Their first project was just getting the shed up to code. The water didn’t work, glass covered the floors, the bathrooms were foul.

They pulled in a small local grant, and the rest came from donations of time or goods. One day, Ms. Wlochowicz received a call from a woman whose sister had died, leaving a garage of arts and crafts supplies. Others offered more clothing and home supplies than they could ever need.

Some of it can now be found in a “room of love.” To get there requires walking down a long school hallway, past a wall of photos with women of all ages smiling and squeezed together. Inside, Ms. Wlochowicz snapped on the light to reveal a classroom made into an ad hoc store, with beauty supplies, dresses, jeans, towels and linens — all of it free for women fleeing domestic violence.

“When they run, they run with nothing,” she said.

It was one of many signs that this particular shed, in a forgotten corner of a wealthy and often sexist country, has never been just about socializing.

On a recent Tuesday, a dozen of the shed’s members, along with a few daughters and granddaughters, sat together in the arts and crafts room to practice for choir with a song they wrote about the shed that plays to the tune of “The House of the Rising Sun.”

Ms. Wlochowicz watched as their teacher, Katie Pomery, 23, a local singer-songwriter, conducted with her hands and smiled more with every verse.

“It is a place where friendship grows, and you can get free bread,” they sang. “The garden’s full of possums and beasts, the kitchen’s full of food. If you come here with a heavy heart, we’ll lighten up your mood.”

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‘They Have No One’: At 88, a Transgender Icon Combats Loneliness Among Seniors

MEXICO CITY — The pink paint of her stairwell is peeling, the black metal banister chipped, but Samantha Flores is as sharp-witted as ever amid a profusion of climbing plants and bursting red flowers.

At 88, the Mexican transgender icon remains elegant, funny and at times flirtatious, sitting at a small round table on the landing outside her tiny Mexico City flat where she has received callers, at a safe distance, throughout the pandemic.

After nearly nine decades as a socialite, a manager of a gay bar, an L.G.B.T.Q. advocate, and much more, Ms. Flores has a large community of longtime friends and neighbors who come knocking.

“Without my friends, I wouldn’t be who I am,” she said.

But as Ms. Flores well knows, many seniors are not so lucky. And so there is one part of her world that she’s aching to get back — the drop-in center she founded and runs to help older L.G.B.T.Q. adults combat their isolation. It was the first organization of its kind in Mexico.

Vogue Mexico last June, and was later featured in a campaign for the fashion house Gucci.

But for Ms. Flores, the glamour and attention are just new platforms to talk about what’s most important to her — Vida Alegre, and the rampant discrimination still faced by Mexican trans women, which often makes sex work their only means of making a living.

“It’s society’s fault that trans women have to work on the streets,” she said. “They aren’t given any other option.”

When coupled with machismo attitudes and widespread gang violence, discrimination can also be deadly for trans women in Mexico, which regularly ranks among the most dangerous countries in the world for transgender people. Few are lucky enough to live as long as Ms. Flores has.

But luck, it seems, has often been on Ms. Flores’ side.

Born in the city of Orizaba in Veracruz state in 1932, Ms. Flores grew up in a house with a yard full of orange, guava, lemon and avocado trees. She described her childhood as idyllic. Her family was tacitly accepting even then of what she called her effeminate nature, she said.

“I couldn’t pass by unnoticed, ” Ms. Flores recalled.

But behind her back, there were always whispers from neighbors and schoolmates, Ms. Flores said, and after graduating from high school, she couldn’t wait to leave Orizaba.

“What I wanted was to get out of that damn town and away from those damn people,” she said. “I realized that I was criticized and singled out for being queer.”

Ms. Flores moved to Mexico City, where she began dipping into the capital’s nascent gay scene of the 1950s and ’60s.

“For me, it was freedom,” she said.

One night in 1964, Ms. Flores was invited to a costume party, and together with a few friends, decided to go in drag. She chose the name Samantha for her persona after Grace Kelly’s character in the film “High Society,” which featured music by Cole Porter, her favorite singer.

“I liked Samantha because of the double meaning,” Ms. Flores said. “Bing Crosby called her Sam, which can also be short for Samuel.”

The host of the party was a friend of Ms. Flores, Xóchitl, then one of the most famous trans women in Mexico, who Ms. Flores says, had connections to the rich and powerful that allowed her the freedom to hold extravagant parties for the L.G.B.T.Q. community.

“She was the one that opened the door for trans women,” Ms. Flores recalled.

Little by little, Ms. Flores appeared in public as Samantha until, eventually, she was Samantha.

“I became myself, I found my true personality,” she said.

Soon, Samantha Flores was a staple of the Mexico City club scene.

