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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    Well, Internet. You did it. Balance has been restored. Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas is officially the worst-rated movie on IMDB.

    Last month, the former Growing Pains star put out a call to his followers, asking them to help “storm the gates of Rotten Tomatoes," in an effort to get his new movie, Saving Christmas, some good reviews. He wanted the liberal media to know people still want to see movies like Saving Christmas, which, according to IMDB, is about Cameron “enjoying the annual Christmas party extravaganza thrown by his sister until he realizes he needs to help out Christian, his brother-in-law who has a bad case of the bah-humbugs. Kirk's fresh look at Christmas provides Christian the chance to see Christ is where He has always been: at the center of our Christmas celebrations and traditions.”

    I mean, look at this poster.

    The people did speak up, as Cameron instructed. The movie now has a 0 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and it’s currently the No. 1 worst-rated movie on IMDB. No. 2 on the list? 2010’s Birdemic: Shock and Terror. Also on the list: Paris Hilton’s 2008 epic, The Hottie and the Nottie. Consider Christmas saved.

    KCam, this is the best press you could get.

    Photo via Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)


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    Barack Obama's job approval rating may be currently hovering near an all-time low of 43 percent, but his polling numbers are still looking great with Michelle—assuming the National Enquirer isn't on to something

    Now the couple's first date in 1989 will be immortalized in celluloid for an upcoming film called Southside With You, the Hollywood Reporter notes.

    Written and directed by playwright Richard Tanne, who previously penned the story for the film Worst Friends, the movie will follow what happened after the future president, who was working as a summer associate at the Chicago law firm Sidley Austin, asked out his boss, Michelle Robinson.

    Tika Sumpter, who had a recurring role in the TV series Gossip Girl, will play Michelle. The role of the future president has not been cast. Ideal casting: Barack (Eddie Murphy), Michelle (Eddie Murphy), Michelle's wisecracking best gal pal (Eddie Murphy), Joe Biden (himself). 

    The film looks to be in the vein of Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise, the undisputed gold standard for first-date movies where things don't go horribly wrong and end with the guy saving the world from an alien invasion.

    Southside With You wouldn't be the first movie drawn from a true-life road to the White House. The lead character in the weepy 1970 hit Love Story was partially based on a young Al Gore. Interestingly, the part of that character not inspired by Gore was modeled off of Gore's college roommate at Harvard, actor Tommy Lee Jones.

    As detailed in a 2012 campaign video, Barack and Michelle spent their first date walking around Chicago's South Side, visiting the Art Institute of Chicago, and seeing Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing.


    "He showed all the sides—he was hip, cutting edge, cultural, sensitive," said Michelle.

    "Take tips, gentlemen," added the president.

    Photo by Pete Souza/Wikimedia Commons 


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    Black Mirror, the U.K. show about how technology is going to be the death of us, has finally made it to Netflix, and there's been much rejoicing. 

    The series, which originally aired on the U.K.'s Channel 4, consists of two short three-episode seasons, and while each episode focuses on a different plot, themes of mind control, surveillance, and distraction all figure into the larger series arc. 

    There are some parallels to the BBC's techno-thriller Orphan Black, but Black Mirror really creates a world of its own. The black mirror of the title refers to those all around us: our phones, our TVs, our laptops. It's creating scary stories for the Internet age: Black Mirror is sort of like Tales From the Darkside for this generation. 

    Here's why you should be watching. 

    1) Charlie Brooker

    Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker's sense of humor isn't for everyone, and that's a good thing. He's also one of the best satirists working right now. 

    He wrote about the “dark side” of gadget obsession for the Guardian in 2011. Black Mirror might make us fear the future, but don't forget about the now:

    The present day is no less crazy. We routinely do things that just five years ago would scarcely have made sense to us. We tweet along to reality shows; we share videos of strangers dropping cats in bins; we dance in front of Xboxes that can see us, and judge us, and find us sorely lacking. It's hard to think of a single human function that technology hasn't somehow altered, apart perhaps from burping. That's pretty much all we have left. Just yesterday I read a news story about a new video game installed above urinals to stop patrons getting bored: you control it by sloshing your urine stream left and right. Read that back to yourself and ask if you live in a sane society.

    He claimed Black Mirror is “all about the way we live now—and the way we might be living in 10 minutes' time if we're clumsy. And if there's one thing we know about mankind, it's this: we're usually clumsy.”

    Fans of Black Mirror should also seek out Brooker's 2008 show The Dead Set, which wondered what would happen if Big Brother contestants stopped being human and turned into zombies. He was also involved in two of the best shows you've probably never heard of…

    2) Brass Eye and Nathan Barley

    Brooker was a writer for criminally obscure late ’90s show Brass Eye, which skewered the British news media, and 2005’s Nathan Barley, which satirized vlog and startup culture. Brooker co-wrote Nathan Barley with Chris Morris, who also starred in Brass Eye. Their comedic chemistry and talent for cleaving open taboo ideas is apparent.

