Articles on this Page
- 04/04/15--10:31: _To celebrate Grace ...
- 04/04/15--15:15: _Beyoncé releases su...
- 04/05/15--06:00: _How No Gang Colors ...
- 04/05/15--06:00: _7 'Mad Men' conspir...
- 04/05/15--07:00: _'Top Gear' star Jam...
- 04/05/15--07:44: _'SNL' cast members ...
- 04/05/15--09:23: _'SNL' gives Sciento...
- 04/05/15--11:20: _Kylie Jenner ignite...
- 04/06/15--05:43: _6 of Britain's best...
- 04/06/15--06:19: _St. Louis Blues' Ry...
- 04/06/15--06:41: _This is what you ge...
- 04/06/15--07:09: _After torrent of cr...
- 04/06/15--10:18: _This adorable anima...
- 04/06/15--12:10: _On this week's 'Lip...
- 04/06/15--12:25: _World's most frustr...
- 04/06/15--13:41: _Netflix picks up Ri...
- 04/06/15--15:25: _Madonna will premie...
- 04/06/15--16:37: _Joshua Ortiz's awar...
- 04/06/15--17:04: _Zach Braff and Dona...
- 04/07/15--06:00: _Amy Poehler's takin...
- 04/04/15--15:15: Beyoncé releases surprise anniversary tribute to Jay Z
- 04/05/15--06:00: How No Gang Colors is chopping and screwing the Internet
- 04/05/15--06:00: 7 'Mad Men' conspiracy theories fans should be nervous about
- Responded to a fair work-related question from Pete with, “Just cash the checks, you’re going to die one day”
- Turned off the engine of his airplane, in the air, while he was flying it, with clients as passengers
- Came across as a person who wanted to either stop working or stop living as soon as possible
- 04/05/15--09:23: 'SNL' gives Scientology the parody it deserves
- 04/06/15--05:43: 6 of Britain's best webseries
- 04/06/15--06:19: St. Louis Blues' Ryan Reaves pulls out his own tooth after hit
- 04/06/15--10:18: This adorable animated short stars an elephant with 'Trunk Troubles'
- 04/06/15--15:25: Madonna will premiere her new music video on Meerkat
- 04/06/15--17:04: Zach Braff and Donald Faison will deliver pizza to your gay wedding
- 04/07/15--06:00: Amy Poehler's taking Smart Girls at the Party from webseries to TV
Grace Helbig's E! show debuted last night, and while there were mixed reviews about it on Twitter, there was at least one clip that stayed true to the Helbig brand: She and frequent partner in crime Mamrie Hart got drunk and watched viral videos.
Of course they turned it into a game called "Deal," in which a funny video is queued up and the first person to laugh at it has to do a shot. How do we get this job?
Beyoncé debuted another surprise release today: an anniversary tribute to her husband, Jay Z.
The song, titled "Die With You," is Bey's love song for Jay on their seventh wedding anniversary. The video features her simply playing a piano and singing to the camera, which Jay Z is holding.
The song also debuted on Tidal, Jay Z's newly minted streaming service, because sometimes love is synonymous with brand synergy.Photo via nonu/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)
Ever since Napster nuked the music industry as we knew it, we've been struggling to put the pieces all back together—to balance art and commerce in the digital age. There are more questions than answers: How can musicians make money from the Internet? How can they use new distribution models to their advantage? Is the album still the ideal format?
Joseph Ohegyi, a Fort Worth, Texas-based producer who records under the name No Gang Colors, doesn't claim to have it all figured out, but he's using his music as a direct way to raise those questions, engage the conversation, and forge art about the struggle to make art in the 21st century. It's hardly all doom and gloom on his end, though. His works also represent an optimism about the Internet as a vehicle for musical discovery and genre-bending, through sequencing that seems bizarre on paper but even weirder to live without once you listen.
Slave Face East, his latest release, experiments with the podcast format. Over some smooth guitar jamming, he pontificates on quite a few topics, including how the typical album-tour cycle is getting old, how artists are spoiled from “uncritical favor of their audience,” and how formats of all forms should be challenged. These topics tend to be more thinkpiece talking points than a basis for the actual music. By inserting himself in the music via his own thoughts—explicitly stated instead of wrapped in metaphor—he forces, or at least encourages, the listener to think about how they've consumed music, whether they're old vinyl junkies or kids who are too young to remember Kazaa. He calls for artists to not see themselves as walled-off communicators who shouldn't engage with critics or even their own audience but to realize that their work is open to interpretation, and to accept or embrace that.
For the project Ohegyi would record himself rambling and edit himself down. There's hours of his own stuff that he didn't use, and because the album leaned more on his own voice than samples, he found it to be an interesting challenge.
Letting go seems to be something that Ohegyi wants music listeners to do more of.
“It was more imagining me hearing it and what I would want to hear someone talk about music, sort of like a feedback loop,” Ohegyi tells the Daily Dot. In other words, he imagined the audience more when editing it down than when he was actually creating the raw material for it.
“This is interesting to me—does it have any context outside my brain, or does it jive with what's going on right now?” he continues, referring to the editing process. “Even now, speaking I'm so self-conscious. There is an aspect of letting go that I had to embrace.”
