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- 09/19/15--12:50: _Sorry, Spotify: Pre...
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- 09/20/15--06:00: _Mac Miller hits the...
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- 09/22/15--10:44: _The 15 best moments...
- 09/22/15--12:01: _'Dear Fat People' c...
- 09/18/15--14:31: Spotify says this is America's favorite tailgating song
- 09/20/15--06:00: 7 webseries you need to watch now
- 09/20/15--06:00: Mac Miller hits the reset button with 'GO:OD AM'
- 09/20/15--20:45: Streaming titans Amazon and Netflix win big at 2015 Emmys
- 09/21/15--08:31: Meet the Chinese Justin Bieber
- 09/21/15--11:18: 'Black Mirror' creator insists he didn't predict #piggate
- 09/21/15--11:50: Patti LaBelle tells a stripping fan 'I am not Nicki Minaj'
- 09/21/15--12:30: Breaking down Ryan Adams' cover album of Taylor Swift's '1989'
- 09/21/15--13:17: Facebook and Vine face off in a fight for the views
- 09/22/15--07:00: Someone please help this man meet Richard Dreyfuss
- 09/22/15--09:35: Highlights of HBO Now's upcoming slate
- 09/22/15--10:44: The 15 best moments from the original 'Muppet Show'
To Netflix and chill or not to Netflix and chill? That is the question. Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous memes or take arms against a sea of euphemisms for sex.
So, yeah. Netflix and chill just means sex. From its beginnings on Black Twitter, the phrase originated as a sly take on the offer to come over so we can watch “Netflix and chill,” when what was actually intended was getting down. As the meme moved across the Internet, it gradually lost its moorings and simply became another term for doing the nasty. Much like, well, “doing the nasty.”
Evidence: Earlier this week, streaming music service Spotify published a playlist entitled “Netflix & Chill.” After the company noticed thousands of its users were creating their own “Netflix & Chill” playlists, it aggregated the 20 most popular songs from all of those lists to create the “Netflix & Chill” playlist of record.Here's the thing. This playlist reveals something profoundly important about us as a society: We have literally no idea what we're doing when it comes to romance.
Firstly, if you're going to Netflix and chill, why would you even need to play Spotify in the background? The soundtrack to Netflix and chilling is the dulcet tones of a documentary about high-end restaurants and the soft, desperate weeping of BoJack Horseman.
Secondly, many of the songs on the list indicate a fundamental misunderstanding of what Netflix and chill actually means. It doesn't just imply any type of fooling around. Rather, it's a very particular type of fooling around—the type of fooling around that starts by silently sitting on the couch, moves to some light necking, and is then followed by ellipses.
The first song on the playlist, Ginuwine's “Pony,” is not a song that fits this mood. “Pony” is a club banger, as is Ellie Goulding's “Love Me Like You Do" and R. Kelly's “Ignition (Remix).”
The list has four songs by Canadian R&B star the Weeknd. These tracks technically work, but if the Weekend invites you to Netflix and chill, don't take him up on the offer. Seriously, run the other way. Listen to the lyrics of any Weeknd song. Dude is creepy.
The moral of this story is that we should be ashamed of ourselves. Collectively, we are garbage people when it comes to making Netflix and chill playlists. President Barack Obama, on the other hand, is really, really good at it.
Last month, Obama put together a pair of summer playlists because maybe being a lame duck president is actually kind of boring. The playlists are divided into “day” and “night.” The day playlist is perfect for summer BBQs. The night playlist, on the other hand, is perfect for getting down. Not just getting down, but getting down in a way that is thoroughly “and chill.”Obama's playlist has Nina Simone, Frank Ocean, D'Angelo, John Coltrane, and Leonard Cohen. All of the songs have Netflix to spare. It is infinitely better than our crowdsourced collective wisdom of the Spotify and chill generation.
We should all take notes.
Illustration by Max Fleishman
An average of 17 million Americans tune in for the NFL's most floundering, Jacksonville-at-Tampa-Bay telecasts. It's a cultural obsession surpassed in ritualistic pomp and circumstance only by its unhinged younger sibling, college football.
On the weekend, that means an awful lot of Walmart beer.
This is a tailgating nation. It doesn't matter if you deep-fry Coca-Cola at the Texas State Fair, complain about all the Mexicans in Philadelphia, or (and this is disgusting) grill salmon with asparagus and then pair it with a cooler-climate Zin in the Pacific Northwest—the process is the same. A few hours before kickoff, you eat and drink near the stadium.
But until Spotify ran the numbers, the soundtrack of choice for parking lot enthusiasts has been a dense wall of question marks. This week, the streaming music giant combed more than 4,000 tailgating-specific playlists to determine America's favorite outdoor grillin' anthem.
That'd be the Zac Brown Band's "Chicken Fried." And while country music swept this particular Spotify top 20, nothing else can challenge for No. 1.The 2008 single from Brown's breakout major label debut, The Foundation, is all red meat. It's two Americas personified. It's a sweet-tea sip about the good quiet life on the porch: "Cold beer on a Friday night, a pair of jeans that fit just right, and the radio on."
There's a seething heteronormative message: This is a life you achieve by finding "love in my woman's eyes" and then having children. Its populist tone lands like Captain Sully; it's not "where you live, what you drive, or the price tag on your clothes."
From a practical tailgating standpoint, it's a song that works not so much when you're headed there or setting up camp, but hits simultaneously with the heartburn: You've had scoops of potato salad and a big ol' sandwich, enough Coors Lites to get wistful—"Chicken Fried" tells you this is a life fully realized. This ain't too bad, and the consequences of this entertainment—a game we know is sweepingly prone to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, setting your emotional clock by the wins and losses of the Dallas Cowboys, the ensuing hangover—are miles away.
On its fire-burning third verse, Brown tells you to be thankful for the American military, the stars and stripes. Like the obligatory national anthem before the game, the only entry fee to this state of mind is remembering to be outwardly patriotic.
It's a notion that liberal Americans balk at—often finding ways to ruin the party barge state of mind with nagging about U.S. drone strikes killing civilians. And lest you think I'm falling victim to an overt confirmation bias, keep in mind that Brown once rocked for Mitt at the 2012 Republican National Convention.
The good news is that Brown is mostly an expressionist bro with a guitar who probably doesn't like coming out on top of this Spotify research. Two years ago, he told a Canadian country station as much: "If I hear one more tailgate in the moonlight, Daisy Dukes song, I wanna throw up. There’s songs out right now on the radio that make me... ashamed to be even in the same format as some of those artists."
To balance out the data, Spotify solicited a playlist from highly touted NFL rookie La'el Collins. Like Brown, he's also from the Bible Belt and comes to the Dallas Cowboys by way of Louisiana State University. His tailgating mix is entirely emblematic of his American experience.
Unlike the sun-soaked romanticism of getting drunk in a parking lot alongside students that make racist jokes—a lifestyle fueled by sentimental country—Collins's playlist is war. Block-attacking, marching band, end-of-days rap compositions from producer Lex Luger; bottle service from R. Kelly where you show up to the club in your sneakers as an act of defiance; flexing; money; cocaine; marijuana; outer-space trunk rattling from martians Future and Lil Wayne.
From Brown's bearded country to the locker-room trap jams preferred by the players, Spotify's deep dive into how its users process America's most compulsive hobby this side of guns maps out the user experience with telling insight.
Photo via slgckgc/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
This may be the age of peak TV, but that term excludes scads of funny, interesting, relevant programming that you can’t access with a remote and cable connection. As any cord cutter can tell you, there’s a revolution happening in the webseries genre that could give those premium networks a run for their money any day of the week.
