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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    Netflix just announced the latest project in its steadily growing original series lineup, and it’s got Judd Apatow written all over it.

    Deadline reports that Netflix ordered two seasons of the comedy Love, which will star Community’s Gillian Jacobs and I Love You, Beth Cooper’s Paul Rust. Rust co-created the show with Apatow and Lesley Arfin, who both also had a hand in HBO's Girls. As this show is pitched as a take on modern-day relationships, there will no doubt be some common themes.

    This will be a return to TV for Apatow, who co-created the beloved show Freaks and Geeks. A two-season commitment, Deadline points out, isn’t often handed out by Netflix; the exception was House of Cards. Hulu Plus was also allegedly competing for the show.

    Apatow’s appeal is strong, though, and this is a big get for the company. Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos explained that Apatow’s “unique comedic voice” is the draw here, and that “[t]ogether with Paul and Lesley, he’s bringing a whole new level of agony and ecstasy to this modern day comedy of manners.”

    The first season of the series is set to debut in 2016, with season 2 to follow in 2017.

    H/T Deadline | Photo by RLHyde/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)

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    CBS pulled Rihanna from its Thursday Night Football broadcast entirely after she blasted the company on Twitter for taking her out of last Thursday’s game.

    Last Thursday, CBS Sports decided to remove Rihanna’s “Run This Town” and narration from Don Cheadle from the program, instead focusing on coverage about former Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice’s suspension and domestic violence. At the time, CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus told Sports Illustrated that they “needed to have the appropriate tone and coverage.”

    Many weren’t thrilled about the choice to have Rihanna, who is a survivor of domestic violence, perform before the Ravens game before CBS ultimately canceled it, but she wasn’t exactly thrilled about being pulled off the schedule only put it back into the lineup the following week.

    She didn’t hold back earlier Tuesday on Twitter as she lashed out at CBS to her more than 37 million followers.

    However, her verbal attack on CBS didn’t come without its own consequences. Shortly after she posted the tweets, CBS announced that it was removing Rihanna from Thursday Night Football entirely, and said in a statement that it was “moving in a different direction” and getting different theme music to play prior to the game.

    There’s no word yet on who will be Rihanna’s replacement.

    H/T NY Mag | Photo via Eva Rinaldi/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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    Microbrew Madness, the Travel Channel’s new craft beer webseries, certainly meets its objective of showcasing the breadth of the nation’s finest fermented product. But like after any night on the town, you come out feeling like you’ve had much too much of a good thing.

    There’s an arms race among craft breweries. Across the country—from the Pacific coast, through the mountains and Midwest and down to the sunny southeast—there is a relentless drive among brewers to try and outdo one another in creating quirky yet frankly horrible-sounding beers. Anyone for hemp ale? Pizza beer? Something made with beard yeast? Or Texas Hill Country prickly pears

    Of course not. You may well see people pretending to enjoy them—you may even have done this yourself—but secretly they’re all pining for something a little bit more ordinary to wash the taste of mustard or chocolate syrup out of their mouths.

    But it says something that craft breweries feel the need to resort to these gimmicky concoctions. Not that long ago, the mere sight of any amber nectar that hadn’t been pumped out of Milwaukee or Golden, Colo., was worthy of comment. But with craft beer now verging on ubiquitous, mere existence isn’t enough; you need to pull out all stops.

    And it’s that ubiquitousness that becomes numbing repetition in Microbrew Madness. While the geographical scope of the series cannot be faulted—16, seven-minute episodes, each featuring a different microbrewery in a different city—you’d have hoped that the threat of every episode being exactly the same would have prompted someone into mixing up the format.

    But no. Every brewery seems to have been founded because “there was nowhere to get good beer around here,” they all have a 20-second anecdote about where their name came from, and all offer similar food to match their beers.

    This isn’t the fault of the brewers. Although some may think so, none of them are reinventing the wheel. Beer is beer, and by its definition, its creation is pretty standard. 

    But any differences between the different microbrews are unlikely to be teased out by the four different presenters; none of whom are seemingly articulate enough to describe any of the beers beyond “clear,” “clean,” or “citrus.” Knowledge isn’t everything in these sort of programs, but passion or interest, lacking here, is a necessity. Case in point: George Motz’s Hamburger America, an investigation of a similarly omnipresent subject.

    So while it’s great to see all these businesses featured, Microbrew Madness comes across as something of a disservice. Instead of providing some sort of insight into what makes each of its subjects unique, it treats them as if they are all part of a single chain. It makes for a repetitive spectacle and turns the viewing experience into something of a blur—a sensation which, in my drinking experience, is usually followed by a hangover.

    Photo via Joel Olives/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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    After four straight Emmy wins for his lead role in Breaking Bad, what can Bryan Cranston do for an encore?

