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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    There have been nine GOP debates to date (with at least two more planned in the next month), and John Kasich is just as sick of them as everyone else.

    Appearing on The Late Show, the Ohio governor—fresh off his surprise second-place finish in New Hampshire—called them “the dumbest thing going.” They way they're set up, he said, candidates had to explain their life story in 30-second soundbites. And that’s not even factoring in the negativity and ugliness surrounding the Republican race.

    “How are you going to elect a president on the basis of a clever soundbite, particularly if the soundbite is designed to attack somebody else?” Kasich asked. “If I can’t win by being fundamentally positive, what’s the point of winning?”

    Having already asked Donald Trump, Colbert turned to Kasich on the Supreme Court question. It was here that he stumbled. He said he'd pick a replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia and would want the pick to be a major consensus, something he said President Obama couldn't do given current politics—but in the same breath, he said that the next pick should wait until after the election, so the American people could have their say.

    But as Colbert pointed out, they already had their say—when they re-elected Obama in 2012.

    Screengrab via The Late Show with Stephen Colbert/YouTube


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    The science community has had a lot to celebrate since last week’s groundbreaking confirmation of gravitational waves, and now it can bring some fitting music to the party.

    A London composer got creative with the evidence detected last week by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory. Arthur Jeffes produced a song using the actual recording of the gravitational waves. The song, called "Black Hole 5.0," already has more than 3,400 plays on YouTube and its composition is just as simple as it is complex.

    "For this piece the only sounds are piano, strings and gravitational waves. the piano line comes from mapping a Neutron Star/Neutron Star collision curve into midi and quantising into the correct key," reads the song description.

    The composer took data from the colliding black holes into music editing software where he manipulated his own music in correlation with the waves. 

    Jeffes is particularity interested in space sounds. In 2012 he composed a piece using a narrowband radio signal.

    Screengrab via National Space Foundation/YouTube


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    Just when you thought the craze for Drake's "Hotline Bling" has already reached its peak, we get gifted a brand-new way to enjoy the hit: as backdrop to the stellar dance moves of one Chandler Bing.

    Anybody who's marathoned episodes of Friends should know about the character's "victory dance"—he usually does it with a goofy expression on his face:

    Courtesy of a 50-second video clip produced by Comedy Central India and posted on Facebook, fans of all the awkward Drake impersonations on Youtube can now focus on something a lot more entertaining. Check out the moments that made Chandler—played by Matthew Perry—everyone's favorite Friend.

    Sorry, Drake, but there's a new number for us to call, and it's 1-800-HOTLINE-BING.

    H/T Entertainment Weekly | Screengrab via Team Coco/Youtube


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    BY AARON PRUNER

    In 2015, Twitch.TV made the brilliant move in airing a “The Joy of Painting” marathon that explored all 403 episodes of the beloved series. It was that decision that introduced the legend of Bob Ross to a whole new audience.

    Known for creating lush landscapes in a calm serene manner that could make anyone feel like they’re the next Pablo Picasso, it’s Ross’s personality and delivery that makes the series so admired and hypnotic.

    In a new parody video from YouTube Channel “Above Average,” Ross is now tasked with capturing the visceral beauty of Alejandro González Iñárritu’s “The Revenant.”

    RELATED: Bob Ross lives on as Twitch continues to stream classic ‘Joy of Painting’ episodes

    Following the “happy little trappers” along, Ross soon finds himself in the middle of the carnage and maintains his composure with some “dark red” to paint that “angry little bear attack.” After all, this stuff … happens in nature.

    From depicting the smothering of a little boy to the violence of an arrow through a guy’s throat, Ross is quickly thrown into a position where he has to “add a little blood” all over the place.

    “And, I guess we’re murdering a horse now,” Ross says before covering the entire canvas in black. If fake Bob Ross can’t handle “The Revenant,” who can?

    Screengrab via Above Average/YouTube


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    BY TODD LONGWELL

    Fandango has snatched up more online movie real estate. Today, the online ticket-seller announced it has signed an agreement to acquire social movie site Flixster and film rating site Rotten Tomatoes from Warner Bros. Entertainment.

    It comes on the heels of Fandango’s acquisition last month of M-GO, a VOD service featuring new releases and catalog titles from major studios and television producers.

    The addition of Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes, which reach 20 million unique visitors a month, will bring Fandango’s combined audience reach to more than 63 million monthly uniques.

    As part of the deal, Warner Bros. Entertainment will take a minority ownership stake in Fandango and be an ongoing strategic partner. Fandango will continue to operate as a unit of NBCUniversal.

    “Our new expanded network will offer unparalleled capabilities for all of our exhibition, studio and promotional partners to reach a massive entertainment audience with innovative marketing and ticketing solutions that benefit from original content, home entertainment products, ‘super tickets,’ gifts with purchase, and other new promotional opportunities,” said Fandango President Paul Yanover in a statement.

    Home entertainment and digital video redemption service Flixster Video is not part of the deal, but is expected to transition its users to Fandango’s M-GO video on-demand service later this year, and sunset thereafter. At the same time, Fandango will extend its ticketing capabilities to the Flixster app in the coming months.

    Fandango also produces a slate of original online video series covering different aspects of the moviegoing experience via its Movieclips arm (acquired from Zefr in 2014), including “I Love Movies,” “Movie3Some,” “Weekend Ticket,” “FrontRunners,” “Mom’s Movie Minute” and “Reel Kids.”

    Photo via Mike Mozart/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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    Spotify has its sights on stopping a $150 million copyright infringement lawsuit from musician David Lowery.  

    The streaming service filed two motions on Feb. 12 in a California federal court against the December suit: one requesting that it not be treated as a class-action lawsuit and the other asking that the case be dismissed due to lack of jurisdiction. If the suit is not dismissed, the streaming giant requests the judge move the case to New York, where the company's U.S. operation is based. It's incorporated in Delaware. 

    But what does the lawsuit really mean?

