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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    Those looking to avoid hearing Psy's new, terrible "Gentleman" any more times than they already have should consider moving to the celebrated YouTube sensation's native country South Korea. 

    According to an Associated Press report, one major broadcasting network within the Asian nation has banned the K-pop singer's newest video from all of its broadcasting channels because Psy kicks a state-owned parking cone in the opening sequence. 

    That's destruction of property, something that state-funded KBS said Thursday does not meet its standards as a public broadcast. Two spokesman within the company told the AP that the network has banned videos for similar reasons in the past. 

    The banning is a pain in the neck for the hugely popular K-pop sensation, but not altogether damning. Released onto YouTube Saturday, "Gentleman" already has more than 150 million views and more than 1.3 million likes, neither of which I personally think are that deserved. 

    Photo via OfficialPSY/YouTube


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    Greg Behrendt has been a professional comedian for 22 years and written a New York Times best-selling advice book, He’s Just Not That Into You, which was turned into a movie.

    But the bigger they are, the harder they fall. After the hoopla surrounding the book died down, Behrendt wound up with huge audiences full of people who adored his book and were baffled and dismayed by his comedy.

    It was at a trough in his career, and spirits, that he answered friend and comedian Dave Anthony’s call to start a podcast with him, Walking the Room, a weekly outing that finds the two ranting and riffing on various subjects, occasionally with special guests.  

    In the years since, Behrendt has adopted a suite of formats to express himself. He’s started a band, developed a clothing company (Estoy Merchandise) and consulted on television shows. In the process, he’s become an object lesson in social media synergy for creative types.  

    “I have a blog for the podcast, for the band, and for myself,” he said, “and I publish under those three headings. I tweet, I Facebook. Everything. Social media is a really cool way to tell your story to people who are interested in hearing it. It’s not getting put through the filter of a television executive who’s decided you're too old to justify the expenditure.”

    Being “too old” for the entertainment industry is an issue Behrendt has struggled with. Podcasting has cheated the switches on that, turning it from a reality into a perception.

    “You don’t have this problem with books,” he said, “but there is a limited space on network TV and films. There’s so much money being put in, they have to make executive decisions on where to spend their money and unfortunately that rules a lot of people out.”

    By using social media, he's been able to address the people who like what he does and build back an audience he can fall in love with.

    “I don’t have a massive fanbase,” he said. “I don’t have Patton Oswalt numbers, but the fanbase I have is incredibly generous, and of the 22,000 people who follow me on Twitter, I think almost all of those people participate.”  

    Behrendt’s band, the Reigning Monarchs, play a blend of music that sounds like an A&R executive’s fever-induced nightmare: ska-punk-surf-reggae. And yet, when they went out on Indiegogo to fund a new full-length LP, tour, and documentary, people stepped up. The group raised almost three times the amount they had initially asked for, the final total reaching just shy of $27,000.

    “If you just tweet, people are going to go “fuck you,” Behrendt said about the campaign, “but if you record a video, if you communicate, it’s all different. It’s absurd to think people would give money to a surf and ska band full of 40 year olds and one about to turn 50. But they did.”

    A significant part of the campaign’s success has to do with Walking the Room’s approach and longevity.

    “When Dave and I went to do our podcast, we weren’t anywhere,” he said. “All we had was our frailty, our aspirations, and our failure.” Every achievement they’ve made since then was based firmly in that sad triangle.

    “I wanted to be in a band, I wanted to have a T-shirt company, and Dave has wanted to be taken seriously as a comedian for as long as he’s been doing it, but he always shot himself in the foot, and now he’s not.”

    The only thing that “hasn’t come back fully,” he said was his standup. He’s still not filling rooms like he did at the height of his celebrity. But Behrendt seems OK with that. “So many people keep doing things when they don’t have anything to say. Unless I really have something to say I don’t want to do it.”

    The podcast remains one of the formats in which Behrendt finds he still has something to say and wants to keep doing.

    “Dave and I discovered we are a comedy team,” he explained. “When we sit down, he hits a button that allows me to make comedy, the type of comedy I’ve always wanted to do but have never been able to, truly immediate, extemporaneous comedy. When I find myself shucking and jiving on stage these days, I tell myself: Remember to talk to Dave.”

    Behrendt will tape a live episode of Walking the Room at Baghdad Theater Saturday night as part of the Bridgetown Comedy Festival.


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    Matt Braunger is in the full flush of a successful comic career. A former cast member of MadTV, he recently released his second comedy album (Shovel Fighter), is a recurring guest on the network sitcom Up All Night and a panelist on Chelsea Lately. He’s also a cofounder of Bridgetown Comedy Festival, which is in its sixth year.

    Braunger would come home every now and again and play Harvey’s, at the time Portland’s only comedy club. Having only one venue was restrictive. His friend Chantelle Hilton was a music promoter, so he asked her to set up some gigs for him at rock venues like the Town Lounge, a former mausoleum. The bands would go on at 10pm, so he would play the 8 o’clock slot with a couple of openers.

    At one such show, his friend, comedian Andy Wood, broached the idea of setting up a festival in Portland and shortly thereafter, they set to it.

    What Bridgetown offers is a tiered system where above-the-marquee types, mid-level comedians, and beginners can leverage each others’ knowledge and energy.

    “We’re still a kind of mid-level festival, compared to the Just for Laughs-type colossus,” Braunger told the Daily Dot. “Those big festivals attract a lot of industry.”

    Six years of festival experience has allowed Braunger and his partners to get smarter about that programming. Part of their toolkit is social media.

    “You want to try to make it as good as it can and that’s the bottom line,” he said. “It gets more and more streamlined, and we take feedback from fans and comedians. During the festival people tweet the great performances they’ve seen and who killed it and we take it into account.”

    But their programming is never a Twitter-based algorithm. The festival personnel, Braunger said, have a lot of experience.

    “We trust our taste.”

    As someone in mid-career, Braunger doesn’t need Twitter or a podcast to pull him up into the public eye. And when he began, social media wasn’t even really an option.

    “Ten years ago, Twitter was one of those things I didn’t think it would become worldwide explosion, so I didn’t jump on it right away as a tool,” Braunger said. But it has become so.

    “I try to make sure I put funny stuff on it every day, funny, interesting, or informative.”

    He also did a podcast with comedian Matt Dwyer,MATTS Radio, and after a year, “Fine, done with that,” He’s recently started a new podcast for the Nerdist network,Ding-Donger with Matt Braunger, having recently recorded only the second episode.  

    “The market completely is saturated, so my podcast is once a week, 15 minutes. The hook is hitchhiking; I hop in, ride with you for a bit and I get out.”

    Despite the oversaturation, Braunger said the explosion of social media for comedians is “nothing but good.”