    To feel the weight of Black Mirror’s narrative sense of humor and dread, one could benefit from taking in these shows as bookmarks of other satiric eras. More importantly, the humor doesn’t feel dated—these shows predicted much of the current media and Internet landscape: Nathan Barley’s titular character runs a Web startup and is obsessed with prank videos and empty culture. The oblivious newscaster of Brass Eye (played by Morris) wouldn’t feel out of place on FOX or CNN.

    3) This is the kind of show you’ll need to watch twice

    In the first episode, the prime minister has to screw a pig on live TV at the behest of an Internet troll, and that sets the tone. In episode 2, an American Idol-esque talent competition houses contestants in what is essentially a screen-filled prison, every daily action involving a swipe or non-verbal signal. The speech from the end of the episode is pretty heavy. 

    Episode 3’s “The Entire History of You” explores the moral implications of an implantable tech that lets you rewatch moments in your life. That episode is apparently being made into a movie by Black Mirror fan Robert Downey Jr., and each chapter in the anthology feels like it could be a two-hour film as well. Except the episodes don’t benefit from happy endings; they end right where they should, much like the show it’s been compared to, The Twilight Zone. There are narrative threads—is that the same blue car in every episode?—that will make you look twice. 

    The most effecting episode of season 2 might be “White Bear,” in which a terrified woman whose mind has been erased is followed and filmed by strangers’ phones. Writing about the episode in Boing Boing, Leigh Alexander asked, “To what extent can you stand by and watch horror before you are complicit, punishable?”

    Much of Black Mirror asks us to stand by and watch the horror, whether it’s political, relationship-based, or a critique of the media. In the final episode of season 2, “The Waldo Moment,” a cartoon character becomes a political menace, and Brooker shows just how easily that could actually happen while we're distracted. The idea was supposed to be for Nathan Barley, which again shows how prescient it was.

    4) There’s going to be a Christmas special with Jon Hamm 

    The fantastically named Black Mirror: White Christmas debuts Dec. 16 and will feature Jon Hamm in a story about what would happen if you could “block” people in real life, like you do on Twitter and Facebook. It’s not entirely clear what Hamm’s role is, but we’re guessing he’s going to ruin some lives via technology. 


    Photo via Roland Tanglao/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0) | Screengrab via Netflix | Remix by Jason Reed


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    Is the massive Sony hack really just an insane PR stunt for Seth Rogen and James Franco's new movie, The Interview

    Franco hosted Saturday Night Live last night, and in his opening monologue, he addressed the hack and the personal information that leaked about Sony employees. To get out ahead of any personal info leaking on him, Franco gave the audience his email address and password. 

    But since this is a promotional bit for their movie, Rogen also appeared on stage to give him some bad news: Photos from their phones were leaked. 


    Franco also tried to make a joke about his Instagram scandal from earlier this year, employing 2014's most overused phrase: "The hackers did it." 

    Screengrab via Hulu 


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    Lee '"Q" O'Denat started World Star Hip-Hop in 2001 as an outlet for New York City mixtapes. Today it's a media empire that once turned down $15 million in investments so it could remain an R-rated site that brings you the latest in street fights, police brutality, and, yes, sexually explicit rap videos.

    Today it's an undeniable reporting tool for anyone with a phone that runs on seedy editorial ethics but is a torching vehicle for truth to power. 

    "You have to look at the good stuff, the bad stuff, and the ugly stuff in one page," O'Denat says in a new documentary from the Verge. 

    "It's a battle cry," he adds about the phrase "World Star!" as often heard from the lens of its amateur content creators. Usually before two dudes fight outside a nightclub. 

    It's a compelling, borderline inspiring oral history from a Queens, N.Y., high school dropout turned media mogul. 

    Screengrab via The Verge/YouTube

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    If you thought we'd finally hit peak Frozen with the existence of The Shining/Frozen fan theories and babies named Elsa, you were wrong. The movie's popularity continues in the form of an elaborate holiday light display. 

    John Storms of Austin, Texas, told Huffington Post that he and his family have been planning these holiday light displays since 2010, synchronized with popular music. The "Let It Go"-themed display has allegedly been in the works since February, so it's a good thing the movie is still relevant, the song forever seared into our collective mind. 

    He said the display runs on LED lights and that the "computer that runs the show is an energy efficient netbook that also keeps the power usage down." 


    Storms also says that, thankfully, his neighbors are understanding. 

    H/T Huffington Post | Screengrab via listentoourlights/YouTube 


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    Drummers are burdened with a constant lack of space. It's a recurring lineage: child drums, gets access to a kit in the high school jazz band, has some cheap starter kit, bangs in a hometown garage, goes to college. Drumming careers usually end whenever apartments come into play. 

    This Japanese man found a way, as he writes:
    I'm actuary (sic) a drummer. Unfortunately I don't have my drumset at home. cause of the sound, not enough space, can't afford them with zildjian cymbals anyway... Then, I taught (sic) myself, wait a minute I got my iPad & GarageBand! Why not! Let's do some iPad Rock!! 
    That double-bass action would make Joey Jordison blush through his Slipknot mask.

    Photo via Metal Chris/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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    As streaming becomes an increasingly popular way to avoid monthly cable fees or to supplement an already overcrowded roster of options, Roku has taken the lead as the most popular device consumer for alternative TV viewing.

