How ‘Roma’ Turned an Empty Lot Into a Bustling Avenue

They paved a parking lot and put up paradise.

To shoot a scene on a vibrant avenue in the period drama “Roma,” the filmmakers constructed from scratch an immense replica of part of a Mexico City street (and the shops that line it) in an empty lot amid warehouses. They brought in period vehicles, including a streetcar, and built working storefronts, transforming a cracked concrete slab overrun with weeds into a vibrant intersection.

That’s one way to recapture your childhood.

“Roma,” up for 10 Academy Awards at the Feb. 24 ceremony, is the writer-director Alfonso Cuarón’s semi-autobiographical recollection of his early-1970s life in the Mexico City neighborhood of the title. To say that Cuarón cared about details when capturing that world is an understatement. With a reported budget of $15 million, the film also includes an elaborate restaging of a student protest, the communal dousing of a large forest fire and a challenging ocean rescue.

In the street scene, the nanny, Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), chases after one of her charges on the way to the movies and comes upon the intersection of Baja California and Insurgentes avenues. Cuarón wanted to shoot at the actual crossing, but when he returned to the neighborhood all these years later, he saw it had changed significantly.

For one, there’s a major bus stop in the middle of Insurgentes where streetcars once ran. For another, the movie theater that plays a key role in the film had been demolished, replaced by a shopping center. And many of the businesses were no longer the same.

Cuarón explored the option of substituting a similar-looking street in a smaller city for Insurgentes. But while there were locations with more period buildings, none carried the same big-city heft.

“It had a certain cosmopolitanism that I couldn’t find in any other place,” he said in a phone interview.

And the idea of using computer-generated images to turn that shopping center back into a movie theater was not a popular one. The director said that his film needed a certain level of physicality that came from characters operating in real, not digitally constructed, environments. “Gravity,” this is not.

“I didn’t want to just illustrate the location, I wanted it to permeate the whole essence of time and space,” Cuarón said.

In other words, grab a hammer and a nail.

Cuarón worked with his production designer, Eugenio Caballero, to research the look of the avenue in the early ’70s, viewing old photographs and matching them with the director’s memories. After they decided how much ground to cover in the shots, Caballero drew up a plan based on the actual measurements of the intersection. Then the goal was to find a space to match those requirements.

The area they needed was larger than most studio backlots could provide, so they had to get creative. They considered the parking lot of Aztec Stadium, but it was too small.

“The location crew stopped looking from the ground and instead started looking at satellite photographs of the city,” Cuarón said.

They found a spot in a collection of warehouses used by the Secretariat of Public Education. It included a giant empty lot covered in cracked concrete overgrown with weeds. Caballero and his team transformed it by building rails and cables for a streetcar, and adding sidewalks and shops alongside them.

But Cuarón didn’t just want facades. He wanted to be able to enter and populate these spaces with extras. So a shop like a travel agency would serve to show the class divide in this part of the city as well. (It should be noted that in the finished film, computer imagery filled out the far end of the street and the building tops.)

As Cleo approaches the intersection, the screen fills with the energy of pedestrians and traffic, the evening city lights shimmer and the entire frame projects a tone of heightened wonder. Cuarón wanted to capture his recollections as a child crossing at this spot.

“I had a very good sense of the feel of this,” he said, “the excitement I felt arriving at that big avenue on the way to the movies, coming from the more sheltered streets of my neighborhood.”

After the shoot, the entire set was demolished. Now, that warehouse parking has never looked nicer.

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/14/movies/roma-sets.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Why Do South Asians Have Such High Rates of Heart Disease?

Studies show that at a normal body weight — generally considered a body mass index, or B.M.I., below 25 — people of any Asian ancestry, including those who are Chinese, Filipino and Japanese, have a greater likelihood of carrying this dangerous type of fat. Despite having lower obesity rates than whites, Asian-Americans have twice the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes, which promotes heart attacks and strokes.

Heart risks tended to be greatest in South Asians, the Masala researchers found. In one recent study, in the Annals of Internal Medicine, they found that 44 percent of the normal weight South Asians they examined had two or more metabolic abnormalities, like high blood sugar, high triglycerides, hypertension or low HDL cholesterol, compared to just 21 percent of whites who were normal weight.

The Masala researchers also found that using the standard cutoff point to screen for diabetes, a B.M.I. of 25 or greater, would cause doctors to overlook up to a third of South Asians who have the disease. “Many of them may never get to that B.M.I. and they will have had diabetes for years,” Dr. Kanaya said.

The findings helped prompt the American Diabetes Association to issue updated guidelines in 2015 that lowered their screening threshold for diabetes, to a B.M.I. of 23 for Asian-Americans. A public awareness campaign, organized by the National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians, called Screen at 23 has drawn attention to the issue, and a.t least three states, including California, Massachusetts and Hawaii, have enacted policies to promote more aggressive health screenings of Asian-Americans. Representative Pramila Jayapal of Washington, the first Indian-American woman to serve in the House, recently introduced a bill to provide more funding for South Asian heart health awareness and research.

