What to Stream This Weekend: Five Films About American Resistance

What to Stream This Weekend: Five Films About American Resistance

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Each week, Richard Brody picks a classic film, a modern film, an
independent film, a foreign film, and a documentary for online viewing.

The French-born director Jacques Tourneur was a Hollywood master of
genre films, including
Westerns
,
and the best of them, “Stars in My Crown” (Amazon, iTunes, and
others), from 1950, is also one of the high-studio era’s most frank and
fierce depictions of racist violence. The story, narrated as a man’s
late-life reminiscence about his childhood in a Southern town soon after
the Civil War, involves a new preacher, the quick-witted, tough-minded,
sharp-humored J. D. Gray (Joel McCrea), who confronts a local tycoon—and
a group of Klansmen—seeking to chase a black farmer (Juano Hernandez)
off his land. (The pretext for the conflict is miners’ need for work.)
There’s also a subplot involving a raging epidemic, which reveals the
preacher as a virtual scientist whose reasoned approach to the crisis
proves to be a sort of antibody to hatred and paranoia. It’s also a warm
and lofty vision of a marriage of kindred spirits (Ellen Drew, as the
preacher’s wife, matches McCrea quip for quip) and their wider family
ties. (Dean Stockwell plays their foster son, John Kenyon, whose
memories the movie depicts.) The song-filled core of the sometimes
comedic drama is the quest for a hearty, earthy Christianity that both
stirs the soul and fosters charity, compassion, and community; its
themes echo as grandly now as they did at the time of the film’s
release.

Charles Burnett, who started making films (including his recently
restored “Killer of
Sheep
”)
as part of the so-called L. A. Rebellion, a group of black filmmakers at
U.C.L.A. in the nineteen-seventies, made “Nightjohn” (iTunes), from
1996, for television, but its spirit matches that of his do-it-yourself
films. It, too, is narrated as a reminiscence—of a woman who tells the
story of her childhood as an enslaved black girl on a small Southern
plantation. (It’s based on a novel by Gary Paulsen; Burnett and the
screenwriter, Bill Cain, shift the action from the eighteen-fifties to
the eighteen-twenties and thirties, and make Nat Turner and the revolt
that he leads into a subplot.) The girl, Sarny (Allison Jones), is
befriended by John (Carl Lumbly), who has recently been sold by another
slave owner and is considered a troublemaker—he teaches other slaves to
read and write, an offense that’s brutally punished. The drama, of
Sarny’s ardor for literacy and its crucial role in the struggle for
freedom, lyrically and passionately delineates the cruelly threatened
and disrupted family lives of enslaved blacks. Burnett unstintingly
dramatizes the horrific, mutilating violence of Southern slave owners,
the dependence of American institutions and wealth on the
practice and maintenance of slavery, and the heroic efforts to resist it,
maintain cultural continuity, and preserve intimate and political
history.

Clint Eastwood, freedom fighter? Yes, if the notion is viewed from the
right angle, as it is in his 2011 drama, “J. Edgar” (Amazon, iTunes,
YouTube, and others). It stars Leonardo DiCaprio as the feared, revered,
and hated founding head of the F.B.I., who held the position from 1935
until his death, in 1972. As told by Eastwood, working with a script by
Dustin Lance Black, it’s the story of the perversions of politics and
distortions of personality resulting from American puritanical mores.
Here, Hoover, a dedicated law-enforcement officer, is also struggling
with, or against, his homosexual desires; Eastwood shows Hoover’s
desperate effort to foster a stereotypically macho image of his
masculinity—and to broadcast it—and how Hoover’s sense of secrecy, fear,
anger, and constraint turned him paranoid and repressive. (One of
Hoover’s depicted misdeeds is an attempt to blackmail and harass Martin
Luther King, Jr., in the nineteen-sixties.) In Eastwood’s view, sexual
terror gets in the way of a rational and responsible conservatism;
recent developments seem to bear out his thesis.

