What a wonderful night in the theater. I pitched myself to GableStage (Coral Gables) producing artistic director Bari Newport for some project work. Let’s see if she calls. In addition to seeing the play “Boca,” Bari gave a talk about theater that explains details you always wondered about. I encourage you to listen to her. Click below. The play convinced me more than ever that Miami is the place for me.
We finally found a good Mexican restaurant in Miami and it happens to be in Merrick Park, Coral Gables. Very different offerings. Everything is delicious if you are open to new presentations. Vegetarian and vegan dishes are featured. Great atmosphere.
Marilyn Monroe has captivated the public imagination for decades with her instantly recognizable blonde bob and iconic hourglass figure. The woman seemed to have it all: fame, beauty, money, power. So, when the actress, a mega-sensation and sex symbol of the 1950s, died suddenly at the age of 36, everyone was left wondering what in the world happened to Marilyn.
For such a public figure, she led a relatively private life. Now, Marilyn’s the subject of a new Netflix documentary, The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes, which came out on Wednesday and delves into the details of her death.
Through never-before-heard interviews with friends and acquaintances, the documentary challenges the story of Marilyn’s death, bringing to light new information and calling the official, 60-year-old record into question.
So, how did Marilyn Monroe die, exactly? Well, here’s what to know.
In the early morning hours of August 5, 1962, Marilyn was found dead of an apparent sleeping pill overdose in her modest Los Angeles home, the Los Angeles Timesreported.
Reporters from The New York Times wrote that Marilyn had gone to her bedroom around 8 p.m. the night before, and was eventually found “nude, lying face down on her bed and clutching a telephone receiver in her hand when a psychiatrist broke into her room at 3:30 a.m.” The initial news story said she had been estimated to have died six to eight hours prior to being found.
Eunice Murray, Marilyn’s housekeeper, told the Times that she became worried when Marilyn didn’t respond to knocks on her bedroom door. Murray had seen a light go on in Marilyn’s room around 3:25 a.m., but found the door locked. She reportedly called Marilyn’s psychiatrist Ralph Greenson, who came to the house and broke a window to access Marilyn’s room.
Inside, Greenson found her lifeless, with one hand clutching a phone. Another doctor was called. Marilyn was pronounced dead, but police weren’t called until 4:20 a.m., about an hour after Murray had initially called Greenson. (Doctors said they needed permission from Marilyn’s movie studio before alerting the authorities.)
Marilyn didn’t leave any notes behind, the Times reported.
What new evidence is revealed in the documentary?
The documentary raises doubts about when and where Marilyn actually died…and who she might have been with that day.
The film suggests she might have actually died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, instead of in bed. “No, she wasn’t [dead at home],” ambulance company owner Walter Schaefer says in the documentary. According to Schaefer, Marilyn was comatose but alive when the ambulance arrived and took her to the ER.
Writer John Sherlock also says in the doc that Greenson told him Marilyn was alive at home and died on the way to the hospital. “She died in the ambulance,” Sherlock says. “Then they took her back to the house. [Greenson] told me he was in the ambulance.”
But there are photos of her body being wheeled out of her home, making the whole thing incredibly confusing.
So, why is this such a big deal?
“What I learned was information that changed completely what we thought we knew about her mysterious death,” author Anthony Summers says in the documentary. The changing story, he says, “suggests that the circumstances of her dying were covered up.”
Where, exactly, was Robert F. Kennedy the night she died?
Marilyn was reportedly romantically involved with both Robert F. Kennedy (then the U.S. Attorney General) and his brother, President John F. Kennedy.
The doc argues that RFK might have been in touch with Marilyn around the time of her death (a.k.a. he was in California, and possibly even at Marilyn’s house at one point that day), and that the delays and timeline changes allowed him time to get out of town,The Hollywood Reporterexplained.
In the tapes, Murray says that RFK was actually at Marilyn’s home on the day of her death, putting him in Los Angeles the night she died.