Here’s just a handful of some of the best webseries today.
1) The Conversation with Amanda de Cadenet
Once a short-lived television show airing on Lifetime, The Conversation is now a webseries juggernaut, residing at the top of a lot of “best-of” lists.
The show bills itself as a “totally alternative interview series with women who have a story or experience to share,” but that doesn’t really do it justice. It features all sorts of female celebrities candidly and frankly answering questions about everything from advice to their 14-year-old selves to their worst vices.
It has an off-the-cuff vibe that makes it seem like we’ve caught these two women in the middle of a conversation, possibly in the bathroom of a party of a mutual friend. It’s nothing to hear the ladies laughing about their kids, crying about their struggles, or commiserating about their husbands.
Here’s de Cadenet with actress Busy Philipps discussing “the last frontier of feminism”: a woman’s weight.
2) The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl
This series, in the vein of Broad City or Girls, takes on millennial culture, but unlike those other shows, it has a much broader appeal. Populated by characters that haven’t been editorialized by Hollywood standards, it’s funny, cool, and effortlessly performs as edgy satire.
Written, produced, and directed by Issa Rae, the series follows “J” as she navigates work, love, and friendships as a 20-something black woman. The production quality isn’t as high as some of the other series, but that lends it a personality that sometimes gets lost in the glossier productions.
In this episode, J starts to consider taking her relationship with her boyfriend, White Jay, to the next level.
3) My Drunk Kitchen
Hannah Hart isn’t really a chef, and this webseries isn’t as much about making food as it’s about making fun of making food. Pretty and effervescent, Hart offers as much light-hearted life advice and silly commentary as she does recipe knowledge, and the series is all the better for it.
My Drunk Kitchen started as a pen pal project to keep in touch with a friend on an opposite coast and soon went viral from there. Hart takes on dorm food like saltine nachos but doesn’t shy away from the hard stuff either, like eggplant parmesan or sweet potato mousse.
Swilling booze and talking directly to the camera, Hart charms the pants off viewers and they never even realize they just got terrible cooking advice. She’s even translated that charm into an actual cookbook, My Drunk Kitchen: A Guide to Eating, Drinking, and Going With Your Gut.
In this episode, Hart works on the second of three episodes she shot in one day, and you can see her buzz turn into full on tipsy as she tries her hand at baked brie.
4) F to the 7th
Oh, the angst. Oh, the ennui. Oh, the judgment. Ingrid Jungermann plays a grumpier version of herself in this acclaimed webseries. The show’s Ingrid is a middle-aged lesbian who is also a giant curmudgeon, bemoaning everything from current PDA trends to modern medicine.
The series has received tremendous critical love, and its second season aired in May with funding from the prestigious Spike Lee Production Award. The humor is wicked and biting but just self-deprecating enough to keep it endearing.
If Larry David were a 40-something lesbian contemplating his place in the world, this would be his show. Season 2 had all sorts of fun guest stars, including Janeane Garofalo in this episode, playing a haughty doctor trying to accommodate Ingrid’s weird and awkward medical requests.
5) Sound Advice
On Sound Advice, Bayer plays media coach Janessa Slater, who invites musicians to the show so that she can fix what’s wrong with their lives and careers. She asks the tough questions—like when she asked Nick Jonas, “Is your first name short for ‘Nickelodeon?’” What’s even better is that the artists play along… mostly.
What’s so clever about this show is that you can never really tell how much the guest is in on the joke. The wilder Janessa gets with her “sound advice,” the more put out some of the guests seem, and that’s when it gets really good.
Nick Jonas is a good sport, especially as she suggests that all his songs be one word long.
6) Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
Even folks who wouldn’t know a webseries if it bit them on the ankle have heard about this show, mostly because it stars Jerry Seinfeld.
Seinfeld invites his comedian friends out for coffee and the pair ride in his ridiculously comprehensive collection of classic cars. Jerry and friends chat about myriad topics, and it usually devolves into one or both of them laughing in hysterics.
Of course it’s funny, but it also feels very behind-the-scenes, like we’re eavesdropping on Seinfeld and his buds as they shoot the breeze backstage. The episode with Julia Louis-Dreyfus feels particularly voyeuristic, and the Internet exploded about her appearance on his show, calling it “the Seinfeld reunion” you’ve been waiting for.
It’s funny in about a hundred different ways, but the cars are so tiny and expensive that real entertainment starts when the guests try to get in and out of them. Take a look at a supercut of the “in and out,” and try not to laugh at the silliness.
7) Making a Scene With James Franco
Season 1 mostly took on movies, and one of the best episodes of the season was “Dirty Dogs,” in which Franco and troupe mashup the ear-cutting scene from Reservoir Dogs and the “nobody puts Baby in a corner” scene from Dirty Dancing.
It’s silly and weird, but delivered through the James Franco filter, it’s hard to resist.
Evolving to reflect the uptick in quality television, Making a Scene now produces crossovers of the most infamous shows in popular culture. The Breaking Bad/Sex and the City combo “Breaking Sex” is particularly affecting.Screengrab via MyHarto/YouTube
These days, when a 16-year-old wants to start rapping, they put their music online for everyone to see. This can invoke both violent criticism or massive praise right off the bat. If you’re lucky, no one will hear it.
For Mac Miller, the middle-class weed and skateboard enthusiast, a whole lot of people heard the teenage raps he’s since distanced himself from.
Miller’s breakout came with 2010 mixtape K.I.D.S., made when he was still in high school, right after he signed with fellow Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa’s independent label Rostrum Records. Miller connected with the college audience that was embracing Khalifa, even selling more albums than he did independently before he went major. Similarly, Miller just inked a deal with major label Warner Bros. for his newest album, GO:OD AM.
This is Miller’s third studio album and shows the continued maturation of the now 23-year-old rapper. His first album sold well—it was the first independent album to debut at No. 1 on Billboard charts since Tha Dogg Pound’s Dogg Food in 1995—but critically, it wasn't well-received. His second album found Miller experimenting with his sound, breaking away from the frat rap he openly courted earlier in his career. He often disguised his voice by artificially deepening it, as well as producing a chunk of the album himself, trying out different beats. On GO:OD AM, Miller doesn’t produce any of the tracks nor does he change his voice. In fact, he actually sings.
Miller has made producing more than just a hobby for himself, but he’s still better at picking out beats than creating them from scratch. GO:OD AM is almost inarguably Miller’s best-sounding album and by far his most musical. Sounwave, the Los Angeles-based producer who had a hand in the nouveau West Coast sound of Kendrick Lamar, contributes the jazzy instrumental for the downtempo Ab-Soul collab “Two Matches.” Sha Money XL, the former G-Unit producer and New York native, does the next song. That covers both cities Miller has moved to since he found success. He’s looking to leave behind some of the vices that his time on the West Coast provided him, and his East Coast roots color the whole album.As a teenager, Miller sampled New York legends Nas and Lord Infamous. Back then, his voice was thin and too puerile to worry about complex internal rhyme schemes. On GO:OD AM, the cigarettes and weed smoke have added proper bass to his vocals, and at some point between his early fame and now, he consciously started upping his writing game. It might’ve been the poor reviews, the commingling with more advanced rappers like Earl Sweatshirt, or it could just be a result of growing up. In any case, there’s more than a few lyrical miracles, and even on tracks where there aren’t, Miller shows he can carry a song with just his personality, like on the spaced-out “Clubhouse.”