    The Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven frontman's suit claims that Spotify failed to properly secure mechanical licenses—which, according to HFA, "grant the rights to reproduce and distribute copyrighted musical compositions (songs) on CDs, records, tapes, ringtones, permanent digital downloads, interactive streams and other digital configurations supporting various business models"—in the U.S., and that the company "knowingly and willingly" distributes that material "despite its failure to identify and/or locate the owners of those compositions for payment or to provide them with notice of Spotify’s intent to reproduce and/or distribute the Works."

    The suit's framed to include all musicians the company allegedly slighted. 

    By making it a class-action lawsuit, Lowery forces Spotify to address a collective harm allegedly inflicted on the songwriting community—rather than having a weaker case as an individual songwriter. 

    "If some business cheated me $5, there's no world in which it'll make sense for me to sue for $5," said Mitch Stoltz, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. 

    But this kind of lawsuit can be flawed even if well-intended. 

    "The issue here is that the court is determining people's rights—you're having your rights for you without actually having to be there," Stoltz said.  

    Spotify dubbed Lowery’s suit a “fatally flawed candidate for class treatment,” according to Pitchfork. It claimed that there was “no way to determine who qualifies as a class member” because of the “thorny and often intractable” questions of identifying the owner of the rights to produce a song and figuring out if the company "distributed those compositions without license or authorization."

    Spotify further argued that Lowery can’t prove “that common issues predominate over individual ones,” meaning a class-action lawsuit is less logical than individual judgement in a copyright case. 

    "The state of the music business is that there is not a good record of who wrote what and who owns what and who can claim royalties on things," Stoltz said. In the context of class action, Stoltz claims, "It doesn’t make sense for the court to rule on the question of issues common to all those people because each of those writers would still have to go to court."

    So for Lowery's case to play out, he would need multiple songwriters to get in the game. 

    Lowery’s lawyer claims that Spotify’s actions are typical for this kind of accusation. As Pitchfork noted

    Mona Hanna, lead partner for law firm Michelman & Robinson, tells Pitchfork these motions are "a standard defense maneuver to try to avoid dealing with the merits of the complaint and trying to see if they can get a dismissal on procedural grounds."

    She described the move as no surprise, adding, "We are very confident that this is just a delay tactic and we are going to get to the merits."

    Spotify could not be reached for comment.

    H/T Pitchfork | Photo via Johan Larsson/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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    This article contains spoilers for the first episode of this season of The Amazing Race.

    Instead of the usual hodgepodge of contestant teams, the 28th season of The Amazing Race is focused solely on digital celebrities all vying for the big win—and for the attention of a new demographic for CBS. ClevverTV hosts Joslyn Davis and Erin Robinson are one of the 11 duos competing for a milion dollars, and they’ve already hit some bumps along the road in the form of a cave and a puzzle challenge. They gave Daily Dot the lowdown on living their Amazing Race dreams, the feeling of giving up editing control to someone else, and almost voluntarily taking a penalty in the first leg.

    You were fans of the race before this season. Had you ever tried to be on it before?

    Robinson: I have terrible luck, so I just thought that I’d never be able to do a show like the Race. How would they ever find me? It just felt like such a daunting task to get inside CBS to even be seen. We really think it’s such a big honor for us, being such being fans of the show. I never thought I could penetrate CBS to get there, especially being a season full of Internet people.

    Davis: This sort of show or experience is so me and so right up my alley. I’ve always dreamt of being on The Amazing Race, but I've always been so busy working and building Clevver that I never thought it would happen in my wildest dreams. I watched the episode last week and was like, “Did that really happen?”

    All of this season’s contestants make their living online. How did you prepare for taking that much time away from social media?

    Robinson: We knew a few months ahead of time that we were definitely up for the show. Then about six to eight weeks before, we knew it was definitely happening. We were coming in on Saturday and pre-shooting content and working around the clock. We didn’t know we were going to able to let our audience know we were going on it. If we’re not on Clevver for a few days, people think we’ve been abducted, so we had a ton of content pre-prepared and ready to go. It was a lot of work; by the time we were done, we were ready to go on the race, ready to get away from the grind.

    Did you go into the race with a strategy? Any special preparation?

    Robinson: The thing about Joslyn and I is we work together, but we’ve never been around each other in extreme situations. So we did a lot to prepare. We bungee jumped, much to Joslyn’s dismay… We did some tightrope-walking classes; we did archery and hip-hop classes. We did a lot of stuff together to see how we worked under pressure. We knew Joslyn was going to do a dancing challenging if there’s a dancing challenge. I sing, I’ve played flute for five years, and so I was going to do a music challenge if there was a music challenge. Joslyn and I have very similar strengths, so one of the things we wanted to do on the race is align ourselves with other teams on the race. Joslyn speaks Spanish, which was a help. I speak Southern, so hopefully with my Southern charm and Joslyn’s Español, we can get through the world together.

    You already had some snags in the first episode. You were one of the last teams at the roadblock, and you suggested taking a penalty with another team to initiate a foot race. What happened?

    Robinson: As you would expect, a lot of things that happened down there didn’t make it to television. When we were in the cave, I was actually working alongside Kurt [Gibson], which you also didn’t see. We were comparing pieces and saying “Oh, you have duplicates of these; I have duplicates of these.” In the process, I think Kurt accidentally grabbed one of my pieces for my mask that I knew that I had. We had two masks that could have worked, but … [someone] told me the blue mask wouldn’t get approved. I was looking on the ground of the cave for an hour looking for that piece. … It wasn’t that I didn’t want to keep going or couldn’t keep going; it was literally “I don’t have what I need to get out of here. The only way I’m going get out of here is a foot race.” Sheri [LaBrant] had not found her piece, and in my mind maybe she’d lost hers too. At that point it was the best strategy I knew about.

    Luckily you didn’t have to resort to the penalty.

    Robinson: I went, “Before I do this, let me just try the blue piece. Maybe this blue set works and the other two teams were wrong.” And they were, because when you’re on the race you play this crazy game of telephone. Every time someone tells you something from someone else, the story has changed. That was the big lesson for me: Always try all of your options even if someone tells you it’s not an option. They could be manipulating you, or they could just not know themselves.

    You’re safe for this week. What can fans expect in the second episode?

