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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    Postmodern Jukebox may dominate YouTube when they release each new vintage cover of contemporary pop hits, but they've also proven that it's not all a case of editing tricks with their standout live performances. 

    The group played their first-ever Los Angeles show as a sold-out performance at Club Nokia Tuesday, where the audience was a melting pot of demographics bonded by one thing: a love for pop tunes with a vintage flair. 

    The show was the culmination of a nationwide tour, with the group heading to Australia next. They already play massive shows in Europe, so dominating the live American market was an easy next step.

    The show clocked in at two and a half hours, with singers playing tag-team while the workhorse band, led by Scott Bradlee, held court all night. There's two unique musicians that accompany PMJ's standard piano, bass, drums, and horns. Sarah Reich performed as a tap dancer, both as an accompanist on various numbers and her own vintage solos. Daily Dot favorite Tim Kurbart, also know as Tambourine Guy, joined for a few tracks. He's just as energetic in person, though his icing performance only joined in on select dates this tour.

    In L.A., extra performers padded the bill and mixed with PMJ's regular touring crew. The crowd was blown away by performances from The Voice alum Maiya Sykes, who belted New Orleans-style Darkness hit, "I Believe In a Thing Called Love," while Wilkie Ferguson homaged Usher's stripper anthem "I Don't Mind" as a Las Vegas-style review. American Idol alum Haley Reinhart wowed with her cover of Radiohead's "Creep," while Von Smith, the "heartthrob of PMJ," closed out the night with Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off." Even the normally stoic security guards were getting their groove on, and offering their newly formed friends free drinks.

    The performers made sure to praise the live music revolution throughout the event, even though they made their mark as YouTube stars. And, just like a YouTube video, this had sponsorship. Before the night kicked off, they broadcast an old-timey radio ad for Tinder. To be fair it was a room primed for romance, and the heartbreak that followed, so the brand integration was irrepressibly appropriate.

    Screengrab via Alexandre Ginet/YouTube


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    Today marks the sixth year the world had to endure without the awesomeness of Michael Jackson. Arguably the biggest and best pop artist who ever lived, Jackson dedicated more than 40 years of his life to his craft, all that time gifting his fans with awe-inspiring dance moves and a sizable collection of hit songs.

    Say what you will about him; Jackson will always be remembered as the King of Pop, and as of this writing, no one has come close to taking the title. To commemorate this talented genius, we’ve rounded up the best Michael Jackson covers performed by some of the musicians he has inspired in some way or another.

    1) “ABC” by Cimorelli

    Given that this band comprises siblings, just like the Jackson 5, it seems pretty perfect that they chose to do an a cappella cover of a song that features a young Michael Jackson.

    2) and 3) “Beat It” by Pomplamoose and One O'Clock Trio

    “Beat It” is the bees’ knees. It’s one of Jackson’s coolest and most memorable songs, and one that is pretty hard to duplicate. Which is why we appreciate the originality in Pomplamoose’s rendition of the opus:

    Another equally captivating take on the song is by One O’Clock Trio, who gave it a beautiful bossa nova spin.

    4) and 5) “Billie Jean” by the Civil Wars and Sungha Jung

    Even though the partnership that once raked in a bunch of awards for being the best duo from 2011 to 2014 is now no more, this live rendition of another popular Jackson track reminds us of their combined talent.

    This is one of Jackson’s most covered songs, so of course we’ve got another awesome one for you, this one by guitar wizard Sungha Jung.

    6) “Black or White” by Black Fox

    If you grew up in the ’90s, you probably remember this song thanks to its music video, which featured some mind-blowing visual effects. This cover—which features a full band and a female vocalist—does a great job in paying homage to the original arrangement of the song.

    7) and 8) “Dirty Diana” by Tanika and Bruno Mars

    Just like “Beat It,” “Dirty Diana” features Jackson’s predilection for rock music. This cover by British singer-songwriter Tanika strips it down and evokes all the necessary emotion.

    If you miss the full band experience the song provided, consider this live recording of Bruno Mars (who many say is this generation’s Michael Jackson) covering it:

    9) “I Want You Back” by Straight No Chaser ft. Sara Bareilles

    If you’re starting an a cappella group, make sure to have “I Want You Back” in your repertoire. Believe us, if done right—the way Straight No Chaser did, with a little help from Sara Bareilles—it will sound amazing.

    10) “I’ll Be There” by Mariah Carey

    This video actually hits two birds with one stone. Not only does it remind us that Jackson is a great balladeer, it also reminds us that ’90s Mariah Carey is our favorite Mariah Carey.

