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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    I don’t remember the first time I lip-synced, but I remember the most destructive. I was roughly 7 or 8, and I was obsessed with Hall & Oates’s album Big Bam Boom. I was deep in the chorus of “Method of Modern Love,” using my parents’ waterbed as a stage. I must have briefly left my body because I don’t remember feeling the ground give out. But I knew that suddenly my stage was very wet.

    I thought about this moment the first time I used Dubsmash, the lip-syncing app that houses an array of audio clips from TV shows, movies, and songs, which users can film themselves reenacting. There, the focus is on users’ faces, for the most part. It’s a different take on the selfie. We’re filming ourselves mimicking a line from a movie, TV show, or famous speech; we’re becoming someone else for a bit, which is the essence of lip-syncing.

    Lip-syncing in my parents’ bedroom allowed for some physical and creative freedom; it allowed me to let go and get lost. Dubsmash is pure performance. You’re aware of your movements and facial expressions because you’re staring at one of the many screens that fill our lives, at a guaranteed audience.

    The Internet has always been drawn to the dubbed performance: There’s the Baracksdubs YouTube channel, Bad Lip Reading, and countless dubbed videos of politicians. Dubsmash just made it handheld.


    Dubsmash’s founders—Jonas Drüppel, Roland Grenke, and Daniel Taschik—debuted the app in November 2014, after two false starts. According to TechCrunch, the founders met at a hackathon in 2012 and attempted to debut an app called Starlize in 2013, which would let users make their own music videos. But Grenke told TechCrunch that they “had the feeling that it was too complex for most users,” so the Berlin-based company regrouped and focused on making shorter clips that weren’t just limited to music.

    Emma Stone won the Internet’s hearts in April 2014 with her Tonight Show lip-sync master class, proving just how infinitely shareable the clips could be.

    The formula worked. In the last year, Dubsmash has become a great equalizer, especially for celebrities, and has been downloaded more than 75 million times, according to the company’s website. In January, Grenke said they hadn’t had issues with copyright infringement, and suggested that certain entities who might issue a takedown request would do well to work directly with them. The company also just raised $5.5 million in funding.

    The app’s success dovetails rather conveniently with the popularity of Lip Sync Battle, a show born out of a popular segment on The Tonight Show. Lip Sync Battle, which debuted on Spike in April, was made to be circulated in bite-size viral bits the next day, just like Tonight Show clips. Emma Stone won the Internet’s hearts in April 2014 with her Tonight Show lip-sync master class, proving just how infinitely shareable the clips could be. It now has more than 61 million views. Paul Rudd’s appearance in February 2014 has more than 28 million.

    The app, and shows like Lip Sync Battle, strive to make celebrities seem like you and me: They have a favorite song; they have a goofy dance they do. So-and-so destroyed/nailed/rocked that song. Can you believe it? And often, there is some degree of winking and nudging that feels a bit too well-orchestrated. It’s oh-gosh culture for famous people; it’s Anna Kendrick syndrome.

    Lip Sync Battle has also faced criticism for erasing drag culture—a foundational and transformative aspect of lip-sync history—from the show. RuPaul’s Drag Race fleshed out the concept of a lip-sync “battle” for TV and exposed the high art of drag to the mainstream, but Lip Sync Battle was created by a straight white man, The Office’s John Krasinski. It doesn’t focus on craft or nuance like drag does; it puts Krasinski and Deion Sanders in dresses for laughs. And the concept isn’t new: Lip Sync Battle and RPDR were also both preceded by another lip-sync show, Puttin’ on the Hits.

    But Casey Patterson, executive producer of Casey Patterson Entertainment, which produces Lip Sync Battle, wants us to learn something about our favorite celebs. She says giving actors the freedom to pick the song they perform was important to the show’s structure.

    “We felt like really the best version of the show would be to learn more about celebrities through their musical choices,” she said. “So it’s just another way of getting to know these personalities that you love so much. You can tell that’s not the first time The Rock did Taylor Swift. When you saw Anne Hathaway do Miley [Cyrus], you knew she was a fan. They’re sort of these mini-tributes to the artist.”


    That’s happening on Dubsmash, too. Hugh Jackmantook a shot at Katy Perry (and Jim Carrey). Olivia Munn and Aaron Rodgers recreated a scene from The Princess Bride. Tom Hardy used the app to channel 50 Cent/the Punisher. Hamilton fans having been using it to pay homage. RihannadebutedBitch Better Have My Money” on the app. Pitch Perfect 2 stars launched a contest on it to find new talent. To celebrate the end of Saturday Night Live’s 40th season, Dubsmash encouraged users to recreate popular sketches and shorts. Bravo incorporated the app into its recent Real Housewives of New York premiere. Kristen Stewart did one, and Selena Gomez took it full circle with Jimmy Fallon.

    While Dubsmash might offer relatability for celebs, it has more practical uses for film and TV promo. The stars of Agent Carter and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. may be the most successful at using Dubsmash for promotion, incorporating it into a series of cross-cast charitybattles.  On Oct. 17, #TeamCarter was declared winner of the months-long Dubsmash Wars, raising $79,259 for Stomp Out Bullying; Team S.H.I.E.L.D. raised $75,070 for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

    In those three months, they managed to engage various celebrities, like Miss Piggy. But more importantly, they engaged fandoms. Hayley Atwell, aka Peggy Carter, has especially proven she has a knack for the dub. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. star Clark Gregg explained the genesis of the Wars and how Marvel really got behind making it a “battle”:

    “I believe it's important, especially in our particular genre, to keep it fun at work. It's gotta be fun, and sometimes it's very dramatic, but we're trying to keep it fun, and we keep a sense of fun, and Hayley's amazing at that. I couldn't love her more. Literally, one of those things, we started out doing it, we didn't think anybody would care about it. We were just trying to get through a long weekend of relentless, and really fun work at Comic-Con. I think it's really ... It started to get intense when, because both Hayley and myself, and I think frankly, Chloe and James as well ... Turns out we're really competitive.”