    “It shows you just keep having to work, and the cream rises, So long as you're careful with what you’re putting out there, it’s OK. The Internet's a goldmine, not for money, for getting people out there.”

    Matt Braunger will appear in five shows over the course of the Bridgeport Comedy Festival.


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    @meganamram is arguably better known than Megan Amram.

    “My Twitter persona is way more surreal and dark than my human persona,” the comedian told the Daily Dot. “In real life, I'm very warm I think and a huge oversharer, but my persona is some sort of nightmare sand worm.”

    With 350,000 followers, the rising television writer’s been included in Time magazine’s 140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2013 and Rolling Stone’s 25 Funniest People on Twitter. (Sample tweet: “The sad irony of this whole thing is that Anne Frank actually did die of Bieber Fever in Bergen-Belsen.”

    In fact, her offscreen success has been a direct result of her 140-character humor and her endorsement by “Twitter mentor” Rob Delaney, who has instructed his followers: Go read 100 @meganamram tweets & tell everyone you know to follow her.”

    “I love Twitter and it made me an exponentially better joke writer,” she said.

    “I do feel like Twitter allowed me to skip a bunch of steps in terms of time you spend in L.A. slaving away trying to get writing jobs, which I am eternally grateful for. In a matter of months, it allowed me to be more visible than people who’ve been working for years out here.”

    What excites Megan Amram in her writing, and that of others, is the tension between hackiness and intelligence, how intelligence informs the best kind of stupid. Her example is The Simpsons.

    The Simpsons is an intelligent show full of fart and beer jokes. That tension is inherent in everything I loved growing up, switching between Alfred Lord Tennyson references and corn-in-my-shit jokes.”

    Amram moved out to L.A. after college with the idea of getting involved in comedy writing. Thanks in part to Twitter, she moved quickly from post-college ambler to writing for the Oscars, a Disney show called A.N.T. Farm, and now one of the most enviable comedy writing gigs available, as a staffer on NBC’s beloved Parks and Recreation.

    But being good on Twitter doesn’t always translate to the comedy circuit.

    “Well, you do have to have good material,” she stressed. “It’s not that I sat there doing nothing and Hollywood knocked on my door, but it wasn’t the opposite of that.”

    Amram also excels on Tumblr. Her blog houses mid- and long-form comedy writing, showing a different side of her comedic repertoire that’s more in line with her Hollyword work. She is an inheritor of the Without Feathers tradition of comedic stories and essays, which jibes with her comedic upbringing.

    “My mom introduced us early to Woody Allen and the Marx Brothers,” she said. “Everything about how TV and movies get made is different now. It’s moving to pulpier things, which is a result of networks assuming everyone is dumb.”

    Photo via @meganamram@/Twitter


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    Do you find yourself wanting to re-watch Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope but lacking the two hours in which to do so?

    Fortunately, you can now watch the epic film—and a few other popular movies—in a single minute.

    This xkcd-style reimagining of George Lucas' crown jewel runs down the whole plot of the saga's fourth chapter in under 12 parsecs. The capture of Princess Leia's ship in the opening scene, for example, which takes roughly four years to happen in the actual film, occurs almost instantaneously. Alderaan is destroyed without time for those million voices to cry out in terror. The drawn-out battle scene that destroys the Death Star and closes the movie is reduced to mere seconds.

    Now that’s staying on target, kid.

    While very economical in terms of invested time, the video sadly doesn't bring us any closer to an answer of whether Han shot first.

    The minutelong version of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope is the latest in the Speedrun series of videos on YouTube. Speedrun, still in its infancy, is a product of Russian animation company 1A4 STUDIO, and uses original artwork and animation to recreate well-known movies in 60 seconds. No fluff, no filler, no pesky opening credits: just continuous action that drives the story in 1/120th of the time. 

    You could watch the entire Star Wars saga in five minutes—assuming you’d still want to skip The Phantom Menace, as it isn't worth even a minute of your time.

    To date, two other Speedrun videos have been produced.

    The Speedrun version of Back to the Future chronicles the adventures of Marty McFly and Doc Brown at a speed that feels a lot faster than 88 mph. McFly goes from loser teenager to musical legend in exactly a minute's time, something that has only ever been done in Saved by the Bell reruns.

    The Speedrun version of The Matrix takes the red pill. Neo flies through the various glitches of the Matrix with little problem aside from his weak stomach—but in 60 seconds, there's no time for dodging showy slow-motion bullets.

    There is no word on whether or not 1A4 STUDIO plans to do other movies in the Speedrun format, like the obvious choice of Gone in Sixty Seconds.

    Photo via 1A4 STUDIO/YouTube


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    Pizza Hut may not sell dehydrated pizzas yet, but for Xbox Live users, this might be the next best thing.

    The fast food franchise is launching an app which lets you order a pizza while you game—all without the hassle of putting down your game controller to pick up the phone or interacting with an actual person while placing your order.

    The app, which is set to go live today, links your Xbox Live account with your Pizza Hut account and gives you access to the entire Pizza Hut menu. From there, you can choose any of the featured items as well as create your own masterpiece with your game controller, the sound of your voice, or Kinect gestures, although it'll probably negate your Dance Central 3 workout.

    And once your order's placed, you can even share that information on Facebook.

    You can already order pizza through Pizza Hut's website and an iPad app, but this would be another way for people to quell their pizza craving if they don't have a computer or it's in another room, according to Xbox's Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb.

    "If you look at our audience, they love pizza. I mean, who doesn't?" Hryb told Polygon. "It has international appeal, and Pizza Hut is a recognized brand that matches up well with the Xbox brand."

    In order to entice more people for the app, Pizza Hut is giving Xbox users a 15 percent discount off their first purchase as long as they download the app and order before May 6. College students procrastinating on finals, take note.

    But until robots can hand us a meal pill a la The Jetsons, you'll have to put your controller down to actually eat your pizza.

    H/T: Mashable | Photo via Polygon


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    Over the span of a few hours Monday evening, several members of the Kardashian family shared their intense love for and devotion to Vine-ish video-sharing app Keek.

    Kim Kardashian, Kris Jenner, Kendall Jenner, Kourtney babydaddy Scott Disick, and others were all blabbing about it. They urged their Twitter and Instagram followers to sign up (if they hadn't done so) and follow the family members there as well.

    The family's endorsement seems to be helping. Keek is expanding quickly. In January, it was adding 200,000 new users a day.

    And the Kardashan Klan won't let up. Why Keek? Why not the (much buzzier) Vine? Why not YouTube? Gawker's Nitasha Tiku was curious. Now we're curious. Maybe we can figure it out. We have a few theories.