    Davis: I’m so excited about this episode. Something really cool that happened is all of us ran into a ton of YouTube fans, and it almost turned into a free VidCon at one point. It’s absolutely awesome. You’ve also seen us running through the mud; I think we all had our Baywatch moment. This is going to be a really entertaining episode. I love the fact that all of the teams are still on the race. You’re just going to get to see more of everyone. We know that people have to get eliminated, but it’s so cool to see their stories.

    Robinson: This episode is going to have a ton of energy, and there’s going to be a big surprise. Something happens that no one is going to see coming. I think even some of the people on the show are going to be shocked… It’s probably one of my most anticipated episodes of the season.

    After this series, are you looking for more ways to partner with more mainstream media?

    Robinson: Joslyn and I have been working in this medium a really long time. We’re really pioneers at the end of the day. I love that we can learn from CBS and how they do things, and networks can learn from digital influencers too. We’re all in the media sphere together. The only way we can all be successful at the end of the day is if we help each other and we work together and make both mediums great. That’s why this this show is so special: You have a great digital cast on a great television show. It’s really the marriage of both worlds.

    Is it nerve-wracking not being in control of your own editing, when you’re so used to crafting your own story in media?

    Robinson: I think we were aware enough when we were doing it to know what the options were for the edit. So when we got back, I just set myself up for worst-case scenario, thinking about how it could be painted in the worst way. It is a little frustrating, but it’s also exciting. It’s nice to be able to sit back and be talent for once and not be producers.

    The season is also very friendly so far, in contrast to other Amazing Race seasons. Will that positive attitude continue, both between teams and within the teams?

    Robinson: Everyone is so competitive, and we all want to be the best at what we do. That comes out too. It’s not vicious and malicious. We all want to be better than we could be on the race. We’ll see that unfold in the next couple episodes.

    Davis: This is a really interesting season. The whole idea of doing a fully digital and fully influencer cast is fascinating for a lot of reasons. One thing to keep in mind is all of us knew each other before the race—or knew of each other. Already kind of having that relationship and respect for each other and what these people have achieved I think sets [up] a different kind of dynamic between people on the race. That said, you’re not only going to see one note on the race. Fans who like to see a little tussle or drama are going to be happy.

    Robinson: I don’t think there’s a team that people are going to hate. I think there’s a team for everyone. There’s teams that some people are going to root for and some people you’re going to be annoyed by. Everybody isn’t the same.

    Davis: That’s what was really awesome about this cast is that I think what you’re going to see is people can still be respectful and kind to each other—and still race. It’s still a competition. We’re not on a race around the world to hug each other; we’re on a race around the world to win a million dollars.

    The Amazing Race airs Fridays at 8pm on CBS and online on CBS All Access.

    Screengrab via ClevverTV/YouTube


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    Love, the new Judd Apatow-helmed Netflix comedy, is ultimately a series about addiction, but it takes a while to open up.

    Since Love (not to be confused with Gaspar Noe’s NSFW film of the same name, which is also on Netflix) is an Apatow joint, it doesn’t stray too far from his usual formula: Gus (Paul Rust) is a goofy, nerdy guy who’s going through a rough time and happens upon the the sarcastic, self-destructive Mickey (Gillian Jacobs) at a convenience store. Gus has just been broken up with after being labeled “fake nice”; Mickey is trying to untangle herself from a codependent relationship, though not very hard. It takes an entire episode, but eventually they collide in L.A. in a way that perfectly illustrates their respective flaws.

    Eventually they collide in L.A. in a way that perfectly illustrates their respective flaws.

    That first episode might not hook people; it takes its time showing us exactly what Love will be about. Until their somewhat depressing meet-cute, we’re shown their parallel lives: Gus tries to embrace being single and have fun at a party and inexplicably gets approached for a threesome, which he bungles. Mickey, meanwhile, takes an Ambien and travels (perhaps in a dream) to a new age church with her newly sober ex (Kyle Kinane). “Love doesn’t just happen,” the church’s preacher explains mid-sermon. In response, Mickey hops onstage and declares, “Hoping for love has fucking ruined my life.”

    That tone persists throughout Love. If the show’s whiteness and focus on dysfunctional relationships and awful people hits a little too close to HBO’s Girls, it could be because former writer Lesley Arfin wrote and created Love, along with real-life partner Rust. How much of Mickey and Gus’s relationship is theirs? It’s tempting to project, but it’s not a stretch to say Mickey’s probably a channel for Arfin, who has writtenopenly about her past addiction issues.

    Later in the series, we learn that Mickey binges, not just on alcohol and drugs but also people. There’s an extended scene involving Andy Dick, in which he and Mickey both speak honestly about their addictions after a night of fully indulging them. As with real addictions in relationships, it takes a while for them to become apparent—or presented as a problem. 

    There’s comedy, too: A date between Gus and Mickey’s roommate Bertie (played by the wonderful Claudia O’Doherty), which is facilitated with not-so-pure intentions by Mickey, resembles a longform improv bit helped along by an increasingly ridiculous text pile-up. In episode 2, Mickey accompanies Gus to his ex’s house so he can retrieve his Blu-rays; he angrily tosses each one out the window while giving savage reviews, as Mickey cheerfully eggs him on:

    Goodfellas? It's like, I listen to these fucking commentaries with Scorsese and it's like, ‘Oh, hey, guess what? All the food in Goodfellas is based on my mom’s recipe.’ It's like, who cares?!”

    Love excels with these kinds of scenes. When Mickey and Gus finally get intimate, Mickey pulls out a vibrator in order to climax, showing just what her definition of intimacy is. Elsewhere, a cringe-worthy scene in the refreshingly diverse writers’ room of a TV show Gus is working on reveals the flipside of his Nice Guy persona. Mickey isn't the only damaged one. 

    Love is perhaps closest in tone to FX’s sleeper hit You’re the Worst, which explores addiction and depression as two relationship-averse people try to make one work. Whereas You’re the Worst’s second season ends with Jimmy neatly “fixing” Gretchen’s depression, Love doesn’t make human connection that simple: There’s an uneasy sense that these people should probably not be together, but that's largely because we don't get a true sense of who either of them really is in 10 episodes. 