    They even dared fans to do a very awkward dance to “The Final Countdown” before the winner was announced.

    Unsurprisingly, Atwell and Gregg are set to perform on Lip Sync Battle in 2016.


    Patterson posits that what celebs do on Lip Sync Battle isn’t so much tied to the act of selling something, but rather connecting—that it’s more of an “old-school variety” show, “more SNL than it is The Voice.”

    “Celebrities are doing this for their fans,” she added. “They’re entertaining and they’re not plugging. ...The thing about celebrity culture now is that they’re directly connected to their fans. They’re not speaking through third parties anymore, where there’s a publicist or a manager or an agent. [Every day, they’re] showing parts of themselves and connecting directly and talking directly to their fans. I think this is just an evolution of that.”

    Indeed, we see behind the curtain a bit. The app allows us to discover that Tom Hardy is really, really into Dubsmash, has good taste in music, and does dubs with his stunt double, Jacob Tomuri. We learned Hugh Jackman lovesAdventure Time, and Sofia Vergara and Reese Witherspoon understand memes. We discovered Maya Rudolph already did the best Dubsmash, so we can all stop trying.


    Because Dubsmash is an international app, it’s attracted an international audience. Bollywood stars are using it much like American celebs, and it’s become extremely popular on Facebook and Twitter in India. Same goes for Pakistani and Singaporean celebs. There’s even an Indian approximation of a Dubsmash War.

    Two sisters in Germany have become viral stars because thanks to Dubsmash. The women, who go by Grzmotbilska and Breshna, were born in Afghanistan and raised in Germany; they grew up with overlapping cultures and influences, and Indian culture was one of them. The YouTube channel Dubsmash ke Deewane is the platform for their dubs. A June clip of them dubbing a scene from 1994 Bollywood film Andaz Apna Apna now has more than 230,000 views, and the sisters flip the gender roles of the two main characters. A Dubsmash compilation from July has more than 1 million views.

    Grzmotbilska explained their dubs were “created out of boredom,” but many of the Indian films they dub, she said in an August interview on her channel, are “childhood memories.”

    “Bollywood is an important part of India,” she said via email. “Bollywood provides entertainment and getting entertained gives everyone more happiness. And this app gives us Bollywood-crazy people the means to dub our favorite scenes. That is the only reason, getting entertained is an important part of the life!”


    Indeed, entertainment is the main reason the app is so popular. It’s teens in bedrooms or school bathrooms dubbing Taylor Swift and #bestfriendgoals and grandmas who possibly don’t know they’re on Dubsmash. A generational bridge, really. It’s become a place for remix culture, much like SoundCloud. You can record your own sample of dialogue from a movie, and a stranger might choose to dub your version and share that in turn.

    Is it mindless? For all the lip-sync battles and Dubsmash wars, what is it adding to the culture? Writing for Esquire, Dave Holmes attempted to break down the facade of Dubsmash videos:

    “Lip Sync Battle and Dubsmash are popular because celebrities do them, and celebrities do them because they view them as opportunities to let their hair down, as though our culture were forcing them to act like prim little Frasiers and Liliths all day long. … When you post and/or share lip sync videos, what you are telling the world is This is how I choose to be entertained. I don't want to see or hear anything new; I want to recite what I already know, or better still have one of the Pretty Little Liars do it for me.”
    For all the lip-sync battles and Dubsmash wars, what is it adding to the culture?

    While that’s a bit of an oversimplification, I found listening to the samples on Dubsmash more interesting than performing them. After I found the lines I wanted from American Psycho and Grandma’s Boy, I tried to give my best performance, but I hated all my takes. I was too aware of the faces I was making. The same could not be said for my significant other, who absconded with my phone to lip-sync LMFAO songs while I impatiently waited for him to return from his Dubsmash hole. Was that a Dubsmash war? Even now, I’m not sure.

    Dubsmash is yet another handheld distraction, another way to promote ourselves and, maybe, connect through a pop-culture thread. Still, nothing beats being able to lose yourself in a moment and feel the ground give way a bit. 

    Illustration by Max Fleishman


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    Bollywood movies are a hotbed of hilarity: incongruous plots, absurd fight scenes, rugby games against the Chicago Bulls. The speed in which they're produced often results in an end product that can seem a little rough around the edges.

    And comfortingly it’s not just snide Western folk who think so. In Pretentious Movie Reviews, Indian comedians Kanan Gill and Biswa Kalyan Rath rule over a selection of films—some vintage, some contemporary—poking fun at plot holes, terrible special effects, and, in the case of 2004’s Harry Potter rip-off Aabra Ka Daabra, the hypnotic, unrelenting product placement of Parle-G biscuits.

    Gill and Rath are both excellent hosts, funny and passionate in equal measure, but the true star of the 14-episode run thus far is the source material. It truly boggles the mind. 