Not every form that this newfound confidence takes is a progression. A couple of times, he tries to dabble in a version of Atlanta-type turn-up music that fits him like a thrift store tuxedo. Miller sings on the record, like on the song “ROS,” where he’s on some straight-up lounge singing. It’s not as bad as it sounds: The “My Boo” echoes that appeared in Ciara’s “Body Party” a couple years ago bring enough dulcet tones, but it is a bit of an anomaly in the tracklisting. It’s the one love song of the 17 tracks.
His notions of romance are all over the place. He raps about a girl leaving him, begs her to start a family, and calls her pussy a “palace.” And that’s just on “ROS.” Elsewhere, he mostly refers to women as crazy and untrustworthy bitches, even as he’s been in a strong relationship with one for the past seven years.
It’s here that much of his leftover immaturity comes out. Miller has also spoken lately more about being a white dude in an industry dominated by black people, but shows he still has a way to go on that front. On the chorus of “In the Bag,” he unironically raps, “This the kind of music that make white people mad,” and on “Break the Law,” he encourages listeners to do just that with no acknowledgement of how said law might treat the black rapper providing ad-libs (Three 6 Mafia’s Juicy J) differently than him.
That’s all small potatoes, though, especially when the bar's been set pretty low for white rappers. This is an album that displays a lot of growth and not just potential for such, like his past couple projects. Miller is exposing his voice and embracing his position in life. It’s obvious that he did not just want to be off in his own lane as the independent white rapper, regardless of whether he could make that more or less popular than Macklemore.A rapper can have both the marketability to appear on Ariana Grande’s three-times-platinum single “The Way,” while also eschewing hits in his solo music so much that no song he’s released since 2012 has even cracked the Billboard Hot 100. He can bring all of his idiosyncrasies together, like when his “Bad Boys for Life” interpolation seamlessly transitions to a short poetic intro from Internet iconoclast Lil B. Chief Keef goes right along with Miguel.
Mac Miller still has a lot more growing up to do, but he’s finally at a place where he seems comfortable with his commercial and critical success. Luckily, he’s got a lot of both right now.
Screengrab via TreeJTV/YouTube
Sam Chown and Geoff Earle aren't new to the music business—they were in bands throughout the 2000s. But they were finding it hard to get any attention from record labels.
That changed when they started Grand Theft Zamboni, and began addressing their respective new albums—Shmu's Shhh for Chown, and the Stiletto Feels' The Big Fist for Earle—as music made by other artists.
Labels began listening to the albums more, now that it wasn't (obviously) being pushed by the artists who had created them, but it wasn't long before the wrong people heard about the label. Zamboni, the trademarked company behind the machines that resurface ice rinks, wasn't happy about its name being used, and wrote Grand Theft Zamboni an email.
They responded with a very dry, lighthearted wit, which prompted another email. And then another. Soon, the exchanges went viral.
"I don’t know if you thought this from reading it, but I feel like the woman from Zamboni thought it was funny," Earle told the Daily Dot. "But I can’t tell, ya know? I always thought she was just going along with it, but she may have been secretly pissed the whole time."
We talked to Chown and Earle about the label's beginnings as a shell name to give their albums a credit boost while shopping them around, and its transition into a fully functional label—now officially going by GTZ Records, after a final email from Zamboni seemed to close the matter—that had a SXSW launch party with sets from Black Milk and Deerhoof.
From a front to a reality, they're releasing their first albums in a month.
"The thing about that is that neither me or Geoff expected the Zamboni people to come after us," Chown said. "I was actually warned by my lawyer from the get-go that Rockstar video games were more likely to go after us, because of 'Grand Theft,' even though they don’t have a trademark on the term 'grand theft.' They’re still a much more popular and common and well-known product that people recognize. So that was the biggest surprise for me.
And then you get the ice machine company to come after you instead.
Earle: Yeah, man, like we didn’t even know that that was a brand that had a trademark. Because it’s like Xerox or Kleenex, apparently. I call it the Zamboni because it’s just the name of a machine that a guy named Zamboni invented, which is true, but since there are no other machines, that’s a protected brand.
Anyway, it was weird. We made the label name and had a launch party during South by, so we’re brand new—we haven’t put out a single record yet, but we will. In a month, our first album comes out. But we hadn’t even gotten started… like, the day before the launch party, we got the cease and desist, er, the original email from them. Which was kind of shitty, but I don’t know… at least it was an opportunity to kinda troll somebody, or at least see if we could get a rise out of them.
Did you have to change anything before the launch party, or could you kinda bide time by trolling them a little bit, to where you could just change things afterwards?
Earle: Yeah, I guess that’s probably the other point: We did just start, like, the back-and-forth so that we could figure out what to do while we were in the interim. It was kinda like, “Well, what can we tell them to cause them to….” You know what I mean? The email exchange itself took a couple of months, so we did bide some time. But we did end up changing the name because, um, I dunno… they were gonna sue. It was pretty obvious.
So it’s just GTZ Records at this point?
Chown: At this point, yeah.
And how did the launch party go? Was that the party that Deerhoof played at? I’m starting to get kind of old, so that was the band that stuck out to me. Like, “I know people that have shirts of them!”
Chown: They’re one of my favorite live bands, so it was a dream for me to be able to book one of my favorite live bands on Earth. Also, Black Milk played, and I didn’t know this until I booked them, but they’re apparently really popular. Even more so than Deerhoof. More normal people like Black Milk—Deerhoof is, like, a niche band. Because Black Milk has, like, electronic and hip-hop crossover, so you have kids that like beat music, and, ya know, EDM, but then also kids that like hip-hop. I mean, I guess Deerhoof is like rock music, but I guess it’s more an acquired taste, because of her voice—a lot of people don’t like the cutesy voice.
The beautiful thing about South by is that everyones’s rates are down—they’re cheaper than normal season rates. So you can get a band like Deerhoof or Black Milk for a tenth or a twentieth of the price that they normally play for. If you were to book a party, and get one of those bands to play, let’s say, now, it would be a lot more expensive. So that’s kind of the beautiful thing about South by: It’s a great time to do a launch party for your record label, or whatever it is, because every single band in the universe is in the same exact place, and they want to do the same thing that somebody like me wants to do—which is play as much as possible, or just get the most of it, out of the experience.
Earle: It’s a shame about the name, because I remember now that the drummer of Deerhoof, the day before our party, put on his Twitter, like, a Photoshopped image of him stealing a Zamboni. Which, I love that, because that’s exactly the picture that I had in my mind. The thing that was funny to me was, “Why don’t I call this Grand Theft Zamboni Records,” and the image I had in my mind was a cop chasing a hick with a pitchfork, getting away on a Zamboni. So I’m happy that Greg Saunier was also on the same wavelength.
What background do you guys come from, coming into starting the label? What was your inspiration, and what made you think, “Oh, we can start our own label?” when you realized you had everything you needed?
Chown: We’re both musicians first, we both have bands that we’re in. I’m in a band called Zorch, and then I also have a project called Shmu, and Geoff has a band called Stiletto Feels that he just started, but Geoff is also in a band called Fresh Millions. For me, I came from a place where I finished a record, I [shopped it around], and I got crickets. I decided to rerecord a lot of it, with a full live band (I generally record everything, and play all the instruments), so after I did that, I realized it was a lot better. I actually did get a couple of record labels that were like, “This is really good… maybe." But in all those incidences, “maybe” ended up really being a “no.”