    1) They're in it for the money

    Seems obvious, right? It's entirely possible that Keek has a financial relationship with the Kardashians. That they all talked about Keek within a few hours is indicative of an organized promotional push.

    There's precedent. The Kardashians have, in the past, profited from advertising with tweets. Furthermore, Kim Kardashian has been quoted in Keek's press releases. There's certainly some kind of relationship between the two parties. That it is a financial one is a prudent bet. 

    Keek did not respond to a request for comment.

    However, if it transpires the Kardashians were paid to push Keek to their millions of fans, they might be in hot water. Recent FEC rule changes mean that celebrities need to be clear and transparent when their posts are paid advertisements. 

    2) They timed the promotion to bring more attention to the E! upfronts

    Valleywag pointed out the Kardashians tweeted and Instagrammed about Keek right as E! held an event to reveal its programming slate. The E! network, naturally, is where the plethora of Kardashian reality shows air. None of the new shows mentioned the Kardashians, though the family was at the event to present the slate to media. Kris Jenner shared a "keek," as it's called, from the red carpet.

    3) They want their accounts verified

    I know, they're just like us, right? Kim, Kris, and Kendall, at least, all had their Keek accounts verified before this week. The Instagrams and tweeted photos of their Keek accounts show the blue-check verified badges. 

    If you want your Keek account verified, you'll need to give Keek some free promotion by tweeting a link to the app. 

    4) They're Keek OGs

    The Kardashians have been on Keek longer than Vine has been around. They're Keek hipsters. They were sharing video snippets before it was cool. Keek has been around since late 2011. Vine only came to the fore in January. 

    Kylie Jenner has posted almost 400 videos over the last 10 months, grabbing 1.3 million followers in the process. Kim's been on Keek for four months, and has almost 1.2 million followers. Kris Jenner's racked up almost half a million followers in the last five months.

    Regardless of any relationship the family members might have with Keek, it stands to reason that they'd want to hang around on a platform they've invested time and effort into, instead of switching to a hot new video-sharing community and starting from scratch.

    5) They're looking for more attention than Vine can give

    Vines are limited to six seconds. Keek videos can last as long as 36. 

    We're not saying the Kardashians demand six times as much attention as Vine users. Just an observation.

    Photo by Eva Rinaldi Photography/Flickr


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    What do you get when you describe YouTube star Jenna Marbles, whose simple 'how to' viral videos have made her the most subscribed-to woman on YouTube, as a flash-in-the-pan viral sensation who only appeals to teens and makes videos "about nothing"?

    You get the wrath of Hank Green, who lashed out viciously at Good Morning America earlier today via Tumblr after it aired a condescending interview segment implying that Marbles' success relied on good looks and a few flash-in-the-pan gimmicks rather than on the clever writing and editing, comic timing, and subtle social commentary that her followers know well. 

    In a blow-by-blow commentary, Green all-capped his way through the April 18 segment, calling it a "puffy hatchet job" and pointing out examples of the condescending and pejorative language and factual errors used by GMA in its attempts to dumb down Marbles' appeal and explain it to moms—the same moms, Green notes, who are already watching Jenna Marbles. Citing GMA's statement that Marbles makes videos about "nothing," Green explodes, "REALLY?! DID YOU WATCH ANY OF THE VIDEOS?!"

    First, comedy doesn’t have to be about something. But more importantly, Jenna’s videos aren’t about nothing, they’re about culture and sexism and growing up. Hiding in amongst all that “nothing” are often poignant insights.... [GMA] completely misunderstands one one of the most influential and intelligent creators of media in America.

    Good Morning America asks Marbles only two questions in the edited segment, and spends more time critiquing her language than actually letting her talk. "I've lost count of the number of times you used 'ridiculous' in this interview," the interviewer comments at one point, implying that Marbles thinks her own videos are inane and unimportant. It then goes on to indicate that only teens and tweens are fans, and that most parents are scratching their heads in confusion over their kids' latest fad. 

    In reality, while most of her audience is made up of teen girls, Marbles' 8 million subscribers and billion views don't fit into a single demographic.

    Photo via caitlynluboxoxo/Tumblr

    Photo via falling-insidetheblack/Tumblr

    So when ABC interviewer Cecilia Vega asks Marbles if she "deserves" to have fans, it's not only an odd question to ask someone who's earning six figures a year, and not only a question that criticizes the interests of millions of young women. It's a question indicative of a lack of understanding on GMA's part about the nature of YouTube culture and community, as well as the creative savvy it takes to cultivate a fanbase the size of New York City in just under three years, using only a camera and yourself. "The only way to ask that question is if you, as an interviewer, have made your mind up that the person does NOT deserve their success," Green wrote.

    And in the end, that’s how the entire segment feels to me, a bunch of people making fun of a creator who they are threatened by and who they do not understand. And of course they’re threatened by it, Jenna Marbles (on her own, with a cheap camera) can make a video that gets more [views] by more people than an episode of Good Morning America.

    Green's own various web video projects, especially his Vlogbrothers series with brother John Green, have garnered him a huge fan following of his own. Green, co-founder of VidCon with his brother, has long been an integral part of the YouTube community of vloggers. He's in a unique position to critique the marginalization of YouTube culture by mainstream media. 

    GMA spent five minutes making fun of one of the most influential creators that exists in the world right now. But what’s worse is they didn’t criticize her for legitimate reasons, they made fun of her for NOT MATTERING…for not being important…for being a meaningless cultural blip that they’re certain will just disappear. You wanna talk about something ridiculous…it’s you GMA, not Jenna.

    Perhaps this cultural disconnect is why Marbles herself has repeatedly rejected taking her own act onto more traditional media platforms. After all, when your current low-budget platform has gained you a personal fan following of millions, why mess with what's working? 

    The hard part for mainstream media seems to be grasping exactly what it is about Marbles' format that works so well. A recent excellent interview and profile of Marbles, her successful business strategies, and her place within YouTube culture, was totally buried by the New York Times in its "Fashion and Style" section, as if the only thing that matters about Marbles' comedy and brand of wisdom is that a hot blonde chick once gave the world drunk makeup tips.

    Marbles is by no means universally beloved; December's "Things I Don't Understand About Girls, Part 2: Slut Edition" caused a furor for slut-shaming, and she has often taken heat for controversial statements and parodies of celebrities like Nicki Minaj. But her frank, unassuming persona has clearly made waves among her viewers; cruise the Jenna Marbles tag on any social network and you'll see endless variations of, "I relate to her so hard," "She is me," and "I could watch her videos all day."

    When's the last time you heard anyone say that about Good Morning America?

    Photo via JennaMarbles/YouTube


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    Following the immense success of the Veronica Mars film Kickstarter, Reddit sweetheart–actor–director Zach Braff is trying to harness the power of crowdsourcing to make his first film since his 2004 breakout hit Garden State.