“Bobby Kennedy called her the night of her death from [his sister’s] house. She said, ‘Don’t bother me, leave me alone, stay out of my life.’ A very violent argument. ‘I feel passed around, I feel used, I feel like a piece of meat,'” says private detective Fred Otash in the documentary.
Robert Kennedy at a press conference
So why does it matter that RFK was apparently in LA? Well, over the years, a theory has circulated suggesting that the Kennedys may have been involved in covering up Marilyn’s death to keep RFK’s name out of the whole situation.
Another, more far-fetched conspiracy theory suggests that the family may have feared that Marilyn had learned (and would share) government secrets through her relationships with the brothers. Summers says in the documentary that it’s possible that “the Kennedys said, ‘Sh*t, she can make public that we’ve been discussing nuclear matters’….[and] thought, ‘We’ve got to stop all this. We can’t deal with Marilyn Monroe anymore.’”
Either way, it seems like no one wanted people to know where RFK was on August 5.
Did Marilyn really die of an overdose?
The official word is that Marilyn died of an overdose. And an autopsy report found that Marilyn died from acute combined drug toxicity, chloral hydrate (a calming medication usually used on patients before surgeries), and Nembutal (a sedative and anticonvulsant), according to People, and pill bottles were found by her bed.
However, no water glass was found in her room, which she would have likely needed to swallow all those pills, and there was no pill residue in her stomach. Cyril Wecht, a prominent forensic pathologist, told People that this suggests that “she might have been injected” with the drugs.
The coroner also allegedly took samples from Marilyn’s stomach and small intestines and asked the toxicologist to do tests on them, but they were never done.
Some details remain a mystery.
There’s actually a lot of, well, mystery that still surrounds Marilyn’s death.
According to People, Summers did a 1983 interview with Murray where he says there was a “moment where she put her head in her hands and said words to the effect of, ‘Oh, why do I have to keep covering this up?’ I said, ‘Covering what up, Mrs. Murray?’ She said, ‘Well of course Bobby Kennedy was there [on Aug. 4], and of course there was an affair with Bobby Kennedy.'”
The doc raises almost as many new questions as it answers. But I, for one, know what I’ll be watching tonight.
KORIN MILLERKorin Miller is a freelance writer specializing in general wellness, sexual health and relationships, and lifestyle trends, with work appearing in Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Self, Glamour, and more
Hailey Bieber is impressive. She is able to explain her condition well enough so we all can completely understand what she went though. The details are important to all of us. This is a learning lesson to make note of. Bieber is an American model, media personality, and socialite. She has been featured in major ads for Guess, Ralph Lauren, and Tommy Hilfiger. Bieber is the wife of Justin, a daughter of Stephen Baldwin, niece of Alec, Daniel, and William Baldwin, and her maternal grandfather is the Brazilian artist Eumir Deodato.
ELON MUSK BECAME the new owner of Twitter on Monday, after completing a stunning $44 billion takeover of the social media platform, ending a process that has vacillated between a done deal and dead in the water in the last three weeks.
“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” Musk said in a press release announcing the news. Twitter independent board chair Bret Taylor described the deal as “the best path forward” for the company’s shareholders.
The result ends prolonged speculation over Musk’s financial interest in Twitter. On April 4, the entrepreneur’s 9.2 percent stake in the company—or 73.5 million shares at a cost of around $2.4 billion—was disclosed to the public. At the time, the purchase of stock in Twitter came with an offer to sit on the board—though on April 10 Musk declined to take his seat.
He soon made it obvious that he wanted the whole thing. On April 14, Musk offered to buy the remaining percentage of the company for $54.20 per share—a 38 percent premium on the price he paid for his initial investment. Musk’s accompanying letter to the chair of Twitter’s board was strident in its criticism of the platform. “I believe in [Twitter’s] potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe, and I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy,” he wrote. However, he added, “I now realize the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form.”