    Take for example Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon, where the independent Sanjana is upset that her mother has arranged a marriage for her. It's a routine love narrative, but it's not the storyline that intrigues. Rather it’s the appearance of a demonic cartoon/dog hybrid and a jaunty macaw with no qualms about shooting up the club.

    Then there’s Disco Dancer from 1982, which apparently drew an audience of over 60 million in the Soviet Union. The film itself has all the expected cringey dancefloor shapes while consisting of 47 percent music. All of it is composed by the Indian disco king Bappi Lahiri—a massive fan of Michael Jackson who once created a Hindi re-imagining of Thriller. Here is Lahiri singing his homage to the late King of Pop.

    And here is the death of Rajesh Khanna in one of his friendliest roles ever.

    You won’t find a humerus much bigger than that of the avenging skeleton from Jaani Dushman: Ek Anokhi Kahani. But while the special effects in what is considered one of the India’s worst ever films veer into comedy, the scene where a crowd of strangers pressures a girl into forgiving two men who attempted to rape her highlights an inherent social problem.

    Finally, there’s Kya Kehna, the producers of which clearly thought it unnecessary to employ a continuity supervisor.

    May Gill and Rath never run out of source material to skewer.

    Screengrab via Kanan Gill/YouTube


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    BY KAYLA HAWKINS

    Beyoncé has been pretty quiet lately, but all it takes is one small glimpse of the singer to remind people why she’s called Queen Bey. At Ciara’s birthday party on Saturday (Oct. 24), lots of celebrities arrived wearing superhero costumes, but Beyoncé undeniably won the night in her appearance as X-Men character Storm.

    Comedian Jeff Dye’s up close image of the star’s costume shows that she perfectly nailed all of the details of the superhero’s comic book look. The long white hair, white eyes, and X-Men insignia are all dead-on.

    RELATED: Clown are Maine’s ‘It’ Halloween costume and other fun facts

    Ciara also looked fantastic as Catwoman, but she didn’t bring the same level of detail to her costume.

    And when the entire squad—Beyoncé, Ciara, Kelly Rowland, Angie Beyince, Serena Williams, and a few others—joined up for a group photo, the results were obvious: Beyoncé is not just always on beat, she’s also always in character.

    She managed to make kneeling in the foreground look like an epic pose ripped straight from the pages of a comic book. Note that Beyoncé managed to keep her Storm-inspired mean mug on throughout all of the pictures. When the Queen decides to put on a costume, she remains totally committed to the character.

    RELATED: Watch Jay Z passionately dance along to Beyonce at ‘Made in America’ concert

    It remains to be seen if this counts as Beyoncé’s Halloween costume — but in 2014, she dressed up twice, as Frida Kahlo and Janet Jackson, so there are probably more Bey costumes to come before Oct. 31.

    Screengrab via kellyrowland/Instagram


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    The NFL made history on Sunday when the league provided a livestream of the Bills-Jaguars game from London. Aside from the Buffalo and Jacksonville TV markets, streaming the contest on Yahoo was the only way most football fans could watch it.

    Turns out, 33.6 million people tuned in online, and the NFL believes that makes the Jaguars’ 34-31 win the most livestreamed sporting event in U.S. history.

    “We are incredibly excited by the fact that we took a game that would have been viewed by a relatively limited television audience in the United States, and by distributing it digitally were able to attract a global audience of over 15 million viewers,” said Hans Schroeder, the NFL’s senior vice president of media strategy, business development, and sales, via The Hollywood Reporter.

    As Sports Business Daily points out, Yahoo recorded 15.2 million unique viewers to go with their livestreams, and 460 million total minutes of video were watched by the public. (For the record, a stream was counted as such if at least three seconds of the game were watched, which likely was helped by the fact that the game was on autoplay for anybody who logged onto Yahoo.) Yahoo said said that more than 33 percent of the streams came from international users across 185 different countries.

    Yahoo reportedly had guaranteed advertisers that it would produce at least 3.5 million streams. It’s easy, then, to imagine that Yahoo’s advertisers were quite pleased with the final numbers, especially since the Bills and the Jaguars are not exactly high-profile teams and, since the game was played in London, it began much earlier than usual (about 9:30am ET).

    “We’re seeing a dramatic shift in the industry as audiences’ primary video watching moves away from TV,” Adam Cahan, Yahoo’s senior vice president of product and engineering, said in a statement. “We were thrilled to join the NFL in setting a new standard for sports programming for our users and advertisers.”

    Expect to see more of this kind of livestreaming from the NFL. Probably much more.

    H/T Sports Business DailyPhoto via Andy McLemore/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)


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    Meet Drake's dance teacher.

    Over the weekend, Tumblr user fixmeinforty5 and her roommates came to an amazing realization: Mr. G, the teacher from Australian comedy Summer Heights High, was born to dance to "Hotline Bling." So they took one of Chris Lilley's iconic interpretive dance scenes and set it to Drake.

    Up until this point, fans have been setting the rapper's dorky dance moves to different songs, but this video proves the meme works both ways. Drake's moves match any song, and "Hotline Bling" matches every dance. 

    So go ahead. Let the music guide you. 

    H/T BuzzFeed | Illustration by Max Fleishman 


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    Pentatonix made its mark digitally, but recently the group secured its first No. 1 album on the Billboard charts by winning out in pure album sales over competitors, not in digital streaming. 

    The YouTube a cappella darlings just barely beat out established act Demi Lovato, who had considerable radio play and promotion leading up to her album release. Lovato sold relatively the same number of units, 98,000, but Pentatonix edged her out in album sales. 