    Research from Dallas-based Parks Associates reports that Roku is tops this year among streaming devices, with around 29 percent of the market, nosing out Google’s Chromecast. If going with No. 1 is appealing, it’s worth knowing what sort of content awaits you once you get the box up and running.

    Much like its competitors, Roku is heavy on those well-known services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus,Crackle, and Amazon Originals. It also has online music (Spotify, Pandora), social apps, news, weather, sports, and so on. What separates Roku from others in its space is the abundance of what it calls private channels that require a treasure map (or clever searching) to locate. These are channels that are not listed in the online channel store and must be added manually via the Web. Manual additions only require the click of a button on any site that lists private Roku channels. (The same goes for adult channels, which Roku also does not list in its online guide.)

    Mixing private options with some of the more obscure programs found in Roku’s online channel store creates an eclectic palette of programming that can make you laugh, cry and, more often than not, scratch your head.

    We’ve rounded up 10 premier private channels that are free (many come with ads). We’ll leave the porn selections for another time (and author).

    1) Nowhere TV

    A private channel easily added from various websites, this is a curation masterpiece of sorts from a Tempe, Ariz.-based Roku developer who seems to enjoy personal anonymity. The self-admitted Apple fanboy has built up a strange roster of channels, including ones dedicated to police scanners and traffic cams from around the country.

    Nowhere TV, on the other hand, is an info junkie's delight. For starters, there are a number of live TV newscasts from Boston; New York; Panama City, Fla.; and Eugene, Ore., which provide various local takes on daily events. Add to that old clips of Jerry Seinfeld performing on The Tonight Show (circa Johnny Carson) and some vintage David Letterman interviews, and you have a nice way to kill an hour or two.

    For extra credit, you can watch the multitalented John Green’s show Crash Course, which has more than 2 million subscribers on YouTube. It’s amazing what you can learn in a matter of 10 minutes.

    You have to wonder how the master of Nowhere TV gets this content, given the minefield that is copyright. Perhaps because he replies on donations rather than a subscription fee, this Arizona man has kept himself out of court.

    2) Great Chefs

    A popular series originally produced for PBS, the Great Chefs franchise includes such programs as Great Chefs of the West; Great Chefs, Great Cities; and Great Chefs of the Caribbean. The series originally aired more than 30 years ago, so the chefs have aged, but their stylish recipes have not. The Roku version is a “best of” curation of the 700 television episodes, and like a bag of greasy chips, watching one episode will surely led to another.

    3) Tiny Desk Concerts

    There are intimate performances in which famous musicians play small venues and provide a memorable experience… and then there are the sessions played at the desk of NPR’s All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen.

    While these clips are available in many places, such as YouTube, they are amazing to watch on a big screen with good speakers in place. The segment with Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo performing “We Live for Love” made for amazing Web viewing. You have to love T-Pain bravely taking a shot at playing without Auto-Tune. And there’s a lot more where that came from.

    4) GoatsLive.com

    Yes, this is exactly it sounds like—a 24-hour channel of goats. These creatures of the barnyard do nothing special other than eat, walk around, and wait for whatever comes next. In order to pull this off, there are several webcams deployed to ensure there is always a goat in action for a global audience of viewers.

    The website that supports this peculiar offering says: “We're just a couple of retired people living on a hobby farm, raising goats, ducks, and chickens. We first put the cameras up to show family, but decided that perhaps others would like to enjoy the antics of Molly and Joy-Joy as well, and we were right!”

    So, you ask, how can these folks afford the technology needed for nonstop goat surveillance? Check out their online store fueled by CafePress, and you’ll find your own Molly the Goat-footed pajamas. At $49.99, they’re a bargain.

    5) Los Angeles Times Originals

    Originally started as a deal with DirecTV to provide documentary-style programming, the Los Angeles Times has since expanded its distribution pipeline to include Hulu Plus as well as Roku.

    The clips run across four categories—sports, entertainment, documentaries, and lifestyles. For my money, the documentary work is the best. One series, Made in California, spins out interesting stories that include the saga of the real-life Nightcrawlers, the future of L.A.’s water supply, and women’s high school wrestling.

    For anyone who thinks newspapers can no longer create compelling content, this is a convincing argument otherwise.

    6) Comedy Dynamics

    If you can live with the abundance of commercials and are a fan of standup comedy, this is nirvana. Offered by one of the more prolific producer/distributors of standup specials, New Wave, this channel can tickle your funny bone with short clips or longer, full-performance standup specials.

    What will appeal to comedy fans is the broad range of talents, from the acerbic to the blasphemous, including such names as Bob Saget, Tom Papa, Brian Posehn, D.L. Hughley, and Whitney Cummings.

    7) Tastemade

    A Santa Monica-based creator/producer/distributor of all things cooking video, Roku is just one of many platforms the company uses to push its work to the world.

    There is something for every appetite with how-to shows and programming that touches on travel, the fine art of making the perfect cocktail, and even gourmet tailgating. Production is first-rate. If you find something you like, you always have the option of watching more on your smartphone, tablet or on your computer via YouTube.

    My two favorites are Sorted (which used to have its own Roku channel) and Raw, Vegan, Not Gross. Laura Miller’s vegan recipes have earned her a cookbook deal with a major publisher.

