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- 02/07/13--14:04: _Gillian Jacobs and ...
- 02/07/13--15:21: _YouTube Guide: The ...
- 02/07/13--15:48: _The 10 things about...
- 02/08/13--05:33: _The Morning GIF: En...
- 02/08/13--05:45: _Daily Fluff: Golden...
- 02/08/13--06:25: _The "Community" sea...
- 02/08/13--06:30: _Fighting the robots...
- 02/08/13--08:00: _Speak to Me: Texas ...
- 02/08/13--10:35: _It's snowing, but t...
- 02/08/13--12:09: _A GIF guide to the ...
- 02/08/13--12:48: _A final tribute to ...
- 02/08/13--15:02: _YouTube Guide: Clev...
- 02/10/13--20:58: _The 9 most GIF-wort...
- 02/11/13--05:06: _A YouTube guide to ...
- 02/11/13--05:56: _Which Grammy nomine...
- 02/11/13--09:22: _Meet Kai, hatchet-w...
- 02/12/13--04:00: _Stan Lee launches n...
- 02/12/13--06:00: _The 10 coolest dogs...
- 02/12/13--08:00: _Shackin’ Up: The ul...
- 02/12/13--08:12: _5 important things ...
- 02/07/13--14:04: Gillian Jacobs and 4 other must-follow Vine users
- 02/07/13--15:21: YouTube Guide: The Internet goes to Washington
- 02/07/13--15:48: The 10 things about "Community," in GIF form
- 02/08/13--05:33: The Morning GIF: Endless chores
- 02/08/13--05:45: Daily Fluff: Golden retriever takes spa vacation
- 02/08/13--06:25: The "Community" season 4 cold open was written by Reddit months ago
Hours before the season 4 premiere of Community, star Joel McHale hosts an AMA. (/r/IAMA)
- NBC premieres Community's fourth season with an "ideal opening scene"—that was outlined by Reddit six months ago. (/r/bestof)
Longtime CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather answers Reddit's questions. (/r/IAMA)
What is the best currency with which to buy Reddit gold? How about BitCoins? (/r/MetaHub)
Reddit, how do I tell my friend that I am a girl? (/r/AskReddit)
Do men treat attractive women differently? (/r/AskMen)
How terrible was Ivan the Terrible? (/r/AskHistorians)
Four signs to identify a stroke victim. (/r/LifeProTips)
- A producer on an upcoming documentary about Bronies realizes, through Reddit, that he has lost his job. (/r/SubredditDrama)
- 02/08/13--06:30: Fighting the robots with the stars of "Squaresville"
- 02/08/13--08:00: Speak to Me: Texas Heat and Southern Soul
- 02/08/13--10:35: It's snowing, but there are full-length movies on YouTube
- 02/08/13--12:09: A GIF guide to the 2013 Grammy Awards
- 02/08/13--15:02: YouTube Guide: Cleverbot makes a movie
- 02/10/13--20:58: The 9 most GIF-worthy moments of the 2013 Grammys
- 02/11/13--05:06: A YouTube guide to New York Fashion Week
- 02/11/13--05:56: Which Grammy nominee was holding an AMA during the show?
r/funny is seeking mods! (r/metahub)
What kinds of bots does Reddit have? (r/TheoryOfReddit)
Drama occurs in r/subredditdrama about drama in r/subredditdrama. This can only lead to drama. In r/subredditdrama. (r/subredditdrama)
Reddit saves the day! Redditor stuck in Boston without his medication is helped by the r/boston community. (r/bestof)
Both a Grammy Awards performer and a Grammy Awards nominee host AMAs on the day of the ceremony. (r/IAMA)
What would be the best archaeological digs if the oceans were drained? (r/askhistorians)
Dongle, kerfuffle, flibbertigibbet, and other terms are all nominated for the English language's silliest words. (r/AskReddit)
What is an itch? (r/AskScience)
- Grammar Nazis, sharpen your skills: when do we use "which" and "that"? (r/explainlikeimfive)
- 02/11/13--09:22: Meet Kai, hatchet-wielding hitchhiker and all-around nice guy
- His real name is Caleb Lawrence and he's from Western Canada.
- He was "raised by the TV" in the "ghettos."
- He was molested as a child and perhaps abused in other ways, too. The interview isn't clear. Reisbeck says some of the stuff that happened to Kai when he was young is simply too graphic to air.
- He copes with his traumatic childhood by "being the dad [he] always wanted" to his "inner child."
- He speaks French and supposedly two other languages.
- Something about a giant car battery at the center of the Earth.
- He can sing.
- 02/12/13--04:00: Stan Lee launches new YouTube series "Chatroom of Solitude"
- 02/12/13--06:00: The 10 coolest dogs on Instagram
- 02/12/13--08:12: 5 important things we learned from Justin Timberlake's Instagram
Vine is the hottest new app on the block, with thousands of people sharing six-second videos on life, love, and everything else.
It's early days for Vine, but there are are already some viners—as we’re obliged to call them—who are standing out from the pack due to their humor, creativity, and smarts.
Here's a look at five people worth following on Vine.
Micallef wrote that Vine is "the best app on earth" just after it came out. Sharing videos under her username fartpalace, Tumblr’s leading lady and junk food queen brings the originality seen in her GIF art to a new platform.
2) Ian Padgham
One of a select few people presumably being paid to create vines, Padgham works at Twitter as an illustrator and animator. Many of his works are delightful stop-motion videos.
Speaking of stop-motion videos, few are more impressive than those shared by Khoa. The San Diego resident has already accrued more than 3,800 followers, far more than the 647 he has on Twitter, thanks to his creative clips.
Six seasons and a vine? The Community star has jumped into Vine with both feet, creating a combination of funny (and slightly weird) clips and behind-the-scenes insights to a movie she appears to be working on, while encouraging followers to watch her show as it returns.
Artist Meekins told the Daily Dot in July "butts and bathroom humour are one of the most basic joys that life can offer." That sense of humor shines through in her vines where, for instance, she has an alternative approach to eating a Creme Egg.
Warning: This one's a little gross.
Photo via Gillian Jacobs/Vine
With more than 72 hours of footage uploaded every minute, it's physically impossible to keep track of the content on YouTube. But in YouTube Guide, the Daily Dot will curate its five favorite finds for each workday.