    Billboard renovated its charts in 2014 to include on-demand and streaming metrics in addition to sales numbers, but Pentatonix didn't need a digital push to win, selling 11,000 more units than Lovato, who was more bolstered by streaming.

    The self-titled album is the group's fifth Top 10 showing on the charts, according to Billboard. The group previously charted with That’s Christmas to MePTX: Vol. IIIPTX: Vol. IIPTXMAS, and PTX: Volume 1. Pentatonix is the group's first all-originals effort, with only one reimagined song in conjunction with Jason Derulo.

    The group, their fans, and their famous friends have been celebrating the chart placement on social media.

    They aren't the only YouTubers who've gained traction in mainstream music lately. Troye Sivan's most recent EP Wildhit No. 5 on the charts, and a full-length is due in December. With other digital stars like Shawn Mendes dominating pop radio, it's not unthinkable for an all-YouTube and Vine Top 10 in the future. And they don't even need streaming services to do it.

    H/T Billboard | Screengrab via PTXofficial/YouTube


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    Grab your ukulele.

    During a recent interview on Off Camera with Sam Jonesphotographer Sam Jones' webseries-TV show, Joseph Gordon-Levitt decided the best way to explain his collaborative project HitRecord was to show everyone, not tell them.

    So he played a short guitar riff and uploaded an extended loop to his site, challenging people at home to record accompanying instrumentals using whatever they have handy and submit them by Nov. 1. They're open to all kinds of sounds, too. 

    "This will be a play-along thing. If you play bass, if you play drums, or surprise me," Gordon-Levitt said. "Some other instrument that I'm not even expecting... flugelhorn, synthesizer, the paperclip. Whatever you want." 

    Once everything is compiled, Gordon-Levitt will make a music video out of the samples, and then air it on a future episode of Off Camera. 

    As of now, the song has more than 80 contributions, but there's still plenty of time to get yours in and be part of the project.

    Screengrab via HitRecord

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    If you're a theater fan who grew up outside of New York, chances are that at some point a Broadway show came along—like the current run of Hamilton, for example—that made you long to be in the city where the action was. After all, no one wants to wait years after a show's premiered on Broadway for a touring run that might not even swing by your neighborhood.

    Thankfully, at long last, someone got the bright idea to use the Internet to solve this problem. Broadway HD is a new streaming service from a couple of acclaimed Broadway producers. Its goal: to bring the Great White Way to the great wide Web.

    The service, created by Tony-winning producers Stewart Lane and Bonnie Comley is offering a full library of theatrical performances available for individual rental—two nights for $8—and monthly and yearly subscription access. The collection is built on Direct from Broadway, a program that's been streaming theatrical performances in cinemas since 2013. Older stage productions previously shown on the BBC, including a considerable Shakespeare collection, are also on the menu.

    Though users aren't able to see video previews, the lure of recorded live theater is one die-hard fans may be unable to resist. Speaking to the Daily Dot by email, Broadway producer Robert Strickstein was cautiously optimistic about the service, noting that "Any effort to expand the audience for live theatricals should be applauded" and that "existing live theatre fans" are "a market that is currently underserved."

    Strickstein also observed that the subscription service, priced at $14.99/month or $169.99/year, isn't exactly a substitute for the current season of shows. "Broadway HD appears to be a ways away, however, from offering live streaming of Broadway shows that are currently 'on the boards,'" he wrote.

    Their catalog seems to be comprised of historical telecasts and films culled from the collections of the BBC and WNET, NYC as well as a small smattering of recent (but not current) Broadway musicals and concerts. I suppose the nut of the matter is whether or not they will eventually be able to offer current Broadway shows to their subscribers. The obstacles are formidable -- from competing producers on Broadway who cherish their independence, fear of cannabilzing a show's ticket buying audience, restrictive theatrical performance union agreements, etc.

    Strickstein pointed out that the theater community has had recorded live performances in cinemas for years, such as the current seasons offered by London's National Theatre and the Direct from Broadway program. Additionally, streaming services targeted to theater fans have been on offer for a while, like Stage 17, which boasts interviews, news, and original webseries focused on the theater community. Sure, it's not the same as going to Lincoln Center, but it's a slice of life. 

    But as the viral buzz for shows like Hamilton, whose recently released soundtrack has topped pop charts for a month, indicates, fans want the real thing.

    "I envision that BroadwayHD could become a powerful repository of theatrical performance for theatre fans," Strickstein said, "but whether or not it will be able to gain a foothold as a purveyor of what's happening 'now' on Broadway remains to be seen."

    The point about currency is a salient one, as is the industry's wariness to give away too much access to its bread and butter: a high-priced ticket to a Broadway musical. Right now there are only five musicals available for streaming. Two of these are from 1980 and 1981. The most recent, the revue Memphis, hails from 2010. Then again, one of them is the hard-to-find live recording of Stephen Sondheim's 1998 revue Putting It Together. That alone may be worth the price for many fans.

    All in all, the kind of niche appeal and back-catalog that Broadway HD boasts for the moment is a good way to get a certain tier of theater lovers on board. 

    In other words, it may not be enough to put a new generation of fans on Broadway's digital front row—but it's a start.

    Photo via broadwaytour/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)


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    YouTube star Meghan Camarena has gotten geeky with her latest project: a Spider-Man family mystery series on Instagram that fans can help solve.