    A one-man play disguised as a commercial for the Major League Baseball postseason, of course. Cranston, who has played everything from Seinfeld’s dentist to the CIA exec who sends Ben Affleck to Iran in Argo, puts forth a memorable five-and-a-half-minute tour de force of the nation’s pastime to whet fans’ appetite for the upcoming playoffs. Cranston manages to touch all the bases (ouch) in this mix of fact and fiction with just enough goofiness to keep non-baseball fans interested.

    Among the baseball riffs is a re-enactment of Carlton Fisk’s 1975 home run wave, Derek Jeter’s 2001 off-balance throw to nail Jeremy Giambi at the plate, and a dead-on imitation of TBS announcer Ernie Johnson’s signature play-by-play routine. We could live without the overplayed replica of Babe Ruth’s home run call and the odd inclusion of Kevin Costner’s For the Love of the Game character, but we’re talking Bryan Cranston here—give the man some slack. After all, he throws in some love for the great Bugs Bunny.

    It seems likely that prior to the playoffs, which begin Sept. 30 on TBS, the commercial will be chunked down into more bite-size pieces with an airing of the entire bit during a pre-game show. 

    Perhaps not as buzzworthy as the one-off Cranston, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Aaron Paul did for the Emmys, this salute to the grand old game is a nice, upbeat capper to what has been a trying time for professional sports of late.

    H/T Bleacher Report | Screengrab via Bleacher Report/YouTube

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    When it comes to media, the anonymous Internet is everywhere.

    American cable channel Spike TV just picked up a show dubbed Deep Web that will portray a fictional version of the famous Silk Road story, Deadline reports. The series is now in development.

    Inspired by Time magazine’s 2013 cover story on Silk Road, Deep Web tells the story of Silicon Valley nerds who become crime lords on the Internet after building an anonymous website where one can buy kidneys, cocaine, and rocket launchers. For the record, two out of three of those items were never available on the real Silk Road, but Hollywood will be Hollywood. (Hint: Cocaine was most definitely available.)

    The man in charge of the fictional black market eventually becomes the most wanted man on earth.

    Written by Scott Gold (from Under The Dome) and involving big name producers like Gary Oldman, Tony Krantz, and Douglas Urbanski’s Flying Studio Pictures, Deep Web reportedly came with a very high price tag after aggressive pitching.

    Deep Web is just the latest bit of Silk Road in media: A Silk Road documentary, feature film, several books, and even a play are in the works. The anonymizing software Tor played a significant role in the HBO hit House of Cards as well, not to mention endless news coverage on websites that shall remain nameless.

    As many of these productions focus on the admittedly sexy and important criminal aspects of the anonymous Internet, one wonders when Tor’s invaluable aid to whistleblowers, abuse victims, journalists, human rights activists, and normal people looking for a little privacy will end up in a script.

    H/T Hollywood News | Photo by Gage Skidmore (CC BY SA 2.0)

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    Endemol announced its new scripted and reality offerings with a splashy ad during the Streamy Awards livestream this month, but what will these new hub channels offer to the YouTube ecosystem? We took a look at what’s already getting attention on each channel to see where Endemol sees the future of digital video.

    Endemol launched Beyond Originals as a hub for new scripted content, marketing the account as a place where creators could submit their own series for distribution, as well as compete for potential television deals. The promotional video taps talents like director and writer Kevin Smith and producer Anthony Bregman to encourage creators to become a part of the largest independent production company.  So far the hub is curating what the people behind Beyond Originals see as the current and classic best of the Web, which is the best barometer for what they’ll start uploading as their own series in the future. These “best ofs” include:


    This sketch series by Reckless Tortuga that follows Mitchell, our protagonist, whom we follow as regular situations are overanalyzed and displayed as visual hallucinations and drifting thoughts. 

    School of Thrones

    A re-imagining of Game of Thrones in the setting of a high school, featuring familiar YouTube faces like Mary Kate Wiles and Maxwell Glick from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and Team Starkid’s Joey Richter.

    Little Horribles

    A Barnacle Studios webseries described as “darkly comic” that follows the “poor decisions of the self-indulgent lesbian.”

    Adult Wednesday Adams

    A series that follows the adventures of a grown-up version of The Addams Family character Wednesday as she navigates apartment hunting, job interviews, and one-night-stands.

    The channel also features numerous non-English series including the German series Wurmloch and Portuguese series Porta dos Fundos.

    Meanwhile, Endemol’s reality offering, Beyond Reality, will play home to newly produced reality programming. First up is The Muthaship, a series following Emmy winner Drea de Matteo. The Sopranos and Sons of Anarchy star captures her life entirely on her best friend's smartphone, and in the show’s teaser trailer she holds up her Emmy and says, “It’s done nothing but bring me bad luck since I won it.” 