1) Blandhack Pictures, "The Internet Goes to Washington"
For the first time ever, the White House invites Gawker, Buzzfeed, the Huffington Post, and a redditor to ask questions at a press conference, but they seem to be more interested in listicles and viral videos (and the reporter from USA Today isn't much help, either).
2) 1A4STUDIO, "Speedrun: Back to the Future I in 60 seconds"
The entirety of Back to the Future proves it can travel beyond 88 miles per hour when it is sped up and squeezed into a 60-second animated clip that covers all the movie's highlights—from time travel, to the lightning strike, to Biff's fall into a pile of manure.
3) crdschurch, "Unpretentiousil"
If you've ever done something ironically or have ever stolen your sister's pants to wear, you might be suffering from HIPSTER. Fret not, there is a solution to stop your chronic scarf-wearing, talking about Apple products, and douchebaggery in medicine form.
4) MysteryGuitarMan, "Human Puppets"
The Mystery Guitar Man is his own puppeteer as he creates a cardboard stage and forces two puppet versions of himself to play a guitar, but after awhile of being made to dance like a monkey, the puppets aren't having it.
5) Erica Boarman, "Caught Red (Sprinkle) Faced"
One young child continues to lie to his mother about eating sprinkles despite having them all over his face, and even a trip to the cabinet to show further proof doesn't make him change his story.
Photo via Blandhack Pictures/YouTube
After months of waiting and delays, Oct. 19 is finally here to mark the start of senior year.
Whether you've stuck with the Greendale Seven since freshman year, or you're a recent transfer, Community is returning to the silver screen tonight, to the sheer joy of its enthusiastic and loyal fanbase.
Between a season-long Doctor Who spoof so detailed that it spawned a Web series, the 16-bit video game that went beyond the screen and became a reality with the help of Reddit, a growing collection of Easter eggs spotted almost instantly, and a fan video by Watch Community that caught the attention of the actors, Community has one of the most dedicated fanbases on the web.
Now that season 4 is here, the writers and cast (particularly Joel McHale) have been pushing the show more than ever, with honest interviews and Reddit AMAs. The future of Community is uncertain, but they're doing what they can to get people to watch.
In honor of the show's return, we've compiled a list of some of the things that we love about Community with the help of Tumblr’s CommunityThings.
1) Inspector Spacetime pleases Human Beings and Whovians
Troy and Abed consistently cosplay as Constable Reggie and the Inspector, respectively, and Annie even stepped in as one of the Inspector's assistants.
2) Dean Pelton's fashion choices
The Dean manages to top himself every time he visits the study group, and always manages to look fabulous.
The hashtag originated in "Paradigms of Human Memory" when Abed told Jeff that he was trying to save doomed NBC show The Cape, and it became a rallying cry for fans who want to save Community from cancellation.
4) Journey to the Center of Hawkthorne
Redditors created a playable version of the video game the study group gets sucked into in "Digital Estate Planning," and they even added a scene that creator Dan Harmon wanted to shoot, but had to scrap after Chevy Chase didn’t show up to film it.
5) The Dean's unabashed crush on Jeff Winger
Dean Pelton's crush on Jeff Winger may be one-sided, but the Dean (and Jeff/Dean shippers everywhere) got some payoff after Jeff finally touched the Dean in the season 3 finale. But keep that on the Dean-low, will you?
6) The Darkest Timeline
The Darkest Timeline came from the results of Troy getting the pizza in "Remedial Chaos Theory," and along with creating Evil Troy and Evil Abed, it became a phrase to describe the results of NBC cancelling Community.
7) The Paintball episodes
Community made not one, but two paintball war episodes, and not only did they stand out from one another, but the second one went from a spaghetti western homage to a Star Wars parody without skipping a beat.
8) Troy and Abed
Once an unlikely pairing, these two have become best friends and roommates, and from "¿Dónde está la biblioteca?" to "Troy and Abed in the Morning," they've made the end-of-episode "tags" entertaining and turned into fan favorites.
9) Detailed parodies, meta, and homages
Because where else can you find entire episodes dedicated to Law & Order, My Dinner With Andre, and The Hunger Games?
10) The cast and crew love this show as much as we do
Community is a labor of love for the writers and cast, and it's shown through their promotion and interaction with fans. So do these people a favor:
Photo via WatchCommunity/Tumblr
Photos and GIFs via CommunityThings/Tumblr
Here at the Daily Dot, we swap GIF images with each other every morning. Now we’re looping you in. In the Morning GIF, we feature a popular—or just plain cool—GIF we found on Reddit, Canvas, or elsewhere on the Internet.
"I hate housework," said Joan Rivers once, long before you were born. "You make the beds, you wash the dishes, and six months later you have to do it all again." Turkish video artist Erdal Inci knows just how she feels.
His Tumblr is filled with GIFs of him in multiple exposure, playing with light, climbing stairs, circling and do-si-doing with himself, a living Escher figure in Istanbul's urbanscape. This, called "Cleaner and the Cat" is one of his more seemingly sedate works, a self-portrait of the artist as a young domestic.
Beneath the simplicity of mundane mopping, however, lies unexpected tension. By stacking the figures so close together, minimizing arm motions, and moving so slowly, the artist gives an impression of relentless drudgery, the white cleaner's smock reminiscent of a straightjacket, a prison of domesticity, never to be escaped.
As in real life, the cat looks on, unimpressed.
A bitter winter, a grueling work schedule and a heap of family drama — there’s only so much a dog can take.
When Ozzy, a local golden retriever, hit his breaking point, he packed a bag and headed out to Arizona for a short, but much-needed spa vacation.
“He’s not much of a swimmer, but he likes to dip his toes in the pool,” says Jeff Klimbach, who works the front desk at the DoubleTree Resort and Spa in Sedona, where Ozzy is staying. “He hits the gym every now and then, but mostly he’s just chilling by the pool.”
Want to read Reddit but don’t have the time? Our daily Reddit Digest highlights the most interesting or important discussions from around the social news site—every morning.
Two fingers forming the shape of an L isn't something most fans would appreciate. But to fans of the popular Web series Squaresville, which just premiered its second season Feb. 1, nothing says loyalty like being told to "stay square."
Written by Matt Enlow, the show stars Mary Kate Wiles (Zelda) and Kylie Sparks (Esther) as two small-town misfits searching to hang on to their dreams and their friendship. Equal parts poignant comedy and sharp teen angst, the series just nabbed three International Academy of Web Television awards for Best Comedy Writing, Ensemble, and Series.