“She was always a very, very elegant woman,” recalled Alexandra Rodríguez de Ruíz, a transgender rights activist and writer who was a teenager when she started going to gay clubs and encountered Ms. Flores. “Always wearing beautiful dresses and always accompanied by handsome young men.”

Back then, Ms. Rodríguez said, being part of the L.G.B.T.Q. community in Mexico was even more dangerous; the police would regularly detain trans women on the street or raid gay bars and confiscate their belongings.

“There was a lot of persecution,” she said. “Sometimes, if they were bad cops, they would take you to someplace and rape you or beat you.”

But Ms. Flores said she managed to avoid trouble. Whether it was that she could easily pass as female or because of her friendship with the well-connected Xóchitl, she was never bothered by the police.

Still, Ms. Flores said she felt uneasy being a trans woman in Mexico, and decided to move to Los Angeles. For several years in the 1970s and early ’80s, she lived between Mexico and L.A., where she worked managing a gay bar, among other ventures.

By the time she came back to Mexico full-time in the mid-’80s, the AIDS crisis was in full swing.

“My best friends, my most beloved friends, they died of H.I.V.,” Ms. Flores recalled. “I lost count — if I said 300, I wouldn’t be exaggerating.”

Seeing the crisis facing her community inspired her to become more of an activist.

“I became a fighter,” she said.

At first, Ms. Flores volunteered at an AIDS charity, and later began raising money for children with H.I.V. and women facing violence in northern Mexico, collecting funds at theater performances, including “The Vagina Monologues,” which ran in Mexico for years.

Then, a few years ago, a friend of hers suggested that she create a shelter for older L.G.B.T.Q. adults.

“That’s when the spark was lit,” Ms. Flores said.

It took years of wading through the Mexican bureaucracy and finding the right venue, but eventually she was able to secure rent on a one-room building on a busy street in the Álamos neighborhood. Vida Alegre now stands there, the building painted bright blue with a rainbow flag out the front.

The community has grown to some 40 people, about half of whom are straight and go there only for the company.

“It’s empathy and being together,” that brings people in, Ms. Flores said. “Abandonment and loneliness have fled.”

Besides reopening Vida Alegre, Ms. Flores has one other wish.

“I’m waiting for Prince Charming on his white horse and silver armor to come and serenade me,” Ms. Flores said. “I’ve been living here for 35 years, with the windows open, waiting for him. But he still hasn’t come.”

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Macron Returns France to Lockdown as Vaccinations Lag

PARIS — After more than a year of lockdowns and months of a sputtering vaccination campaign, Europe’s efforts to curb the coronavirus pandemic suffered another setback on Wednesday as President Emmanuel Macron of France announced the start of a third national lockdown in a desperate move to halt a new deadly wave.

With infections surging, hospitals swelling with patients and the virus now reaching into classrooms, Mr. Macron effectively abandoned a gamble to keep France open in the hope that a steady pace of vaccinations would make a lockdown unnecessary. He said that restrictions currently covering areas with about one-third of the country’s population would be extended nationwide, and that schools would be closed for three weeks.

As the tally of coronavirus deaths relentlessly pushed close to the 100,000 mark, Mr. Macron gave in to scientists and opposition politicians who had been pressing for a lockdown in recent weeks, and joined the list of European nations already hunkering down before the virus.

disarray of the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Both political opponents and some scientists said he had “lost his gamble.’’

For Mr. Macron, the timing of Wednesday’s announcement was particularly significant: the introduction of yet more restrictions a year after France’s first lockdown and a year before presidential elections in which voters are expected to judge his presidency on his handling of the pandemic.

Bruno Cautrès, a political scientist at the Center for Political Research at Sciences Po in Paris, said that the handling of the coronavirus crisis had become a political challenge for Mr. Macron, who has long promised to make government effective and who had “taken personal responsibility’’ in opposing a third national lockdown.

data from The New York Times.

Despite the worsening situation, Mr. Macron has argued that his gamble in January had not been wrong because his decision had not led to the explosion of cases that had been predicted.

told a French newspaper last Sunday.

Antoine Flahault, the director of the Institute of Global Health at the University of Geneva, said that the French government had generally followed the advice of scientists until late January. But, on Jan. 29, Mr. Macron rejected the advice of his own scientific council — a government body that the president had set up last year to advise him on coronavirus issues and that had pressed for a strict four-week lockdown to prevent a third wave of contaminations.

Mr. Flahault said that despite the government’s decision to keep things open, no new measures were put in place to prevent the resurgence that followed.

“For the entire month of February, there’s going to be an absence of goals, an absence of real strategy,’’ he said.

The government responded to the worsening situation in mid-March by measures that were described in the news media as a third “lockdown’’ but that Mr. Macron’s government tried to portray in other terms. Among restrictions that affected a third of the French population, businesses considered nonessential were forced to close, people had their outdoor activities limited to within six miles of their homes, and travel to and from affected regions was banned.