    Teaming up with a number of other YouTube stars and photographer Michael Becker, Camarena is playing the role of Gwen Stacy in a Marvel-inspired murder-mystery series that begins today. 

    The members of the Spider-Gang include Emma Approved's Joanna Sotomura as Cindy Moon, a.k.a. SilkTwitch streamer Wesley Johnson as Peter Parker and actress Ashlyn Pearce as Mary Jane, stuntman Yoshua Sudarso as Yu Komori, the Tokyo student who becomes Spider-Man on Earth-70091 in Marvel's Spider-verse.  

    Beginning with Camarena's Instagram account today, each member of the drama will be posting a nine-frame image with information about the mystery (a crime that Spider-Gwen has been accused of). Posts will roll out daily on each participant's Instagram, with each subsequent post including more and more clues to help viewers figure out whodunnit. Additionally, five other notable Instagrammers will be assisting the story, contributing their own cosplay and smaller frames to help the narrative along.

    In an emailed statement to the Daily Dot, Camarena said she's doing the project to satisfy her current fan obsession—and because 'tis the season:

    I decided to do a murder mystery set in the Spider-Verse because I’m super immersed in the Amazing Spider-Man world right now. I have a bunch of friends who like to cosplay, and what a better time to do a huge cosplay collaboration than during the month of October? The characters are so fun and interesting, and I saw a lot of similarities between them and my friends, so it just seemed fitting!

    The story officially began at noon PT on the #spideymurdermystery hashtag on Instagram. But the players were already showing off their cosplay skills earlier today:

    Here's the full story schedule for you to follow along with:

    Check in on each of the accounts, then put the clues together to catch a killer, Spidey-style.

    Photo via yoshistunts/Instagram


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    A trio of King Georges singing about equality for all on the streets of New York? It sounds absurd, but it's the latest eye-catching performance from Ham4Ham, the semi-regular event during Hamilton's daily ticket lottery on Broadway.

    The three men who've all played or will play King George as part of the production so far teamed up for an iconic trio captured by rapt fans waiting to see if they'd won coveted $10 tickets. Clad in crowns and street clothes, they gender-swapped the Schuyler Sisters' sassy girl power number, with current Schuyler sister Renee Elise Goldsberry stepping in as Aaron Burr.

    While a clip has already garnered 37,394 views over the weekend, one fan went as far as to combine all the footage from different angles for a multi-camera clip that captures all the excitement.

    Brian D'Arcy James, who originally played the role off Broadway but left to star in last year's Something Rotten, joined Jonathan Groff, who originated the role on Broadway and is stepping out for a few weeks to work on the Looking film for HBO. He's being replaced by Broadway vet and fellow HBO star Andrew Rannells. In the clip Groff takes on the Angelica role, with James as Eliza and, naturally, replacement Rannells as "afterthought" Peggy.

    In a medium known and prized for being able to churn out identical experiences every night, Hamilton's turn at Broadway continues to bend toward the new digital world. Even as Hamilton continues to pick up momentum, sell out more shows, and with its creator winning a McArthur Genius Grant and hosting special fundraising events for the president, the cast and crew still has time to add "Web phenomenon" to its list of achievements.

    Screengrab via RuojingZ/YouTube


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    Missed seeing comedians Redd Foxx and Andy Kaufman while they were living? Soon, you could see them again—as holograms. 

    Hologram USA, the company headed by billionaire entrepreneur Alki David, is responsible for this revival. It recently announced a partnership with the comedians’ estates, which would put them both back in venues in 2016.

    David Nussbaum, Hologram USA’s senior vice president of sales, has been leading this project. He says the company is hard at work creating some “clever illusions,” and that while, yes, this is a business, it’s also just full of fans. Contacting the families or estates of potential hologram candidates usually involves a cold call, and then a partnership is created with “as much authenticity that can possibly be done without them actually being there,” as well as the continual approval of the performer’s estate through each step in the process.

    “We don’t want an Andy Kaufman superfan sitting front row center saying, ‘Eh, that’s not Andy. He would never do it that way.’”

    Foxx, who died in 1991, is perhaps best known for Sanford and Son, but he was a groundbreaking and prolific standup before that show, releasing a string of “party records” from the ’50s to the ’70s. Kaufman, who died in 1984, was less of a traditional standup comedian. His bits on Saturday Night Live and Late Night With David Letterman have circulated widely online, and he was fond of characters and stunts, which makes this hologram performance even more of a mind-bending proposal. 

    Michael Kaufman, Andy’s brother and his estate’s representative, told the New York Times that this is “the right platform for the new generation of audiences to experience Andy.” Kaufman’s name has been invoked many times in the Internet era, with “Kaufmanesque” becoming a descriptor for obtuse, challenging comedy. If he were still alive, Michael thinks he would have “busted the Internet. This keeps him alive.”

    This new Kaufman will likely only stoke the fires of “Andy Kaufman is still aliveconspiracy theorists, who have used the Internet to exchange blurry bits of proof.  

    “We nearly didn’t press release [the partnership] at all,” Nussbaum said. “We were just going to have Andy Kaufman show up somewhere and do standup. That would have blown people’s minds on its own. I think that Andy and Redd and all of our artists deserve to be publicized and deserve their own show and press release. But I think with Andy, we could have gotten away with having him just show up on a talk show or an open mic or even hosting Saturday Night Live.”

    Nussbaum says the material for Kaufman and Foxx’s shows will include some of “best of” but hints that there “may or may not be additional material.”

