Rock legends KISS say goodbye to their fans in a surprisingly sweet new documentary
KISS performing together in 2019 via Creative Commons

Millions of people from around the world packed concert venues to witness a show that is filled with wild pyrotechnics and music. It has been nearly 50 years since the rock band KISS made their debut and now the band is ready to say goodbye.

Although Covid-19 is still impacting the lives of people it hasn't stopped KISS from sharing their story to the world. On June 27 and 28 KISS released their two part documentary on A&E "Biography:KISStory" which gave an historical insight of who KISS is and how the band impacted the world with their music.

"Volume One" is the first episode and it taught the audience how bassist Gene Simmons was born in Israel and then later moved to the U.S. in 1958, whereas frontman Paul Stanley was born in Queens New York. Both Simmons and Stanley met in 1970 and in the documentary Simmons and Stanley spent time reminiscing about the early years through various clips, pictures and commentary from other people who are a part of the memories.





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Also "Volume One" highlighted the beginning stage of KISS. Through an advertisement in a newspaper, Simmons and Stanley found drummer Peter Criss and as for Ace Frehley he responded to the band's ad on "Village Voice" for the lead guitarist position. The year 1973 brought momentum for KISS because they had their first photograph as a band and they created their earliest recordings and videos. During that period, KISS spent time in Electric Lady Studio and the documentary showed how KISS was inspired by the style of the band New York Dolls and KISS started to have the idea of having a full musical production on stage. Surely it did not take KISS long to add airborne dums, smoking guitars and pyrotechnics to their shows.

"Volume 2" discusses the constant changes with KISS's music and band members. It was a wild ride of popularity and trying to spark the magic the band had during the start of their career. But KISS made a huge splash by making a name for themselves on MTV in 1983 because it was the first time people got to see the band members without their makeup on. But with Criss and Frehley gone, the band experienced another heartache when drummer Eric Carr died from heart cancer in 1991. With the help of current KISS drummer Eric Singer, the band continued to create music.


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In 1995 KISS shook the music scene by having a performance on MTV's "Unplugged" and the appearance from Criss and Frehley not only pleased fans but the appearances from both musicians brought the idea of KISS having a reunion tour. Despite how successful the reunion tour was, it wasn't strong enough to keep the band together. But somehow through the bad times, Simmons and Stanley always found a way to keep the band successfully rolling throughout the years.

Today, KISS has sold over 10 million records within five decades and through the hardships the band has faced, there wasn't anything that could have stopped them from becoming successful. Although Criss and Frehley declined to be a part of the documentary, fans got to hear the story of KISS from Simmons and Stanley. "Biography:KISStory" is a great documentary that shows how KISS became one of the most successful bands in our time.

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When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Screenshots via @castrowas95/Twitter

In the Pacific Northwest, orca sightings are a fairly common occurrence. Still, tourists and locals alike marvel when a pod of "sea pandas" swim by, whipping out their phones to capture some of nature's most beautiful and intelligent creatures in their natural habitat.

While orcas aren't a threat to humans, there's a reason they're called "killer whales." To their prey, which includes just about everything that swims except humans, they are terrifying apex predators who hunt in packs and will even coordinate to attack whales several times their own size.

So if you're a human alone on a little platform boat, and a sea lion that a group of orcas was eyeing for lunch jumps onto your boat, you might feel a little wary. Especially when those orcas don't just swim on by, but surround you head-on.

Watch exactly that scenario play out (language warning, if you've got wee ones you don't want f-bombed):

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