    Aside from pulling the curtain back on Emmy winners, the channel currently plays hub to classic reality television getting a second life on YouTube like Flavor of Love and Deal or No Deal, as well as current Endemol-backed projects like Wipeout and Big Brother. In addition to de Matteo’s show, the channel also promises the forthcoming True Internet Tales, a series that goes behind the scenes of the biggest Web stars from the producers of E! True Hollywood Story.

    Across both properties it’s clear that Endemol is making a play to be the go-to location for top-notch content, and based on the channels' aggregation so far of some of the best of YouTube, viewers can be optimistic about the content of the upcoming original productions. 

    Screengrab via melissahunter/YouTube

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    Kansas City rapper Mac Lethal’s an established artist with three full-length albums and a slew of reputable mixtapes to his name, but he’s always found his biggest bursts of celebrity online. 

    It was nearly three years ago that those not exposed to underground midwestern gutter rap first came across the venerable Rhymesayers veteran. In Nov. 2011, Lethal produced a pancake-aided YouTube parody of Chris Brown’s “Look At Me Now” that eventually accrued 32 million views. 

    One day later, he started the Tumblr “Texts From Bennett,” which posts his text conversations with a cousin named Bennett. That led to a book, published Sept. 2013, that’s earned rave reviews on Goodreads.

    He’s rapped to Mozart, turned tongue twisters into 5 million views, and poked fun at Charlie Sheen. Mac Lethal understands the Internet, and the Internet gets him.

    With his next trick, posted onto his YouTube page Monday, Lethal devises a 2:44 rap ripped from a series of Craigslist personal advertisements. There’s Samantha, and Patrick, and some sketchy guy who says he looks like Trey Songz—even an Arizona apartment listing. 

    Mac Lethal, man. Ellen must be so proud.

    Photo via MacLethal/YouTube

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    A Photoshopped CoverGirl ad is currently circulating in an effort to oust NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for his atrocious handling of the Ray Rice incident, and take CoverGirl to task for being an NFL sponsor. Megan MacKay had a different approach to the NFL’s domestic abuse problem.

    The Toronto writer and comedian's other videos include satirical jabs at Nine West’s ridiculous “husband-hunting” shoe campaign and Legos’ female scientist set. Here, she takes Ray Rice and NFL to task via one of YouTube’s most popular platforms: the makeup tutorial. She uses foundation (“it’ll cover up anything just to save face”), eyeliner, and eye shadow to convey the victim-blaming and misogyny around this incident, and spotlight the institutional brokenness of the NFL.

    “I really wanted to make this video because it's frustrating for me to watch abuse victims get sidelined simply because their abuser is famous for something,” MacKay told the Daily Dot. “It's totally wrong and it normalizes domestic violence in a way that really makes my stomach churn. I'm a comedian, so I decided to contribute to the dialogue in the only way I know how—through comedy.”

    Some commenters felt she was making light of domestic abuse—or used the comments section to offer reasons why she’s wrong about Rice, of course—but in three minutes she drives home the point that we can, and should, do better.

    “The support has blown me away,” MacKay said. “Before this, most of my views came from my mom and my dog, and though they claim they're not biased, I'm pretty sure they are. I've been meeting so many wonderful people on Twitter and lurking the comments across the Web and, really, 99 percent of the people getting involved are just straight-up lovely. I realized there are way fewer axe murderers on the Internet than I thought. It was a great revelation to have.”

    H/T Jezebel | Screengrab via Megan MacKay/YouTube

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    Millennial slacker series Broad City, this year’s breakout hit from Comedy Central, has its roots in the world of no-budget YouTube shorts—a fact that its co-creators haven’t forgotten.

    In the run-up to the show’s second season, slated to kick off in January, Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer have revived “Hack Into Broad City,” a long-dormant bonus series focusing on the pair’s absurd video chats. The new episode finds them sampling an array of cereals, attempting ambitious milk pours, and—of course—smoking heroic amounts of weed.

    Since we’re sure this has only doubled your thirst for more Broad City, we recommend checking out the original run of “Hack Into Broad City,” which definitely holds up.

    Has anyone ever made a messy life of bad sex, squandered talent, and drug abuse in Brooklyn look this good? Well, maybe. But our hearts belong to these two.

    Photo via Comedy Central/YouTube

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    Fans now have a chance to win iconic props from the How I Met Your Mother set in the mother of all giveaways.

    In a promotion for the complete series box set, Twentieth Century Fox is offering props that appeared on the show throughout nine seasons in a Tumblr contest—including Robin’s Vancouver jersey, Ted’s hot dog costume, and the parking meter that Barney’s father ripped from the street, with each coming with an official certificate of authenticity. While only items from the first two seasons are currently available, props from the later seasons will be offered as the contest progresses.

    A “Flash Sweepstakes” will occur every Monday from Sept. 22 to Oct. 20 at 8pm ET, when fans will have a three-hour window to submit entries to win a specific item from the show. The first one up for grabs is the pink boom box that appeared in Robin Sparkles’ “Let’s Go to the Mall” video.