Instead, he wanted to take the company private, offering $44 billion for it in a “best and final” offer. At the time, analysts were split about the likelihood of Musk’s bid succeeding, and whether it was good value; while it sat in the middle of the usual 30 to 40 percent premium above the trading price, the stock price had reached well above that just last year. Twitter’s board, for its part, said it would evaluate the offer.
“He’s setting a bit of a precedent for activists that will go after a company,” says Timothy Galpin, senior lecturer in strategy and innovation at the Said Business School at the University of Oxford. “It’s been done a bit before by Carl Icahn and a few others, but it’s not as prevalent to go after the whole company.”
On the same day that he lodged his bid to take over the entirety of Twitter and take it private, Musk appeared at a TED talk in Vancouver, where he laid out his vision. “This is not a way to sort of make money,” he claimed. “My strong intuitive sense is that having a public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is extremely important.” That gave some within Twitter, and those who held large shares in the platform, pause.
Contemporary reports indicated Twitter would fight to repel Musk, while the Tesla and Space X CEO got into a Twitter spat about press freedom with Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding Company, a major shareholder that said it would reject Musk’s offer.
Such social media battles may be unusual when considering a takeover of a massive business, but Musk is himself unusual, says Cary Cooper, a business professor at Manchester Business School. “He’s not a traditional businessman,” he says. “He’s a man that is pretty creative and pretty innovative. He’s a unique guy and does things in a way that a normal businessperson wouldn’t do. He doesn’t play the normal games that an entrepreneur would play.”
On April 15, Twitter’s board triggered a break-glass-in-emergency financial tool: the poison pill. Also known as a limited duration shareholder rights plan, the poison pill invited shareholders to increase their investments in Twitter in order to reduce Musk’s ability to build his stake up into a controlling one. Any attempts to take his share over 15 percent would require Musk to negotiate with Twitter’s board.
Triggering the poison pill headed off the speedy hostile takeover, but Musk’s offer never left the table. On April 21, Musk outlinedhow he’d come up with the $44 billion in cash required to fulfill his bid. Morgan Stanley and other firms offered to back Musk’s bid, while he’d pay around $21 billion from his own estimated $263 billion fortune. The filing put meat on the bones of what had previously been a speculative offer—and indicated how seriously Musk wanted to take Twitter private.
The confirmed funding reportedly causedsome of Twitter’s shareholders who were more agnostic about Musk to petition the company to hear him out. Meetings reportedly took place over the weekend, and Twitter’s board met on April 25 to recommend the deal to shareholders. It was a swift and surprising reversal. “On Friday, there was so much skepticism and cynicism, and now it almost looks like a done deal,” says Vasant Dhar, a professor of information systems at NYU Stern. Musk’s quick movements have left other potential bidders stuck playing catchup. But the deal appears to have passed the money test, at least for Twitter’s board of directors, since “the board’s fiduciary responsibility is to get the most value for shareholders,” says Galpin. “Obviously, there are questions about what he’ll do with the company if he takes control of it. He’s got to do more than just add an edit button.”
Taking the company private would allow Musk to make the changes he wants far more quickly, without answering to public markets. “I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans,” Musk wrote in Monday’s press release.
“I think he’s played it brilliantly,” says Dhar. “One could have expected the reaction we got: ‘Musk is a megalomaniac and he’s doing it for self-promotion.’ But I actually think there’s a lot more to it than that.”
It’s possible that the purchase will come under regulatory scrutiny. While there’s unlikely to be an antitrust concern, the Securities and Exchange Commission could still take issue with Musk’s disclosures along the way. “You could ask a court to enjoin the deal on the basis that he has improperly filed,” says Pritchard. “He didn’t file his initial stake on a timely basis, then he filed the wrong form because he really had the intention of influencing management the whole time,” he suggests. That, however, would require showing the harm caused by those infractions. Shareholders could lodge private lawsuits but would likely only succeed in getting more money from Musk in the deal. And the SEC is unlikely to halt the transaction because of the damage that could do to shareholders.