    8) Do Your Part

    Billed as “the everyday green channel,” this spot on the Roku dial focuses on the three Rs of conservation—reduce, reuse, and recycle.

    True to its word, there are subchannels on DYP that provide in the neighborhood of 80 short clips on such areas as green home appliances, green cleaning tips, green Christmas tips, and how to safely shampoo your canine without harmful chemicals.

    9) Ball Is Life

    Dunks, crossover dribbles, behind-the-back passes, and every other hot-dog hoops move is showcased in this channel dedicated to the game and the lifestyle surrounding it.

    Basketball fans can get lost in the eye-popping clips, with my favorite being the slam dunk contest competition where a 5-foot, 10-inch street star Sir Isaac Kils takes the crown with a crazy windmill dunk over the Phoenix Suns Gorilla.

    Ball Is Life has a companion website that is as slick as its Roku channel.

    10) Snag Films

    Snag is another multiplatform distributor whose indie films are available via numerous streaming services include iPad, Xbox 360, and smart TVs from Sony and Panasonic. It is worth adding to your collection for its carefully curated batch of movies offered to viewers via personalized recommendation (account sign-up required). The company, founded by former AOL exec Ted Leonsis, says its films are hand-selected by a “kick-ass editorial team.”

    The collection of videos you find online is not a 100 percent match to the available Roku titles. They can be watched for free with ads or for 99 cents without commercial interruption.

    I find Snag to be a poor man’s Vimeo (which also has a Roku channel) with a decent selection of Bollywood films if you’re in the mood for melodrama and crazy dancing.

    Roku does not have a set schedule on when it adds new channels. There is a blog that talks about “big name” content it adds to its growing list, but to find the hidden goodies (private channels) there are some good Web resources led by The Streaming Advisor.

    Photo viaRoku.com


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    Season 3 of The Newsroom is coming to a close, and last night’s episode couldn’t have been more poorly timed.

    One of the narrative threads of “Oh Shenandoah” was that of a college student who claimed she was raped. Don Keefer (Thomas Sadoski) is tasked with producing a segment, and he struggles with how to approach it, especially within Lucas Pruitt’s (B.J. Novak) new millennial regime. 

    An undergrad at Princeton has created a website for students who have been sexually assaulted but don’t have enough evidence to come forward. Victims can name accusers there; Pruitt wants the victim and her accused rapist to come on ACN together, which both Don and Sloan (Olivia Munn) agree is a terrible idea.

    Keefer does some “detective work” to find Mary, the woman who runs the site, and interrogates her in her dorm room about the night she was raped. Keefer asks if maybe the website could be used for “revenge.” Perhaps someone would make up a story and attempt to ruin a man’s life. After some trademark Sorkin back-and-forth, Don attempts to talk her out of coming forward on the show, claiming she’ll be “slut-shamed” and that “teams” will be formed.

    It’s an unfortunate approach to the subject, and it collided with a weekend in which Rolling Stone tried to backtrack on its feature story “A Rape on Campus” and a troll disguised as a journalist posted the personal info of the story’s alleged rape victim.

    Newsroom writer Alena Smith took to Twitter last night to give a little background on the episode, including the fact that she was “kicked out” of the writers’ room when she attempted to argue against the storyline. (The Daily Dot has reached out to Smith for comment.)

    As New Yorker writer Emily Nussbaum points out in her review of the episode, The Newsroom’s depiction of women is often frustrating, and Sorkin’s not known for giving them room to argue their case, though she notes both Sloan and Maggie (Allison Pill) have stepped up in that area in season 3. She outlines how arguing with Sorkin’s storylines often turns the viewer into a Sorkin character. But then there’s this:

    Don’s right, of course: a public debate about an alleged rape would be a nightmare. Anonymous accusations are risky and sometimes women lie about rape (Hell, people lie about everything). But on a show dedicated to fantasy journalism, Sorkin’s stand-in doesn’t lobby for more incisive coverage of sexual violence or for a responsible way to tell graphic stories without getting off on the horrible details or for innovative investigations that could pressure a corrupt, ass-covering system to do better. Instead, he argues that the idealistic thing to do is not to believe her story. Don’s fighting for no coverage: he’s so identified with falsely accused men and so focussed on his sorrowful, courtly discomfort that, mainly, he just wants the issue to go away.

    In another of the episode’s storylines, Sorkin defends celebrities’ privacy and has Sloan eviscerate a millennial employee who created a celebrity-stalking app. Erin Andrews, the woman tracked on the app, must be defended, because she's famous. The college student who was raped must be tracked down in her dorm and interrogated. 

    Sorkin, ever the mansplainer, has never had a grasp on how to portray women if they’re not there to make men better and elevate them to greatness. (See Amy Schumer’s fantastic Sorkin spoof for proof.) Don is threatened by an anonymous website that could be used to falsely accuse men and ruin their lives. Don is a stand-in for Sorkin. Sorkin was threatened by a female writer who questioned his storyline. 

    Men are the heroes in Sorkin's world. Don was a hero for making a moral judgement and saying he believed the man accused of rape. The accuser is treated with suspicion. At one point, Don tells Mary "what kind" of rape she experienced. 