    For HIMYM creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, giving the props to fans was a way to thank them for almost a decade of support.

    “You guys rooted the show on, made it a part of your life, and spent every Monday night with us for nearly a decade,” Bays said in a statement. “We will always be grateful for that. As a way of saying thanks, we'd like to give you the opportunity for a piece of How I Met Your Mother to actually, physically belong to you. From all of us at HIMYM, thanks for watching, and good luck!”

    “We hope that you treasure and enjoy these beloved pieces of HIMYM's soul, or that you at least don't sell them on eBay,” Thomas added.

    You can also enter your name into a drawing to win props during the week, which are distinguishable by the “Win Me!” label on them. A winner is chosen every week and is different from the “Flash Sweepstakes.”

    One fan will win the grand prize: the actual bar from MacLaren’s with bar stools, which is perfect to either toast the end of the show or drink to forget that the much-hated finale ever happened.

    Photo via vagueonthehow/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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    At Saturday's InTour in Pasadena, Calif., at least one desperate parent was willing to shell out an extra $500 just to give her daughter time with one of the YouTube celebrities who headlined the event, according to a report from Business Insider.

    Tickets to the event, which featured the best and brightest of Fullscreen's YouTube and Vine stars, started at a price point of only $42, topping out at $150 for a VIP ticket. With VIP access, fans could attend an early meet and greet with all the show's stars. General admission fans were given a random card that entitled them access to a session with some of the YouTubers featured during the four-hour event. Naturally, some were disappointed with the luck of the draw, and a black market for cards began, with girls tweeting to offer trades, while some parents looking to make their tweens and teens happy resorted to cold hard cash.

    One Business Insider reporter encountered such a mom, who offered her $500 for a Lohanthony card for her 13-year-old. Caroline Moss, a former Daily Dot contributor, had collected the cards for her story, including one for Lohanthony, otherwise known as Anthony Quintal, is a 15-year-old famous on YouTube. Quintal relates deeply to the fans who are being bullied for feeling different, as was the case with the 13-year-old desperate to meet him.

    "I was bullied so much in middle school," Quintal told Business Insider. "I wish there had been something online for me to watch and help me deal with that. That's what I want to be to other people."

    Eventually the Fullscreen staff facilitated a meeting between the daughter of the pleading mom and the star, with no cash exchanged.

    H/T Business Insider | Screengrab via LOHANTHONY/YouTube

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    Nev Schulman wants to be the next Dr. Drew. Or Dr. Phil. Any doctor who specializes in treating the symptoms of mass culture will do, really. 

    Instead of going to medical school, though, Schulman hosts Catfish, an MTV show about misuse of the Internet. In Real Life: Love, Lies & Identity in the Digital Age, his new book, is touted as a companion to the show—a glimpse into Schulman’s juicy personal life, yes, but also a guide for living digitally, for who better to teach the teens whose parents will buy them this book for Christmas not to sext than a dude whose entire career is based on the fact that he sexted a hot babe who turned out to be a middle-aged Michigan mom? 

    The problem with In Real Life isn’t that Schulman is the kind of guy who says things like this:

    "Having been in a three-year relationship with a professional ballerina, I was used to women who were ridiculously toned and lean."

    The problem is that Schulman, Internet expert, has no idea how people actually use the Internet. He also, perhaps more troublingly, seems to have a dangerously tenuous grasp on real life. 

    The book’s format is much more self-help than memoir or narrative—nearly every chapter opens with Schulman's rules for chatting online, for dating online, for engaging in sex acts online, coupled with an embarrassing anecdote from our author’s personal life meant to demonstrate the value of his hard-earned wisdom. Some of the rules, rote as they may be, are not without merit—I have no problem with reminding people to meet Internet strangers in a public place, or that even Snapchat nudes can resurface when least expected.

    Most of them, though, boil down to the idea that getting offline will make life demonstrably better for the user. Facebook and Twitter have become substitutes for human interaction, says Schulman, and we’d all be better off connecting face-to-face. There’s an entire chapter on what it means to be a friend:

    "Someone didn't ask to be your friend. They just became your friend because you spent time with them… but then Facebook came along and decided that all that's required of someone to be your friend is a mere click of a mouse. They are witnesses to your life, not participants in it."

    Most of us, I think, possess at least some kind of internal taxonomy that establishes in our minds a hierarchy of other people. I know that my father is distinct from my boss, that my old roommate is distinct from a girl I sat next to in class, that my sixth-grade partner-in-crime is distinct from the high school trainwreck I can’t help but follow. Each of them gets exactly the amount of attention they deserve. Schulman's book assumes I don’t know how to do this, that I allot all Facebook friends an equal portion of my time and affection, and what’s more, that I give that time and affection online instead of doing so in real life. 