Enlow successfully Kickstarted the project—originally titled "Squaresville: A Series About Growing Up & Burning Brightly"—in late 2011 by raising just $12,000 from a mere 200 backers. From there, the show quickly drew recognition through its savvy writing and well-acted portrayals of bored teens living all-too-recognizable lives.
Squaresville's loyal fanbase has dubbed it "L7," the geek-speak way to indicate forming a square with your hands. At the end of each episode, Wiles and Sparks urge fans to "fight the robots" by liking and sharing the show, and remind them to "stay square."
While other shows can't quite make the show behind the show feel interesting, Squaresville has scored big with "Q&Heys," in which they urge fans to videotape questions and submit them via Facebook, YouTube, and Tumblr. It's a cross-platform promotion that keeps paying off, as fans are equally in love with both the actresses and their parts.
Photo via squaresvilleconfessions/Tumblr
With season 1's cliffhanger of a finale, in which Zelda and Esther fight and an important secret goes unrevealed, the series lapsed into a long silence. Despite the show’s popularity, fans were left wondering if a second season would be forthcoming. Season 2 was finally announced last month, and a new episode appeared last Friday. To mark the occasion, we rounded up Enlow, Sparks, and Wiles, and asked them to dish the dirt on all the ins and outs of staying square.
DD:How hard was it to keep the lid on season 2 when you were filming it, before the big reveal?
Mary Kate Wiles: So hard! Normally on set we're tweeting and instagramming up a storm and we weren't able to do that and it was kind of a bummer.
Kylie Sparks: It was so hard because season 1 we weren’t on social media lockdown. I’m really active on social media, so when radio silence began to occur, a lot of eyebrows were raised in my direction. I just kept instagramming clouds and nature/cool things where you couldn’t see what we were doing to throw a fireball in the opposite direction so people wouldn’t get suspicious.
MKW: But it was fun to see people so surprised when we actually did announce, "Hey, there's going to be a second season and we actually shot it all already!"
KS: I’ve stockpiled photos and things to use for when the season premieres, but I really wanted people to see what we were doing, so it was really difficult.
DD: Matt, how much of Squaresville comes from your own life, and how much of it comes from ideas and inspirations from other crew and cast members?
Matt Enlow: I try to bring in as much as I can from other sources. I think Percy is the most literally true to me, but Esther and Zelda both represent specific parts of my personality. The plots come from little seeds of memories or something that's going on with me, and then I extrapolate. I feel for my characters in very real ways, so it's hard to put them through so much trauma, but such is the drama of growing up.
DD: John Green has said that everyone who writes about the lives of teenagers is in some way indebted to J.D. Salinger. In Squaresville's case, I'd also throw in Ghost World and Veronica Mars, at least. Are there any specific influences or inspirations that show up?
ME: I owe Dan Clowes a major debt. Ghost World was a big influence on me, as well as Ice Haven. I would also throw Freaks and Geeks into the mix. Basically, I was looking to make a show that I would have loved when I was that age.
DD:When Squaresville was nominated for the IAWTV award for Best Comedy (which it eventually won), a lot of fans were upset because they felt that being placed in that category was a trivialization of the show. Do you agree?
ME: The line is so blurry for our show, it wasn't a huge deal to me. I think of it as a comedy, but I also write some pretty heavy drama. That's the fun of web series, and this format in general.
MKW: There are lots of dramatic moments in Squaresville, but that's how life is. It doesn't really fit into one category or another... Obviously the comedy is a lot quieter and more subtle than a lot of shows, so I kind of like that that sort of humor was recognized.
KS: The show is humorous in nature and the tone is a lot lighter than the nominations in the drama categories...
Just because something is deemed a comedy doesn’t mean it can’t have emotional moments. The fact we were even nominated is incredible because the other shows we were nominated with are all fantastic, so I thought it was an honor, not a trivialization.
DD: Kylie, how early in the series did you know that Esther was questioning her sexuality, and are there any other secrets about her that we'll be learning in season 2?
KS: I think it will be interesting that the audience will know Esther is gay but that the rest of her world won’t. Viewers will be on the inside track when it comes to what happens to Esther this season, which is exciting that the audience gets to go on this ride with Esther on figuring out who she is.
As for when I knew Esther was gay, I found out about a month after I was cast in 2010, and I wasn’t going to say anything so it wouldn’t spoil the surprise, and honestly keeping that secret for a year really helped in my character development and research for her. Matt told Mary Kate about a year after, but I don’t believe anyone outside of Matt, Mary Kate, Christine (Matt’s wife, who plays Sarah on the show), and I knew that Esther knew she was gay until we shot the season 1 finale.
DD:Was the arc of Zelda and Esther's friendship over the season planned out completely from the beginning, or did it develop as you got to know the characters and their actresses better?
ME: The actors have definitely influenced the energy of the show, but the story was laid down very early. The show is more fun to write now, as I know the strengths of my cast, and I know when they'll nail a joke or an emotional beat. We have more Shelly and Percy than I'd originally planned, really because it's fun to have Austin and Tiffany on set.
DD:Hollywood often tends to glamorize childhood and high school friendships as lasting forever, but we all know that's not always true. Would a "BFFs" conclusion to Zelda and Esther's story damage the realism of the show?
KS: I don’t think it would damage the realism. There are people in my life who I have known since I was 7 or 8 years old that I am still very close friends with, even if there was a period of time where we didn’t communicate as much.
MKW: I don't know how close we are to the final conclusion of the show. But I'm still BFFs with my best friends from high school, even though we've all split up and gone different directions, so I'm all in favor of that kind of ending.
KS: One of the beautiful things about the show is the idea [of] trying to figure out how to stay friends even in the face of adversity and growing up, and Matt has done a wonderful job crafting a show about coming-of-age and what that means to people, including how to maintain friendships that we as kids thought would last forever but maybe are drifting apart.
ME: You know, I don't know where Zelda and Esther will end up. I wanted to make a show about two people beginning to grow apart, because that's something so universal for people that age. Whether they end up roommates in college, or just Facebook friends 10 years from now, we'll all just have to see.
DD:Are there any epic female friendships, real or fictional, that you're drawing on in the show?
MKW: For me Z&E really remind me of myself and my high school friends. I definitely draw on that.