It seems Elon Musk will almost inevitably assume control and ownership of Twitter—changing the face of the platform in the process. For some of Twitter’s millions of users, it’s a welcome development that gives them more freedom to say and do what they want. For others, it’s a worrying development with potentially chilling consequences. As for the shareholders, and Musk himself, things are looking rosy.
“Shareholders will feel like they’ve won, and Musk has got what he wanted,” says Galpin. “He’s got control of the company, for not an exorbitant price but not a cheap price either. Nobody really gouged the other one, and nobody lost.
WeWork’s Adam and Rebekah Neumann: Where Are They Now?
I am sharing this story with you because most people I speak to seem very confused about the outcome of Adam Neumann’s journey with WeWork. After reading this, I once again feel like we are living in a world being led by bullies and dare devils. Maybe it has always been like this but many of us never truly understood it—-LWH
Wall StreetJournal reporter Eliot Brown speaks to V.F. about Adam Neumann’s “golden parachute” and what the disgraced tech leader has been up to since his WeWork exit, as depicted in the finale of Apple TV+’s WeCrashed.
Apple TV+’s WeCrashed ends its eight-episode run on Friday, with Adam Neumann (played by Jared Leto) exiting WeWork with his storied “golden parachute” deal. The astonishing exit package was estimated to be worth over $1 billion—even though the company, under his leadership, lost roughly $40 billion of its $47 billion valuation, withdrew its IPO, and screwed over employees hoping valuable stock shares would offset long hours and alarming office culture. (It later went public through an SPAC.)
This infuriating exit is eased, to WeCrashed viewers at least, by a coda sequence in the finale episode, “The One With All the Money.” After a few moments of beach bliss with wife Rebekah (Anne Hathaway) on the Dead Sea in Israel, Adam jumps into the water. Rebekah accepts a call on Adam’s phone from SoftBank chief executive Masayoshi Son (Kim Eui-sung) and takes a message.
“You will never get that buyout package. Not a single penny,” the billionaire investor tells him. “The next time we speak, it will be through lawyers.”
Clearly, this fictional flourish was added for comic—or even audience-consoling—purposes. But did Adam and Rebekah—these flamboyant, entitled, polarizing characters onscreen and off—get any kind of kiss-off from the financial community?
How did he feel about the Dead Sea conclusion, especially considering his expertise in all things Adam and Rebekah Neumann? “I was laughing hysterically, and I thought that was a fantastic way to end [the show],” Brown tells Vanity Fair. That said, he doubts the scene is factually accurate. “To the extent that the phone call ever happened, I seriously doubt it. First of all, they were in New York at the time. Second of all, I think it was more the type of thing that they found out through lawyers and/or The Wall Street Journal.”
The Neumanns’ real-life public kiss-off, if you want to call it that, wasn’t nearly as direct or theatrical. In early 2020, Brown reported that SoftBank was taking steps to back out of Adam’s exit deal. Adam sued SoftBank, before reaching a settlement with the Japanese firm that reportedly awarded him 50% of what was initially offered—leaving Adam with $480 million instead of $960 million, $50 million for legal fees, another $50 million for a noncompete fee, and a five-year extension on a $430 million loan.
“When they settled, Adam did well, maybe even better in the end, even though the rest of the shareholders did worse,” says Brown. “Which is really a perfect coda for how much Adam put me over we,as he would call it. In the end, [Adam and Rebekah] got an enormous amount of that money.” (Per Brown and Farrell’s reporting, SoftBank renegotiated to clear the way for a public offering.)
Factoring in the couple’s real-estate investments, Brown adds, “Adam left [WeWork] a billionaire. Compared to some of the other founders on other streaming service tech shows right now, that’s a very different ending.”
After relocating to Israel for a period after the Neumanns’ WeWork exit, the family returned to the Hamptons, where Adam proceeded to negotiate an even better deal for himself with SoftBank. The Neumanns laid low during the pandemic, save for one Hamptons sighting of Adam barefoot, holding a pizza box, and standing next to a rabbi.
