Articles on this Page
- 04/10/15--10:09: _Comedy club owner s...
- 04/10/15--17:30: _Why was Jaden Smith...
- 04/11/15--06:00: _How Mariah Carey, t...
- 04/11/15--07:00: _Forget the Apple Wa...
- 04/11/15--09:23: _'Game of Thrones' p...
- 04/11/15--12:42: _How to livestream C...
- 04/11/15--14:43: _Chris Hansen is lau...
- 04/11/15--15:49: _'Game of Thrones' s...
- 04/12/15--06:00: _Quirky comedian Joe...
- 04/12/15--08:03: _'SNL' reveals how H...
- 04/12/15--08:44: _'Smells Like Teen S...
- 04/12/15--09:07: _Bluegrass cover com...
- 04/12/15--13:47: _'Game of Thrones' c...
- 04/13/15--04:47: _Madonna kissing Dra...
- 04/13/15--07:00: _The 18 YouTube star...
- 04/13/15--09:08: _Miley Cyrus lets it...
- 04/13/15--10:44: _Amy Schumer and Amb...
- 04/13/15--13:27: _Taylor Swift's 'Sty...
- 04/13/15--14:17: _X-Ray vision for Fi...
- 04/13/15--16:10: _Pink has the perfec...
- 04/10/15--17:30: Why was Jaden Smith wearing a dress?
- 04/11/15--07:00: Forget the Apple Watch—you need the Netflix Watch
- 04/11/15--12:42: How to livestream Coachella
- 04/11/15--15:49: 'Game of Thrones' star Maisie Williams wants young people to vote
- 04/12/15--06:00: Quirky comedian Joe Pera is back with 'How to Make It in USA'
- 04/12/15--13:47: 'Game of Thrones' characters get the theme songs they deserve
- 04/13/15--04:47: Madonna kissing Drake without his consent is super awkward to watch
- 04/13/15--07:00: The 18 YouTube stars who scored the biggest book deals
- 04/13/15--09:08: Miley Cyrus lets it all hang out in raunchy Instagram post
- 04/13/15--10:44: Amy Schumer and Amber Rose like butts and they will not lie
- 04/13/15--13:27: Taylor Swift's 'Style' gets an impossibly nerdy trivia cover
- 04/13/15--14:17: X-Ray vision for Fire TV is transparently dumb
- 04/13/15--16:10: Pink has the perfect response to body-shaming Web trolls
Last October, Sarah Silverman did a controversial spot for the Equal Payback Project in which she discussed the wage gap between men and women and presented the “vagina tax” as a way to calculate that disparity. She recently did another spot for networking site Levo and got a little more personal on the topic of income disparity.
In the clip, which is part of Levo’s #ask4more campaign, Silverman discusses opening for fellow comedian Todd Barry at the Broadway Comedy Club, where they both did back-to-back 15-minute sets. She claims she was already well-known at this point, but that after the show, she got paid $10 while Barry got $60. She asked club owner Al Martin why she got less, and she claims he feigned ignorance.Since the clip was released April 6, it’s circulated quite a bit online. Martin's one of the people who saw it, and he responded to her claim with his own video. He says the content of her claim was “absolutely false,” explaining that she was a “guest spot” that night: The show in question, which happened 15 years ago, only had Barry booked that night; Silverman jumped on the guest spot, which was offered to her so she could work out material. Martin says after Silverman confronted him, he felt bad and gave her cab fare, but that he didn’t purposely underpay her. “It’s not a gender gap,” he says in the video, “although I think it’s a noble cause. But at the time it was a talent gap.” He goes on to add that he, a husband and father of three daughters, wants equal pay for women, “but don’t make me your doormat in this cause, because it isn’t true.”
Reddit of course had opinions about the issue: Commenters debated the purpose of comedy club guest spots, weighed Silverman’s level of fame at the time versus Barry’s, and used this opportunity to drop in Christopher Hitchens’ dated argument that women still aren’t funny.
Silverman has not yet publicly responded to Martin’s video. Hopefully this doesn't take away from what Levo is actually attempting to highlight with the #ask4more campaign: In 2015, the wage gap is still a glaring issue, which Kristen Schaal so gracefully illustrated on The Daily Show last month.
Equal Pay Day is April 14.
Screengrab via Levo League/YouTube
Jaden Smith is known for some out-there antics, but on Friday Twitter exploded because the son of the son of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith was spotted wearing a dress. What's even better, though, is Smith's own tweet about his dress-wearing day. For Smith, there's no drama, except for the fact that when you're pantsless sometimes swerving too hard can be problematic.
Smith has one of the most interesting Twitter personalities, and he's no stranger to a dramatic outfit. When he wore an all-white Batman suit for Kim and Kanye's wedding, all heads turned. When he gave a particularly weird interview with his sister, Willow, we even turned to some stoned comedians to give a dramatic reading.
But while we sometimes raise an eyebrow at Smith's antics, his tweet about his dress-wearing moment is totally on point. Sometimes you simply just swerve way too hard.
Swerve on, young Smith.
