Phoebe Dynevor stars as Daphne Bridgerton and Regé-Jean Page stars as Duke Simon Basset

ENTERTAINMENT – “All The World’s A Stage” With Bridgeton By Shonda Rhimes On Netflix

I received several trusted nudges to view and review Shonda Rhimes’ new Netflix series Bridgeton. I kept hearing its comparison to such popular series as The Tudors, Downton Abbey, and Pride and Prejudice, all fun favorites of mine, as well. Being late to the parade is not what I strive for, so I got my schedule in gear to binge-watch this eight episode series.

Jacques spoke this famous phrase in Act-II, Scene-VII of the play As You Like It. “All the world’s a stage… And all the men and women merely players.” The meaning of this phrase is that this world is like a stage show, and all human beings are merely actors. Does this mean that the viewing audience of Bridgeton is actually the real actors for this over the top popular show, here and now? Perhaps so!

The story focuses around the above family Bridgeton, specifically Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) and her negotiated courtship to the Duke, Simon Basset (Regé-Jean Page).

I was immediately struck by the displayed fresh faces of talent and the diversified cast; I felt like I was viewing the approach of Hamilton without the music and the stage. The story is familiar to the fans and the stage set by the writings of Jane Austen in her wonderful stories of romance.

He (Mr. Darcy) is madly in love and she (Elizabeth Bennet) simply can’t stand him.

Bridgerton offers the underpinnings of Pride and Prejudice and who doesn’t like the complications of that age-old story. It’s the ultimate “happy ever after” tale. Pride & Prejudice established the template for an infinity of romance novels, yet no subsequent love story had ever come close to equaling the delights of the original until…entrance of center stage, Bridgerton.

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is a novel published in 1813, but it does not display typical Romantic characteristics. Rather, it may be said that its style and characteristics foreshadow the upcoming Victorian era. As Victorian novels often do, it portrays and comments on the social conventions of the period.

Regency romances are a subgenre of romance novels set during the period of the British Regency (1811–1820) or early 19th century. Rather than simply being versions of contemporary romance stories transported to a historical setting, Regency romances are a distinct genre with their own plot and stylistic conventions.

About the Bridgerton Series

Set between 1813 and 1827, the Bridgerton Series is a collection of eight novels, written by Julia Quinn, each featuring one of the eight children of the late Viscount Bridgerton: Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory, and Hyacinth. The Bridgertons has been adapted as a Shondaland series for Netflix. It debuted on the network on December 25, 2020.

Superhero Vela Kurv Books

A Curvy Chick Production for Riley Rose superhero and graphic novels.

Michelle Obama Becoming book cover

ENTERTAINMENT – Michelle Obama’s Podcast Premieres on Spotify July 31, 2020

Trending on Variety, by Todd Spangler. Michelle Obama on Spotify.

Michelle Obama will bring her voice to Spotify’s global streaming platform later this month with the launch of “The Michelle Obama Podcast.”

It’s the first project from Higher Ground, the media production company founded by President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, for Spotify under their exclusive multiyear pact announced in June 2019. And it’s the latest salvo in Spotify’s gambit to capture the leading position in the podcasting biz.

“The Michelle Obama Podcast” will debut exclusively on Spotify on July 29, 2020, available to free users and premium subscribers worldwide.

The series will feature the former First Lady’s conversations with friends, family and allies, focusing on “the relationships that shape us, from siblings and close friends to partners, parents and mentors to our relationship with ourselves and our health,” according to the companies.

Michelle Obama Podcast

“My hope is that this series can be a place to explore meaningful topics together and sort through so many of the questions we’re all trying to answer in our own lives,” Michelle Obama said in a statement. “Perhaps most of all, I hope this podcast will help listeners open up new conversations — and hard conversations — with the people who matter most to them. That’s how we can build more understanding and empathy for one another.”

Guests on “The Michelle Obama Podcast” will include her mother, Marian Robinson, and older brother Craig Robinson; TV and podcast personality Conan O’Brien; Valerie Jarrett, former adviser to President Obama; journalist Michele Norris; and Dr. Sharon Malone, wife of former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

“We believe that audiences across the globe will be inspired by these most candid, most human and most personal conversations between First Lady Michelle Obama and her guests,” Dawn Ostroff, Spotify’s chief content and advertising business officer, said in announcing the podcast.

Michelle Obama’s Becoming, Bestseller on Amazon

To be sure, Spotify isn’t sticking to a progressive-politics lane in its aggressive podcast push. This spring the company announced a blockbuster deal with Joe Rogan, the popular comedian/talk show host who has invited far-right guests on his show. Under the multiyear agreement, “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast will be exclusively housed at Spotify starting later in 2020.

