Category Archives: Most Entertaining

Professor James Franco

How’d you like to see this handsome face behind the podium at the front of your classroom?

If you’re a film student at University of Southern California, consider yourself lucky. James Franco, the “actor-Oscar-host-soap-star-artist-poet-novelist,” will be teaching a course, alongside his business partner Vince Jolivette, at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, as reported by the L.A. Times.

The class will be separated into eight teams, each of which will produce a short movie no longer than 10 minutes, all of which will be combined into a longer film. The class, which an email from USC calls “The Labyrinth,” is meant to produce films that explore “the unknown, the unexplained and the unimaginable.”

“There may be one hiccup in Franco’s teaching schedule, however: His next film, ‘Oz: The Great and Powerful,’ is set to hit theaters in March. That means he’ll likely be busy promoting his role as the Wizard for at least a couple of weeks during the spring,” reports the L.A. Times.

We’re sure his students will understand.

MUST READ: Stephen King’s The Shining

Sometimes the scariest and craziest thoughts can lead to such an adventure in the world of a novel. The Shining, by Stephen King, is no different. It’s about a struggle between right and wrong, between reality and fantasy, and between ourselves and those we love. This horror story will take you somewhere you’ll never forget and leave you wondering what kind of demons may be lurking under the surface of yourself and those around you.

Author: Stephen King
Genre: Horror
Plot Summary: The novel follows Jack Torrance, his wife Wendy and their son Danny as they travel to the Overlook Hotel for the winter. Jack is a recovering alcoholic with a vicious temper, Wendy has considered divorce, and Danny “shines”, allowing him to read other people very quickly. The Overlook has a history of death and destruction and the family remains alone at the hotel for the entire winter as the weather bears no visitors and no mercy. The Shining shows what happens when three very different people in one family, are left alone for months and how silence can really be deafening.
Why you should read it: This horror novel is packed with twists, turns, gore and things that are just unexplainable. It takes you to the core of Jack Torrance’s soul and his struggle to decide between good and evil. You won’t be disappointed by the images conveyed, the depth of the characters or the insanity that is sure to come at the Overlook Hotel.
Publisher: Gallery Books
Length: 528 pp.

Buy this book on Amazon.

A Love Letter for Beth Kephart

Dear Beth Kephart,Cover of Beth Kephart's young adult novel Small Damages

It was a week ago that I wrote on my Facebook that I picked up your newest book, Small Damages, from my mother, to whose apartment it was mistakenly delivered. That night, I started reading it. And slowly, all week, I’ve savored your words. Your words that float on the tongue, light and tasty as mascarpone cheese laced with lemon curd.

Kenzie’s dilemma is one that most young women are terrified of. It is my greatest fear; that I’ll find myself “in the family way” before I’m ready, before others think I’m ready. And I know that if it ever happened, my mother would try to make my choices for me. Of course, she wouldn’t offer me the option of traveling to Spain. That one is particular to Kenzie’s situation.

So from page one, Kenzie had my empathy. And you, Beth, did beautiful things with it. I saw what she saw, heard what she heard, felt what she felt. You took me to Spain. Tossed me into that beautiful place, and while I knew it was horrible that Kenzie’s mother sent her there, sort of against her will, I felt like she was incredibly fortunate in this “mistake.”

And for all 288 pages, I followed this young girl, whose narration flows in the most beautiful, most poetic of ways but who talks like a normal teenager, and I loved her. I wanted to hug her, tell her it would be okay. I wanted much for this heroine. You had me going, Beth, you tricky angel. But in the end, I was satisfied, like I’d eaten a plateful of paella until I was just starting to feel full.

There’s a sense of accomplishment that washes over you when a thick stack of neat, beautiful book pages stands resolutely between your fingers and you know that you’ve read those words, seen them with your eyes, felt them tremble on your lips, tipping in, sinking in. I’m not sure that feeling is ever stronger than when I held Small Damages, the back cover closed behind the last word, and realized that I’d just come back from Spain, back from a beautiful, lyrical world that I am anxious to dive back into.

You’ve done it again, you beautiful storyteller, you crafty word-stringer. I can’t wait for the next book.

Love, Rosella

Buy Small Damages, Beth Kephart’s latest young adult novel, at Amazon. (And please, please, buy the hardback version. It’s gorgeously designed and so much more delightful than reading on a screen.)