Screengrab via ComplexMag/Twitter
Throughout the year, we’ll be revisiting acclaimed albums month by month as they turn 10. Thanks to services like Spotify, these works are readily accessible, and we can process them in a bubble, sans a time-sensitive and superlative-laden media boost, to see if they are any good. Along the way, we’ll explore how then-nascent technology changed the way we move as music fans.
One of Houston rap’s most iconic mixtape series was called Major Without a Major Deal. The music stemmed from the Swishahouse camp, and it helped usher in one of the 21st century’s most distinct and successful subgenres. Let’s harp on that declarative, prophetic title for a sec.
Houston rappers like Lil’ Flip and Slim Thug proudly bragged about their independent success. “I rocked 50 Cent and Eminem crowds,” Thug snarled on “Like a Boss.”They sold barrels of burned CDs from their trunks, were treated like local royals, were the most cutting-edge artists on campus, and could not care less about officially signing with a major label. On 2002’s “Thinkin’ Thoed,” Chamillionaire copped to blowing off major-league advances:
*beep* It's Def Jam and we heard all your tapes /
We want to sign you, we can't wait.. *message erased*
Eventually, however, every leading man in the city—Cham, Thug, Flip, Paul Wall, Mike Jones, OG Ron C, Big Moe, Chalie Boy, Chingo Bling, Z-Ro, Aztek Escobar—spent a few years signed to a major, and 2005 was the insurgency. The year was anchored by major-label debuts from the frontrunners; faster than you can say “tippin’ on four fours,” Third Coast rap became a pop trend.
“I knew it was real around the end of 2004 when the labels started coming and sitting down with me and wanted to take me out,” Jones told me last year. “At the time ‘Still Tippin’’ was already out six months before the world caught it. We already had vocal regional love and support for the single. We were on the road getting paid from a song that did good for us.
“When we came out in ’05 it was Mike Jones, Paul Wall, Slim Thug—it was a whole conglomerate. It wasn’t just one thing; it was a movement.”
Unfortunately, 10 years ago the traditional record label didn’t realize it was already dead. Like a startup that hires too many of its friends, major-label rap music wasn’t built to sustain multiple H-Town headliners.
As rap blogger Clyde Lovellette wrote, the hip-hop climate was warped and its aggressive regionalism was crumbling: “Napster had been around for half a decade and second-generation peer-to-peer file sharing programs like Kazaa and BearShare were already old hat, making the music industry start its nose dive... And as Pharrell’s Neptunes, Timbaland, and Lil Jon became pop crossover superproducers, scenes started popping up around the country.”
The most forceful agent of change in rap music was the Web. No other contemporary, secular, Western genre benefited as much from its connectivity. While the desire to sound like a baroque indie rock suite neutered American rock ’n’ roll—undercutting its regional music scenes in the process—in rap the Internet soaked away rivalries, ushered in the most collaborative creative space in genre history, and let weirdos find each other and explore.
Houston rap can dap peer-to-peer filesharing for its acceptance and underground profile. It was a medium that, at its most vital, skipped the jewel-case line and went straight from tape to data file. The year 2005 was over in a flash, but to date its mixtape footprint lives on in the most vital creative corner online, YouTube. Want a 54-video playlist of Slim Thug freestyles over unlicensed beats? Or maybe DJ Screw’s melted-and-lost 1997 tape, Southside Holding? With unaccredited bass from an unregulated file-trading market, Houston rap’s hustle became impossible for the big dogs to ignore.
The stuff that broke through in 2005 was often stellar, though it lacked the slow-pitch signature chop and screw of Swishahouse and the Screwed Up Click before them. Plus it was more fun to hear Paul Wall and Chamillionaire freestyle over Dr. Dre’s “Xxplosive,” then upload it and spam your friends.
5) Mariah Carey — The Emancipation of Mimi
What critics said then: “It’s easy to scoff (a sleevenote extract: ‘Emancipation: to free from restraint, control, oppression or the power of another’), but Carey does seem to have undergone a transition, presumably generated by the knockback of being paid to leave her last record label. The result is a tough cookie of an album. Despite its grim title with its visions of messy self-absorption, The Emancipation of Mimi is—mostly—cool, focused and urban.”
Most dated thing about it: Those lazy, leftover Neptunes bangers that sound like a college apartment complex–sanctioned pool party.
Arbitrary rock critic score after 10 years in the earbuds: 7.01
Like most records that go on to casually outsell everything in a given year, Mariah Carey’s comeback LP enjoyed massive pop success thanks to major-label force-feeding and timely collaborations. It’s contemporary pop for shopping mall food courts—the first sung words rhyme “party” with “Bacardi” on the Jermaine Dupri-produced "It’s Like That." And of course the Neptunes (featuring Snoop Dogg) drop by to clang on Coca-Cola bottles.
Thematically Emancipation of Mimi is a Battle of Waterloo, post-breakup Facebook profile overrun with party pics that map out the self-improvement process. The release followed the cinematic failures of Glitter, commercial disappointments in 2002’s Charmbracelet, and later Carey checked into a Connecticut hospital for two weeks following “an emotional and physical breakdown.”