KS: I draw from my own life experiences with some of my friends as well as reading memoirs and watching documentaries to help create not just Esther’s world, but any character I get to play with... [I]f I can see other lives in action on how they deal and react in situations, that’s heaven for me in terms of character development.
DD:How much does your relationship in real life mirror Zelda and Esther's on the show?
KS: Mary Kate and I knew each other at USC before we were cast in Squaresville, and while we knew each other in passing and were friends before, this has really brought us closer.
MKW: We don't spend every day together like Z&E do, but we've known each other for a long time and that really helped bring a level of familiarity that I don't think we would have had had we just met each other upon getting cast. We are very supportive of each other and the show has definitely helped us develop a bond
KS: We’ve been doing this for two and a half years now, so our chemistry is just there—we just lock it in and do it and have a great time.
DD:Between the end-of-episode shoutouts and your Q&Heys, do you ever feel like you're blurring the lines between yourselves and your characters?
MKW: Yes, to an extent, but I think that will happen with any show or project that you're a part of. Audiences like to associate you with the character you play in some way. I like the Q&Hey aspect because it lets the audience get to know us as actors through the lens of the show. It makes us very accessible while still showing that we aren't Zelda and Esther, we're MK and Kylie.
KS: I think as actors, we naturally have part of our characters’ personalities (i.e., I’m very loud and sarcastic) but for the Q&Heys and the end slates, I make sure that I’m very “Kylie” in my makeup, hair, clothing, personality, etc. Besides being sarcastic and loud, I’m very bubbly, I like interacting with people and I love fashion, so while sometimes I feel like Esther’s personality does bleed over because they’re traits of my personality, I make sure that I’m me when we do the Q&Heys and end slates.
DD:"Fight the robots" has become something of an accidental sendup of YouTube culture. In the wake of all of the recent scandal over inflated views and monopolistic networks, can you talk about what "fight the robots" means in terms of keeping YouTube culture honest?
KS: I’m new to the whole world of YouTube and its cultural impact... I think that the idea of letting viewers decide what they like by ‘fighting the robots’ by clicking the subscribe button and ‘liking’ a video helps all parties involved—the viewer, the content creators, and YouTube in general.
ME: At the root of its meaning, "fight the robots" really just means "help the things you like". Viewers have so much power in recommendation systems, and making sure that our viewers realize that is just another way of empowering them.
Everyone is trying to find their audience—and Squaresville has always been about empowering our community, so it makes sense that this has become a battle cry.
DD:How complicated does it get when you have two fanbases for two shows running at the same time in which you play two comparable characters? [Mary Kate Wiles also plays the role of Lydia in the popular webseriesLizzie Bennet Diaries.]
MKW: It can definitely be weird, like this week, as I'm writing this, the things that are going on in the two shows are both really important and charged and so on the opposite ends of the spectrum. Sometimes I feel like I'm throwing a lot of stuff at people, but they always respond positively. I am really lucky that I'm getting to play two wonderful, very different characters, in two very good webshows at the same time. It's fun to hear people be like, "Wow, I love you as Lydia, and then I watched Squaresville, and you're like, a completely different person!" and I'm like, cool, I guess I'm doing okay then. :)
DD:In Hollywood, shows and films are often specifically designed not to pass the Bechdel Test, but a number of successful webseries (Squaresville, Lizzie Bennet, The Guild, Wigs, Awkward Black Girl, I could go on) seem to be all about actively telling girls' stories. Why do you think that's happening online?
KS: I think online content creators are getting tired of seeing the same thing happen over and over again in the entertainment industry. To be fair, I won’t lie, some of my favorite shows immediately fail the Bechdel Test (Sex and the City, Girls, etc) and it doesn’t bother me—because women do discuss a lot of things, including men. However, the truth is that we live in a patriarchal society where even in 2013, the cultural message is still “ladies, you better find a man to take care of you because you can’t do it yourself,” especially with the War on Women still at play.
With the Internet being such an open forum, people are standing up and creating content that has plotlines that would pass the Bechdel Test. I hope that with Squaresville, not only are we telling the story of two girls trying to grow up and figure out who they are, but also that we’re not alienating our audience by not being realistic in what we discuss in our storylines, including boys.
ME: I think if you're going to be making things for an online audience, you should be offering your audience something they can't find elsewhere. Whether that's a show about gamers, pride and prejudice or suburban teenagers, it has to have an eye towards something fun and new.
DD:Why did Squaresville need to be about Zelda and Esther, as opposed to Andrew or Wayne or two other dudes?
ME: Everyone is a little bonkers at 16, but I recall being a total maniac. I think that filtered my perspective on young guys that age. I was playing with fireworks, and skateboarding and throwing garbage cans off of roofs (when I wasn't being a mopey lump). I needed the girls to be introspective, smart, focused people so that the weirdos that they encounter in life bounce off them a bit more. If it were the Wayne and Percy show they'd just be lighting matches and spray painting stuff for no good reason. The girls have their blind spots—that's where the drama stems from—but ultimately they're much cooler headed, reasonable people than I was at that age.
DD:Tiffany Ariany's turn as Shelly is hilarious. Will we be seeing more of her in season 2?
ME: Tiffany had the role the second she auditioned. We all turned to each other and said, "that's our Shelly.” She brought real life to a character that was really just intended to last a few episodes. So yes, we see more Shelly this season, and I think she really finds some great closure with Esther.
DD: Will we get more Star Cross’t Action News in season 2?
ME: Ha! Unfortunately, not this season. I have plans for Dirk and Jane, but they haven't panned out just yet. I think of the supporting cast as a way of rounding out the world, and fleshing out the interior lives of the girls all at once, so I'm always compelled to add new people to the mix. We had days this season that were at least twice as big, if not three times as big as our biggest days in season 1. We did manage to weave a few people we saw tiny glimpses of from season 1 into full on characters in season 2.
DD:Mary Kate, you've said that Squaresville season 1 "knocked you off your feet" as an actor in certain episodes. Will season 2 knock us off ours as viewers?
MKW: Absolutely. I think there are going to be things that you'd never expect and are going to love so much. Season 2 really goes in some fun new directions, and I'm pretty excited about it.
DD: You've promised that season 2 will have 90 to 95 percent more angst. Is that estimating low?
ME: Way low. Don't forget the smooching, though; there's more of that, too.
