Articles on this Page
- 05/05/15--09:43: _JetBlue and Amazon ...
- 05/05/15--15:53: _Smosh gives a behin...
- 05/05/15--17:32: _Miley Cyrus just ca...
- 05/06/15--04:49: _Anna Kendrick's sho...
- 05/06/15--07:00: _VHX's new subscript...
- 05/06/15--07:36: _The next best thing...
- 05/06/15--07:57: _'12 Angry Men Insid...
- 05/06/15--10:29: _How WCW Gigi Gorgeo...
- 05/06/15--11:06: _'The Simpsons' gets...
- 05/06/15--11:50: _Key & Peele's music...
- 05/06/15--13:05: _The new 'Magic Mike...
- 05/06/15--13:05: _Beyoncé inks deals ...
- 05/07/15--06:00: _Your mom probably w...
- 05/07/15--06:16: _This 'Tonight Show'...
- 05/07/15--07:00: _How 'Twinsters' reu...
- 05/07/15--07:22: _Fox cancels 'The Mi...
- 05/07/15--08:38: _Maroon 5's Adam Lev...
- 05/07/15--08:59: _Here's the first tr...
- 05/07/15--09:38: _Brave Ed Sheeran fa...
- 05/07/15--12:05: _Upright Citizens Br...
- 05/05/15--09:43: JetBlue and Amazon just struck a deal to make flying less terrible
- 05/05/15--17:32: Miley Cyrus just came out as genderqueer
- 05/06/15--04:49: Anna Kendrick's shower thoughts are deeper than you can imagine
- 05/06/15--07:36: The next best thing to Marvel movies on Netflix
- 05/06/15--07:57: '12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer' is a damn masterpiece
- 05/06/15--10:29: How WCW Gigi Gorgeous has changed the trans community for the better
- 05/06/15--11:06: 'The Simpsons' gets renewed for another 2 seasons
- 05/06/15--13:05: Beyoncé inks deals with teen YouTube stars
- 05/07/15--06:00: Your mom probably wants to do dirty, dirty things to Wolverine
- 05/07/15--08:38: Maroon 5's Adam Levine takes a bag of powdered sugar to the face
- 05/07/15--12:05: Upright Citizens Brigade using Periscope for free comedy
Choosing an airline these days can be a real beatdown, but JetBlue just gave customers some incentive to fly their friendly skies.JetBlue and Amazon have announced that they're partnering to bring "unlimited, on-demand entertainment to airline travel later this year" using JetBlue's satellite-assisted Fly-Fi broadband service. JetBlue is the only major carrier to offer free onboard Internet, but until now, that access was restricted to low-bandwidth applications like email and web browsing.
Amazon Prime members will soon be able to use JetBlue's Wi-Fi for high-bandwidth activities like watching streaming video and listening to music, all for free. (Non-Prime members will be able to purchase and stream titles from Amazon's video service.)
"Amazon’s customer focus aligns perfectly with the experience we have created for our customers, including the best inflight entertainment, free unlimited snacks and beverages, lots of personal space with the most legroom in coach, and wide, comfortable seating," said Jamie Perry, JetBlue's vice president of brand and product development. "By teaming up with a category-leader like Amazon, we created a unique model where we can offer complimentary broadband internet access.”
The deal is a clear win for both Amazon and JetBlue. Amazon beats Netflix to the punch at 30,000 feet, while JetBlue adds a perk that will likely make frequent flyers out of many Amazon Prime members.
Photo via Pierre-Selim/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)
YouTubers have found a new medium: wax.Alfie Deyes and Zoe Sugg sitting for their own figures in London last month, they are the first to give a behind-the-scenes look at the intense process it takes to go from flesh and bones to wax statue.
“It’s an honor to be chosen as the first YouTube wax figures to launch in Madame Tussauds 250 year history, and it was an absolute thrill to be part of this amazing process,” said Padilla and Hecox via press release. “We could not be more excited to see our SMOSH wax figure doubles tour the country and see the better looking version of ourselves come to life.”
The figures will debut July 2015 at Madame Tussauds in San Francisco.
Screengrab via Madame Tussauds SF/YouTube
Miley Cyrus has changed, just a little, from her Hannah Montana days. We can’t quite put our finger on what is different about her—maybe it’s the short hair or the constant tongue-wagging or the dilated pupils.
Whatever it is, she seems to be heading in a good direction. Cyrus made a media splash on Tuesday—not for appropriating twerk culture or for spewing an LSD-fueled rant on Instagram, but for launching a super-cool charity foundation to benefit LGBT, homeless, and at-risk youth.
To announce the Happy Hippie Foundation, Miley held a concert in her own backyard that featured transgender punk pioneer Laura Jane Grace and every lesbian’s favorite rocker, Joan Jett. Jett and Cyrus sang the song “Different,” their raspy, grunge-y vocals interspersing stanzas.