Hoover’s paranoia was echoed and amplified throughout the government and
country at large, and Charlie Chaplin—Charlie Chaplin!—was one of its
targets. A British subject threatened with the suspension of his
American visa when he went back to England in 1952 (to promote
Limelight”),
Chaplin spent the rest of his life in exile (O.K., in Switzerland). But,
in the mark of a true artist, he turned that experience into one of his
greatest films, “A King in New York” (the Criterion Channel on
FilmStruck), from 1957—the last film in which he starred—about one of
the central American political pathologies of the time, McCarthyism, and
some related social pathologies, including the money-made vulgarity of
mass media. Chaplin plays King Shahdov, a pacifist ruler chased from his
throne in the fictitious country of Estrovia. Reaching New York
penniless, he falls under the spell of an advertising executive (Dawn
Addams) who gets him onto a primordial version of reality TV and into a
whiskey commercial that’s the precursor to Bill Murray’s great
commercial scene in Sofia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation.” King Shahdov
also befriends a boy (played by Chaplin’s son Michael) whose parents are
imprisoned in an anti-Communist witch hunt, and, as a result, the King
himself is subpoenaed by a congressional committee. Chaplin’s wild yet
precisely calibrated comedy is as derisive and keenly targeted as it is
in “The Great Dictator,” and is even more pointedly aimed at his
personal persecutors. Its furious lampooning of American politics and
shibboleths led to its virtual suppression—it wasn’t shown here until
1973.

Johanna Hamilton’s documentary “1971” (Netflix), released in 2014,
illuminates a little-known but crucial episode in modern American
politics—and political protest. In 1971, eight anti-Vietnam War
activists in Philadelphia, weary of F.B.I. efforts at surveillance and
infiltration, organized a break-in at a small suburban Bureau field
office, where they stole files and sent copies of them to the news
media. (The first Ali-Frazier fight for the heavyweight championship,
the so-called Fight of the Century, is part of a crucial subplot.) The
documents included records of F.B.I. programs to suppress legitimate and
constitutionally protected speech and action; only the Washington Post was willing to publish the stolen information, and the reports sparked
widespread outrage—and much wider reporting—about the agency’s
repressive policies. (Congressional hearings were held, and new
oversight legislation resulted.) Among the discoveries was the
Cointelpro project, which included evidence of the F.B.I.’s plots
against Martin Luther King, Jr. The participants in the break-in were,
remarkably, never caught. In “1971,” Hamilton interviews five of
them—none of whom had previously discussed the event on camera—as well as Betty
Metsger, the journalist who wrote the first report about the break-in
and the documents. The twin central aspects of the story are the grave
threat to freedom posed by politicized law-enforcement officials, and
the grave personal risks on the part of principled activists that it
took to confront and redress that threat.

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June 30, 2017 at 08:49PM

The Lost 40 in Tower, Minnesota

The Lost 40 in Tower, Minnesota

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The Lost Forty

In the late 1800s, the state of Minnesota was one of the largest suppliers of timber in the country. As a result, today less than 2 percent of the forest land in Minnesota is occupied by trees that are considered "old growth" or "virgin" timber that has been left to age without disturbance. There is, however, a section of Northern Minnesota that loggers and developers never touched: the Lost 40.

The Lost 40 is 144 acres of untouched forest, including 30 acres of white pine-red pine forest and 20 acres of spruce fir forest, where some of the trees stand over 100 feet tall. This beautiful untouched section of the forest is the result of serendipity.

In 1882, a surveying and mapping error made loggers believe that the entire section of the forest was underwater, and so they passed through it. This area, which is actually located in the Chippewa National Forest, was therefore never logged, and the trees that were growing then continue to grow now.

The tradition of leaving the Lost 40 untouched has remained, and the forest section is still thriving as a result. There is nowhere else in the world like the Lost 40, since most of the trees in other forests are much younger than this swath of centenarians growing in the Midwest.

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June 30, 2017 at 08:14PM

The Lost 40 in Tower, Minnesota

The Lost 40 in Tower, Minnesota

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The Lost Forty

In the late 1800s, the state of Minnesota was one of the largest suppliers of timber in the country. As a result, today less than 2 percent of the forest land in Minnesota is occupied by trees that are considered "old growth" or "virgin" timber that has been left to age without disturbance. There is, however, a section of Northern Minnesota that loggers and developers never touched: the Lost 40.

