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Luke Bryan on the Gifts He’s Sending Katy Perry’s Daughter as ‘Uncle Luke’ (Exclusive)

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a man faces death with dark humor

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Dick Johnson Is Dead

Dick Johnson Is Dead
Photo: Netflix

Kirsten Johnson’s Cameraperson was an autobiographical portrait that allowed a career to speak for itself. A collage of unused material from her years spent as a documentary cinematographer, working for directors like Laura Poitras and Michael Moore, the film cannily repurposed raw footage from over two dozen different projects to showcase Johnson’s professional methods, compositional sense, and empathetic relationships with different environments and subjects. Johnson decontextualized the individual scenes so that her professional life become the through line. Only when she occasionally incorporated footage of her children and her mother, who was deteriorating from Alzheimer’s at the time, did one get the sense of her life outside the job.

Johnson is an active presence in her new feature, Dick Johnson Is Dead, in which she films her father, the title character, in the months and years following his dementia diagnosis. To help both of them process his impending demise, Johnson stages multiple visions of his sudden accidental death. We watch as she and her father plan, rehearse, and then film scenes of him tripping down the stairs, having a sudden heart attack, or being hit by a falling air conditioner on a Manhattan sidewalk. The finished death scenes are comically abrupt while the rehearsals demonstrate Johnson’s meticulous approach to a tragedy in the making. Dick Johnson Is Dead plays like a living tribute to the man, a record of a time right before he inevitably fails to recognize his own daughter. It just happens to take the form of killing him over and over again.

Dick Johnson Is Dead doesn’t simply coast on the director’s noble intentions. It helps tremendously that Dick Johnson himself is a hall-of-fame documentary subject, whose comfort on camera will coax grins from even the most stoic audiences. A big-hearted man with an infectious smile and an even greater laugh, Dick is a go-with-the-flow guy, which makes him a perfect collaborator for his daughter. Johnson features many scenes of her father playing with his grandchildren or cracking jokes amongst friends to ensure that the audience feels as protective of Dick as she does. It renders the infrequent moments when he shows hurt or fear appropriately devastating, like when he’s told he can no longer drive his car because of his condition, or when he becomes visibly rattled during a staged-death scene involving fake blood. But his buoyant spirit and good humor regarding his decline goes a long way to keeping Dick Johnson Is Dead a generally lighthearted affair. “I give you permission to euthanize me,” he chuckles to his daughter when she asks if he wants to live past a point when he can no longer communicate. “At what point do I have permission to do that?” Johnson asks. “Wellpass it by me before you do it,” he wryly replies with a knowing smile.

Considering that the film is about Johnson’s relationship with her father, it’s understandable that she takes a more personal, hands-on role behind and in front of the camera. Still, you can too often feel her guiding hand in Dick Johnson Is Dead. Her voiceover can be unnecessarily leading, especially when she’s explicating transparent subtext that the audience can glean themselves, and a scene rarely transpires without a clear and direct emotional takeaway. Johnson’s formal choices can also be too cute by a hair. Sometimes it’s minor, like cheeky narrative transitions that take the form of skywriting. But other times, these conceptual gimmicks take over the film, as during extended sequences of her father resurrected in heaven, where he’s surrounded by chocolate and can dance with his departed wife again, or in hell, to simulate the fear he must have felt when left alone in an apartment on Halloween night. These scenes, which take the form of an over-the-top music video and a silent horror film, respectively, feel transported from a broader project altogether. It’s fun to watch Johnson’s process of filming expensive set pieces, as well as the palpable joy Dick takes in his participation, but the finished product can be a little goofy. Dick Johnson Is Dead works best when it specifically focuses on her father’s death—the various, Groundhog Day-like variations and the real one coming around the bend, or his struggles with encroaching dementia.

Though Dick Johnson Is Dead might be about the period that comes at the end of everyone’s life, Johnson is rightfully disinterested in closure. She asks some of her other subjects about their experiences with death, and she recounts her own familial relationship with it, but the film isn’t about providing answers to tough questions. Instead, it’s concerned with the urgent need to document loved ones when they’re around, and to process emotions in the moment rather than retrospectively. Johnson is acutely aware that you can lose someone long before they actually die, and Dick Johnson Is Dead frequently scans as a sincere attempt to do for her father what she failed to do with her mother. That Johnson mostly pulls this off through the lens of black comedy, without succumbing to outright miserabilism, is an achievement. May we all have the opportunity to be present at our own funerals, surrounded by loved ones, before it’s too late.

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Warsaw-Based Artist Spray-Paints A Beautiful Lace Mural On The Side Of A French Lace Museum

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Calais is a city in northern France famous for its lace-making tradition. Turns out, back in the late 19th century, many textile artists and engineers from England immigrated to Calais to escape economic and social difficulties, turning the city into an industrial hub for lace manufacturing. Back then, around 40,000 of the residents were working in the local lace factories.

The French Museum of Fashion and Lace, Cité de la Dentelle et de la Mode, was opened in a restored 19th-century factory building to honor the lace-making tradition in the city of Calais. Recently, one of the walls of the museum was graced by the hands of the Warsaw-based artist NeSpoon, who spray-painted it with an intricate lace design.

More info: Instagram | behance.net | Facebook

The museum is located in the city of Calais, which is well known for its lace-making tradition

Image credits: NeSpoon

The artist describes all her works as being “somewhere in between street art, pottery, painting, sculpture, and jewellery.” Most of NeSpoon’s works consist of prints of traditional laces made in clay or painted on walls.

It’s housed in a restored 19th-century factory building

Image credits: NeSpoon

“Why laces? Because in laces there is an aesthetic code, which is deeply embedded in every culture. In every lace we find symmetry, some kind of order and harmony, isn’t that what we all seek for instinctively?” reads the artist’s Behance profile.

Most of NeSpoon’s works consist of prints of traditional lace

Image credits: NeSpoon

“Calais in northern France is famous for its lace-making tradition. In the past, local factories employed 40,000 people in the lace-making industry,” reads the description of the project. “Today in the city exists a unique lace museum. It is housed in a recently restored 19th-century factory building. In addition to the great collection of lace, it holds 200-year-old, still working lace-making machines. Learning how to control this machine at the master level took up to 12 years. The weaving master controlled 11,000 threads at the same time.”

For this project, the artist chose a machine lace pattern designed in 1894 that she found in the museum archive

Image credits: NeSpoon

For this particular project, the artist chose to spray-paint a machine lace pattern that was designed in 1894. She happened across this pattern in one of the catalogs available in the museum archive.

Here’s a little video from the artist’s Instagram profile, capturing the process of spray-painting

“Why laces? Because in laces there is an aesthetic code, which is deeply embedded in every culture”

Image credits: NeSpoon

Here’s what people think about this intricate mural

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How to Relax Your Pelvic Floor Muscles

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If you suffer from frequent back spasms or urination or, on the flip-side, have difficulty urinating, there’s a chance you might have a tight or overactive pelvic floor. Most people are unaware that their pelvic floor is the problem, which is actually not an uncommon issue. Yet, understanding how to relax your pelvic floor muscles is essential to maintaining a healthy bladder, rectum, and reproductive organs, Diane Thomas, MD, an urogynecology specialist in California, told POPSUGAR.

The good news is, learning how to relax your pelvic floor isn’t rocket science, but it will take patience, dedication, and time.

Why do my pelvic floor muscles feel tight?

The pelvic floor is a collection of muscles and ligaments that support the organs of the lower abdomen and helps them function, and proper pelvic floor control it crucial for the bladder, bowels, rectum, uterus, vagina, and prostate. This is why a dysfunctioning pelvic floor is so important to address.

The origin behind the tightness in your pelvic floor usually falls into one of two categories: physical or psychological trauma, Alexcis Ford, MD, a board-certified ob-gyn and fellowship-trained urogynecologist in Georgia, told POPSUGAR. Recent surgery, childbirth, pain from an infection in the bladder, or even a painful sexual encounter, can all contribute to pelvic floor muscle spasm, or high-tone pelvic floor dysfunction. Furthermore, psychological trauma can prevent the pelvic floor from relaxing, too. “Just like we may develop pain from tense muscles in our neck or back when we are stressed or struggling with painful emotions, we can also develop these tight muscles in the pelvic floor,” she said.

Similarly, overactivity or lack of activity in the form of weak muscles can result in a tight pelvic floor, according to Lori Atkins, MD, a board-certified ob-gyn who specializes in pelvic surgeries and is an associate professor at Texas Christian University and University of North Texas’ School of Medicine. She added that if there is structural asymmetry or sacroiliac joint dysfunction to the lower back, this can create spasm of pelvic floor as well.

How do I relax my pelvic floor muscles?

There are several methods and routes you can take in aiding pelvic floor relaxation; however, Dr. Thomas believes having a strong team who specializes in pelvic floor disorders is crucial. This could include a urogynecologist or other pelvic floor specialist, a pelvic floor physical therapist, and a colorectal surgeon, she explained. Oral medications, suppositories, topical creams, and ointments are all potential options for localizing pain management. In more serious cases, trigger point injections or surgical options can be discussed with your provider.

Non-pharmaceutical options such as breathing techniques, internal pelvic floor massage, and biofeedback can help with relaxing the muscles, and managing stress can also be a strong component. “Pelvic floor muscle spasms are highly treatable and taking care of our mental health is vital to having a healthy pelvic floor,” said Dr. Ford. She suggests seeking out close friends, family, and support groups for assistance.

Lastly, at-home exercises that specifically target the spasming muscle can help relieve pain, Dr. Atkins told POPSUGAR. “If you can gain voluntary control of the muscle, you should be able to create voluntary relaxation. Stimulating a muscle contraction is one way to fatigue the muscle so that it may relax,” she explained. A pilates ball and yoga positions such as warrior, triangle, double pigeon, and frog can help. Dr. Atkins stresses that stimulating proper contraction is important in order to gain length and flexibility so, before creating your own regimen, it’s important to speak to a specialized pelvic floor physical therapist to avoid any further injuries.

Why is relaxing my pelvic floor muscles important?

Relaxation of the pelvic floor is essential for routine bodily functions as well as having comfortable penetrative intercourse. If left untreated, pain can increase and spread to other areas like the back or legs and overtime, disrupt simple everyday activities like walking, sitting, or standing, said Dr. Thomas.

If you’re experiencing pain in or around your pelvic floor, Dr. Ford highly recommends scheduling an exam with a urogynecologist as soon as possible to avoid any future possible ramifications.

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