Photo via squaresvilleseries/Tumblr
In Spotify Essentials, the Daily Dot curates custom playlists created by some of our favorite artists, staff writers, and Web community leaders. In this installment, former Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears bandleader and guitarist Zach Ernst recounts the rhythm and blues that's shaped his career.
I moved to Austin in 2004, and my first semester at the University of Texas I enrolled in a class called “Blues According to Clifford Antone.” As an aspiring teenage guitar slinger I had heard about his club, a legendary venue where countless R&B legends had played and a young Stevie Ray Vaughan had cut his teeth. Hearing Clifford talk about music and the colorful characters that graced the stage of his club sparked an obsession with blues and soul music that I probably will never be able to kick.
“Oh, My Baby's Gone”
Ray Sharpe is best known for writing "Linda Lu,” a blues standard covered by the Rolling Stones, the Flying Burrito Brothers, and Tom Jones. Born in Fort Worth in 1938, Sharpe wrote and recorded a number of memorable Chuck Berry-style rock & roll tunes like this one in the late 1950s. A young Jimi Hendrix played on sessions he cut with fellow Fort Worth native King Curtis in 1966. I’ve been trying to get him down to Austin to do a gig for about a year, but have been so far unsuccessful.
Originally recorded by L'il Millet and his Creoles in 1955, this swampy tune was recently covered by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss on their album Raising Sand. Jimmie Vaughan’s band the Fabulous Thunderbirds included this version on their 1977 debut. Mike Buck, the drummer on the first two T-Birds albums, is now the coowner of Antone's Record Shop in Austin. He plays a couple nights a week in several great bands with his wife Eve Monsees.
“Speak To Me”
The Relatives are a gospel group formed in Dallas in 1970 by Rev. Gean West and his younger brother Tommie. The band combined gospel harmonies with funk and psychedelia to produce a sound reminiscent of Sly & the Family Stone and the Temptations. After being discovered by the owners of Austin label Heavy Light Records in 2010, the Relatives reunited and started playing live again. I caught their second show back and was absolutely blown away. Over the past several years, I have worked my way into the band, playing guitar with the band in France, New York City, and Australia. No one can get the crowd moving like guys used to turning out a church.
“Little Joe Stomp”
Little Joe Washington is a staple of the Houston blues scene. He first recorded there in the 1950s and today holds a residency at the local Continental Club. With his diminutive stature and ragged appearance, one would not believe what a sophisticated guitarist and explosive showman he is. I learned about Little Joe from Black Joe Lewis, who covered one of his tunes on his first album. I brought Little Joe over to Austin last summer to open for Barrence Whitfield and the Savages at the Continental Club. During the last song he removed his hat and leapt from the front of the stage, collecting tips from the bulk of the audience on his way out the front door. (I’m confident he made more that night than anyone.)
Another find by the team at Heavy Light Records, Kool & Together were a band of teenagers from Victoria, Texas. The relentlessly funky "I Know" was recorded at a session in Houston with Huey Meaux, the legendary producer responsible for producing Sir Douglas Quintet's "She's About A Mover" and Freddy Fender's "Before the Next Teardrop Falls." I was lucky enough to sit in on the band’s rehearsals when they were gearing up for their first comeback show last year. Local producer and Spoon drummer Jim Eno sat in on percussion, and I played rhythm guitar on a few songs when the big night came around.
“The Texas Cannonball” Freddie King gained legions of new fans when his version of "I'm Going Down" was chosen to be the theme for HBO’s Eastbound and Down. In the 1960s, he was idolized for his instrumentals, most notably "Hide Away" (Eric Clapton cut his version of that tune on the first John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers album in 1966). This version of "Stumble" features rhythm guitar work from Fort Worth session whiz Cornell Dupree.
Cornell played on over 2,500 sessions for Aretha Franklin and other artists throughout his illustrious career, and he recorded his final album in Austin. In exchange for tuning his guitar and setting up his pedals, I was able to sit in on the sessions and watch the master at work.
“You Can't Be Satisfied”
Widely renowned for her Billboard Top 10 hit "You'll Lose A Good Thing" and its followup "Oh Baby (We Got A Good Thing Going)," Barbara Lynn is widely regarded as one of Texas’ finest soul artists. Clifford Antone counted her on his list of absolute favorite vocalists, and she's one of the tastiest, funkiest guitar players to ever pick up an axe. She shines most on ballads like this one, an obscure cut that highlights her heartfelt vocals and smooth guitar leads. My girlfriend and I once picked up Barbara at the Odessa airport and drove her to a gig in Marfa: Those few hours were some of the most memorable of my life. Stopping at a Dairy Queen in Alpine with my guitar hero was nothing short of surreal.
“I Wouldn't Treat A Dog (The Way You Treated Me)”
Although born in Tennessee, Bobby "Blue" Bland will always be known for the work he did in Texas: The seminal R&B recordings he made in Houston with Don Robey for Duke Records in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s rival Ray Charles’ best work. He continued releasing quality LPs for several decades to come. 1974's Dreamer includes this track as well as "Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City," which was sampled by Jay-Z. I’ve seen him live several times, the best of which was at a tiny, now defunct club in Austin called Momo’s. Some of his older female fans (all wearing their Sunday best) packed to the front of the stage, whooping and hollering every time Bobby let out his signature squall.
Who said that YouTube is turning into the new TV? These days, it's actually looking more and more like the new silver screen.
Thanks to a recent report that ran in The Wall Street Journal, the previously unaware portion of the world's YouTube viewing population is now fantastically privy to the fact that movies—full length, Hollywood-produced films—are available for free on YouTube. Not Hulu, not Netflix. YouTube. And some people are even making making money off of these things.
For example, this full-length airing of 2004's Hotel Rwanda ran a 15-second GoTo Meeting advertisement before it shifted into (Don) Cheadle mode. And this somewhat high-quality stream of 1999's Arnold Schwarzenegger–starringEnd of Days opened up with a GoDaddy ad that unfortunately didn't star Danica Patrick.
It's pretty wild—and entirely free. Some of these movies—like the Lord of the Rings prequelBorn of Hope—have been viewed more than 18 million times. There are lengthy playlists and Reddit subreddits dedicated to the stuff. RememberAir Bud? Or that Rob Schneider filmThe Hot Chick? Do you get my point yet? No wonder Blockbuster shut down.