So I figured, OK, why don’t I just start my own record label? We can build our own distribution, get a team of publicists through research, just by emailing people and through [our past contacts], and then throw events and build an email list through events, and just do it like that. If somebody else isn’t going to do it for you… I guess I was tired of being in a position where I was like, “Hey, I’m an artist. Do stuff for me.” I’d rather just do it for myself, is really what it comes down to.Earle: I feel like the reason that Sam and I, it was really Sam’s idea initially, to do it, and the reason I probably fit in well to that thing is that, well, we’ve both had bands that achieved, like, minimal success. Mine was: If you didn’t live in Austin, in a certain area, you wouldn’t know about my band. [There is] a sort of success that tends to fizzle very easily. I think the frustration of having people not even listen to your music was kinda the deal with wanting to put something together. The other frustration being that, like… it seems like most record labels have a plan to sign, I dunno, 20 people a year, and six of those people will pay off. I guess the mission statement for us is to not sign anyone that we think is not going to pay off. We don’t want to take on projects that we feel are a waste of time.
The entire plan, and I don’t know if this is bad to tell you—but whatever, we pretty much already hinted at it—was to get people to listen to our music by pretending we weren’t ourselves, basically. We sent out our songs to record labels and nobody cared. So we started, ostensibly, a record label which had no assets, no content, nothing, and then sent our same albums to people under the guise of “I’m from a record label, and I found this musician, and this musician’s really good. You should listen to his music.” And we got so many more responses. Which was disheartening, really. It was like, “Oh, no one cares.” People only care if you care about someone else—not if it’s your own music.
So we’ve essentially…tricked ourselves into having a really good publicist, and a radio promoter, and we’re having a distribution chain and everything. It’s almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy: We have lied our way into existence. So I guess that’s probably why we had kind of a whimsical response to a threat of legal action. It was like, “Ah, well, the whole thing is like a construct, mentally speaking.” I shouldn’t be saying that, because in a month the thing ceases to be a construct. I mean, we’re getting the vinyls back soon, and we’re sending them out, so we’re actually now a record label. But if you had asked me in March if we were a real record label? No. Not then.
Chown: It’s not like we lied about who we were at any point. For example, if I emailed, let’s say, a booking agent, I never said, “I’m representing this other person,” I just never mentioned that I’m the same person that’s in the band as the person who’s running the record label. I don’t even say “represent.” It’s more like, “I run a record label, and I’m putting out these two records." So it’s up to them to figure out, “Oh, that’s just the same guy who’s in the band.” I’m not lying about anything, really, I’m just telling the truth, which is, “I’m running a record label, and here are two releases I’m putting out.” That’s a fact. Sure, I’m not saying, “Oh, I happen to be in this band, too,” because that would blow the whole thing. As soon as people are, like, “Oh, you’re in that band? Ah, then I don’t care.” Which is kinda what Geoff was alluding to before.
Earle: I think it has to do with this weird self-recording fallacy, where everyone thinks their shit’s awesome, and so [record labels] are so used to people thinking that their shit’s awesome that it’s almost like the minute that you’re like, “This is my own thing,” they’re like, “Oh, nevermind.”
Are you guys looking at any artists to sign in the future? And what kind of artists would you go after?
Chown: It seems like a lot of the artists that I like are not very commercially viable, so it’s kind of a weird thing where it’s like, “Man, I really like this band, no one’s ever heard of them in Austin, because usually bands that are really good at music are shitty at promoting it.” Obviously that’s not the case every time, but in a lot of the cases it is, and especially with creative types. So there’s a lot of bands in Austin that I really like that no one has heard of, but I feel like there’s a chance that, if I invest in them, we could lose all this money, which is a really tough thing, and it sucks that the whole industry is set up to disincentivize people who are not good at promoting themselves. Because that’s the position that artists are put in now. There’s no money to have managers and tour managers and all that shit.
Earle: Overall, the idea is to slowly trick the populace into listening to music that they wouldn’t normally listen to. There’s a lot of bands that are really great at promoting, that I just kinda feel like are safe, or boring, or just do things normal. And I think it’s a matter of releasing enough records that are progressively more and more daring or interesting or weird, until we have a big enough name to where, if we put someone on who isn’t popular, they can become popular or gain footing. That’s at least the ideal. The ideal is not to make lots of money. I think that’d be a terrible reason to go into the music business. The ideal is to eventually be able to break people who we feel like aren’t going to get any attention otherwise. Hopefully our records go over well, and we can start putting people on who would otherwise flounder.
Chown: And fast-track them through a lot of the bullshit. A good example would be somebody saying, “Hey, I don’t know anybody, I have no connections, but my music’s really good.” And then we can say, “OK, here’s a publicist. You don’t even have to email, like, hundreds of people to get to that point.” We can just hook it up, because we’ve done that work.
Photo via kadluba/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0) | Remix by Fernando Alfonso III
Netflix and Amazon both marked their territory at the 67th Annual Emmy Awards Sunday, with the streaming titans bringing home five combined, high-profile statues.
It was a banner year for Web-based prestige TV, with 46 nominations between them for shows like Transparent, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, House of Cards, and Orange Is the New Black. Netflix's 34 nominations led the pack, and Amazon garnered the remaining 12.
In the end, the richly diverse worlds forged by Amazon's Transparent and Netflix's Orange Is the New Black planted the largest flags on the night. Oustanding directing in a comedy series, outstanding guest actor in a comedy series, and outstanding lead actor in a comedy series all went to Transparent—with star Jeffrey Tambor and creator Jill Soloway using their acceptance speeches to stump for trans rights.
"We don’t have a trans tipping point," Soloway said, "we have a trans civil rights problem."
Outstanding supporting actress in a drama series went to Orange Is the New Black's Uzo Aduba. She won her second Emmy in a row for her role as inmate Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren.
The final stream-centric statue went to House of Cards's Reg E. Cathey, who won outstanding guest actor in a drama series.
Transparent, which made history at the Golden Globes by winning best TV series, a first for Amazon, was up for the Emmy on Sunday, facing off against Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. HBO's Veep would take home the hardware, however.
Netflix's Lily Tomlin was up for best actress in a comedy series for Grace and Frankie. (Julia Louis-Dreyfus would win for Veep).
In the supporting categories, Tituss Burgess was nominated for his role on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, (Tony Hale would set the tone for Veep's dominating night with an early win), while Jane Krakowski and Gaby Hoffman were both nominated for supporting actress representing Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Transparent, respectively. (Allison Janney from CBS's Mom would claim this category.)
In the drama category, Netflix faced off against itself for outstanding series, with Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards both nominated. Both would yield the award to cultural force Game of Thrones.
Prior to Sunday's event, Transparent, House of Cards, and Virunga took home awards at the Creative Arts Emmys. Transparent won the awards for outstanding main title theme music and outstanding costumes for a contemporary series, while actor Bradley Whitford won for his guest actor appearance in the series.
House of Cards won outstanding music composition for a series and Virunga won outstanding cinematography for nonfiction programming.
Screengrab via Amazon Studios/YouTube
Late last week via YouTube the Chinese sensation released his first music video, "That Good Good," since leaving K-pop boy band EXO in October. And loyalists are in a flurry discussing just how “good good” it is.On trial: The quality and sonic choices of the long-awaited track. A lot of the top comments found on allkpop’s coverage of the song are quick to compare “That Good Good” to the American pop sound, and even go so far to label Luhan as a Chinese version of Justin Bieber—an understandable disappointment for many Asian music fans.
On the one hand, Luhan’s half-Chinese, half-English hip-hop track is catchy and strong, with a repetitive, but energetic chorus. The swagger beat, mottled with some electronic flourishes, fits well with the random street dancing taking place in its video. On the other hand though, almost every Luhan fan was not expecting to see the singer on a hip-hop platform. And just as some fans can’t erase the cute, schoolboy image Luhan was notorious for as a member of EXO, many of them felt shocked by the suggestive nature of Luhan’s new track.