MUST READ: The Nature of Jade

As we grow into adulthood, as we face the “real-world,” as we struggle to find our identity, we all secretly hope it is an easy quest. Who wants to face so many trials and tribulations on their way to discovering who they really are and what they really want? For some of us, it happens in an instant, for others it takes a lifetime. The story of Jade DeLuna is one of struggle, a fight for self-esteem and a discovery of the self in a very unlikely place. – Ashley Andrucyk

Author: Deb Caletti
Genre: Fiction
Plot Summary: Jade struggles through high school, friends and family trouble all while trying to figure out who and what triggers her anxiety attacks. You see, like any other young adult, Jade just wants to be normal but she has yet to master the feeling of suffocation that strikes at inconvenient times. But when Jade begins volunteering at the zoo, working with elephants, she never expects to fall in love with them or to find herself. Nor does she expect to meet the boy with the baby, Sebastian, the boy with a secret that makes her question right from wrong.
Why you should read it: Jade DeLuna has characteristics that we can not only relate to but that we can all see in ourselves. She struggles to find hope in a dismal situation and yearns for an understanding of situations as yet beyond her grasp. The Nature of Jade sheds a light of hope on the journey to womanhood and the climb we must make to reach our identity.
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Length: 288 pp.

Buy the paperback on Amazon.

Write for Us! We Pay in Kisses and Clips

Hey there, writers!

M.L.T.S. Magazine is looking for talented journalists to commit to contributing weekly or biweekly columns to be published on the magazine’s blog. Writers will also be able to write for the quarterly magazine.

In case you’re just discovering us, M.L.T.S. is daily blog and quarterly magazine that publishes lifestyle, education and career topics for young women who are ambitious and actively pursuing their goals.

Weekly columns fall under one of the following categories: Most Informed (news), Most Stylish, Most Beautiful, Most Loved, Most Entertaining (movies, TV, music, books) and Most Valuable (education & careers).

Previous and current columns include Full Body Detail (covered health and wellness), My Busiest Year (about the writer juggling all her commitments) and My Pleasure (about sex and relationships).

As I’m both a broke journalism student and the sole force behind M.L.T.S., I can’t pay my writers yet. The perks of the job include:

  • Clips to bolster your portfolio
  • Occasional freebies
  • In-roads to people you might not otherwise meet
  • My undying gratitude and respect

To apply, please send your column idea, along with a resume and at least one writing sample. I’m accepting applications at mlts.magazine@gmail.com.

Then again, if you’re just looking to contribute once or twice and can’t commit to a whole column, you can contribute to the following columns:

  • Confessions: Have something you need to get off your chest? Write it up (anywhere between 300 – 700 words works for us) and send it to us. It can be about anything and you can write it anonymously. Our chief concern with installments for this column? Brutal honesty and evocative, exciting prose. Submit a full piece or a pitch and a writing sample to us via email.
  • Love Lessons: Each of these short essays (100 – 250 words) focuses on a single thing that can make or break a relationship. Examples: “Vulnerability is Key” and “Shared Interests Aren’t Everything.” Focus on clarity and being concise. If interested in sharing a Love Lesson, please include the full text in your email.

We’ll be launching these multi-authored columns within the next week and will probably come up with a few others. If you have submissions for either, email them to us at mlts.magazine@gmail.com. Be sure to include the name of the column you’re hoping to contribute to in the subject line of your email. Thanks, lovelies!

The Lives of Women in the Days of Mad Men

With the Republicans’ war on women, the struggles of the women on Mad Men seem particularly relevant. Just in case that doesn’t explain the hype, our Managing Editor, Bianca Crespo, explains the fascination.

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The year is 1965. The clinking of ice cubes mingles with a commercial laugh. A match is lit. Smoke slithers through moist red lips. Papers are shuffled. Pens are clicked. Ties are tightened. Heels clack against the white linoleum floor. Joan Harris, a voluptuous young woman with ginger hair, turns the corner. The ruby bow of her clinched-in dress flops over her hourglass figure, accentuating her bulging hips and tiny waist.  She sashays through the cold, professional cubicles, each secretary watching her every move.