This past October, WeWork finally went public—and Adam celebrated by hosting what the New York Post described as “a booze-soaked party for more than 100 of his earliest employees.” Champagne was served as early as 9 a.m. One Post source added, “The irony is not lost on the fact that they are inviting former employees who got no money from the company they nearly destroyed, and in some cases, some who were laid off after the last IPO attempt. And it is day drinking just like the olden days.”
Meanwhile, according to Brown, Adam “bought an outrageously large house in Florida, which happens to have no capital gains tax, and has been spending a lot of time down there. On the investment side, he has been telling people he wants to build apartments for the future of living. So what that means exactly is a little unclear, but he’s literally buying apartment buildings. Does he think he can build it into a business that gets a tech valuation? I don’t know, but he certainly thinks he can build it into a big business. He’s investing in crypto companies, he’s investing in prop-tech companies.”
“You get the sense from people around him that he has not changed,” Brown adds. “Early on, I think some of his friends sensed a large amount of remorse and that he had gotten really subdued. But if you talk to those people now, I think they would say that was a fleeting moment.” Referring to Adam’s first public interview since leaving WeWork, last November, Brown said, “If you look at the New York Timesinterview, he didn’t apologize. And I know that stung a lot of former WeWork staffers a lot.”
So what are we, aghast witnesses and WeCrashed audience members, supposed to learn from this tale of a barefoot man who became a billionaire by preaching togetherness while simultaneously screwing over his employees?
“His approach was the right one for capitalistic gain,” levels Brown. “He enriched himself tremendously, at the expense of a lot of investors and employees, and he played that very well. I think the broader lesson, which is sort of the focal point of our book, was that the Silicon Valley start-up machine is really irrational or certainly prone to being extremely irrational…. You had literally more money than had ever gone into any start-up besides Uber going into a midsize office-space sublease company, because everyone thought it was some transformative tech company…. I think it’s easy to lose track of reality, particularly in Silicon Valley, and that’s what propelled this entire story.”
Pickleball’s the new jam: Why it’s now the fastest-growing sport
A hybrid of badminton, pingpong and tennis, it was the fastest-growing sport in the country from 2019 to 2021, according to an industry group that tracks sport participation.
Derrick Marsh and Kate Stoia play pickleball in McLaren Park in San Francisco on Aug. 17, 2021. Pickleball, which began on the West Coast more than 50 years ago with a badminton court, pingpong paddles and a whiffle ball, has seen a boom in popularity in the past five years, accelerated by the pandemic.
By Elliott Ramos
Wendy Siegel had never played a sport in her life.
The 53-year-old mom of three was bored. It was the first summer of the pandemic, and everything was closed in Highland Park, a suburb of Chicago. A friend recommended they try pickleball — a racquet sport played on a smaller tennis-like court.null
“I honestly had never played any kind of sport,” Siegel said. “It was totally new.”
It took several lessons to learn to hit the ball, which is slightly larger than a tennis ball and made of plastic. But Siegel was hooked after her first class and kept at it. Having now played regularly since August 2020, she says she’s improved.
“I feel pretty good about myself going out there,” Siegel said. “Now, I like to call myself Sporty Spice.”
Siegel is one of more than a half-million people who have picked up a pickleball paddle since 2020, according to the latest data from the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. And while some started playing as a safe pandemic activity, the sport has been growing in popularity for years, with participation doubling since 2014. It was even named the official sport of the state of Washington in March.
“The pandemic certainly helped accelerate the growth of the sport, but it was growing very steadily before that,” said Stu Upson, the CEO of USA Pickleball, the sport’s governing body in the U.S., responsible for the rules, rulebook, some tournaments and promoting the sport’s growth.
About 17 percent of players are 65 and older, while a third are under 25, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association’s 2022 Pickleball Report, which surveyed 18,000 Americans on their participation in 100 sports and activities.