But no matter how well-curated, Carey attacks this thing with vocal ferocity rarely reserved an R&B legend’s 10th album. On the Bobby Womack-sampling “We Belong Together,” a track that hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts for 14 weeks, her eighth-wonder voice finds its fuming, aimless counterbalance: “I turn the dial trying to catch a break, and then I hear Babyface, I only think of you.” Session guru and Roots keyboardist James Poyser facilitates “Mine Again,” and it's an impassioned, gray-skies gem. There’s corny chimes, a Rhodes piano, jazz flute—it’s a Broadway segue—but Carey’s performance hurls a chair through the stained glass.
4) Mike Jones — Who Is Mike Jones?
What critics said then: “The only downside of this album is unfortunately somewhat predictable—a decided lack of depth lyrically. This isn't a major problem given that this is an album meant to be played for the bump and not for profound jewels of wisdom, but at the same time you can only hear Mike Jones talk about 'gripping grain and switching lanes' so many hundred times before it gets stale; not to mention he seems to shout out his phone # every single song (281-330-8004)."
Most dated thing about it: Mike Jones as the most interesting man in music; rappers barking their phone number or official website at you (as opposed to handing you a business card with Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram links).
Arbitrary rock critic score after 10 years in the earbuds: 7.234
You can forgive Mike Jones for writing the most self-referential album in hip-hop history because he’s a perpetual charmer. On the 26-second intro, he sets the tone: “Be on the lookout for my next album, The American Dream. Hit me up: (281) 330-8004, baby. whomikejones.com.” For old times’ sake, I dialed up the iconic Houston area code and instantly got a “you have reached a non-working number.”
A great many people did not like Who Is Mike Jones? for political reasons. Screw heads couldn’t believe that this doughy jester got to bat first and play ambassador for the genre. Other H-Town artists—most infamously Chamillionaire, who dedicated a triple-album, 61-song opus to dissing Jones—saw Jones as a shrewd, disloyal associate. Outside the state of Texas, rap purists lumped Jones in with single-serving microwave hip-hop hits that existed to sell mobile ringtones.
Whatever, Jones’ actual record was a celebratory Champagne flute toast strung up by monster-truck singles that were locally sourced. Austin, Texas’s Carnival Beats produced six songs here, including immortal bangers “Still Tippin’” and “Back Then,” both built upon mastermind cut-and-paste samples. On the Lil’ Bran–featuring “Scandalous Hoes,” Jones muscles up with jack-hammer rhyming over casually effervescent soul. Producer Mike B’s fluorescent Miami synths slide up and down the block on “Flossin’” while the late Big Moe coos about codeine and candy paint. For his part, Jones dispenses genius marketing tactics, rhyming “My album, Who Is Mike Jones? coming soon” with “My album, Who Is Mike Jones? coming soon”
3) Robyn — Robyn
What critics said then:“Her pop fun is a bit knowing—she's 26 after all. But trust the Swedes. They know what they’re doing with this sort of thing. Plus it’s all over in 35 minutes. If you think people should be fined for albums over 60 minutes—is that ballad really worth it?—you'll appreciate this."
Most dated thing about it: Casual cultural appropriation.
Arbitrary rock critic score after 10 years in the earbuds: 7.8431
Credit Robyn for its unexpected thrills: By 2005 the Swedish singer was an also-ran commodity, having spent the ’90s as a disposable teen. Jive Records discouraged her experimentation, so Robyn ditched the bigs and started Konichiwa Records. The subsequent self-titled album is an uneven epic with breakthrough moments. On the Chappelle’s Show–nodding“Konichiwa Bitches,” Robyn has fun with cultural tourism and raps lines like “check the scenario I'm a bust your ear drum” and “you is a punk.” The heisted swag predated the thinkpiece era that swarmed Iggy Azalea, but it hasn’t aged gracefully. Robyn gets a pass because the track comes bundled into an expressionist clusterfuck of an experimental record. “Handle Me” kisses off the players with that turn-of-the-century pop trope of pairing hip-hop drums with cheesy acoustic guitar (think Blaque's "808")—but there are two other central, melodic lines warping the post-TLC single. Despite the staredown, Robyn pushes her insecurities forward on “Who’s That Girl?” The synthesizer barrage was a riveting collaboration with the Knife, and it’s fertile territory for a breakdown: “I just can't deal with the rules, I can't take the pressure,” Robyn sings before admitting to not being a Gone Girl–esque cool girl. Thank goodness.
2) The Mountain Goats — The Sunset Tree
What critics said then: “And no, I'm not a low-fi purist, so it doesn’t at all bother me that he’s upped the production. In fact, the accompaniment of Peter Hughes, John Vanderslice, Franklin Bruno, Scott Solter, and Maldoror fan Erik Friedlander open things up here (as on his last few records), allowing Darnielle more space to take some breaths, work on atmosphere, introduce catchy piano trills, some distorted grinding noises, and cello swells. But yet my first few listens to The Sunset Tree, the Mountain Goats’ third 4AD full-length and follow-up to last year’s We Shall All Be Healed, left me cold, even though Darnielle axes his fictions and explores his own personal life, specifically an abusive stepfather.”
Most dated thing about it: Being mad at John Darnielle for not recording music on an old boombox.
