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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    Frozen fans, take note: The new song from creative team Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez has arrived, just in time for the premiere in theaters of the short sequel Frozen Fever.

    The song is "Making Today a Perfect Day" and features a duet between original cast members Kristen Bell as Anna and Idina Menzel as Elsa. The two celebrate Anna's birthday together. As every Frozen fan knows, Anna's childhood was a particularly lonely one, so it's a comforting treat to hear her getting to spend some quality time with her big sis—even if the moment is marred by Elsa's sneezing. Seems even ice queens aren't immune to catching colds.

    Here's the refrain you'll be singing for months:

    I’m making today a perfect day for you
    I’m making today a blast if it’s the last thing I do
    For everything you are to me and all you’ve been through
    I’m making today a perfect day for you

    Frozen Fever will debut in theaters Friday along with Disney’s much-hyped live-action Cinderella.

    In the meantime, what do you think of the song? 

    H/T Hypable | Screengrab via Disney/YouTube


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    Way back in 2009, before Netflix Instant had its grasp so firmly on the American attention span, my roommates threw an “East L.A.”/“dress like a Mexican” party. The concept didn’t really sink in until that evening, when my predominantly white group of friends arrived dressed, well, like Mexicans—or at least the popular perception of East L.A. Mexican-Americans, or cholos. You know: bandanas, single-buttoned flannel tops, white tank tops, and khaki pants pulled up to their chests. Many of the women wore their bangs high, doused with Aqua Net, a popular look for young inner city Latinas in the ’90s. I felt embarrassed and ashamed, hyper-aware of my skin, one or two shades darker than theirs. They couldn’t be racist, I thought. In fact, they had brown friends. I was one of those brown friends.

    But it was all a joke. Or was it homage? Lighten up. The problem was that their “joke” didn’t do anything to challenge the systems of power that create Latino poverty in Latino communities or a failing educational system that puts kids on the streets and into gangs—nor was that the intention. To look like a Mexican was the main objective, and that was the joke. Admittedly, I had dished out my fair share of racist humor during my early 20s, arguing that it was satirical. If folks felt uncomfortable, that was their problem. “I can’t be racist. I’m Mexican!” I would say. It had never occurred to me that an uncomfortable response to my “edgy” humor indicated that racist jokes that targeted the historically oppressed (no matter how ironic or well-intentioned) were wrong. I was complicit in my friends’ Mexican drag, and I hadn’t realized it until I was the butt of the joke.

    Watching the first season of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, the series from 30 Rock’s Tina Fey and Robert Carlock released on Netflix last weekend, I periodically remembered that party, those costumes, the obliviousness of my roommates, and my own rude awakening. Kimmy Schmidt is riddled with contradictory moments that either critique racial inequality or reinforce it through the use of one-dimensional stereotype. Unfortunately, the show is rife with the latter.

    The series tells the story of Kimmy (Ellie Kemper), one of four Indiana “Mole Women” kidnapped and brainwashed to follow a doomsday cult leader who locked them into a bunker to survive the imminent apocalypse. The end of the world never came, and the women remained locked in the bunker until present day—a total of 15 years. Once they are rescued, Kimmy emerges from the bunker with so much optimism and curiosity, ready to start her new life.

    Although the show takes place in New York, the characters don’t necessarily reflect the cultural diversity of the metropolis. The New York Kimmy inhabits is the same New York of Seinfeld, Friends, How I Met Your Mother and, while we’re at it, Girls. Of course, the characters in Kimmy Schmidt aren’t exclusively white like the casts of its predecessors; however, featured characters of color don’t exhibit nearly as much depth and development as Kimmy is afforded. With the exception of Kimmy’s roommate Titus (Tituss Burgess), the show’s recurring characters of color are basic caricatures with little identity.

    This is especially true with the two recurring Latina characters in the show. Donna Maria (Sol Miranda) was one of the Mole Women, lured into the bunker while she worked for Happy Maids. “You thought this was a job,” an observation Matt Lauer shares with Donna Maria on the Today show. Vera (Susanna Guzman) works as a housekeeper for Kimmy’s boss, Jacqueline Voorhies (Jane Krakowski). Because these are the only depictions of Latina women in the series, it makes me wonder if Tina Fey and Robert Carlock can even imagine a context in which these women had the same social mobility as Kimmy Schmidt.

    According to the “Latino Media Gap,” a report published by Columbia University in 2014, American Latino participation in media production has dwindled in spite of the growing population. The report indicates this is due to the fact that many Latino actors are not offered leading roles, and the few roles offered fall within three categories: criminals, sexual objects, and cheap labor. In fact, the report notes that “69% of iconic media maids in film and television since 1996 are Latina.” There are exceptions in Kimmy Schmidt, though. The only other Latino characters that appear in the show fit in none of the three categories—unless mariachis count as cheap labor.

    Similarly, Kimmy Schmidt revives tired, old Asian stereotypes with Dong, the Vietnamese immigrant and Chinese food deliveryman played by Ki Hong Lee. Late in the season, Dong becomes Kimmy’s primary love interest, a position that is notably rare for Asian-American actors. But Dong’s heavily accented English and math prowess overshadow what should be a groundbreaking role. As Daily Beast’s Gabe Bergado writes, “He should be fleshed out as more than just an algebra tutor that’s also boyfriend material for Kimmy.”

    Through his daft portrayal, Dong could be seen a callback to John HughesSixteen Candles and Long Duk Dong (Gedde Watanabe), an Asian foreign exchange student with an insatiable lust for American women—a performance NPR’s Kat Chow calls “cringeworthy.” The cringe factor also reminded me of Margaret Cho’s appearances on 30 Rock as Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un, as well as her extension of that performance at this year’s Golden Globes, which has been derided as “minstrelsydespite Cho’s Korean heritage. Dong is a very likeable character, even if his affected, Charlie Chan-esque accent distracts from what little nuance he is given.