Since it’s not clear to fans what Luhan means when he says he’s “got that good good,” many turned to Urban Dictionary for a possible explanation. However, it’s only dirty if you make it dirty. For all we know, it could just be Luhan’s affinity for repeating English words, like how he captions a lot of his Instagram posts with "Yo Yo Yo~."
Despite all that, after almost an entire year of legally battling Luhan’s original host company, SM Entertainment, for contract termination, Lu fans still stand under the same umbrella of support. They're simply happy to see him doing well and increasing in profile.
In October, five months after the exit of leader, Kris, Luhan officially became the second member to leave. (And he wouldn’t be the last, with member Tao following their footsteps this summer.)
EXO debuted in April 2012 with 12 members, but are now down to nine after the departure of three of the four Chinese members, Luhan, Kris, and Tao. The fourth Chinese member, Lay, still remains in the group. EXO quickly rose to fame after the release of their single, “Growl,” in 2013, becoming the first K-pop group since the ‘90s to sell more than a million copies of their album. Within the span of a year, however, Luhan, Kris, and Tao filed for contract termination with SM Entertainment, on the grounds of unfair treatment and pay.
As Kris was the first to leave, he received the brunt of the fan scorn. But with all his successes, it blew over after a few months. The guy’s made appearances with high-profile fashion designers in Paris, graced the cover of Vogue China with Kendall Jenner, and earned himself a wax figure at Madame Tussaud’s in Shanghai. He’s definitely good.
Hate waves have died down for the time being, but Tao’s the one shouldering most of the scorn now as the most recent member to leave. And because Tao’s leave arguably created the biggest divide in the fandom. Many fans not only considered his solo debut uncalled for, but they also interpreted it as a diss track toward EXO. There’s a cryptic line in the song: “The time I have wasted, the life that can’t be brought back, the memories of the past, I don’t want to think about it anymore.”
Tumblr user damnit-exo called him out on it saying, “Where would you be without Exo and SM again? No one would know or care what a damn T.A.O was if not for EXO/SM. Show some gratitude”
Unlike the other two, the general temperature of the fandom with news of Luhan’s departure was nowhere near as high. He’s managed to escape culpability in fan's eyes for leaving, though it's unclear why. As such Tao's fans are on high alert, defending their favorite exiled EXO member.
Tumblr user and Tao fan, guccizitao (who defended Tao), argues that fans can still support Tao without liking him. She’s actively spoken out against the hate Tao’s received, noting that “a lot of people are not incapable but are just unwilling to support both tao and exo.”
Regardless, fans will be fans, and they won’t stop any of the three from evolving past the platinum success hanging over their careers. No matter what’s got Tumblr crazy—from diss tracks to Kris’s experimental hairstyles—Tao, Kris, and especially Luhan have built such a strong fanbase from their EXO days that they’ll continue to crush it across China and their international travels.
Screengrab via 海蝶音樂/YouTube
Adrienne Keene first pointed out the problems with the summary for Pocahontas on Twitter earlier this month after she discovered the movie was on Netflix.
Under the movie, the description read, “An American Indian woman is supposed to marry the village’s best warrior, but she yearns for something more -- and soon meets Capt. John Smith.”Keene took issue with the synopsis and highlighted how it only reinforced the problematic sexualization of Native American women in narratives. She elaborated further on her Native issues site Native Appropriations, which is a “forum for discussing representations of Native peoples, including stereotypes, cultural appropriation, news, activism, and more.” To prove her point, she examined the Netflix synopses for four other Disney movies—The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Emperor’s New Groove, Tarzan, and Hercules—compared to Pocahontas’s. Most of those films have white male protagonists and romantic plots, but they’re focused more on the adventures and conflicts than the hero falling in love.
Despite all of the film’s historical inaccuracies and her personal thoughts on Pocahontas, Keene doubled down on how problematic and terrible the description itself was.
“I also want to make explicit the colonial white supremacy embedded in this description as well–of course Pocahontas wouldn’t be content with her backwards Native ways with her Native man…she yearns for something more,” she wrote. “SPOILER ALERT: It’s a white dude. Of course. It’s perpetuating the idea that white colonizers are better, more than, and the solution to Native savagery.”
Although it appeared that the description had changed just as Keene posted her blog, it was only a shorter version of what she had seen. But about a week later she received an email from Netflix, alerting her that the synopsis had been changed.
“We do our best to accurately portray the plot and tone of the content we’re presenting, and in this case you were right to point out that we could do better,” the email read. “The synopsis has been updated to better reflect Pocahontas’ active role and to remove the suggestion that John Smith was her ultimate goal.”The description now states, “A young American Indian girl tries to follow her heart and protect her tribe when settlers arrive and threaten the land she loves.”
“Look at that,” Keene wrote. “From an angry tweet to an actual change in the description. Sometimes I’m still amazed by the power of the internet.”
H/T The Guardian | Screengrab via Netflix
Last night, Viola Davis won an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama for How to Get Away With Murder, making her the first black woman to ever win that category. Her acceptance speech was the highlight of the night.
And General Hospital star Nancy Lee Grahn had something to say about it.
In her speech, Davis said, in part:
"In my mind, I see a line. And over that line, I see green fields and lovely flowers and beautiful white women with their arms stretched out to me over that line. But I can’t seem to get there no how. I can’t seem to get over that line."
That was Harriet Tubman in the 1800s. And let me tell you something: The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.
This was apparently Grahn’s cue to pull a Taylor Swift and critique Davis’s speech, then talk about her own struggles as a (white) actress in Hollywood and not-so-subtly slam Davis for daring to talk about the lack of roles for black women during her moment on stage.This opened up the floodgates. People called her out for hijacking the conversation, but Grahn persisted. Then came the apology tweets after she was “schooled.”
And then around 4am, after her now-deleted tweets about how all actresses matter and how Davis should have used her stage for reasons that served Grahn’s purposes, she revealed she doesn’t actually know what the Underground Railroad—the network created in the 19th century to help slaves escape to free states, with assistance from Tubman, among others—actually is. During her speech, Davis called out other black women in lead roles, like Kerry Washington and Taraji P. Henson, but a look at the winners on stage last night shows there’s still not much balance.
Here is Davis’s full speech again, for context.H/T US Weekly | Screengrab via Television Academy/YouTube
When one man alone knows of the world’s impending doom, what happens when that man must decide between a possibly fruitless attempt to save humanity and the ultimate sacrifice?
The Parallax Theory, from YouTuber Sawyer Hartman, explores that very question in a a six-part series. For Hartman, who boasts 1.8 million YouTube subscribers, the idea for the story started in his subconscious.
“It started as a very rudimental recurring dream I had,” explained Hartman, recounting the vision of him driving down a road and seeing a dot of light in the horizon. “At the end of that three and a half minutes, a meteor broke through the sky right in front of me. It would hit, and the car would flip, and I would wake up.”
That inspired him to write the story by building backwards, both to make the short film and now for the full-length series.
“You either have the opportunity to get the audience in love with the characters, or get them to love the story,” Hartman said of his first attempt. “That was hard in the short film, because it’s a story about the characters. It is awesome that we now have an hour and a half to do that. I could have used 10 hours to do that!”
The new trailer shows the tension between the main character, Jonathan, and those around him who doubt his knowledge of a world-ending meteor.
The full-length miniseries was created in partnership with New Form Digital after a short-film incubator process. The New Form Digital series’ approach to pay-to-own content is a new facet of the VOD revolution for film and television. For young filmmakers like Hartman who grew up in the age of blockbusters and with hopes of his name in lights, it’s been an adjustment in expectations to the digital world.