Peggy Olsen slips out of her office door, Heinz’s potential ad poster tucked beneath her thin ivory arm. She wears a slimming black number, a thick white line splitting the attire in half. The ladies greet and pass a door marked DON DRAPER. It opens to reveal a man in a grey suit adorned by a pocket square. A cigarette sits casually between his fingers. The smoke rises above his slicked-back ebony hair. He smiles at the secretary opposite him. She appears unamused.

In the early days of AMC’s Mad Men, we were introduced to Sterling Cooper, the booming advertising agency located on Madison Avenue. The ladies’ powder room was ubiquitously dubbed The Crying Room. It housed the tears of many fragile secretaries who could no longer take the cruelty of the merciless, chimney womanizers known as Mad Men.

The secretaries have always been fair game for any businessman in the office, despite the light tap tap of a wedding ring against a martini glass. However, as the fifth season of Mad Men kicked off last Sunday, it is without a doubt that a notable change in gender roles is slowly, but surely beginning to emerge from the mid-60s. Peggy Olsen, secretary turned copywriter, has become more confident in her position at the agency, especially during presentations. Her actions are less restrained, more fluid and vigorous. She even carelessly popped in a stick of gum as she discussed Draper’s birthday with his secretary, Megan. Women are expressing their emotions more openly in the workplace. Even more so, they are expressing those feelings amongst themselves.

The Crying Room has vanished. Why? These women are rising, transforming with the evolution of the decade, just as these Mad Men are still pursuing the balance of their scandalous double lives. This is one of the reasons why many are mad about the show: the growth of gender through professional, emotional, physical, and mental means. Women especially love to see the progress that their mothers and grandmothers made in the mist of the 1960s.

A scene in this season’s premiere embodies that mentality: Joan Harris, the head of secretarial affairs, is nursing her child at home while her nanny scrutinizes her priorities. Joan wants to return to work, but the nanny disagrees with her intention, using Joan’s husband (who is working in the medical unit in Vietnam) as her poison: “He’s not going to allow you to work.” Joan stands back and bursts, “ALLOW me?” The feministic aspect of this scene is a stark contrast to the shifty eyes of Roger Sterling at the agency now entitled, quite shortly, Sterling Cooper Draper Price.

 “Why don’t you find a fancy hat or mask?” he asks his secretary. “In case someone important comes in.” The secretary smiles coldly, but continues to go about her business. In comparison to the first season, it is rare to find a woman being insulted so blatantly, on many occasions.

Women have found new means of professional and personal achievement. Just as season five commenced, we witnessed a mob of protestors marching on the street below the office, blasting slogans that dripped with aims for civil rights. A water bomb was tossed onto the crowd by a couple of young businessmen. Cries erupted as the men chuckled at their prank.

As the end of the premiere loomed closer, a group of young, eager African-American women entered the glass doors of Sterling Cooper Draper Price, resumes held in their shaking fingers. One by one they handed their documents to the partners of the agency, exiting the lobby in glee. This scene embraces that fascinating ascent of women in the 1960s. Roger Sterling hits the nail on the head with his acknowledgment of this sudden boom from his womanizing point-of-view: “They’re all great girls. At least, until they want something.” 

Straighting: An Excerpt

In our third issue, we shared the following excerpt from the upcoming memoir, Straightling. I had the honor of reading it before the masses got the chance. To those of you who have yet to read it, I say this: Prepare yourself. On page one, a young Etler takes your hand and she doesn’t let go. You won’t be able to put Straightling down and you sure as hell won’t root this hard for anyone ever again.

Here’s the excerpt:

The UFO light over the backseat is on. Everyone but me is deep into writing something. God only knows what they could have to say, after being locked in a cage for the world’s longest Wednesday. But they’re all into it.

I look out the window as we approach, then slip under, the highway-green signs. Then we pass a blue one that says, “Thank you for visiting Virginia!” Without knowing it, I’m talking.

“Where’re we going?”

Sandy’s moon face rises from her legal pad.

“To my house, your new host-home. In Maryland.”

Her mom’s looking at me, but she doesn’t say anything. Neither do I.

After a while, Sandy’s pen makes that quick shrrrrip noise, a dug-in line saying The End! to her writing. She slaps her pad to the floor and turns to face me. This girl would never make it in the smoking pit. She belongs in, like, the math club.

“Cyndy, meet my parents. Dad—” he lifts his fingers off the steering wheel and twinkles them at me—“and Mom.”