    It was a reminder of how the media treats victims, and the value it puts on their stories. Yes, we should be questioning rape victims. But last night's episode showed Hollywood still doesn't know how. 

    Screengrab via HBO Go


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    Girl Online is the fastest-selling debut novel in history—and you've never heard of the author.

    After a week of speculation surrounding a mysterious acknowledgment of an unknown writer in her new book, Zoe Sugg, better known as the British YouTube celebrity Zoella, has admitted her book was ghostwritten.

    Siobhan Curham is an author and writing coach who wrote excitedly on her blog and Goodreads account in August that she had been hired to write an 80,000-word novel—roughly the length of Girl Online—for a major publisher in six weeks. 

    Today, Penguin representative Tania Vian-Smith told the Bookseller that Curham "was part of the editorial team" who assembled the book.

    Don't show me your tweet-face 
    Or ur txt spk 
    Show me your true face 
    And let your heart speak

    Many of the eagle-eyed readers who gobbled up Girl Online in its record-breaking opening week noticed that in the acknowledgments, Sugg thanked Curham as part of the Penguin editorial team—odd, since the publishing company only briefly acknowledged her as an "editorial consultant" in a promotional release for the book, and only one of the 12 novels on her Amazon author page is published by a Penguin imprint. 

    Sugg thanked Curham for being "with me every step of the way." As Bibliodaze noted, the phrasing raised eyebrows: "It’s a commonly known industry tidbit that a ghost-writer is always acknowledged as such – worded in a way that those in the know will easily get it yet not too obvious for others." If Sugg had simply acknowledged Curham on the title page, or had her debut been a smaller success, it wouldn't have been a big deal. But the author of the fastest-selling novel in history deserves at least some of the credit, right? "I just in NO WAY imagine that zoe would do something like that," commented Zoella fan Laura Reis on the earlier Daily Dot article speculating on the possibility.

    Yesterday, Sugg finally came clean, admitting that while "the story and characters" were here own, she needed "help" to write her first novel, without mentioning Curham by name:

    Earlier today, an unknown Penguin representative corroborated her statement, confirming to the Sunday Times (via the Guardian) that Curham is the book's other author.

    "To be factually accurate, you would need to say Zoe Sugg did not write the book Girl Online on her own," the representative of the company told the paper. 

    But it might be more accurate to say that the novel, which Penguin hailed prior to its release as having "Zoe’s relatable, fresh and engaging voice," might actually have Siobhan's relatable, fresh voice. A blurb on Curham's author blog for an upcoming self-help book for teens reads:

    Don't show me your tweet-face 
    Or ur txt spk 
    Show me your true face 
    And let your heart speak

    As twee as that kind of fake netspeak might sound, it's easy to see how it could appear simple and relatable to teenage girls—especially if they thought the woman behind the words was their role model Zoella. In her full statement, Vian-Smith stuck by the claim that the book was most authentically Sugg's:

    As with many new writers she got help in bringing that story to life. If you read the book, it is clearly Zoe’s story and an expression of herself… As publishers our role is, and always has been, to find the very best talent and help them tell their story and connect them with readers. Talented YouTube entrepreneurs such as Zoe are brilliant at understanding and entertaining their audience. For her first novel, Girl Online, Zoe has worked with an expert editorial team to help her bring to life her characters and experiences in a heartwarming and compelling story.

    Curham herself was staying mum on Twitter after the news, though she did thank followers who offered her support:

    Curham probably isn't kidding. If her own account of writing a book in just six weeks is about Girl Online, the experience was incredibly intense: Her how-to guide speaks of chugging lemon-water, getting regular exercise, and treating the experience like a runner's marathon. And if reports in the Telegraph from last week are true, other authors who claim they turned down Penguin's offer say they were only offered £7,000–£8,000 ($11,000–$12,500) for the entire project, which includes a sequel of about the same length.

    Sugg's debut sold 78,000 copies in its first week. That level of success may be a huge achievement to Curham, who wrote movingly in 2012 of her struggle to establish her career as a writer despite early setbacks.

    But it probably won't do any favors for Sugg, who has received so much backlash over the furor so far that she's decided to take a break from the Internet for the holidays.

    Photo via Facebook


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    Saturday Night Live has been getting a little more political lately, but the only political humor in this weekend’s James Franco-hosted episode was in the cold opening. That's a shame, because one of the sketches that didn't make the cut would have been the episode's most subversive segment. 

    In the sketch, two St. Louis TV news anchors (Kenan Thompson and Cecily Strong) struggle through the morning show Rise and Smile as Ferguson continues to protest. New cast member Leslie Jones plays a traffic reporter and steals the scene. They could have done without Franco in this one.

    While it’s understandable that the sketch was cut, it's a shame that the TV audience didn't get to experience it. The news anchors' frustrations and awkwardness mirror the way the real media has been covering Ferguson, Eric Garner, and countless other stories of police brutality. Jon Stewart famously ditched an attempt at humor or satire with his monologue about Garner.

    As Vanity Fair points out, sometimes the SNL sketches that get cut are the show's most relevant bits.