"Have you ever taken flak from the bullies on attack 'cause you're different/They laugh and call you names but that ain't no badge of shame just 'cause you're different/People gonna stare, you unsettle them and scare 'em 'cause we're different/Walking down the street, when you pass they take a peek there's something different," sang Jett and Cyrus.The video, posted to the Happy Hippie Foundation Facebook page, is the first in a series of “backyard sessions” that will post exclusively on the page. Ostensibly, the videos will draw attention to the foundation’s outreach and fundraising. And Cyrus isn't all talk—the foundation has already done real work on the ground prior to today's unveiling.
The first round of Happy Hippie grant money went to a Los Angeles homeless youth drop-in center called My Friend’s Place. The foundation set the center up with a full two years of meals and snacks, clean socks and underwear, and other services for its homeless youth population.
But Cyrus made one more thing clear when she announced the foundation in an interview with Out magazine: Miley Cyrus is genderqueer.
“I didn’t want to be a boy,” she told Out magazine. “I kind of wanted to be nothing. I don’t relate to what people would say defines a girl or a boy, and I think that’s what I had to understand: Being a girl isn’t what I hate, it’s the box that I get put into.”
Cyrus came out as queer (or at least, non-straight) just yesterday in an interview with the Associated Press, telling a reporter that not all of her romantic relationships have been heterosexual. But when she stated today that she also doesn’t identify with any particular gender, suddenly so much about Cyrus just made sense.
It's not just amazing that a celebrity is putting their fortune to good use helping queer kids get off the streets, it's also important for gender non-conforming youth to see a pop culture icon state that it's OK to opt out of gender altogether. In the light of Bruce Jenner coming out as a trans woman—watched by 17 million people—his gender transition is now a household concept that most people have at least a basic understanding of. But sometimes lost in the growing discourse around trans issues are the genderqueer, genderfuck, and gender non-conforming people who decide that having to pick one side or the other just isn't for them.
According to the Genderqueer IdentitiesTumblr, most genderqueer people identify either with both established genders (female, male), fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, or feel that they exist outside of concepts of gender altogether.
Miley isn’t the first celebrity to identify as non-binary when it comes to gender, but she’s definitely the most well-known. Other popular figures who have identified as genderqueer include comedian Eddie Izzard, who identifies as a transvestite and has called himself “a complete boy plus half girl,” and rapper Angel Haze, who announced on Twitter that they identified as "agender" and preferred the pronouns "they/them."
The impacts of Miley's foundation, her fluid sexuality, and her non-binary gender identity, are sure to be huge for LGBT youth. But more importantly, it's a nice change of pace to see a massive star put their money where their mouth is.
Photo via Melissa Rose/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Shower thoughts are those profound, vaguely stoner-ish revelations that materialize when you're in the middle of a shower. Thanks to Glamour magazine, we now get to hear some of Anna Kendrick's little moments of mid-shower genius. And every one of them is a gem.
"They should release a sequel to Groundhog Day," Kendrick muses, gazing calmly into the middle distance. "And then just re-release the original." Yes, Anna. They should.
"The roof of your mouth is actually more like a ceiling."
So much wisdom from one so young.
Screengrab via Glamour Magazine/YouTube
In the race to find the best ways for video creators to distribute and profit from their content, VHX is hoping to put the power directly into creators’ hands.
“We’re at the point where we want to enable people to run their own video business,” explained cofounder Casey Pugh. “We learned a lot in our past two years. We want to give people the tools to do it themselves. It’s really exciting to see the creators take these tools and build a relationship with the audience.”
The company started off modeling Louis C.K.’s distribution model of selling his comedy special directly to his fans online. Their first client, Aziz Ansari, allowed them to put their technology into practice. The company has been working as a platform for creators to sell single video products and to access previous purchases to re-market new offerings. Starting today, they are expanding into a new model: subscriptions.
VHX's new subscription feature allows users to automatically receive access to new content from creators as soon as it becomes available. The feature eliminates the need to make one-off purchases and gives creators the potential to amass substantial regular audiences—and, according to VHX, substantially more revenue—through their own branded channels.
“It’s always been a back of our mind idea,” said Pugh. “We talked to a lot of our publishers about doing this, and everyone’s been very interested in doing this. The problem is not everyone has the content yet, or it’s unlikely they’ll continue making more content. But in the past year, we’ve been working more with YouTubers and Internet video creators, and it’s making a lot more sense with them.”
The option is now open to the public, but VHX used one creator as a test subject pre-launch. Black&SexyTV has been publishing with VHX over the past year and, according to Pugh, they’ve sold five different series via the service, amassing an audience.
“[Their audience] got to this point where [users said], ‘We don’t want to pay [individually] for this anymore; we just want to subscribe,’” he explained. “It got to the breaking point that we had to do [subscriptions]. Within the first two days, they got three thousand subscribers.”
Black&SexyTV is on track to make $1 million VHX alone, according to the company.
Of course, VHX isn’t the only player in the video-sales and subscription game, but they see themselves as “the format” or the “technology background.”