The Lost 40 is 144 acres of untouched forest, including 30 acres of white pine-red pine forest and 20 acres of spruce fir forest, where some of the trees stand over 100 feet tall. This beautiful untouched section of the forest is the result of serendipity.

In 1882, a surveying and mapping error made loggers believe that the entire section of the forest was underwater, and so they passed through it. This area, which is actually located in the Chippewa National Forest, was therefore never logged, and the trees that were growing then continue to grow now.

The tradition of leaving the Lost 40 untouched has remained, and the forest section is still thriving as a result. There is nowhere else in the world like the Lost 40, since most of the trees in other forests are much younger than this swath of centenarians growing in the Midwest.

Travel

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June 30, 2017 at 08:14PM

July 4th Fireworks Displays Worth Traveling For

July 4th Fireworks Displays Worth Traveling For

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No July 4th celebration is complete without a fantastic fireworks display. So, if summer has caused your wanderlust to go into overdrive, why not make July 4th an excuse to go on a search for the best firework displays across America.

Orlando, Florida:

There is perhaps no better place for a family to experience Independence Day together and watch the magic of fireworks then at Disney. Walt Disney World Resort has an array of kid-friendly firework displays. Head to Magic Kingdom Park to see how Disney pays homage to the Stars and Stripes with “Celebrate America! – A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky!”

The event will include a patriotic fireworks that will ignite the sky in a blaze of glory above Cinderella Castle, all accompanied by a fantastic musical score of epic proportions. It’s an unforgettable way to introduce children to the meaning and importance of July 4th.

Where to stay: To make the trip even more affordable, Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card users could redeem points at properties like Fairfield Inn & Suites Orlando at SeaWorld (This Category 6 hotel is 30 000 or starting rates are from $91 per night) or The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes(Category 7, 35 000 miles or starting rates from $199).

New Orleans:

Why not see the skies in flame above one of America’s most iconic rivers? Enjoy fireworks on July 4th on the Mississippi River with a sensational Dueling Barges Fireworks display. The event will feature a one-of-a-kind “dueling” fireworks shoot-off between two barges as a variety of patriotic music plays in the background.

Arrive a day early to enjoy special festivities, including the sonorous sounds of the Marine Corps Band. Plan to picnic at the Goldring/Woldenberg Great Lawn at City Park and chow down on Independence Day favorites like corndogs, hotdogs, and beer (though you also have the option of packing your own picnic).

Where to stay: Use your Marriott Rewards Premier card to book a stay at the well-located JW Marriott New Orleans. (This Category 8 hotel is 40,000 points per night or rates start from $139.)

Washington, DC:

What better place to ring in Independence Day than at the nation’s capital? National Mall is the place to be on July 4th as fireworks begin at 9PM over the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting pool.

It can be busy so be sure to get there early and pack a picnic to enjoy one of the country’s best and most colorful displays of sparklers. PBS will be broadcasting a concert hosted by John Stamos live from the West Lawn, which will feature the Beach Boys, the National Symphony Orchestra and more.

Where to stay: Earn or redeem points with your Marriott Rewards Premier card by staying at the centrally located JW Marriott Washington, DC  (You will need 40,000 points per night at this Category 8 hotel and starting rates are from $227 )

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June 30, 2017 at 08:09PM

Ducks Seen Murdering, Snacking on Fledglings

Ducks Seen Murdering, Snacking on Fledglings

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Cold-blooded baby bird killers.Cold-blooded baby bird killers. Max Pixel/Public Domain

Mallard ducks don’t seem like particularly vicious animals. Their chicks are adorably awkward and fluffy, and they stick their butts in the air while they’re looking for food. But not all ducks are content to look for plants on the bottom of a pond. Some ducks, such as some mallards in Romania, for example, have developed a taste for other birds.

The ducks were spotted by researchers from the University of Cambridge and Romania’s Veterinary and Food Safety Authority at a reservoir last summer. They noticed one adult and ten juvenile mallards along the shore, “vigorously shaking” the vegetation. But then the adult started shaking its head and squishing whatever was in its beak. It turned out to be a fledgling Grey Wagtail. After a struggle with the fledgling’s wings, the adult managed to gulp down the poor wagtail whole.