    The new film is called Wish I Was Here and will feature Braff behind the camera and in front of it as Aidan Bloom, a 35-year-old father of two trying to come to terms with his life and dreams of being a space knight. 

    Since launching the Kickstarter early Wednesday, Braff has collected about $200,000, at a rate of about 22 backers per minute, toward his $2 million goal. 

    "After I saw the incredible way 'Veronica Mars' fans rallied around Kristen Bell and her show’s creator Rob Thomas, I couldn’t help but think (like I'm sure so many other independent filmmakers did) maybe there is a new way to finance smaller, personal films that didn’t involve signing away all your artistic control," Braff writes on Kickstarter. 

    "Financing an independent film the traditional way often means having to give away your right to 'the final cut,' casting choices, location choices and cutting down your script to make it shoot-able on the cheapest budget possible."

    So far the campaign has collected 2,800 backers and counting. Some of the perks these supporters will receive are a production diary (for pledging $10), soundtrack ($20), film screening and Q&A with Braff ($100), a role as an extra ($2,500), and for a whopping $10,000, you can be a cast member in the film.

    Braff has already enlisted the help of production designer Judy Becker (who has worked on Silver Linings Playbook and The Fighter) to help create the overall look of the film, and Larry Sher to be Braff's cinematographer. Artist Colin Fix is also working on the film and has already created the following paintings to illustrate Bloom's dream-like space sequences.

    In March, screenwriter Rob Thomas successfully raised $5.7 million to turn his cult TV series Veronica Mars into a feature film. In just four hours after launching his campaign, 14,000 donors helped Thomas made Kickstarter history as the fastest project to raise more than $1 million.

    Braff hopes he can bottle up a little bit of that success for himself with Wish I Was Here.

    "Our goal is to debut the film at the Sundance Film Festival. If you fund the project, we intend to start pre-production right away, shoot this August, and finish the film in time to submit it to the festival," Braff writes. "I look at it like this: Come join this little club. Join for whatever you can. And then, together, this lil club's gonna make a really cool movie, and you'll have made it happen. If you've liked the stuff I've made so far, I know you're going to love this."

    Photos via Kickstarter


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    Twitter is teaming up with Fuse to track the most buzzed-about songs and music stories in a new show, Trending 10.

    Sponsored by Trident Gum, the show will air weekdays at 7.30pm ET. Here's how it works: Fuse looks at Twitter trending topics to come up with stories for the show, and you interact with producers via tweets. It's "a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week information exchange," says Fuse SVP Joe Marchese in a YouTube promo video on Trident's page.

    Here's a look at what the show will be:

    In the video announcement, Joel Lunenfeld, Twitter vice president of global brand strategy, explains that Twitter has an "amazing connection with millennials. It's where they get their news, where they talk to musicians, where they talk to celebrities, and it's where their world unfolds."

    A recent study Twitter carried out with Nielsen suggested increased Twitter activity translates to higher ratings for shows among 18- to 24-year-olds.

    The announcement of the show comes just after the music discovery app Twitter launched late last week. #music will play a role in determining which songs and stories will be included on each day's rundown

    Producers will use a "heat tracker" tool, which monitors how artists are creating buzz on Twitter. It could flag a new song, photo, or a fan's tweet. Fuse and Twitter will push out up to 25 stories a day leading up to the show. 

    Twitter is throwing a lot of weight behind #music. The app helps users discover new and popular music while highlighting Twitter's overall capacity to act as a discovery engine. 

    The company seems to be diversifying its revenue streams beyond ads and selling access to data. That's not to say Twitter isn't focused on advertising still—a report this week suggested Twitter has signed a deal worth nine figures with an agency representing Walmart, Microsoft, and Coca-Cola.

    Photo via fuse/YouTube


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    Daily Dot favorite Daymon Patterson continues moving on up in this multimedia world this week. The YouTube food reviewer, who first came into public eye last summer when his in-car review of Five Guys Burgers and Fries went ballistic on the Internet, announced Tuesday that he's going to have a food reviews show premiering on The Travel Channel. 

    "Best Daym Takeout" won't revolve around Patterson's signature fast food diet that's made him such a popular YouTube personality. Rather, the show will find Big Daym cruising around the country reviewing various takeout establishments throughout each city. Think Shake Shack in New York, Japadog in Vancouver, or Anna's Taqueria in Boston. 

    There's no word quite yet on the details concerning a premiere date.

    Either way, it's great news for The Travel Channel and even better news for Daymon Patterson, who the Daily Dot has covered en masse. 

    The Connecticut native was working at a CarMax near Hartford when one of his many lunchtime reviews got picked up on Reddit. A few days later, he was the talk of the town, getting picked up by Gawker, NBC, and a whole slew of additional outlets. By the time we profiled him in August, Patterson had already quit his job and begun making videos full-time. 

    Patterson made his television debut on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon just a few months later.

    Photo via Daymon Patterson/Shelby Stephens


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  • 04/24/13--23:00: The outer limits of Spotify
  • In Spotify Essentials, the Daily Dot curates custom playlists created by some of our favorite artists, staff writers, and Web community leaders. This week, Garret Kelly reports back from deep inside Spotify’s rabbit hole.    

    Good Tidings to Youis a collection of outsider art and unconventional (sometimes abrasive) sound. It is a test of the limits of Spotify.

    I work on the technical staff at Sub Pop Records, and I also cofounded and continue to help run an online free-form community radio here in Seattle called Hollow Earth Radio, a station that focuses on many different forms of underrepresented music. At the station, we receive a lot of submissions from folks running the gamut of experience and technique. For instance, one of my favorite submissions ever was Terri Day, a Bellevue housewife who had never made music before and submitted a recording of herself “mixing” two YouTube videos. She put a mic up against her computer speakers and went back and forth pausing and unpausing the videos, adjusting the volume, carefully layering the sounds. You could even hear her mouse clicks. It was brilliant. But obviously, it was something so rare and special that I knew I would never find it on Spotify.

    So this playlist is built on that initial cynicism: What things are just too “out there” or “abrasive” or “chaotic” or “challenging” or “uncommercial” that it would be difficult to imagine them in the Spotify database. Using my highly scientific method, I searched for the song "Eat My Dump" as a litmus test, hoping to find the classic hit from improv grunge band the Thrown Ups. And what do you know, it was there right next to their other tracks "Your Band Sucks" and "Lard Butt." I would have given up had I not come across this sliver of encouragement. Maybe, just maybe, a few other treasures could be found in this virtual online jukebox.