    The series has been picked up for a second season, so there’s room to open up, but Love is at its best when it forgoes the romance and butterflies and digs into the darker stuff. Perhaps the love of the title isn’t between two people, but the kind we show ourselves.

    Photo by Suzanne Hanover/Netflix 


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    Game of Thrones’s red priestess Melisandre has spent four seasons showcasing the powers she received from the Lord of Light through tricks, blood sacrifices, the occasional shadow assassin, and other potentially unexplored skills. But as an appearance at Seth Meyers’s baby shower demonstrates, Melisandre's social skills leave something to be desired.

    The Late Night host, who is expecting his first child with wife Alexi Ashe, invited Melisandre to the shower because they’d gone to college together, but the experience went about as well as you’d expect.

    The other guests didn't take too kindly to Melisandre’s idea of "normal" or her favorite story about how the shadow assassin clawed its way out of her to kill the false King Renly Baratheon. Nor could she tell anyone what happened to her crush Jon Snow. Perhaps Meyers, who had him over for dinner once, can fill everyone in?

    “The night is dark and full of terrors?” Not exactly the best way to describe impending parenthood—but probably an accurate one.

    Screengrab via Late Night with Seth Meyers/YouTube


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    Even though Deadpool was only released last week, James Corden figured that it was never too early to make some unsolicited suggestions about the greenlit sequel.

    The Late Late Show host loved the movie just like everyone else, but he felt it was missing a little something. Most superheroes had sidekicks, he said, so why shouldn’t Deadpool? And who better than Corden to fill the role?

    Instead of reaching deep into the Marvel archives, Corden presented his own range of characters to a deeply resistant Ryan Reynolds, each cuter and more absurd than the last—and none quite perfect enough to keep up with the Merc with a Mouth. Eventually, Reynolds countered with an even better idea—and he answered the age-old question of how Deadpool goes to the bathroom in that suit.

    We’d pay to see that movie.

    Screengrab via The Late Late Show with James Corden/YouTube


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    Kendall and Kylie Jenner surprised fans this week by releasing a new mobile game simply titled "Kendall and Kylie." The sisters partnered with Glu Games, the company behind "Kim Kardashian: Hollywood," and like Kim before them, they're taking the iOS and Android app stores by storm. 

    Here's what you need to know about the new game.

    • The gameplay should be very familiar. Like in Kim's game, your highly customizable character travels around completing professional and social missions by using energy, money, and K-Gems (their answer to K-Stars). As you pop between California neighborhoods like Calabasas, Santa Monica, and Beverly Hills, you can tap fire hydrants and pigeons to find spare money and energy. 
    • Social media is huge. One big new component is that your success is measured in social media followers. While Kim's Hollywood narrative is very traditional (work in a fashion boutique, collect money, and climb the ladder to stardom), Kendall and Kylie's land of celebrity is much more fluid. Your best friend, Emily Sun, is a vlogger, and many of your missions involve creating videos and recording content with your friends at the beach or at concerts. Every  little part of your life can contribute to or detract from your stardom now. Here's how it works: each time you complete a mission or a social interaction, you have to post about it to your character's fictional social media feed. If you do well in your mission (3/5 stars or above), your posts gain you likes and followers, but if you don't do well, you end up losing them. That means no more dipping out of dates once you've hit a middle-of-the-road score. If you snooze on your boyfriend, everyone hears about it, and your fans are fickle. 
    • There are tons of fun Easter eggs. Kendall and Kylie recorded custom video messages that unlock in your character's social media feed based on your achievements (e.g. "I love your new outfit! Where'd you get it?"). You can also sync the app with Facebook and add any of your IRL friends who are playing the game, so your characters' feed syncs with theirs. There's something very surreal about liking your friend's character's selfie in a fake social media feed while you're also in-character. 
    • It's vertically oriented. You can tell the designers of this game were teens who are used to having a million apps open at once, because it feels much more intuitive than Kim's game. While that app still requires you to hold your phone horizontally in order to play, "Kendall and Kylie" lets you keep things casual and vertical. It's handy, since you spend the majority of your time waiting around for your character's energy to build back up and you're probably going to want to check Twitter in the meantime. 

    Overall, "Kendall and Kylie" is very fun. Like in their sister's app, there's a lot of incentive to pay real money for new clothes, K-Gems, and speedier mission completion, but if you're patient, you can have a good time rising to social media stardom on your own.

    Screengrab via Kendall and Kylie


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    Live from a college elevator, it's Shia LaBeouf

    The actor is once again livestreaming a performance, this time from an elevator at Oxford University. The project, titled #ELEVATE, invites waves of people to join him and collaborators Nastja Rönkkö and Luke Turner in an elevator for a question-and-answer session. He's planning to stay inside the elevator for 24 hours, starting Friday morning. 

    In late November, LaBeouf asked people to "#TOUCHMYSOUL" and call a hotline to talk to him live from Liverpool. That same month, he participated in #AllMyMovies, in which he livestreamed a marathon of himself watching his movies and became an instant meme. By poking fun at himself, he became more relatable. Two years ago, he did #IAMSORRY, one of his first hashtagged experiments in public exhibition and apology

    The Daily Dot checked in at 9am CT on Friday and saw LaBeouf speaking with two women in the lift about their "sincere energy." He offered a joke: "What do you call a monkey that flies? A hot air baboon." 

    This is an "experiment," LaBeouf told another participant, not an "art project." 

    "This is narcissistic," he added, "but in a way I can deal with." 

    What did he think about the "actual cannibal" video? "I thought it was really funny," he said, before offering someone a Red Bull. 

    Later, LaBeouf said he wanted this performance to be more than a lecture at a school; he wanted it to be "egalitarian, like the Internet." 

    Indeed, LaBeouf has pulled off a pretty impressive trick in the last few years, shifting perceptions of him afterclaims of plagiarism by essentially becoming a public experiment. Is this still just a stunt if he's getting people to tune in and engage with him

    H/T Mashable | Screengrab via Oxford Union/YouTube 


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    Michael Pollan wants you to appreciate that it was only when we began to cook that we truly became human—a telling notion reflected in our physical composition compared with those other beings that have not yet harnessed the power of fire.