Letting go seems to be something that Ohegyi wants music listeners to do more of. That's touched upon in in East. “People who have an expectation and whatever isn't falling into that expectation isn't as good or is poorly done for them,” he says.
East features a lot of hard cuts and bits of sound coming in that almost compete with Ohegyi's voice for attention. They reflect how much information competes for our attention and how relentless that can be. Ohegyi likes the “confrontational” nature that hard cuts can bring about, as a way of subverting his education from music school.
“I know what sounds good and I know how to do it; I just have a desire to not just do it because it's pleasing,” he says. “To me, it's pleasing, but to the general consensus of what works, I like the idea of subverting that even just a little bit here and there, just to keep it interesting for myself when I'm making it.”
East is inspired in part by Teo Macero, a jazz producer whose editing of Bitches Brew, On the Corner, and In a Silent Way was central to Miles Davis's vision for a jazz-rock fusion. Editing is an art unto itself, and Ohegyi is crucially aware of this. He found that podcasts he listened to were a little too shaggy on the editing and wanted to approach his take on it like a detail-minded producer.
“I like that tradition of making music, it's really tactile, even digitally,” he says. “I like the very simple process that editing involves, not to say that editing is simple, but the very basic nature that you're dealing with sound, not dealing the with the specifics of how to get the sound.”
That sort of manipulation was also the basis for Hacking Heaven, his 2012 release that he considers to be his first “album” of sorts. He was inspired by the use of sampling in grindcore records and used that, in addition to field recordings of urban New York, to construct a narrative of how technology and art intersect. Whereas East takes on the podcast format, Ohegyi refers to Heaven as an “audio documentary.”
“I was interested in what something would sound like where the meat of it was from samples, not just using a sample as way to [say], 'Hey, I like that move, or that sounds funny,'” he says. “Editing stuff to the point to where you're bending it to make the point you want to make. Editing stuff down to crystallize these nuggets of statements, that put together, could make a contextual whole.”
East is more focused on Oygehi's own literal voice, and Heaven is him taking in others' voices to make his own, but both works are united by a need to prove the legitimacy of computer music. He had experimented with IDM when he was younger, but he felt that he was merely copying others and not doing his own thing. Control largely draws him to the digital format.
“There's a lot of choices going into it. I think of every moment in the music as needing to prove itself,” Oyeghi says.
Just a few years ago, his was focus was on radical, abrasive remixing. 666 Mixes For Cash, whose title is a play on Aphex Twin’s 26 Mixes For Cash, was a collection of chopped-and-screwed grindcore and metal songs, combining them with rap samples and making them ready for the trunk. The standout track by far is “Money Screw Dead,” which repurposes the hypnotic, grinding industrial drums of Swans' “A Screw” as the napalm-laden backdrop for Scarface's anti-recruitment screed “Among the Walking Dead.”
Ohegyi remembers the rap-metal craze when the likes of Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park dominated the airwaves and MTV. He also remembers the backlash against all that stuff later—how metal and rap artists would rather be caught dead than be seen in the studio with each other. And frankly, most metal-rap collaborations tend to have a poor understanding of at least one side of the equation. So why does Cash sound heavy and natural?
While many have criticized peer-to-peer sharing as the root of destabilizing the music economy, there's no denying that it's allowed a kid who grew up in Connecticut find chopped and screwed music...
“Metal was made in this live band environment mostly; it's hard to mix in rap stuff, which is always done in a studio,” Ohegyi says. “It can't really use a live band making stuff then throw an MC over it or have some some DJ scratching, the process has to be organic to what rap would be, or else you sound like a hodgepodge combination of it.”
His mixes are a product of curiosity stoked by Internet-enabled opportunities. There are plenty of digital mixtapes out there, mostly saying “here’s what I like.” What separates his mixes is his ability to bring together wildly disparate forms and fluidly connect them.
The more music you listen to, the more you come to notice the similarities than the differences, and that spirit runs throughout his mixes. 2011's Hellawayne IV, the last in a series of mixes (mostly) dropped on Halloween, is wild in particular, as Ohegyi is possibly the only dude who could make Three 6 Mafia's Koopsta Knicca, noise artist Prurient, folk guitar hero John Fahey, Detroit's most-hated Insane Clown Posse, and the death metal-gangsta rap fusion of Ice-T and Six Feet Under's “One Bullet Left” flow seamlessly. While mostly centered on the loud and furious, he brings together many forms of heaviness as one expression of “this is the hard shit,” which is why the Hellawayne mixes still sound pumping.
Other mixes may not be as outwardly aggressive, but they are no less inventive. Tax Chronicle has a sample of That Metal Show host and general curmudgeon Eddie Trunk ranting about the hype cycle and rock radio's stagnation over Friendzone's “I Miss Y'all,” a weird lecture only Ohegyi could make feasable, much less entertaining. Warez Internet City, a tribute to Bay Area DJ Matthew Africa, who was killed in a car accident in 2012, is a dance party from the depths of Hades. Ohegyi corrals Araabmuzik, Antwon, and Prodigy, among others, for the dankest underground rave that you can enjoy on your MacBook.