Le Monde. “It’s not an inaccessible subject for an intellect like his and given the significant time he’s devoted to it for several months.’’

Le Monde related how people close to Mr. Macron “were impressed by the mastery of the head of state, who has kept up with numerous research studies on the subject of the coronavirus.’’ According to the article, Mr. Macron was now capable of “challenging” his own health minister and experts.

“Emmanuel Macron wanted to instill a rather heroic narrative about himself,’’ said Mr. Cautrès, the political scientist. “He is the one who faces all the storms, all the difficulties.’’

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Bridging Time, Distance and Distrust, With Music

A documentary recently broadcast on Moroccan state television, “In Your Eyes, I See My Country,” which has been shown at festivals in Marrakesh and elsewhere, follows Ms. Elkayam and Mr. Cohen, her husband, on a trip to Morocco, including visits to their grandparents’ hometowns. It shows Moroccans embracing her, clutching her hand, even telling her that they remember the names of her grandparents.

Being an Arabic-speaking Jew, in both Israel and Morocco, means living with a complex, sometimes conflicting set of expectations, said Aomar Boum, an anthropologist at the University of California Los Angeles, who specializes in Jewish-Muslim relations. In the film, it is clear that Ms. Elkayam is “carrying a heavy weight,” he said. “It’s only the music that connects the dots.”

The film, which is scheduled to be shown next month at the Miami Jewish Film Festival, shows her and Mr. Cohen performing concerts for largely Muslim audiences, and it ends with him spending days in his family’s former village, where he dresses in traditional Moroccan clothes and country boys welcome him like a brother.

Kamal Hachkar, the film’s Moroccan director, said, “What touched me the most about Neta is that I quickly understood that she sang to repair the wounds of exile.” The documentary, he added, “is a way of defying the fatality of the large history which separated our parents and grandparents and that our generation can recreate links through music, which is a real common territory and melting pot for Jews and Muslims.”

The political context is inescapable.

“Singing in Arabic is a political statement,” Ms. Elkayam said. “We want to be part of this area, we want to use the language to connect with our neighbors. It isn’t only to remember the past.”

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Here Are Five Key Facts About Gun Violence

It’s a dismal ritual of American life: A mass shooting occurs — sometimes more than one, in quick succession. The country mourns the victims. And nothing changes.

I expect the same will happen following the killings in Atlanta and Boulder, Colo. But it is still worth taking a few minutes to lay out the basic facts about gun violence. The key one is simply this: The scale of gun deaths in the United States is not inevitable. The country could reduce the death toll, perhaps substantially, if it chose to.

When gun violence is counted as a single category — spanning homicides, suicides and accidents — it kills about 40,000 Americans a year.

That’s far behind the country’s biggest killers, like heart disease (about 650,000 annual deaths) or Alzheimer’s (about 125,000). But it is broadly comparable to the toll from many well-known causes of death, including an average flu season (35,000), vehicle accidents (39,000), breast cancer (42,000), liver disease (43,000) or pancreatic cancer (45,000).

dismissed calls for restricting gun availability, saying, “There’s not a big appetite among our members to do things that would appear to be addressing it, but actually don’t do anything to fix the problem.”

But there is overwhelming evidence that this country has a unique problem with gun violence, mostly because it has unique gun availability.

Michael Siegel of Boston University’s School of Public Health says.

“The main lesson that comes out of this research is that we know which laws work,” Siegel says. (Nicholas Kristof, the Times columnist, has written a good overview, called “How to Reduce Shootings.”)

one out of every 400 gun deaths was the result of a mass shooting (defined as any attack with at least four deaths). More than half of gun deaths are from suicides, as Margot Sanger-Katz of The Times has noted.

Still, many of the policies that experts say would reduce gun deaths — like requiring gun licenses and background checks — would likely affect both mass shootings and the larger problem.

Yes, an overwhelming majority of Americans support many gun-regulation proposals — like background checks — that congressional Republicans have blocked. And, yes, the campaign donations of the National Rifle Association influence the debate.

But the main reason that members of Congress feel comfortable blocking gun control is that most Americans don’t feel strongly enough about the issue to change their votes because of it. If Americans stopped voting for opponents of gun control, gun-control laws would pass very quickly. This country’s level of gun violence is as high as it is because many Americans have decided that they are OK with it.

Gun control is yet another issue in which the filibuster helps Republican policy priorities and hurts Democratic priorities. On guns (as on climate change, taxes, Medicare access, the minimum wage, immigration and other issues), Republicans are happier with the status quo than Democrats. The filibuster — which requires 60 Senate votes to pass most bills, rather than a straight majority of 51 — protects the status quo.

