, Michel Picaud, president of Friends of Notre Dame De Paris, told the New York Times his group planned to organize gala dinners, concerts and other events to raise funds in France and the United States for restoration work at the cathedral.


by MediaExpert

Devastated Art World Wept as Notre Dame Burned

Notre Dame, a survivor of wars and revolutions, has stood for centuries as not merely the greatest of the Gothic cathedrals and a towering jewel of Western architecture.


It has stood, in the words of one shell-shocked art expert, as “one of the great monuments to the best of civilization.”


And so it was that across the globe Monday, a stunned and helpless art world wept alongside the people of France as a massive fire ravaged the beloved cathedral.


“Civilization is just so fragile,” said Barbara Drake Boehm, senior curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s medieval Cloisters branch in New York, her voice shaking as she tried to put into words what the cathedral meant. “This great hulking monument of stone has been there since 1163. It’s come through so many trials.”


“It’s not one relic, not one piece of glass — it’s the totality,” she said, struggling to find words expansive enough to describe the cathedral’s significance. “It’s the very soul of Paris, but it’s not just for French people. For all humanity, it’s one of the great monuments to the best of civilization.”


Boehm spoke shortly before the Paris fire chief announced that firefighters had been able to finally save the structure, including its two main towers. Much of the roof was destroyed.


The exact cause of the blaze wasn’t known, but French media quoted the fire brigade as saying it was “potentially linked” to a 6 million-euro ($6.8 million) renovation project on the church’s spire and its 250 tons of lead. The Paris Prosecutor’s office, which was investigating, said it was treating it as an accident.


Construction on Notre Dame — French for “Our Lady” — began in the 12th century and continued for nearly 200 years. It sustained damage and fell into neglect during the French Revolution, but received renewed attention following the 1831 publication of Victor Hugo’s novel “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.” This led to two decades of restorations, including the cathedral’s famous flying buttresses and a reconstructed spire.


While most kings were crowned elsewhere, Napoleon Bonaparte made sure he was crowned there in 1804, and married there in 1810.


Experts note that Notre Dame is an aesthetically smooth synthesis of different centuries. “It all blends together so harmoniously,” said Nancy Wu, a medieval architecture expert and educator at the Met Cloisters. She said she was struck by delicacy of the structure, as well as that in the three stunning stained-glass rose windows, and the elegant exterior carvings.


“There are a lot of details that remind one of intricate lace,” she said, “even though it’s a building of cold hard stone.”


Aside from the structure, art experts were concerned about the fate of countless priceless artworks and artifacts inside, including relics like the crown of thorns, which is only occasionally displayed.


“This cathedral has a number of elements that are not just famous but religiously significant,” said Julio Bermudez, professor at the school of architecture and planning at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. “One of course is the crown of thorns … the faithful believe this is the crown that the Savior put on his head. It’s kept in a very safe place. But you know the fire is tremendously damaging.” He also expressed concern about the beautiful stained-glass windows, which he called “really irreplaceable.”


Those worried about the cathedral’s durability could, perhaps, take solace in one of Notre Dame’s more fascinating survival stories. In 1977, workers demolishing a wall in another part of Paris discovered 21 heads belonging to 13th-century statues from the cathedral. The kings of Judea, which were a prime example of Gothic art, had been taken from Notre Dame during the French Revolution and guillotined by antiroyalists who mistakenly thought they represented French kings.


The heads, which were thought to be lost, are now displayed in the capital’s Cluny Museum.


The mourning was not limited to the art world. Religious leaders, too, expressed deep sorrow over the devastation.


Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, said he was praying for Notre Dame, which he called “second maybe to St. Peter’s Basilica, (in) … the ability of a church to lift our minds and hearts back to the Lord.”


“For the French, my God, for the world, Notre Dame Cathedral represents what’s most notable, what’s most uplifting, what’s most inspirational about the human project,” he said.


Boehm, at the Cloisters, found herself thinking about how the cathedral is at once of the past, and of the present — a living, vibrant building, despite its age.


“When you step inside it, you have at once the sense of everything that came before, and everything that’s still current,” she said.

by MediaExpert

Tiger Woods’ Victory in Masters a Win for Golf Business

Tiger Woods’ victory at the Masters golf tournament on Sunday, his first major victory since 2008, is expected to lift sales for sponsors, broadcasters and golf courses lucky enough to host a tournament with Woods playing.

The competition put the 43-year-old back on top of a sport he helped transform 25 years ago.

“Tiger sells golf,” says Eric Smallwood, president of Apex Marketing Group, a Michigan analytics firm. Apex found that Nike earned $22.5 million worth of brand exposure just from Woods’ final round, with Nike’s “Swoosh” logo splashed on his hat, shirt, pants and shoes. Nike stock was up about one percent on Monday.

Tournament broadcaster CBS Corp saw a ratings bump.

Based on preliminary data, the final round of Sunday’s tournament was the highest-rated morning golf broadcast since 1986, when CBS started collecting that data. The tournament, which is usually broadcast in the afternoon, was rescheduled to the morning because of weather.

CBS has the rights to the PGA Championship in May and expects prices for advertising time that is still available to rise as a result of Woods’ Masters victory, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The golf demographic is wealthier and better-educated than other sports fans, so TV ratings are valued more highly because  hey’re more apt to turn into sales, even of big-ticket items, said Neal Pilson, president of Pilson Communications and former president of CBS Sports.

“Historically, events where Tiger Woods is on leaderboards on Sunday generated 30 to 40 percent higher ratings in the United States for those tournaments,” Pilson said.

Makings of a comeback

Woods was a 20-year-old prodigy when he turned pro in 1996.

Less than a year later he was ranked No. 1 in the world. He struck lucrative endorsement deals — including a five-year, $40 million deal with Nike — and golf experienced a surge in popularity.

Then Woods’ personal life collapsed and with it, his brand.

In 2009, after the news of multiple infidelities, he lost endorsement deals with companies like AT&T and Accenture. Other sponsors, such as Procter & Gamble’s Gillette and Berkshire Hathaway’s NetJets, kept their contracts with Woods but stopped using him in marketing.

Four back surgeries later, Woods continued to suffer professionally and in the public eye. In 2017 police arrested him for driving under the influence; he pleaded guilty to reckless driving and entered a program for first-time offenders.

In 2018, Woods began a professional comeback that culminated at Sunday’s Masters. After his victory, Nike, which stood behind Woods throughout his darker years, posted an ad on its website titled “Tiger Woods: Same Dream.”

“In sports you have heroes, villains and underdogs,” said Benjamin Hordell, founder of digital marketing and advertising firm DXagency. “Tiger has lived all of it. That’s amazing from a storytelling perspective. People will root against him, but they’re watching.”

On Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump said he would award Woods the Presidential Medal of Freedom.