Meanwhile, last month Spotify announced a deal with Kim Kardashian West for an exclusive series investigating a case involving criminal-justice reform.

In addition, Spotify has acquired four podcast companies — Gimlet Media, Anchor, Parcast and Bill Simmons’ The Ringer — in deals totaling nearly $600 million over the past 18 months.

Michelle Obama’s Becoming, Bestselling Daily Journal on Amazon

On Spotify, “The Michelle Obama Podcast” will have its own dedicated page at this link. It also will be listed on Spotify’s Higher Ground hub for the Obamas’ content (at this link).

During the lead-up to the launch, the former First Lady’s podcast has been code-named “Project Renaissance” by Spotify and Higher Ground.

Spotify has inked deals with and Procter & Gamble’s Dawn and Tide brands as presenting sponsors of “The Michelle Obama Podcast” Season 1.

Michelle Obama Podcast Premiere Date

The coronavirus pandemic has put a damper on the fast-growing podcast industry: U.S. podcast ad revenue is expected to grow 14.7% in 2020, to around $812 million — down from 48% growth last year, per an IAB sector forecast prepared by PwC. Spotify acknowledged that COVID-19 quarantines depressed podcast listenership in the first quarter of 2020, but also noted that about 19% of monthly active users listened to podcast content in Q1 (up from 16% the previous quarter).

Source: Spotify Global Reach

The Higher Ground Audio division, centered on the Spotify deal, is led by Dan Fierman, a veteran of Epic Magazine, MTV, ESPN’s Grantland and GQ. Other key personnel are EVP Anna Holmes, founder of Jezebel and First Look Media alum; VP Mukta Mohan, formerly Crooked Media’s director of development; and editorial assistant Janae Marable.

Higher Ground Productions, which the Obamas formed in 2018, also has a multiyear Netflix pact for scripted and unscripted series, as well as docuseries and feature-length narrative and documentary films.

Watch the teaser for Michelle Obama’s forthcoming podcast:


A Curvy Chick Production

Riley Rose Author graphic book series

Star Trek Inspires The Creation Of Vela Kurv, A Biracial Female Superhero

Vela Kurv Becomes on sale now on Amazon
-Riley Rose McKesson, Writer

Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek

What would it be like if we had a world of totally equal opportunity, if we had no inequality, no disease and no poverty? What if we lived in a world where mankind only needed tobetter itself? What might that world look like?

Such was a world created by Gene Roddenberry, in the original Star Trek series (1966-1969), officers serving and coexisting in rank on a bridge of multi ethnicities. Nichelle Nichols, (cast as Nyota Uhura), has shared the story of how she met MartinLuther King during the Civil Rights Struggle while she contemplated leaving the Star Trek series. She explained how she told Roddenberry, she was leaving the show and he asked her to reconsider, because he was building something of significance. Making a statement about the inequity of a society in which they were living.

Nichols was invited to an event and as luck would have it,she meets Martin Luther King that night. He sought her out and told her how much her show meant to him. Nichols explained that she was leaving the show. He told her, she couldn’t do that. What she represented was too important. Roddenberry’s Star Trek was the only show that he would allow his children to watch because of the multi ethnicities that served together of equal rank (all officers) and of equal capability and training.Nichols decided to stay on the series after her conversation with King.

How Star Trek Influenced Vela Kurv’s Creation

Star Trek had such a resonating tone of truth for me. It spoke to me as a child; I would watch the syndicated reruns everyday after school during my elementary school days. The truth of opportunity and capability resonated with me, as well. How could it not, resonate with everyone, I thought.

This television series did something extraordinary during a very turbulent time in the United States. Star Trek was able to shine a light on inequity, on prejudice and racism and on the plight of war. In fact, so much of the series connected with me, that I was driven to create my own biracial female superhero inside my own world of science fiction, her name is Lorabella Kurv Wiles, also known Vela Kurv. Presently Vela Kurv Begins and Vela Kurv Becomes are in print and for sale on Amazon.

Vela Kurv Finds Its Way To Story

The backstory of Vela Kurv is somewhat surreal. Vela Kurv is part of a line of women created by the combustion of a star, the Constellation Vela. Lorabella becomes Vela Kurv because of her alien and human bloodline. Like all superheroes, she struggles with her own humanity. She has a lesson to learn in dealing with her own father, who happens to also be the commanding officer of Earth’s military.

The struggle of humanity exists for us all in how we view our own world and circumstances. The scales of justice don’t always feel balanced because the struggle for equality has never been just. I can only hope for a world filled with truth, justice and equality for all men, women and children but until that day becomes a reality, I have made make my commentary through the world of Vela Kurv and I show how this biracial female superhero seeks to balance the scales of right and wrong, because she believes that it’s possible. She fights to make justice the prevailing truth inside the world of Vela Kurv.