    I dug around more. Immediately I found one of my favorite artists ever: Jan Terri, ‘90s VHS video legend (who once toured opening for Marilyn Manson) and whom I had originally found searching for “Worst Music Video Ever” on YouTube. Her records are long out of print but now available for endless, joyful streaming through Spotify. Outsider pop stars Half Japanese seemed a plausible enough find, but the work of virtually unknown music-maker Thropida came as an utter surprise. Likewise, my favorite of the Birthday Party's live recordings (a cover of "Funhouse" by a little known Italian band called the Stooges) wasn't particularly obscure, but I hazard a guess that this is the first opportunity for many to listen to Sander Jensen's beautiful country love song "So Cute."

    And so it goes. The playlist is a gift to you, tossing between wacky pop by Roger Nusic, "queercore"/"schrag" from Behead The Prophet No Lord Shall Live, country moog ("Poke Salad Annie" by Gil Trythall), gorgeous Korean ballads recently rereleased from Kim Jung Mi, “Tumblr-wave” hip hop by teenager Kitty Pryde, and new-age oddities from Miss Vicky Galinsky ("Come Inside" (the crystal, that is)). Human Skab was a 10-year-old from Elma, Wash., who put out a tape in 1986 and claims he is the first grunge band. Arrington de Dionyso plays bass clarinet over trance rock and throat sings in Indonesian. Extempore Band is ‘80s Czech jazz? rock? or something? And Black Hat is a local Seattle guy right now making fierce, but strangely danceable, industrial beats.

    What does any of this have to do with any of the other stuff? "You Can Find God in A Music Store" includes, literally, secret field recordings of people idly banging on instruments at a music store. And what's this single by the band SOUND FX called "Wooden Panel Outhouse Door Open And Close"? It's a mystery to me, though I look forward to digging more into their catalog.

    Yet, the question still stands. How does it all fit together? I've never been good with making mixes or having music flow together.  I just like it there on the plate in all of its different and clashing flavors to experience all at once. I like that they don't all fit neatly together.

    There are a few artists that I wish I could have been added to the delicious sonic meal: ‘70s Seattle anarchist improvisers Audio Leter/Sue Ann Harkey, Marianne Nowottny's avant-pop or the Russian troupe of weirdos AWOTT. Kenneth Piekarski (Slashed Tires) and his “smooth grunge,” Seattle one-man-band funk would have been icing on the cake. Unfortunately none were to be found in the deep dark Spotify waters.

    That's OK, though. I enjoyed working inside the limitations, and there was a lot here to work with. I guess fundamentally I just wanted to share art that has challenged or influenced me in some way, to really look at all the different kinds of voices and kinds of people exploring sonic territory.

    I hope you find something in here that scares you or makes you laugh a little bit or makes you cry. In fact, I dare you not to sob uncontrollably while listening to the soloist in "Desperado," a middle school choir recording from the ‘70's by the Langley Schools Music Project.

    Photo via John Wiese


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    Long before the autopsy, London police could guess what killed Yuri Gadyukin. When they pulled his body from the river beneath the Hammersmith Bridge on July 26, 1960, they saw a bullet-sized hole that had ripped apart his skull.

    Authorities had been searching for the Russian director for weeks. By the time they yanked him from the Thames, they'd surely heard rumors percolating down through country's film community of catastrophic arguments on the set of his latest film, The Graven Idol, between Gadyukin and the film's star, Harry Weathers. Others whispered that Gadyukin owed money to a local gangster—cash he'd used to finance the film.

    Perhaps you've heard of Gadyukin? He was a star of early Soviet cinema before fleeing to England. You can read about his life on a fansite and a Facebook group. You can watch him melt down in a British television interview, storming off stage in spittle-spewing rage. For nearly four years, there were Wikipedia and Internet Movie Database articles about him, brimming with citations from authoritative Russian sources.

    Those entries are now gone. Yuri Gadyukin did not owe money to a gangster. His final film was not swirling out of control. Weathers did not kill him. His body was not found beneath the Hammersmith Bridge.

    Gadyukin never died, in fact, because he never existed.

    ...

    Imagine a documentary about events you've never heard of—that no one's ever heard of—but that are meticulously chronicled in online sources many people trust implicitly. Imagine the confusion. Imagine the buzz. Imagine the publicity.

    It's almost sad that Wikipedians discovered the Yuri Gadyukin hoax on March 5 and ripped it from the encyclopedia like a noxious weed. The piece was not a work of trolldom. It was not a hoax for hoax's sake, born of boredom and a passing interest in fucking things up on the Internet. Yuri Gadyukin had purpose. He had so much potential. He was born of exhaustion, beers, and Jorge Luis Borges. He could have (and still might) make two British filmmakers famous.

    The hoax that fooled the largest encyclopedia and Internet movie database on the planet for nearly four years began when Gavin Boyter and Guy Ducker stumbled into a Belgian restaurant in London in 2002. They were tired. Boyter was an inexperienced director who would sometimes shoot reams of footage in a single day. Along with Ducker—who has editing credits on more than 20 films—he'd just passed the whole day cutting down footage for his first film, Anniversary.

    The drinks and exhaustion sparked their imagination. They tossed out fantastic hypotheticals, wondering what kind of director would "shoot an insane amount of material, more material than anyone could ever watch," as Ducker later recalled. "What kind of person would shoot an endless film, just never stop shooting?"

    The two friends were forging a fascinating character—a fictional marriage of legendary Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky and control-freak geniuses like Stanley Kubrick, an archetypal director slowly creeping into madness. Or as Ducker described him, "a slightly psychotic person. And a slightly manipulative person."

    They were creating Yuri Gadyukin.

    Thanks to busy work schedules, it would be years before they acted on the idea. But by 2005 they had a script, a faux documentary-cum-murder mystery that would follow a hot young British filmmaker as he reconstructed the lost footage of Gadyukin's final, unfinished film. As he digs into the movie's seemingly endless mountain of film reels, he begins to unravel the threads of Gadyukin's last days—and finds himself ensnared in an ongoing mystery around his death. There's too much film, he realizes: Someone must still be shooting the movie.


    Gadyukin left behind seemingly endless mountains of film reels. 

    Photo via Guy Ducker

    Their picture would be equal parts The Blair Witch Project and The Usual Suspects. They called it Nitrate, after the literally explosive film stock Gadyukin used.

    With a script, Boyter and Ducker had to tackle a more difficult problem: How could they convince studios to dump cash into an indie project with a complex plot and no obvious mass market appeal? Their solution was brilliant and even a little insidious: They would start telling the film's story before a single shot had ever been made, before a single actor had ever been cast.

    They would make their fictional world a reality on the Internet.

    ...