“We want to work with people who want to do it themselves,” said Pugh. “If you look at Vessel, all Vessel is, is that they own content, they own technology, and they have a different pricing model around that. We like to think that VHX is separate from that. There are a lot of people trying to solve both the content and technology problem. If someone owned all the same content Vessel has, they could use VHX to build a Vessel, if they wanted to.”
Now, VHX’s goal is to keep growing their user-base, and in turn their subscriber base, so they can offer more to their creators.
“The more people using VHX, the more people we can help out by leveraging the network, like a Kickstarter does with their network,” Pugh said.
Photo via VHX | Remix by Jason Reed
Marvel Studios is known for its ability to meticulously plan far in advance (there are rumors that at least the next 10 years are already nailed down, and we know the next five for sure) and to pair the right actors and directors with the right projects.
Most of the credit for the studio’s strength can be attributed to the person who is essentially its brain: Studio President Kevin Feige. Feige has put together one of the best bullpens in studio history (and easily the best bullpen among the current state of studios), so let’s take a look at where he found his players and coaches—and at their work before they hopped aboard the Marvel train and (if they were directors) quickly hopped off of it. Please note that, in the case of actors, we’re only looking at the central heroes; we’re saving the supporting cast for when we release this article on paperback.
Iron Man (2008)
Robert Downey Jr., Natural Born Killers (1994)
Before becoming a household name as Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr. was a household name for talent squandered by drug use. A couple years after his amazing role in Natural Born Killers, the odds of him staying clean and headlining the biggest franchise in the world were on par with those of Lindsay Lohan being cast as the lead of The Force Awakens. His role as a crooked, Nightcrawler-esque news anchor in Natural Born Killers was in the middle of his “will drugs destroy him?” stage, when everybody knew he could win Oscars, yes, but could also very easily drop off the Earth and/or never be insured by a studio to work on a set again.Afterward, he had a few small but excellent roles in movies like Bowfinger and Wonder Boys before being let go from Ally McBeal due to a drug-related arrest. After he got clean, he picked up roles in small films like A Scanner Darkly, Zodiac, and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (all of which he nailed), but all were playing substance-abuse succumbers, and none were meant to be franchises. It wasn’t really until Jon Favreau convinced Kevin Feige to risk putting a franchise on his shoulders, and Iron Man killed at the box office, that America forgot about the RDJ with a heroin habit and started seeing him as a superhero.
Jon Favreau, Swingers (1996)
When he wrote Swingers, Favreau initially planned on directing the film as well, but producer Doug Liman suggested that he concentrate on acting in the film and give him the director’s chair. At the time, Favreau had always wanted to be behind the camera rather than in front of it, but it’s Hollywood; sometimes you just say yes to get your movie made.Swingers is a snapshot film, with a relatively aimless plot anchored around Favreau’s Mike getting over his ex-girlfriend. The film was a breakout for him, and it allowed him to slide over to the director’s chair in the spiritual followup to Swingers, Made, and then go on to direct the wildly successful Elf and a movie called Zathura: A Space Adventure (yes, really).
Fiege was so happy with Favreau’s work that he made him the unofficial godfather of the MCU, but the director was so annoyed with Marvel’s mandates on Iron Man 2 that he severed ties with the studio and made Chef (which you can also currently stream, and which features a small role from RDJ) as an allegory to the whole situation.
Chris Hemsworth, Red Dawn (2012)
If you’re wondering how Red Dawn made it on this list when it was released after Thor, it’s because it was shot and finished two years prior, with an original release date of November 2010, but it was shelved due to financial instability at MGM. At least, that’s the official story. They said the same thing about Cabin in the Woods, but the truth with Red Dawn is probably that it sucked and they didn’t know what to do with it. (As it would turn out, Thor and Chris Hemsworth’s success is what finally got MGM to get both films from the shelves to the theaters). MGM also realized, after shooting the whole film, that making China the enemy was a bad idea in light of that country being a massive film market, so it needed some time to digitally change everything related to China to reflect North Korea (very much not a strong film market for America) as the invading force instead.The truth is, Red Dawn is pretty fun. It’s not like it was a remake of a masterpiece, and there’s more subversive stuff about the Iraq invasion in there than most critics were willing to admit at the time. Plot-wise, it isn’t really tight or sensical. It’s basicallly: Let’s regroup, montage of guerrilla attacks, wash, rinse, repeat. But if you’re looking for a B action flick that’s directed by an expert stunt coordinator who knows how to blow stuff up real good, you can’t go wrong with Red Dawn (unless you’re one of those people that’s just completely allergic to Josh Peck’s face).