Most of the participants in the Masala study are first-generation immigrants, and the researchers found that their cultural practices also impact their disease rates. Cardiovascular risks tended to be highest in two groups: those who maintained very strong ties to traditional South Asian religious, cultural and dietary customs, and those who vigorously — embraced a Western lifestyle. Those with lower risk are what the researchers call bicultural, maintaining some aspects of traditional South Asian culture while also adopting some healthy Western habits.

This discrepancy plays out in their dietary behaviors. Almost 40 percent of Masala participants are vegetarian, a common practice in India that is widely regarded in the West as heart healthy. But vegetarians who eat traditional South Asian foods like fried snacks, sweetened beverages and high-fat dairy products were found to have worse cardiovascular health than those who eat what the researchers call a “prudent” diet with more fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans and whole grains (and, for nonvegetarians, fish and chicken). People who eat a Western style diet with red and processed meat, alcohol, refined carbohydrates and few fruits and vegetables were also found to have more metabolic risk factors.

Dr. Namratha Kandula, a Masala investigator at Northwestern, said she hopes to study the children of the Masala participants next because they tend to influence their parents’ health and lifestyle habits, and the researchers want to understand whether health risks in second-generation South Asians are similar or not. But for now, some experts say their goal is to increase outreach to South Asians who may be at high risk and neglecting their health.

“As a South Asian Bay Area resident, I see that we focus a lot on success and academic achievements in our families,” said Dr. Khandelwal at Stanford. “But we don’t necessarily look at our health success, and your health is something that you can’t easily get back.”

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/12/well/live/why-do-south-asians-have-such-high-rates-of-heart-disease.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

How to Make Time with Family and Loved Ones Count

In a time not so long ago or far away, eating family dinner, connecting with your spouse after tucking the children into bed or talking with your children in the in-between times like the ride to school was well, just routine.

But times have changed. Our growing cultural mind-set is that we’re too busy to connect with those closest to us, even though we collectively want to. Parents and children alike increasingly invest their downtime in phones and on social media and there’s a general sense that there’s always more. More to read, more to reply to, and more to see. Because of this pressure to always consume more, it can feel wasteful to slow down to appreciate the people in front of us, for fear of missing out on life happening elsewhere.

Although it’s true that we can always consume more information, it’s not true that slowing down and taking time to connect — particularly face-to-face — is a waste of time. In fact, the exact opposite is true. Making time for social connections can reduce the chances of depression and anxiety caused by loneliness. And those connections can have broader benefits as well. John Gottman, Ph.D., notes in his book, “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work,” that enhancing your “love maps,” as in your knowledge of your spouse’s day-to-day experiences, is key to a happy, healthy marriage and a happier, healthier life.

But just because the data shows that making time for face-to-face interaction has a huge payoff doesn’t mean it’s easy to do.

As someone who coaches people on improving their time management, I understand that the gap feels far between what you know you should do and what you feel you have time to do. To help bridge that divide, here are a few simple ways to integrate face-to-face interaction into your family’s lifestyle.

Eat together

Eating together as a family requires intentional effort, but most families can manage it at least a few times through the week. The intention, however, starts at the top.

In my family growing up, eating dinner together was a priority, so how we chose activities, such as which dance classes to take, involved whether or not the class schedule would allow us to eat as a family. In your family, you may want to reassess the timing of extracurricular activities to see if you can align your schedules to allow everyone to have a seat at the table. You also may want to see if you can make any adjustments to your work schedule (such as going in earlier and leaving earlier some days) so you can make it home in time to eat with your spouse or children.

If family dinners at home won’t work regularly, then try to find alternatives. For example, try to eat breakfast together or have weekend rituals such as savoring a Saturday brunch or a Sunday dinner together.

To get the full benefit of those meals, keep away the phones and turn off the TV. You may want to have a basket for everyone to put their phones in, on silent, before the meal starts. The goal is to not just eat but to get a sense of what’s going on in everyone’s lives, and to get the gist of their emotional state. For example if you notice your usually talkative daughter seems sullen, you now have the opportunity to follow-up later and ask her, “You didn’t seem like yourself at dinner. Are you doing OK? Did something happen at school?”

Wind down together

Another important opportunity to reconnect with each other is winding down together before bed. You probably know that using electronic devices in the hour before bed makes it harder to fall and stay asleep. So you can improve your physical health and the health of your relationships by using that time to connect with your spouse instead. Some of my coaching clients form a pact with their significant other to be off technology by a certain time of night. If you need some extra reinforcement, apps like OFFTIME can help to block your phone during certain hours. Plus, it’s a good idea to set your phone to “do not disturb” mode so you rest peacefully.

This tech-free before sleep ritual gives you the opportunity to pay attention to your spouse and to stay emotionally attuned to how he or she is feeling. It’s also a perfect time to ask for details about their day or their thoughts, or follow-up on earlier side comments like, “I had a rough day at work,” when your attention isn’t divided by children, evening errands, or other issues around the house.