    11) and 12) “Man in the Mirror” by James Morrison and … James Morrison

    If you have a Michael Jackson playlist saved up for a rainy day, this acoustic gem needs to be included. Not just because “Man in the Mirror” is the ultimate Jackson anthem, but also because Morrison has a voice that melts like butter.

    If you need a more visual reminder of Morrison’s talent (and let’s face it, hotness), here’s a video of him performing his cover live in 2009:

    13) “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” by Mike Tompkins

    YouTube is full of videos from one-man bands that showcase a person’s ability to do it all. This one done by Mike Tompkins certainly hits the mark of greatness. The fact that he decided to make it to commemorate the loss and legacy of his idol is just an added bonus.

    14) “Rock With You” by Jessie J

    This stripped-down version of a dance classic is made of pure win. There’s really no need to elaborate.

    15) “Smooth Criminal” by Alien Ant Farm

    When this cover came out in 2001, a lot of people probably thought it was an Alien Ant Farm original.

    That just means they did a pretty good job doing justice to a Jackson classic, one that has a music video you must watch ASAP.

    16) and 17) “The Way You Make Me Feel” by Bruno Mars and Kawehi

    You’ve got to love Mars’ instant response to a request made for any Michael Jackson song. He originally intended to do “Beat It,” but decided to go for another Jackson dance hit. It’s short, but incredibly sweet.

    If you want to kick it up a notch, Kawehi wows with this super-impressive, beatbox-laden version of the Jackson track. (We want to be as talented as you, Kawehi.)

    18) and 19) “They Don’t Care About Us” by 2CELLOS and Alex Boye

    Although this song is noted as one of Jackson’s more controversial pieces, it’s got a beat that inspires an inner rock-out. Begin your sound trip with an instrumental rendition by 2CELLOS:

    When you’re done with that, shift to this “Africanized” version by Alex Boye:

    20) and 21) “Thriller” by Imogen Heap and Corey Heuvel

    Jackson’s most iconic song had a music video featuring the artist as a werewolf as well as other horror film elements. Naturally, Imogen Heap’s haunting rendition of the hit resonates well with those who love the song:

    If you’re a fan of awesome guitar work, we really like the way Corey Heuvel went strum-crazy while singing the track:

    22) “Will You Be There” by Boyce Avenue

    Remember the film Free Willy? Then you probably remember its iconic and tear-jerking theme song, which Boyce Avenue did a pretty amazing job remaking:

    23) and beyond Miscellaneous Michael Jackson tributes by various artists

    We love a good Michael Jackson medley, so we wanted to make sure that we covered a few of our favorites before ending this roundup. This one performed live by Chaka Khan and her band is simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking, making it the perfect video to watch on the anniversary of Jackson’s death.

    However, to really end on an inspiring note, we’d like to celebrate the legend with a pleasantly entertaining mix of Jackson hits, arranged by Kurt Schneider and sung by Sam Tsui.

    Photo via Abi Skipp/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) 


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    Every so often, someone says something sexist about women and sports and has to apologize to quell a backlash. The resolution is rarely pleasant, but in the case of the latest offense, we get Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers reviving their Saturday Night Live“Really!?!” segment to heap on some shame.

    Sports Illustrated’s NFL writer Andy Benoit is under fire for saying that “women’s sports in general [are] not worth watching” after previously saying that the Women’s World Cup isn't worth watching. The Women’s World Cup faces so many hurdles already—what with a lack of coverage, playing on artificial turf, and being shunted onto Fox Sports 1—and Poehler and Meyers aren't putting up with this latest affront.

    The two friends can't understand why Benoit would rather watch golf or the NFL draft or six hours of Kentucky Derby hat coverage instead of something as high-energy as the Women’s World Cup, Serena Williams playing tennis, or the WNBA. The U.S. made it to the quarterfinals of the Women's World Cup; the least we can do is show our support and watch them play China on Friday night. 

    For what it’s worth, Benoit has already deleted his tweet and apologized, thus completing the shame cycle.

    Screengrab via Late Night with Seth Meyers/YouTube


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    Before even revealing the series’ second season premiere date, Amazon Studios has renewed Jill Soloway’s Transparent for a third season set to debut in 2016 and has set up a deal to get more exclusive work from the showrunner.

    Transparent follows the Pfefferman family, played by Jeffrey Tambor, Judith Light, Amy Landecker, Jay Duplass, and Gaby Hoffman, as they find ways to deal with the patriarch's (Tambor) transition into womanhood. The series was inspired by Soloway’s own experience, as her father came out as a transgender woman several years back.

    Amazon renewed the series for season two in October (which should debut sometime in the fall), not long after it premiered on the streaming service on Sept. 26. Since then, Transparent has won a Golden Globe for best comedy series, while Tambor took home a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Mort/Maura Pfefferman in the show.