    So Andy Kaufman and Redd Foxx could somehow be doing new material?

    “All material will be approved by the estate,” Nussbaum explained. “We’re not just going to put anything we want onto a stage or into a club without the estate saying ‘that’s the right material, that’s the way I want it said, that’s the way I want it delivered.’ ...If Andy Kaufman is playing a venue he performed in quite often, say in the 1970s, he might say, ‘It’s so great to be back.’”


    Great or not, more and more dead performers are coming back. Bruce Lee was revived for a whiskey commercial. Paul Walker was reanimated for Furious 7. Eazy-E performed at Rock the Bells in 2013. Tupac appeared at Coachella with Snoop Dogg in 2012. Next year, Hologram USA will be digitally resurrecting Whitney Houston for a world tour. Legendary singer Billie Holiday is performing later this year at the Apollo as a hologram, which is a sentence none of us could have predicted.

    When a celebrity passes, social media becomes a medium for coping, even if it’s by proxy and retweet. But now celebs have to consider another layer to their eventual afterlife: Will they be made into holograms?

    Before his death in August 2014, Robin Williams filed a deed to restrict use of his image 25 years after his death. Rachel Alexander, a privacy lawyer, told the Guardian that this will likely become more popular for celebs as digital effects and the looming specter of holograms do as well:

    The motive behind this seems to be firstly that Robin Williams wanted to make sure his image isn’t tarnished, with unauthorised images used in adverts for example or films, which technology has now made possible. I think it is very likely we will see more people doing it.

    In this brave new world, it gets even more complicated. Last year, Michael Jackson performed at the Billboard Music Awards; Alki David attempted to prevent the performance, citing an infringement on patented hologram technology by Pulse Evolution, a rival company. That company sued David, claiming his complaint was a means to “divert public and industry attention away from Pulse Entertainment just as the company was being launched.” David also sued after a Homer Simpson hologram was used at Comic-Con in 2014, claiming patent infringement.  

    The hologram performance isn’t new, but shows featuring living performers point to a rapidly changing landscape that’s increasingly embracing virtual reality as entertainment. M.I.A. and Janelle Monae did a bi-coastal hologram performance in 2013; Black Eyed Peas’ Will.i.am famously appeared on CNN as a hologram in 2008; Hologram USA beamedJulian Assange to an event from the Ecuadorian embassy in London last year. Chief Keef’s July hologram concert at Craze Fest in Hammond, Indiana, which was to be a benefit for two victims of shootings, was quickly shut down, raising questions about free speech.

    “The thing about that [Craze Fest] is, they were playing Chief Keef’s music all day at that festival,” a spokesperson for Hologram USA said. “It was the appearance of him as a hologram that was deemed to be too far.” 

    Hologram technology does have interesting implications for political dissidents or controversial figures, like Assange, in terms of getting them access. “But on the negative side, if people can squash [the Chief Keef hologram], which is really just a very high-tech and high-quality digital transmission,” the spokesperson said, “then what's to stop them from squashing any digital transmission?” 


    Earlier this year, Hologram USA announced a hologram comedy club for comedians in Jamestown, N.Y.; Nussbaum calls it the “Cooperstown of comedy.” The Hologram USA comedy club will be located there, and it will be the world’s very first all-hologram comedy club. But it’s not just for dead comedians: The team could also “beam in” live ones. They tried it out with Jimmy Kimmel in Nashville in 2014.

    There will be limitations, at least until hologram projection spaces are installed in venues. If people can’t get to the shows, there might be a livestream, according to Nussbaum; David does own streaming site FilmOn, which has seen its own legal issues.

    And yet, so much of live comedy is the connection between the audience and the performer; the comedian feeds off the audience’s energy and response, which often informs where he or she goes next with their material. Won’t that get lost with the digital performance? 

    Nussbaum doesn’t think so: “People who are going to a hologram show are going for the experience.” He views it more as a movie, with the digital performer already anticipating when the audience might laugh. Kaufman, he says, was a natural fit for a hologram, then.

    “He thrives on awkward silences.”

    Would he be able to respond to a heckler? Yes, but Nussbaum doesn’t want to reveal too much. He paints a vision of the not-so-distant future: If you’re a performer, at a certain point, you have to hang it up. It’d be perfectly reasonable to film a comedian as a hologram, and then send it out on the road to keep revenue coming in. Soon, comedy clubs and venues might look like a scene from Disney World’s Haunted Mansion ride. 

    Kaufman and Foxx are returning to a comedy landscape that’s much different from the one they existed in. This digital revival is going to change what it means to be a touring comedian, and a fan of live comedy. But can we truly laugh along?  

    Illustration by Max Fleishman 


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    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.