    And he worries that instead of giving food its required reverence, we pay lip service to the cornucopia—filling the time we used to spend cooking with watching shows about food that we cannot taste and are too lazy to replicate.

    So what then does he do with Cooked, the Alex Gibney-directed Netflix documentary series based on his book of the same name? Does he enmesh us within the science of the desire for something more than mere sustenance? Does he assemble a thesis to interrogate the hunter-gatherer model? Does he stun us with revelations?

    Hardly. In the first episode, he heads south to watch a free-range rare-breed hog being barbecued and attempts the same at home—just like every other foodie-travelogue-eat-better-cooking-adventure made in the past decade. Only this time the soundtrack’s a little more somber and the host a little less engaging.

    As a piece of pop-science, Cooked is far closer to Bieber than Boas even if it doesn’t realize it itself. Each episode is tangential, if not nebulous, starting at interesting points but then diverting us down well-traveled, even obvious terrain: Did you know cooking food makes it easier to eat? Or that fast food includes ingredients that you wouldn’t normally cook with at home? Were you aware that corporations—you may be shocked here—prey on us by marketing the consumption of their food as an easy alternative to making something yourself?

    There’s just so much filler here that goes without saying. While I loved the slow-motion shots of food searing or bubbling away, they were sort of spoiled by Pollan explaining, as if his audience were streaming from Saturn, that food, once heated would release an aroma.

    What Pollan doesn’t seem to realize is that although our physical disconnect with food is increasing, our—theoretical, if not practical—knowledge, a product of the food entertainment industry, has never been greater. Just because most of us no longer pull singed lizards out of the earth, doesn’t mean we don’t know that our steak is from a cow. Indeed now, such is the proliferation of information provided with high-end food, you’re more than likely to be told which cow it came from and whether it preferred the Beatles or the Stones.

    There is mystery still surrounding the provenance of some processed meat, but those who don’t at least worry about what’s in their burger are unlikely to watch a program such as this anyway. And for those who do care, they do so because we have heard Pollan’s arguments ad nauseam, and adhered. If there is a void in the modern entanglement of humanity and food, it is not one that will be satiated by a television program but rather by getting our hands dirty.

    Screengrab via Netflix


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    YouTubers have launched the next evolution of connecting with their fans: Now digital stars like Tyler Oakley and Connor Franta are heading to camp with their fans as part of several newly announced summer projects.

    Several digital stars have partnered with newly formed camp17 to host weeklong summer camp experiences throughout the summer and across the country for fans ages 10 through 16.

    Vlogger Meghan Reinks will host the first announced camp, Camp Aim, in California this May. Oakley and Bethany Mota will join forces for #bestcampever in Connecticut in August, while Franta will run creator camp at the same time in Illinois. Prices range from $1,000 to $2,000 for each camp experience.

    Camp17 is a partnership between Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and Mills Entertainment, which has produced several successful tours and events for digital influencers. The project is helmed by Alex Hughes, who has 10 years of camp operations experience.

    The camp concept is the next extension of the wave of in-person, IRL events aimed to connect digital stars with their fans. Events like DigiTour, InTour, and individual creator tours like Oakley’s Slumber Party have proven effective, with sold-out shows and screaming fans galore. However, most personal interactions are limited to quick meet-and-greet scenarios, and a more intimate setting like a camp could provide the fans who get to attend a better experience.

    Each camp has limited capacity, with Franta only hosting 250 attendees while Mota and Oakley can house 400. CAA and Mills will apply a screening process for potential attendees, according to Variety. Fans hoping for a weeklong experience with their favorite YouTubers must apply fast.

    Screengrab via TylerOakley/YouTube


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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.

    March

    Coming March 1

    Ouija 

    The Gallows 

    Me and Earl and the Dying Girl 

    Antwone Fisher

    Barbershop

    Barbershop 2: Back in Business

    Beauty Shop

    Charlotte’s Web

    Friday Night Lights

    I Think I Love My Wife

    Keeping the Faith

    Kiss the Girls

    Kung Pow: Enter the Fist

    Raising Arizona

    Remember the Titans

    Saving Silverman

    Snatch

    Super Troopers

    Tammy

    The Birdcage

    The Uninvited

    Leaving March 31

    Beetlejuice

    Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

    Burn After Reading

    Kill the Messenger

    Life Is Beautiful

    Rio 2

    The Departed

    The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies

    The Rocky Horror Picture Show

    The Theory of Everything

    Transcendence

    Working Girl

    February

    Coming Feb. 1

    Ali

    Bad Santa

    Camp Nowhere

    Club Paradise

    Coraline

    Evan Almighty

    Get Shorty

    Halloween H20: 20 Years Later

    Jonas Brothers: The Concert Experience

    Kung Fu Panda

    Magic Mike

    One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest

    Road House

    Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

    The Piano

    The Wicker Man

    Transformers

    What Happens in Vegas

    Leaving Feb. 29

    A.I. Artificial Intelligence

    Blade

    Blade Runner

    Blades of Glory

    Divergent

    Dreamgirls

    The Drop

    Eragon

    Get on Up

    Ghost Town

    Horrible Bosses 2

    Manhattan

    The Maze Runner

    Mrs. Doubtfire

    The Next Best Thing

    Pootie Tang

    Titanic

    The Waterboy

    V for Vendetta

    January 2016

    Coming Jan. 1

    Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

    Carrie

    Cry-Baby

    Down to Earth

    Final Destination 3

    Joe Versus the Volcano

    The Rainmaker

    A Knight’s Tale

    Knocked Up

    Lucky Numbers

    Malcolm X

    Milk

    The Muppet Christmas Carol

    Pretty in Pink

    Troop Beverly Hills

    Tropic Thunder (Director’s Cut)

    Two of a Kind

    Wonder Boys

    Leaving Jan. 31

    Snow Day

    Flicka

    The Lego Movie

    Mulholland Dr.