Arbitrary rock critic score after 10 years in the earbuds: 9.1553
“Dilaudid” was the advance single sent in to the student radio station. On it, John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats furnishes hot air about a relationship’s tipping point: “Put on your gloves and your black pumps / let’s pretend the fog has lifted.” He sings with nasally affection and unchained angst over an agnostic, dignified cello. The album it’s tethered to works backward from this teenage meltdown and focuses on Darnielle’s childhood as a suppressed, often-abused boy.
By 2005 Darnielle was a heralded storyteller, but his pen’s stinging wit had yet to turn violently inward. A year prior, We Shall All Be Healed dealt half-seriously with the carpenter ants in the dresser, flies in the screen, and meth addicts he’d come across as a wandering youth. The Sunset Tree is explicitly autobiographical.
But despite being the third-straight Mountain Goats release that featured a full band, the album’s full-bodied styling was an attached, circular talking point. Luckily we can ignore that aesthetic nonsense and process the songs because they continue to bite. “Six cylinders underneath the hood, crashing and kicking… I am gonna make it through this year if it kills me,” Darnielle sings on “This Year,” the album’s caution-to-the-wind banger. But by the whispered “Dinu Lipatti’s Bones,” the futility of a life lived under arrest crept back in: “treated the days as though they’d kill us if they could, wringing out the hours like blood-drenched bedsheets.”
The Sunset Tree’s enduring pressure stems from its wounded optimism. Even as Darnielle sings about waking up his dad and getting a beating on “Hast Thou Considered the Tetrapod,” he sees the endgame: “Held under these smothering waves by your strong and thick-veined hand, but one of these days, I'm gonna wriggle up on dry land.”
1) Okkervil River — Black Sheep Boy
What critics said then: “Leave it to [frontman Will Sheff] and Okkervil River to somehow make such contradictory impulses mesh. With Black Sheep Boy, Okkervil River has ascended to heights only Wilco, Will Oldham and Neutral Milk Hotel dare to fly. First and foremost, Black Sheep Boy is a spellbinding Southern Gothic narrative with evocative imagery—a wounded heart and bloody violence. Each song is short story unto itself, though some are seemingly connected by Scheff’s [sic] simple, unaffected metaphors.”
Most dated thing about it: The vitality of deluxe-edition CDs.
Arbitrary rock critic score after 10 years in the earbuds: 9.1554
Black Sheep Boy is an album sparked from an obsession with folk singer Tim Hardin’s 1967 song by the same title. Hardin overdosed and died of heroin in 1980, and “Black Sheep Boy” spelled out a critical relapse that began with a visit home.Following two strong but quietly revered releases, Okkervil River’s Will Sheff was broke, homeless, and increasingly realistic about his music’s fiscal ceiling. Okkervil River wrote and recorded its breakthrough epic in a rat-infested garage while Sheff worked at Austin’s Vulcan Video.
As Consequence of Sound notes this week, what distinguishes Black Sheep Boy from its 2005 contemporaries is that it took forever for anyone to notice it:
...one glowing New York Times review put them back on the radar. Then Pitchfork included Black Sheep Boy on their list of 2005’s overlooked records. Suddenly, everybody wanted to get on the train.
But by 2007, the band booked gigs on the University of Texas campus and had the cultural cache to solicit an entire student orchestra (full disclosure: I strong-armed the student concert-planning committee into backing this idea, and we didn't sell out the place). Black Sheep Boy fueled a seven-year festival run for the band. Not bad for a terminally jaded songwriter.
“I don’t view the world as positive. There is friendship and love and devotion and faith, but you look at what’s happening in the world, and we’re headed for disaster. There’s fear and pain and cataclysm and mortality and betrayal. These are rules of life,” Sheff told me in 2011.
Black Sheep Boy has a frenetic romantic edge rooted in the cataclysm that comes without reciprocated affection. “Climb into my arms with blood on your clothes,” Sheff sings on “A Glow.”
The American music landscape is littered with sad white dudes, but this is a gorgeously decorated and pensive series of arrangements done on a shoestring budget. Every song is urgent, and there’s no elbow room.
Photo via Kenny Louie/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
BY BREE BROUWER
The Apple Watch is now available for pre-order, but Netflix would rather see you invest your hard-earned dollars on a more video-friendly device. The streaming video service created a spoof ad touting its Netflix Watch device for subscribers addicted to the platform’s content.
Netflix’s Apple Watch spoof ad begins by touting the “total freedom” offered by the Netflix Watch. Various Netflix users are then seen sporting a huge timepiece—which is nothing more than a smartphone strapped to a large wristband—and watching their favorite flicks and TV shows, wherever they are. The ad finishes with the declaration that “life is too short to waste precious time not watching Netflix,” and unveils the tablet-sized Netflix Watch+.Netflix is not alone in its quest to make fun of Apple’s new device. On the same day Apple announced the Watch in September 2014, YouTuber Jack Douglass of Jacksfilms pointed out the device’s list of problems (many of which were marketed as features) in a spoof video of his own. Douglass’s ultimate hangup with the product was his utter confusion as to why Apple didn’t just name it the iWatch.
Though Netflix’s video may have been more appropriately released on April Fools’ Day, the streaming service’s ad has struck a chord with online video audiences nonetheless. The clip currently has over 150,000 video views on Netflix’s YouTube channel, with more than 1,500 thumbs-up votes and only 75 downvotes.