“My goal is still to get [to theatrical releases],” said Hartman. “With online media, the only thing I struggle with is the stigma of what people try to put there. If I can create what I want to create, I don’t really care where it goes or where it lives.”
The full-length version of The Parallax Theory premieres Sept. 22 on Vimeo.
Screengrab via New Form Digital/Vimeo
Black Mirror, the Channel 4 anthology series created by Charlie Brooker, has offered fans several visions of the future: one where we might be able to play back memories via an implant, or bring a dead lover back to life via social media.
But last night, one episode came awfully close to a parallel reality.
A Daily Mail article started circulating Sunday evening, containing excerpts from a new book about Prime Minister David Cameron. One of the bullet points from the book: Cameron allegedly “put a private part of his anatomy” in a dead pig's mouth while at university. Thus, #piggate captured Twitter’s imagination.
The first episode of Black Mirror, “The National Anthem,” revolves around a plotline in which online trolls blackmail the U.K. prime minister after a princess is kidnapped, forcing him to screw a pig on live TV. It’s a beautiful piece of satire, but once the Cameron story started circulating, more people started connecting the dots.
Brooker took to Twitter to assure people he could not have predicted this, but that episode also dissects how obsessed social media became with feeding into the pig-f**king event. And, well, if you were on Twitter last night, you know he got that part right.Brooker did say there’s one episode of his show he’s worried about becoming reality. The premise of season 2’s “White Bear”: A woman wakes up to a terrifying reality where people have become 24/7 voyeurs who stand by and film as violence happens around them, and the line between justice and torture has disappeared. Hmm…
For all its techno-thrilling, Black Mirror is bookended with political satire; its final episode, “The Waldo Moment,” is about a cartoon character who’s elevated to a serious political candidate by ratings-hungry media and the whims of the Internet. But Brooker couldn’t have predicted that, could he?
Back in 2013, when asked about the third season of Black Mirror, Brooker told Digital Spy that there’d been a delay:
That is the annoying thing about the slight delay. I have these ideas, and if I don't get them out quickly, they could actually happen in the real world. That's a worry. Real life will overtake the show.
How prescient. If anything, this is great promo for that new season, whenever it may arrive.
Screengrab via Rocket Van Lumbiarres/YouTube
Patti LaBelle is 71 years old, and when she’s not touring North America, the soul singer is trying to sell you barbecue sauce and marinades on her website. She looks and sounds like a sweet woman who can still belt out a tune or two.
But if you work up the nerve, invade the stage on which she’s performing, and begin to perform a striptease, LaBelle can turn nasty. Because, as she says in the video below, she’s not Nicki Minaj or Miley Cyrus, and if you suggestively show her your backside, she’s going to expel you from the building.
Take a look at the poor schnook who tested her patience last Friday in Vancouver.LaBelle had already invited a few fans up to the stage to sing during her rendition of “Lady Marmalade.” But none of those people were stripping on stage. This guy, though, wanted to show LaBelle what he was made of—literally and figuratively.
LaBelle, who earlier during the incident had told her security that she could handle the intruder by herself, then threw a shoulder-block at him before her bodyguard accompanied the would-be-stripper to parts unknown.
Obviously, the dude could have taken a lesson from the Daily Dot’s Miles Klee in how not to take a physical or verbal beating if you crash somebody else’s stage (hint: have a modicum of singing talent).
Otherwise, Patti LaBelle is going to call you a “bitch” as you're leaving her “goddarn stage.”
Photo via Sandra Alphonse/Flickr (CC BY ND 2.0)
After shepherding an interesting idea through thick Web buzz, 40-year-old singer-songwriter Ryan Adams delivered on his promise Monday to re-record Taylor Swift’s entire 1989 album in the key of The Smiths. It’s a meditative and rewarding thought experiment to be sure—but what’s he going for here?
Swift herself publicly endorsed the idea last month, and with enough earnest enthusiasm that you forget she will receive a royalty from every copy sold of Adams’ cover album. Tweets here double as a 63 million-follower-strong promotional push.
As for Adams, well, he “<3s” these jams that sold more than 5 million copies worldwide. Released almost a year ago in October, Swift’s 1989 is a work of dedicated American craftsmanship. Every inch of the thing considers its singer’s experience as a single and misunderstood creature of habit. Hell the original “Shake It Off” borrows proven ideas—hip-hop slang, sax stabs, pep rally drums, hand claps, assorted “oohs,” themes about going out with friends and dancing, call-and-response bridges—and draws a perfect pop circle. Seven of its 13 songs were co-written by 44-year-old Swedish charts architect Max Martin. As the Atlanticnotes this month: Martin is “responsible for more hits than Phil Spector, Michael Jackson, or the Beatles.”
From Britney Spears’s “... Baby One More Time,” to the Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face,” Martin writes No. 1 records like a garden spider weaves web between your lawn furniture. But on 1989 he helps Swift bundle together tall tracks with wit and vulnerability.
The heart of 1989’s secular dominance is that it’s an album for people who are floating between the service industry and Taco Bell’s millennial branding, figuring it out. That certainly includes Adams: He told the Wall Street Journal this week that he loved listening to it on tour and turned to it around the holidays, a period wherein he gets particularly isolated and down now that both of his grandparents have passed away.
At first, Adams says, his idea was a 4-track acoustic project inspired by Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska. The tapes went to hell when the machine ate them. So here we are.
Months later—and after divorcing former pop star Mandy Moore in January after six years of marriage—Adams has struck a pleasant balance with existing online. He’s prone to tweeting cute animal videos and loves writing in lax-bro slang like “vibes,” “jammin’,” and finishing recap tweets with exclamation points about the “awesome day.” He’s touring more—a feat unto itself, given how much his vertigo-inducing Ménière's disease sidelined him.
Recorded sequentially in 10 days with La Sera guitarist Todd Wisenbaker and drummer Nate Lotz, Adams’ 1989 sounds like it’s satirizing the self-serious, male-centric indie rock ballads of his contemporaries. The kind women are often told they can’t fundamentally understand or connect with.
It intrinsically dissolves the songwriting line by bathing in the aforementioned Smiths aesthetic—sullen, wounded, exiled in a practice space with rotting walls.
Once there, Adams toasts to the value of big melodies and sunny breakdowns. “Style” rocks and pops like early U2, and rocks harder than even some of his own singles—think the pleading wails from “Fix It.” “Bad Blood” gets a stuck-in-Gainesville, Tom Petty makeover.
His “Blank Space” is barren acoustics, and it stutter-steps because it’s shockingly joyless—almost disrespectful of its source material by purposefully drowning out the original’s crush-afflicted spirit. But there’s surgical balladry throughout: “How You Get the Girl” goes downtempo too, and here Adams turns Swift's criticisms on himself. “It’s been a long six months and you are too fake to tell her what you want,” he sings, “and that’s how you get the girl.” Its acoustic wet noodling recalls Adams’ own standout, “My Wrecking Ball,” from last year’s self-titled album.
But this is a loose, celebratory project littered with casual Easter eggs. As Adams told Zane Lowe Monday morning on Apple Music’s Beats 1 radio, Adams flipped the lyric “You’ve got that James Dean daydream look in your eye” into “You’ve got that Daydream Nation look in your eye” just to work in a Sonic Youth high-five.
He also told Lowe that he’s just completed an original double-album of material. I bet it’s almost as good as 1989.
Photo via 6tee-zeven/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Vine’s elite are joining YouTubers in their outcry against Facebook's video platform, which makes it easy to steal content without any accountability.
“It sucks,” Viner Brittany Furlantold the Wall Street Journal. For six-second creators, when their content jumps to Facebook from its native Vine, there’s no recourse to identify and monetize their videos—unlike YouTube, which at least offers them the opportunity to profit off of unprompted sharing.