    O Brother, Where Art Thou

    Alex & Emma

    For Your Consideration

    Because I Said So

    Four Weddings and a Funeral

    Gone Girl

    Shallow Hal

    This is Where I Leave You

    The Judge

    John Wick

    Dumb and Dumber To

    Far from Heaven

    Superman Returns

    The Last King of Scotland

    December

    Coming Dec. 1

    10 Things I Hate About You

    Annie Hall

    Brokeback Mountain

    Disturbia

    Divergent

    Girlfight

    Home Alone

    Less than Zero

    Mystic Pizza

    Robocop

    Robocop 2

    Robocop 3

    She’s All That

    Soul Plane

    Spaceballs

    Waitress

    Coming Dec. 5

    Get Hard

    Coming Dec. 11

    What We Do in the Shadows

    Coming Dec. 12

    The Divergent Series: Insurgent

    Coming Dec. 13

    Wish I Was Here

    Coming Dec. 19

    The Longest Ride

    Coming Dec. 21

    A Little Chaos

    Coming Dec. 26

    The Water Diviner

    Leaving Dec. 19

    The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

    Leaving Dec. 28

    Her

    Leaving Dec. 31

    An Officer and a Gentleman

    Best in Show

    Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    Draft Day

    Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

    Reno 911: Miami

    Staying Alive

    The Devil Wears Prada

    The Faculty

    The Fault in Our Stars

    The Good Son

    The Rock

    X-Men

    X-Men: Days of Future Past

    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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    Amazon landed quite a coup this past fall when it signed a deal to bring Starz content to Amazon customers—well, those willing to fork over a monthly subscription, anyway. HBO and Showtime had paved the way for à la carte premium cable content, but Starz had remained one of the biggest holdouts still locked behind the walls of cable and satellite. Thankfully, Amazon’s Starz partnership means those of us who’d been chomping at the bit to watch Ash vs. Evil Dead or Outlander have finally found our salvation. Let the binge-watching begin! Here are five shows that make that monthly Amazon/Starz subscription worth every penny.

    (Note: for the purposes of this article, we’re sticking to Starz shows that are still currently airing or due to return for more. Some older Starz series that have already concluded their run, such as Spartacus and Magic City, can be found on traditional streaming services like Netflix.)

    1) Ash vs. Evil Dead (2015–)

    Honestly, this show alone would be enough to encourage many to grab an Amazon/Starz subscription—yours truly included. Fans have waited decades for Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell to return to the bonkers universe they created in 1981’s The Evil Dead, and Ash vs. Evil Dead proves worth every bit of that wait. The series finds Ashley J. “Ash” Williams (Campbell) back in the “normal world” after the time-hopping antics of 1993’s Army of Darkness, with Ash yet again working a shitty job at a shitty store (although not an SMart). He’s past his prime in just about every way, using his missing hand to coax sympathy lays from the local bar crawlers. Then Ash does something very stupid—and very Ash—and inadvertently unleashes the Deadites on an unprepared world. Soon he’s strapping the chainsaw and shotgun back on and kicking ass, just like the good old days… but 30 years older and 30 pounds heavier.

    Ash inherits a sidekick for his monster-knocking in the form of Pablo (Ray Santiago), an enthusiastic but frequently terrified co-worker who idolizes Ash and knows more about the supernatural than you’d expect. Also along for the ride is Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo), the new girl from work who has a very personal stake in this new Deadite outbreak, and who is not impressed by Ash’s pickup lines. Lucy Lawless also shows up, but saying anything more about her would spoil the fun.

    Ash vs. Evil Dead is hilarious, fast-paced, and bloody as all hell—everything you’d expect from Evil Dead. Crack open the Necronomicon and summon up all 10 episodes with your Amazon/Starz subscription, then curse the long wait for season 2.

    2) Outlander (2014–)

    There are plenty of Outlander viewers who were lured in by the brand alone: It’s based on the historical time travel/romance novels penned by Diana Gabaldon, a series that inspires just as much passion in its fanbase as Twilight does among the Twihards (but with better writing and less tween screeching). The Outlander books were never on my radar, however, until I heard who was running the TV adaptation: Battlestar Galactica’s Ronald D. Moore. It seemed an odd pairing to say the least, but then again that show was always less about the sci-fi trappings and more about the humanity inside the space-bound tin cans. Similarly, Outlander’s whole time-travel thing is just an excuse to set in motion a sweeping tale of romance, adventure, and men with nice calves wearing kilts.

    Outlander is the tale of Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe), a married nurse in World War II who suddenly finds herself dropped into 1700s Scotland. And, very shortly thereafter, into the arms of a dashing Highlander named Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan). Their love affair plays out against the background of real history, not to mention Claire’s romantic history; her concerned husband is still very much married to her back in (forward in?) good old 1945. The romance is as epic and sweeping as the scenery, and the two leads have genuinely explosive chemistry together. The characters involved are also a lot more complicated and interesting than the inevitable romance novel comparisons might suggest. There’s plenty to love here even if you don’t think this is “your type of thing.”

    Two seasons of Outlander are available with your Amazon/Starz subscription. Season 3 is expected to premiere on Starz in spring 2016.

    3) Blunt Talk (2015–)

    The delightful Sir Patrick Stewart takes a break from sharing Twitter adventures with the equally delightful Sir Ian McKellen long enough to headline this Starz sitcom about a divorced, hard-drinking former British marine turned broadcaster who travels to America with a dream of conquering the cutthroat world of nightly cable news. Unfortunately for Walter Blunt (Stewart), the biggest obstacles to that goal may be his own blundering and ego. And also the substance abuse. That’s definitely not helping.

    Stewart has been showing off his sense of humor for years now by lending his voice to Seth MacFarlane’s troupe of regular voice actors, most notably voicing FBI chief Avery Bullock on American Dad. Now that partnership has traveled to Starz, with MacFarlane executive producing Blunt Talk. The series was created by Jonathan Ames, best known for the underrated HBO series Bored to Death. That show’s lead actor, Jason Schwartzman, guest stars, and the cast also includes Richard Lewis as Walter’s shrink and Stewart’s fellow Star Trek alum Brent Spiner as a piano player at Walter’s favorite bar.