Upson suspects the sport has grown because it’s easy to learn. “When people try it and then they start playing, they don’t say they just play — they say they were addicted to it.”
According to Upson, pickleball was created in the 1960s by two families who lived just west of Seattle, on Bainbridge Island. The families, Upson said, invented the game out of boredom, using the badminton court and net, a perforated ball and table tennis paddles they had on hand. The game was supposedly named after one of their dogs, Pickles.
Today, pickleball is a mix of tennis, pingpong and badminton. The ball itself has circular holes in it, while the paddle — about the size of a table tennis paddle — is rectangular.
Players hit the ball back and forth along a 20-foot by 44-foot court — about a third of a tennis court. The games, which go until one side reaches 11 points, usually last 15-25 minutes and have a steady pace that can pick up fast as volleys go back and forth, not unlike tennis. But while a tennis player may try to whack the ball as hard as possible, a skilled pickleballer will use slight movements to control the lighter, plastic ball.
The pickleball paddle may have started out as one used for table tennis, but companies such as Joola are looking to cash in on the pickleball craze with paddles specific to the sport.
The company has manufactured table tennis equipment for close to 70 years, and this is the first time the company has branched out into a new sport, said Richard Lee, Joola’s president.
“As a table tennis purist, it was never really in my mind to get started in the sport,” Lee said. “Finally, last summer, we gave it a shot with Covid and absolutely fell in love with it.”
He said that he heard about a pickleball court being built behind their Maryland offices and grabbed some paddles to give it a try. There were two people already playing, pickleball star athletes Ben Johns and his brother, Collin, who explained the game to Lee and his friend.
“We had no idea who they were, and just saw two young guys going at it at a really fast pace and just playing amazingly,” Lee recalled. “We saw what the sport can be like.”
Ben Johns, a senior at the University of Maryland, is ranked No. 1 in the world for doubles, mixed doubles and singles by the Professional Pickleball Association. Collin Johns is ranked 6th in doubles.
The 23-year-old has played tournaments with Michael Phelps, the former Olympic swimmer, and Larry Fitzgerald, the ex-receiver for the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals.
As the sport grew in popularity, players took to social media to set up matches, creating a sprawling network of pickup groups on Facebook and WhatsApp. A Facebook group for players in Chicago has 3,100 members, while one in northern Seattle has more than 2,000 members.
Fitness centers have begun to offer classes and install pickleball courts, even setting up friendly competitions between other athletic clubs. And specialty venues — like Chicken N Pickle, which has six locations across the country, including one in Kansas City — boast food, drinks and pickleball courts for families and friends to play and socialize.
Seattle resident Ben Winston learned to play pickleball in a decidedly nonfancy location: an elementary school parking lot, with a portable net and chalk to mark the lines.
He and his wife moved to Seattle in the months leading up to the pandemic. Then lockdowns hit, and with the encouragement of a friend, the two formed a pandemic “pod” with the friends they played with in the parking lot.
Since graduating to actual courts, Winston, who is 31, said he has played with a range of people: a former NBA player, a bus driver and people of all ages and skill levels. That’s part of what he likes about the game.
“I’m capable of getting my butt kicked by 70-year-old women,” Winston said. “They’ve been playing for a while, and they just have this craftiness and guile to them.”
He’s not the only player who finds himself playing older opponents.
Wendy Siegel embraced becoming a pickleball mom and said matches have brought her closer to her father, who still plays in his 80s.
Still, she has no problem besting a younger player and hanging out with opponents afterward.
“We’ve totally become friends,” Siegel said. “[I] go to their birthday parties — like their 40-year-old birthday parties.
“I’m 53. I feel like a total mom.”
Nicole Henry has established herself among the jazz world’s most acclaimed performers. We are fortunate to know her personally due to various social circles. A group of us, Gail Williams, Dawn McCall, Marcia and Richie Grand, and Eliot and yours truly, first dined at the farm to table Orno Restaurant in the THesis Hotel and then went to hear Nicole give a standing ovation performance.