    November

    Coming Nov. 1

    Battle for the Planet of the Apes

    Beneath the Planet of the Apes

    Don’t Say a Word

    Double Jeopardy

    Dreamgirls

    Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

    Field of Dreams

    Good Burger

    Once

    Planet of the Apes

    Ride Along

    Satisfaction

    Scream

    The Last King of Scotland

    The Thomas Crown Affair

    The Waterboy

    Throw Momma from the Train

    Coming Nov. 21

    Fifty Shades of Grey

    Coming Nov. 28

    Kingsman: The Secret Service

    Leaving Nov. 24

    The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

    Leaving Nov. 30

    Accepted

    Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

    Dances with Wolves

    Godzilla

    Hannibal

    Ice Age: The Meltdown

    Jersey Boys

    Let’s Be Cops

    Miami Vice

    Neighbors

    Rush Hour

    Scooby-Doo

    The Fly

    October

    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)

    Brick (2005)

    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)

    Magnolia (1999)

    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)

    Shrek (2001)

    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)

    Gothika (2003)

    Escape from L.A. (1996)

    Jarhead (2005)

    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)

    September

    Coming Sept. 1

    Beetlejuice (1998)

    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)

    Her (2013)

    How Stella Got her Groove Back (1998)

    In the Heat of the Night (1967)

    Manhattan (1979)

    The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

    Staying Alive (1983)

    Thelma & Louise (1991)

    Titanic (1997)

    V for Vendetta (2005)

    Expiring soon

    Sept. 15

    Inside Man (2006)

    Sept. 24

    Wedding Crashers (2005)

    Sept. 27

    The Counselor (2013)

    Sept. 30

    Best Man Holiday (2013)

    The Break-Up (2006)

    Contact (1997)

    Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

    Girl, Interrupted (1999)

    Idiocracy (2006)

    Moulin Rouge! (2001)

    Pleasantville (1998)

    Save the Last Dance (2001)

    That Awkward Moment (2014)

    The Wedding Planner (2001)

    Working Girl (1998)


    August

    Say hello to cult classics Veronica MarsandSerenity, Oscar nominees Birdman and The Theory of Everything, and more.

    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.

    Coming Soon

    Aug. 1

    Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Innocence)

    Charlie’s Angels

    Dances with Wolves

    A Fish Called Wanda

    Four Weddings and a Funeral

    John Tucker Must Die

    Meet the Parents

    An Officer and a Gentleman

    Serenity

    Veronica Mars

    Aug. 4

    Back on Board: Greg Louganis

    Ramona (short) (en Español)

    Aug. 7

    Manos Sucias (en Español)

    Aug. 8

    The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

    Aug. 12

    Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Houston Texans

    Aug. 14

    Bomba (en Español)

    Aug. 15

    The Theory of Everything

    Aug. 16

    Show Me a Hero: Part 1 & Part 2

    Aug. 22

    Tig Notaro: Boyish Girl, Interrupted

    Dumb and Dumber To

    Aug. 23

    Show Me a Hero: Part 3 & Part 4

    Aug. 29

    Kill the Messenger

    Aug. 30

    Show Me a Hero: Part 5 & Part 6 (8/30)

    Leaving Aug. 31

    Broken Arrow

    Ender’s Game

    Enemy of the State

    Enough Said

    Eyes Wide Shut

    The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

    Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

    The Other Woman

    The Wolverine

    Illustration by Max Fleishman


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    We’ll take “Your New Crush,” for 300. 

    Last night’s episode of Jeopardy! featured a contestant so hot, the Internet couldn’t contain itself. Tom Flynn, a bartender from Goshen, New York, may not have wowed anyone with his score, but he took the win in sex appeal.


    He faced off against Beth Horn, a nanny from Dallas, Texas, and Sean Anderson, a law professor from Champaign, Illinois, and even though they had him beat points-wise for most of the game, Tom managed to steal the spotlight on Twitter. 

    The final nail in his heartthrob coffin came during Final Jeopardy when he didn't have the correct answer. Instead of taking a guess, he went ahead and made himself into a living meme by simply writing “What” as his answer, and the Internet rejoiced. 


    Well played, Tom. 

    H/T The Cut | Screengrab via AnkhiKrolLaw/Twitter

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    Bro. 

    On the latest episode of Billy on the StreetBilly Eichner brought guest Jason Sudeikis out onto the streets of Manhattan to test New Yorkers' bro knowledge.

    Using the aliases Big Bill and "my friend Jason," the two posed some really tough lightning-round questions to their contestants, including, "In 2015 did you kill it or did you crush it?" 

    Really makes you think. 

    H/T Splitsider | Screengrab via Billy on the Street/YouTube


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    Rockies relief pitcher Adam Ottavino suffered a bad elbow injury in April, and after undergoing Tommy John surgery in May, he had a long road to travel as he rehabs and tries to reclaim his position as Colorado's closer.

    The Tommy John surgery, the most dreaded procedure a pitcher can undergo as a tendon is transferred from one part of the patient's body and used to help reconstruct the ulnar collateral ligament, can take a year (or possibly even more) to fully rehab the arm.

    After the surgery, a pitcher isn't allowed to throw for the first four months after he gets out of the operating room. Perhaps out of boredom, Ottavino documented the first few months of his recovery with a GoPro camera. The Players' Tribune then posted it on YouTube with this description:

    It takes 16 weeks until you can safely throw a baseball after Tommy John Surgery. The following short film documents some of what I did during my 16 weeks. I recorded everything with my GoPro camera because it was small and discreet and I didn’t want to get in everybody’s way. When I watch it, it reminds me of the progress I have made since the surgery, as well as the work that still lies ahead in my recovery. I want to thank the Colorado Rockies for allowing me to rehab in Denver and in particular Scott Murayama for working with me everyday and putting up with me.

    The film is a study in isolation. Fans might forget about a ballplayer when he's on the mend and not in the lineup every day, but Ottavino is here to remind us that he was still working, still earning that paycheck, in the bowels of the stadium when virtually nobody else was around.

    So, he undresses and dresses with one arm, completes his arm stretches in the trainer's room or face-down next to the whirlpool, works out his lower body and tries to keep up his cardio, and eats fruit with nary more than a baseball game playing on the TV above and tens of thousands of empty seats outside the door.