    In the Jorge Luis Borges short story “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis,” a researcher uncovers a conspiracy of intellectuals who have forged an entirely fictional universe by writing encyclopedia entries about it. The piece seems eerily prescient in the Wikipedia era, in which the biggest and most used encyclopedia on the planet is the collaborative product of millions of strangers. Anyone can write anything about anybody.


    A newspaper clipping from the day Gadyukin's body was found.

    Boyter and Ducker (both fans of that Borges story) took advantage of Wikipedia's malleability to create their own encyclopedia conspiracy. On August 3, 2009, they made the Yuri Gadyukin Wikipedia page.

    That page became an anchor for what they planned to be a years-long viral promotion campaign. The main character in their online plot would be Leonard Brabkin, a fictional middle-aged Kentucky author (and the only thing close to a Gadyukin expert) who was working on a book about great lost films. Brabkin had no role in the movie's script, but he was key in blurring the line between reality and fiction online.

    Boyter and Ducker used Brabkin to create Gadyukin's fan site and Facebook page. Across the Internet, Brabkin dropped tantalizing hints of Gadyukin's real existence, including stills from his movies and newspaper clippings reporting his death.

    Friends helped out, too. On Gadyukin's Facebook page, dozens of apparent strangers littered the thing with made-up memories about watching his films. "I'm sure Channel 4 showed Where The Tractors Roam very late one night when I was about eight years old," one wrote. "Are any of these now available on DVD?" And everywhere—Facebook, YouTube, blog comments—Brabkin was always there, dropping comments, pushing the conversation, making it seem real.

    Through another phony account, the pair posted an outtake from a British television interview where Gadyukin melts down and leaves the stage in a fit of rage.

    Another friend of Boyter and Ducker who ran a film blog took the hoax even further. On the day before Halloween in 2009, he described a weekend incapacitated by sickness, watching Gadyukin classics "on a pair of battered and deeply treasured VHS cassettes which date back to the late 1980s when my Mum taped two of Gadyukin’s films which were screening very late one night on BBC 2."

    The campaign was so convincing that Gadyukin almost jumped off the Internet and into real life. In November, a self-described "occasional visiting director" of an acting school in London reached out to the blog's author. He was directing a play about Gadyukin, "but information is really sparse on the web," he wrote. "I’m still waiting to hear back from Leonard Brabkin, but really need to get some pointers on where I can glean some more information."

    Here was a chance to take the hoax to another level entirely, to make Gadyukin so real that people would be talking about him, that an actor would actually play him in a fictional biography of his life. But when Boyter and Ducker reached out to the hopeful director, it was to tell him the truth. To do otherwise, Ducker said, would be to turn the hoax "into a lie."

    Still, they couldn't help but feel satisfied. Their odd plot was working. To people who had stumbled across Leonard Brabkin's Internet trail, Yuri Gadyukin was very real.


    A promotional poster for Gadyukin's The October Wedding

    Viral marketing campaigns are hardly new. The concept goes at least as far back as The Blair Witch Project, the 1999 horror film and faux documentary. Directors Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez loaded a website with video clips and supposedly real journal entries left behind by a team of filmmakers who'd gone missing in the Maryland woods, adding the film an unnerving sense of reality. Since then, most viral campaigns have been less interested in blurring reality than with building buzz. In most cases, "viral" is little more than a synonym for "advertising on the Internet."  

    There are a few exceptions. J.J. Abrams' Cloverfield had an intensive viral campaign of phony websites and blogs from characters that added new facets to the story entirely. But the film was a sci-fi blockbuster about a giant monster attacking New York. Anyone who stumbled across those viral clues could guess pretty quickly that it was all fake. The 2012 indie film Sound of My Voice, about a Los Angeles cult, took viral promotion to a new level entirely when it organized weekly public meetups at L.A.'s Ukrainian Cultural Center. Actors would show up in character, then talk religion with any stranger who showed up.

    Few viral campaigns actually try to alter your perception of a film's story before the audience watches a single scene. Nitrate was special because its creators were playing the long game. Boyter and Ducker knew it might be years before they shot a single scene. By the time a real promotional campaign was ready, the pages would have existed so long they'd have gained weighty authority just by dint of their age.

    ...

    Ducker and Boyter probably never expected their devious plot would be spoiled by a single Wikipedian. His name is Yaroslav Blanter. He's a Russian nanoscientist who teaches at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. Blanter is a long-standing Wikipedian who specializes in Russian-language pages, even obscure ones like Gadyukin's. When Blanter decided to check the sources on the Gadyukin article, it was all over.

    Blanter explained his solid case March 5 in a post nominating the Gadyukin page for deletion:

    A blatant hoax, and seems to be one of the longest-living hoaxes we have. None of the sources exist. The [search] in Russian (Юрий Гадюкин) does not give anything at all. The name (Gadyukin) is a made-up family name used by Yury Iosifovich Koval Viktor Dragunsky in one of the children's stories (Death of the spy Gadyukin). The alleged name of the first movie, Where the tractors roam, sounds so funny in Russian that it just could not have been shot in the 1950s."

    After a few concurring votes from fellow Wikipedia editors, the page was gone. And soon Wikipedians had dug up another hoax article by Ducker and Boyter—something called the Bucharest Film Festival, a key part of Gadyukin's career, where he had won a major award.

    Now, both articles are gone, their subjects relegated once more to fiction. The only proof of their existence is a mention on Wikipedia's list of longest hoaxes, where they share the dubious company of a 17th century Indian war that never existed and an assassin of Julius Caesar who never lived.

    ...

    It's been more than 10 years since Boyter and Ducker created Yuri Gadyukin over too many beers at that London Belgian restaurant. The hoax has been discovered, ripped out of WIkipedia, and now reported here in this story. The game is over. But they're not close to getting discouraged. If anything, things are starting to pick up.

    Boyter and Ducker are still playing the long game.

    In 2009, they brought on a producer, Christine Hartland, who has some experience working on  faux documentaries. They made a trailer that year as well. 

    Earlier this year, the slowly growing team cast their first actress, Lucy Davis, best known to American audiences as Dawn Tinsley in the British version of The Office.

    The viral campaign was "a way of us starting to tell a story, starting to create the world," Ducker said. "While in the meantime we waited for people to give us the money. We were determined not be to be stopped from getting that. You have to make sure nobody stops you. That's the key to making a film."

    Hartland is working feverishly to raise money. She wants the film to be in pre-production in early 2014.

    In the meantime, be careful when you stumble upon fascinating truths spun on the Web. You might unknowingly be playing a role in the next great indie film campaign. And if you ever run across a Leonard Brabkin, don't believe a thing he tells you.