Last month Hank Green—who runs digital video’s premier conference, VidCon, and is a digital creator himself—took issue with Facebook’s video system with a series of posts on Medium. For YouTube stars, who earn advertising dollars for their video views on YouTube, Facebook reposts are chipping into their pocketbooks directly. The problem is less clear-cut for Vine stars, who don’t earn advertising dollars on the content but receive money from brands that want to tap into their social influence.
“You don’t make money from your content on Vine,” said Arantza Fahnbulleh, a stand-up comedian and Vine creator, told WSJ. “You rely on brand deals. And followers get me brand deals.”
Facebook has used technology to identify video content and credit it to rightful YouTube and content creators, and third-party companies like Collab have helped Vine stars identify their content published on YouTube. But no such solution has come forward for Vine stars and Facebook, a problem Vine's parent company, Twitter, has yet to address with Facebook, according to WSJ.
While no solution exists, reposting pages like "Top Vines," which has 20 million Facebook likes, and "Best of Vines," with 21 million likes, continue to post Vine videos with no recourse.
“I think for a company like Facebook, this really shouldn’t be an afterthought,” Collab co-founder Tyler McFadden told WSJ. “It should be built into the product from day one. We love that YouTube provides the tools it does. If Facebook did the same, it would be huge for all the Viners involved.”
H/T The Wall Street Journal | Illustration by Fernando Alfonso III
Never one to be out-trolled, dark prince of indie rock Father John Misty just released his “reinterpretation of the classic Ryan Adams album 1989.”
For those who have been living under a rock, without access to Facebook’s Trending Topics, Ryan Adams released a track-for-track cover of Taylor Swift’s chart-topping 1989 LP on Spotify today. No one’s quite sure what to make of it—it’s a rather sincere effort from one of rock’s most unpredictable personalities, inspired in part by Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska—but on first listen, it’s surprisingly good.What makes Father John Misty’s meta-cover so great is not only its overbearing style—in the vein of Velvet Underground’s iconic debut—but how he subtly divorces Swift from the equation. You can almost hear all of the fangirls firing up their Tumblrs to call him out on his obvious typo.
This is the sort of layered commentary at which Father John Misty excels. To preview his new album, I Love You, Honeybear, he launched a Spotify parody called SAP, a “new signal-to-audio process by which albums are ‘sapped’ of their performances, original vocal, atmosphere and other distracting affectations so the consumer can decide quickly and efficiently whether they like a musical composition, based strictly on its formal attributes, enough to spend money on it.”
“We’ve gotten to the point where we only talk about the value of music monetarily,” Josh Tillman, the songwriter behind Father John Misty, told the Kernel at the time. It’s made everything a cliché: The artists have turned into these cranky, luddite, money-grubbing elitists, and the consumers are the dim-witted, mouth-breathing opportunists. The whole thing is just ripe for satire.”
More recently, Father John Misty has been giving a master course in Instagram trolling that will make you think twice about your next Crema-filtered post.
Screengrab via Father John Misty
These days, it's easier than ever to connect directly with celebrities via social media, but one man is finding the object of his particular quest to be quite intangible.
Gabriel Gundacker really wants to meet Richard Dreyfuss. In March, the Chicago-based musician and YouTuber released "I Wanna Meet Richard Dreyfuss," which laid out his innocent curiosities about the Jaws actor. On Sunday, he released the followup, adding some urgency to the situation with "I Need to Meet Richard Dreyfuss," a slow jam assisted by members of Gundacker's soul band, Fat Night.
Here, he establishes early on that his efforts have yielded no response from Dreyfuss, even though he's tweeted at him. He's in a "darker place" and just wants to meet him face to face; he knows the Lost in Yonkers star has some "free time" on his hands.Reached by phone, Gundacker says he first took note of the Oscar winner in eight grade, after watching Jaws, American Graffiti, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind in a short span of time. But even though he's now devoted two songs to the cause, created art of his face merging with Dreyfuss's, and emblazoned shirts and hats with the actor's name, he doesn't want people to think he's a maniac, or using Dreyfuss for any "Internet celebrity."
"It is still very real," Gundacker says of his admiration. "It can be construed as sort of a creepy obsession, especially from that video, so it's sort of in this uncanny valley of, obviously I really would love to meet him, I think he's an awesome actor. But also there's some overexaggeration about it."
Gundacker says he "almost" met Dreyfuss in L.A. at a screening of Down and Out in Beverly Hills, but he didn't show up. He's also been in touch with Dreyfuss's son, Ben, and says he was "very kind and playful about it," though it's not clear if the video ever reached Richard. (We emailed Dreyfuss's publicist for comment on Gundacker's quest but did not hear back.)
"It's really for Richard," he said of his crusade. "More so than he probably wants. "Two R&B hits about him and no response. What are you gonna do?"
That's the big question now. Will Gundacker create a trilogy of songs for Dreyfuss? How far will he go?
"Hopefully the next song is about how I met Richard Dreyfuss," he said. "That would bring some nice closure, you know, Return of the Jedi-style.
Everyone seems to be covering Taylor Swift lately, with Ryan Adams’ cover of 1989 and Father John Misty’s cover of Adams in particular quickly becoming earworms. But Todrick Hall now is adding his take on Swift’s music, and you won’t be able to shake it off anytime soon.
Hall has already expertly mashed up Beyoncé's entire discography and Disney songs, and he takes the same amount of care when it comes to Swift’s songs. He doesn’t limit himself just to 1989, including a number of hits from Red, singles “You Belong With Me” and “Love Story,” and even some lesser known songs such as “Picture to Burn.”
It’s Swiftian overload, and we’re all for it.Like she did for many previous fan covers of her songs, Swift quickly gave her seal of approval—and made Hall’s night in the process.
HBO has always been known as the home of premium content on TV, and its standalone HBO Now app is no different.
Here’s a brief rundown of some of the highlights coming to the streaming service next month.
Coming Oct. 1
28 Days (2000)
Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London (2004)
Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007)
Bee Movie (2007)
Blazing Saddles (1974)
Blood Diamond (2006)
Burn After Reading (2008)
Ella Enchanted (2004)
Happy Feet (2006)
House on Haunted Hill (1999)
The Kid (2000)
License to Drive (1988)
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Like Mike (2002)
Like Mike 2: Streetball (2006)
Lost in Translation (2003)
Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
Return to House on Haunted Hill (2007)
Revenge of the Nerds (1984)
Rugrats in Paris: The Movie (2000)
Rumor Has It (2005)
The Rock (1996)
Trick ‘R Treat (2007)
Leaving Oct. 31
A History of Violence (2005)
A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014)
Agent Cody Banks (2003)
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Good Night, and Good Luck (2005)
Escape from L.A. (1996)
Just Friends (2005)
Meet the Parents (2000)
Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (1983)
Queen of the Damned (2002)
The Lake House (2006)
The Skeleton Key (2005)
The Truman Show (1998)
Uptown Girls (2003)
X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
Coming Sept. 1
Blades of Glory (2007)
Blade Runner (1982)
Bring It On (2000)
Center Stage (2000)
The Departed (2006)
The Faculty (1998)
The Good Son (1993)
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
How Stella Got her Groove Back (1998)
In the Heat of the Night (1967)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Staying Alive (1983)
Thelma & Louise (1991)
V for Vendetta (2005)
Inside Man (2006)
Wedding Crashers (2005)
The Counselor (2013)
Best Man Holiday (2013)
The Break-Up (2006)
Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
Girl, Interrupted (1999)
Moulin Rouge! (2001)
Save the Last Dance (2001)
That Awkward Moment (2014)
The Wedding Planner (2001)
Working Girl (1998)
But beware: All good things must come to an end, as fans of Ender’s Game and Eyes Wide Shut will realize when their time on the service comes to an end Aug. 31.