    The tone-deaf portrayal of Latinos and Asians (and let’s not forget about Jane Krakowski’s brief Native American subplot) makes the actually astute racial satire in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt simultaneously welcome and confusing. There’s a moment in the first 90 seconds that so perfectly captures racial issues present in the news media. As a reporter covers the Mole Women’s rescue, the caption below her reads, “White Women Found,” and beneath that in smaller text, “Hispanic woman also found.” That joke works, though. And before Donna Maria’s occupation was revealed on Today, I thought it was representative of the type of critique to expect from the show.

    One scene that’s drawn a lot of attention involves Kimmy’s roommate and best friend Titus, an unabashedly gay black man, who dreams of his 15 minutes of fame while dealing with systemic biases that turn his identity into an obstacle. Titus realizes one day, while walking home from a job dressed as a werewolf (or Frankenwolf), that he’s being treated much better than if he were strolling about without the makeup. Cabs stop for him, a cop stops him to say hello, and a stranger asks him to hold her baby. Titus’ treatment is so remarkably different that he decides to live out his life in the wolf makeup.

    A go-to rule of racial humor, or any humor for that matter, is to punch up, not down. As Lindy West explains in her guide to hipster racism: “People in positions of power simply cannot make jokes at the expense of the powerless. That's why, at a company party, you never have a roast where the CEO is roasting the janitor.” So when a show like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, with white producers and largely white target audience, demonstrates a critical self-awareness—in this case a joke about how the media favors white victims over victims of color, or how it’s safer for a queer black man to walk around the city literally dressed like a monster—racial humor can be far more effective. But when it comes to representing people of different cultures, the creators still have a lot of work to do.

    A lot has changed since the Mexican party. I still catch myself telling inappropriate jokes on occasion, but now I immediately correct myself. It’s not really a matter of self-censorship, of course; I just have to ask myself how what I am saying makes matters better. Does it align me with the oppressed or oppressor? Without that self-awareness, I risk falling into the same complacency that put me in the position I was in the night of the Mexican party. Would that have stopped it? Maybe not. I never told my roommates how I felt about the Mexican party. I doubt they gave it a second thought. The cartoonish depiction of people of color at the party, as well as in television, does little to empower the historically oppressed. The continuous reproduction of those images, in turn, reinforces the idea that these are the only roles people of color serve.

    Screengrab via Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt/Netflix


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  • 03/12/15--12:47: Disney confirms 'Frozen 2'
  • In what’s probably the least surprising bit of news ever, Disney has confirmed that it’s making a sequel to the megahit Frozen at Disney’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders Thursday.

    There’s not much information available on the sequel beyond the return of director Chris Buck, director and writer Jennifer Lee, and producer Peter Del Vecho.

    “We enjoyed making Frozen Fever so much and being back in that world with those characters,” John Lasseter, the chief creative officer of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, said in a statement. “Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck have come up with a great idea for a sequel and you will be hearing a lot more about it and we’re taking you back to Arendelle. We are so excited about that.”

    There’s no release date or any production details about the film, but that won’t stop people from getting excited about it—including star Kristen Bell, who is likely returning as Anna; Idina Menzel has yet to publicly comment on the news, although she confirmed that a movie was “in the works” back in November.

    With almost no information to work on, people are at a mix between pure excitement and wanting Disney to just let it go already; it’ll probably also get another song stuck in our head for months. But Frozen, which made the company more than $1 billion and is the highest-grossing animated feature of all time and gained two Oscars, is unlikely to do the latter. Regardless, people have been trying to figure out what Disney could call the movie other than Frozen 2 in a hashtag game started by BuzzFeed.

    Frozen Fever, the animated short set to play before the live-action Cinderella, will come out Mar. 13.

    Screengrab via Walt Disney Animation Studios/YouTube


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    BY THE VIDEOINK STAFF

    AOL is ready to launch its first long-form original series, Connected, which will debut on March 31. Here’s the first trailer for the docu-series, which will document the lives of six New Yorkers and their significant others, as recorded by the subjects themselves:

    As you can tell, there will be a few recognizable faces in the show, led by actress Susan Sarandon, who (at least at the time, if gossip rags are accurate) was dating one of the show’s subjects: owner of Spin Jonathan Bricklin. Other notable cast members include Derek Gaines, host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show, and radio/TV host Rosie Noesi.

    Debuting on March 31 with its first four episodes, the rest of the series will be released in four-episode batches every two weeks until May 20 (20 episodes in total).

    “Connected” is based on a popular Israeli docu-reality series from Koda Communications, and is produced for AOL by Morgan Spurlock’s shingle Warrior Poets. Executive producers include AOL head of video Dermot McCormack, Koda’s Ram Landes, and Spurlock.

    Screengrab via AOL Originals/YouTube


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    What do you do when you want your half-human, half-vampire grandson to learn to fly? Hotel Transylvania 2's Dracula thinks you should throw him off a tower.

    Unfortunately for Dracula, flying isn't something picked up easily by the child as seen in the new teaser trailer for the film. Released Thursday, the trailer shows the Adam Sandler-voiced vampire joined by his old monster friends in the sequel that will see the hotel and its residents face some new challenges. The official synopsis is as follows:

    The Drac pack is back for an all-new monster comedy adventure in Sony Pictures Animation's Hotel Transylvania 2! Everything seems to be changing for the better at Hotel Transylvania... Dracula’s rigid monster-only hotel policy has finally relaxed, opening up its doors to human guests. But behind closed coffins, Drac is worried that his adorable half-human, half-vampire grandson, Dennis, isn’t showing signs of being a vampire. 

    The film is set to be released Sept. 25.