The question that The Wall Street Journal poses is, how don't these channels get shut down, as well? It was in 2007 that YouTube created its Content ID system—that (albeit massively flawed) checks-and-balances system that allows publishers and publishing houses alike to claim what's rightfully theirs and shut down what's not—for this exact reason, but many of Hollywood's most major studios aren't using it.
In fact, it took until a series of Thursday inquiries from WSJ for Disney to go forward and shut down a series of films that came out of its jolly, golly studio—Pinóquio included. Elsewhere, studios like Sony, MGM, and Warner Bros. declined to offer their takes on why they haven't bothered to block the films through Content ID.
A YouTube spokeswoman washed the site's hands of the situation, telling WSJ that YouTube's governing body, Google, "invested heavily in copyright and content management tools to give rights holders control of their content on YouTube" and that more than 4,000 media companies use Content ID.
The site that it is protected from liability under the Digital Copyright Millennium Act, that oft-criticized copyright law that governs how copyright holders get their content taken down from others' sites.
Should the aforementioned studios eventually decide to do something about their films' presence on YouTube, they'll likely have success in getting each one taken down. But it's likely they'll run into roadblocks should they try to take issue with YouTube. The site is protected under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, that oft-criticized copyright law that governs how copyright holders get their content taken down from others' sites.
Buuuut that's not important right now. Come on, Hook's on in 15 minutes, and Robin Williams isn't going to laugh at his own jokes himself!
Photo viaCaptain Hook/Facebook
It might not be a Beyonce-led halftime show, but the Grammy Awards on Sunday will at least be moderately entertaining.
Even with CBS-sanctioned conservative fashion choices, "music's biggest night" always finds a way to surprise with its one-time-only collaborations and major performances. The 55th annual outing promises to bring Justin Timberlake out safely from his labyrinth of hallways and will likely mark the return to the stage for Adele.
The ceremony airs 8pm ET on CBS, so prep yourself for an onslaught of Two Broke Girls ads and some live GIFs on our Tumblr.
Here are the 8 performers we're looking forward to watching.
1) Taylor Swift
2) Justin Timberlake
4) Ed Sheeran
5) The Lumineers
6) Maroon 5
7) Frank Ocean
8) Kelly Clarkson
Photo via Eva Rinaldi/Flickr
Remember that episode of Seinfeld when Elaine starts hanging out with a guy named Kevin and quickly learns that Kevin's got a couple of friends named Feldman and Gene?
Writer Dave Mandel dubbed that one "The Bizarro Jerry," and if you watch it for even just five minutes, you'll quickly learn why. Elaine's bizarro friendship world involves three men in their early 30s, one of whom's tall and quirky, another who's a bald business professional, and a third who's really nothing more than a normal man. The difference between that crew and Jerry's—Seinfeld's namesake character, Kramer, and George—was that those three amigos hugged at the end of the episode. By contrast, that day at Monk's, Kramer and George probably found a way to split out on their checks.
The "Dear Abby" conclusion to that episode was that your one group of friends are just like the other—only slightly different. But anyway you slice it, three guys who hang out with a single girl in publishing are going to be the same as the next group of three guys who hang out with a single girl in publishing. It's just that the tall guy's going to be named Feldman.
It's with that lesson in mind that we turn our attention to the Twitter, where the past 10 weeks have been spent laughing at a series of Seinfeld parody handles that have recast the fabulous foursome in a series of episodic scenarios in times both past and present.
The fun first got started in mid-December, when Josh Gondelman and Buzzfeed's Jack Moore opened up @SeinfeldToday to plot Jerry and the crew in the millennial age—a funny conundrum that found George getting lost because of Apple Maps and Jerry wrestling with an inability to "speak emoji."
A few days later came @BCSeinfeld, the brainchild of New York City screenwriter Matt Grasso, who chose to go the "anti-pop" route and refashion the crew somewhere in between the Civil War and Jurassic age. All of a sudden it was Alexander the Great who Elaine had deemed only "okay" and Mary Magdalene who'd been treating Jerry like a God.
Those two accounts followed natural routes to fame and attention, but the one that took over Weird Twitter and earned the awe of all the alternatives was @Seinfeld2000, better known as Seinfeld Current Day, which "Imagen[d] Seinfeld was never canceled and still NBC comedy program today lol" but catered to none of the trend's preconceived rules.”
In fact, it's safe to say that the only rule @Seinfeld2000 ever had was that it had no rules. Nothing was off limits—including misspelling known names and creating new characters.
But @Seinfeld2000 also spoke to a certain set of detractors, the ones who thought it silly that people were laughing about a television show that went off the air 15 years ago while other television shows were actually creating new episodes that they could watch and enjoy and laugh at right now. It's no coincidence that the only person the anonymous account followed was Girls creator Lena Dunham, whose HBO show is basically Seinfeld if you turned Jerry, George, and Kramer into 20something girls and slapped a few tattoos on their backs.
The account closed today after a rash of retweets and #shotsfired at @SeinfeldToday, whose tweets @Seinfeld2000 never really liked. In its time, the account picked up more than 3,700 followers and an entire google's worth of laughs.
"Better to burn out then to fade away," fan Michael Primz wrote in a paraphrasing of the great Neil Young. "Thanks for weeks upon weeks of laughs."
@Seinfeld2000 may be gone, but it won't soon or ever be forgotten. Below, a collection of our favorites from the more than 1,000 episode scenarios this weird handle played out. Thanks for all the laughs, Jary. We can't wait to see what you do with Friends.
With more than 72 hours of footage uploaded every minute, it's physically impossible to keep track of the content on YouTube. But in YouTube Guide, the Daily Dot will curate its five favorite finds for each workday.
1) Chris R. Wilson, "'Do You Love Me', a film by Cleverbot"
Cleverbot is one of the world's most advanced artificial intelligence programs, so Chris R. Wilson collaborates with the program to work on a movie script, but it doesn't exactly go according to plan.
2) Republic of Korea Air Force, "Les Miserables Parody"
The Republic of Korea Air Force translated and changed the plot of Les Misérables so that the prisoners are really soldiers who spend their days shoveling snow and Jean Valjean has to fight against all odds to save his relationship.