Live life together

I understand time can feel tight and we all legitimately have things to do. So the best opportunity for face-to-face, meaningful connection is to invite your family members into whatever you’re already doing. Ask your kids to help you cook. Invite your spouse to walk the dog with you, and turn it into an evening ritual. Or suggest they join you on that evening errand to Target.

Connection develops and strengthens in the little day-to-day moments. In her book, “Daring Greatly,” Brené Brown says, “We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness, and affection. Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow.”

Making those deeply personal, face-to-face connections a priority in your family builds meaningful bonds. It also acts as a powerful prevention strategy so you can reduce the time and energy you need to spend on cures.

Elizabeth Grace Saunders is a time management coach and the author of The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment, How to Invest Your Time Like Money, and Divine Time Management. She is a regular contributor at Harvard Business Review and Fast Company.

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/13/smarter-living/how-to-make-time-with-family-and-loved-ones-count.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

The Value of Childhood Crushes

But there’s also no need to go overboard, suggesting that a wedding is on the horizon, she said.

Dr. Rose cautioned against teasing. Asking kids of any age about whether they have a boyfriend or girlfriend may send unintended messages about gender issues or sex, or make them feel too embarrassed to open up about love in the future. As a neutral conversation opener, you might ask if your child’s classmates talk about having crushes.

Model Respect

It can be especially important for boys to hear that it is good to have tenderhearted feelings. Research shows that American boys want intimacy and romance at the same rate as girls — but by admitting to that, they risk being seen as unmasculine.

With regard to the #MeToo movement, Dr. Rose said, we also can respond to children’s crushes by showing consideration for the object of their affection. It is an opportunity to reinforce an age-appropriate lesson about consent, even if the level of touching in the relationship amounts to nothing more than holding hands.

When engaging kids in conversation about the apple of their eye, Ms. Roffman suggests trying not to lead with questions that are gender-stereotyping or superficial (“Is she cute?”). Instead, she said, try asking, “What do you like about that person? What do you notice about them? What’s their personality like?” Kids also need to know that it’s normal to have crushes on someone of the same sex or gender.

Expect Things to Fizzle

Dr. Rose said it’s helpful to learn young to deal with breakups. “It’s the beginning of trying to experience what those emotions feel like and learning how to manage them. If you have a crush and he says something not very nice to you, or he ignores you, then that is a first opportunity for a 10-year-old to process, well, how do you manage those feelings?”

If families allow children to have play dates with their crushes, Mr. Smallidge said, they should help select activities suitable for the children’s age. Spending time together with a crush can be as simple as playing together at the park or getting ice cream, just as children would do with other friends.

One option, of course, is to do nothing at all about a crush except to savor it. “That is so safe,” Mr. Smallidge said. “That’s such a delicious feeling. One of the messages that would be nice for kids to hear is that they don’t have to do anything about crushes. A crush has its own value because it opens us up and it’s exciting. And most of them, I would say, end there.”

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/13/well/family/valentines-day-children-crushes-parenting.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

French Mayor Offers Shelter to Migrants, Despite the Government’s Objections

BAYONNE, France — The government in Paris disapproves. But the local mayor doesn’t care. He says he will continue sheltering the Africans crossing the Spanish border into France.

For Jean-René Etchegaray, mayor of Bayonne, a quiet and refined city in the French Basque Country, 22 miles from the border, it is a matter of necessity and humanitarian obligation.

Since Italy all but closed its borders to migrants and France has tried to close its border to migrants coming from Italy, Spain has become the prime gateway into Europe for migrants from Africa, with more than 57,000 arriving last year.

Many are now crossing into France and transiting through Bayonne, a place where “everything is reasonable,” Stendhal wrote in the mid-19th century.

But what Mr. Etchegaray sees as his reasonable stance has put him at war with the government of President Emmanuel Macron, even as the mayor has become a case study in the front-line management of Europe’s migration crisis and its contradictions.

The mayor doesn’t necessarily want these young men, predominantly from French-speaking West African countries like Guinea, Mali and Ivory Coast, hanging around forever. He also doesn’t want them camping out on his streets of tall, old, half-timbered Basque houses nestled along slow-moving rivers.

But he wants the migrants to exist, while in his city, in a “condition of dignity,” as he put it. “I don’t think I can do less,” he said.

So Mr. Etchegaray took the young men off the streets, requisitioned an old military barracks near the train station, put camp beds in it, brought in hot meals and keeps the place heated.

The young men greet him warmly when he shows up, several times a day.

“Good man,” said one of his temporary guests, Abdul Sylla, a 29-year-old from Guinea who harbors vague hopes of studying. “Close to the people.”

Official France keeps wagging its finger at the city’s mayor.

It is “absolutely out of the question” that the state “would give the slightest aid” to the mayor’s shelter, Gilbert Payet, who until recently was Mr. Macron’s regional representative for the Interior Ministry, testily told local reporters last month.

The mayor was unfazed.