    Screengrab via Sony Pictures Entertainment/YouTube


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    Lindsey Lohan attended a Kanye West concert in Paris over the weekend. Like you or I would have, Lohan turned to Instagram to document the life event. You've seen a million of these posts—hastily chosen filter, a blurry artist, several hands in the air, and... hashtags that use the n-word?!

    About that last one: Lohan's since-edited post contained the hashtag (which, to be fair, contains a West lyric from his latest single "All Day") "#kanye&kimAlldaynigga$." Shortly after the post went live, Lohan deleted the language.

    Lohan's publicist reportedly issued an apology through the Daily Mail that nails the obvious points: "She is a friend of his, it is his new song, her intention was not to offend anyone and she apologizes!"

    It's pretty simple white people: don't use the n-word. No matter how many black friends you have. No matter how much you are entertained by the context with which it is used. It's always a bad look, and it takes half a second to self-censor when you're rapping along to Drake.

    Photo via John Seb Barber/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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    You’d think being the Commander in Chief would prevent Pres. Obama from seeing the appalling things people write about him on Twitter. He has people to run that for him, plus Congress and Fox News do enough Obama-hating on TV. But even the president sometimes get a bit sad to R.E.M. like our normal celebrities, musicians, and sports stars.

    Appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live Thursday night, Obama got the chance to air out his grievances and read some of the mean-spirited things people have said about him—once Jimmy Kimmel’s staff weeded out those tweets you can’t say on TV. As with that weird BuzzFeed video, the Kimmel segment let Obama showcase his sense of humor, and of course he got an entire “Mean Tweets” segment to yourself.

    Screengrab via Jimmy Kimmel Live/YouTube


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    For filmmakers, many roads lead to SXSW, all of which start with an idea.

    From an idea comes a plan, and with a plan comes the need for financing. At one end of the spectrum, there’s the lot that attracts big studio dollars such as Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck and the Will FerrellKevin Hart buddy film, Get Hard. At the other end, there’s everything else.

    The long-standing risk/reward scheme behind film financing remains. Investors with deep pockets are always willing to roll the dice on the latest Channing Tatum dance-off or searing McConaughey drama. But we now live in a world where fans are willing to pony up money to see their favorite director or writer put forth their personal passion projects. In addition to the slate of red carpeted Hollywood flicks, the film portion of SXSW 2015 will include 24 films that used Kickstarter to fund all or part of their productions. Indiegogo also is represented, with two films that are headed to the annual Austin event.

    While the stories behind these crowdfunded projects are as different as their genres, there is a common thread—the ability to connect directly with audiences who can put skin in the game to support films that most often fall outside the mainstream. In some cases, such as Marc Greenberg’s documentary, For the Record, a film that sheds light on the world of court reporting, the subject matter may have limited appeal. For noted filmmaker Hal Hartley, tapping into the global fanbase to fund Ned Rifle allowed him to not only preach to the choir, but to secure its financial support.

    Hartley’s ask for Ned Rifle—the third in his series that traces the strange, quixotic trajectory of a dysfunctional family from Queens, New York—caught Kickstarter off guard. While not trying to discourage the director from his rather large ask of $384,000, the crowdfunding site questioned whether his request made sense for a filmmaker generally a bit out of the mainstream.

    “They were happy I was using Kickstarter,” Hartley told the Daily Dot, “but they thought it was their responsibility to tell me they thought it was a big number given I was not as famous as Spike Lee or Veronica Mars.”

    Undaunted, Hartley knew what he needed to shoot the film, and he pushed forward. Whether it was the perks he offered (including a lunch with indie star Parker Posey) or a devoted group of fans, the campaign ultimately raised $11,000 more than he initially requested.

    “I am not an expert analyst,” Hartley said of his crowdsourcing approach. “I do believe I have the fan base around the world to hit this number. It’s like trying to get elected to office; you have to be on the stump every day.”

    Changes in technology and the economics of distribution work in favor of indie filmmakers, Hartley explained. “In the ’90s I used to have to trust sales agents to tell me who was watching the film, but in reality, they never really knew. “Now, I'm in a situation where I know who are watching my films in Japan, Russia, in the U.S. and Mexico, and I have a direct line to them.”

    To that point, Ned Rifle will be released though Vimeo’s on-demand platform along with a 10-city theatrical run. That model makes business sense in a world where a full-length film can be produced for $320,000. Hartley said the availability of lower-cost, HD equipment has taken him from shooting the Henry Fool—the first in this series—in 35mm film, to using off-the-shelf digital camera for his most recent installment.

    “Technology is getting so now you can make the film for a fraction of the cost from 20 years ago. I went down the the camera store and bought a $2,000 Blackmagic HD camera and did the sound work and editing in the office,” he explained.

    Tapping into communities goes beyond passing around the digital collection plate. Marc Greenberg’s entry into the 2015 SXSW Film Festival, For the Record, may appear to have limited appeal, but as he discovered, court reporters are a tightly knit group. The film casts some light on the art of steganography, featuring those who have the uncanny skills of typing up to 160 words per minute.

    “The court reporting community consists of between 20,000 and 30,000 people,” Greenberg told the Daily Dot. “They saw my documentary as providing them the ability to do some self promotion, so they jumped on it.”

    Greenberg overshot his $14,900 Kickstarter goal by about $200, and he credits his links on social media for the success. “I posted the campaign on Facebook,” he said, “and a number of websites. People were excited that I was dealing with a topic that has not been touched on before.”

    Businesses such as law firms and software providers who supply the world of court reporting were among the leading contributors to the film, Greenberg noted.

    A former TV producer/writer/actor, Greenberg entered For the Record with good broadcast skills, but he admits the world of unscripted documentaries can be challenging. The film is the ultimate passion project in which the filmmaker took a subject he loved and created a vehicle to share it with folks from outside the insular business community.

    “You certainly don’t get in the documentary business to get rich,” Greenberg said with a laugh. “My goal was to expose people to something new.”