Ohegyi credits obsessively seeking torrents, Soulseek, and rap blogs, in particular Cocaine Blunts and No Trivia (run by noted rap journalists Andrew Nosnitsky and Brandon Soderberg, respectively). While many have criticized peer-to-peer sharing as the root of destabilizing the music economy, there's no denying that it's allowed Ohegyi, who grew up in Connecticut, to find chopped-and-screwed music and figure out that sometimes, footwork does go great with some Beach Boys thrown in.
“Hearing all these things next to each other in my library… hearing it all juxtaposed together, you kind of wonder why it can't all sit next to each other in a logical way,” he says. “What I try to do, in some context, is to try and make that stuff sit together in a way makes sense and feels right. It's not like a Mike Patton thing—here's the grindcore part, here's the weirdo circus part—it's all the same. It doesn't have to be separated so much.”
Photo via stuart.childs/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed
This article contains spoilers for Mad Men.
After seven seasons, AMC’s Mad Men arrives at its final subway station Sunday night with all the momentum of a customer service representative who just got off work. The ratings are down, the hardware is going to plot-driven series, and those of us who stuck around during all the emergency meditating aren’t here for rabbit-in-a-hat big bangs.
The cable menu description is reassuringly useless for Sunday’s season 7 premiere: “Don tries to track down a friend; Joan struggles to solve a problem with an account; Peggy is set up by an unlikely person.”
AMC split season 7 into two, seven-episode arcs so that it could avoid losing to Breaking Bad on Emmy night. You’ll remember that after the first seven episodes, Don Draper muscled his way back atop the advertising mountain—back from career-threatening alcoholism, warding off new, non-believing executives—just as we put a man on the moon.
Now comes the banal nature of fat-and-happy existence. There are no thrones to play musical chairs with, no dragons to slay. As TV critic Andy Greenwald wrote this week:
“[T]his is no different from the big questions that blink like warning lights atop our own lives: How will we live? When will we die? Can we ever find a way to be happy on our own terms? It’s a very contemporary notion, this idea that prestige TV series all have one core story to tell. It’s the sort of framework that makes sense for expertly constructed diving bells like Breaking Bad or the new breed of limited series like True Detective and Fargo, but not something as intentionally digressive as Mad Men.”
The halls of Sterling Cooper & Partners are empty and cold. As an unraveling, richly constructed universe drops its last run, the Reddit threads are still in a frenzy with conspiracies and searching for subtext. In fact, some of the series’ best predictions have stemmed from standalone pondering. Embarking on this final bundle of episodes, here are the seven most important to consider—to pair with the granular nuggets that the nerds love to share.
1) Don is going to die.
Despite the career win, the first half of season 7 ends with Don hallucinating as his deceased mentor, Bert Cooper—a shrewd, heroically rational partner—song-and-dances through “The Best Things in Life Are Free” from the 1927 musical Good News. It’s a nod to actor Robert Morse’s musical theater legacy, sure, but it’s also contextually skin-crawling. Don Draper is an unfashionable costume by 1969, and the musical number finds him cheek-to-cheek with his mortality.As the Village Voicenotes, tonight’s episode, “Severance,” will find Don “stuck in a hamster-wheel of hedonism.” He's made peace with Sally, Betty, Peggy, Pete, Harry, Roger, Ted, and Megan, to an extent (and no, the Sharon Tate nod was just there as a totem of paranoia and chaos; the show would never do something so bluntly literal as forcing a murder mystery into the factory). He’s already burned the house down and rebuilt it. Now Don just needs to finish the spiral and visit the end place.
But what really convinces me is that my wife, Victoria, a completely obsessive Mad Men nut, hit this very same conclusion over the weekend while we rewatched the first half of season 7.
2) Roger Sterling is going to die.
I don’t know if you can excuse the series for not revisiting Sterling’s mortality after back-to-back coronaries way back in season 1. Plus he’s already juggled oranges. Plus there’s creator Matt Weiner’s penchant for giving it away with dialogue that sounds obvious after the fact. Here’s something I blogged two years ago on that front (by the way, was I right about Ginsberg or what?):
At the end of Season 3–two seasons before his suicide–Don tells Lane that he’d be a figurative “body” thrown overboard. At the outset of Season 5, Lane is in the office and says “I’ll be here for the rest of my life.” To that end, Roger has said the following: “It’s a lot easier for them to replace you than it is me,” (I read this as nod to how fun his extroverted character is to write), and “This is my funeral.”
Then there was that potentially foreshadowing letter addressed to two dead men, plus Sterling:
I suspect this season is about Roger’s death. That Slattery directed this episode where Roger’s lookalike Pfc. Dinkins shows up dead confirms, in my opinion, that Roger isn’t long for this world. He has a heart condition, there have been broken hearts and heart doctors everywhere, and the letter to “Sterling, Gleason and Pryce” doesn’t bode well for “Mad Men”’s most affable character. Joan’s expression as she folds the tiny clothes of her own curious child is mournful even before the news airs from Chicago. I have a bad feeling, given that all the dads are gone, that Kevin’s dad will be going soon, too.
Sterling has been the cocktail-swinging, LSD-dropping company hero—he brokered the deal that saved Don’s career, he landed the General Motors account. He revitalized his legacy and now there’s nothing left for the silver fox to do.
3) Someone has to take a long, hard, literal fall.