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Innocence)
Dances with Wolves
A Fish Called Wanda
Four Weddings and a Funeral
John Tucker Must Die
Meet the Parents
An Officer and a Gentleman
Back on Board: Greg Louganis
Ramona (short) (en Español)
Manos Sucias (en Español)
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Houston Texans
Bomba (en Español)
The Theory of Everything
Show Me a Hero: Part 1 & Part 2
Tig Notaro: Boyish Girl, Interrupted
Dumb and Dumber To
Show Me a Hero: Part 3 & Part 4
Kill the Messenger
Show Me a Hero: Part 5 & Part 6 (8/30)
Leaving Aug. 31
Enemy of the State
Eyes Wide Shut
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
The Other Woman
Illustration by Max Fleishman
It’s time to play the music. It’s time to light the lights. It’s time to meet the Muppets on TV once again! The Muppets premieres tonight on ABC, marking the first return of these beloved characters to a regular series on the small screen since Muppets Tonight ended in 1998.
While the show will be different from what we’ve seen before with its mockumentary style, we hope that it will contain the magic we’ve come to love from the Muppets over the years, epitomized by the original TV series The Muppet Show. The sketches, guest stars, and unforgettable musical numbers from that ’70s series remain classic to this day. Here are 15 of our favorite moments from The Muppet Show that are prime examples of what we love to see from the Muppets—and hope to see tonight when The Muppets premieres on ABC at 8pm ET.
1) “Mahna Mahna”This is one of the most well-known and catchy Muppet songs of them all. The sketch didn’t debut on The Muppet Show, but it was performed on the very first episode, and this version remains a classic. Who can resist singing along with Mahna Mahna and the Snowths? The song even continued behind the scenes of the show as Mahna Mahna dances and sings his way off stage, past Kermit, and out of the theater.
2) Dom DeLuise on Planet KoozebaneThe Muppets visit Koozebane a number of times, but there’s just something about comedian Dom DeLuise taking a trip to the planet that makes this moment stand out from the rest. DeLuise plays an astronaut who meets a few Merdlidops while exploring Koozebane. The resulting alien encounter causes quite a bit of trouble for the astronaut—and quite a few laughs.
3) “The Comedian’s a Bear” sketchWhen best friends Kermit the Frog and Fozzie Bear are paired together, laughter is surely not far behind. So when Fozzie suddenly enlists the help of Kermit in telling one of his jokes, it leads to one of the greatest moments between the two on the show.
4) Harry Belafonte’s “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)”
Singer Harry Belafonte performed a number of songs during his guest appearance in the third season of The Muppet Show. This one, however, gets some special help from Fozzie, who is determined to make the song perfect, no matter what it takes. The result is a pig chorus, a frantic search for bananas, and a mostly successful attempt at a sing-along.
5) “Veterinarian’s Hospital”The continuing story of a quack who’s gone to the dogs, “Veterinarian’s Hospital” was a recurring sketch you could always look forward to on the show. You never knew who Dr. Bob and nurses Piggy and Janice would be faced with helping; the patient could be a Muppet or an object like a shoe, but either way the medical trio usually wound up telling jokes the whole time instead of helping.
6)Julie Andrews sings “The Lonely Goatherd”When Julie Andrews is on your show, how can you resist having her sing a song from The Sound of Music? Lots of Muppets find perfect ways to get involved in the song’s performance as Andrews sings beautifully.
7) “Happy Feet”This is one of Kermit’s most famous solos from the show. The catchy dance number once again proves Kermit has a lot of talents—from singing to dancing to looking awesome in a suit! It also succeeds in making us feel like he’s actually dancing during the sketch even though you never see his happy feet. It just goes to show the masterful magic of the Muppets.
8) Statler and Waldorf heckle Milton BerleStatler and Waldorf heckling from their balcony was always one of the best parts of the series. No one was safe from their criticism, not even famous comedian Milton Berle! His interaction with the two old men is one of the funniest from the show.
9) Fozzie helps Rowlf perform “Clair de Lune”The Muppet Show shined when it combined comedy with classical music during Rowlf’s performances. It was always fun to see the musical dog play some beautiful piece of music on the piano, only to have something unforeseen happen during his act. This is our favorite of those moments. Whenever Fozzie wants to help, things don’t exactly go as planned!
10) Gonzo leaves the show and sings “My Way”The show was not afraid of being emotional or taking time for sad, heartfelt moments in between the laughs. One of the best examples of this is the episode when Gonzo leaves the show in order to pursue a movie career. He chokes up in the middle of his performance of “My Way,” causing Kermit to come out and comfort his friend. When you hear Gonzo start to cry, you’ll wish you could comfort him too!
11) Star Wars meets “Pigs in Space”It makes perfect sense that when actor Mark Hamill guest starred on the show he’d make an appearance on the recurring sketch that takes place on a spaceship, “Pigs in Space”! Hamill as Luke Skywalker is joined by C-3PO and R2-D2 on the Swinetrek as they borrow the ship to go rescue Chewbacca. Their interactions with Captain Link Hogthrob, Dr. Strangepork, and Piggy (dressed like Princess Leia) are priceless!
12) John Cleese finaleJohn Cleese stars in one of the greatest Muppet Show final acts as he repeatedly refuses to perform the musical numbers the Muppets pick for him, so the Muppets dress him up for multiple songs and eventually join him on stage for the performance. While Cleese may not have been happy at first with Kermit’s efforts, the round of applause the Muppets’ antics earn him at the end seems to win him over.
13) Multiple Beakers search for BunsenIt was always funny to see two sketches combine on The Muppet Show, and it added to the sense of the show all taking place in one night in the same theater. For example, the Swedish Chef had great cooking segments and Beaker and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew were fantastic in Muppet Labs, but when an experiment multiplies Beaker and Bunsen hides from them on the Chef's set, you get the best of both sketches in one hilarious moment!
14)The Robin Hood episodeWhen actress Lynn Redgrave appeared on the show, the Muppets put on a production of Robin Hood for the entirety of the episode. There are a lot of amazing moments in this episode, but there are two in particular that stand out. The first is Fozzie really getting into his role as Little John and leading everyone else in cavorting, all while saying “cavort” repeatedly, as we see what funny things the others are up to in the camp. The second is one of those times the Muppets take a quiet moment to perform a sweet song as Redgrave and Kermit sing to each other in their roles as Maid Marian and Robin Hood.
15) The Muppet Show openingThe Muppet Show has one of the best openings in all of TV. From the first notes of the song to Gonzo’s recurring gag at the end, this fantastic introduction to the show is a classic!
Photo via Michelle O'Connell/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)
In one simple video, Nicole Arbour has made herself the enemy of the pro-choice and pro-life camps all at once.
Her new video, titled “Why Abortion is WRONG,” is a bait-and-switch ploy: She goes on to talk about how she has a theory that “some kids were supposed to be aborted and turned into murderers and crazy people” and “if more kids were aborted, less kids would be on ADD drugs.”Arbour’s video appeared amid the #ShoutYourAbortion social media trend and the passage of a bill to defund Planned Parenthood in the coming year. As with her last video, Arbour is being met with criticism, although neither liberal nor conservative viewers can decide just whose side she’s on.
Arbour jokes she’s doing a “Dear Black People” video, but who knows exactly which fraught territory she’ll actually step into next.H/T Uproxx | Screengrab via Nicole Arbour/YouTube