Screengrab via Netflix/YouTube
This post contains spoilers for Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire.
Characters on HBO’s Game of Thrones seem to have a life expectancy that can be measured in minutes, so it’s probably not the best source material for a kids show. Nevertheless, author George R.R. Martin—whose A Song of Ice and Fire books are the basis for Game of Thrones—had some fun promoting a fictional new series for Conan. It's called Lil Thrones and it's downright disturbing.
The brief parody trailer is pretty creepy, and it also happens to be packed with spoilers, especially if you aren't very far into the show or books yet. If you're planning on watching or reading the actual story anytime soon, do yourself a favor and avoid this until after the fact. You'll enjoy it more, and dodge some pretty important plot points as well.
It's definitely creepy, but with how popular the Game of Thrones name is at the moment, a show like this would probably end up being a hit, too.
OK, it's funny, George. Now hurry up and finish The Winds of Winter before new seasons of the show overtake you!Image via Team CoCo/YouTube
There's no need to trek all the way to Indio, Calif., to experience the music of Coachella, the annual festival in the desert that attracts buzz bands and the hipster set. Thanks to YouTube, you can stream the entire festival from the comfort of your own home. You might not get the full experience of scantily clad C-list celebs and sandstorms, but you do get to keep your air conditioner cranking and enjoy a better view of the bands than most festival-goers. Coachella's YouTube channel has three different streams each day that play for the entirety of the festival, which runs through April 12.
A full list of set times are available here. Find your favorite band, pick your channel, make a snack, sit back, and scoff at those silly folks in the desert.
Photo via Jason Persse/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)
When it aired as a series of Dateline specials from 2004 to 2007, To Catch a Predator immediately caught on with American audiences. It turned journalist Chris Hansen and his phrase "Why don't you have a seat over there?" into pop culture staples and, more importantly, shed light on the issue of child predators using the Internet to solicit sex from minors.
Now, Hansen wants to bring the program back. And you can help.
According to an L.A. Times article, Hansen plans to launch a Kickstarter campaign to revive To Catch a Predator on April 16. It will be an online series entitled Hansen vs. Predator and will later be shopped around to television networks. The project's goal is reportedly $400,000.
"There is a pent-up demand from viewers for another investigation," Hansen told the Times. "And from a technology standpoint, the landscape has really changed since we did the last one." He went on to point out that, during the first series, the sting operations really only targeted AOL chat rooms. Now, according to Hansen, there are "22 ways to communicate online."
During its initial run, the program was called out on everything from journalistic ethics violations to the legality of the arrests. According to a 2007 NBC News article, a district attorney in Murphy, Texas refused to prosecute any To Catch a Predator cases, claiming that it was "tainted by the involvement of amateurs." The call came after Louis William Conradt Jr., one of the 25 people apprehended in the sting, committed suicide when police came to arrest him. NBC later "amicably resolved" a $105 million lawsuit brought against the network by Conradt's sister shortly after the suicide.
It remains to be seen if a To Catch a Predator revival will see the light of day. Regardless, Perverted Justice, the activist group that worked with the original series, will continue its efforts.
Williams turns 18 in April, meaning she can vote in the upcoming British elections. Her voter video doesn't play up patriotism, but lashes out at the political establishment for its lack of regard for young voters.“People have been telling you what to do all your lives," Williams says in the video. "They think you’re a self-obsessed, selfie stick-waving generation. They’ve counted on that. They’ve kicked your future in the teeth and hoped you wouldn’t notice.”
Williams has played Arya Stark since 2011. She's also set to guest star on Doctor Who in the upcoming ninth season.
Screengrab via Dazed/YouTube
Joe Pera’s Pancake Breakfast Critic was one of the best webseries of last year. Sharing a soundtrack with those looping hotel information channels and gorging itself on understatement and mock-nostalgia, it also featured the escalating depth of a comic persona that constantly flipped between unthreatening and strange.So with that outing still fresh in our memories, it’s great to hear that Pera is back, this time opposite Conner O’Malley—a writer for Late Night With Seth Meyers—in the very funny How to Make It in USA. The setup is simple: a two-hander, with Pera playing the client to O’Malley’s boorish agent, Max Gold. Gold, representing the comedian as a favor to his mother, calls cruise lines offering his client gratis, gifts him “million-dollar,” stream-of-consciousness weed jokes to liven up his act, and pushes Pera—in his eyes a lost cause—into considering “work[ing] in a cremation place.”
O’Malley is terrific—blunt, obnoxious, and possessing all the (undeserved) confidence that Pera lacks. But his presence is perhaps so domineering that he inevitably rides roughshod over each episode, ultimately to the exclusion of Pera. It’s certainly a foreseeable result of the disposition of each of the two characters—indeed it is sort of the point in having such a contrast between the two leads—but having Pera mostly silent makes for an unbalanced and therefore sometimes wasted opportunity.This quibble should not put you off, though: The imbalance could well be addressed in future episodes—so far only two are available—with Pera demonstrating some assertiveness and Gold getting his comeuppance. One of the features of Pancake Breakfast Critic was Joe’s stoicism, managing to keep a pained smile on his face despite simmering anger; perhaps in this series we will see it all come out.