    Blunt Talk’s 10-episode first season is available on Amazon Instant Video with your Starz subscription. Starz initially ordered 20 episodes, to be divided into two seasons, so expect the remainder to premiere later this year.

    4) Black Sails (2014–)

    Serving as a loose prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson’s middle-school staple Treasure Island, Black Sails is set some 20 years before the events of that book, right smack in the middle of the so-called “Golden Age of Piracy.” A young John Silver (Luke Arnold)—not yet a feared pirate nor yet having earned the “Long John” nom de pillaging—joins the crew of the notorious Captain Flint (Toby Stephens). The series investigates Silver’s backstory as a former Naval officer and how his long journey into a seafaring legend begins. Those familiar with Stevenson’s book will also recall that Captain Flint’s lost treasure serves as a huge element of the storyline, so there’s a lot being set up here to lead into that much-beloved coming-of-age tale. More importantly, where else on TV are you going to get a freaking pirate show that’s actually worth its salt? Not on Crossbones, that’s for sure (with all due apologies to John Malkovich).

    Black Sails was created by Jonathan E. Steinberg (Jericho, Human Target) and Robert Levine, and it’s been described as a “pirate Western”—a description that’s strangely apt, and which has further led to comparisons to Deadwood. Either way, it’s a rich, violent, thrilling look at an era that’s rarely explored in series television, or even on the big screen if a staggering, slurring Johnny Depp isn’t involved. Starz is continually taking risks on bold concepts that are far outside the standard “doctor/lawyer/cop” trifecta of network television; let’s hope it doesn’t lose that daring anytime soon.

    Three seasons of Black Sails are available on Amazon with Starz. A fourth season will premiere on Starz in 2016.

    5) Power (2014–)

    Not to be confused with the PlayStation original Powers, Starz’s Power follows James “Ghost” St. Patrick (Omari Hardwick), the owner of one of New York City’s hottest nightclubs. He’s also heavily involved in the Big Apple’s web of illegal drug trade, a double life that constantly threatens to collapse the whole mess on top of him. It doesn’t help that he’s carrying on an affair behind the back of his wife (Naturi Naughton)—with a government agent, no less—or that his buddy Kanan (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson) just did 10 years behind bars and is convinced Ghost helped put him there. What’s a wealthy nightclub owner/drug kingpin to do?

    Power was created by Courtney Kemp Agboh, a TV veteran of shows such as The Good Wife and The Bernie Mac Show. In addition to playing Kanan, 50 Cent also serves as a producer on the show. Even if the show hasn’t been on your radar, you might have heard of it last year when 50 Cent was throwing shade at Fox’s Empire for allegedly using marketing materials that were reminiscent of his own show. For her part, Empire actress Taraji Henson responded to the claims by joking on Twitter that “I pay attention to $’s NOT cents.” Swish.

    Both season of Power are available on Amazon with Starz. A third season will premiere this summer on Starz.

    Screengrab via Starz/YouTube


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    BY GEOFF WEISS

    Ahead of its seventh annual gathering this summer, much-beloved online video convention VidCon has announced the industry professionals who will curate the panels, keynotes, fireside chats, and seminars for the event’s business-minded attendees.

    The Industry Track Advisory Board, as it’s been dubbed (VidCon also offers attendance "tracks" for creators and fans), comprises a veritable who’s-who of bold-faced players from media companies, brands, agencies, and investment firms. Here’s the list:

    • EpicSignal founder Brendan Gahan
    • United Talent Agency partner Brent Weinstein
    • Pepsi senior marketing manager Christine Ngo
    • Marriott’s vice president of global creative and content marketing, David Beebe
    • Comcast’s VP of strategic development, Dror Shimshowitz
    • Internet of Things Consortium CEO Greg Kahn
    • Vessel’s head of content, Ivana Kirkbride
    • Federated’s chief strategy officer, John McCarus
    • New Form Digital chief creative officer Kathleen Grace
    • Beyond’s VP of programming, Leslie Morgan
    • Supergravity Pictures founder Marc Hustvedt
    • Greycroft Partners’ Mark Terbeek
    • YouTube’s head of entertainment communications, Michelle Slavich
    • Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments’ Sim Blaustein.

    “With last year’s explosion of next-gen OTT, SVOD platforms and alternative digital distribution models, there is more demand for multi-platform content, influencers and creators than ever before,” said Vessel’s Kirkbride in a statement, nodding to potential focal points for this year’s event.

    VidCon, which will take place between June 23 and 25 in Anaheim, California, also recently announced that this year’s iteration would put an added focus on gaming content. Tickets are available at VidCon.com

    Illustration by Max Fleishman


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    Edgar Allan Poe is throwing a dinner party and inviting a slew of literary figures, but only if he can raise $55,000 on Kickstarter by March 6.

    Siblings Sean and Sinead Persaud are the brains behind Edgar Allan Poe's Murder Mystery Dinner Party, a new webseries they’re hoping to fund under the banner of Shipwreck Comedy. The YouTube comedy channel formed about two-and-a-half years ago, and the current project grew from a series called A Tell Tale Vlog, about Edgar Allan Poe being haunted while pining after Annabel Lee. In the series, they mention a dinner party Poe would throw to impress his dream girl.

    “It started as kind of a throwaway joke, but then we realized, that’s a really good idea,” laughed Sean.

    The series will span 10 or 11 episodes, following a murder mystery game that turns real as people start dying. Sinead describes the cast of characters as "People who Edgar Allan Poe might be friends with, even if they’re from a different time than him." 

    They’re more than halfway through their Kickstarter, and more than halfway funded as well. They did attempt to pitch more traditional means of funding, and while they were getting good feedback, no one was ready to jump in and produce.

    “Some people thought it would be too smart for their audience, some people thought it was too niche, some people thought you had to be familiar with our previous work on our channel,” said Sean, who disagrees on all points. After each setback, the group realized they still wanted to make the series. 

    “In a certain way, my view of Kickstarter is sort of complicated,” he said. “I feel really weird asking people for money, and I don’t know longterm how sustainable that is.”

    However, Sinead looks at all the perks that come with crowdfunding.