    Two communities intersect for the production of Rolling Papers, a look at how the Denver Post has covered Colorado’s cannabis industry since its 2012 legalization. Financial support, led by the state’s documentary film community, combined with the cooperation of local news reporters to allow emerging documentarian Mitch Dickman to capture the perils and promise of a daily newspaper’s attempt to expand its reach by adding a cannabis column to the paper.

    The Kickstarter campaign sought to raise $50,420 (a number selected for obvious reasons), and overshot that goal by more than $200. Dickman said the financial support and emotional backing of the film community allowed him to dive headfirst into this project without worry as to what direction the story would take him.

    “In the case of Rolling Papers, due the dynamic nature of the story we had no idea where it would take us,” Dickman told the Daily Dot. “There were some nervous points in the project. I applaud everyone on board for staying on board as we wove together the story.”

    The film centers on Ricardo Baca, editor of the Denver Post's marijuana coverage and editor in chief of The Cannabist, a standalone website dedicated to cannabis coverage. For Dickman, the challenge was to provide an overview of the issues facing a daily newspaper embarking on new editorial territory without making the documentary solely on Baca, who has become a noted figure in Denver’s cannabis community.

    The deeper meaning behind Dickman’s documentary hits nerve for anyone who has witnessed the change in the business of modern media. He explains one of the poignant themes in Rolling Papers is contrasting one business on the way up with the downswing of the publishing industry. The Post’s challenge of finding new advertisers to supports its controversial cannabis coverage is just one such thread in that observation.

    As with many Kickstarter campaigns, creative perks can make the difference between success and failure. For Rolling Papers, perks were never an issue. For the three backers who each pledged $5,000, the reward was … unique.

    NAME THAT STRAIN - A private visit and tour to an area dispensary and grow operation. Said dispensary will name a strain after you or the name of your choosing. You will be accompanied by a professional photographer to document the entire experience

    Whatever works.

    Screengrab via SXSW/YouTube


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    Lucky and Bekka are today’s new and improved version of Jerry and George, having serious discussions in a show about nothing—and everything.

    On the surface, I Love Lucy & Bekka is a simple, elegant webseries in which two L.A. women have seemingly off-the-cuff conversations about life, death, crime, and the power of friendship. Truth be told, there’s nothing improvisational or accidental in the glory of this 12-part webseries starring Gina Rodriguez (Bekka) and Kristolyn Lloyd. (Yes, the same Gina Rodriguez who proudly took the stage to win a Golden Globe for her work in TV’s Jane the Virgin. Lloyd is no slouch either, with a long list of credits including the popular soap The Bold and the Beautiful.)

    “I met Gina my first year in L.A., which was 2011, through mutual friends,” Lucy & Bekka creator/writer Rachel Holder told the Daily Dot. “She and I both went to NYU, and I met her at a party where she said to me: ‘I heard you write funny things. I want you to write funny things for me.’”

    Mission accomplished.

    Lucy & Bekka is funny, but in a sophisticated, universally relatable way. The two-minute episodes open with a riff on the classic I Love Lucy theme, but that’s where the similarity between the two shows ends. There are a few installments in which Bekka wears a kerchief à la Lucille Ball, but never in a slapstick, hands-stuck-in-an-assembly-line sort of way. For all but two of the segments, this is a two-character show that represents a powerful narrative between two women juggling careers, social lives, and future aspirations.

    Take the episode in which Lucy and Bekka sit around the breakfast table discussing how one would attempt to cover for the other in case either committed a murder. Few webseries boast this sort of clever dialogue that represents the sorts of odd, intimate conversations that take place between friends.

    The project is rooted in Holder’s desire to move from public readings in which she performed to audiences of 25 to a larger audience. Prompted to venture into the world of webseries by her friend Jason Wolf, a senior producer for Undercover Boss, Holder raised $5,855 via Kickstarter and shot all 12 episodes in one week during June 2013. Despite the small budget, Holder said her goal was to make the series appear to be somewhat improvised, but every element, including scripting and set design, was carefully orchestrated. The house used for filming, Holder noted, was carefully staged to accurately represent the sort of home Lucy and Bekka—two young working women—could be living in.

    The only thing missing from I Love Lucy & Bekka? viewers. The series has a shade over 1,350 subscribers on YouTube. The episodes range from 3,000-5,000 viewers per, which speaks to the plethora of original content available online. Holder is not pushing the future trajectory of her series, as she “wants it to make the rounds and speak for itself.” The writer, now living in New York, says she has season 2 in the palm of her hand, and if a commercial opportunity came up, she is set with a pilot.

    But for now, it’s about getting her name and talent out to the masses. “My goal is to get my voice out there,” Holder said. “Getting more people to see my work has always been my purpose.”

    Screengrab via I Love Lucy & Bekka/YouTube


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    BY BREE BROUWER 

    Viewers aren’t used to seeing ads on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon YouTube channel. The TV show’s parent network, NBC, chooses not to run them to avoid paying Google’s online video site its 45 percent cut of ad revenue.

    But the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) was curious about how much NBC would rake in from ad revenue if the network chose to run ads against Fallon’s channel. The publication spoke to video analytics firm OpenSlate and found NBC could potentially bring in up to $12 million a year from ads on the Jimmy Fallon YouTube channel.

    OpenSlate reached the $12 million sum based on a few assumptions. First, the firm clarified NBC and YouTube would likely sell ads to U.S. advertisers only, cutting out about half of Fallon’s viewership, which comes from international locations. Second, OpenSlate arbitrarily guessed NBC would run one ad for every four views on the Jimmy Fallon YouTube channel.

    Within those parameters in place, OpenSlate noted how popular Fallon’s channel is on YouTube; it boasted over 6.5 million subscribers and 333 million video views in the month of February alone. Those stats mean the NBC-owned YouTube channel could be included in the site’s premium Google Preferred program, commanding an estimated CPM (cost-per-thousand clicks) rate of $25.