    What he’s missing is that the Internet isn’t, for billions of people, a replacement for physical interaction, but a complement to it. The people I email with all day at work are, by and large, the people I meet for drinks after work (to say nothing of the Internet’s ability to fill the space between meetings or projects or classes, allowing for a moment of engaging with the world whilst trapped at a desk). Shutting that off (like Schulman suggests) would mean disconnecting from a volley of conversation that moves seamlessly between online space and corporeal space, because that’s the great thing about digital communication—at the end of the day, we’re saying the same things. 

    The other, more insidious thing about Schulman's advice is that it mostly stops at “get offline.” He does, in a chapter about Twitter, offer a list of things the reader might do once he or she cuts screen time:

    “Take up exercise and lose twenty pounds
    Become a really good cook
    Learn a new language
    Master the guitar”

    He mentions successful friends (virtually all of them white men, incidentally) who create instead of consume, support instead of critique. There’s a disconnect, though, in that Schulman skips steps 2-10 of the process. If we start by getting offline, and end with our own television show, what happens in the middle? Who pays for the guitar lessons? How do we find time to exercise and cook amid the mundane demands of school, work, and childcare?

    He extends this conceit of feast or famine to his own life in a chapter where he talks about resetting his problematic sex life by committing to a year of celibacy—just like the only way to use the Internet for good is to turn it off, the only way to learn about respecting women is to avoid them. Predictably, it ends with Schulman falling in love and breaking the vow 100 days early, but it’s a nice reminder that the whole book isn’t so much a guide to using the Internet as it is a guide to being Nev Schulman, person with no impulse control or ability to discern meaning without having it spelled out by someone else, and person with the resources to remake his life in a new, incredibly condescending image. 

    That Schulman would write such a book isn’t shocking—his persona on the show is of a person who both empathizes with its subjects (it happened to him, remember) and judges them (“NOT EVERYONE CAN AFFORD A WEBCAM” is a statement I find myself shouting at the television every time I watch the Catfish guys incredulously question a victim). In Real Life is more of the same—Schulman gets what it’s like to be distracted by Facebook chat, because he used to be distracted by Facebook chat! Now, though, he’s deleted the app, and to show for it, he’s got true friends, a successful career, and a singer-songwriter girlfriend. What he leaves out, of course, is that his privilege probably would have allowed him to collect those things anyway. Even if we take the Internet out of the equation, how are the rest of us supposed to manage?

    This is distilled, in the book, to a moment in which Schulman warns the reader against posting anything potentially regrettable online, because it will find you again, “even if,” he says, “it’s just the manager of the local 7 Eleven Googling you before they hire you.”

    So in the end, all the book tells us is that in Schulman's world, you’re the star of MTV’s most popular show or you stock shelves for minimum wage.

    There’s no room for anything else. 

    Photo via MingleMediaTVNetwork/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)

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    While it doesn't have the cachet of a Coachella or a Lollapalooza, the iHeartRadio Festival banks on top-tier pop acts to bring revelers to the Las Vegas desert each September.

    Now in its fourth year, the festival will expand its reach with a streaming deal with Yahoo Screen to air the event on Yahoo Live.

    The level of artists associated is thanks in part to the festival's tie-in with the iHeartMedia radio stations, which stream to 150 channels nationally. In turn, the event is pop-heavy where other, more established festivals veer to the indie and underground acts. iHeartRadio Festival's version of that is the Village stage, which boasts smaller pop acts like 5 Seconds of Summer, Iggy Azalea, and Magic! All of those acts are getting massive mainstream radio play on iHeartRadio stations and beyond. Overall, the event becomes more like a larger-than-life radio showcase than an actual festival offering.

    The event kicks off Friday, Sept. 19 in Las Vegas and features performances from Taylor Swift, One Direction, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, Mötley Crüe, and more. It also boasts special guest appearances from celebrities like Chris Pratt and the stars of Orange Is the New Black.

    Currently the Yahoo Screen interface is offering video features on individual stars' "Road to Vegas" as a lead-up to the two-day event. After its live Yahoo Screen stream, the festival will also air on the CW Sept. 29 and 30.

    H/T Videoink | Illustration by Jason Reed

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    "I should, but I don't," laughs a not-all-that embarrassed Michael Jackson when his sister asks, "Do you work real hard on your dancing?" Then he goes on to discuss the spontaneity and effortlessness that comes to him onstage.

    "I just do it and it happens."

    GIF via Blank on Blank

    Jackson was 22 at the time he and his sister did this 1980 interview, which has been resurrected and paired with new animation as part of PBS Digital's Blank on Blank series. The series takes audio footage of interviews on various subjects and animates it to give new life to old words. In the case of Michael Jackson, the episode is bittersweet.

    Animator Patrick Smith tackled the interview, which was conducted by Los Angeles reporter John Pidgeon—who wasn't prepared for the request to direct his questions to Janet, at the time an unknown younger sister whose name he didn't know. The Blank on Blank website shared some of Pidgeon's recollections of the interview: 

    Shirley [Brooks, publicist for Epic Records] slowed, then stopped me with her arm.