    H/T Vanity Fair |  Screengrab via Saturday Night Live/YouTube 


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    Connor Franta has been incredibly open about his life by posting on YouTube, both on his channel and formerly as part of the supergroup Our2ndLife,  Now he's increased that openness, telling his 3.6 million subscribers that he's gay.

    Franta spent many years denying his sexuality, even going as far as titling videos back in 2011 as "I'm Not Gay." However, in the new video, Franta explains that he started to consider the possibly he might be gay in the seventh grade, but that in the past year he was finally able to speak his sexuality out loud. He closes the video tearing up, saying "I don't want anyone to be afraid; I don't want anyone holding back who they are."

    Franta is not alone in the YouTuber community for turning to his channel to share his sexuality with a wider audience. In 2013 Australian vlogger Troye Sivancame out in a video that garnered more than 4.4 million views. Like Franta, Sivan said he also told family and friends in person before finally turning to his massive audience and telling them as well.

    It's something of a rite of passage for LGBTQ YouTubers to make a declaration on their channels, be it a formal coming out video or, for vloggers who've been out since they joined the site, videos that recap their coming-out experiences. And that openness translates to fans. Some of YouTube's biggest vlogging stars like Tyler Oakley, Hannah Hart, and Kingsley are all members of the LGBTQ community.

    In reaction to Franta's declaration, much of the YouTube community is showing support, with some even joking that he'll now be initiated into the "YouTube Gay Mafia."

    Screengrab via Connor Franta / YouTube


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    Telus, a Canadian telecommunications provider, is the guiding force behind Storyhive, an incubator project that acts as an accelerator for video creators in the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. 

    This latest effort is a competition for webseries authors to pitch their ideas, with 30 winners (15 from each province) getting $10,000 apiece to create pilots with a March 2015 deadline. Finalists were chosen Monday, and two winners will be selected from that group to receive $50,000 and deliver a full webseries.

    Part of Telus’ mission, mandated by the Canadian government, is to provide public service to its subscribers in a meaningful way. Prem Gill, director of programming and original production for Telus content solutions, told the Daily Dot that the company views Storyhive as more than just a public service.

    “We see Storyhive as a way to engage the creative community by providing a vehicle to pitch ideas to the community and let the crowd choose the winners,” she said. For the final selections, the crowd will have input with a jury of Canadian video professionals making the final decision. The winning series are then shown on Telus’ video-on-demand channel, Optik, as well as via the Web on YouTube.

    Gill said the incubator does more than just hand 30 talented writers and directors funds to create their pilots. Telus offers half-day workshops and access to established video writers, editors, and directors to act as mentors. Storyhive projects rotate in theme with short films being the category that preceded webseries. “We change things up in order to avoid category fatigue,” she noted.

    Here are the 30 winners of the $10,000 grants.

    Vancouver Group

    MakeItTV: Profiling craftspeople who bring special artisan skills to their work.

    Directly Affected: Where We Live: A documentary series about the impact of oil pipelines on the British Columbia environment.

    Greenish: A comedy series where an environmentalist squares off against her conservative ex.

    Dismantled: A handicapped man goes to extreme measures to survive.

    Found + Foraged: A food show about how to successfully forage for food on the BC coast.

    Coded: An idealistic teacher faces challenges in his first school job.

    Shy Guys: A heartfelt examination of what it like to be shy in a fast-paced society.

    Silk: A sci-fi series about a young sculptor with superhuman powers.

    Under Construction: A comedy featuring a young woman who is a flagger on a road crew and wants better things in her life.

    Night Owl High: A throwback crime mystery about a high school vice principal who thinks he’s Sam Spade.

    We Ah Wiss: Ruminations brought back to life from the First Nations culture.

    My Grade 8 Diary: A comedy about a 27-year-old woman who loses her memory after getting hit by a bagel truck.

    Sold: A real estate agent who specializes in selling spooky and haunted houses.

    Hand Crafted: Profiles of local entrepreneurs who deploy old-school ways of going about their crafts.

    Hunt for Joy: A woman who breaks away from an abusive relationship is thrown into a confusing urban setting.

    Calgary/Edmonton

    Hug-O-Gram: A man who has the job of delivering hugs to those in need.

    The Owners: A cabin in the woods holds a mysterious television that has mystical powers.

    Nine Lives: A true story about a 2006 series of cat murders.

    Lost Boys: A  team of volunteers is dropped into a community to create sustainable projects.

    Necessary Evil: With hell as a backdrop, one man is faced with making difficult ethical choices.

    Food for Thought: The growth of a small community farm in Edmonton.

    Uni-Farm: A futuristic thriller about the evils of bioengineering in the world of farming.

    Father Robin Hood: A father takes drastic steps to support his family living on the streets.

    Press Pause: High schoolers are shaken when one of their own is struck by an early case of Parkinson’s Disease.

    Straight to Video: A video store owner is forced to use his knowledge of B movies to escape danger.

    TCK: A food series that looks at the ecosystems that deliver goods to our kitchens and tables.

    Top Monster: A group of monsters compete to determine which one can go back to human form.

    AN.X.O:  A guardian angel has super powers to help those in need.

    The Exhibition: An animated science fiction anthology of strange people in strange worlds.