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    It's been mere days since Kyoto Animation announced that the Swimming Anime, the 30-second promo spot that unexpectedly spawned an enormous Tumblr fandom, was becoming a real show. Now Kotaku is musing that anime fans might have another fandom-turned-product on their hands—with Little Witch Academia, a half-hour anime concept episode that already has developed characters and a storyline... but no series.

    In the age of Kickstarter and crowd-sourced creativity, the idea of trying to launch a fandom for a series before the series itself is underway isn't so far-fetched; but as with Free!—the "swimming anime"—the creators of Little Witch Academia didn't intend it to be a real series. Instead the half-hour short was produced as part of Anime Mirai, an annual animator training project. The parent studio, Studio Trigger, uploaded the episode to YouTube on April 19th. Since then, it's been viewed 400,000 times, and anime fans appear to be dying for more. It even has its own TV Tropes page, with a whopping list of anime tropes for a single 26-minute short. 

    Here's the plot description, as summed up by the Tropers:

    Witch-in-training Akko Kagari dreams of following the footsteps of Shiny Chariot, whose flashy stage magic absolutely captivated her when she was young. The problem lies in that a) Akko isn't from a wizard family and can't even fly a broom, b) she's continually upstaged by class queen bee Diana Cavendish, and c) Shiny Chariot is little more than a charlatan to most of the wizarding community. But when a great threat is accidentally released upon the school, can Akko's faith in Shiny Chariot ultimately save her friends and their magic?

    The episode has garnered raves for its stellar animation and cute characters, most commonly getting billed as a Japanese take on Harry Potter, and occasionally as a Disneyesque take on the 'magical girl' genre. Whatever it is, it's adorable, and fans have come out in droves. Already they've chosen favorite characters and churned out metrictons of fanart.

    Illustration by Gangsun/Pixiv

    But is all that enough to turn it into a series? Is Little Witch Academia An Anime Yet? seems to think so. Though the Tumblr is only two days old, perhaps dating itself from yesterday's Kotaku article asking a similar question, it seems optimistic. Indeed, a March trailer for the episode may indicate that Studio Trigger was aware their magic academy concept would be a hit. But though the project is listed on their website, there's no further information on a forthcoming series.

    Still, comparisons to Free! are inevitable, as buzz for the series continues to grow. The Redditors and 4chan-ers who professed their disgust that a yaoi-esque series like the swimming anime was being produced should have their knickers untwisted by the more conventional subject of young girls doing magic. But there's a refreshing lack of panty shots and fanservice in Little Witch Academia, and the popularity of the series across various fan platforms suggests that it could be an all-around win.

    At the very least, it's sure to make a swimming anime-sized splash.

    Screengrab via YouTube


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    Every evening, the Daily Dot delivers a selection of links worth clicking from around the Web, along with the day's must-see image or video. We call it Dotted Lines.

    • Netflix is taking down nearly 2,000 titles tomorrow. Who's up for an all-nighter?
       
    • Very serious video PSA: How to play chess to its full potential.

    • Steve Nash is Grumpy Cat. Good job, good effort, Lakers.

    Image via Wuperruper/Flickr


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    Thanks to an April Fools' joke gone wrong, members of one of the world's most popular competitive gaming sites just spent the past two weeks mining Bitcoin.

    E-Sports Entertainment (ESEA) runs competitions in games like Starcraft 2, Counter-Strike, and League of Legends for a community of nearly 600,000 gamers. The site is also known for its anti-cheating software, trusted to protect players and keep tournaments fair. But as an April 1st gag, a couple of ESEA administrators infected that software with a process that would secretly put users' computers to work generating Bitcoin. At the time, the virtual currency was trading at nearly $200.

    “We ran the test for a few days on our accounts, decided it wasn't worth the potential drama, and pulled the plug, or so we thought,” wrote ESEA cofounder Eric Thunberg. 

    Earlier this week, players running the ESEA anti-cheat client started to report that their computers' graphics cards (GPUs) were working overtime. 

    “My GPU has been 'oddly' running at high loads for at least 2 weeks and I've seen others who can confirm this or at worst have already had damage to their cards," one ESEA user reported on the company's official forums.

    That's because players' GPUs were being used for Bitcoin mining—solving the complex, processor-intensive algorithms that generate new virtual currency. After a routine server restart, the Bitcoin prank had also somehow started back up, too—and this time, it affected many more ESEA users.

    The total haul after two weeks of accidental mining: $3,602.21.

    In his apology to the ESEA community, Thunberg announced his plan to give the money back to the players by adding it to the prize pool for the site's upcoming gaming season. In a further attempt to "buy back [players'] love," ESEA is giving a free month of premium service to all of its current subscribers, whether they were affected by the Bitcoin debacle or not.

    That might be cold comfort to gamers who claim their graphic cards were fried in the incident. 

    "I have a house, a toddler, and a pregnant wife, I cant afford to replace the brand new video card that blew up for no reason earlier this month. A free month of ESEA doesnt mean shit to me," wrote one angry poster in the ESEA forums. 

    UPDATE: ESEA has published a blog post announcing that, after selling all the Bitcoins mined in this fiasco, the site made $3,713. They've also announced a donation to the American Cancer Society.

    In an effort to maintain complete transparency, we have released all of the Bitcoin wallet addresses as well as data dumps of the wallets themselves. The value of the mined Bitcoins was $3,713.55 and ESEA will be donating 100% of the $3,713.55 to the American Cancer Society. ESEA will also match 100% of this amount for a total of $7,427.10 donated. ESEA is also increasing the Season 14 League prize pot by $3,713.55.

    H/T PCGamesN | Illustration by 3dpixel127/Reddit


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    Game of Thrones may take place in a pseudo-medieval setting, but its costumes are surprisingly timeless. Curated by Game of Thrones fan Zana Bayne, Tumblr account GoT Runway matches real-world fashion photos with costumes from the show, giving us a handy guide to the possible couture inspirations behind the styles of Westeros. 

    While GoT Runway would be an excellent resource for cosplayers with a budget north of $10,000 per outfit, it mostly offers insight into the similarities between present-day fashion and the supposedly medieval styles we see on the show. For example, Joffrey Baratheon and his mother Cersei might look like the height of historical glamour, but they could very easily be dressed in 21st century Alexander McQueen.

    You’d think that Daenerys Targaryen’s often modern-looking costumes would be easiest to replicate using modern clothes, but that doesn’t take into account the fashion world’s love of furs. Thanks to the overabundance of animal hides during winter season fashions, it’s actually just as easy to find runway styles that look just like Northern characters such as Jon Snow or the Wildlings. In fact, this particular menswear show even accessorized one of its outfits with Jon Snow’s white direwolf (kind of). 