But the mallards weren’t done. They went back to the vegetation and flushed out another bird, this time a Black Redstart fledgling, and the juvenile mallards either drowned the fledgling or ate it. Then, the researchers write, they “emerged onto a floating tree trunk for basking and preening as the group entered a phase of rest.”

Ducks are known omnivores that sometimes eat fish or crabs when they can’t get enough protein in their diet otherwise. But this is the first time they’ve been documented as cold-blooded killers. “The fact that these individuals seem to have learnt how to hunt birds is pretty extraordinary,” Silviu Petrovan, a coauthor of the report, told the BBC. “Potentially there is quite a lot of pressure for those fast-growing juveniles to get animal protein intake, and therefore they are looking at opportunities to supplement that.” Ducks haven’t evolved to eat other birds, which is why it was so hard for the adult to get that wagtail down. Also, said Petrovan, “digesting bones and feathers – that’s not something that mallards have really evolved to do.”

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June 30, 2017 at 07:31PM

Untapped Staff Reads: The City’s Luxurious First Subways, A Lego Statue of Liberty

Untapped Staff Reads: The City’s Luxurious First Subways, A Lego Statue of Liberty

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Sketch of the first subways in New York City. Image via NYPL.

Here’s what the Untapped staff is reading in the HQ today:

  • Our First Subway Was Much Nicer [Gothamist]: Our first underground transit system in NYC was a pneumatic subway created by Alfred Ely Beach, and despite being constructed back in the 1870s, some aspects of it were a lot nicer than the crowded old cans we ride in today. For one, this subway’s station had chandeliers and a waiting room with a piano. Secondly, it doesn’t appear anyone ever had to claw their way outof a stalled train.

Today’s popular Untapped Cities reads:

 Linkages

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June 30, 2017 at 07:22PM

Kasbah Telouet in Telouet, Morocco

Kasbah Telouet in Telouet, Morocco

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Kasbah as can be seen from afar

Although most visitors to the Moroccan Sahara visit the World Heritage Site of Aїt Benhaddou, those looking for a kasbah that’s secluded, off the beaten path, and filled with fascinating history should look no further than Kasbah Telouet, a crumbling yet beautiful village steeped in lavishness, traitorship, and the struggle for Moroccan independence.

In the makhzen, the pre-1957 feudal system of Morocco, a Sultan ruled the country, while a group of Pashas, the equivalent of dukes, instated local control by imposing taxes and keeping order. One of the most powerful Pashas of 20th Century Morocco was Thami El Glaoui, the "Lord of the Atlas." The El Glaoui family had close ties to the Sultan and had presided over Kasbah Telouet since its construction 1860, and from 1912 to 1956, Thami ruled as the Pasha of Marrakech.

Thami El Glaoui can be easily referred to as the Great Gatsby of Morocco. The El Glaoui family dominated the olive, saffron, and salt trades due to Kasbah Telouet’s optimal placement on the caravan trails, making Thami one of Morocco’s richest men. El Glaoui wielded immense political, cultural, and economic clout and was known for throwing ostentatious parties at the kasbah.

But by the mid-20th century, El Glaoui took his political influence one step too far. As the Moroccan independence movement was gaining popularity, El Glaoui teamed up with the French colonialists to oust the current Sultan, Mohammed V, and place Ben Arafa, a Moroccan sympathetic to the French, in power. This served El Glaoui well until 1955, when Mohammed V returned from exile in Madagascar and declared independence for Morocco.

With Mohammed V in charge once again, El Glaoui was declared a traitor and lost all of his political leverage, and Kasbah Telouet has been left to crumble ever since. The El Glaoui family charges an entry fee of 10 Dinah ($1) to the rare visitor in order to preserve the Moorish architecture, ornate windows, painted ceilings, and narrow corridors of the kasbah from decay. Although much of its original beauty is destroyed, the kasbah’s decrepit state has made it the perfect hidden gem for the few the venture out to experience it.

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June 30, 2017 at 07:04PM

Kasbah Telouet in Telouet, Morocco

Kasbah Telouet in Telouet, Morocco

http://ift.tt/2tueoXE

Kasbah as can be seen from afar

Although most visitors to the Moroccan Sahara visit the World Heritage Site of Aїt Benhaddou, those looking for a kasbah that’s secluded, off the beaten path, and filled with fascinating history should look no further than Kasbah Telouet, a crumbling yet beautiful village steeped in lavishness, traitorship, and the struggle for Moroccan independence.