It’s in the opening credits: a man plunging from a skyscraper. Weiner loves writing scenes in and around elevators, and Reddit loves dissecting them. And remember that jarring moment of symbolic tension from season 5?Let’s go ahead and debunk the elevator thing in Weiner’s own words:
In my mind that actually happened. The elevator wasn’t there—which we know happens all the time. I thought that was an amazing cinematic representation of his emotional state. He still had one thing left to say to her, and she’s gone, into the abyss. She’s gone off on her own. That’s all that was ever supposed to be. Is someone going to fall down an elevator shaft? No. I will actually go on record as saying that.
OK, but he didn’t say anything about an account man going out the window, did he?
4) Forget about Pete’s gun.
This is just paying the bills, as any Mad Men preview worth its URL has to mention this long-standing Chekhov’s gun. In this case it’s a literal rifle Pete bought in a petulant bit of post-marital angst to spite his wife after spending an afternoon at a department store trying to take back a wedding present and only receiving store credit for his efforts. Since season 1, it’s been sitting in his office and making cameos. But wait, is that even the series’ Chekhov's gun? Reddit thinks it’s the advertising firm, McCann Erickson, that finally bought Sterling Cooper & Partners after seven seasons of looming as a big bad. Something wicked this way comes:
The real Chekhov’s Gun is McCann. The fact is that McCann was shit upon by every character, due to their reputation as villainous anti-creatives, but Roger decided to give into them after a decade of overtures. Unsurprisingly, Bert had to die before this happened, because it’s a bad idea. Think about it: Bert said Cutler was a leader, and that Roger didn’t operate like one. Cutler wasn’t on Bert’s team, because he’s a disloyal person who’d put SC&P into a complete tailspin if he ever took over. So what does Roger do? He sells the goddamn company to a larger company headed by people like Cutler! The next half of s7 is called ‘The End Of An Era’, and considering that Bert is dead, SC&P is close behind him, thanks to Roger Sterling’s brass balls.
As for the rifle? The jury's still going back and forth on the threads, but I think we circle back—though not in a particularly dramatic or mortal way.
5) What’s up with Ted?
The office’s most jaded and functionally depressed creative is locked into a five-year contract. Let’s just defer to the perpetual Mad Men theorists over at Uproxx:
An incomplete list of things Ted did in the first half of this season:
...Maybe he’s the silhouette tumbling through the sky in the opening credits.
Also dear god look at this photo.
6) Don Draper is D.B. Cooper.
Not going to happen, but worth spotlighting because it highlights the series’ open-sourced nature with respect to directorial intent and interpretation. A wise man once told me that conspiracies are “simple answers for simple people.” This is far from that, but it’s a testament to how fun it is to connect dots. Here’s the parallel:
In 1971 one of the most bizarre and fascinating cases of air piracy in American aviation history — and currently the only unsolved one— was carried out by a man with an alias, wearing a perfectly pressed dark suit and dark sunglasses, with a cigarette in one hand and a bourbon and soda in the other. No one was killed. No one was hurt. No chaos or terror was caused. It was a hijacking conducted without a known motive, by a wellspoken man who then disappeared and was never identified, found, or heard from again. It was as though he never happened.
Lindsey Green’s post is hypercompelling and leaves you convinced... until you realize that, come on, that’s a terrible way to end Mad Men.
7) Harry Crane’s Camaro is the key to unlocking this mystery!
From Reddit: “Why has nobody pointed out that the Camaro that Harry Crane is showing off in the preview is the same one that caused Pete to get tossed off the GM account at the hands of Bob Benson?”
Mad Men loves using symbols to conjoin its world and douse it in context, but it won’t have any sort of plot bearing. It’s like how Stan had a weird poster of an Israeli militant or how Peggy’s name was probably written as an ode to Ann-Margret. It speaks to the psyche of the times, not the plot.
This is not a show for people that want fluid, logical action. It’s a series about how the past shapes us and how we adapt and survive the day-to-day. There’s only seven more of those sweeping fashion blog posts left to dissect; I'll see you on the other side of the bottle.Photo via AMC | Remix by Fernando Alfonso III
His inaugural video features him playing "Greensleeves" on a recorder that was given to him as a gift a few years back.However, in between trying to sell his Ferrari and motorcycle collection, he’s found a new passion. In his latest videos, May teaches viewers how to make shepherd's pie, and the value of having a proper film crew.
Oddly, May has been the most active on social networks. Richard Hammond has put out a few tweets while Jeremy Clarkson, the loudest of the three Top Gear hosts, has been silent since his sacking late last month.There has also been a growing movement online to get Netflix to give the three blokes a new show.
Either way, fans are frothing at the mouth to see these three back in action. Let’s hope it’s sooner rather than later.
Photo via airwolfhound/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)
Michael Keaton hosted Saturday Night Live last night, and right from the opening monologue, cast members Taran Killam and Bobby Moynihan asked the question 9-year-old you has always wanted to ask: Will you play Batman with us?