    “One thing,” she said, as if it was an insignificance she had overlooked and just remembered, “you don’t mind if his sister sits in on the interview, do you?”

    Already aware of a distant figure on a marshmallow sofa, I shook my head readily.

    “Of course not, Shirley,” I assured her with a smile. “What’s her name?”


    “Janet,” I repeated.

    “Oh, and one more thing…”

    Shirley paused, to ensure she had my attention. Anticipating another trivial afterthought, I wasn’t ready for the bomb Shirley was about to drop.

    “If you could direct your questions to Janet, she’ll put them to Michael.”

    My mouth opened and I turned to query this extraordinary request, but the arm that had been barring my way was behind me now, launching me through a double doorway and down several carpeted steps into the presence of he-who-must-not-be-addressed-directly, while I struggled to convert a confused backward glance into a great-to-meet-you grin, and wondered whether I was permitted to say hello face to face or expected to channel my greeting via the kid sister too.

    Pidgeon and the Jacksons go on to discuss Michael's recording and performance methods, and the inherent godliness of singing—or at least the inherent godliness of Michael's singing. Read the full interview here.

    Screengrab via YouTube

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    If it is James Franco’s ubiquity that makes him nauseating, the few, stripped-back minutes we get in each episode of his new webseries Making a Scene demonstrate just why he is a movie star.

    Franco makes it very easy for people to hate him. It’s not really the fact that he is taking multiple postgraduate courses simultaneouslywhile lecturing. Nor is it the terrible poetry that makes you doubt his self-awareness, nor the sub-average rebuttal at his undeserved Comedy Central Roast, nor the inexplicable decision to let him host the Oscars.

    Rather it’s the feeling that the whole time he is doling out invisible art or unleashing Dicknose on Paris, he has absolutely no idea what he is doing. And he doesn’t—I once overheard him outside a theatre telling his acolytes that although he couldn’t understand a word of the play’s Irish brogue, it was nevertheless “amaaaaaaaazing,” whilst emanating a charisma and enthusiasm that had the rest of his crew nodding away.

    And that’s why he’s a movie star and we’re just jealous nobodies. Sure, you may well write better than him. Or paint better than him. But you probably don’t look like him, and more importantly, you definitely don’t also have the unfathomable confidence to push yourself to the forefront of relevance even when you shouldn’t be.

    Each episode of Making a Scene starts just how most of Franco’s “projects” probably start; Franco, surrounded by a team of people, almost prostrate, barely awake and wedged into cushions as if he has just been wheeled in after surgery. 

    A wheel is spun and two films or genres are selected that will then be mashed together in a scene that makes up the bulk of the episode: Dirty Dancing/Reservoir Dogs, Batman/Beetlejuice, Taxi Driver/silent films.

    Franco is the object of all the action. The team talk at him, coming up with the ideas. They put his makeup on, and, one assumes, pull the script together. You’d think that with his name attached to the title, Franco would at least get out of his nest and spin the wheel, but no. He just looks way too sleepy to do that.

    So it’s set up to be a trainwreck, which takes some doing in a three-minute episode. You picture the glazed-over Franco from the Oscars walking around as Jack Nicholson in The Shining waiting for it all to be over. 

    But when each episode switches to its titular scene, something happens; Franco comes alive. He’s suddenly bright-eyed and funny and, pivotally, entertaining. The mashups make sense and you wonder why no one else has done something like this. 

    Suddenly the feelings of annoyance, created by a false belief that he had been leading you toward an infuriating waste of time dissipate, now replaced by that familiar feeling of jealousy that usually accompanies thoughts of him. And we’re back to square one. Damn it, James Franco, I hate you so much.

    Screengrab via AOL Originals/YouTube

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    It seemed fitting when the teen-favorite periodical Seventeen Magazine announced its October 2015 issue would highlight 30 different YouTubers, featuring Bethany Mota on the cover. As this issue hits stands today, editor-in-chief Ann Shoket took to the official YouTube blog to explain why the magazine and its readers are so enamored with these young stars.

    Shoket primarily cites the down-to-earth, approachable lifestyles and attitudes most YouTube celebrities have compared to traditional media stars. She states that “on YouTube, we root for the people who are sort of unpolished, a little weird even. We connect with them because they show us their authentic selves, because they are accessible to us.”

    A survey conducted by Variety recently confirmed this accessibility idea. Several questions were posed to U.S. teens about how “real” the survey’s selected new media and traditional media celebrities appeared. The results were more in favor of YouTubers like Smosh and The Fine Bros than stars like Jennifer Lawrence and Daniel Radcliffe.