In the makhzen, the pre-1957 feudal system of Morocco, a Sultan ruled the country, while a group of Pashas, the equivalent of dukes, instated local control by imposing taxes and keeping order. One of the most powerful Pashas of 20th Century Morocco was Thami El Glaoui, the "Lord of the Atlas." The El Glaoui family had close ties to the Sultan and had presided over Kasbah Telouet since its construction 1860, and from 1912 to 1956, Thami ruled as the Pasha of Marrakech.

Thami El Glaoui can be easily referred to as the Great Gatsby of Morocco. The El Glaoui family dominated the olive, saffron, and salt trades due to Kasbah Telouet’s optimal placement on the caravan trails, making Thami one of Morocco’s richest men. El Glaoui wielded immense political, cultural, and economic clout and was known for throwing ostentatious parties at the kasbah.

But by the mid-20th century, El Glaoui took his political influence one step too far. As the Moroccan independence movement was gaining popularity, El Glaoui teamed up with the French colonialists to oust the current Sultan, Mohammed V, and place Ben Arafa, a Moroccan sympathetic to the French, in power. This served El Glaoui well until 1955, when Mohammed V returned from exile in Madagascar and declared independence for Morocco.

With Mohammed V in charge once again, El Glaoui was declared a traitor and lost all of his political leverage, and Kasbah Telouet has been left to crumble ever since. The El Glaoui family charges an entry fee of 10 Dinah ($1) to the rare visitor in order to preserve the Moorish architecture, ornate windows, painted ceilings, and narrow corridors of the kasbah from decay. Although much of its original beauty is destroyed, the kasbah’s decrepit state has made it the perfect hidden gem for the few the venture out to experience it.

Travel

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June 30, 2017 at 07:03PM

Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough’s Extortion Claim Against Donald Trump and the National Enquirer

Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough’s Extortion Claim Against Donald Trump and the National Enquirer

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Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski have just caused a sensation by claiming, in effect, that they were extorted by Donald Trump and the National Enquirer. According to their op-ed in the Washington Post, White House staffers told them that the tabloid would run damaging stories about them unless they could persuade the President to intervene on their behalf. On their show Friday morning, Brzezinski elaborated, saying, “They were calling my children. They were calling close friends.” In response, Trump tweeted that Scarborough had asked him to stop an Enquirer story and that he, Trump, had refused. This all came a day after Trump’s crude Twitter attack on the “Morning Joe” co-hosts, who were recently engaged to be married. For its part, the Enquirer is portraying the dispute as one between the MSNBC duo and the President. In a statement provided to me, Dylan Howard, a top executive of American Media, Inc., the Enquirer’s parent company, said, “At the beginning of June we accurately reported a story that recounted the relationship between Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, the truth of which is not in dispute. At no time did we threaten either Joe or Mika or their children in connection with our reporting on the story. We have no knowledge of any discussions between the White House and Joe and Mika about our story, and absolutely no involvement in those discussions.”

To an outside observer used to a measure of sanity in journalistic and
political affairs, the whole exchange may sound surreal. But it is not
surprising to me. Earlier this week, the magazine published my profile
of David Pecker
, the chief executive of American Media. Pecker is a proud and loyal friend of the President’s and, as he recounted to me,
has welcomed the opportunity to use his tabloids to advance Trump’s
personal and political interests.

Trump and Pecker met more than two decades ago, when Pecker, then the
president of Hachette, entered into a “custom publishing” venture with
Trump. This was, essentially, a Trump fanzine that Hachette published
and Trump distributed in his hotels and casinos. Over the subsequent
years, Pecker has continued to do Trump’s bidding, though he’s had no
formal business dealings with the developer turned politician. This was
especially true during 2016, when the Enquirer repeatedly savaged
Trump’s opponents (especially Hillary Clinton) and extolled Trump.