“Hi, Cyndy,” she says with a watery smile.

“You can call them ‘Dad C.’ and ‘Mom C.’ So. Tell me about your first day as a Straightling.”

There are no streetlights where we are now. The dome light’s still on, so I can see my reflection in the window. The right side of my lip does the best Billy Idol sneer.

“As a what?” I say to my own face.

“I’m over here, Cyndy. Behind you.”

She’s waiting for me to turn and look at her. So are her parents. And the guys have all stopped writing. I turn away from the window and look at her icky chin.

“As a Straightling. You know, ‘Here at Straight, feel great! Nine to nine, feel fine!’”

She’s singing. She’s singing this song-thing that the whole beast sang, after eating. And she’s hand-signaling, too—one arm cuts through the air on “Straight;” she flashes nine fingers, twice, for “nine to nine.” She friggin hugs herself for “feel fine.”

In three days, I’ll be sucking a Marlboro hard, and inhaling Bridgeport through my nose. But maybe I’ll keep this one from Zarzozas. I don’t think it’s their kind of song.

When she stops singing I’m supposed to say something, but I have no idea what. Then Sandy talks again.

“Why are you at Straight, Cyndy?”

“Man, I don’t know!”

I get all that out before her brother speaks.

“Druggie word!”

Sharp, he says it. I whip my head around, like, What?

And he goes, “Tell her not to look at me! Tell her no druggie words!”

Then Sandy takes over.

“You can’t look at boy phasers, Cyndy. Or other newcomer girls, either, except when they’re talking in group. But we’ll get to that later. And don’t use druggie words from your past.”

“Man, what are you talk—”

“Don’t use that word, I said!”

There’s two boys right behind me, totally listening to me get told. Fuckin, if we were in the pit right now, I’d be telling this chick what she could do with her fucking words. But here, in a Caravan, twelve hours from anywhere and sitting next to her mom? I do what I did with Jacque, before I grew balls: press into a corner, shut up, and try to hide. But Sandy’s not fooled.

“I asked you why you’re at Straight, Cyndy.”

It would be too weird to say nothing, when there’s six people listening. Plus, it seems like her next step’ll be to give me a spanking.

“I—I don’t know. My mother brought me.”

“Why did your mother bring you?”

“I don’t know!”

“Well, Straight is a drug rehab, Cyndy. Kids aren’t brought here for having tea parties and going to church. What did you do to make your mother bring you to Straight?”

“I mean, I took off. To get away from her husband.”

“Oh, I get it. You were a church-going tea-party runaway. And Saturday nights you read the Bible at an old-folks home, right?”

“No, I didn’t say—”

Sandy is laughing, and so’s her brother. And the two kids behind me. Even her mom’s cough is covering up a laugh.

“If you were brought to Straight, you’re a fuckup. Sorry Mom and Dad, but it’s true. You’re a runaway, and runaways do disgusting things in disgusting places. So let me ask you again, Cyndy. Why. Are. You. At. Straight.”

Nobody’s laughing anymore. They got quiet at fuckup. It’d be easier if they were still laughing, so it wasn’t up to me to fill this entire van.

“We’re waiting.”

“I—I really don’t know what I’m doing here!”

I had no idea I started crying. But I suddenly am.

“My mother just brought me here. And I’m not a druggie, and I only drank once. I didn’t even like it—it made me sick! I was just trying to get away….”

“So you’re admitting you overdosed on alcohol.”

“Man—I mean, I’m not! I’m not anything! And you’ll see, in a couple days! They told me three days. They’re gonna see I’m not a druggie, and I’ll be outta here.”

I’m full-on, snot-river crying now. I don’t even care what those backseat boys think. But they’re laughing at me. They all are. The parents and everybody.

“I’m not! I’m not a drug addict! Are you listening to me? I just had to get away from him! I just left!”

It’s like we’re on separate TV screens in a department store window. Me, and then all of them. It’s two different shows, and they don’t make sense next to each other. I’m begging them to understand; they’re smiling and rosy. I must be going crazy.

“Okay, Cyndy,” Sandy goes. “Welcome to Straight.”

Cyndy Drew Etler will self-publish her memoir, Straightling, about her experiences in a teen boot camp in January. For now, go to straightling.com, sign up for the newsletter and read another excerpt.