But most importantly, How to Make it in USA is great fun. It says a lot about the quality of the writing when two people sitting at a desk can keep you this engaged. It may not possess the nuance of Pera’s previous series, but it’s more than enough to keep you chuckling while Pera—see below—goes about filming more episodes of Pancake Breakfast.
Screengrab via Joe Pera/YouTube
Last night's Saturday Night Live cold open focused on the announcement that will dominate social media today: Hillary Clinton's running for president.
The great Kate McKinnon got fully into the Hillary persona, as she's coached on how to come across as approachable and how to use the right "humble" tone on social media. (Her vocal warmup is priceless.)
Of course there's also an appearance by Bill Clinton (Darrell Hammond), who interrupts her vertically shot (Hill, no) video to talk about being "first dude," rip a sax solo, and hint that he might be her VP nominee. Of course we all know who her VP will be. It will also be Hillary Clinton.Screengrab via Saturday Night Live/YouTube
There you are now, would you like to be entertained? Well, then watch this video of the Nirvana classic "Smells Like Teen Spirit" played on a bunch of floppy disks.If grunge was viewed as a back-to-reality corrective for the excesses of late '80s hair metal, this cover of the song by an artist called Arganalth could be read as a metaphor for a return to lo-fi simplicity in the sprawling, oft-overproduced expanse of electronic music. Or it just has a relatively straightforward chord progression and an instantly recognizable melody that translates well to simple electronic noisemakers.
Either way, it's pretty cool.
The early '90s anthem, rendered in a style that sounds like propellerheaded art brut electroclash, is far from the first song Arganalth has done in this manner. The artist's YouTube channel has 40 similar videos for tracks like Dick Dale's iconic instrumental surf-rock anthem "Misirlou":Daft Punk's inescapable 2013 hit "Get Lucky": And the theme from Nintendo's Legend of Zelda series: In a video linked to on Arganalth's YouTube page, another YouTuber gives a step-by-step breakdown of how anyone with some time on their hands, a fair bit of engineering skill, and a musical inclination can build their own systems for making floppy disk music based off the Arduino computing platform.
People have been making music for floppy disk drives for just about as long as floppy disk drives have been more or less obsolete, according to Know Your Meme. As far back as 2007, people were using Commodore 64 floppy drives to compose tunes. Like pretty much everything built by nerds, it was immediately put to use making Star Warstributes. A video of a floppy drive playing the "Imperial March" appeared on the site the next year. The Doctor Whotheme eventually followed because of course it did.
Photo by George Chernilevsky/Wikimedia Commons (public domain)
The Samurai Guitarist specializes in multi-instrument covers like this impressive "guitarcapella" rendition of "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger." His latest video is a must-listen for anyone who can't get the Game of Thrones credits out of their head. Using banjo, drums, and multiple guitars, the Samurai Guitarist creates a perfect bluegrass rendition of the Game of Thrones theme music.
This is what the show would sound like if it was a Western rather than a Medieval fantasy drama, right?We kind of want to see someone dancing to this now. Game of Thrones fandom, any takers?
Screengrab via Samurai Guitarist/YouTube
Over the past four seasons, Game of Thrones has taken care to craft quite the musical legacy for itself. From creating a theme song that's been covered a thousand times over to having big-name bands like Sigur Rós cameo, Westeros has become a rather musical realm. HBO went a step further by enlisting some of hip-hop's biggest names to help them produce a mixtape called Catch the Throne.
But all that noise wasn't enough to satisfy us here at the Daily Dot. After spending four seasons with our favorite characters, we decided it was time to give them their lyrical dues. Drawing upon their unique personalities and detailed backstories, we assigned Arya, Daenerys, Bran, and others a cast of popular tracks to serve as their theme songs. Enjoy!
Screengrab via Dolorous Edd/YouTube
Madonna has been on full blast recently, partnering with Tidal, debuting her new music video on Meerkat, and jamming with the Roots. During a performance at Coachella over the weekend, she went full YOLO and planted a kiss right on Drake's mouth.
In this clip from the rapper's Sunday headlining set, Madonna can be seen getting very intimate with him—all without his foreknowledge or permission.
The look on Drake's face says it all, and that, paired with her outro, was the cherry on top: "Bitch, I'm Madonna."
Some people on Twitter laughed off the kiss as a publicity stunt. Others pointed out that Drake didn't consent to it, that he was visibly uncomfortable, and that consent goes both ways. And of course there were plenty of jokes about how Madonna is old and was trying to steal Drake's essence.
In a March interview with Us Weekly, Madonna revealed that her "lifelong ambition I still want to fulfill is to go on a dream date with Drake—and only kiss him."
Would we be talking about this story the same way if he planted a kiss on her? The answer seems clear.
A book deal has become the sign of success for established YouTube personalities. After amassing millions of subscribers, it’s the new par for the course to turn those subscribers into bibliophiles—or, at least, into fans willing to shell out $14.99 or more for a way to bring a piece of their favorite YouTuber into their home. Multichannel networks are starting their own publishing houses in response, and established publishers are taking to YouTube to find the next generation of authors, with dedicated presses to bring them to the mainstream.