“I saw that the frontiers were closing, and as far as I’m concerned, there are some fundamental rights that can’t be trampled on,” Mr. Etchegaray said, evoking Bayonne’s heritage as a refuge for Jews fleeing the Spanish Inquisition and as the birthplace of the great Jewish jurist René Cassin, who helped draft the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The French state’s attitude toward the mayor illustrates Mr. Macron’s own ambiguities on the subject of migration.

On the one hand, he has exalted France’s humanitarian traditions and asked the police to treat migrants with fairness.

On the other, his government has refused admission to migrant ships, put migrant rights advocates on trial and boasted about how many foreigners have been expelled or turned back at frontiers.

The Italians have angrily accused the French of hypocrisy, and Mr. Etchegaray has used the same word.

“The prefect said, ‘No, no, no, no, no, no!’ ” recalled Maïté Etcheverry, a young volunteer who runs the shelter in Bayonne.

But the mayor merely carried on — distributing blankets; inquiring about the migrants’ well-being; and paying for the center out of the budget of the local agglomeration of towns which he runs.

“They said, ‘You’re just going to create a pull factor for even more migrants,’ ” Mr. Etchegaray said with a laugh during an interview in his office here this past week.

“They said, ‘You’re going to create another Calais,’” he said, referring to squalid encampments in northern France, since demolished, where thousands of migrants waited in mud, cold and misery, hoping to get to England.

So far, it hasn’t turned out that way.

“I don’t feel I’m doing anything contrary to the law,” Mr. Etchegaray said mildly.

“Look, I’m not some kind of radical crazy person,” he continued, noting that most migrants stay a few days then move on.

He even moved a bus stop for low-cost travel services in front of the shelter, to make it easier for migrants to leave. And he went to war with the bus company because its drivers were demanding, illegally, that the Africans produce identity papers.

“We are the only squatters in France supported by City Hall,” Ms. Etcheverry said, grinning.

“That mayor, he’s in deep against the prefect, and visibly against the interior minister,” said Ms. Etcheverry, a law student. “It’s really kind of extraordinary.”

A self-described “radical pro-Basque independence leftist,” she has found herself in political opposition to the 66-year-old center-right mayor before. Not this time.

The migrants come and go at the center all day, most often arriving in inconspicuous cars with traffickers. The local police say the seedy district around the train station in the nearby Spanish border city of Irún has become a hive of trafficking.

One recent day, a group of six young African men with backpacks hurried in single file across a plaza in Irún and down a flight of stairs.

They were bundled into a waiting car that quickly drove off. Watching from the plaza above were several spotters talking furtively into their phones. All of it happened right under the noses of a group of Spanish police officers 20 yards away who did not stir.

French and Spanish officers wait on opposite sides of a bridge crossing the river that separates Spain and France in this corner. The border is open, unless you are a migrant — in which case you might get stopped, checked and sent back.

If the migrants make it to the shelter in Bayonne, however, they have a temporary refuge.

The local police do not enter the courtyard that was converted into the shelter, where a long, low hall is staffed with volunteers and stocked with donations of food and clothing. The young men staying there play scrabble or lie quietly on camp beds, grateful that the worst seems behind them.

“I never want to see the sea again,” said Ibrahima Doumbia, a young Guinean who crossed the Mediterranean by boat. “I had the fright of my life.”

With the arrival of cold weather in the fall, he knew the growing migrant population in Bayonne could no longer stay in one of the city’s main squares, where people had been camping out.

“It was cold and raining,’’ Mr. Etchegaray said. ‘‘We couldn’t leave them there anymore. They were cold, sick and hungry.”

The mayor formed plans for the initiative quickly. “He came directly to the square,” Ms. Etcheverry recalled, adding that she remembered him saying, “I’ll be back in a half-hour.”

When he returned, he led volunteers and migrants to an underground parking lot for the municipal police — a temporary solution until something better could be found.

“He accompanied them, and showed them where the toilets were,’’ Ms. Etcheverry recounted. “He saw that they were quiet, and that we were just young people helping other young people. But we never imagined that it would end like this, in a center financed by the municipality.”

It is a mayor’s duty, Mr. Etchegaray said.

“The state just doesn’t want to know,” he added. “But me, I’ve got to know. And this was an emergency.”

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/12/world/europe/bayonne-migrants-jean-rene-etchegaray.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Beyond ‘Queer’ Fashion – The New York Times

Propped with his style crew against the putty-tone headboard of a lumbering, half-made bed, Nay Campbell was in his element. The setting was a blandly furnished room in the once storied New Yorker Hotel on the edge of Hell’s Kitchen. An Art Deco monument that has seen better days, the hotel, with its pallid interiors and half-lit corridors, could have served as a backdrop for one of Andy Warhol’s louche, loosely rambling films.

On a recent Monday morning the hotel was the scene of a fashion shoot. Mr. Campbell’s oddly assorted elastic-limbed models, dancers and a publicist’s mother vamped in wispy negligee silks, taffeta minis and tailored gabardines that were evocative simultaneously of Russ Meyer’s big-screen bombshells and fragile Warhol waifs.