Pecker’s assistance to Trump went beyond merely giving good press. As I
recount in my piece, a woman named Karen McDougal, Playboy’s playmate
of the year in 1998, began shopping a story that she had an affair with
Trump after his marriage to Melania. Pecker swooped in and, according to
the Wall Street Journal, paid McDougal a hundred and fifty thousand
dollars, purportedly for writing fitness columns for Pecker’s other
magazines. In fact, as Pecker acknowledged to me, a condition of
McDougal’s hiring was that she not bash Trump or American Media.
Pecker’s explanation for this action was straightforward. He did it, he
said, because “the guy’s a personal friend of mine.”

Thus, it’s certainly possible that there was some connection between the
Enquirer story about Scarborough and Brzezinski and Trump’s quest for
favorable coverage from “Morning Joe.” Bizarrely enough, Trump’s most
recent tweet suggests that he served as the middleman between the
anchors and the magazine, though he denies that he did ultimately
intervene. What’s not in doubt, I think, is what Pecker would have done
if Trump had asked him to refrain from publishing. Pecker would have
followed Trump’s wishes. Pecker is not just a publisher. He regards
himself as a kind of father of the Trump Presidency. As Pecker told me,
“I’d tell him every time I’d see him. I’d say, ‘Who cares about governor
or mayor, you should be President. They love you. These people love
you.’ ”

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June 30, 2017 at 06:34PM

New Homesharing Site Allows Women to Choose Only Female Hosts

New Homesharing Site Allows Women to Choose Only Female Hosts

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In today’s sharing economy, there is no shortage of opportunities to travel economically, and like a local. The recent boom of property sharing has allowed travelers unprecedented access to accommodation options that echo a day-in-the-life feel with a community-based vibe. With this spirit in mind, one of my new favorite sharing economy apps is called Overnight, and this rising community has set out to solve all of our problems!

Overnight is everything we love about property sharing platforms, rolled into one up-and-coming interface. For now, the full experience is only available for iOS but the Overnight developers are working to create an Android app as well as a complete web platform. This will improve things a lot for Android users, but in the mean time, Overnight Support has proven itself time and again to be available and helpful to users. If you run into an issue, it’s nice to be talking with a real human instead of a robot!

The best thing about Overnight is that it solves some of the major problems for many users of other sharing economy companies such as Airbnb or Guest To Guest. For many hosts, Airbnb is not strictly legal under the umbrella of their leasing documents; we previously reported that this is solved by Guest To Guest because their credit system eradicates the use of actual money. However, where Overnight still comes out on top is with its new Groups feature, giving you the ability to market your place to certain communities of friends at a price that can essentially span the spectrum between Couchsurfing and Airbnb!

This is important because it overcomes a barrier that often makes potential hosts feel apprehensive about hosting; it eradicates any sort of anxiety about who exactly is coming to stay at your property. With a variety of listing options through Overnight, you can choose the audience to whom your listing is advertised; alternatively, you may choose to remain unlisted with a private link that can be sent to friends. Overnight also links to your Facebook and automatically pulls a group of contacts directly from there. List your property for one particular group of friends or advertise externally with your own personal link; you can even offer discounts to certain social circles if you wish!

My favorite (and the first!) example of Overnight’s Groups feature is the recent merger with the women’s travel network Girls LOVE Travel®. If you are a female traveler actively looking for an amazing travel community then you may have already heard of GLT; maybe you’re even a member!

Over 360 thousand women strong, GLT has quickly become one of the world’s leading female travel communities and stands firmly on the pillars of connection, responsible travel, and safe adventuring for women of all ages, backgrounds, and nationalities. This international network is a life saver for any lady traveler in need of recommendations, ideas, and now a place to stay!

That’s right — GLT has partnered with Overnight in a spectacular collaboration, quickly moving Overnight into a position to gain thousands of new community members! Members of GLT are the first travelers in the world to use this feature, and are now able to connect with one another over one shared platform. To join the fun, click here!

Even if you aren’t a female traveler looking to join the GLT network, not to worry! Overnight is quickly growing and is set up such that you can build groups from your Facebook account. With the freedom to market your property to specific audiences, Overnight erases hosting anxiety and helps you build your ideal travel community. Join Overnight today, list your property, and share your space with the communities that you choose!

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June 30, 2017 at 06:21PM