Vela Kurv Considers Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek TNG’s “The Battle”

-Riley Rose McKesson, Writer

From Lorabella’s journals at the West Pipe Space Academy, before she becomes Vela Kurv

How to prepare for being blindsided? Captain Picard is offered a gift from Ferengi Daimon Bok, the hulk of Pickard’s former command, The U.S.S. Stargazer. What begins as a gift becomes the tool for revenge. Bok uses this gift as an elaborate ploy to gain revenge on Picard for killing his son in the Battle of Maxia. Bok tries to put a nail in Picard’s coffin by falsifying the ship’s records of the battle laying blame on Picard instead of a documented self defense maneuver. Finally, Bok physically injures Picard by using a mind-control device to change his perception of reality and set him up to be destroyed aboard the Stargazer by Picard’s present commanding ship, the U.S.S. Enterprise-D.
In the end, Bok’s falsified records begin the unraveling of the truth. However, rescuing Picard from his own demise now becomes Riker’s (Picard’s second-in-command) objective as well as his duty. I believe it is Picard’s own logic and presence of mind that enables him to push through the fog of mind-control and free himself from his impending plight. But probably the additional contributing factor is the respect that he’s earned to push Riker and the rest of his crew, Counselor Troi and Doctor Crusher to dig deep for answers.

In the end, not only is a leader responsible for the constant oversight of their own balance of senses but the richness of the relationship they foster with their crew. In order for subordinates to have your back, they have to first want to. Engendering this type of loyalty has to be an aspect of the commander’s character. Talk about working on the internal humanity, this is truly the challenge of responsibility.

Signing off, Lorabella.

Vela Kurv Examines “Ex Post Facto” with the Starship Voyager

-Riley Rose McKesson, Writer

From Lorabella’s journals at the West Pipe Space Academy, before she becomes Vela Kurv

Another curious episode drawing from Latin for its title “from a thing done afterward”, which refers to the concept of retrospective? A law that retroactively changes the legal consequences (or status) of actions committed or relationships that existed prior to the enactment of the law. Chief Helmsman Tom Paris is accused of murder on a planet occupied by the Banean people and instead of being sentenced to death; their new punishment is the implantation of memories of the murdered victim into Paris’ mind so that he regularly relives the murder through the eyes of his victim.


Janeway is determined to prove his innocence, a commander standing by her pilot that she desperately needs to get her crew home, so Voyager flies in to investigate this conviction. Tuvok determines that Paris is innocent, a pawn in a warzone between the feuding Banea and Numiri. The Banean doctor is proved guilty. Paris is released, and the doctor arrested along with Ren’s wife who was complicit in the murder of her husband. Voyager leaves the Banean homeworld and continues its journey.
Janeway’s strength is shown and proven by Paris’ innocence. Her judgment is also proven to be of good merit, another lesson for a leader (me) building her chops of command to draw from.

Signing off, Lorabella

Vela Kurv Explores “Eye of the Needle” with the Starship Voyager

-Riley Rose McKesson, Writer

From Lorabella’s journals at the West Pipe Space Academy, before she becomes Vela Kurv


This is a curious analogy of science and faith. The title reminds me of a bible verse: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:24. Similar verses are in Mark 10:25 and Luke 18:25). Two questions occurred to me: what an eye of the needle analogy on a show all about science and what relevance does it have to Janeway and the Starship Voyager trying to find a way home? Home that is 70,000 light-years away, even?



In the bible verse, the reference is all about whether or not a rich men can enter Heaven; they can get in but only if they put their faith in God rather than in their riches. Well the relevance answer is that the message is all about the persistence of a young Ensign (Harry) Kim who believes he can find a way back home; it is his perseverance that uncovers a decaying wormhole which may allow Voyager to transport home to Earth. Janeway encourages Chief Engineer B’Lanna Torres to investigate her discovery of piggy backing the ship’s transporter to the relay inside the wormhole in order to transport the entire crew back to the Alpha Quadrant and find their way home.

Foiled again, the ship doesn’t find its way home; it turns out the wormhole traverses some 20 years into the past and Starfleet prohibits against the altering of timelines. The test becomes how the leader Janeway expands her new relationships with her new crew and learns to build camaraderie and trust. Yet and still, the adventures of Janeway’s command continue, Voyager’s crew is grossly disappointed by their inability to transport home; nor are they given the satisfaction of notifying Starfleet that they’re alive but lost. Chief Tactical Officer Tuvok reveals that the Romulan scientist Telek R’Mor (who received Voyagers broadcast for help through the relay) dies before he can transmit the crews messages to family, friends, or Starfleet notifying them of their plight and location (lost in the Delta Quadrant). Here is where the Captain must grip the reins of command and find a way to lead when hope is at its lowest.