    In addition to the show’s season three renewal, Amazon Studios made a pact with Transparent creator Soloway that will see her newly formed production company develop more content to be produced by Amazon. Also per the deal, Soloway will keep serving as showrunner for Transparent, while Andrea Sperling, previously a co-executive producer on the show, will take on the role of executive producer.

    Together Soloway and Sperling will run Soloway’s new production company, which will create content exclusively for Amazon’s video platform. “I am blown away by the creative freedom Amazon gives me, and I can’t wait to reveal where this journey is going to take us,” said Soloway in a statement.

    As for the future of Transparent, season three will likely consist of 10 episodes, like seasons one and two. Viewers can also expect an appearance from Caitlyn Jenner, whose story of coming out as a transgender woman was heavily covered in the media, in season two.

    Photo courtesy of Amazon Studios


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    Everyone's excited for the return of The Walking Dead, but no one so much as the cast members.

    Actor Michael Cudlitz, who plays Sergeant Abraham Ford on the show, took fans behind the scenes for a brief introduction on the first day of filming for the show's sixth season. The gang's all here, including a particularly frisky Norman Reedus, and a typically intense Cudlitz, who swears the first episode "is gonna blow your mind."

    Looks like Reedus hasn't stopped shipping his character with Danai Gurira's. In a 2013 chat with Vulture, the actor said he thought Daryl and Michonne would make a good pair. They definitely have the chemistry! 

    Of course, given that their characters on the show have other priorities, like staying alive, we can't see this happening right now. But in the future? Who knows? 

    In the meantime, there's always fanfic.

    Screengrab via YouTube


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    We were so caught up in the Taylor Swiftmusic video for “Bad Blood” that we missed the bigger picture: just what a post-apocalyptic world would sound like.

    House of Halo, however, took away the music to reveal the real, gritty sound effect of this new world—one occupied by kickass lady assassins and action heroes. They can wield knives, shoot off weapons, fight in the ring, and bring it all to a blaze, but it’s going to be painfully awkward along the way; the teddy bear is still gonna get it, squeaks and all.

    May the apocalypse have a much better soundtrack.

    Screengrab via TaylorSwiftVEVO/YouTube


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    After speaking out about a sexist casting call on Twitter, Rose McGowan says that she has been fired by her acting agent.

    Last week, the actor and director posted a screencap of a casting call requesting women to audition for a role wearing a push-up bra. The description makes it pretty clear that the prospective actor will be judged by her appearance, and while McGowan didn't say the name of the movie, her tweet made it obvious Adam Sandler was involved.

    Since Sandler's next movie is so offensive that some actors literally walked off the set, this isn't difficult to believe. This is the guy who said he signed a deal with Netflixbecause it rhymes with Wet Chicks, after all.

    The casting call got some attention online, but only as another drop in the ocean of evidence that Hollywood is a sexist hellhole. McGowan's tweets certainly don't seem controversial enough to warrant professional criticism, but on Wednesday night she tweeted that she had since been fired by her agent.

    The Daily Dot has contacted McGowan's talent agency for comment, but they are yet to reply.

    If McGowan was let go by her agent for criticizing a sexist casting call—and at the moment, there's no reason to believe otherwise—then this illustrates just how difficult it is to fight discrimination in Hollywood. Actors and filmmakers can get away with all sorts of scandalous behavior, but a woman speaking freely about systemic sexism is a step too far.

    If Sandler makes a sexist and racist movie, then he garners some social media backlash but continues to rake in lucrative deals with major Hollywood studios. Meanwhile if McGowan tweets a mild criticism of a sexist casting call, she gets dropped by her talent agent.

    Update 2:24pm CT, June 25: Variety is reporting that McGowan's agent Sheila Wenzel has left Innovative Artists following McGowan's comments. Wenzel couldn't comment on the matter. But McGowan says that Wenzel actually left Innovative Artists prior to the controversy.

    The Daily Dot noted two agents listed on her IMDb Pro page, Wenzel and Steve Muller.

    Photo via The Heart Truth/Wikimedia (Public Domain)


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    On the heels of getting Apple to pay artists during the service’s three-month free period trial, Taylor Swift is now offering a reward for the fans: She’ll now allow 1989 to stream on Apple Music.

    She first started the conversation Sunday with an open letter to Apple calling for it to pay artists, who wouldn’t have gotten compensated for that three-month trial period because although she would’ve been fine without it, other artists—some who were afraid to speak out against Apple—would not. Apple reversed its prior policy that night, with everyone winning but especially the record labels. It also started a conversation about how photographers get paid for shooting concerts after one freelance photographer wrote Swift an open letter about copyright and compensation.