Kenneth Branagh, Love’s Labour’s Lost (2000)
Kenneth Branagh was obviously chosen for Thor because of his expert handling of Shakespeare’s works, because Asgard is Shakespearean as shit. He’s directed most of the finest Bard film adaptations of our time, including Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet, and As You Like It. Unfortunately, none of those are currently streaming, so we’re stuck with Love’s Labour’s Lost for our list, an adaptation of a play that Ebert called “probably the weakest of Shakespeare’s plays.” It was a critical and box office disaster, and it killed what was suppose to be a three-picture Shakespeare deal between Branagh and Miramax.I’m sure there’s an audience out there for an adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s weakest that’s set in 1939 and is interspersed with 1930s Broadway numbers (the message board on IMDb is filled with huge fans of the film, at least), but I quickly discovered that I was not a part of it. I tried so hard to keep up with the plot—constantly winding the streaming bar back—that I probably watched 600 minutes of this film, and I still had to visit its Wikipedia page at around the 60-minute mark to figure out what the hell was happening (at which point I actually enjoyed it quite a bit more). That said: Even without understanding the plot, Labour’s Lost is still full enough of the Bard’s clever quips to at last keep you smiling.
Note: Don’t make the same mistake that I made and spend half the film distracted by trying to answer “is that Matthew Lillard?” in your head. Yes, it’s him; they just somehow figured out a way to de-age him by 15 years.
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Chris Evans, Fierce People (2005)
People were a bit skeptical about the casting of Chris Evans as the Cap, and with good reason: The majority of his prior roles were, quite frankly, very douchey: Scott Pilgrim, Fantastic Four, Not Another Teen Movie… Luckily, someone at Marvel decided that audiences could overcome this predisposition for douchiness and see Evans as stoic and honorable to a fault. And, indeed, he wore the part so well that watching his work prior to Captain America is downright jarring, much like binge-watching Parks and Recreation and then seeing Adam Scott in Step Brothers.
Of all his earlier work, his role as Bryce in Fierce People is certainly the most jarring when juxtaposed with his role as Captain America. Bryce is basically the worst person ever, going from douchey to kind of likeable to (without getting too spoilery) downright despicable. I want to spoil the film so badly to get into just how terrible Bryce is, but I won’t, because I highly recommend watching Fierce People; it’s a really great little indie film.Joe Johnston, The Rocketeer (1991)
The Rocketeer was a commercial bomb with mixed critical reviews, which is a shame for Joe Johnston, because it’s really pretty awesome. The story of its uphill battle to get into production is well worth reading on its Wikipedia page, but the bottom line is this: When you combine 1930s art deco designs, steampunk technology, and Nazis, and then add Alan Arkin and Timothy Dalton into the mix for good measure, you’re going to have a movie worth watching even it’s terrible… and The Rocketeer isn’t even terrible at all, so you should watch it.Interestingly enough, one of the hurdles in getting The Rocketeer made was its setting in the late 1930s. Disney didn’t want to scare audiences away with a period piece, but Johnston was able to point out that Indiana Jones (for which he directed the visual effects) did quite well despite being set in the same period, and the suits liked this argument and gave it the go-ahead. In pre-production, Kevin Feige took a liking to Johnston not only for his work with on the Star Wars films, including his art direction of Return of the Jedi, but also because Feige was afraid that Captain America would scare audiences away by being a period piece, and he knew Johnston had successfully navigated those waters with The Rocketeer. (It may have not been received well, but Feige’s no dummy; he knows a good film when he sees one).
The Avengers (2012)
Scarlett Johansson, Scoop (2006)
Like Evans, the casting of Scarlett Johansson as the ass-kicking Natasha Romanoff was a bit surprising. Johansson was, at the time Iron Man 2 came out in 2010, a bit of an indie film darling. Her first break came Terry Zwigoff’s Ghost World in 2001, and her major break came with Lost in Translation in 2003. She stayed in small films after Translation, hooking up with Woody Allen for the one-two punch of Match Point and Scoop. Match Point is a fantastic movie—at its release, it was inarguably Woody Allen’s best film in a least a decade— but unfortunately, that’s not the one streaming right now.
Scoop is still pretty damn good, despite being unnecessarily goofy by including Ian McShane as a dead reporter that appears to Johansson and Allen as a ghost for no real reason but to set up a couple of funny gags. When you include a ghost in your movie and can think of a way to do it without the ghost in under five minutes, it means that including the ghost was a goofy decision. Still, Allen and Johansson’s chemistry as an amature sleuth duo works wonderfully, and Allen has enough adorable lines to make you forget all about the creepy allegations against him in the past.Anyway, now we have Black Widow in multiple films and Luc Besson’s Lucy, and it’s hard to remember a time before Johansson’s characters could kill somebody using only her legs (or mind, in Lucy’s case).
Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right (2010)
Before he was the Hulk, Ruffalo was the Cool Guy, and his role as Paul in The Kids Are All Right is no different. He’s more Tony Stark than Bruce Banner (except we may have caught a small glimpse of Paul in that Avengers stinger, when Banner and Stark drive away together). Far from a scientist who’s ever-paranoid about suddenly transitioning into a raging green giant, Paul is an aging hipster that decides to connect with the 18-year-old kid he helped create, via sperm donation, when the kid reaches out to him. The kid’s parents are a married lesbian couple played by Julianne Moore and Annette Bening. Like Tony Stark would do, he somehow ends up sleeping with Julianne Moore’s Jules. In another film, this would ruin the family. In the end, we’re not sure if it will or not, but this isn’t a standard film about cheating and hatred and general emotional destruction; it’s so loaded to the brim with heart and honest humanity that you can believe Jules and her wife will make it through this thing after all (with fuckup Paul out of the picture, anyway).Jeremy Renner, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)
This could be a tad of a stretch, but, like Red Dawn, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters was a film that went into production in 2011 and was slated for release on March 12, 2012, but was pushed back to 2013 to let The Avengers, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, and The Bourne Legacy be released first. And so: This still technically counts as Before They Were Marvel (unless you count Hawkeye’s appearance in Thor, which I’m not, because it was dumb and extraneous and it deserves to be forgotten).
Hansel and Gretel comes from Tommy Wirkola, of Dead Snow 1 & 2 fame, which I didn’t know going into the film, and made complete sense when I learned it afterward. Like the Dead Snow films, Hansel and Gretel has a plot that basically doesn’t matter. There’s no pacing; there are no acts; it’s just a stream of stuff that keeps happening, and when you get up to grab a couple sticks of string cheese from the refrigerator and return with no clue as to what’s going on anymore, you don’t really care. These movies aren’t about plot; they’re about gore that happens with satisfying regularity. It certainly takes after the Evil Dead and Army of Darkness Sam Raimi films, but those films had a way of keeping you engaged—i.e., narrative engines—that Wirkola’s films lack.
That said: Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead, his latest film, is by far his best one. The absurdity is really embraced there, and he finally captures that “so crazy you can’t look away” tone, so I hope he actually gets to make the sequel to Hansel and Gretel that he’s been wanting to do. I have a feeling his output from here on out is going to be stellar.
Joss Whedon, Buffy (1997-2003), Firefly (2002-2003)
When Joss Whedon was announced as the director of The Avengers, the Internet was, very likely, the happiest it has ever been. When Jon Favreau stepped down his Godfather of the MCU position, and Whedon stepped into it, the Internet immediately broke this record by becoming even happier. Not only was Whedon going to be directing the biggest film in the MCU’s lineup, but he’d be personally overseeing the scripts of the films leading up to it and rewriting the parts that sucked.
He started his work as the Godfather when he punched up the script for Captain America: The First Avenger, and nobody who originally penned the script seemed to mind, because he added tiny character moments and bits of dialogue while still keeping the original script entirely true to itself.
I could write about Buffy and Firefly, and why Whedon’s work on those shows, with their flawless ensemble casts, made him such a good fit for The Avengers, but it really just boils down to this: If you haven’t seen them, watch them. I don’t even need to go into it. Just trust me, and the millions of people that adore them, and get on it already.
Screengrab via hollywoodstreams/YouTube
Amy Schumer has tackled Hollywood and the media’s view of women and their bodies in several episodes of Inside Amy Schumer, but last night’s show might be her finest moment.
The episode is one long parody of 12 Angry Men, Sidney Lumet’s 1957 film about jurors arguing the fate of a man accused of murder. Only this version involves John Hawkes (playing the Henry Fonda role) attempting to convince Paul Giamatti, Jeff Goldblum, Vincent Kartheiser, Kumail Nanjiani, and others that Schumer is hot enough to be on TV. Schumer, who co-directed the sketch, is also indirectly addressing the real comments she’s gotten from male critics who don’t believe she’s attractive enough to be the star of her own movie, Trainwreck.In a recent interview with HitFix, Schumer said she’s “more proud of it than anything I've ever done,” and that she wrote the episode-long sketch to explore why there’s such rage directed at confident women:
There is this strange anger towards women who are comfortable with themselves, who some people feel like they shouldn’t be. The message that’s sent to us through the media and Hollywood and magazines is, “If you're not one of the most beautiful women in the world, you should hide yourself.” That’s a message that’s being driven through so many different avenues that both men and women start to listen and think, “She has no right to do this.” And also I find that men have this quality that women don’t have where, if I like a guy and I think he’s hot, that’s it. I don't ask my friends if he’s hot. You know? I have very different taste in men than my friends and my family. There’s never an overlap. And they’ve never checked with me to see if he’s hot. But with men, there is this constant checking in. And you might not think a girl’s that pretty and if your friend thinks she’s hot, that might change how you see her. And I just found that kind of thinking very strange.
When Schumer finally does appear, her response is perfect.
Screengrab via Comedy Central/YouTube
Last Sunday, over 17 million people tuned in to hear Bruce Jenner’s inspiring interview with Diane Sawyer, including his revelatory confession: “I am a woman.” It is through this interview that the transgender community was finally given its Ellen moment, with a pop culture icon shining a spotlight on a community often misunderstood, overlooked, and horribly discriminated against.
Thanks in no small part to the pioneering ways of Laverne Cox and Orange Is the New Black, the transgender community has had some small amount of accurate representation in traditional media for the past three years, but YouTube has provided a home for the transgender community to express feelings, document stories, and connect with other members of the LGBT community for 10 years now. Chief among these amazing activists is the larger than life Gigi Gorgeous.
Gigi recently made headlines for her video “My Thoughts on Bruce Jenner,” in which she shares with her audience both the importance of Jenner’s interview and what his words meant to her as an open and proud trans woman. The video has gained over 1.6 million views and even found its way onto YouTube’s homepage.Gigi originally started her channel back in January 2008, when she was still identifying as Gregory, a gay man from Toronto whose love of beauty and fashion had brought him to Los Angeles to pursue a career in entertainment. Five years later, Gigi released the incredibly inspiring video “I am Transgender,” in which she shared for the first time that in order to live her most authentic life, she would be moving forward as a transgender woman.
Since this announcement, Gigi continues to make makeup and beauty videos but has begun focusing her channel more on documenting her transition and the adventures of her daily life. Her videos read like a gender transition roadmap, as Gigi uses her own personal experiences to educate viewers—both trans and not—about everything from laser hair removal, plastic surgery, hormone replacement therapy, boob jobs, and general life as a trans woman. Through her honest and candid videos, Gigi continues to remind not only me, but also her 1.4 million subscribers, that one of the bravest things a person can do is chose to live their life as their truest self. And when it comes to the Gigi Gorgeous, this woman chooses to live her life as the center of the party.Standing alongside influential LGBT activists such as Tyler Oakley, Skylar Kergil, Hannah Hart, and Ashley Mardell, Gigi has become an incredible role model and ally to LGBT youth.
Her channel has allowed viewers from around the world access and exposure to the LGBT community, no matter their geographical location; it has become a space where people can ask questions without fear of judgment from others. There is something so special in the way Gigi lives her life, and through her passion to share her experiences with others, her YouTube channel has changed the world for the better.Screengrab via Gigi Gorgeous/YouTube
If you needed further confirmation that it’s going to take the death of a principal voice actor to bring The Simpsons to a close, here it is: Fox just renewed the long-running animated sitcom for another two seasons—its 27th and 28th.
Yeah, yeah. We know you superfans think no episode past season 8 is in any way redeemable, but more than 7 million people regularly watch the new stuff across various platforms. You can blame them for the slow death of your televisual nostalgia.
A press release from Fox on the deal quoted Homer Simpson as saying “I've outlasted Letterman, Jon Stewart and ‘McDreamy,’ because I have something they don’t: a costly 200-donut-a-day addiction.” Outsourcing animation to South Korea probably doesn’t hurt either, come to think of it.
Anyway, while you wait for more of the show that couldn’t go off the air, you can poke around the Simpsons World app, revisit some stone-cold classic episodes, watch every couch gag played at once, or visit a virtual Springfield in Minecraft. But whatever you do, do not go outside, where there is very little Simpsons content of any kind.
Photo via Joel Ormsby/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
The fifth season of Key & Peele doesn't return until July 8, but the duo just released a very special episode to tide us over.
A man (played by Keegan-Michael Key) is stopped by a cop for no reason and roughed up, only to be saved by a mysterious vagrant who takes him to an alternate universe called "Negrotown," a place where black men and women can "walk the streets without getting stopped, harassed, or beat."
As Key observes, it seems almost too good to be true, which makes the sketch's final line hit that much harder.Screengrab via Comedy Central/YouTube
Everyone's favorite male stripper just got a titillating new trailer.
Magic Mike XXL, the follow-up to Channing Tatum's unexpectedly great tale of Florida strippers, just released a promotional teaser that doesn't fail to deliver on the glistening biceps and dick references.
Gyrating and toned muscles aside, the trailer sheds some more light on the plot of the upcoming film. The merry band of performers is headed to a convention in Myrtle Beach, and they're visiting people's living rooms for some, ahem, private performances. That doesn't mean there won't be stow-stopping stage performances as well, and it's already clear the sequel has improved on the choreography from the original film.
There's a lot more time for sexy promos since the film doesn't premiere until July 1.
Screengrab via Warner Bros. UK/YouTube
In her efforts to become an entertainment mogul, Beyoncé has signed young singers to her Parkwood Entertainment company. The Queen Bey recently inked deals with three teenagers who've garnered attention on YouTube or in mainstream singing competitions.
Sisters 17-year-old Chloe Bailey and 15-year-old Halle Bailey gained mainstream attention when their "Pretty Hurts" cover notched more than 8 million views in the last year. Their channel boasts 556,000 subscribers to date, and features many covers of various artists, with an emphasis on Bey of course.Bey also signed 14-year-old Sophie Beem, who appeared on the X Factor back in 2012, earning a top-40 finish. Her YouTube is new, but there are clips of her singing at a TedxYouth panel on the channel.
Contracts with the three young singers totaled $1.5 million.
You might be scrambling because you just realized it's Mother's Day on Sunday and a Chili's gift card isn't going to cut it (again). But according to this new clip starring the great Paula Pell (SNL, 30 Rock), your mom doesn't need flowers or a new robe. She needs a handful of H.J.
"I'm glad he can regenerate because I'm going to fuck him apart."
"I just want to serve him a home-cooked meal. I hope he likes pussy."
So on Sunday, don't forget to ask your mom if Wolverine dong is right for her.
Screengrab via Above Average/YouTube
Late-night talk shows love to ask random people stupid questions, and it looks like Jimmy Fallon is trying to steal Jimmy Kimmel's fake-Q&A thunder. Fallon's latest segment involves what may be the stupidest question of them all.
The Tonight Show sent a camera crew out to ask Cinco de Mayo party-goers one Big Question about the holiday. But instead of trying to catch people in their ignorance like Jimmy Kimmel's most popular segments, Fallon's correspondent just kept rambling on and on without ever getting to the question.
It's impressive how long people will stand there in the middle of a street party, waiting for a Big Question that never arrives.
We're amazed anyone lasted this long.
Screengrab via Jimmy Fallon/YouTube
What would you do if you found out you had a twin sister you didn’t know about living on the other side of the globe? If you’re part of the YouTube generation, you start cameras rolling.
When Samantha Futerman got a mysterious message on her Facebook in 2013, that’s exactly what she did. She was already primed for the camera, as an up-and-coming Los Angeles actress who’d already begun creating YouTube vlogs and skits. In fact, it was one such skit that started the ball rolling on this adventure. Futerman was adopted from South Korea as a child, and none of her documents indicated she had a twin. Still, there was a French girl, Anaïs Bordier, also adopted from South Korea, who had her face and her same birthday.
“It’s so funny, we started documenting before we even knew, taking screenshots of the messages,” explained Futerman. “A friend said to me that I should record the first Skype. I had been doing YouTube vlogs, so it was kind of natural to me to almost diary in that kind of way.”The result of that documentation is Twinsters, a film they crowdfunded and recently debuted at SXSW. It follows the girls from discovery of the connection, through genetic testing to prove they were in fact identical twins, to their first meeting in France and subsequent trip to South Korea to connect with their home and hunt for answers about their parents.
The film is touching, and audiences are nervous along with the sisters as they find out for certain they’re related, and stress over how their growing up apart affected each twin differently. However, what really hits home in the film is more universal: connecting over long distances and the idea of a redefined family, a mixture of blood, nurture, and even friendship.
Where the film especially excels is its understanding of what it’s like to be digitally tethered to another person, whether a best friend or secret twin.
“Text messaging and social media is such a big part of our relationship,” explained Futerman, who is still living in L.A. while her twin works in Europe. “We knew we had to show it in some way, to show we can be on opposite sides of the world and be together. We talk on various forms of social media all day. We’ll email each other while we’re texting each other while we’re Facebook messaging each other.”
Their preferred methods of communicating are Facebook and WhatsApp, as well as a weekly video chat. The duo also make sure they have the same brand of cell phone to make it easier to communicate. Documenting that communication was key, and the film pops with digital touches of connectivity.
“The whole first act, the whole before them meeting, was all online,” explained co-director Ryan Miyamoto. “We really wanted to capture that in the film. The text messaging, it took really long to get the perfect bubbles. I thought it would be so easy, but we spent so much time.”
But while the visualization may have been a challenge, the emotional storytelling came naturally. For the twins, documenting wasn’t weird because they were filming with their best friends.
“It was too crazy of a moment to really have a chance to worry about the cameras being there,” said Futerman. “Anaïs would actually forget Ryan was filming and stand right in front of the camera.”
The moment brought together not only the two girls, but their extended family and friends, who bonded into one larger unit. That meant Bordier, who grew up an only child, now had three brothers in addition to Futerman. It also help solidify new ventures, with Futerman founding the adoption resource Kindred with fellow Korean adoptee and actress Jenna Ushkowitz, who served as an executive producer on the film.
But even the most fantastical story doesn’t guarantee a fairytale ending: The only loose end the film doesn’t tie up is a reunion with their birth mother. The girls were adopted out of different agencies, and the woman each agency contacts as the birth mother denies giving birth to anyone, let alone twins. Even with this unresolved aspect, there’s no plan for a sequel for now. The girls are just continuing their joint and individual journeys, planning trips to see each other because they can’t do more than three months without a visit, and thankful that the filmmaking experience gave them a way to share the story of adoptees.
“I like the process of filmmaking; it’s almost therapeutic in a way,” said Futerman. “Going through the whole experience, it was reliving the experience. It feels really good that people are touched by the story. That’s the message we want to get out there about family and adoption.”
Photo via samfuterman/YouTube
The Mindy Project is no more, but the show might already be getting a second life elsewhere.