    At that rate, OpenSlate guessed NBC would pull in $500,000 to $600,000 each month from ads on The Tonight Show’s YouTube channel. This comes out to an extra $7.2 million per year for the network.

    OpenSlate also noted that figure could jump to $9 million a year if NBC and YouTube struck a deal to sell ads outside of the Preferred package, at a higher CPM rate of $30. This higher revenue number would be due to the fact that NBC could take home 100 percent of ad revenue after Fallon’s channel hit YouTube’s revshare cap.

    Pushing assumptions even further, OpenSlate guessed NBC could potentially pull in up to $10 or $12 million a year if YouTube was willing to take a smaller cut of the ad share (like how the new online video platform Vessel only keeps 30 percent of ad revenue, leaving 70 percent of the earnings to creators).

    Despite that extra income potential, NBC believes just having Fallon’s content on YouTube is good enough for now. “Even though we’re not monetizing it, the option B is not using [YouTube] at all,” said NBC’s Executive Vice President of Digital Media Rob Hayes, in an interview reported by WSJ. “If and when we have a relationship with YouTube, we’ve got a critical base [of fans]. And you learn over time. If we did nothing over last several years we’d be that much further behind in learning about YouTube.”

    Wall Street Journal and OpenSlate are, of course, just speculating about what would happen if NBC changed its mind and started to run ads against the Tonight Show YouTube channel. And while a massive media corporation like NBC may just bat an eye at the prospect of earning another $7-12 million a year, the numbers are nonetheless fascinating.

    Screengrab via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon/YouTube 



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    After an interview during which Dolce and Gabbana spoke out against "nontraditional" families, the designers are facing a boycott from celebrities including Elton John.

    According to a translation from LGBT News Italia, Dolce and Gabbana's recent interview with Panoramamagazine was harshly critical of what Domenico Dolce describes as "synthetic" children. 

    "The only family is the traditional one," Dolce said. "No chemical offspring and rented uterus: life has a natural flow; there are things that should not be changed."

    Dolce added, "I call children of chemistry, synthetic children. Uteri [for] rent, semen chosen from a catalog."

    Dolce and Gabbana both identify as gay, and were a couple for over twenty years, but do not support same-sex marriage. In a 2006 interview, Gabbana said that while he had once approached a female friend to be the surrogate mother of his child, he was "opposed to the idea of a child growing up with two gay parents."

    LGBT News Italia introduced the #boycottdolcegabbana hashtag in reaction to the Panorama interview, and it's already catching on. Elton John, who is raising two sons with his husband David Furnish, posted on Instagram to hit back against the two designers.

    "How dare you refer to my beautiful children as 'synthetic,'" he wrote. "Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions. I shall never wear Dolce and Gabbana ever again."

    Celebrity blogger Perez Hilton chimed in to support the boycott, along with many others.

    Dolce and Gabbana are yet to respond publicly to the backlash, although Gabbana has since posted a photo of a mother and child on his Instagram, tagged #dgmamma and #dgfamily.

    This is not the first time Dolce and Gabbana have been on the receiving end of a celebrity boycott. Along with the controversy caused by their opposition to LGBT equality, they offended many people with their spring 2013 collection, which was widely perceived to be racist. At the time, Azealia Banks tweeted that she was boycotting the brand, accusing Dolce and Gabbana of using "black mammie imagery" and saying the designers needed "a swift kick in the mouth."

    Photo via Ernst Vikne/Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 2.0)


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    These people aren’t as big of experts on President Obama as they claim to be.

    In honor of Obama’s appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Jimmy Kimmel sent out his camera crew to scour Hollywood Boulevard for Obama experts and people who keep up with political news. Only, as per usual with the “Lie Witness News” segments, all the questions are completely made up and the lies are even bigger than the ones being told by political pundits.

    Whether it’s scripted, an attempt to save face at their lack of knowledge, or these people actually think that news stories about Obama’s earring, his refusal to not get his new son circumcised, and his sleepover with Kim Jong-un are true is unclear. But they will go down with their lies—they’ll even tell you what they were doing when they heard the news.

    And in this web of lies we all win.

    Screengrab via Jimmy Kimmel Live/YouTube


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    David Lynch announced last October that Twin Peaks, the sci-fi cult show that aired from 1990 to 1991, would get a sequel in the form of a third season that would air on Showtime in 2016, but now he’s not so certain about its return.

    Lynch spoke with David Stratton during a Q&A event at the Queensland Performing Arts Center in Brisbane, Australia, Saturday, when Strattan asked him about the status of the Twin Peaks revival. The last most fans had heard was that original star Kyle MacLachlan would be reprising his role as Special Agent Dale Cooper, and that was back in mid-January.

    His answer, however, is sure to worry Twin Peaks fans.

    “I don’t know,” he said. “There are complications.”

    News quickly spread out of the QPAC by fans who were in attendance for the sold-out Q&A while others reached out to Showtime, urging the premium cable company to give Lynch anything he wants so he’ll return to Twin Peaks.

    According to Welcome Twin Peaks, the “complications” Lynch spoke of seem to be more about contract negotiations; Lynch said it wasn't about funding or the scripts, which are written.

    Lynch confirmed that contract discussions were ongoing in an interview with ABCNews24’s The Mix, where he reaffirmed his love for the show and his wish to return to the show.

    “I haven’t returned yet and we’re still working on the contract, but I love the world of Twin Peaks and I love those characters,” he said. “And I think it will be very special to go back into that world.

    Will we return to Twin Peaks, Wash.? That might be almost as much a mystery as what goes on in that town.

    H/T Welcome to Twin Peaks | Photo via Sasha Kargaltsev/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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    This article contains sexually explicit material.