    It reminds us of this simple fact from which nobody ever can escape: When the fans stop chanting your name, the world can be an awfully lonely place.

    H/T The Players' Tribune | Screengrab via The Players' Tribune/YouTube


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    With Neflix, Hulu, and Amazon hosting massive libraries of streaming material, it can be easy to overlook services like Tribeca Shortlist that host less material, but curate the hell out of it.

    For Halloween, Tribeca Shortlist is hosting an online film festival entitled “Fright Fest,” which will be streaming a film each night—starting tonight, and running through Halloween—picked by the president of Lions Gate and the programmer for the annual Tribeca Film Festival. Each will include a short film to introduce the main feature. The films included are:

    Tribeca Shortlist charges $4.99 a month for 183 movies, with 14 curated shortlists (plus Fright Fest) of anywhere between four-to-10 films that are picked by filmmakers (like Jason Blum, of Blumhouse Productions) for their particular impact on their careers and general perspectives on the medium.

    The films available on the service appear to rival the number of films that  you’d ever actually watch on Netflix each month, but all of them are good, so it’s not too bad of a deal. Plus the Fright Fest films can always be watched on Halloween night with the free, 14-day trial that Tribeca Shortlist offers, and then cancelled afterward. Except we all know that you’ll never get around to actually cancelling it. 

    Look it’s a cheap and good service, so it’s worth the risk of accidentally paying its monthly fee.

    H/T Tribeca Screengrab via Movieclips Coming Soon/YouTube


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    What must have been the worst nightmare for Fox as the network broadcast the first game of the World Series actually occurred in the bottom of the fourth inning when the network lost power to its broadcast truck, knocking out the game for the U.S. audience.

    And Major League Baseball had to delay the game until order could be restored.

    For a few minutes, this is what Fox viewers who were watching the Mets battle the Royals saw when they looked at their screens.

    Fox, after a few seconds, threw back to the studio where host Dan O'Toole stammered and vamped for a few minutes with analysts Dontrelle Willis and Eric Karros until Fox was saved by the MLB International Feed. When viewers were returned to the game, it was clear the game had been stopped, apparently because, as reports stated, there was an inability to review replays.

    Both teams reportedly agreed to go without replays until power could be restored, and the game was restarted.

    Of course, the entire nightmare led to all kinds of Twitter ridicule.

    Luckily for Fox, the International feed was solid, leading to a couple of very important questions/observations.

    In all, Fox lost power for 23 minutes, and considering Yahoo successfully broadcast an NFL game on the Internet last Sunday with hardly a blip, it wasn't the network's luckiest moment.

    Update 10:19pm CT, Oct. 27: Fox has issued a statement regarding the outage: 

    Photo via Fox Sports


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    Despite signing an exclusive four-film deal with Netflix—which, for some reason, must have thought this would be a great idea—Adam Sandler had a spot of trouble last April when filming his latest movie as a number of Native Americans walked off the set because the script was so culturally insensitive and insulting.

    Yet, the movie continued forward, and now Netflix has released a trailer for The Ridiculous 6. It features no racist-tinged humor. Only, as should be expected, unfunny gags.

    A group of Native American actors and a cultural adviser bolted from the set, due, in part, to insensitive jokes that included names like "Beaver's Breath," "No Bra," and "Stiff-In-Pants." Other insults included an actress being asked to squat and pee while smoking a peace pipe and featured punchlines like "I put my pee-pee in your teepee."

    Here was part of the conversation between the offended actors and one of the film's producers, who said he understood the position of the actors but emphatically stated that Beaver's Breath would not be changed.

    Fortunately for all the Sandler fans out there, the show went on, and they can see the results at a theater near them on Dec. 11. For everybody else, it'll just be Friday. 

    H/T Gawker | Screengrab via Netflix/YouTube


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    When political candidates start talking about their favorite TV shows, it can feel like a cynical ploy to seem relatable and normal.

    Not so with Hillary Clinton, who revealed to Stephen Colbert that her three favorite shows are basically fanfiction about her own life: House of Cards (about a Washington power couple trying to hold onto the presidency), Madam Secretary (about a female secretary of state), and The Good Wife, which literally features a Clinton campaign storyline this season.

    Some people might see these choices as egotistical, but we kind of love the fact that Hillary Clinton admits to watching political dramas to relax. 

    Screengrab via The Late Show with Stephen Colbert/YouTube


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    Mindy Kaling is one of those celebrities who is so down-to-Earth that you feel like if you met her IRL, you would totally be best friends. And now, thanks to an Easter egg in her new book, Why Not Me?, you can leave her a voicemail… or 14.

    In the book, there is a section where Kaling shares what her life might have been like if she had never landed her writing gig on The Office. This section is told through emails exchanged with her hypothetical co-workers at the prestigious New York City prep school where she is a teacher. In the signature of the emails, there are two phone numbers. One is a very fake 555 number, but the other one looked very real to me, so I called, and was met with a recorded message from Mindy.

    If Kaling went through the trouble of recording the message, I figured someone must be listening to the voicemails that are being left too, so I excitedly called the number every day for two weeks in the hopes that Mindy would take pity on me and call back.

    Spoiler: Mindy never called back. I never got to tell her about how I did finally recover from my cold or about how she is the godmother to the dog I adopted, but I still hold out hope that one day, she will finally listen to her voicemail, and call me. (Please?)  

    Photo by Aly Keves


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