From the creators who’ve penned memoirs and self-help tomes to the ones who’ve branched out to fictional worlds, we’ve got a guide to the biggest YouTube books and what makes them special.
Grace Helbig: Grace’s Guide: The Art of Pretending to Be a Grown-Up
Released in the fall of 2014, Helbig uses her years of faking grown-up status to help dole out advice for kids who feel daunted by the prospect of adult life. The book is just one piece of the Helbig brand, which now encompasses films, an E! talk show, and her digital presence.
Hannah Hart: My Drunk Kitchen
Hart takes the essence of her super popular YouTube series, My Drunk Kitchen, and infuses it with life wisdom. The book is part self-help, part practical cooking guide, and all the wit and honesty fans have come to expect from Hart.
Alfie Deyes: The Pointless Book
British vlogger Alfie Deyes took YouTube’s collaborative spirit to heart when crafting his book. He calls it pointless, but it’s really a series of exercises and projects started by Deyes, intended for completion by the reader. There’s already a series in the works.
As the queen of beauty on YouTube, Michelle Phan’s book is a direct extension of her digital presence. For those who prefer the written to the world of video, her guide gives you the beauty and fashion tips Phan became famous for in printed form. Phan is becoming a true mogul, with a makeup line and her own multichannel network up and running, so books are just one piece of the puzzle.
Dawson’s 18 essays are a departure from his boisterous online personality, instead delving into his insecure childhood with introspection.
Shane Dawson: I Hate Myselfie
Zoe Sugg: Girl Online
The release of Zoe Sugg’s first novel in the Girl Online series in November 2014 ushered in both record-breaking sales numbers and not-insignificant drama surrounding a ghost writer. The story follows a London blogger who is whisked away to New York and meets the boy of her dreams. A sequel is already planned for 2015.
Paige McKenzie: The Haunting of Sunshine Girl
After wowing a massive audience with her haunted YouTube stories, Paige McKenzie inked a book and film deal for her Sunshine Girl character. The first book in the series deals with Sunshine’s experiences with a haunting in her new home, and it sets the groundwork for her budding supernatural powers. The follow-up is planned for next year, and McKenzie is already tapped to star in the film production.
Elle and Blair Fowler: Beneath the Glitter
The Fowler sisters, who’ve made names for themselves as beauty vloggers, threw their hat into the book game early, penning Beneath the Glitter in 2012. The novel follows a pair of Internet-famous sisters thrust into the spotlight of Los Angeles, where they end up entangled in a scandal that could tarnish their sisterly bond.
True, Green is not part of the trend of YouTubers becoming authors; he is an author who also happens to be a YouTuber, as one half of the Vlogbrothers channel with Hank Green. However, as one of young adult fiction’s shining stars who is also a major YouTube presence, we’d be remiss in not mentioning Green’s various hits like The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns on this list.
Miranda Sings: Self Help (July 2015)
You may not be able to hear Miranda Sings’ distinct vocal stylings on the written page, but everything else about this quirky YouTube star is sure to come through in her first literary effort. Her book will be, as the title suggests, self help in the Miranda way, with off-beat suggestions for how to land a boyfriend or how to do magic tricks, just like she dishes out on her YouTube channel.
He’s already hit the mainstream as one half of an Amazing Race team, but Joey Graceffa has a rich online life that he’s now translating to the page. The memoir is described as “uplifting” and boasts that “it’s not where you begin that matters, but where you end up.”
Dan and Phil: The Amazing Book Is Not on Fire (October 2015)
This pair of BBC 1 radio presenters have built a massive following with their visualized radio shows, and their joint book is an extension of their bubbly Internet personalities. It veers to the funny and absurd rather than the self-help or introspective, but it gives Dan and Phil fans a broader picture of the duo’s lives and eccentricities.
Mamrie Hart: You Deserve a Drink (May 2015)
Mamrie is the last of the unholy trinity (that includes Helbig and Hannah Hart, no relation) to release a book into the world. You Deserve a Drink is a combination cocktail recipe book and memoir, with drinks accompanying each tale of Hart’s debaucherous life.
Shay Carl: Fat Dad, Fat Kid (September 2015)
YouTube forefather Shay Carl put pen to paper to craft a father-son weight-loss memoir, coming this fall on Keywords Press, Simon & Schuster’s dedicated YouTube imprint.
Jenn McAllister: Really Professional Internet Person (August 2015)
Scholastic recently announced the publication of teenage YouTuber Jenn McAllister’s first book, a compendium that uses her trademark top 10 lists and social media posting to document her life. McAllister has also expanded beyond YouTube into film, with a role in the upcoming Bad Night.
iJustine: I, Justine: An Analog Memoir (June 2015)
Justine Ezarik’s memoir, inspired by nine years of documenting her life online as iJustine, will be released this spring. In addition to writing and her digital life, Ezarik also served as a producer on an anti-bullying film that premiered at South by Southwest.
Connor Franta: A Work in Progress (April 2015)
It’s bold to want to share a life story at the ripe old age of 22, but YouTuber Connor Franta has packed a lot in a short time. As formerly one-sixth of YouTube collab sensation Our2ndLife, Franta gained a massive fan base, and after breaking off from the group and coming out on his channel, he’s grown even more. In addition to penning a memoir about his journey from small town kid to Internet sensation, he’s also released a coffee line and series of compilation CDs.