If Democrats were to change the filibuster, as many favor, it isn’t hard to imagine how a gun-control bill could become law this year. With the filibuster, it is almost impossible to imagine.

a song by Kermit the Frog.

Lives Lived: Jessica McClintock dressed generations of women in calico, lace and beribboned pastiches known as granny dresses. Her clients included Vanna White and a 27-year-old Hillary Rodham for her 1975 wedding to Bill Clinton. McClintock died at 90.

Ian Parker writes in The New Yorker. “The latest streaming-video subscriptions have been sold on the promise of content that is remarkable.” HGTV, as Parker notes, “is low-budget and unassuming.”

Torn Down for What.”

HGTV is now part of the Discovery+ streaming platform, which is tiny compared with Netflix and Disney+. But HGTV’s value also lies in the size of its library, which includes hundreds of episodes of popular shows like “House Hunters” and “Fixer Upper.”

For more: Discovery+ brings a cable-era way of watching TV to streaming.

play online.

today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Frequent flier (five letters).

If you’re in the mood to play more, find all our games here.


Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow. — David

P.S. Priya Krishna, a food writer who previously worked at Bon Appétit, is joining The Times, where she will write and appear on NYT Cooking’s YouTube channel.

You can see today’s print front page here.

Today’s episode of “The Daily” is about the vaccine rollout. On “Sway,” Glennon Doyle discusses misogyny, the power of apologies and more.

Lalena Fisher, Claire Moses, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Tom Wright-Piersanti and Sanam Yar contributed to The Morning. You can reach the team at themorning@nytimes.com.

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Jessica McClintock, 90, Dies; Dressed Generations in Lace and Satin

Jessica McClintock, a fashion designer whose romantic, lacy confections dressed generations of women for their weddings and proms, died on Feb. 16 at her home in San Francisco. She was 90.

The cause was congestive heart failure, said her sister, Mary Santoro.

In 1969, Ms. McClintock was a newly divorced mother and had been teaching science and music to sixth graders in Cupertino, Calif., when she invested $5,000 in a San Francisco dress business called Gunne Sax. (In creating the name, the founders, Eleanor Bailey and Carol Miller, had riffed on the idea of a “sexy gunny sack,” according to Vogue magazine.)

Soon after, Ms. McClintock became the sole owner, designer and saleswoman. She had no design training, but she could sew.

Inspired by those she called San Francisco’s “flower children,” she began making calico, lace and beribboned pastiches known as granny dresses. It was a style — a little bit Victorian, a little bit prairie — that hippies in the Haight-Ashbury section had popularized by putting together the wares of vintage clothing stores.

Dorothy Rodham, said no way: She had to wear something new for her wedding.

Representative Jackie Speier, who serves California’s 14th District, in the Bay Area. Ms. McClintock designed a wedding dress for her. (Ms. Speier called her “the fashion designer for Democrats” because of her inclusive price points, though Ms. McClintock was a registered Republican.)

Vanna White, who has made a career out of elegantly flipping the letters on the game show “Wheel of Fortune” clad in satiny sheaths, did so for a time in Jessica McClintock gowns.

But Ms. McClintock’s bread and butter was also in gussying up young women for their proms and quinceañeras and even elementary school graduations, particularly in the heyday of the 70s, as they danced to Fleetwood Mac or Peter Frampton, their hair done in Dorothy Hamill-style bobs.

As the decades marched along, so did Ms. McClintock’s styles, from pale Victorians and Great Gatsby-esque satins in the 1970s to poofy silk taffeta in the ’80s to more streamlined dresses in iridescent silk in the ’90s and beyond.

In 1999, when her business, a private company, turned 30, sales were at $140 million, according to Women’s Wear Daily. She operated 26 stores around the country, marketed a fragrance, Jessica, and had licensing agreements for handbags, jewelry, china, eyeglasses, bedding and home furnishings.

signed an agreement with Asian Immigrant Women Advocates, a community organization, to promote fair labor practices and establish an education fund for garment workers.

In addition to her sister, Ms. McClintock is survived by her son. Her longtime partner, Ben Golluber, who was chief financial officer of the company, died in 1998.

Ms. McClintock retired from the day to day management of her company in 2013, only to return a year later.

Since the early 1980s, the company headquarters were in a commercial building in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood, but Ms. McClintock sold the space in about 2016 and thereafter ran the business from her home office.

She lived in a Queen Anne Victorian house in Pacific Heights, which she bought from the filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola. With a decorator’s help she turned it into a romantic fantasy, with Venetian chandeliers, billowing pink satin curtains, inlaid marble floors and Aubusson carpets — just the right backdrop for the Old World fashions she favored.

“I have a romantic feeling about life,” Ms. McClintock told a reporter in 2007. “I like Merchant-Ivory movies and candlelight and beautiful rooms. I like the patina of age.”

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