    The main question for fans after Apple’s call was, would 1989 be on Apple Music? Swift took all of her music offSpotify and let her earlier discography stream on Tidal and Apple Music previously.

    She cleared the speculation up when she announced via Twitter Wednesday that when Apple Music launches on June 30, 1989 will be streaming along with it.

    She quickly dispelled the idea that by putting her album on Apple Music meant that it was an exclusive like the launch of the Pharrell Williams’s “Freedom” onto the streaming service. It was just the right move for her.

    Photo via GabboT/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)


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    Leave it to Drake to release a song at least partially inspired by the 100 emoji, during the summer, and make the resulting would-be block anthem into a meditative, paranoid, wounded animal of a song. 

    Los Angeles rapper The Game helms the project, as it’s a teaser to his upcoming August sequel The Documentary 2. (For the uninitiated, the first Documentary is pretty fantastic.) Cardo and Johnny Juliano are the producers responsible for the arresting, heavy beat.

    For his part, Drake has been previewing the lyrics during recent concerts, with the resulting arrangement basically sounding like an Aladdin ballad. That’s not masculine rap nerd hating, by the way: Since its Thursday release, reaction has been generally favorable.

    Entertainment blog Shakara Online notes that Drake’s rapping is a honed attack against his former business partners at Cash Money Records:

    ...the Canadian rapper raps about people who used to be among his closest friends, but eventually compromised on the financial part of their relationship. In other words, he alluded to Birdman and Cash Money not paying him and Young Money, the exact same issue which became the reason for Lil Wayne’s legal battle with Baby.

    But mostly, “100” is what makes the guy compelling as an artist. With apologies to The Game—who is perfectly fine in a supporting actor role (on his own album’s single, no less)—“100” is an aggressively personal song that breathes through Drake’s aesthetic filter: A ’90s R&B sample I can’t quite place, moody and spiraling bass lines, lyrics about how existential and haunting you feel when it’s dark and you’re perpetually traveling. 

    Drake has been winning with this type of music since 2009, which is a stunning achievement. His anthems, ballads, and bangers are all overwhelmingly about being at a party and feeling out of place. It’s a feeling that pairs with your phone gorgeously.

    You want a Migos-recalling, up-tempo number with attitude for a song that shares a name with the most hip-hop emoji working today, but that’s low-hanging. Rather, Drake and Game deliver a summer anthem for when it’s dawn and you have to walk the dog before it gets hot. 

    Screengrab via ILoveMakonnen/YouTube


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    In an effort to appeal to a broader audience, HBO announced that premiere episodes of the new series Ballers and The Brink will be available to stream for a limited time on Facebook. Star and Executive Producer of Ballers, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is hosting the full first episode of Ballers—with a personal selfie introduction—on his Facebook page, which makes the show available to more than 49 million of his fans. 

    The Brink, which stars Tim Robbins, Jack Black, and Aasif Mandvi (The Daily Show), can be seen on the series page, which has tallied up a respectable 23,000 fans.  

    HBO recently unveiled the new “over-the-top” service, HBONow, which allows access to the channel’s better-than-TV programming to members of the general public who don’t have cable subscriptions, home televisions, or their girlfriend’s dad’s password to HBOGo.

    Ballers and The Brink air Sunday on HBO—or whenever you feel like watching on HBONow, or Facebook. 

    Screengrab via HBO/YouTube


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    Comedy Central is kicking off Jon Stewart’s last few weeks as host of The Daily Show with a bang by airing every single episode of his nearly 17-year run for fans.

    The Daily Show is pulling a Simpsons and putting out more than 2,000 episodes for the next 42 days, but instead of airing them all on Comedy Central, it will host the weeks-long event online and on mobile. Clearly Comedy Central knows its audience

    Your Month of Zen,” which you can watch on Comedy Central’s website or the Comedy Central app, starts June 26 at 12pm ET and will air episodes continuously until Aug. 6 at 7:17pm ET, just hours before Stewart will take to his desk for the final time.

    It’ll start with Stewart as he tries to find his footing, something much of his younger audience will likely have only seen in shorter clips, as well as highlights for the older crowd. The politics will be as dated as the hairstyles, but we’ll also get to see Stewart grow into the cynical and curmudgeonly comedian that he is today. Besides, who needs July?

    This may be the most painful farewell voyage we’ve seen from the late-night circuit yet.

    Screengrab via The Daily Show


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    Eight years after Fox's soapy teen drama The O.C. went off the air, the show is right back where it started from, in a manner of speaking, with a one-night-only musical version of the groundbreaking show taking place, where else, in California.