3) Ze Frank, "True Facts About The Land Snail"
If we looked like a disembodied tongue, were covered in mucus, and had a shell, we would be similar to land snails. The narrator struggles to keep a level tone as he describes the sexual habits of land snails, which include shooting love darts near the other's head.
4) MichaelAlvaradoMusic, "TV Show Medley: Part II - Us"
Michael and Carissa Rae Alvarado are reliving their childhood one television theme song at a time with a medley that includes many of the shows we wish the networks we love to hate on would bring back to air.
5) KMPHFox26, "Kai the Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker's Original Song"
Kai, everyone's favorite hatchet-wielding hitchhiker, may have been songified by the Gregory Brothers, but it turns out that he has some musical talents of his own. He visits a guitar store with KMPH reporter Jessob Reisbeck and plays an original tune.
Photo via Chris R. Wilson/YouTube
In between awards, the Grammys' only purpose was to remind us that the band fun. still exists.
But it wasn't all bad! Kelly Clarkson won for best pop vocal album, Frank Ocean took home the best urban contemporary award, and Jay-Z and Kanye West were gifted with the rap/sung collaboration for "No Church in the Wild." They totally earned it.
Gotye and Kimbra (above) rightfully won for record of the year.
Also, LL Cool J repeatedly taught us what a hashtag was.
1) This extremely awkward handshake between Ryan Seacrest and Justin Timberlake:
2) No one was having fun. except for them:
3) Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z, creative directors for an Instagram filter:
4) Taylor Swift celebrating her great purchase from Marshalls:
5) BOW DOWN, AMERICA:
6) There was a Bob Marley tribute that nobody asked for (but Taylor Swift loved):
7) Katy Perry was more than wide awake:
8) There was a GIF on Carrie Underwood's dress:
9) Your album of the year winners, Mumford and Sons (whether you like it or not):
Photo via Grammys/Daily Dot on Tumblr
Thanks to the snow storm that buried New York this weekend, watching Fashion Week from the comfort of your laptop is suddenly seeming a lot more appealing than being among the models and movie stars who have to freeze their extremities on the red carpet.
Not every Mercedes-Benz FashionWeek show is available online (this season, anyway), but there are still many to watch each day, including such big names as Vera Wang and Oscar de la Renta. If you don’t have time in your schedule for livestream viewings, we already have a few recommendations from the first couple of days of shows:
Kenneth Cole Collection
Following a seven-year break from live shows, Kenneth Cole’s Fall/Winter 2013-2014 collection was supported by a social-media blitz. As well as the usual Facebook and Tumblr publicity, Cole introduced a hashtag-based charity fundraiser for viewers online, and the models finished the show by Instagramming the audience on their way out. The clothes themselves were dramatic and urban, featuring relaxed menswear and womenswear in wool and leather.
One for the Twilight fans. If you like your men dark, vampiric, and ominous, then this collection is for you.
Instead of displaying the kind of sporty styles one expects from the more accessible levels of this label, Saturday’s Lacoste show was icy and futuristic – and looked as if it were taking place inside a giant iPod. It’s Lacoste’s 80th anniversary this year, so perhaps they’re trying to look forward rather than focusing on their image as a manufacturer of high-end tennis gear.
Hervé Léger by Max Azria
As always, Hervé Léger stays close to its classic look of skin-tight dresses with smart, confident patterns.
Rather than being a runway show for a single label, Concept Korea showcases five different Korean designers. The show is split into three sections on YouTube (starting here), and offers an interesting variety of styles that might otherwise not have made it to Fashion Week. Choi Bo Ko’s graffiti-like calligraphy designs (pictured above) were a real high point.
For fans of ladylike luxury, this show was a visual feast of fur, feathers, gold, and glamorously detailed floor-length gowns.
You can find a full list of livestreamed fashion shows here, running from 9am Monday to 8pm on Wednesday (all times Eastern). For angular, tailored womenswear, we recommend Ohne Titel at 1pm on Monday, but if you’re interested in a more Hunger Games kind of style, the Adam Lambert-endorsed The Blonds are on Tuesday at 9.30pm, and Betsey Johnson’s Betty Boop-esque designs are showing at 5pm on Monday – watch out for Betsey’s signature cartwheel at the end! Finally, if you’d like to take a look at what A-List celebrities will be wearing on the red carpet this year, look no further than Vera Wang at 11am on Tuesday, and Oscar de la Renta at 6:30pm.
Photo via Concept Korea
Want to read Reddit but don’t have the time? Our daily Reddit Digest highlights the most interesting or important discussions from around the social news site—every morning.
We finally get to meet the man behind the hatchet.
On Feb. 1, a homeless hitchhiker named Kai saved two innocent bystanders from the insane clutches of a giant raving racist who claimed he was the reincarnation of Jesus Christ.
"Smash, smash, suh-mash," was how Kai described himself as he beat down the man with his hatchet. He was speaking to Jessob Reisbeck of Fresno's Fox affiliate KMPH in an interview that quickly reached near-double-rainbow proportions of popularity on the Internet.
People were as taken with the weird series of events as they were with Kai himself. Like a superhero who's defined by his nemesis, Kai was the very antithesis of the raving murdering racist he stopped cold with his hatchet. He explained he intervened that day because he's guided by a simple philosophy of just being decent, of treating people like people, no matter where they come from or what they look like.
It was high-minded moral philosophy from a homeless surfer dude who just beat down an attempted murderer with the blunt end of a hatchet. Naturally people wanted to know more about Kai. Where did he come from? Why was he so damn nice? Could he riff on the guitar?
Kai became has become an international celebrity of sorts and has fielded interview offers from all over the world. But he still gave his first post-hatchet beatdown interview to Reisbeck, the reporter who he first spoke to.
Here's what we learned about Kai:
Photo via Jessob Reisbeck/YouTube
Stan Lee‘s World of Heroes YouTube channel has been a definite success, attracting over 122,000 subscribers and more than 7.2 video views since its inception nine months ago. The success of the YouTube Original Channel has led Lee to overhaul his digital presence, and one part of that plan is a new World of Heroes Web series, Chatroom of Solitude, with Felicia Day included in the cast.
Chatroom of Solitude features Day as one of five supervillains, all of whom converse via Google Hangout and menace each other with their evil plans. The series feels like a mix between two of Day’s popular credits, mixing Dr. Horrible‘s Evil League of Evil with the Google+ camaraderie of Geek and Sundry’sVaginal Fantasy. Chatroom of Solitude has enough laughs and star power—the series also features Phil LaMarr, Colin Ferguson, Carolyn Hennesy, and Matt Knutson—to serve as another hit for World of Heroes, which previously saw hundreds of thousands of views per episode for the Marvel-based Bad Days comedy.