    Shift: A young woman on an adventure to find meaning in her life helps others live a simpler existence.

    Screengrab via Found + Foraging/YouTube


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    Krewella's Jahan Yousaf penned a blistering op-ed for Billboard Monday. In the piece, titled "Deadmau5 Saved Me From Going Into Porn," Yousaf is critical of deadmau5, music culture, and in particular the online bullying that accompanies women in music.

    The deadmau5 angle stems from a tweet by the Canadian DJ that was critical of Krewella's split with musician Kris Trindl and his subsequent lawsuit against the band.
    Since then, Yousaf wrote, the two remaining band members (Jahan and sister Jasmine Yousaf) have been on the receiving end of countless harassing comments. The prevailing narrative being that Trindl was the hard-working member, and the women were there to plod along and add decorative flair. 

    "I don't see enough people challenging the intolerance that deadmau5 preaches to his 3 million followers, researching beyond the headlines they read, or protesting against the derogatory dialogue that circulates on social networks," Yousaf wrote, adding: "Despite our efforts to give him more spotlight, Kris checked out. We couldn't continue forcing his presence in Krewella, as his decision to disassociate himself from the group and self-admitted addiction became out of our control, and I believe this happened because he subconsciously internalized this lack of attention from fans."  

    Yousaf continues:
    The disturbing part is that the growth in praise and attention we always wanted for Kris came with the demonization of Yasmine and me...  (i.e.: "the girls didn't do anything except use their sex to sell the group"…"this is why you should never go into business with a woman"…"they are just puppets for the genius who did all the work"... But beyond how this affected me personally, these accusations actually facilitated the spread of negativity toward women in this industry and across the globe.
    It's a must-read that concludes on a more macro, actionable note about combating this level of poisonous and attitude-reaffirming bullying. Unfortunately, deadmau5 didn't seem to grasp its central thesis.


    Photo via Dylan O'Dowd/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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    Totally normal and completely typical British couple the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge has already met some prestigious figures during its three-day visit to the U.S. Prince William convened with President Obama on Monday to discuss illegal wildlife trading, while Kate stayed in New York to meet with the city’s First Lady Chirlane McCray about childhood development.

    But not even dynamic political powerhouses like those can come close to topping America’s royalty, Beyoncé and Jay Z. The British royals swapped England’s royal court for America’s as they sat courtside Monday night, watching the Brooklyn Nets square off against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    Between demonstrators decrying the death of Eric Geller outside Barclays Center and LeBron sporting an “I can’t breathe” t-shirt on the court, the evening was a mix of somber and celebratory. However, nothing could detract from the main event as the British couple was granted a brief audience with the Queen B and Hova during one of the game's timeouts.


    It’s unclear if the royals exchange ideas about an arranged marriage between Blue Ivy and Prince George, but for the sake of alliances, we hope so. 

    Photo via tsaiproject/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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    In Nov. 2014, Nick Offerman stunned the world on Conan with the introduction of his line of hand-crafted wooden emoji. Painstakingly carved and weighing several pounds each, they promised to revolutionize human communication, but—alas!—they weren't actually available to purchase.

    As it happens, wooden emoji proved popular. Really popular. So popular, in fact, that Conan did a follow-up sketch and is now producing a limited edition run of the emoji, with all the proceeds going to charity.

    The Children’s Defense Fund is a non-profit advocacy group that “has worked relentlessly for more than 40 years to ensure a level playing field for all children.” The organization works on issues ranging from poverty to child abuse and child care, with more than a dozen offices across the U.S. 

    If you want to grab one of those wooden icons, however, it's already too late: all 100 wooden emoji have been sold. They went fast, selling out in a matter of hours—and raising $10,000 for the organization.

    If you want to make a difference, you can still donate to the Children’s Defense Fund by clicking here.

    If you’re totally baffled by all this talk of “handcrafted wooden emojis,” here’s the original Conan skit:

    And here’s the follow-up:

    Screengrab via Team Coco


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    Just how much would it cost to be the No. 1 YouTube fan?

    YouTube is the new entertainment medium of choice for today's tweens and teens, but many of the platform’s stars have leapt from the digital space into reality with live events over the past few years. With live events ranging from individual meetups to small group events and massive, industry-wide conferences, YouTube is not just on your computer screen. To be an active fan means to take part in the real-life activities of YouTube fandom, and that doesn’t come cheap.

    To run the numbers on how much your average YouTube fan shelled out in 2014, we worked with a few assumptions. Our hypothetical superfan lives in Chicago, giving her a midpoint in the country to travel to places, but also the opportunity to attend local meetups, keeping her costs down. We also gave her a friend with whom she could split hotel costs and encourage the community aspect of YouTube fandom. We didn’t calculate every single meetup any YouTuber had the entire year (that would take forever) but looked at the biggest tours, events, and some of the top names in YouTube entertainment in which our fictional attendee might take an interest.

    But even that level of dedication comes a hefty price tag. Here are our calculations for each event.