Fox canceled the Mindy Kaling-helmed OB/GYN comedy on Wednesday after three seasons. Although beloved by fans, The Mindy Project suffered from low ratings. It aired its last episode in March.
Fans planned tweetstorms at the show's airtime—even during off weeks—to put Fox on notice, and many of them were distraught at Wednesday's news. Their outrage and messages of love for the cast and crew quickly took over Twitter and Tumblr’s trending topicsBut all hope might not be lost. Entertainment Weekly is reporting that Hulu might already be gearing up to save it. The streaming service is reportedly already in “serious talks” with Universal Television, which produces The Mindy Project, to bring the show back for multiple seasons. Vulture puts that number at two and says that Hulu would likely produce 12- or 13-episode seasons.
The move would be a logical one without too much red tape, given that episodes of The Mindy Project already stream exclusively on Hulu. And this arrangement is far from unprecedented. Netflix resurrected Arrested Development after it had been off the air for nearly a decade and brought back Trailer Park Boys for another season. Although Hulu was an early contender to save Community last year, it was ultimately Yahoo that swooped in for the rescue.Kaling, who’s currently in Montana, only commented with a wink to the camera—and her followers. H/T Entertainment Weekly | Screengrab via FOX/YouTube
The Maroon 5 lead singer found himself in a case of literal song interpretation after appearing on Wednesday’s episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live. He stopped outside of Kimmel’s studio in Hollywood to sign autographs and take photos with fans when a man threw a bag of powdered sugar at Levine.Levine’s security quickly apprehended the suspect, who was arrested by police. Although the man has not been identified, it’s reportedly the same person who once threw a rock at Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and currently has five people who are pressing charges against him for battery, including Levine.
Ironically, the incident came just after Levine spoke to Jimmy Kimmel about a similar experience: the fear he felt when a fan unexpectedly came onstage, albeit one with a lesser intent than the man who threw sugar at him.
“And the thing is, was she a 90-pound harmless girl? Definitely,” he said. “Did it feel—because it was so jarring in the moment and my eyes were closed and I was attacked by somebody—did it feel like a sumo wrestler? Yeah.”H/T Huffington Post | Screengrab via Jimmy Kimmel Live/YouTube
The two veteran filmmakers (The Matrix,Jupiter Ascending) teamed up with TV writer J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5) to create an original sci-fi drama, following eight characters who discover they’ve become psychically linked.
The show debuts on June 5, and sounds like it will be refreshingly ambitious compared to a lot of current sci-fi programming. For starters, it was filmed all over the world using a cast of international actors, playing characters ranging from a closeted Mexican telenovela star to a Korean businesswoman (regular Wachowski collaborator Doona Bae), an African bus driver, and a transgender American blogger. The trailer gives us a glimpse of each of the Sense8 eight, showing how they begin to share one another’s experiences and skills.
(Yes, that is Daryl Hannah in the pale dress during the party scene. This show’s cast is kind of intriguing in itself.)
This trailer looks surprisingly normal for a show co-created by the Wachowskis, even a little (dare we say it) reminiscent of NBC’s Heroes. However, we’re confident that Sense8 will be a lot more unusual than it first appears.
The Wachowskis have a reputation for going the extra mile in terms of visual effects (The Matrix) and storytelling styles (Cloud Atlas), and early interviews indicate they’ve let their creative tendencies run wild after escaping the studio oversight at Warner Bros. We already know the show includes live birth scenes and a Bollywood dance sequence, for example.
Speaking with BuzzFeed, Straczynski said: “It’s a planetary story that shows we are better together than we are apart.
“Culturally, particularly in the last five, ten years in this country particularly, we’ve been marginalized and factionalized in each inch of our lives. Politically, in terms of our discourse about sexuality and gender. We thought we need to do something that deals with us as a species.”
We recommend clearing your calendar for the weekend Sense8 comes out. Netflix just made its first truly original sci-fi series, and it got precisely the right people to do it.
Correction 11:18am CT: An earlier version of this article included an inaccurate headline. The Wachowskis are Lana and Andy Wachowski.
Screengrab via Netflix/YouTube
Sheeran was in the midst of singing “All of the Stars” when he paused midway through it. Although he never does this sort of thing normally, he called a couple—one who held a sign during the entire show—to join him on the stage. The boyfriend started to praise his girlfriend while Sheeran sat back and watched along with the thousands of fans around them.
We knew what was coming, but it’s still just as breathtaking to watch. The screams are deafening when he finally goes down on one knee.Sheeran is all of us right now. H/T Billboard | Photo via Kathi Rudminat/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre performer Shaun Diston also recently hosted a live, daytime talk show via Periscope.
The app, known as a place for asking to see the inside of strangers' fridges, allows users to seamlessly create live broadcasts and interact with other users via a live commenting system.
The format is perfect for a Q&As. Could UCB's use of Periscope lead to more livestreaming comedic content? Time will tell. In the meantime, one important question remains. What's in the UCB fridge?
Illustration by Max Fleishman