    Nickelodeonpulled an episode of the French cartoon Oggy and the Cockroaches after viewers spotted a pair of exposed breasts in the background of the cartoon.

    The episode in question, “(Un)happy Camper!,” aired on March 5 and featured the titular cockroaches planning to ruin a beach vacation in a camping car. At one point, the camping car shows a photo of a woman with her breasts exposed before Oggy opens the door of the camper and covers it.

    It’s not a talking point within the episode itself, but it is on screen long enough for viewers to take notice—plus, in this clip, there’s an arrow and a “ding” sound effect.

    According to TMZ, one father was “extremely unhappy” now that he had to have a talk with his 8-year-old son about female anatomy after he had seen the episode.

    Nickelodeon has yet to publicly comment on the episode, but it’s since removed it from its schedule and website. It’s still viewable on a cached version of the page.

    Oggy and the Cockroaches has been running intermittently since 1998 in France. It used to run on Fox Kids and Fox Family in the U.S., and Nickelodeon has aired the show in the U.S. since Feb. 23.

    H/T Uproxx | Screengrab via Nick.com


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    Georgia State University already acquired its first casualty of March Madness—and it only just got into the tournament.

    It wasn’t any of its players (which include former Louisville guard Kevin Ware) but rather Georgia State Panthers head coach Ron Hunter. The team celebrated qualifying for its first NCAA tournament since 2001 by winning the Sun Belt Conference championship game against Georgia Southern as they jumped and hugged each other in celebration.

    Hunter was among them, but ESPN’s broadcast went from Hunter’s son RJ, who plays for Georgia State, to video of the coach being supported as he hobbled off the court.

    Someone quickly got him a pair of crutches as he went back to celebrating with the rest of the team.

    Turns out, Hunter tore his Achilles tendon during the celebration, according to Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Doug Roberson.

    He’ll probably have to sit out on all the dancing Georgia State will be doing during its time in March Madness, but it wouldn’t surprise us if he found a way to do it anyway while he recovered.

    H/T The Big Lead | Photo via Skapunkskatedude/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY SA 3.0)


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    Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney is not one to back away from challenging powerful interests. 

    Gibney took on the American military's torture program in Taxi To The Dark Side. He shined a light on the sex abuse scandals of the Catholic Church with Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God. He set his sights on the politically influential empire of the Koch brothers and their one percent ilk in Park Avenue.

    Now, with a pair of new documentaries, Gibney is going toe-to-toe with two of the scariest institutions in American life: Apple and the Church of Scientology. The Daily Dot sat down with Gibney during South By Southwest to talk about the surprising similarities between the two organizations.

    In Steve Jobs: The Man In The Machine, which had its world premiere at SXSW this week, Gibney turns a critical eye to the Apple co-founder and his enduring legacy. Gibeny's film, which The Hollywood Reporter called "unflinching," is far from a fanboy hagiography. Instead, it's a warts-and-all look at a man who Gibney portrays as both of a world-class storyteller who single-handedly shaped our digital future and a unrepentant hypocrite who preached the gospel of "think different" do-gooderism while never giving a dime to charity and making it a point to always park his car in handicapped spaces.

    When Gibney asked Apple—the richest company in history—they told him they "didn't have the resources" to help him with the movie.

    Apple's response to Gibney's interview requests was actually not all that different from the ones he received from the Church of Scientology while in the process of adapting Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, Lawrence Wright's acclaimed exposé into the religion founded by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. 

    In the cases of both Apple and Scientology, it was a total lack of cooperation from the other side. However, Gibney noted that documenting an uncooperative subject has its own advantages because discovering the points where an organization is reticent to share information is "where you should start digging."

    Going Clear, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, will air on HBO on March 16. Steve Jobs will air on CNN later this year.

    Photo by Matt Yohe/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)


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    February and April are nothing compared to the excitement and madness of March, if the NCAA has anything to do with it.

    It’s John Oliver’s first March Madness on Last Week Tonight, and as he’s swept away by the games and the excessive amount of advertising, he notices the darker side of the games—and of college sports entirely.

    "There is nothing inherently wrong with a sporting tournament making huge amounts of money, but there is something slightly troubling about a $1 billion sports enterprise where the athletes are not paid a penny," Oliver said.

    The athletes aren’t being paid, they’re being punished for petty offenses, and they’re being encouraged to take “paper classes” to boost their GPAs so they’re even eligible to play. Meanwhile, the NCAA and the coaches makes billions of dollars off of athletes who then don’t make a dime. And while the students can lose their scholarships and end up drowning in medical bills from a career-ending injury, the coaches earn millions while complaining about “student entitlement.”

    To top it all off, Oliver has a video game to show everyone else how terrible it is to be a student athlete. Just restart and play in administrative mode—it’s a lot easier.

    Screengrab via Last Week Tonight With John Oliver/YouTube


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    The Internet has no short history of calling women crazy. Trolls and gossip outlets are ever ready to label the next offender. Log on to Twitter and you’ll find no shortage of attacks on women who dare to have opinions. On TMZ, celebrities who seem in need of serious help are branded a “freak show.”

    But what can be found on the Web is simply a magnified reflection of the daily restrictions placed on women. You don’t have to be a celebrity or even have a Twitter presence to know that a woman who dares not to smile, nod, and be polite often risks criticism, ridicule, or even public shaming.

    The ladies behind these three webseries aren’t running from the “C” word. Shalyah Evans of I’m Not Crazy; Lyle Friedman and Ashley Skidmore of #hotmessmoves; and Kady Ruth Ashcraft, Hayley Kosan, and Alise Morale’s of IFC Comedy Crib’s Horrible Insane Girl are claiming the word word for their own. The creators and performers behind each series spoke to the Daily Dot about their thoughts on the “C” word, and revealed their most personal thoughts on all kinds of crazy.