    Playlist (Orlando)

    Ticket: $135
    Hotel: Three nights at a hotel split with a friend, $346
    Flight: $374
    Local transport: $92 (cab to and from airport only)

    MagCon (Chicago)

    Ticket: $150 (VIP)
    Train: $5.50 round trip

    VidCon

    Ticket: $150 (Community pass)
    Hotel: Four nights at a hotel split with a friend, $498
    Flight: $482
    Local transport: $226 (cab to and from airport only)

    DigiTOUR (Chicago)

    Ticket: $82.50 (VIP)
    Train: $5.50 round trip

    INTOUR (California)

    Tickets: $150 (VIP)
    Hotel: Two nights split with a friend, $165
    Flight: $358
    Local transport: $180 (cab to and from airport to convention only)

    Tyler Oakley Tour (Chicago)

    Ticket: $85 (VIP)
    Train: $5.50 round trip

    Playlist Live (TriState)

    Ticket: $135
    Hotel: Three nights split with a friend, $254
    Flight: $227
    Local transport: $60 (cab to and from airport to convention only)

    Just how much did our imaginary fan shell out over the course of the year? A cool $3,986 for 7 major YouTuber events in 2014. Of course, this takes no merchandise purchases, food, or other amenities into account. With just a single $25 shirt purchase per event and a conservative $25 per day food budget, our fan would have hit a grand total of an estimated $4,436 in 2014.

    Of course, our fan could be so dedicated she’ll cross the ocean for her YouTubers to take part in London’s premier event, Summer in the City. If you add on those additional costs below, her grand total jumps precipitously.

    Summer in the City (London)

    Ticket: $65
    Hotel: Three nights at a hotel split with a friend, $189
    Flight: $1,145
    Local transport: $50 (metro between airport and hotel)
    Merch: $25
    Food: $25

    Total (with London) = $6,085

    What could you buy with that kind of extra cash? Our fan could cover five semesters' worth of books and supplies at the University of Illinois, or with just $800 more, she could buy a 2007 Chevrolet Aveo. Of course, YouTube events are priceless, and who really wants a Aveo anyway?

    Photo via Tax Credits/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed


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    A beloved Christmas classic has taken a dark turn with the addition of some modern touches.

    Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, which turns 50 this year, airs on CBS this Saturday. As beloved as the stop-motion animated movie might be, it could also seem a bit stale to younger audiences.

    Enter Jimmy Kimmel. The comedian mixed dialogue from an episode of Maury into the Christmas special in an attempt to freshen it up for the #youths.

    On its own, Rudolph is pretty bleak at times. It’s not just that the young reindeer is rejected from those reindeer games; there's also the Island of Misfit Toys, each of which was kicked out for being different and possibly defective. These themes are perfect fodder for a trashy television mashup.

    Ever wonder why Donner initially rejected Rudolph for being so different? Maury’s got the envelope ready.

    Screengrab via Jimmy Kimmel Live/YouTube


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    Being a badass rocker doesn’t just mean packing stadiums and shredding eardrums—there’s also the part where you look out for animals who could use a dose of human kindness. Which is why the crew for death metal band Slayer saved a kitten from freezing solid.

    “Slayer guitarist Kerry King was finishing dinner at his favourite steakhouse with the band's road crew before a gig at the Old National Centre in Indianapolis,” the Telegraph reported, “when a homeless man offered to sell a kitten to assistant tour manager Jess Cortese for a dollar.” Cortese took the shivering cat to her bunk on the tour bus and kept it close by the following day until a crew runner’s friend who was looking adopt a pet took her home.

    The little furball’s new owner is calling her Gypsy—a suitably metalhead-roadie name.

    Would have been nice if the homeless guy got a helping hand as well, but don’t let that spoil the feel-good incongruity of this rescue, ably captured in a winning T-shirt design:

    We’d be evicted from the Internet if we didn’t conclude this post with the other Slayer Cat, so here you go:

    Or this death metal cat. You're welcome.

    Photo via OldNationalCentre/Facebook


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    BY CASEY RACKHAM

    Damien Lawson is the king of power ballads on season 7 of The Voice, but during Monday (Dec. 8) night's Top 5 performances, he proved that he knows how to take a breather and have some fun with the crowd.

    During his second time on stage—yes, it's gotten to the point in the competition where everyone sings two songs—he sang a seriously uplifting rendition of Paula Cole's Dawson's Creek's theme song, "I Don't Want to Wait." And, honestly, if you closed your eyes, you could basically see the opening montage of Dawson, Joey, and Pacey frolicking through Capeside, Mass. It was a glorious trip down memory lane.

    "When [Adam Levine] first played the song, I was like, 'Are you serious—the Dawson's Creek song?" Lawson tells Zap2it after his performance. "But it does have a great message. It says, 'Right now.' So that to me was a special moment because the time is now. You want to do what you can now and not wait until tomorrow because tomorrow is not promised."

    Although fans of Dawson's Creek might have enjoyed Lawson's performance, it will be interesting to see how the rest of The Voice's viewers respond to his song choice. The Team Adam singer usually goes for slower, more powerful songs, so "I Don't Want to Wait" might not suit all of his fans. Either they'll be on board, or they'll be wishing he had stuck to his usual tunes. 

    The Voice airs on Mondays and Tuesdays at 8pm ET on NBC.

    Screengrab via Hulu


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