    However, our favorite GoT Runway outfit has got to be this one, inspired by Jaime Lannister. If you’ve been watching Season 3, you’ll know that (spoiler alert) things aren’t going well for him. So far, Jaime has been imprisoned, humiliated, and finally had his hand chopped off by a disgruntled nobleman. But on the bright side, you can buy a couture version of his chic “severed hand” necklace outfit.

    Severed hands aside, GoT Runway does have some good points to make. In a universe where dragons exist and zombies roam the frozen North, historical accuracy isn’t really a major concern. While Game of Thrones is known for its gritty “realism,” it probably wouldn’t be as entertaining to watch if most of the characters were wearing woollen smocks. As it is, the Starks’ medieval European armour is perfectly acceptable as a nod to the show’s historical inspirations, but we’re equally happy to acknowledge that Cersei Lannister might as well be shopping at Chanel. 

    All images via GoT Runway


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    At the moment, I'm on tour with Danny Brown. This means that in between hours of watching dudes smoking weed, I've had some time to start cultivating the sociological theories that will be the cornerstone of the book I'm writing on the weird and unexpected shit rappers do. We haven't been on the road for a week yet, but I've already got reams of material. This past Friday, in Minneapolis, the tour made some waves when a female fan pulled Danny's pants down in the middle of the show and started performing oral sex on him. The internet thought this was a big deal, so there are articles herehere, and here, mostly harping on the fact that Kendrick Lamar tweeted at Danny after he heard about the deed:

    The way I see it, there are two types of female Danny Brown fans: quiverers, and gropers. The quiverers are native internet users and are probably the ones who'll read this article, even though it's longer than what they're used to. They're the ones who watched Danny's Pitchfork doc 20 times, and they draw intricate portraits of him with colored pencils and have X's on their hands. I like talking to these girls because they are my kin, but when I do they either scoff at me because I’m not that cool online or they get all weird and don’t know what to say. They pay $75 to meet Danny before the show, and when he puts his arm around them in a picture, they quiver.

    Then there are the gropers, and the girl who blew Danny onstage is one of these. Gropers watch a lot of MTV and tweet about A$AP Rocky until YouTube recommends them “I Will,” which they listen to 500 times and don’t pay attention to anything else. They take everything Danny raps about 100% literally, and assume that before the show we're all backstage licking molly off each other’s buttholes. They often wear tube tops, even in Michigan where it was cold as fuck. Sometimes they come back to our hotel with us, and I’ve even parked their cars for them when they’re too drunk to drive. Usually I like them, because they all try to suck up to me and it's hard to hate people who are being extremely nice to you. I also usually like them because everyone should have the chance to seduce their favorite rapper. 

    I fuck with both of these groups heavily, because Danny is great and I want him to have fans that appreciate his intelligence and also fans that will show him their boobs. I want him to have everything he wants, because he's my friend.


    My friend Danny. Photo by the hypertalented Verena Stefanie Grotto

    Here's another thing Danny wants. Like anyone else, Danny wants to be respected as an artist and a human. Like any other male, especially those in the public eye (and especially those who spend a lot of time talking about licking vaginas), he wants to be respected as a “man." I'm only putting man in quotation marks because my ideal man is currently at home in NYC lighting cupcake-scented candles and taking bubble baths. 

    But we all know what happened last week at our show in Minneapolis, an event that we're currently referring to in the bus as "The Thing," because we all kind of want to forget about it. Ever since it happened the universal respect Danny commanded has splintered into two groups: one side thinking he’s way more awesome than they should, and the other thinking he's an awful misogynist and hack. This bothers me a lot. Him too, but mostly me. I’m mad as hell, to be honest.

    Read the full story on Noisey

    By Kitty Pryde


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    Will Nyan Cat and Keyboard Cat soon have their day in court?

    The Scribblenauts game series, known for its inclusion of Internet memes, is now being targeted in a lawsuit by the creators of those two iconic  cats. Warner Bros., which owns Scribblenauts, and developer 5th Cell Media, have been named as defendants in a lawsuit filed on April 22 by Keyboard Cat maestro Charlie Schmidt and Nyan Cat creator Chris Torres.

    Scribblenauts is a puzzle-action game that gives players the ability to draw a huge variety of objects—including certain famous Internet cats. Schmidt and Torres are alleging copyright infringement after their popular characters appeared as easter eggs in the most recent installment of the series, 2012’s Scribblenauts Unlimited, apparently without permission.

    "'Keyboard Cat' and 'Nyan Cat'...are known and enjoyed by tens of millions of people. That popularity makes them extremely valuable for commercial uses. Unlike WB and 5th [Cell], many other companies, respecting plaintiffs' intellectual property rights, regularly pay substantial license fees to use plaintiffs' memes commercially," the lawsuit states.

    The suit goes on to say that WB and 5th Cell used Nyan Cat and Keyboard Cat by name to market and promote Scribblenauts Unlimited.

    Torres told the Daily Dot that neither he nor Schmidt were aware that their properties were going to be part of the game. Torres himself only found out after spotting Nyan Cat in the game's trailer.

    "At first, I thought it would just be an item you could customize and create, but it turns out it is definitely in the main dictionary of usable words, and you have to type out 'Nyan Cat' to get it. Even the Producer of 5th Cell admitted it was in the game," he said.

     

    Image via Christopher Torres

     

    Torres says that he welcomes any non-commercial use of Nyan Cat; after all, that is "how memes thrive and become even better memes." Warner Bros. and 5th Cell, on the other hand, are for-profit companies that he says neglected to contact him or Schmidt for approval to use their characters in the Scribblenauts games. This is something they made sure to do, on the other hand, with the various Nintendo characters that appear in Scribblenauts games.

    "We tried to reach out to them several times to try and work out an amicable deal, or even have it taken out of the game," Torres continued. "Each time, we were snubbed aside, disrespected, and eventually the representative for their legal team said we were a 'nuisance' for even bringing it to their attention. It was very unprofessional, and we all felt this was the only option to go with since they were not wanting to reach an agreeable solution."

    According to an article published by Eurogamer, a potential legal hurdle for Torres and Schmidt is the fact that neither meme was copyrighted until 2010. The first game in the Scribblenauts series was released in 2009.

    The Daily Dot has also reached out to Schmidt and 5th Cell for comment.

    H/T Eurogamer | Photo via IGN/YouTube


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    In the 10th installment of CAPS OFF PLEASE, the guys discuss tattoos and feminism, take some viewer questions about sleeping with dictators, argue airplane etiquette, talk about Facebook pranksters eating poop, the slowness of YouTube, and lament the fact that everyone eventually has to apologize to the internet. 

    Typically these are NSFW and this one is no different. The Daily Dot makes no claims of affiliation, and the views do not represent those of the Daily Dot. The podcast is available on iTunes.


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