Signing off, Lorabella

Vela Kurv Assesses Star Trek TNG’s “Justice”

-Riley Rose McKesson, Writer

From Lorabella’s journals at the West Pipe Space Academy, before she becomes Vela Kurv

Captain Picard has to choose between justice for the Edos or justice for Acting Ensign Wesley Crusher. Wesley commits an unknowing transgression, but Edos local authorities on the planet Rubicun III impose a death sentence in accordance with their planetary law. Picard chooses to violate the Prime Directive of noninterference by violating laws to secure Crusher’s release.

Picard knows that Crusher can’t be allowed to be killed, this was not the Prime Directive’s intension, so he tries diplomacy but in the end, these negotiations fail. Instead he and Riker (Picard’s second-in-command) convince the Edos god, a powerful noncorporeal spaceborne entity, that laws cannot be absolute. Circumstances of the infraction must be evaluated.

This is a tall lesson for any leader, justice is truly about weighing the scales of inequity after evaluating all information and making an educated assessment of what’s right. It’s all about doing the right thing. So in this case, Picard’s judgment for the sake of Wesley’s justice must prevail.


Vela Kurv Finds Expression in Star Trek TNG’s “Lonely Among Us”

-Riley Rose McKesson, Writer

From Lorabella’s journals at the West Pipe Space Academy, before she becomes Vela Kurv

This episode centers on trust for me. Captain Picard shares his consciousness with an entity found inside an energy cloud. The entity becomes a kindred spirit after it causes a series of malfunctions in the computer system while the starship Enterprise-D is on a diplomatic mission transporting delegates from planets Antica and Selay to an interstellar conference.
Picard expresses concern about the ship’s malfunctions before he is invaded by the entity. The Enterprise is a new vessel, right out of space dock and the major series of malfunctions seem unrealistic. Data confirms this to Picard. The transformation of Picard after the entity shares his conscious is what tips the crew off that something is terribly wrong with him, that and Counselor Troi’s Betazed intuition.
The leader’s lesson here would seem to imply the need to have a trusted crew. One that will take extraordinary and needed measures to rescue the Captain but also recognizing the concerns for the safety of the crew and its mission. Hopefully, my choices will prove as prudent.
Signing off, Lorabella

Vela Kurv Finds More Than “The Cloud” Covering Crew Individuality in Star Trek Voyager

-Riley Rose McKesson, Writer

From Lorabella’s journals at the West Pipe Space Academy, before she becomes Vela Kurv

Captain Janeway has to determine when individuality is a help or a block for both the Doctor and Neelix aboard the Star Trek Voyager starship. Exploration of an unusual nebula reveals a discovery of a spaceborne life-form injured by Voyager’s entry. Also revealed is “the Doctor’s” injustice of circumstance, a hologram with an attitude and under consideration of reprogramming to adjust his attitude for a bruised crew’s feelings. Kes points out the inequity of this assessment because Holograms deserve to evolve too, so Janeway listens…
Neelix learns to adjust his fearful perspective for the good of repairing the injured life-form and Janeway grants “the Doctor” the ability to evolve. He is given the ability to expand his programming, he can turn himself off and on and put together a list of needs in order to best service the crew’s medical needs.
Military leaders need to be able to adjust their assessment of justice in order to balance the scales correctly. Our first determination of what’s best may not be accurate and listening before acting may be the adjustment that equals the fair answer for the best solution.
Signing off, Lorabella

Vela Kurv Journeys with Captain Picard “Where No One Has Gone Before”

-Riley Rose McKesson, Writer

From Lorabella’s journals at the West Pipe Space Academy, before she becomes Vela Kurv

Intelligence isn’t measured or merited always by time or age; such is the case with U.S.S. Enterprise-D’s Wesley Crusher in the episode “Where No One Has Gone Before”. Wesley is young, curious, and determined to get Captain Picard’s attention. He is able to recognize the truth before all of the ship’s engineers and scientists who stare right past “the Traveler” and miss his energy phase that propels the ship past galaxy M33.

It is Wesley Crusher’s efforts in working with the Traveler that encourage him to return the Enterprise to the Milky Way galaxy. Picard does the honorable thing; he grants Wesley the rank of “acting ensign”, after a one-on-one conversation with “the Traveler” convincing Picard of Wesley’s talents with time and propulsion.Despite Picard’s self proclaimed inability to communicate or relate to children, he does so with a young 12-year old Crusher. It is precisely his nobility of rank that draws in this child’s desire to work and learn from Captain Picard. Taking off the blinders and embracing what we fear as leaders can be the challenge and the blessing that enables us to conquer more than our fears, as military leaders. Breaking through these bindings may allow us to save the crew we are entrusted with leading.

Signing off, Lorabella