Keaton's character in Birdman explored what it's like to forever be tied to your superhero alter ego. So as not to belabor the point, Killam and Moynihan also asked him to play Beetlejuice with them. When Keaton politely said no, they showed him that footage already exists.Screengrab via Hulu
HBO documentary Going Clear made headlines with its disturbing investigation into Scientology, but satire is often the quickest route to the heart of any issue. Saturday Night Live's Scientology spoof is a perfect response, parodying a music video commissioned by the Church of Scientology in the early '90s.
SNL skewers the creepily cheerful atmosphere of the Scientology video shown in Going Clear, advertising "Neurotology" with lyrics like, "Religion and science intertwined/aliens live inside of our minds." They've already got the cheesy '90s music video aesthetic down, but then things get dark when the video points out what happened to various Neurotology followers after the video was made.
For comparison, here's the real Scientology video, "We Stand Tall," featuring several people who later spoke out against the church in Going Clear.We can't wait to see what kind of lawsuit the Church of Scientology comes up with to get SNL's parody pulled from the Internet.
Screengrab via SNL/Hulu
In a series of images from a photo shoot that the 17-year-old posted on Instagram Saturday, Jenner appears to be wearing blackface. The photos feature her wearing dark metallic makeup and posing in dark lighting. In the first photo, which she’s since deleted, Jenner added the caption “What I wish I looked like all the time”:The other photos are still up on Jenner’s Instagram, and she directly addresses criticism from outraged commenters by saying, “This is a black light and neon lights people lets all calm down.” She also posted a third image with the caption “goodnight.”
Not everyone is offended by the photo. One of Jenner’s nearly 20 million followers, the Disney star Zendaya, first commented on the now-deleted photo with a clapping hands emoji. But she quickly apologized when her followers pointed out the implications of Jenner’s photos on Twitter: Welp, now we know how the Kardashians are celebrating Easter this year: doubling down on accusations of racism.
The United Kingdom has many wonderful things: pseudo-celebrity–generated, dead badger-related car crashes; cryptozoological mysteries featuring washed-up ’90s rockers; and urban foxes that steal brake fluid. But not that many webseries, oddly enough, at least in comparison to the U.S.
Whereas every North American with a camera seems to have at least shot a trailer for an upcoming series that will showcase their talents, the U.K. has always seemed somewhat more reticent in embracing what is such an accessible and liberating art form.
But don’t despair: What the home of Shakespeare, Hitchcock, and hot and cold taps lacks in the quantity of their webseries, it certainly makes up for in their quality—and that distinctive British charm you Yanks can’t get enough of.
Here are six series from across the pond that you are bound to enjoy.
For those of you unfamiliar with David Mitchell—a man perhaps only surpassed in British televisual ubiquity by Stephen Fry—this series of rants on life’s annoyances is the time poor’s entry point to his oeuvre.
It can be unashamedly grating viewing, the very point of each episode being to escalate each grievance far above its deserved attention. But for those who are new to Mitchell’s irascible public persona, it can be quite a hoot. And if it leads a few down the path toward his work with Robert Webb, such as their series Peep Show or their excellent sketch series, that can only be a good thing.
2) YV Shorts
The Young Vic is a London theater, publicly subsidized and located outside the commercial sector of the West End. Nevertheless, the star power of its productions—usually modern interpretations of classics—is impressive, and the short films it has inspired are no exception.
YV Shorts are created as supplement to the theater’s productions. So we find films starring Patrick Stewart, Jude Law creating a metaphor for the trevails of Belarus Free Theatre, or Gillian Anderson reprising her Blanche from last year’s Streetcar.
To some it may all seem like indulgent, self-referential, theater-luvvie nonsense but you really don’t need to know the play to enjoy what are beautiful little films. And where else are you going to find a short film directed by actor du jour Chiwetel Ejiofor?
If you haven’t seen Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place—the self-critical horror-medical-thriller-spoof show-within-a-show that was the finest television comedy series of the early 2000s—then I’ve just planned your next 150 minutes. But for those that have, you may well be wondering what ever happened to cocreator and star Matthew Holness.
While Richard Ayoade, Dark Place’s other creator, has been extremely busy writing books, directing films and Vampire Weekend music videos, and helping to flog consumer products on Channel 4’s Gadget Man, Holness seems to have disappeared off the planet.
But in reality he has been readying a new character, the Reprisalizer and that character’s author, Terry Finch, who appears in this short film. With live dates looming, there’s a good chance that we’ll finally start seeing more of this superior comic talent.
A mockumentary centered on three rugby-obsessed, early-20s men and their amateur club, the Clapham Falcons, sounds like pretty pedestrian fare; I for one would be quite happy to never see another webseries that utilizes each character’s proximity as housemates as a jump-off. But its pitch-perfect rendering of a particular type of Londoner—the young, privately educated professional—means that Don’t Drop the Egg rises straight to the top of the pile.
You may not like rugby or may never meet anyone called Freddie, Archie, or Ollie, but after watching this, you’ll be an expert on the type that head straight to Infernos after a Saturday afternoon on the lash at Twickenham.
Surrealist comedy pioneers Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer have just announced that they are returning to the live arena for the first time in 20 years, which is as good a reason as any to whisk through this series from a few years ago. It’s probably not their best material, and the format—one sketch per episode—guarantees that each segment is either hit or miss, but sometimes it’s just nice to worship at the altar of comic visionaries. Plus it’s sponsored by Fosters, which ties very nicely into their ongoing attempt to tout every single consumable available to man.