    The team behind the unauthorized production spent the day on Twitter, currently their only digital home, announcing performers and sharing O.C.-themed memes. The show, for the uninitiated, centered around a group of teens in Orange County, California, and what happened after a boy from the wrong side of the tracks ends up as part of the upper-crust of teen elite. It also broke ground in how the Fox show incorporated music into the series, breaking several indie bands into the mainstream and increasing sales in an era pre-Glee or Empire.

    The event is only slated to run Aug. 30 for now, but the group's last successful project, a Cruel Intentions musical, has had an extended run. In fact, stars from the film like Sarah Michelle Gellar and Reese Witherspoon even showed up opening night.

    Is it already too much to home for a Seth and Summer reunion while they watch their musical counterparts sing about their love? 

    Photo via The OC/Fox | Remix by Fernando Alfonso III


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    Few actors could pull off a gritty period drama in which they play two different characters without looking a bit ridiculous, but then few actors are Tom Hardy

    Fresh from garnering raves as the barely verbal Mad Max, the Bane actor has a whole different bag of tricks up his sleeve for the much-hyped biopic Legend. The drama follows the rise and fall of London’s famously enigmatic Kray brothers, identical twins and gangsters who reigned supreme over London’s East End for most of the ’60s. It comes with an all-star creative team attached, including Oscar-winning screenwriter Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential) and Hardy playing both of the film’s lead roles.

    You might think that’s a stretch, but not judging by the first U.S. trailer for the film, released earlier today. Hardy has clearly found a different mien for each brother, and unsurprisingly it seems to be working brilliantly:

    Perhaps the most unexpected thing about the film is how humorous it is.

    Who knew the gangster life was so much fun?

    Screengrab via Zero Media/YouTube


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    Fresh off the heels of WNYC’s two-day “Werk It: How to be a Grown-Ass Podcaster” event last week, the nonprofit, New York-based radio stations announced they would be launching a podcast accelerator. They're taking applications.

    That’s right: From now until July 15, when the application closes, WNYC will be accepting pitches for new podcasts. According to the online application, “five finalists will be paired with producers who will mentor and train the candidates, helping them hone their pitches—including storylines, character development, sound, texture, and voice—throughout the summer.”

    After the summer, on Sept. 25, the selected finalists will make the cases for their podcasts in front of a panel of judges at ONA 2015 in Los Angeles. The selected winner earns the chance to produce a pilot episode alongside a WNYC producer, and, if they’re very, very lucky, they could be the next Jad Abumrad or Manoush Zomorodi.

    “We’re excited to find and work with the finalists—who could be established print journalists or undiscovered personalities with no formal training—to help bring something completely new into the world and potentially, the WNYC roster of podcasts,” said Paula Szuchman, senior director of digital content at WNYC.

    Podcasts are one of the fastest-growing and most intriguing media sectors the industry has to offer—according to a report from Edison Research, Americans listen to approximately 21,117,000 hours of podcast audio each and every day. Hit podcasts like SerialComedy Bang! Bang!, and more recently Starlee Kine’s Mystery Show have skyrocketed the medium into rising popularity—the Washington Postreported last fall that in the last five years, the number of unique monthly podcast listeners tripled to 75 million from 25 million.

    So, if given the chance, what would your podcast be about? Personally, we’d like to see a Tom Hardy Feminisms Fanclub podcast come out of WNYC, but your idea’s probably great, too.

    Photo via Patrick Breitenbach/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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    Jason Schwartzman and Adam Scott’s new movie, The Overnight, apparently features their prosthetic penises pretty prominently, so you have that to look forward to this weekend. However, while the attachment of the prosthetics was a somewhat freeing experience for the two men, things took a turn for the awkward when Schwartzman sent photos of his to his wife. 

    Let this be a lesson to always delete. Or at least know how your phone works. 

    Screengrab via Team Coco/YouTube 


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    When we first see her, Nina Simone walks on stage at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1976 and takes a long bow, her dress mirroring the black polish of the piano beside her. She finally looks up at the audience like she’s waking up out of a dream, or maybe stepping into one. She’s expressionless, silent—until she gets behind the piano.  

    What Happened, Miss Simone?—which takes its name from a 1970 Maya Angelou–penned Redbook profile—was directed by Liz Garbus (There’s Something Wrong With Aunt Diane, Girlhood), who does a fair job of exploring this very complex subject. It’s also the first original documentary produced by Netflix, a promising indicator of where the streaming platform might head with the genre.

    After that stellar intro, we’re ushered backward to 1968, and an interview with Simone in which she relates that there are times on stage when she “really felt free.” This is the crux of the film; Simone, born Eunice Waymon in North Carolina, 1933, was always aware of the line between freedom and oppression, and struggled with it every day. In an interview with Simone’s daughter, Lisa Simone Kelly, she relates, “My mother was Nina Simone 24/7, and that’s where it became a problem.”