There was a pale blue chiffon housecoat, an ostrich-bordered trench and a sweet gingham frock, demure from the front but plunging at the rear toward the model’s tailbone. Each item was part of Mr. Campbell’s spring 2019 Beyond the Valley collection, a line billed on his Lordele website as “bringing a queer feminine energy to New York’s fashion scene.”

Mr. Campbell, who is in his early 20s, is among the latest in a raft of designers deliberately and insistently invoking “queer,” a onetime slur that has been repurposed several times in recent decades and is now being reclaimed by younger members of the L.G.B.T.Q. community as a badge of defiance, of wily progressivism and willful flamboyance.

“The style is all about identity and unfettered self-expression,” said Rob Smith, the founder of the Phluid Project, an outpost of gender-neutral fashion in Lower Manhattan. “At the same time it’s a political statement, a symbol of resistance against a repressive government. It’s a way of stating, ‘I’m going to push back.’”

It can also be an unabashed marketing gambit.

Working in cramped studios, poised over cutting tables on the Lower East Side, unveiling collections in sprawling Chinatown lofts, Mr. Campbell and his design-world peers are striving, sometimes nakedly, to position themselves as fashion’s next new thing. Standard bearers of gender fluidity, they conceive their work as a vibrant and often risqué corrective to the flatness pervading New York runways of late.

They aspire to inclusivity, parading their work on models of mixed race, size, gender and age, competing to position themselves as successors to pioneering gender-fluid labels, including Telfar, Hood by Air, Luar and Gypsy Sport, that have made inroads into the mainstream.

“The designers at those houses are now kings of fashion, but once they were just kids on the Bowery,” Mr. Campbell said, referring to, among others, Rio Uribe of Gypsy Sport and Shayne Oliver of Hood by Air. “They proved that this is actually a market and not just this kind of editorial niche. People like me are the second wave of that.”

Aiming to counter fashion’s dearth of invention, they offer looks that are often raw by design, an aesthetic fusion of street and athletic wear, with distinct sadomasochistic undertones and, most recently, the over-the-top femininity of curve-clutching knits, layers of lace and filmy lingerie.

Little-known or emerging designers like Mr. Campbell, Scooter LaForge (an artist who creates hand-painted one-off designs for Patricia Field), and the Dutch-born Sophie Hardeman, admired for her kinky variations on denim, rarely sell in mainstream outlets. They remain closely watched just the same, wielding an impact that only a decade ago could not have been foreseen.

In 2015, James Michael Nichols, then of HuffPost Gay Voices (since renamed Queer Voices), defined how 14 queer, trans and queer-adjacent designers were changing mainstream fashion.

He looked at Bcalla, whose designer Brad Callahan was making suggestively slashed retro-futuristic looks; Tilly deWolfe and Tom Barranca of Tilly and William, whose elasticized frocks are conceived to fit a range of shapes and sizes; and Gogo Graham, who confects shimmering slip dresses and gowns for transgender women like herself.

Mr. LaForge, who favors a raw aesthetic, has roughed up Hermès bags and mail-order kilts with painted slogans and racy motifs that echo those of his artwork. His latest pieces, including a fluorescent ball gown appliquéd with miniature toy cars, graphic tape and workman’s gloves, resist mass production.

“I call it anti-fashion,” he said. “It’s not perfect.”

That unfinished look is a hallmark of a lot of queer collections, some pieced together from incongruous elements: a tailored jacket, say, with lace lapels; a sheer frock combined with bearlike fake fur slippers. Others are cobbled from castoff jerseys, salvaged silks and oddments of lace or organdy trim.

Ms. Hardeman strives for a relatable pastiche built on a kind of cut-and-paste technique. She tends to rework street-style staples: work wear with biker regalia, lacy undies with fatigues. She fashions her “prom jeans” from a mix of stiff denim and cascading panels of silk.

Once primarily a blend of street wear and club gear overlaid with B.D.S.M. fantasies, the queer aesthetic, if indeed there is one, is clearly showing a gentler side.

For too long, “masculine-leaning presentation” was “the single gold star standard of queer style,” Anita Dolce Vita, the founder and editor of dapperQ, a queer style magazine, argued in Them, Condé Nast’s L.G.B.T.Q.-oriented website. Now, she said, labels like Chromat and its queer-friendly kin “are reclaiming femininity from its second-class status.”

Claire Fleury whips up her collections from limited-run fabrics and rolls of trim to produce a mash-up of sports-influenced pieces and peignoir-ish cover-ups that are revisionist interpretations of conventional femininity. Ms. Fleury, who showed a pop-up collection at Phluid Project last month, is especially partial to extravagant womanly flourishes.

“If you say queer fashion, I see people dancing and wearing gorgeous unicorn colors, feathers and boas,” Ms. Fleury said. Her tartly sexy looks, like a varsity jacket slashed to ribbons and an airy frock with outsize holes and wafty boudoir sheers, are “just another way of being dressed and undressed at the same time,” she said.

The collection sold at Phluid Project betrayed the influence of gender-neutral runway influencers like Gucci and, more recently, Palomo Spain, both of which have made waves on occasion by showing shrilly colorful cocktail looks on men.