Photo via William Hook/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed
Miley Cyrus decided to skip the first weekend of Coachella 2015 in order to spend a little time making some new music in the studio. However, the singer did bring a bit of the carefree music festival flair to work posting a racy Instagram photo (April 10) showing off her boobs.
Just in case fans weren't going to notice her jumper was barely covering her breasts, she captioned the photo, "Bandaiddddzzzzzzz," drawing attention to the glittery bandaids the singer strategically has placed up top.
Cyrus' boyfriend Patrick Schwarzenegger has been spotted out and about at several music festival parties, but oh course, Cyrus wasn't going to let him have all the fun.
Proving her weekend wasn't being spent filled with just all work and no play, the singer posted several photos after her chest exposing pic having a blast with producer Mike Will Made It.Photo via karinasaskia/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)
Amy Schumer hosted the MTV Movie Awards last night and gave the world some much-needed Magic Mike masturbation jokes. She also debuted the music video for “Milk Milk Lemonade.”
From that title alone, you probably already know where this is going. There’s been much debate about whether 2015 is the year of the butt, and Schumer is certainly an advocate. She contends that she always thought hers was too fat, but now she’s seen the light.
Helping her out on a verse is Amber Rose, whose own posterior broke the Internet earlier this year. She might have the best line: “You say you don't like asses ’cause I fart and break your glasses.” Method Man is also on hand to remind us that the butts we fetishize are “where the poop comes out.”Season 3 of Inside Amy Schumer debuts April 21, and we’re guessing it’s going to be butt-heavy.
Though you might not know the faces of Gregory Brown and Mitchell Mofit, odds are you know their voices. The dynamic duo form the brains behind AsapSCIENCE, educating their YouTube viewers on everything from the importance of bees to optical illusions.
But every now and then, Brown and Mofit step out from behind the camera to combine science with song.
In their latest on-camera appearance, Brown and Mofit added a scientific twist to Taylor Swift's "Style" by replacing the lyrics with fun tidbits about sunlight, dating apps, and evolution. Before you decide that science isn't sexy, listen to these two handsome harmonizers make the case.Screengrab via AsapSCIENCE/YouTube
Amazon suggests that extending adding X-Ray capabilities to its Amazon Fire TV products will solve a problem that has been plaguing TV viewers since Edison discovered the light bulb—answering the question, “Who is that guy playing Jimmy Fallon’s friend in Fever Pitch?”
Nothing allegedly bothers a viewer more than wondering where he has seen a character before or what the title of that song playing at the end of Breakfast at Tiffany’s is. Taking its X-Ray technology, which surfaces IMDb results on screen in sync with the action, those watching movies or TV shows using Amazon’s streaming TV platform can hit the pause button to see the names of characters in any scene. Hit the up arrow, and you get more information, such as what other movies that actor has appeared in.
While Amazon seems adept at both understanding problems in a consumer’s daily life and tailoring experiences that answer those dilemmas, in this case the Seattle-based giant has hit a pothole. Given every piece of research suggests that TV viewers multitask while watching any sort of big screen content, a smartphone or tablet is the optimal device for unearthing the litany of credits of any given thespian. And for music playing in the background—right, there’s Shazam.
True, second-screen apps for television have, for the most part, faded into obscurity, but good old Google search is always standing by to accurately answer any movie or TV trivia nugget. And you don’t need to pause the action (which can be as annoying as yet another Horrible Bosses sequel).
It’s understandable that the battle lines between streaming platforms such as Amazon Fire, Apple TV, and Roku are going beyond dueling over new content to adding new bells and whistles to basic viewing experiences, but audiences—especially today’s discerning millennial—can tell the difference between snake oil and the real deal.
Photo via Istolethetv/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Between performing astounding acts of aerial acrobatics and displaying dazzling feats of strength in her music videos, it's hard to find a part of Pink's physique to criticize. Yet, over the weekend a group of detractors took to Twitter to snark on the artist's body.
It was a photo of the singer snapped at a cancer benefit Saturday night that sparked the hate. Not long after the picture appeared, trolls began attacking her weight, with one even going so far as to call her a "fat bitch."
Rather than retaliate with anger or sadness, the singer chose self-acceptance, responding to her critics with an eloquent missive where she discussed loving her body and the way she looked in the dress. "While I admit that the dress didn’t photograph as well as it did in my kitchen, I will also admit that I felt very pretty," the singer wrote in a note she screengrabbed and posted to Twitter. "My healthy, voluptuous and crazy strong body is having some much deserved time off," she continued before signing off under the name "cheesecake."
But Pink wasn't done making her point. After dispatching the statement about her figure, she began posting photos of her posing next to her family captioned with their thoughts about her body.Fans went wild over the singer's message. Some were so inspired they began tweeting photos of themselves and their "squishy" bodies.
This latest incident in celebrity body-shaming comes only a week after fellow recording artist Kelly Clarkson was attacked because of her weight. Fox News host Chris Wallace even went so far as to publicly joke about her figure.