    We see Simone’s upbringing and classical piano training in the Jim Crow South, where she became fully aware of her skin color. The dramatizations of her early life feel a little out of place in this mostly archival-based film, but thankfully they even out as Simone edges into her early 20s and finds work as a performer in Atlantic City, where she adopts the name Nina Simone. We’re also introduced to Andrew Stroud, an NYPD cop who took on the role of manager and husband and wrapped “himself around me like a snake.” In 1964, Simone released “Mississippi Goddam,” and there the film shifts.

    What Happened, Miss Simone? is being released at a time when many of the themes and messages remain sorrowfully and frustratingly relevant. The film pivots when it reaches 1968, the year Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and racial unrest braced several cities. In one archival photo of people mourning King’s death, a black man is seen holding a sign that says, “You better kill all blacks.”

    Garbus illustrates Simone’s divide between being successful and speaking the truth: “How can you be an artist and not reflect the times?” she says in one interview.

    She’s shown performing Civil Rights anthem “Mississippi Goddam” in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965, and Garbus also illustrates her more radical shift as an activist. Journal entries illustrate a physically abusive relationship with Stroud, and her dissatisfaction with performing becoming a chore. In light of Simone’s struggle with bipolar disorder, which wasn’t diagnosed until later in life, some of the journal entries feel a little too intimate, like they lack context. That context is also missing from a live performance at 1969's Harlem Festival: Simone, now fully radicalized, seethes the line, “Are you ready to kill, if necessary?,” but we aren't told she’s reading a poem by David Nelson of the Last Poets. 

    Simone docs and biographies have been plentiful. Zoe Saldana stars as Simone in unauthorized movie Nina, out later this year, but there was backlash at the choice, and legal issues plagued the film. Here, Simone’s daughter reveals the abuse she endured at the hands of her mother and father, and perhaps because of the emotional breadth of this revelation, she became the film’s executive producer. 

    While the interviews offer some insight and the journal entries show the trouble in mind, the live performances collected here are the highlight. Simone demurely performing “I Loves You, Porgy” on Playboy’s Penthouse to an all-white crowd and the barely contained rage of “Mississippi Goddam” contrast with the on-edge Montreux performance. Throughout the decades, her voice never changes; it contains multitudes. It’s its own history book. And the film is at its best when it lets her speak. 

    Simone’s reappeared in songs from artists like Zebra Katz, Lauryn HillCommon, and Xiu Xiu. John Legendname-checked her in his Oscar speech. In an interview clip from the ’80s, Simone is asked how far the Civil Rights movement has come, and she’s blunt: “There is no reason to sing those songs. Nothing is happening, there’s no civil rights movement. Everyone is gone.” What would Simone think of the activism around Ferguson, Baltimore, and Charleston? One of the last lines from “Mississippi Goddam” still echoes: “You don't have to live next to me/Just give me my equality.”

    In Angelou’s 1970 piece, she pointed to Simone’s power: “She is an extremist, extremely realized.” We don’t necessarily get an answer to the movie’s title, but it’s apparent why we still need Nina today.

    Photo by Peter Rodis/Netflix


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    TBS is shooting for the stars with its latest acquisition: a Funny or Die series called America’s Next Weatherman.

    The late-night series comes from the think tank of Survivor producer Mark Burnett and comedy site Funny or Die, and while it appears to be a parody of reality competition shows like Survivor, it’s actually is a real show to find America’s next top weatherperson. Weatherman gaffes are practically a cottage industry on the Internet these days, so this series sort of makes sense. Sort of. 

    The eight-episode, hourlong series trails 12 contestants vying for their big break, as well as a $100,000 prize and the chance to forecast the weather on CNN’s morning show, New Day. If FoD’s not going to turn Between Two Ferns into a series, I guess this is a decent alternative. 

    America's Next Weatherman is set to debut on Aug. 8.

    H/T Deadline | Photo via TBS 


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    When the historic Supreme Court ruling granting equal marriage rights nationwide came down, YouTubers, who’ve been using the platform to come out and to share their pride for years, had a lot to say online.

    Following the ruling, YouTube’s Spotlight channel published a video celebrating LGBTQ+ YouTubers and videos that celebrate the fight for marriage equality.

    Several of the platform’s, including Hannah Hart,  Tyler Oakley, Connor Franta, Gigi Gorgeous, and Kingsley, were also quick to respond on social media with an outpouring of pride and support for the decision.

    They also shared their pride.

    Overall, emotions were high.

    I CAN GET MARRIED NOW IF I WANT TO WTF

    — Connor Franta (@ConnorFranta) June 26, 2015

    Several YouTubers were also at the Supreme Court for the historic decision. YouTube’s marketing manager for LGBTQ+ creators Raymond Braun attended, along with Aaron and Austin Rhodes, twins who made headlines for coming out to their dad while filming a YouTube video. The trio posted a reaction video at the capitol.

    Screengrab via YouTube Spotlight/YouTube


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    The reactions to today's marriage-equality ruling have run the spectrum from ecstatic to emotional, but Ian McKellen's might be the best. 

    Earlier today, the actor captured his confetti-covered celebration with fellow actor Derek Jacobi, which also featured Queen's "We Are the Champions," Stonewall Inn shirts, and Jacobi's proposal. The two, who also star in the PBS sitcom Vicious, will marshal Sunday's Gay Pride Parade. There will be much to celebrate. 

    Screengrab via PBS 


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    NBC’s Hannibal was always too good to be true—a visually sumptuous, complex, pitch-black crime drama that always seemed to hang on the edge of cancellation with each new season. Sadly, it toppled off the edge of that cliff earlier this week, with NBC announcing that the show’s currently airing third season would be its last. Aside from a truly stellar cast, Hannibal worked in large part because of the guiding hand of showrunner Bryan Fuller, a wildly creative TV veteran who managed to put all the pieces together in a way that often looked like magic, keeping a show going for three years that no one expected to make it past one.

    Fuller already has his next project lined up, helping adaptNeil Gaiman’s brilliant modern fantasy novel American Gods for Starz, a source material that should suit Fuller’s talents immensely. In the meantime, however, we here at the Daily Dot decided it was a perfect time to look back at the marvelously weird career path that brought Fuller to this point. And thanks to the magic of the Internet, you can revisit most of it whenever you like … even the really strange stuff.

    1) Dead Like Me (2003)

    Bryan Fuller got his start in television writing for the Star Trek series Deep Space Nine and Voyager, but the first time he landed on most people’s radar was Dead Like Me. Fuller created the comedy-drama for Showtime, and although he left the show early in the first season after butting heads with the network over creative differences, Dead Like Me still unmistakably carries Fuller’s DNA throughout it. Ellen Muth stars as Georgia “George” Lass, an apathetic college dropout whose (after)life becomes far more complicated after she’s killed by a falling toilet seat jettisoned from the deorbiting Mir space station. That’s a helluva thing to get stamped on your tombstone, but George is more concerned by the fact that she’s now been recruited as a grim reaper, tasked with collecting a quota of souls before she can move on to whatever awaits. That’s right: just like her life, her afterlife involves working a job she hates. And she doesn’t even get paid for it.

    George’s duties as a reaper usually involve setting in motion elaborate, Rube Goldbergian sequences of events that lead some poor, doomed schmuck to their demise. Dead Like Me is essentially a behind-the-scenes version of the Final Destination movies, a franchise that is improved significantly if you imagine Mandy Patinkin is the one dropping plate-glass windows and crosstown buses on all the obnoxious teenagers. Patinkin’s wry, weary Rube, who serves as mentor and father figure to George, is the best part of the entire show. With its pitch-black sense of humor and inventive games of murderous Mouse Trap, Dead Like Me is a very different examination of mortality than Hannibal, but still an enjoyable one.

    Both seasons of Dead Like Me can be streamed from Amazon Prime and Hulu.

    2) Wonderfalls (2004)

    A year after giving us Dead Like Me, Fuller co-created arguably an even better, even more Fuller-y series… but one that was cursed with the ill fortune to air on Fox, the place where amazing shows go to die after airing just long enough to maximize the cruelty of their inevitable cancellation.

    Co-created with Todd Holland, (The Larry Sanders Show) Wonderfalls tells the story of Jaye Tyler (Caroline Dhavernas), a Brown University philosophy grad who is maximizing her degree’s potential by working as a sales clerk at a gift shop in Niagara Falls and living in a trailer. Her commitment to avoiding responsibility for pretty much anything is dealt a serious blow when the gift shop’s trinkets, doodads, and tchotchkes begin talking to her. But not just talking—making requests. Specifically, requests that she help various people in need, in peculiar and confusing ways that the wax lions, pink flamingos, and wind-up penguins rarely explain in a satisfactory fashion. It’s like if Sam from Quantum Leap had to set right what once went wrong, but Al only provided clues in the form of fortune cookie koans.

    Fox aired only four episodes of Wonderfalls’ 13 back in 2004, but it was enough to earn the show a cult following that then fought hard to try and find the show another home after its cancellation. Sadly, there were no takers, but the show has since gone on to air its full run on networks like Logo and Britain’s Sky1, as well as receiving a DVD release in 2005. It’s a shame, because it’s easy to imagine Wonderfalls getting a long, comfortable run somewhere like the CW these days. As it is, it remains just one of the many fascinating footnotes that make up Fuller’s career.