“I would like to see anybody wearing my clothes, and I do mean anybody,” Ms. Fleury said. “I don’t care if you’re a man or woman, black or white, 2 or 92, size 4 or 20.”

That sort of pitch for radical inclusiveness has resonated with fashion industry leaders and, not less, with younger consumers. Last year the Council of Fashion Designers of America added unisex and nonbinary as a category to be included in the New York Fashion Week calendar.

Back in 2016, market research showed changes in points of view on gender among Gen Z consumers, some 38 percent of whom said they “strongly agree” that “gender doesn’t define a person as much as it used to.”

That figure will be encouraging to the self-professed outliers who have embraced the word “queer” as a proclamation of empowerment and, perhaps less transparently, as a marketing tool to lend their work cachet.

Not news to Ms. Hardeman. Reappropriating the word “is an effort at branding,” she said. “I don’t use it myself. It excludes a lot of people living in gray areas. Maybe you are just a man who likes to wear skirts.”

Hard edge or fragile, queer-branded fashion remains a tough sell. Mr. LaForge said he found no takers for his one-off designs at Bergdorf Goodman, where they were briefly showcased. He now sells primarily through Patricia Field and to private clients.

Ms. Fleury’s customers frequently puzzle over just how to wear her designs, which she sells mostly to artists, dancers and other performers.

“I make the clothes,” she likes to tell them. “You figure out what to do with them.”

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/13/style/queer-nonbinary-fashion.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

How to Help Teens Weather Their Emotional Storms

While this process is underway, young people are put in a rather delicate position. Though they tend to be highly rational when calm, if they become upset, their new, high-octane emotional structures can overpower their yet-to-be upgraded reasoning capacities, crashing the entire system until it has a chance to reset.

I have enthusiastically recommended glitter jars to several parents and colleagues knowing that some teenagers will instantly benefit from having a concrete model of emotional distress. That said, I have come to appreciate that a glitter jar’s main utility is in the instructions it provides to those who are caring for the overwrought: Be patient and communicate your confidence that emotions almost always rise, swirl and settle all by themselves.

Not long after I returned from Texas, I ran into a visibly upset sophomore in the lunchroom of the school where I consult each week. She looked stricken, and her eyes were red from crying.

Urgently she asked, “Are you free?”

“Yes,” I replied, turning her toward my office.

Once there, she buried her hands in her face and broke into heaving sobs. Soon, she slowed her breathing and looked at me, even as tears continued to stream down her face. In the past, I would have taken that opening to quiz her about what had gone wrong. In retrospect, I now see this as the verbal equivalent of further shaking the mental glitter jar. Instead, I asked if she wanted a glass of water, or some time alone to let her painful feelings die down. She declined both offers, so we just sat there quietly.

Not a minute had passed before she relaxed completely. Then she volunteered that she had done poorly on a test that morning and had fallen down a rabbit hole of worries about what a bad grade might mean for her future. Now, with her glitter nearly settled and her mind more clear, she regained perspective on the situation. Within moments she decided that the low grade probably wasn’t such a big deal, and if it was, she’d figure out how to make up for it in other ways.

This is not to say that letting glitter settle is the solution to all teenage problems. But I have found it to be a better first response than any other. Every time I stop myself from trying to figure out what made a teenager upset, and focus instead on her right to just be upset, I find that doing so either solves the problem or helps clear the path to dealing with it.

It’s critical to recognize that when we react to psychological distress as though it’s a fire that needs to be put out, we frighten our teenagers and usually make matters worse. Reacting instead with the understanding that emotions usually have their own life cycle — coming as waves that surge and fall — sends adolescents the reassuring message that they aren’t broken; in fact, they’re self-correcting.

So, when you next encounter a young person in full meltdown, take a deep breath and think to yourself (Dallas accent optional), “First … let’s settle your glitter.”

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/12/well/family/how-to-help-teens-weather-their-emotional-storms.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

He Preyed on Men Who Wanted to Be Priests. Then He Became a Cardinal.

Unstoppable Rise

Archbishop McCarrick’s trip to Poland was a sign of his growing prominence. His brother bishops in the United States elected him chairman of their committees on migration, international policy and aid for the church in Central and Eastern Europe. He met with Fidel Castro in 1988.

The first documented complaint about Cardinal McCarrick came at the latest by 1994, when the second priest wrote a letter to the new Bishop of Metuchen, Edward T. Hughes, saying that Archbishop McCarrick had inappropriately touched him and other seminarians in the 1980s, according to the documents.

The priest had a disturbing confession, the documents show. He told Bishop Hughes that he was coming forward because he believed the sexual and emotional abuse he endured from Archbishop McCarrick, as well as several other priests, had left him so traumatized that it triggered him to touch two 15-year-old boys inappropriately. The Metuchen diocese sent the priest to therapy, and then transferred him to another diocese. But Archbishop McCarrick’s stature remained intact; he was even given the honor of hosting John Paul II on a visit to Newark in 1995 and leading a large public Mass there for the pope.