    While these questions are naturally bent towards the interactive nature of YouTube’s platform, Shoket believes the ability to be open and, in a sense, vulnerable, allows creators to develop a virtual “tribe” which is made up of fans who feel connected to the creators themselves. She references cover girl Bethany Mota’s struggle with bullying and how YouTube was a safe, fulfilling outlet for her to overcome those issues.

    “It’s liberating to surround yourself with people who just get you,” Shoket writes. “The power of finding your tribe on YouTube is creating a space where it’s okay to be 100 percent you!”

    Seventeen’s decision to highlight these new media stars sends a clear message to young teens growing up in a world full of heightened expectations. The magazine wants its readers to know being real is where it’s at, just like their favorite stars emulate on the screen every day.

    Screengrab via Seventeen/YouTube

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    Rapper Waka Flocka Flame is a budding small business owner and prolific job creator. Now the Atlanta-based rapper is seeking a designated blunt roller to run point on all things pertaining to rolling exceptional blunts. 

    On Monday, he turned to his Instagram account to solicit applicants.

    One can apply to join his emerging conglomerate via Instagram or Twitter. All you need is to display your technical proficiency using the hashtag #ICanRoll.

    There are two concrete downsides, of course. In addition to the rolling, the qualified applicant can (almost surely) expect to physically carry Mr. Flame’s weed; he or she would thus be liable in the event that his tour bus is pulled over or TSA screeners find small amounts of dope rolled up in an airtight bag stuffed in a sock. The other big thing is that as a leading member of the Brick Squad, Mr. Flame is known to hurricane hangers-on into his heavy partying antics. He once drank a Vice reporter under the table and put him in the hospital.

    Beyond that, the gig budgets in a starting base salary of $50,000 per year. Mr. Flame has no shortage of qualified candidates to vet. 

    Screengrab via Woka Flocka/YouTube

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    You’ve likely had that moment of panic while searching Spotify: the album you want to listen to right now isn’t there. You fall into an abyss of despair. You end up listening to Jawbreaker’s Dear You because you’re in a vulnerable place. 

    Finding albums on Spotify is sort of a game of Whac-A-Mole. A recent search for Bikini Kill albums yielded only songs from compilations, which might have something to do with the fact that the band started a label in order to release their back catalog earlier this year. Perhaps those albums will never see Spotify. 

    I asked my Daily Dot coworkers about the glaring omissions on Spotify and received passionate emails pleading for a wealth of works to be represented: Rammstein, Boris’s Pink, Bollywood soundtracks, Def Leppard’s Hysteria, the Friday soundtrack, Bob Seger, Silver Jews, and, of course, the Beatles. (If the disappearance of the iPod has you nostalgic, here’s a Spotify playlist of early Aughts songs. Train’s Drops of Jupiter is very much available.)

    Of course, bands actively avoid Spotify: The Black Keys withheld their most recent album, and you won’t see Beyoncé’s latest effort there, or Coldplay’s. Some acts have attempted to circumvent the business model—most notably trio Vulfpeck, who released an album of complete silence on Spotify earlier this year, in an effort to pay for a tour. Spotify later removed the album, but only after the band reportedly made about $20,000 from streams. 

    If an album isn’t on Spotify, it’s likely wandering a maze of rights issues; the process of getting an album on the site is often complicated. Graham James, the self-described “communication guy” for Spotify, explained:

    “In order to have music on Spotify, we need to have agreements with the rights holders—that usually means the label and the publisher and in some cases the artists. The issues are unique to each artist and title when it comes to where these are made available.” 

    Which is why some albums might never end up on Spotify, like the Beatles’ catalog, and, alternately, some previously unavailable albums magically appear after an absence. One notable missing album is Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, which was removed from iTunes in 2011. James says the reason “is an issue between the artist and the label that dates back years. It's now stuck in a legal limbo.” Surprisingly, another notoriously litigious artist on the wanted list, Prince, currently has a healthy selection of albums on Spotify, with Diamonds and Pearls and Lovesexy as two glaring omissions. 

    Here’s a list of some of the albums currently in Spotify limbo, ones that, if Spotify is anything like a vision board, might materialize simply because we put the idea into the universe. 

    1) Dead Kennedys, Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables

    I was actually surprised to find any Dead Kennedys albums on Spotify, though the albums represented only offer partial tracks. This 1980 album—the group’s debut—is their masterpiece, and a nice bookmark in punk’s political history. 

    2) All of Lil B’s mixtapes

    We’ve lost track of how many mixtapes Lil B actually has now, so it’d be nice to have them all in one place. Spotify is also doing video ads soon, and Lil B would be perfect for a spot. 

    3) Kate Bush, Hounds of Love 

    Kate Bush is having a moment: Her 22-date London comeback tour—her first live performances in 35 years—sold out in less than 15 minutes, and she recently became the first woman to have eight albums on the top 40 charts at the same time. One of those album is Bush’s 1985 LP, Hounds of Love, which is sorely missing from Spotify. 