Contrary to what you may perceive from films—and by the proliferation of its alumni in the arts, Mitchell, Fry, Ayoade, and Holness included—not every British person gets into Oxbridge. Many went to universities such as Bristol, which are excellent institutions but filled with students who wish they were (and think they should be) elsewhere—something that they will of course never admit.
And it’s this discomfort which acts as the emotional core of the terrific High Renaissance Man, the first outing of the now prolific comedy duo Totally Tom. Expanding on the class-based gags of unrelated hit “Gap Yah,” we are exposed to the comic potential of two characters both living Mike Damone’s mantra from Fast Times at Ridgemont High: to always “act like wherever you are, that’s the place to be.”
Screenshot via The Guardian/YouTube
Hockey players are tough as nails. They can stay on the ice for most of a game, shake things off after a fist fight on the rink (and some time in the penalty box), return after getting an ear sewn back on to score the winning goal, and even self-perform emergency dental procedures.
St. Louis Blues forward Ryan Reaves transformed into an amateur dentist after he took a hit to the glass from Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook during Sunday night’s matchup between the two Central Division rivals. He had a team staff member behind him in case he needed any help after he got to the bench, but the blunt force did most of the work.Reaves got right back in the game when he returned to the ice, making his near-instant recovery even more impressive. The Blues ended up winning 2-1 to take first place in the division, so victory was so sweet it could give him a cavity. (If he can stop losing his teeth, that is.)
Hands down, this is the best gift Abigail Anderson will ever remember.
For Anderson's 25th birthday, her best friend, Taylor Swift, had a huge surprise in store: a sing-along from her favorite singer-songwriter, early 2000s emo wunderkind Chris Carrabba, aka Dashboard Confessional.Some of us may recognize Anderson as Swift’s date to this year’s Grammys. Anderson and Swift have been friends since high school, sharing laughs, heartbreak, and even playdates with Olivia Benson—often on each other’s Instagram accounts. The duo celebrated Anderson’s birthday over the weekend, and Swift had Paramore’s Hayley Williams and Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carrabba perform everyone’s favorite 2002 high school make-out jam, “Hands Down,” an acoustic single from Dashboard’s MTV Unplugged album that got a rock makeover for the 2003 follow-up album. The track may be more than a decade old, but you bet everyone remembers every word. It’ll be tough to top this one next year, TSwift.
Fox News host Chris Wallace has finally apologized to Kelly Clarkson for making offensive comments about her appearance.
Wallace inexplicably brought up Clarkson's weight during an appearance on Mike Gallagher's radio show last week, saying, "Kelly Clarkson's got a lovely voice. She could stay off the deep dish pizza for a little while."
This was in response to Gallagher saying, "Holy cow, did she blow up."
Both men received considerable backlash for their comments, with fans saying that the conversation was unnecessary and judgmental and that the men should have focused on Clarkson's work and voice instead of her weight.After a weekend of backlash, Chris Wallace reached out to Us Weekly with an apology.
"I sincerely apologize to Kelly Clarkson for my offensive comment," he said. "I admire her remarkable talent and that should have been the focus of any discussion about her."
Gallagher wrote on his website, "I couldn't possibly feel any worse than I do for making an observation that led to the conclusion that I 'fat-shamed' this talented and classy entertainer. It was a really stupid thing for me to do."
He also wrote that he was "the last person in the world who should bring up anyone’s weight," a reference to him poking fun at his own weight on the same radio show.
It sounds like both hosts feel bad about what they said (or at least, feel back about the overwhelmingly negative reaction they inspired), but this whole situation is still proof of the double standard for male and female celebrities. After more than a decade in the public eye, Kelly Clarkson still has to deal with people who feel the need to judge her based on her appearance rather than her career.
In a world dominated by computer-animated projects, a new hand-drawn short packs just the kind of whimsy and classic charm viewers are craving.
Trunk Troubles star Cyrano the Elephant runs into problems with his large nose in everyday situation, from riding in convertibles to squeezing into an elevator. The charming hand-drawn animation was created by veteran illustrator Aaron Blaise with the combination of a Wacom Cintiq digital pad and TVPaint animation software.Blaise started his career as an illustrator 25 years ago, spending the majority of his time working with Disney on classic animation films like Mulan, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and more. In addition to independent projects, he now runs a YouTube channel, where he shares techniques and short creations. Hopefully there’s more to come in the world of a Cyrano soon.
Screengrab via The Art of Aaron Blaise/YouTube
The Rock made us weak in the knees last week with his Taylor Swift lip-sync performance on the new show Lip Sync Battle. But since this is a celebrity lip-sync show, of course Anne Hathaway showed him up.
Spike TV debuted a teaser for this week’s battle, which pits Hathaway against Emily Blunt. She channels Fantine and goes full theater camp on Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball,” complete with wrecking ball and a middle finger to Blunt.
If you’ve got friends who got overexcited about their Easter egg hunts, then this new YouTube sketch might hit a little close to home.
