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Book Review: ‘White House by the Sea’ tells storied Kennedy tale through family’s compound

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“White House By the Sea: A Century of the Kennedys at Hyannis Port” by Kate Storey (Scribner)

The history of the Kennedy family is so well-chronicled — from the modern Camelot legend surrounding John F. Kennedy’s presidency to the series of tragedies that marked the family throughout the 20tb century — that it’s hard to imagine new ways to tell their story.

But Kate Storey does just that in “White House By the Sea: A Century of the Kennedys at Hyannis Port” — revisiting the family’s history through their time at the famed Kennedy compound on Cape Cod.

Storey, the senior features editor at Rolling Stone magazine, weaves a fascinating narrative about the Kennedy family using Hyannis Port as the backdrop. The book traces the family’s ties to the compound back to the 1920s, when Joseph Kennedy bought Malcolm Cottage, what became known as the Big House.

Many of the stories feel so familiar, from Joseph Kennedy Jr.’s death during World War II to John F. Kennedy Jr.’s fatal plane crash in 1999. The compound was also the setting for much happier occasions, including John F. Kennedy’s presidential acceptance speech and the wedding of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver.

Storey gives them a fresh look with new details and well-sourced reporting that opens up a traditionally private community — “what’s left of Camelot,” she writes.

Storey’s research gives the book a more intimate feel than many other histories of the Kennedy family, introducing figures that aren’t as well-known but played a key role in the family and its compound. Fittingly, it’s written in an accessible way that makes the book a welcome beach read.


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Book Review: Explosive debut novel ‘Fireworks Every Night’ is a bittersweet celebration of survival

“Fireworks Every Night” by Beth Raymer (Random House)

C.C.’s isn’t your typical rags-to-riches story. She remembers growing up in a single-wide with her older sister, stay-at-home mom and car-salesman dad. But she also remembers when they moved to Florida after everything in the car lot burned down — including their home — launching them into a comfortable middle-class life and a fresh start in a state her dad proudly brags has fireworks every night.

“Fireworks Every Night” is Beth Raymer’s debut novel, but not her first book. Following her 2010 memoir “Lay the Favorite,” she borrows from her life to create a deeply personal story of a dysfunctional family.

Having grown up in West Palm Beach, Raymer puts her local knowledge to use as her protagonist — a resident of Loxahatchee, Florida — rattles off the schools she plays basketball against, and how worn down or rich they are. She’s familiar with the Baker Act and who’s been institutionalized through its use. She knows all the neighborhoods and has eaten at Benny’s on the Beach.

If the gorgeous cover designed by Elizabeth A. D. Eno isn’t enough to draw you in, let the heartbreakingly determined main character and the promise of an earnest look at the skeletons in her closet convince you.

In adulthood, C.C. is engaged to a well-educated and absurdly wealthy man — a far cry from the childhood in which she learns what it means to fight for survival. Hopping between the two timelines in stark juxtaposition, the full picture of C.C.’s life emerges.

As kid-C.C.’s home life comes completely unraveled, the story morphs from tragicomedy to horror, revealing how her family fell apart and left her sister struggling with addiction, her mother chronically absent and her father homeless. All the while, adult-C.C. is juggling a host of modern stresses: the viability of having children, climate change, living in a world that makes it far too easy to compare yourself with the 8 billion others who inhabit it, and reconciling your self-worth with the balance in your bank account.

Raymer launches addiction, homelessness, neglect and poverty shamelessly into the lexicon, treating C.C. and her family with nothing less than respect.

A nature motif runs throughout the story, blurring the line between animal and human and calling into question what is “natural” in a world so unnaturally shaped by people. Animals play a quiet but pivotal role throughout “Fireworks Every Night,” shaping Raymer’s engrossing novel into a bittersweet celebration of the scrappy Americans who are finding a way to survive even as the elite push humans and animals alike out of their habitats.

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Fox News unveils primetime lineup with Jesse Watters in Tucker Carlson’s former time slot

Jesse Watters will fill the Fox News Channel time slot left vacant by the firing of Tucker Carlson, part of a dramatic revamp of the network’s evening lineup announced on Monday.

Greg Gutfeld’s late-night show that combines news and comedy will move up an hour to start at 10 p.m. Eastern, displacing Laura Ingraham. She’ll shift to 7 p.m., the hour that Watters has occupied. Sean Hannity will stay in his 9 p.m. time slot, Fox said. The new lineup debuts on July 17.

The announcement comes roughly two months after Fox News fired Carlson shortly after settling a defamation lawsuit with the voting machine maker Dominion Voting Systems on the eve of trial. The case, which centered on the network’s airing of false claims following the 2020 presidential election, exposed a trove of private messages sent between Fox hosts, including Hannity and Carlson, in which they criticized peers at the network.

Carlson has since begun doing occasional monologues for Twitter, although Fox is attempting to get him to stop the broadcasts.

Fox has seen its ratings tumble since Carlson exited. Carlson averaged 3.25 million viewers at 8 p.m. in the first three months of the year, and the string of guest hosts who replaced him the past two months usually reached under 2 million, making the network’s command more tenuous.

The lineup change signals that Fox is doubling down on its opinionated evening programming strategy, with three sharp-tongued men filling the prime-time hours. It’s something of a triumphant return for Watters, who got his start at the 8 p.m. hour, doing man-in-the-street interviews and other features for Bill O’Reilly before O’Reilly’s firing in 2017.

It also means double duty for Gutfeld and Watters, who are both panelists on “The Five” and will continue there. The late-afternoon political talk show has become Fox’s most popular program.

Keeping that show’s chemistry intact appeared to be a priority for Fox. Gutfeld said in a Wall Street Journal interview last week that he would no longer appear on “The Five” or do his late-night show if he were to get Carlson’s old time slot.

Trace Gallagher, who has worked at Fox since the network began in 1996, will host a news show at 11 p.m., filling the hour that Gutfeld is leaving vacant.

“The unique perspectives of Laura Ingraham, Jesse Watters, Sean Hannity, and Greg Gutfeld will ensure our viewers have access to unrivaled coverage from our best-in-class team for years to come,” Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott said in a statement.

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Patricia Field, ‘Sex and the City’ designer on Carrie’s iconic looks, a must-have fashion item

NEW YORK — Costume designer Patricia Field has never liked fashion rules.

The woman who famously combined a tutu with spiky heels on Sarah Jessica Parker in “Sex and the City,” and made a plaid bucket hat cool on Lily Collins in “Emily in Paris” has a way of making high fashion feel accessible to the masses. She explains how she does it in the new documentary, “Happy Clothes: A Film About Patricia Field,” which recently premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.

The film is directed by Michael Selditch, who also directed the CNN docu-series ”American Style” in 2019. While interviewing Field for that series, he found a bold character with a unique, unconventional style of mixing color and patterns and designer looks with street wear. While at first Field resisted the idea of a documentary crew following her around, she finally relented and says she’s pleased with the result.

The Emmy-winning Field, 81, was behind the inventive outfits on “Ugly Betty” and is known for styling films as well, including “The Devil Wears Prada,” which earned her an Oscar nod. The Associated Press sat down with Field and Selditch recently to talk about her process, that tutu, and which item everyone should have in their closet.

Answers have been shortened for brevity and clarity.


AP: How did you get Pat to agree to this documentary?

SELDITCH: I said to her, “You know, anybody can make a documentary on you. We can always find people to sit down and talk about working with you and say wonderful things and throw in archival footage. But that’s not exactly the documentary I want to make. I want to watch your process. I want to see you shop. I want to see you working with actors. I want to really make it verite and watch you work and get inside your head and be a fly on the wall.” And I said, “If we don’t do it now, when are you going to do it?”

AP: What is a typical costume fitting like for you?

FIELD: There’s a person and then there’s a character. But behind that character is the person, and it’s really important that they feel good because that is, in my mind, my responsibility. It’s not about dictating to actors what’s good and what’s not good. It’s about giving them choices and, of course, getting to know them. Once you get to know them, it becomes a little bit more automatic. Like Sarah Jessica Parker, I know her. I worked with her before. I know her taste. It’s about the relationship and making sure that the actor in front of that camera is comfortable, positive and ready to go.

AP: Your costumes on “Sex and The City” helped make designer brands feel more attainable by mixing high fashion accessories with basic off-the-rack clothes. Was that intentional?

FIELD: Let’s talk about mixing high and low. I think that you can’t just wear high or you can’t just wear low. People say, “orange and red don’t go together.” Well, they go together in a fruit bowl! (smiles) It’s nature. And what’s wrong with it? So I go by this little philosophy of mine and I tend to not get distracted by mores or rules or whatever comes across. It’s just my expression and if I feel good about it and the actor does, then it’s fine.

AP: The white tutu and gold “Carrie’” necklace have become iconic items. Do you know when you’re putting something like that on an actor that it’s going to hit?

FIELD: I don’t always have that same formula of knowing beforehand what it’s going to be. But I have my taste. It’s not haphazard for me, and I guess it’s my formula and I guess it works for me. It’s very important. Dressing someone, man or woman, it’s a two way street. They’re in the clothes, they need to be happy. I offer the clothes, I have to be satisfied. It’s always best to establish a positive relationship and when the actor trusts you, you’re home free.

SELDITCH: One of the things I really love and admire about Pat is that she goes with her gut in her work and in her life. And I think that what you’re looking at there, like the tutu, it’s just in her gut, it felt right to her. Other people might be like, “Why?” But to her it felt right. And it turned out to be. And her gut isn’t ordinary or obvious. It’s fun and crazy and exciting. And that’s one of the things that people respond to in Pat’s work.

FIELD: I think the tutu industry will thank me. (laughs) I can’t stop seeing tutus! Years go by and there’s always tutus on the rack. I saw this (skirt) in the showroom, and I pulled it out of a basket on the floor and I immediately thought of Sarah Jessica because she’s ballet trained and she’s also fashion. She’ll understand this. She’s not going to treat this with a pair of ballet slippers. She’s going to put on a pair of spiky heels and have this little thing. And I said, “Darren (showrunner Darren Star) if it’s a hit — and I think it will be — that tutu will be classic through time.”

AP: You worked with Molly Rogers on “ SATC” and now she’s the costumer for “And Just Like That…” Do you think she’s been consistent with the style on the new show?

FIELD: I think she’s great. She has experience. I’ve worked with Molly for many years. I met her in my shop on 8th Street and I hired her and we’ve been together ever since, doing different projects. It’s a very long and loving relationship. There is definitely a consistency. But at the same time, it wouldn’t be as good if she just tried to copy me. She is creative. She has her own way of looking at it. I think they’re doing a great job. I would probably be very disappointed if they weren’t.

AP: What’s an accessory you think everyone should have?

FIELD: I like a belt because the belt defines the waist and you know, all this like loose, shapeless clothing– I don’t find it very exciting. So I’m definitely a belt girl.

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