Around 1999, Mr. Ciolek was called in by Archbishop McCarrick’s former secretary in Metuchen, Msgr. Michael J. Alliegro, who knew about the trips with seminarians, including the bed-sharing. He asked Mr. Ciolek, who had left the priesthood in 1988 to marry a woman, if he planned to sue the diocese, and then mentioned Archbishop McCarrick’s name. “And I literally laughed, and I said, no,” Mr. Ciolek said, adding that the monsignor responded with a sigh of relief.

In 2000, Pope John Paul II promoted Archbishop McCarrick to lead the Archdiocese of Washington D.C., one of the most prestigious posts in the Catholic Church in America. He was elevated to cardinal three months later.

At least one priest warned the Vatican against the appointment. The Rev. Boniface Ramsey said that when he was on the faculty at the Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University in New Jersey from 1986 to 1996, he was told by seminarians about Archbishop McCarrick’s sexual abuse at the beach house. When Archbishop McCarrick was appointed to Washington, Father Ramsey spoke by phone with the pope’s representative in the nation’s capital, Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, the papal nuncio, and at his encouragement sent a letter to the Vatican about Archbishop McCarrick’s history.

Father Ramsey, now a priest in New York City, said he never got a response.

Cardinal McCarrick’s ascent by that point seemed unstoppable, given his importance to the church. He was a prolific fund-raiser; as a founding member and president of the Papal Foundation, he rounded up deep-pocketed donors to pledge $1 million to the pope’s pet causes.

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/16/us/cardinal-mccarrick-abuse-priest.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Martin Parr: 48 Years of Photographing the Quirky and Kitschy in Manchester

Seldom do people get to see the tentative works of artistic heavyweights, those made while learning their chosen craft, especially if they were born in the pre-social media era. We fear that these early experiments will be crude, naïve, immature or unrepresentative, and that they will shatter the image we’ve conjured of the mastermind behind them.

Yet that’s for the better. It reminds us that renowned artists have journeyed to be where they now are, that their work is the sum of unique experiences.

This, at least, is how Martin Parr views the photographs he made in the 1970s as a student at Manchester Polytechnic (now Manchester Metropolitan University) and, after three years of training, as a recent graduate. He looks back at them “with affection,” he said. “It helps me remember the times and places I lived through.” However, because he’s become so well-known, they are more than images from a curious 20-year-old. Displayed in “Martin Parr: Return to Manchester” at the Manchester Art Gallery, these early projects, mostly in black and white, speak to both the transformation of the northern English city and the evolution of the photographer who took them.

“Sometimes an old photograph, an old friend, an old letter will remind you that you are not who you once were, for the person who dwelt among them, valued this, chose that, wrote thus, no longer exists,” Rebecca Solnit wrote in “A Field Guide to Getting Lost,” an ode to uncertainty. “Without noticing that you have traversed a great distance, the strange has become familiar and the familiar if not strange, at least awkward or uncomfortable.”

The series Mr. Parr made in Prestwich Mental Hospital in 1972 relates since it stands as an outlier, even though he saw it as the moment when his photography “really took off.” The images of the patients, both playful and perturbed, are endearing thanks to the rapport he established with them to better understand those often shunted to the margins.

He could have become a humanist photographer, dedicated to social justice. Instead, as we now know, he has been consumed with the absurdities of British life. There are inklings of what would become his signature, like the image of Miss Prestwich 1971 and 1972, both wearing a garland necklace and Christmas ornaments for earrings, and compositions that are as much about the people as they are about the décor.

His fascination for the quirky and kitschy is clear in other works from the same time. In “June Street,” in which he collaborated with his classmate Daniel Meadows, he made portraits of families living along the road that resembled the one from the British sitcom “Coronation Street.” Taken in each household’s front room, with their patterned walls and carpets, ceramic fireplaces and assortment of pictures and knickknacks, they are relics of a bygone style.

Along those same lines, “Love Cube” and “Bopper Girls” lightheartedly examine how clothing expresses identity. The former was conceived as a game: Nine couples were photographed, apart and together, with the goal being to match each individual to their partner relying on cues from their attire. Frankly, it is more challenging than expected. The man in a three-piece suit with long bushy sideburns is dating the woman with polka dot bell-bottoms. The demure lady in a pristine white coat is going steady with a chap with long hair and a leather jacket. Apparently, the key, Mr. Parr reveals, is to look at how wet the pavement is in the photos. The rain was letting up as he was shooting.

Did he feel free to explore a range of subjects and genres as a student? “All these ideas just came to me; it was just intuitive,” he said. This attitude is perhaps why, although they were made almost 50 years ago, most of the images feel consistent with what Mr. Parr is known for, profound social commentary hidden behind ebullient scenes.

Over the years, he’s gone back to his old home to report on the changes. It started in 1986, when the Documentary Photography Archive asked him to look at consumer culture in nearby Salford, where supermarkets and shopping centers went head-to-head with mom-and-pop stores. The color images are quintessential Parr: where hues, gestures and expressions collide to highlight the farcical. He returned in 2008 and 2018, ahead of the current exhibition, both times focusing on expressions of the city’s economic shifts.