Lee also worked to redesign his website with the help of digital marketing agency Tenthwave. The site, which serves as the homepage for Lee’s POW! Entertainment company, now features a much snazzier look. The comics legend spoke of the recent changes:
“After working with the great team at Tenthwave to re-design and expand TheRealStanLee.com, I am more than thrilled to finally unveil this new ‘superhero of a website’ that’s sure to bring me closer to my brigadiers and vice versa. I have big plans for 2013 and can’t wait to share the news of upcoming projects, films and comics exclusively on this site to subscribers and true believers first. It’s been a joy to be so connected with fans online and there’s certainly more to come. Welcome to my new home. Excelsior!”
At 90 years of age, Lee is as popular as he’s ever been, and it doesn’t sound like he’s slowing down any time soon. Excelsior, indeed.
By Sam Gutelle
If cats rule YouTube, then the dogs reign on Instagram.
Since your feed needs an "aww"-factor boost, we did the dutiful task of scanning Instagram to find the best dog-themed accounts you need to be following in 2013. These doggy-centric accounts exemplify why pups are man's best friend and Instagram's best attribute.
1) Momo, a border collie (44,000 followers)
For a dog owner, nothing is more frustrating than having your pooch run off in the distance to chase a smell. When photographer Andrew Knapp's border collie Momo does it, he just pulls out his camera.
2) Maru, a shiba inu (330,000 followers)
3) Simba, a jindo puppy (600 followers)
4) Logan, a toy poodle and "blogger" (275 followers)
5) Tuna, the world's funniest-looking chiweenie (180,000 followers)
6) Trotter, the snazziest French bulldog (81,000 followers)
7) Harper, a boxer-staffie mix (700 followers)
8) Raegan Huston, a mini labradoodle (600 followers)
9) Bella, a Chihuahua–Maltese–Jack Russell–Lhasa Apso–Pekingese mix (3,000 followers)
10) Diva Diamond (we're saying a prayer for you) (82,000 followers)
All photos via Instagram
When I got married three years ago, I put together a mix of soul songs that I felt reflected our relationship—songs about friendship, fun, and unflinching love. It was harder than expected. Sure, songs like Otis Redding’s “I’ll Let Nothing Separate Us” fit the occasion, but more often than not a close listen to my favorite love songs were full of heartache, bitterness, and breakups. Not exactly the sort of thing you want to be the bedrock of your big day.
If songs about cheating are any indication, I’d bet there are more anti-love songs in classic soul than tributes to the real deal. This playlist ballooned to well over 100 songs and six hours of music before I whittled it in half. The mix begins with Swamp Dogg’s “Predicament #2,” which lays out a basic plot that runs through the next three hours of music:
Strange as it may seem
I love both of them
Selfish as it may be
I'm gonna keep both of them
They both serve a purpose
That makes my life complete
One is my lover
And the other has my family
The mix closes with Erykah Badu finding a different answer to a similar situation: “I guess I’ll see you next lifetime,” she muses. Between those bookends are all kinds of “Shackin’ Up” and “Creeping Away” to the “Dark End of the Street,” be it with the babysitter, secretary, Jody, or Mrs. Jones.
A few artists appear multiple times on the playlist because they practically made a career out of adulterous music. Millie Jackson’s 1974 release Caught Up—backed by the Muscle Shoals rhythm section—is a concept album about amorous triangulation, while the web gets tangled further on her 1975 followup, Still Caught Up. As my brother Johnny Quest once put it, you’re in serious trouble if your lady starts listening to a lot of much Millie Jackson.
Jackson certainly isn’t the only one with a catalog full of philandering. Ann Peebles (whose classic material is limited to Spotify users in Europe) dropped cold-hearted cuts in “You’ve Got the Papers (I’ve Got the Man)” and “I Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody’s Home.” Johnnie Taylor has countless conniving cuts, and you’ll hear the Stax star here on “Shackin’ Up,” “Who’s Making Love,” and “Jody’s Got Your Girl and Gone.” The Jody character—a slick talker who shacks up with ladies when their men are away—pops up on a slew of soul songs (four on this mix) and dates back to at least the 1930s, when Alan Lomax captured a recording of “Joe De Grinder” by Arkansas’ Irvin (Gar Mouth) Lowry. More than a fixture in music, Jody also appears in the context of travelling Negro League baseball players and black soldiers overseas from WWII to Vietnam.
Like a lot of the songs on this mix, the Jody songs play off one another. Barbara Mason’s “From His Woman to You” was written in direct response to Shirley Brown’s “Woman to Woman,” and everyone from Marlena Shaw to Amy Winehouse has flipped the Billy Paul classic “Me & Mrs. Jones” to the female perspective. It’s less clear if Bette Williams and Ann Sexton were intentionally riffing off one another, but “If She’s Your Wife (Who Am I)” and “I’m His Wife (You’re Just a Friend)” sure sound like a (contentious) conversation.
Whether or not you agree with Don Covay that love is sweeter on the other side of the fence, get ready for a whole lot of home wrecking, philandering, and fooling around. Oh yeah, and happy Valentine’s Day.
Photo of Millie Jackson via wikifeet
Now that Justin Timberlake has joined Instagram, his plans for world domination are pretty much complete.
The "Suit and Tie" wearer/singer jumped onto the photo-sharing site Saturday, a day prior to his comeback performance at the Grammys. He's racked up more than 120,000 followers and posted two dozen pictures.
These backstage glimpses of Timberlake's perfect life are photographic snippets of music history. They'll inevitably be framed in the Smithsonian. And they're not awkward, creepy selfie shots like recovering tween Madonna's.
No, they're just the most beautiful pictures ever to grace Instagram. Here are five things we learned:
1) He doesn't need YouTube to tie a bowtie, like mortals do.
2) We're very excited for him to star in his own Office spin-off.
3) He's not impressed with your Grammys tweets. JOKE HARDER.
4) Even he's stunned by Robin Wright's performance in House of Cards.
5) His attempt at "artistic" photos and adept use of the blurring tool are better than yours.
Photo via Justin Timberlake/Instagram