    “We’d been working on it for so long, at some point it would have been heartbreaking to work with a producer,” she said. “Like, ‘No, we want everything the way it is!’ Kickstarter just seems like the right way to go right now, so we can be in charge of everything. I like the sound of that.”

    One thing they were able to control was casting, which mixed old friends and colleagues with new to create a robust set of literary figures. As part of the campaign, they’re releasing new characters and actors at $5,000 intervals.

    “We also thought it would be a nice incentive, since it is a large cast and we are asking for a large sum,” explained Sarah Grace Hart, a producer and actor on the project. “It would be a nice way to keep fans engaged throughout the whole Kickstarter process. Instead of frontloading everyone and all of our cast members tweeting and Facebooking about it all at once, this way every couple of days we have a new person reaching out to their audience and bringing new blood in.”

    They took cues from previous Kickstarters, especially the Tin Can Brothers’ latest musical comedy, Spies Are Forever, which shares Mary Kate Wiles as a cast member. In addition to being well-known in the webseries world as Lydia Bennet in the Emmy-winning Pride and Prejudice adaptation The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Wiles has been part of successful Kickstarters like Muzzled the Musical and Spies before. Now she’s added producer to her role.

    “Being a part of this in such an integral way, it just has been such a great experience for me,” she said. “I watched it grow from a tiny baby idea, and seeing everyone responding so well has only been all the more validating and encouraging and exciting.”

    After funding, they plan to film for two weeks in late April or early May, with a goal of getting the series up by the end of summer. Meanwhile, they have lots to prepare for, including the final push for donations, and they’ve already gotten promotion from big digital names like Hank Green. The Poe team has some tips for other hopeful Kickstarter-funded productions.

    “Do your research and really be prepared,” said Wiles. “Once you launch, it’s nonstop. We’re just constantly talking about this and thinking about this. You really have to make sure you have your ducks in a row before you’re ready to go.”

    Screengrab via Kickstarter


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    In a world abundant with listicles and memes, it’s rare to sit down and leaf through a magazine. Why turn a page when you can scroll, baby, scroll?

    The folks at Janice, an illustrated humor magazine, have launched a Kickstarter in order to give you the opportunity to do just that. They’ve built a strange new world and want you to be able to enter it at your leisure, unencumbered by multiple open tabs, pop-up ads, or the incessant ding of notifications.

    “At first the idea was it’s a f***ed up New Yorker," Ryan Haney, co-editor and creator of the magazine, told the Daily Dot. "It has all the same pretensions but just a little off.”

    Haney says the magazine truly came to life when he and co-creator Matthew Brian Cohen partnered up with illustrator Maëlle Doliveux. Doliveux’s illustrations are colorful and inviting, beautiful yet garish.

    “She turned our big jokes into really beautiful art,” said Haney. “[Maëlle] really makes it into this weird vision. She [gave us] a unifying voice.”

    Their first issue, “2014: A Look Ahead,” was published in early 2015. It featured articles that fit its cheeky title, like “Take Action Against Climate Change, Without Letting Earth Get All Cocky About It,” “A Review of the Playstation 4 and My Own Wasted Potential,” and “Get Ready for a Whole Buncha Popes.”

    Following the digital release of the inaugural issue, Haney and Cohen maintained Janice as a humor website. The writing skews absurd, but the humor is familiar: topical, quick, Web-appropriate. But Haney expressed an itch to do something bigger and stranger. 

    “It’s slightly reactionary," he said. "There’s a lot of really good humor writing on the Web, but you kind of just get these little pieces that are thrown up and a lot of things are topical or one-offs. We figured if we took it offline we could maybe make it something cool where you could find stuff that’s longer or darker or weirder than usual.”

    Doliveux shared his sentiment. 

    “I think that, as much as Internet culture is a wonderful thing that connects us to people around the world, and broadens our horizons, and shows us pool party bears, I think that it has also shortened our attention spans," she said. "When people see a piece of writing online that extends past their scrollbar, it can be difficult to give that piece of writing a chance. When you have a printed book or magazine in front of you, you are making the time to enjoy that writing, and to let it surprise you.”

    The second incarnation of the printed world of Janice is full of surprises. Janice contains a world where noir detectives are piles of pig meat who struggle to resist the urge to copulate with three layer cakes, classifieds advertise “reasonable psychics,” and poetry is heavily laced with L.A.’s premium grade prescription marijuana.

    Haney, Cohen, and Doliveux want to deliver something funny and beautiful, and possibly even weirder than all the weird shit you can find on the Web.

    The Kickstarter for Janice's second issue features reward levels that offer a peek into their strange world. At the $15 mark, you can select your copy of the magazine with the cover ripped off; sprayed with perfume; signed with the name (but not the actual autograph) of a Hollywood star; or topped with a smattering of onions, mustard, and “extra spread.”

    Haney describes the magazine as a space influenced by other spaces they love. “We definitely take a lot of inspiration from places like McSweeney’s and the New Yorker," he said, "but this is a place where you can be a little ruder.”

    Image via Maëlle Doliveux/Janice Magazine


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    John Oliver is taking on the issue at the center of one of the Supreme Court’s biggest upcoming debates.

    The Last Week Tonight host knew that abortion is polarizing, and that he wouldn't be able to convince a certain segment of people to support it no matter what he said. So instead of doing that, he painted a picture of what abortion laws have become in many states.

    Planned Parenthood vs Casey allows states to put restrictions on women’s access to abortion clinics with TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws, making it nearly impossible to access an abortion in some parts of the country. Clinics are forced to adhere to building regulations they don’t need, doctors have to tell patients medically inaccurate information, and there’s often a waiting period between the first appointment and getting an abortion.

    And when a place does create a building that follows those regulations, state legislatures try to pass other laws to shut it down. That's happening now in Alabama.

    The reality of those laws is already here: a 13-year-old girl who was raped can't get an abortion at the clinic she drove four hours to reach. Her only option is to go to New Mexico, wait three days, and pay $5,000. Another woman called a clinic to ask what she could use in her kitchen to give herself an abortion.

    "Abortion cannot be theoretically legal," Oliver said. "It has to be literally accessible."

    Screengrab via LastWeekTonight/YouTube


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