New YouTubers Grant and Cody created “The Bad Egg,” in which one roommate gets a little overzealous in celebrating Easter, hiding fresh eggs all over the house for his exasperated roommate to find before he can cook his breakfast.The locations get more and more ridiculous as the hunt goes on, and there’s a kicker that we won’t ruin beyond saying it’s slightly NSFW. While this is the first video comedians Grant and Cody have released on their channel, they clearly have an eggs-travagant future ahead of them.
Screengrab via Grant and Cody/YouTube
Netflix has a thing for Ricky Gervais. It just debuted his Derek special on Friday, and now it’s picked up his new feature film, Special Correspondents.
Eric Bana stars as a radio journalist in New York City who decides to cook up fake war reports from his hideout above a restaurant. The film is an original for Netflix and won’t be released in theaters. Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos described it as a “smart social satire with heart.”
Gervais had this statement about the project: “Having shaken up the TV industry, Netflix is about to do the same to Hollywood. It’s great to be part of the changing future. Ted Sarandos is the new Godfather of entertainment and he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.”
Well, he’s already peddling Australian Netflix for them.
The fim debuts in 2016.
Tomorrow at 10am PT, Madonna will release the video for "Ghosttown" on Meerkat. What about the contract she signed during the star-studded Tidal PR event last week? Well, she did release a teaser clip there first. Beyoncé and Rihanna also debuted exclusive clips on Tidal in the last week, which were then unofficially and not-so-exclusively uploaded to YouTube (both have since been pulled).here.
H/T The Next Web | Illustration by Max Fleishman
Project Greenlight has announced, after quite a wait, that Joshua Ortiz's inspirational short film, Listen, has won first place in the "Most Unique" category of its first annual Greenie Awards. Inspirational videos can be a mixed bag, with a disproportionate amount of "bad" in that bag, but Ortiz's short is just plain good. I usually mark the quality of an inspirational video by whether I can make it through the whole thing or not, and not only did I make it all the way through Listen, but—as a card-carrying cynic—I can say that I was genuinely inspired by it. Check it out below: Ortiz's short also gets some major bonus points for focusing so much time on failure—a lot of inspirational videos leave that sort of thing out, so it's nice to see one that fits screwing up into the overall equation of success.
There's also a hidden success story found behind the scenes of this video: Ortiz shot the whole thing on a Canon T3i and a cheap 50mm lens, which means that this should not look this good.
Congratulations to Ortiz and his well-deserved hardware, and we look forward to seeing more budget-squeezing awesomeness from him. For a look at the other Greenie award winners, check out Project Greenlight's YouTubeplaylist.
Last week, the fight for civil rights in Indiana took a nasty turn as the owner of Memories Pizza sullied the good name of the slice by speaking out against LGBT rights. "If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no,” owner Crystal O'Connor told local reporters.
That now-infamous interview not only left Memories Pizza with a Yelp page full of seething reviews, but also left the LGBT couples of Walkerton, Ind., without catering for their hungry guests. Thankfully, for all the engaged gays out there who are craving a hot slice on their special day, Zach Braff has stepped in.
On Friday, the actor took to Twitter to volunteer himself and Scrubs co-star Donald Faison as pizza chefs for any Indiana gays who might be in need of a few pies on their wedding day. "If you really and truly want pizza for your gay wedding in Indiana... We will make it for you," Braff wrote, posting a photo of him and Faison in a boat.It's unclear if anyone's taken the Scrubs star up on his offer, but we hope someone does soon. The only thing better than getting pizza delivered by J.D. and Turk after you've tied the knot is them delivering it in a boat. I'm sure if you're in need of some entertainment Ted and his acapella group would be happy to step in as well.
Outside of Banger’s, a Rainey Street pub in Austin, Texas, a teen marimba group tears through a rendition of “Hey Jude.” The audience provides the swaying chorus, and girls dance around, kicking up beige gusts of sand. Others sit in semicircles, wordless, absorbing the sight of three young women plucking ecstatic sounds from their instruments.
A young girl who looks to be no more than 5 or 6 stands next to her mom, entranced. “That was the Beatles,” the mother says when the song ends. “I know,” she responds.
Amy Poehler is both the name and face of Smart Girls at the Party, a video series that focuses on encouraging young women (and men) to be and express themselves. She gives advice, interviews notable women and girls, and serves as a conduit for the community.
Meredith Walker is the other arm of this operation, the Austin-based face behind the scenes making sure the party keeps going. In her new book, Yes Please, Poehler recalls meeting Walker: “She was tall and from Texas and had already met Sting and Tupac.”
“It wasn’t like we set out to start a business together,” Walker told the Daily Dot. “We were just talking one night, drinking wine, and we ended up talking about our adolescence and what part of that fit into who we were now. And part of that conversation was just about how that’s such a rough time of life, no matter if you’re the mean girl or the girl who they’re mean to or you’re a loner. No matter what, that’s a tough time because of the biology of adolescence.
“So we thought, ‘What could we do to just ease that time of life? We should do a camp and a conference!’ We didn’t know how to do a camp or a conference! But we both knew how to do TV.”
Smart Girls was born around 2007, but Walker met Poehler back when they were both at Saturday Night Live, Poehler as a performer and Walker as a producer. She was there when Poehler got her audition with Lorne Michaels at 1 in the morning.