As a whole, his work traces an industrial town’s transformation into a 21st-century hub. An early set, made in 1982-83, documents social rituals at an all-day pub: men in suits reading the paper, a jolly senior woman raising her skirt, a younger one playing a song on the jukebox. The pub still exists, but it doesn’t appear in any subsequent series. “They are a mere shadow of their previous selves,” Mr. Parr said.

Speaking about the value of documentary photography given the ephemeral nature of the mundane, he said, “I’ve always believed in this concept, but probably more so as I have got older.” Here’s where Ms. Solnit’s reflections again ring true, albeit in a different direction. Toward the end of the book, she mused: “Some ideas are new, but most are only the recognition of what has been there all along.” Looking back at Mr. Parr’s early work reveals just how much has been there all along, how he’s always been dedicated to making us contemplate the strange in what we assume is ordinary.

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/13/lens/martin-parr-manchester-photo.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Ancient European Stone Monuments Said to Originate in Northwest France

Thousands of years ago, megaliths began to appear in Europe — standing stones, dolmens, stone circles. They vary from single stones to complexes like Stonehenge.

There are about 35,000 such monuments in Europe, many along the Atlantic coast of France and Spain, in England, Ireland, Scandinavia and throughout the Mediterranean. They attract both tourists and archaeologists, who have spent a century debating how the knowledge to build such monuments spread.

One idea suggested that this cultural change came from the Near East, and spread west along coastal routes, perhaps by a priestly caste. Later theories suggested techniques may have developed independently in different locales.

But a scientist who analyzed 2,410 radiocarbon dates of megaliths and their surroundings reported on Monday that the first such tombs appeared in France, about 6,500 years ago, and then spread along the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, as well as to England, Ireland and Scandinavia.

“It took me 10 years of my life for this research,” said the scientist, Bettina Schulz Paulsson, a prehistoric archaeologist at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. She combed the literature in 11 languages, assessed the validity of the dating tests, and used a statistical method called Bayesian analysis to narrow the dates further.

She reported her findings in the journal PNAS, concluding that the building of megalithic graves appeared and spread along the coast of France, Spain and Portugal and the Mediterranean within a period of 200 to 300 years.

Kristian Kristiansen, also at Gothenburg University but not involved in Dr. Schulz Paulsson’s study, said the research was “a real breakthrough,” providing for the first time both the origin and the evidence for a coastal, maritime spread of the technology. That, in itself is significant because it suggests that people of the time had boats and skill to travel along the coasts and quickly spread the megalithic method.

Dr. Schulz Paulsson found that the oldest megalithic graves dated from about 4800 to 4000 B.C. in northwest France and other areas like the Channel Islands, Corsica and Sardinia. But northwest France is the only one of these areas that showed evidence of earthen grave monuments that preceded the first megaliths, dating back to around 5000 B.C. These graves, in the geological area known as the Paris basin, indicate the beginnings of monument building that are lacking in the other areas.

Dr. Schulz Paulsson said that the earliest standing stones in Brittany were some of the largest. An early stone called the Grand Menhir, once rose more than 20 meters high.

Some of the early monuments were dolmens, tablelike structures that look like the Greek letter Pi. Around 4300 B.C., she wrote, the builders made dolmens that could be re-opened, for additional burials. The earliest is in Prisse-la-Charriere in central western France, constructed between 4371 and 4263 B.C.

There were also subsequent waves of megalith construction, she said. One between 3500 and 4000 B.C. involved passage graves, which have a corridor and allow for multiple burials.

She also found a “megalithic revival” in Sicily, Apulia and the Balearic Islands, which include Mallorca and Ibiza, in the second millennium (2000 to 1000 B.C.).

Some of the more famous and elaborate megaliths, like Stonehenge, came near the end of the construction of megalithic monuments, around 2500 B.C.

Dr. Kristiansen said that “an added bonus” of the work is that, “This matches the most recent genetic evidence we have. Recent ancient DNA results show that people in Ireland and England came from Iberia.”

He said the construction of the megaliths, particularly the passage tombs, was quite complex. He said researchers had even found tombs that seemed to bear a signature design in Denmark and in northern Germany.

He said there were some missing dates for Near Eastern megaliths that could possibly complicate the picture, but that he found the evidence Dr. Schulz Paulsson marshaled clear and persuasive. “This is definite. It is a maritime diffusion.”

Dr. Schulz Paulsson said that future research will focus on the trading of greenstone along the route she traced for the expansion of the tomb technology. Greenstone trading is known to have occurred in the Stone Age, but she thinks the maritime trading along that route was more advanced than previously thought, and maritime technology more sophisticated, too.

She also hopes to do carbon-dating and more field work. Over the past decade, she said, she had dragged her family with her on research trips.

Of course, she acknowledged, much of that travel was along the Atlantic coast of France and to the various Mediterranean coastal sites.

“It’s not the worst,” she said.

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/11/science/megaliths-archaeology-tombs.html?partner=rss&emc=rss