    1) I’m Not Crazy

    I’m Not Crazy features MTV Girl Code’s Shalyah Evans wigging out on plumbers, pizza delivery guys, and sales clerks. In the series, Evans is neurotically polite and eager to please at the start of each interaction, but the inevitable mention of the "C" word sends her reeling.

    The series, directed by Kevin Etherson and Tom Capps, offers a cathartic fantasy for anyone who’s played the nice girl one time too many. Evans resembles a Disney princess come to life and she’s got the natural cheer of a camp counselor, but with every freakout the message is clear: Nice does not equal doormat.

    Have you ever been called crazy in real life or on the Internet? How do you feel about the word "crazy"?

    I've been called crazy in person, online, probably in a few secret journals… It's not a nice word. I think "crazy" gets thrown around way too much as a stand-in for "emotional" or "not doing what I want" and sometimes just for "you are a woman.” Not only is it a mean thing to say to someone, but it trivializes the other person and their feelings, and also stigmatizes the idea of "crazy.” Nine times of of 10, I'm called crazy when I'm just trying to get something done.

    What inspired you to make a series that explores this side of lady behavior?

    I'm Not Crazy was totally inspired by my own life. I'm always quietly grinding my teeth and pulling my hair out when I'm being pushed around, and the series gave me a chance to let out that frustration. Think of this series as my super-fun personal revenge fantasy! Women get talked down to on such an upsettingly regular basis—by men—but we also do it to each other. It’s infuriating, and you can start to feel crazy dealing with it. I think we'd all emotionally benefit from throwing things in a coffee shop once in a while.

    Your character freaks out in every episode but she also triumphs and gets what she wants. Do crazy women get things done?

    I think that using "crazy" as a tool to get things done usually goes one of two ways: You either get what you came for or you get arrested. It’s certainly a risk, but sometimes it can feel like the only way anyone will take you seriously is to lose it. I don't recommend robbing any store employees, but you can yell at the plumber a little when he's not doing his job. There's a balance in there somewhere. Please let me know if you find it!

    2) #hotmessmoves

    Lyle Friedman and Ashley Skidmore are the yin and yang: Friedman is demure while Skidmore is unapologetically loud and crass. #hotmessmoves follows the twosome through a variety of raunchy and intimate scenarios where mistakes range from tender to triumphant.

    Have either of you been called crazy in real life or on the Internet? How do you feel about the word “crazy”?

    Friedman: Yes... recently I was put on a crazy scale by a dude and he said I was a six, but that most women are a six (on the way to 10)... So yeah, let's not examine why all women are a six to you, dude. Your behavior is perfectly fine and permissible.

    Skidmore: Oh boy, have I ever been called crazy. I mean, look, I think every human is crazy, but women just have a greater capacity of emoting and connecting with each other than men do. So, yes, we get called "crazy" a lot when we express our emotional ups and downs. We all have them as humans, but men are taught to stifle them to be macho. So I take it as a complement and a sign of being an evolved human. Or I'm just crazy. I still have exes that call me crazy on the Internet, but they are straight-up lunatics so I feel happy they consider me an ally to themselves and the "crazy" community.

    What inspired you to make a series that explores this side of lady behavior?

    Skidmore: Well, Lyle and I went out to [the bar] one night and were doing a bunch of bits with all the [comedy] big boys... I did a hilarious bit and got no laughter [from the boys] because it was too "sexual" and [they] were preoccupied with planning how to have sex with us. We realized we needed to shed light on female comedy while taking into account that we, too, are sexual beings. And [we] can tell a joke without wanting to fuck someone as the punchline. Also, girls are gross and we always want to encourage ladies to give in to that grossness.

    Friedman: I think we were just trying to make something about human behavior and then it ended up being this thing where most of my friends tell me, "I do that, too! But I just never talked about it." I don't know what's wrong with us that we're always talking about these moments.

    Your characters on #hotmessmoves don't always get what they want, but they also seem to be having a lot of fun. Do crazy women have more fun?

    Friedman:God, I hope so. But, like, they might also experience more pain? I don't know. I'm having fun... most days.

    Skidmore:Absofuckinglutely. Crazy women have more fun because they're called crazy so much for just being themselves that in general they're just like, “Fuck it!” Also, there’s nothing more fun than mixing it up and ruining your life for a good story. But again, this is what makes me crazy.

    3) Horrible Insane Girl

    Horrible Insane Girl is an eight-sketch series created by Kady Ruth Ashcraft, Hayley Kosan, and Alise Morales for IFC's Comedy Crib. The team describes the show as a blend of Portlandia and Broad City, and their brand of crazy creeps in more subtly and quietly than the title would suggest.

    Ashcraft and Morales, who feature in the sketches, have an easy chemistry that grounds the scenes in reality, while Kosan works behind the camera to bring the world of Horrible Insane Girl to life.

    Have any of you been called crazy in real life or on the Internet? How do you feel about the word "crazy"?

    Kosan: My ex called me crazy once. I hear she's a rapper now. For the record, she's the crazy one, not me.

    Ashcraft: Yes, I've been called crazy many times, sometimes in earnest and often in jest. I think it's a word that's thrown around so frequently it's lost its meaning as "truly insane" to more mean someone you disagree with and cannot understand their logic. I think "crazy" is an easy way to dismiss a person and their feelings.

    Morales: I've been called crazy many times and on all mediums because I am actually crazy. I think we settled on the name Horrible Insane Girl because as women we've all been called crazy so many times that there comes a point where embracing it is more fun than trying to prove that you're not—kind of like what Taylor Swift did with the "Blank Space" music video. Basically, what I'm trying to say is we are the sketch comedy version of the "Blank Space" music video.

    What inspired you to make a series that explores this side of lady behavior?

    Kosan: I don't know if we're exploring an untapped side of lady behavior. I think we're just externalizing emotional situations many people, gentlemen included, internalize. But in the most absurd way we could.