    4) Cabaret Voltaire, The Living Legends

    U.K. electronic group Cabaret Voltaire's catalog is kind of a mess on Spotify, but this compilation houses all the “hits” you need from the group. 

    5) Wire, Pink Flag 

    The band’s 1978 album, Chairs Missing, is available, and it’s a fine one, but Pink Flag remains the lynchpin. 

    6) Big Black, Songs About Fucking

    Steve Albini actually had positive things to say about streaming, in terms of bands getting exposure, but not so much for artists. None of his projects are on Spotify, but perhaps that’s keeping the universe in balance. 

    7) Bikini Kill’s catalog 

    Bikini Kill might have the same view as Albini when it comes to artists making money on streaming sites. Their albums were apparently on Spotify under the Kill Rock Stars label at one point, though there’s no word if they’ll be back now that they’ve started Bikini Kill Records to release their catalog. 

    8) This Heat, This Heat

    U.K. trio This Heat only released two proper studio albums, but their 1979 debut self-titled is the monolith. 

    9) King Crimson, In the Court of the Crimson King

    This 1969 album features “21st Century Schizoid Man,” which was sampled by Kanye West for one of the most perfect cultural transactions ever. Though King Crimson does not exist on Spotify, guitarist Robert Fripp did just debut a King Crimson-focused YouTube channel. 

    10) Aaliyah, One in a Million 

    Her 1996 follow-up to 1994 debut Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number (which is on Spotify) will make you nostalgic for the Missy Elliott/Timbaland era. Now that a Lifetime movie about Aaliyah is being floated around, it’s apparent a whole new generation is unfamiliar, and that’s a crime. 

    11) Radiohead, In Rainbows

    This 2007 album was on several people’s lists of demands, which is ironic because it’s become the success story for circumventing sites like Spotify. Frontman Thom Yorke also famously described Spotify as the “last desperate fart of a dying corpse.” Burn. 

    That said, at the time this article published, there were no fewer than five versions of the full album ripped to YouTube. So there's that.


    As a bonus, here are five lesser-known albums that are on Spotify, which you should listen to posthaste: 

    1) Au Pairs, Stepping Out of Line 

    U.K. punk band Au Pairs are perhaps the best part of Urgh! A Music War. They didn’t shy away from issues of sex, pleasure, and feminism, as heard on “Come Again” and “Set-Up,” from their first album, Playing With a Different Sex. This anthology shows the scope of work between 1978-1983, during which they only released two albums. 

    2) Arthur Russell, First Thought Best Thought

    A coworker pointed out that The World of Arthur Russell, the late composer’s collection of dance tracks, is sadly missing from Spotify, but this collection of instrumentals is there in its stead. 

    3) Harry Nilsson and John Lennon, Pussy Cats

    This 1974 album was recorded during Lennon and Nilsson’s infamous “lost weekend,” and you can hear Nilsson’s voice getting shredded. But there are some truly beautiful moments from this creative partnership, including this cover. 

    4) Swell Maps, Jane From Occupied Europe

    The wealth of styles contained in this 1980 album is astounding, and Swell Maps’ sound has never been duplicated. Check out frontman Nikki Sudden’s other project, Jacobites, as well. 

    5) Lizzy Mercier Descloux, Mambo Nassau

    ZE Records reissued French singer Descloux’s albums in 2006, which was a goldmine for fans. Mambo Nassau might be her best album, but the Press Color collection highlights her post-punk output with Rosa Vertov. 

    Photo via Scott Sandars/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed

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    Everyone brings their A-game to a lip-synch battle, even if that game is full of theatrics.

    The Voice judges Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton showed up to face off against Jimmy Fallon (and each other), and instead of actually performing a live song together, they decided to fake it. Stefani poked fun at her own Emmy flub from last month, and then she and Shelton went over-the-top, leading up to a duet of “Endless Love.”

    Emma Stone still may be the overall champion, but you can’t say that these guys aren’t enthusiastic about it.

    H/T Brobible | Photo via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon/YouTube

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    If it feels like relentlessly upbeat rapper and Twitter superstar Lil B hasn’t been putting out mixtapes at his usual frenetic rate, it’s probably because he’s been working on an app that will change texting as we know it: Basedmoji.

    “This Is A Very Rare App Designed And Developed By Lil B himself!!!” reads the product description, written in his typically breathless style. “COLLECT THIS APP AND SPREAD AROUND THE WORLD! This app was created by Lil B to have fun with your friends and family and celebrate the life of Lil B! I LOVE YOU!”

    Seriously, you will never need to type words on your phone again—this was the last piece missing from your #based lifestyle.

    An emoji of Brandon McCartney using his phone to send positive vibes? No wonder the app’s first 772 reviewers gave it a solid five-star rating. But those of us on Andoid are stuck with the same old smiley faces—a circumstance about which I can only say one thing:    


    H/T Pitchfork | Photo by Generation Bass/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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