    Aside from Fuller himself, fans will also recognize another Hannibal connection in Wonderfalls: Lead actress Caroline Dhavernas would eventually play Dr. Alana Bloom in Fuller’s TV adaptation of Thomas Harris’ best-selling crime novels. Wonderfalls is available on DVD, but you can also enjoy the entire run on YouTube.

    3) The Amazing Screw-On Head (2006)

    After Wonderfalls dried up, Fuller sold a pilot called The Assistants to NBC, which would have told the story of “a group of assistants who work in the same building in different industries for an Upstairs, Downstairs-esque look at assistants and their bosses.” The show didn’t make it past the script stage, so Fuller moved onto a far, far weirder project: The Amazing Screw-On Head.

    Based on a one-shot graphic novel by Mike Mignola, creator of Hellboy, TheAmazing Screw-On Head is almost impossible to describe in a way that sounds like you aren’t a crazy person. The titular Amazing Screw-On Head is a robot agent who works for President Abraham Lincoln. He gets his name because he can unscrew his head from his body and then attach it to other bodies, such as ones equipped with heavy weaponry. In the animated pilot Fuller wrote and executive produced for the Sci-Fi Channel, Screw-On Head is tasked with stopping his former manservant, the now-undead Emperor Zombie, from unleashing a terrible supernatural evil from a parallel dimension contained inside a turnip.

    The Amazing Screw-On Head pilot continues Fuller’s habit of managing to attract top-notch talent to his projects, featuring a voice cast that includes Paul Giamatti as Screw-On Head, David Hyde Pierce as Emperor Zombie, and Patton Oswalt as SOH’s current manservant, “Mr. Groin.” Sci-Fi aired the 22-minute pilot on the network’s website on July 12, 2006, as a way to gauge interest in the admittedly batshit-bonkers property, but eventually passed on taking it to series. Thankfully, it turned up on DVD in 2007, and you can watch it in full via the YouTube embed above.

    4) Mockingbird Lane (2012)

    Fuller had a bit more luck in the years after The Amazing Screw-On Head. He worked on the first season of NBC’s Heroes, then went on to create Pushing Daisies, the delightful ABC comedy about a piemaker who could resurrect the dead with a touch. That show ran for two seasons before ending in 2009, after which Fuller signed a seven-figure development deal with Universal. The next Fuller offering was typically surreal and unexpected. Mockingbird Lane is a reimagining of the classic sitcom The Munsters, written by Fuller and directed by another well-known Bryan, that guy who is currently busy repairing Fox’s X-Men franchise (Bryan Singer). But while The Munsters was wholesome and bloodless to a fault, Mockingbird Lane has a delightfully dark sense of humor, most notably in the form of Eddie Izzard’s “Grandpa,” an unapologetic vampire who has no qualms whatsoever about plotting to exsanguinate Eddie’s scoutmaster or hypnotizing a neighbor into working himself to death repainting the Munster household.

    Jerry O’Connell stars as the big-hearted Herman, a patched-together bloke who can nonetheless pass for human (although he is introduced with an excellent “flat head and bolts” visual joke) and who just wants his family to be happy and normal(ish). Portia de Rossi is his stunning and elegant wife Lily, also a vampire like Grandpa, but one who’s trying to help the family maintain a lower profile. Charity Wakefield is Marilyn, the black sheep of the family whose mother once planned to eat her until Grandpa talked her out of it. And Mason Cook is young Eddie, a budding vegetarian struggling with the fact that he occasionally turns into a werewolf.

    The Mockingbird Lane pilot is, like many of Fuller’s projects, an odd duck conglomeration that is unique, visually spectacular, and delightfully unlike 99 percent of what makes it to the airwaves—and that’s saying something, since it’s a remake. Sadly, NBC wasn’t quite sure what to do with it, finally airing it as a standalone Halloween special in 2012. Thankfully, YouTube preserves that which otherwise might be lost, and you can watch the whole thing above. It’s funny, dark, mischievous, and will almost certainly make you wish it had gone to series.


    The loss of Hannibal is going to sting for a long time, but the knowledge that Fuller is moving on to head Starz’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s excellent American Gods definitely takes away some of the pain.

    And if it’s the Hannibal cast that you’ll be missing most, don’t worry, you can still find plenty of them online. We recommend checking out Hugh Dancy Emmy-nominated work in HBO’s excellent Elizabeth I miniseries on Amazon Prime, Mads Mikkelsen in the epically violent Viking flick Valhalla Rising, and watching Gillian Anderson kill it as a cop on the trail of a serial killer in The Fall on Netflix Instant.

    Screengrab via Michael Grubb/YouTube


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