    Ashcraft: I think the three of us are all hypercreative people (is that obnoxious to say?) and are always bouncing trillions of ideas off of each other and off everyone to the point that we've had to throw away caring if we come across as crazy or not. There is something liberating about being "insane" because you suddenly aren't bound by social expectations and rules. There is a lot more freedom when you're "crazy." Hayley's directorial style and the tone she creates through editing the sketches often mimics a dreamlike hyperreality that allows for more absurdist behavior. But also, just when you think we're going off the deep end, we've written a parody of The Bachelor where the cast is entirely competent and self-starting women. So sometimes the craziest thing of all is deciding when you want to be insane or not.

    Morales: I think the main thing we tried to set out to do in this series is explore ourselves and what we're capable of, and if that translates to some answers for people about the mysterious lives of women, we'll take it. I don't think any of us set out to write lady-specific topics, but being that we are ladies, that sensibility and experience is what we draw from in our sketches, both visually because of Hayley's brilliant directing and structurally because of me and Kady's piss-poor and nearly unintelligible writing.

    Your characters freak out, but the end of the Valentine’s Day sketch makes it clear that they have a very solid friendship. Do crazy women make better friends?

    Kosan: Yeah, because crazy women get shit done!

    Morales: I am crazy and all my friends are crazy and one day we will all rule the world.

    Ashcraft: I don't think crazy women necessarily make better friends, but I think it's important that friendships have room for craziness. I think we're at an exciting time where popular media is reflecting the full dimensions of female friendships. It’s really fun to make stuff with female friends about the multitudinous [nature] of your relationships.

    Photo via Joanbanjo/Wikipedia (CC BY 3.0) | Remix by Fernando Alfonso III


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    In his prime, Mike Tyson was one of the greatest boxers in history. Having worked hard to recover his professional reputation after his 1992 conviction for raping a Miss Black America contestant, Tyson is lately reaping the rewards of a towering career. 

    And one of the biggest rewards for any boxer surely has to be snagging Martin Scorsese and Jamie Foxx to direct and star in the biopic of your life.

    In addition to the surprise announcement about Scorsese and Foxx, which Tyson first leaked yesterday on morning radio, Tyson uploaded a compilation of all 43 of his knockout matches over his career on YouTube yesterday afternoon. 

    Tyson is asking his followers and fans to help him pick the 10 best KOs of his career, ostensibly to help his pal Foxx prepare for his role in the film, but most likely to help create buzz for the film in the form of an instant viral hit.

    Knowing that Tyson is a boxing genius pales in comparison to actually seeing him in action—which is probably why the video has already racked up over 240,000 views. The long list of knockouts clocks in at nearly an hour. It includes highlights like his debut fight KO against Hector Mercedes in 1985, in which Mercedes goes down in round 1, and his spectacular pummeling of Marvis Frazier at 40:09.

    Tyson lost only six fights in his his 58-match career. Arguably none of those will ever eclipse the notoriety of his rematch with Evander Holyfield, which resulted in his disqualification over the famous ear-biting incident

    And it's equally important that time not erase the history of his six-year prison sentence for raping college student Desiree Washington. Tyson served only three years.

    But anyone looking for evidence that Tyson is one of the greatest boxers in heavyweight history need only look at this series of matches, in which Tyson, smaller and with shorter arms than most of his competitors, nevertheless succeeds over and over again at pinning them against the ropes and going all in. His history of assault and his status as a convicted rapist accompany a history of extraordinary fighting.

    We hope the biopic takes an unflinching look at Tyson's biggest fights—both in and out of the ring.

    Photo via merille/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)


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    The HBO true crime series The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst ended Sunday night with an even bigger revelation than the real-life arrest of Robert Durst.

    In the finale, director Andrew Jarecki finally got to sit down with Durst to ask him about the similarities between a letter received by Susan Berman (whose 2000 murder he is now being charged for) before she died and a letter sent to the Beverly Hills Police Department after her death. He admitted to writing the letter to Berman but not the letter to the police despite the unmistakable similarities; when looking at the letters side-by-side, he couldn’t tell Jarecki which one he didn’t write.

    But it was what happened after the interview with Durst ended that stunned everyone. With his mic still on, Durst went to the bathroom, where he seemed to be talking to himself; he apparently doesn’t notice that the mic was still recording, something that also occurred in an earlier episode.

    “There it is,” he said. “You're caught. You're right, of course. But you can't imagine. Arrest him. I don't know what's in the house. Oh, I want this. What a disaster. He was right. I was wrong. And the burping. I'm having difficulty with the question. What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.”

    A New York Times article that published right after the finale says that “more than two years passed” after Jarecki’s interview with Durst before the filmmakers discovered the audio.

    However, fans and reporters were suspicious about The Jinx’s timeline. If Durst’s final interview took place in fall 2013 as some believed, then the New York Times’ quote about “more than two years” would be impossible. It’d be a year and a half at most.

    A New York Times review of The Jinx finale offers a different timeline: the interview was taped “nearly three years ago” and the filmmakers discovered it nine months ago.

    “We can chalk the odd time up to a Times error, maybe, as well as possible liberties taken via the show’s editing,” Gawker’s Rich Juzwiak wrote about the lost audio. “But fishier still is the idea that the filmmakers ‘found’ the audio after any passage of time—as though they'd have just stopped listening as soon as Durst stepped into the bathroom.”

    Jarecki appeared on Good Morning America Monday morning to clarify The Jinx’s timeline and told George Stephanopoulos that it took him and the filmmakers more than two years to discover the audio when they brought on more editors to look over audio.

    “We’ve been in contact with law enforcement for the past two years,” Jarecki said. “And so when we finally found that subsequent admission, what happens in the bathroom, we contacted them and said ‘We have something more.’”

    H/T AP | Screengrab via HBO’s channel/YouTube


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