“It’s so intense, and there’s just so much sitting-around time,” Walker explained of her time there during the early aughts. “Between anthrax and the brownout and 9/11, there’s so many intense experiences; it’s like being in a foxhole. So we just became super inseparable.”
Walker left SNL in 2002 before ending up in L.A. and eventually in Austin, where Smart Girls blossomed into a YouTube series in 2008. In Yes Please, Poehler describes wanting Smart Girls to be like a “Charlie Rose-type interview show for girls that ended in a spontaneous dance party.”
“We remembered very much how older girls paying attention to us sort of broke the spell,” Walker said. “We thought, ‘What if we could be that surrogate older girl for people in some way?’ So we ended up just starting with the show, Smart Girls at the Party.”
In the seven years since, Smart Girls has grown from a webseries to a hive mind. The site features notable guests like Amber Tamblyn, Mara Wilson, Holland Taylor, and Jazz Jennings, an advocate for transgender youth. But Poehler’s presence is heavy: The clip of her interviewing comedy icon Irma Kalish is truly a delight, and the Ask Amy series features Poehler answering questions about love, anxiety, and adolescence. In many of the videos, you can tell it’s probably late and her kids are asleep and she’s tired but still wants to get a video out. (Elsewhere, she’s getting one in before hosting the Golden Globes.) Many of the segments do indeed end with a dance party.In the seven years since, Poehler’s show Parks and Recreation has also became a pop-culture force and drawn in a new generation of admirers. She’s also the executive producer of Broad City, a wildly popular Comedy Central show that started as a webseries, as well as Julie Klausner and Billy Eichner’s upcoming Hulu show, Difficult People.
“Amy spotted them a long time ago,” Walker said of Broad City’s Abbi and Ilana. “Those girls are such prime examples of smart girls.”Poehler sees the evolution. “We wanted to make a show that celebrated young girls and ended in a dance party,” she told the Daily Dot. “Now it’s growing into a conscious network. An antidote to all the gross stuff on the Internet. A community of girls and boys and men and women who are looking to laugh and share and create change.”
And then there’s the Smart Girls ripple effect: Ruby Karp, who appeared on the show in 2012, has given a TED Talk and writes for Hello Giggles. Austin musician Jendayi Bonds, who also appeared on the site in 2012, was recently featured in the Guardian and Rookie.Walker explains they don’t just want people “on their screens.” They want to start programs in schools and extend camps to cities outside Austin and make it a “real-world experience.” She’s also mindful of tone. “We don’t want to say, ‘You have to’ or ‘You better be,’” Walker said.
Smart Girls has always felt like the foundation for something bigger. Last fall, Legendary Entertainment acquired the site, which joined YouTube channel Geek & Sundry, run by Felicia Day, and Nerdist Industries, helmed by the affable Chris Hardwick. Those are two big names in geek culture, and Poehler makes it a pretty impressive trinity.
Legendary, hoping to grow its digital arm, will be partnering with Smart Girls for about four or five years. Walker explains that under Legendary, they hope to “groom” girls to be the face of Smart Girls. They’ll be both in front of the camera and behind the scenes, creating “responsible media.” Walker says they eventually want Smart Girls to land on TV.
Adam Rymer, president of Nerdist Industries, explains Smart Girls was a natural fit.
“The future for digital content is in—in a sense—creating these branded channels with a really dedicated audience that can be engaged,” he said. “We can go back and forth with feedback [and] create original programming for those audiences.”
Nerdist, aimed at an 18- to 34-year-old demographic, proved a successful template: Hardwick has parlayed his brand into social media game show @Midnight and Walking Dead aftershow The Talking Dead, two series that involve fans on an interactive level. Geek & Sundry has seen success with Tabletop, a gaming webseries hosted by Wil Wheaton. With last year’s acquisitions of Geek & Sundry and Smart Girls, Legendary’s trying to shape a more diverse lineup, Rymer says. “It’s a cable TV model with multiple branded channels,” one aimed at a 15-45 demo.
“We’re very fortunate to live in a time when a lot of things we’re excited about are increasingly female-skewing, even though they tend to be historically sort of male-oriented,” he said. “So Nerdist is definitely male-skewing, but not extremely. It’s like a 65/35 split. Geek & Sundry is a little closer to 50/50. And Smart Girls is more along the lines, I think, of 70/30 female.”
Poehler says we can expect “the perfect combination of the serious and silly” from the Legendary partnership. “Mostly comedy at first, but also how-to programs and mini-docs. We’ve always said our content is deceivingly educational, but its goal is to always make people laugh and connect.” Rymer adds that having a known face with each channel is a “very meaningful component to connecting with the audience.”
“I don’t know if you’ve watched any of the advertising on the Super Bowl over the last couple of years,” Rymer said, “but you see these movements coming about to empower a generation, both male and female, and the whole notion of ‘be yourself’ is important right now, in a world where there’s so much information about you out here and it’s so easy to get caught up in trying to fit in one way or another. I think the message that Smart Girls delivers is more important now than it ever has been, especially when it’s a two-way message.”
There’s a lot of potential in the Legendary partnership—and in crossover with Geek & Sundry and Nerdist. Smart Girls will have to evolve, but here’s hoping it’ll always save room for the dance party.
Photo via Peabody Awards/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed