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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    In our American bubble, sports fans can look at the social media followings of NBA star LeBron James or former NBA maestro Michael Jordan or NFL washout Tim Tebow and believe they represent worldwide recognition. After all, James boasts 28 million Twitter followers, Jordan counts 26 million Facebook Likes,  and Tebow, despite the fact he hasn't played in an NFL game since 2012, remains one of the most popular quarterbacks.

    In truth, though, all of their social media followings are dwarfed in comparison to a real international superstar. Cristiano Ronaldo is a forward for Real Madrid and has been one of the best soccer players in the world for the past decade, and as noted by Hookit—which measures and values "the total sports ecosystem on social and digital media"—he's the first athlete ever to top the 200-million social media followers list.

    More specifically, Ronaldo has 109.7 million Facebook Likes, 49.6 million Instagram followers, and 40.7 million Twitter followers. As to how that relates to American sports stars, Ronaldo's total is three times more than the entirety of Major League Baseball, and his numbers outweigh 99 percent of NFL athletes combined.

    According to Hookit, Ronaldo averages about 135,000 new followers per day, and for 2015 overall, nearly 42 million people followed with about 75 percent of them coming from Instagram.

    The only other people to top the 200 million social media mark are pop stars Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift. As for how Ronaldo's online popularity ranks against the likes of James and Jordan.

    H/T Forbes | Photo via Ludovic Péron/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) 


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    Kanye West is as self-important as he is captivating—especially when he's comparing himself to the game's hottest theoretical physicist. 

    Tuesday night during a Los Angeles release party for rapper Yo Gotti's latest album The Art of Hustle, held at club 10AK, West spun a new track reportedly called "Closest Thing to Einstein." It reportedly features London hook specialist Sampha, and it appears to be a seven-plus-minute epic overrun with confessionals.

    Some choice lyrics: 

    "I know I'm the most influential/ That Time cover was just confirmation/ This generation's closest thing to Einstein/ But don't worry about me, I'm fine" 

    "People try to say I'm going crazy on Twitter/ My friends' best advice was to stay low" 

    "The media said he's way out of control... I just feel like I'm the only one not pretending."

    West is known for dumping data prior to a new album—cutting loose the bonus songs he didn't include in the final product. This month, however, he's almost letting his fans choose their own adventure after his Life of Pablo record hit the Web.

    Don't like "Wolves"? Here's another version of the song with different guest artists. Here's a music video from the director of 12 Years a Slave for a song you've never heard before. Here's this one song he did for French Montana. West also claims to have written 40 songs each with heralded rappers Kendrick Lamar and Young Thug

    Of course on top of the art, West is not one to let six-year-old scrums go. And so at some point in the night he came awfully close to calling Taylor Swift a liar for publicly deriding her name-check from "Famous" at the Grammys.

    Then he denied that he enjoys anal play, contrary to his ex-girlfriend Amber Rose's Twitter allegations.

    Then he defended Jay Z's music streaming service Tidal.
    And then, he circled back to his reported public debt. Making one indomitable point:

    As if on cue, West set the record straight on Twitter Wednesday afternoon.

    Can we have that "Einstein" CDQ now?

    Illustration by Max Fleishman

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    The Daily Dot is celebrating Woman Crush Wednesday, better known as #WCW on Twitter and Instagram, by highlighting female creators on YouTube whose work we admire.

    If President Obama had never been reelected, Denise and Ebony—the mothering powerhouses behind OliviaHas2Moms—would never have joined YouTube. Inspired by the historic moment, the longtime couple decided it was time to share their story as a two-mother household.

    Shortly after getting married six years ago, Ebony and Denise knew they were ready to have a baby. After undergoing artificial insemination, Ebony gave birth to a beautiful baby girl named Olivia, who has grown up with an extended family of 80,000 subscribers.

    The couple’s video library is a mix of content varying from Q&A segments and vlogs following their daily adventures to sit-down conversations about gender and their own experiences as a mother duo. What stands out in each video is not only these moms’ palpable love of their daughter, but also their genuine honesty. In their video “Do I Have a Daddy?,” the couple disclose their future fears of explaining to Olivia that all families don’t look like theirs. Will she be angry? Upset she doesn’t have a father? How will her classmates respond to her having two moms? Will she be bullied?

    By making these videos, Ebony and Denise are taking control of these questions and their lives. Life on YouTube seen Olivia’s moms participating in VidCon, modeling for the NoH8 campaign, and advocating for the legalization of same-sex marriage. In six years, they’ve nurtured a growing community of same-sex partners they affectionately called Team2Moms with the hope of creating a world where all kids, no matter their parents’ identities, feel ordinary.

    Indeed, Ebony and Denise aren’t the only couple using YouTube to challenge LGBT stereotypes: Through daily vlogs, long-time couple RJ and Will are showing the very normal life of an LGBT couple, while partners such as Jelly and Day and Kaelyn and Lucy have used their stories to personally connect to fans in the LGBT community.

    All of these creators’ videos navigate conversations about gender and LGBT relationships, but Ebony and Denise’s are unique in how they speak to kids. By showing their daily life with Olivia, Ebony and Denise are giving a realistic voice to a community often misrepresented in the media and making a better world for their daughter to grow up in.

    Screengrab via OliviaHas2Moms/YouTube


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    Chrissy Teigen may be a supermodel, cookbook author, and funny tweeter, but there are people out there who still think she could be doing more. Specifically in the fertility department. 

    In a recent interview with People, Teigen opened up about her experience using in vitro fertilization in order to get pregnant with husband John Legend. In vitro is a fertility option that involves inseminating eggs outside of the body in order to ensure they're actually fertilized before a doctor surgically places them into the uterus. The treatment can be very emotional for many patients, since even fertilized eggs aren't guaranteed to result in a pregnancy once they're implanted, but for Teigen the story ended happily.

    To People, she described the joy of ending up with more than one fertilized egg to choose from, and told the magazine she ultimately implanted the one with a female embryo because she thinks Legend would be "the best father to a little girl." That's where the Twitter outrage starts. 

    A now-deleted tweet from a fan reprimanded Teigen, warning her that choosing an embryo based on its gender was messing around with a "natural blessing from god." 

    But Teigen didn't take the criticism on this sensitive subject lying down. In her typical fashion, she fired back:






    Between these tweets and her support of #FreeTheNipple and stretch mark pride, it's safe to say Teigen isn't going to let anyone feel bad about her body any time soon. 

    Screengrab via Chrissy Teigen/Instagram


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    Sam Pepper is asking his fans for a second chance.

    After purging his entire social media presence this week, Pepper returned today with a blurry, 20-minute video in which he says he’ll be “real, honest, and 100 percent” himself. In it, he explains that he eventually filled his prank channel with completely faked videos in an attempt to keep himself relevant with the exploding scene of YouTube pranksters. 

    “What I wasn’t thinking this whole time is if I have to fake a video, then that means it’s too crazy for me to do for real,” said Pepper. He said this includes the butt-pinching video which started the public outcry against Pepper.

    “Everything moves with a trend,” Pepper says. “You don’t wear clothes that were in fashion three years ago; you wear current things. That’s the same with my YouTube channel. I wanted to get views; I wanted to get money. It’s my job.”

    Pepper said he followed those trends, and decided to make up what he called a “bullshit story” about him doing a social experiment. He also denies the rape allegations against him and explains the logic that led him to doing the “murder prank” that put him back into the spotlight in the fall, emphasizing that the video was also a fake and an attempt to get views.

    “I’m putting forward the wrong image of myself. I’m putting forward a character I’ve created that doesn’t give a fuck,” said Pepper. “I’m not thinking about that; I’m thinking about the views. It’s stupid.”

    Pepper also called in to YouTube channel DramaAlert to elaborate in an additional 17-minute clip. DramaAlert host Daniel Keem said he researched the rape allegations against Pepper with the LAPD and found there was no proof in the claims. Keem previously published videos supportive of Pepper.

    Response to Pepper’s news is mixed on social media, with some coming out in support of him and calling for the community to give him a second chance, while others aren't so forgiving.

    In the end of the video on his channel, Pepper asks his 2.3 million viewers for a second chance.

    “I’ll prove to you that I can make content that represents me as a person,” he said, claiming that he’ll only be repopulating his channel with videos that make him proud.

    “I’ve been an idiot,” he says. “I want to change my content. Honestly from the depths of my heart, I want to do this as my job but I want to do this right.”

    Screengrab via Sam Pepper/YouTube


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    Funny or Die announced Wednesday that former Obama speechwriter David Litt has joined the company as head writer and producer at its new Washington, D.C., office. 

    Litt, who graduated from Yale Law School in 2008, served as head joke writer for Obama's last four White House Correspondents Dinner speeches. That includes the "Luther the Anger Translator" sketch with Key and Peele, which garnered more than 35 million plays on the White House Facebook page. Litt has also contributed to sites like The Onion and McSweeney's.

    Funny or Die's D.C. branch opened in April 2015 and has since produced videos in partnership with the American Heart Association, ClimateTruth.org, and the League of Conservation Voters—organizations Litt should be very familiar with from his time with Obama.

    Litt is also working on a book about being a 20-something in the White House called That Hopey Changey Thing, which will be published by Ecco Press.

    H/T Variety | Screengrab via WhiteHouse.gov


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    Like many Americans, Stephen Colbert has some ideas for what Hillary Clinton can do for him if she becomes the next president.

    Ignoring all of her campaign promises, Colbert dives into his own, more ridiculous demands, ranging from his dream job to saving groundhogs from a dark and grizzly fate. While she could pull maybe one of these off, Colbert might want to stick to his day job instead.

    Colbert might list his final demand for the good of the show, but in reality it’s not such a good idea. Despite initial and promising predictions, It’s pretty bad for business.

    Screengrab via The Late Show with Stephen Colbert/YouTube


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    Deadpool has put a bullet right between the eyes of every naysayer, having grossed some $246 million in the United States alone (it has surpassed half a billion dollars worldwide) as of this writing. That makes it the highest-grossing X-Men movie to date, domestically, edging out X-Men: The Last Stand’s $234 million—and Deadpool’s only been in theaters for two weeks. This explosive success has, of course, led many to declare that the R-rated comic-book movie is finally a thing, glory be!

    Of course, the R-rated comic-book movie is nothing new, even if earlier examples have failed to pile quite as much money in one place as Deadpool. (Alas, poor Watchmen, we barely knew ye…) In honor of Deadpool having his way with the global box office, we’ve rounded up a selection of R-rated comic-book adaptations that you can stream right this very minute. Warm up a chimichanga (or 12) and enjoy.

    1) The Crow (1994)

    Based on: James O’Barr’s 1989 series published by Calibre Comics. The character has continued across several series and publishers in the years since.

    The flick: Directed by Alex Proyas (Dark City), The Crow stars Brandon Lee—son of martial arts legend Bruce Lee—as Alex Draven, a young man resurrected by a mystical crow one year after his death. You don’t come back from the dead without a to-do list, and Draven has a big one: His life was cut short by a pack of brutal thugs, who pitched him out a window after beating and raping his fiancée. Now damn near unkillable and guided by the crow, Draven carves a path of vengeance through the streets of Detroit, determined to make every last person involved with his wife’s death pay. The series has continued across several film sequels—each time starring a different lead character and actor—as well as a late-’90s syndicated TV series. The film is also infamous for the fact that actor Brandon Lee died while filming it, the victim of an accidental shooting.

    Where to watch: The Crow is available streaming on Netflix Instant.



    2) Blade (1998)

    Based on: The Marvel comics character created by writer Marv Wolfman and artist Gene Colan way back in 1973. Blade spent the ensuing decades popping up every now and then in the comics, but it was the 1998 movie that made him a household(ish) name.

    The flick: Vampires are real. They’ve been lurking in the shadows of our world for centuries, but they’ve become very, very good at keeping their existence a secret from most of us blood-filled sheeple as we go about our daily business. The one thing they fear is Blade (Wesley Snipes), the so-called “Daywalker”: a half-human, half-vampire hybrid with “all of their strengths and none of their weaknesses.” Working with his mentor, Whistler (Kris Kristofferson), Blade spends his days and nights making life hell for the bloodsuckers, but things get complicated after a charismatic vamp named Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff) decides the nosferatu should quit with the half-measures and start treating mankind like the cattle they are. Blade objects to this plan and counters with his own plan to stab Frost in the face. Drama ensues, and Blade gets to complain about motherfuckers trying to ice-skate uphill.

    Where to watch: Blade is currently available on HBO, which you can access streaming with either HBO Go or an HBO Now subscription.



    3) From Hell (2001)

    Based on: Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s serialized graphic novel of the same name, which was published between the years of 1989 and 1996, then finally collected in full in 1999. Moore and Campbell’s From Hell was based on English author Stephen Knight’s theories about the true identity and motivations of notorious serial killer Jack the Ripper.

    The flick: Johnny Depp stars as Police Inspector Frederick Abberline, a brilliant detective troubled by psychic visions that help his work but hinder his attempts at a normal life. After a vicious killer begins slaughtering prostitutes in London’s Whitechapel district, Abberline slowly begins to uncover evidence that the murders are more than just the actions of a lone sociopath. During his investigations he begins to fall for Mary Kelly (Heather Graham), a young prostitute who is herself soon destined to cross paths with a killer name Jack…

    Where to watch: From Hell is currently available streaming on Amazon if you’re springing for the monthly Starz package.



    4) American Splendor (2003)

    Based on: Underground comic book writer Harvey Pekar’s long-running autobiographical series, American Splendor, which has been published off and on since 1976, with the most recent release in 2008. Also based in part on the 1994 graphic novel Our Cancer Year, written by Harvey Pekar and Joyce Brabner and illustrated by Frank Stack.

    The flick: Paul Giamatti plays Pekar opposite Hope Davis as Pekar’s third and final wife, Joyce Brabner. The film follows Pekar’s slog of a day job as a file clerk at a VA hospital, his long friendship with cult cartoonist Robert Crumb (James Urbaniak), and his meeting and falling for Brabner. American Splendor was written and directed by documentarians Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, who structured the film as a mix of fiction and reality, with the real Peker, Brabner, and others making appearances both to discuss their history as depicted onscreen and to comment on the movie itself. The movie took home a slew of awards, including a Best Adapted Screenplay nod from the Writers Guild of America.

    Where to watch: American Splendor is currently available on HBO, which you can access with either HBO Go or an HBO Now subscription.



    5) The Punisher (2004)

    Based on: Marvel Comics’ heavily armed, skull-draped vigilante, created by writer Gerry Conway and artist John Romita Sr. He first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #129 in 1974, and he’s left a trail of bodies strewn across the Marvel universe ever since. There have been three live-action Punisher films thus far; this was the second.

    The flick: Frank Castle (Thomas Jane) is a former Delta Force soldier turned undercover FBI operator. After he helps bring down notorious gangster Bobby Saint and his arms dealer buddies, Frank is ready to settle into a quiet retirement with his family. Unfortunately, that last case resulted in the death of Bobby Saint, and his father, Howard Saint (John Travolta) is heavily into revenge. Saint’s men crash a Castle family gathering and murder Frank’s entire bloodline, leaving him shot, blown up, and presumed dead. With nothing left to lose, Frank sets out to dismantle Saint’s family—both crime and personal. The film borrows heavily from Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s acclaimed 2000 Punisher story arc, “Welcome Back, Frank,” giving this version of the Punisher a dark sense of humor that suits Jane’s performance but leaves the movie kind of an atonal mess—and that’s without even touching on the inexplicable geographic leap from New York to Florida. Hopefully the character’s upcoming appearance in the second season of Marvel and Netflix’s Daredevil will fare better.

    Where to watch: The Punisher is available streaming on Netflix Instant.



    6) Constantine (2005)

    Based on: The chain-smoking British magician, con man, and general occult rabble-rouser John Constantine, created by Alan Moore, Stephen R. Bissette, and John Totleben. He first appeared in DC’s The Saga of the Swamp Thing #37 in June 1985 and later went on to star in his own long-running Vertigo Comics title, Hellblazer, among others.

    The flick: When John Constantine finally made it to the big screen, there were a few changes along the way. Especially keen-eyed viewers may have noticed that the blond British bloke who had been designed to look like Sting was now a dark-haired American who looked like Keanu Reeves. As in the comics, Constantine is a reluctant occultist and exorcist caught between the machinations of Heaven and Hell—doomed to the latter thanks to an earlier suicide attempt, but harboring no love for the former. Unfortunately, a diabolical scheme by Lucifer’s son, the demon Mammon, forces Constantine to once again face down the powers both above and below, with nothing but his wits to carry him through. (If you enjoy this version of Constantine, be sure to track down the excellent but short-lived NBC TV adaptation starring Matt Ryan—it’s loads better.)

    Where to watch: Constantine is available streaming on Netflix Instant.



    7) Sin City (2005)

    Based on: Frank Miller’s long-running series of neo-noir crime comics from Dark Horse. The anthological format of the movie pulls from multiple books in the Sin City series, most notably The Hard Goodbye, The Big Fat Kill, and The Yellow Bastard.

    The flick: Like Miller’s comics, the Sin City movie traces multiple intersecting storylines across the savage streets and blood-soaked back alleys of the fictional Basin City. Weary former cop John Hartigan (Bruce Willis) leaves prison determined to close the book on the bastard that landed him there. Brutish hit man Marv (Mickey Rourke) sets out to avenge the slain beauty who somehow loved a beast like him, even if only for one night. An average schmuck named Dwight is in the wrong place at the wrong time, finding himself caught in a three-way clusterfuck involving dirty cops, the mob, and the far-from-defenseless prostitutes of Old Town. Just another day in Basin City…

    Where to watch: Sin City is currently streaming on Netflix Instant.



    8) V for Vendetta (2006)

    Based on: The 1988 graphic novel by writer Alan Moore and artist David Lloyd.

    The flick: Set in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic version of 2020, V for Vendetta imagines a world where the status quo has crumbled after a horrific pandemic ravaged the world, toppling the United States, and turning the United Kingdom into a fascistic nightmare state where anyone who doesn’t fit the norm or toe the line is shipped off to concentration camps or simply vanished in the night. The orderly landscape of propaganda and forced patriotism is rocked by the actions of “V,” a mysterious vigilante sporting a Guy Fawkes mask and throwing around such destabilizing messages as “people should not be afraid of their governments; governments should be afraid of their people.” Co-leads Natalie Portman and Hugh Weaving both give stellar performances, but extra kudos must be given to Weaving: He does it all from behind an immobile mask.

    Where to watch: V for Vendetta is available streaming on HBO Go and HBO Now.

    Screengrab via DC Entertainment/YouTube


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    Christmas is coming early for one Austin, Texas, middle school thanks to Spotify and South by Southwest. The streaming service is building it a world-class recording studio with leftover materials from its annual Spotify House. 

    “We believe everyone should have access to music and this project will allow students to use their creative skills with a studio,” Kerry Steib, Spotify’s director of social impact, told the Daily Dot.

    Every year, the streaming service's pop-up venue attracts headlining bands who perform in intimate, downtown Austin settings. This year's crop includes the likes of Hannibal Buress, Kacey Musgraves, Miguel, Charles Bradley, Vince Staples, and Chvrches, 

    The project will create a studio specifically for Kealing Middle School’s music production class. Spotify is working with a handful of sponsors and a creative agency, mindPOP, on the venture. For its part, Kealing expressed enthusiasm on Twitter.

    "There are always grant opportunities, but I've never experienced a company coming to campus and doing something of this scope. Usually you have to ask and beg and write," Kealing Principal Kenisha Coburn told the Austin Chronicle

    Kealing is a magnet school located in the historically working class but increasingly gentrified and "eclectic" East Austin. The school has 1,189 students.  

    Keib said the company looks forward to doing similar service projects in the future. “Keeling Middle School uses music to bring together a really diverse group of kids,” Keib said.

    The studio will be assembled the week after SXSW.

    Photo via Sascha Kohlmann/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Max Fleishman 


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    Comedy Central's social media game show @midnight will become the first late-night show to stream an episode live on Periscope next month. 

    The show will be recorded live at the Parish at South by Southwest on Friday, March 11, with guest comics Arden Myrin, Doug Benson, and Chris Cubas. Fans outside the event will be able to watch and react to the show on Periscope, letting them "experience @midnight in a new way," according to Joanne Park, head of TV partnerships at Twitter, which owns the streaming app.

    This isn't the first time @midnight has experimented with Periscope. Last October, host Chris Hardwick and friends participated in a #MobyDickathon, in which they attempted to read the entirety on the epic novel live on Periscope over the course of 24 hours. They also recently used it to celebrate National Toast Day. 

    The @midnight taping is free for SXSW badge holders. 

    Photo via Comedy Central


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    While setting off fireworks last July 4, Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul badly burned his skin when one exploded in his hand. Eventually, one of Pierre-Paul's index fingers had to be amputated, as reported by ESPN at the time, but he went on to have a decent-enough 2015 NFL season.

    All the while, he hasn't forgotten this tweet by ESPN reporter Adam Schefter.

    And on Wednesday, the 27-year-old sued Schefter and ESPN for a violation of his privacy, according to the New York Post. According to the lawsuit, Schefter "improperly obtained" Pierre-Paul's medical records and then posted them to his Twitter account, which at the time had a following of almost 4 million. (He now boasts about 4.5 million followers.)

    “This action arises out of ESPN reporter Schefter’s blatant disregard for the private and confidential nature of plaintiff’s medical records, all so Schefter could show the world that he had ‘supporting proof’ of a surgical procedure,” the suit says.

    ESPN and Schefter declined to comment to the Post, but in an interview with Sports Illustrated last July, Schefter said he didn't seek out the records. Instead, he said they were provided to him.

    I know news organizations are not governed by HIPAA laws, but in hindsight I could and should have done even more here due to the sensitivity of the situation... We’ve got a great group of editors and production staff, and I could have leaned on them even more. ESPN has trusted me on any number of stories over the years, and granted me great latitude, fortunately. Sometimes in the fast-paced news world we live in, it’s easy to forget you should lean on the knowledge and experience of the people surrounding you. They’re always there for everything, but especially stories like this. On this one, there should have been even more discussion than there was due to the sensitivity of the story; that’s on me.

    As Forbes writes, Pierre-Paul claims that the Schefter tweet caused damages in excess of $15,000.

    Already, Jackson Memorial Hospital has fired two employees for inappropriately handling Pierre-Paul's medical records, but the suit says Schefter should be punished as well.

    But as Forbes's Darren Heitner writes, "Schefter and ESPN should feel comfortable with their defenses after learning about the lawsuit. If all else fails, Schefter can resort to employing a First Amendment defense of freedom of speech, which has been very kind to journalists in the past."

    Photo via Karen Blaha/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)


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    When you're a huge rock star—albeit one from several decades ago—it's imperative to find motivation and inspiration in everyday life.

    Some get it from wanting to replace the guy who served as the wallpaper in their bedroom, others want to recreate their lives as Vikings who come from the land of the ice and snow, and others hunger to warn us about youngsters who have run amok.

    But others just want to get on Tinder.

    Such was the case for Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo, who told Rolling Stone that he joined the dating app to seek inspiration for songs for the band's new album.

    As the magazine explained, Cuomo observed producer Jake Sinclair using Tinder to find women and "became fascinated by the concept." So he joined as well.

    "My description says, 'Not looking to hook up, just trying to have new experiences and get some ideas for songs,'" said Cuomo, who's married but interested in meeting men and women for platonic friendships and experience. "I'm not super excited to talk to people who know that I'm in Weezer. It's more exciting when I find people that are interested in me as a person. When I'm in a city I'm not totally familiar with, I can meet someone on Tinder and they can take me around."

    Said Sinclair: "I knew there was zero chance of him hooking up with anybody. But he started constantly getting out of the house and writing down all the details of what happened to him."

    Whether that helps Weezer produce a significant album 22 years after its breakthrough work The Blue Album is a different story. But perhaps it's worth exploring whether sites like OkCupidAshley Madison, and JDate could help other musicians search for ideas and find new ways to create songs.

    As for what his wife thinks about his life on Tinder? "My wife," Cuomo said, "is cool with it."

    Photo via remixyourface/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) 


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    Hollywood’s biggest night is just around the corner, but that doesn’t mean the Internet’s terrible tweets about the acting elite have gotten any nicer.

    Some of the most famous people in the business—many of them Oscar nominees and winners themselves—gathered on Jimmy Kimmel Live for the time-honored tradition of reading the mean tweets that people have sent them.

    They may not completely understand what their critics were thinking, but their reactions are a hilarious mix of anger, annoyance, and even laughter. And along the way, the masses have a few good ideas.

    Somebody get Eddie Redmayne some water. He is thirsty.

    Screengrab via Jimmy Kimmel Live/YouTube


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

    Rooster Teeth’s Ashley Jenkins and Burnie Burns are now among the 10 teams competing in The Amazing Race’s “Internet Influencer” season, and in a field of young competitors, they’re quick to point out they’re the only team with both contestants over the age of 30. Burns and Jenkins have dated for three years, live together, work together, and are now racing together.

    So far, their game has only improved, moving up from a sixth place finish to third place last week. In anticipation of episode 3, the duo revealed packing tips, their unconventional strategy for figuring out who else would be along for the ride, and what they’d do with a potential million-dollar win.

    How did you prepare for being away from social media and your jobs for so long?

    Burns: We’re pretty lucky because Rooster Teeth is a big company. We can set it up so other people handle our email; we don’t disappear off the face of the earth. I’m a parent, I have two boys, and leaving them for 30 days was much harder than leaving a cellphone behind.

    Did you have any inkling of which fellow social media stars you’d be up against?

    Jenkins: The Internet is a very big place, and social media is a very big place. We had an idea of one or two people potentially, but also figured we’d also be meeting a lot of the social media people for the first time. There’s Vine, there’s Instagram, there’s a lot of corners of YouTube we don’t know about.

    Burns: When I knew we had to leave the following week, and I called people asking, “Are you able to take a meeting next week?” and they’d say, “Sure.’ And I’d think, ‘That's good.’”

    How did you prepare for the race itself?

    Burns: We did tons of training. The biggest thing we did was cardio. Going into the race we were the oldest combined team: I don’t think there was another team of races that had both contestants over 30. We did puzzles, we did puzzle rooms, we went out for ballroom dancing lessons. I think the biggest amount of research we did though was we went and read tons of interviews with previous racers, and the big thing we were trying to research was what to pack. We were trying to get our pack down to 10 pounds. We didn’t quite get there.

    Do you have packing advice for future racers?

    Burns: [Blair Fowler] did a video after the race about what she packed.

    Jenkins: She brought a hair dryer.

    Burns: Then she overcompensated when she checked in last leg one. For leg two, she threw out everything, including her bathing suit.

    Jenkins: She kept one change of clothes, everything else was gone.

    Burns: She went from massively overpacked to massively underpacked. Which we can relate to because we checked into the board in Mexico on the first leg [when] there was an overnight before we went into the caves, and we were doing the same thing. Everything we had that was a comfort item, we threw out everything. A blow-up sleeping pad, a water sterilization pen, I just gave all that stuff to locals. When you’re facing down going home in the first leg, all of a sudden you’re sweating bullets.

    So what do you think you needed most of all?

    Burns: With all due respect to Ms. Fowler, a swimsuit. Over the years we’ve seen a lot of water challenges. You have to have one pair of durable shoes that dry out easily, and a jacket. Going into it we even got ideas from previous contestants. There were the dentists, and I noticed one episode they had a whistle. I got a physical counter—and it had to be mechnical, it couldn’t be electronic—but I thought that could come up for a counting challenge. Quick-drying underwear, something you can wash in the sink and dry out.

    This is a very polite race between the teams. No one seems to be mean to each other yet.

    Jenkins: Going into it, there’s definitely a sense of camaraderie. In a way, we all come into this feeling like kindred spirits. We really thought just the highest of everybody we raced with.

    Burns: Your perspective for one race vs. another is very different, especially on early episodes because there's only so much time you can spend with one team. This race is one of the rare instances where the first leg is a non-elimination one. Now we’re going into the third leg and this is the first time anyone’s been eliminated. That really changes the tone of the race, once you realize people are going home. We went in with a lot of goals, but our top goal was “Don’t go home first. And win.”

    So things will pick up in episode 3?

    Jenkins: It finally feels real, like anybody can go home at this point.

    Burns: We’re interested to watch other racers. Marty and Hagan [Cobb, who were eliminated last week], we never saw them after Mexico City. There were rumors [that] because [Marty is] a flight attendant they caught an earlier flight and were already done with the leg.

    Jenkins: There were all those stories we weren't there for. We had no idea the girls [Erin Robinson and Joslyn Davis] thought about taking a penalty in the cave.

    Burns: And the preview this week, you saw Erin losing it in the catacombs. We had no clue!

    What were you prepared for the least?

    Burns: I don’t think there is a way to prepare for the amount of stress. Watching the show for many years, yes, it seems stressful but it seems [like] surmountable challenges. But when you’re in the situation, it’s just this recipe for this enormous amount of stress. I don’t know if there’s a way to prepare for it. I don’t know what I could tell someone to prepare to do that.

    What do you think your fans are learning about you by watching the show that they didn’t know before?

    Jenkins: The biggest thing our fans have learned so far, as far as they’re telling us, is they didn’t realize we kiss so much!

    Burns: We don't think of it that much because that’s just the way we interact with each other, we’re just a supportive couple. But the people who’ve seen us in our shows for Rooster Teeth, we’re not interacting like that.

    Jenkins: We don‘t interact that much on camera for Rooster Teeth. Those opportunities to make out don’t come up that much.

    How are fans responding in general to your participation?

    Burns: A portion of our audience is younger people, and I get tweets every day of people discovering The Amazing Race. Our audience is almost tailor-made to like this show because it takes the entire world and turns it into one giant game. That’s the way Ashely and I approached it. I think we’re making a lot of lifelong race fans.

    Jenkins: We hear a lot of very cool stories from the younger members of our audience who are watching The Amazing Race with their parents who are fans. This is something they can do together and bond over.

    Let’s assume you won it all. What do you do with the million dollars?

    Jenkins: One of the things I would like to do is take the boys to some of these places around the world and show them how amazing it is.

    Burns: We’re sitting down with the boys and watching the show with them every week. We say, “We’re going to all these different places. If you see a place you like we’d like to go there with you.” We’d take a great family trip.

    Jenkins: I’d love to take the boys to Cartagena. It’s such a beautiful place, and if they mouth off we can throw them in a mud pit. I know where one is now.

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

    Screengrab via The Amazing Race/YouTube 


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    BY SAM GUTELLE

    YouTube has provided a new option for uploaders who wish to protect the anonymity of individuals with their videos. The video site has announced an update to its blurring feature, which is now able to blur specific objects as they move across the screen.

    YouTube users have been able to blur faces since 2012, but the site’s new update greatly increases the breadth of blurring options. Previously, users were limited to a single tool, which would recognize faces within the chosen video and blur them automatically. This tool was limited by the inconsistency of facial recognition software, which, as YouTube put it in 2012, is sometimes affected by “angle, lighting, obstructions and video quality.”

    The updated version of the blurring feature is much more precise. Users can select specific objects within their video and choose to obfuscate only those objects. The blur effect follows the chosen objects as they move across the screen, thus keeping them hidden without obscuring the rest of the video.

    The blurring tool is primarily intended for reporters and eyewitnesses who wish to protect the identities of their sources or subjects. As such, it is part of YouTube’s broader initiative to promote citizen journalism and the people who create it. “YouTube is proud to be a destination where people worldwide come to share their stories, including activists,” reads a YouTube blog post. “Along with efforts like the Human Rights Channel and Citizentube that curate these voices, we hope that the new technologies we’re rolling out will facilitate the sharing of even more stories on our platform.”


    Beyond the world of journalism, the blurring feature has some other secondary uses. It could, for example, be used to obscure the logo of a brand that would otherwise claim trademark infringement. That may sound silly, but given the recent controversy swelling around YouTube’s video claiming policy, some users may find the new blurring feature to be a relevant legal aid.

    Photo via Hometown Beauty/Flickr (CC BY ND 2.0)


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    Everywhere we look, we’re getting a reboot or revival directed our way. But are they worth it?

    In the past few years, we’ve seen Arrested Development, Community, The Mindy Project, The X-Files, Heroes, and Boy Meets Worldrescued or revived on our screens in new forms—whether it’s from Netflix, Hulu, a new network, or an old one—and we’ve already got new seasons of Twin Peaks, Gilmore Girls, Xena: Warrior Princess, and that long-promised Deadwood movie to look forward to. Fuller House, the Netflix revival of the original ABC family sitcom Full House, is the latest to join the nostalgia reboot, and based on the first episode, we’re not sure that was such a good idea.

    Between all of the gags, Easter eggs, and callbacks to the original show, which are so numerous that one could probably make a drinking game out of them, “Our Very First Show, Again” does set up the general premise. D.J. Tanner (Candace Cameron Bure), now a mother of three boys, has moved back into her childhood home after the death of her husband with some help from sister Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) and Kimmy Gibbler (Andrea Barber), a divorced mom of a teenage daughter whose ex-husband is still trying to chase her.

    The original caretakers of the show (Bob Saget, John Stamos, Lori Loughlin, and Dave Coulier) are about to move out of the house, and as much as Fuller House is about nostalgia, it will ultimately be more about the younger generation of children who all find themselves in their guardians’ shoes.

    The show begins with a clip of the original Full House opening sequence before abruptly cutting to “29 years later." The house hasn’t really changed—and neither have any of the people, even if they’ve all gotten older. The characters are almost stuck in the ’90s even with the inclusion of cellphones and a mention of San Francisco's housing market.

    A couple of scenes feel more like a trade-off of every catchphrase uttered throughout Full House’s eight-year run (almost to get them all out of the way) than anything resembling a plot, one that eventually breaks the fourth wall to acknowledge the absence of Michelle (played by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen). It's almost mean-spirited.

    The episode ultimately gets D.J., who tries to juggle everything on her own—three kids (one who is sick), her job at a vet clinic, chores, and an emergency dog birth from one of Comet’s descendants—to be OK with asking for help from others. And with D.J., Stephanie, Kimmy, four kids between them, and a new puppy living in the house, it’s going to be a tight fit.

    While the focus is on the children, we do learn a bit about the grownups and what’s become of their lives, but even then it can be rather one-note. Danny’s new wife (to us) Teri is hardly given an introduction, Becky—a successful talk show host—is reduced to offering to take D.J.’s youngest son off her hands because sons Nicky and Alex ended up disappointments leaning on the "lazy, entitled millennial" stereotype, and Stephanie is asked if she wants to have kids and settle down by D.J., a comment many women hear far too often.

    Throughout it all, the show does hit a few of those moments that made audiences aww. In a direct callback to the Full House pilot, the family gathers together to calm down a crying Tommy by singing the Flintstones theme song, with the original clip playing right beside it to offer a nice touch.

    It might not always hit, but when it does it brings the memories back.

    All 13 episodes of Fuller House are available to stream now on Netflix.

    Screengrab via Netflix


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    BY TODD LONGWELL

    In the first 21 months following its $675 million acquisition by Disney in March 2014, Maker Studios created more big headlines with turnover in its executive suites—including the departures of President Ynon Kreiz and Chief Content Officer Erin McPherson—than it did with its content.

    But, now, things seem to be heating up for Maker. Last week, it announced its first linear TV show, Crossroads of History, which will debut on the History cable channel before being released to Maker and History’s respective digital platforms.

    Today, Maker comes back with another big content play—a new talent and programming incubator, dubbed Maker Studios Spark. The program invites creators from YouTube, Vine, Facebook, Instagram, and other social video outlets to pitch original concepts that can be developed into series or cross-platform franchises.

    The program has already been in operation for the last few months, during which time Maker has collaborated with dozens of creators in the program’s inaugural class as well as “greenlit” more than 100 additional concepts for which creators produced on their own, with support from Maker.

    Spark’s content covers verticals including gaming, lifestyle, family, and entertainment, with concepts ranging from fictional first dates between historical figures and the secret lives of wigs to a post-apocalyptic puppet show and one-minute musicals.

    The program’s inaugural class includes Ellen Degeneres Show-alum Sophia Grace, Beau’sToy Farm (above), prank star Magic of Rahat, father-daughter team RealityChangers, gamer Chris Pirillo, and viner Nampaikid.

    Read the full article on the Video Ink.

    Photo via Maker Studios/Facebook


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    Sony broke its silence on Kesha's legal battle this week by releasing a statement to the New York Timesimplying it's powerless to free the artist from her current contract. 

    The remarks come after weeks of public outcry from fans and celebrities alike, as well as plenty of media speculation as to what the label is in its legal right to do with the case. (The consensus seems to be "very little.") 

    After a piece went up in Bloomberg reporting that Sony is not legally able to cancel its contract with Kesha, Sony lawyer Scott Edelman spoke to the Times to confirm: 

    Sony has made it possible for Kesha to record without any connection, involvement or interaction with Luke whatsoever, but Sony is not in a position to terminate the contractual relationship between Luke and Kesha... Sony is doing everything it can to support the artist in these circumstances, but is legally unable to terminate the contract to which it is not a party.

    The problem is that Kesha is still signed to Dr. Luke's label, Kemosabe Records. While that Kemosabe is a subsidiary of Sony, according to the Times, the pop star's contract was signed through a separate deal with Kasz Money Incc., Dr. Luke's production company. 

    Even though the company doesn't apparently have much legal power in this case, it still leaves it in a tight spot public relations-wise. The Daily Dot spoke to assistant professor at the University of Mississippi School of Law Stacey Lantagne, who confirmed the tight spot both Kesha and Sony are in with this suit: 

    There are multiple contracts at issue here. One of them is with Dr. Luke. But one of them is with Sony itself, and doesn't involve Dr. Luke in any way, shape, or form, legally. Is Dr. Luke still a producer Sony is working with even through sexual assault allegations, and is that sketchy? Yes. But the contract between Sony and Kesha apparently, from what I can glean, doesn't mention Dr. Luke and doesn't involve Dr. Luke... She needs to bring theories like breach of good faith on Sony's part, or some kind of duress in the Sony contract, or some kind of illegality, or some kind of impossibility / impracticability in fulfilling the contract. All of these things might very well exist, given how this has gone down, but she hasn't made those arguments for some reason, and judges have to only decide arguments brought to them. 

    On Kesha's end, she continues to thank her fans and feed the buzz about the case on social media.

    H/T Jezebel | Screengrab via Kesha/Instagram


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    Comedian Mo Welch and her Instagram character Blair are very different, but she admits they’re pretty tight. Welch writes down the random depressing thoughts that cross her mind, and hands them over to her crude line-drawing creation.

    Blair, also known as Barely Blair, isn’t an overthinker, nor does she have a sexuality other than “Don’t touch me” or “I am alone forever.” Those are just thoughts that come to Welch randomly, even if she’s having the best day ever. Over coffee in L.A.’s Silver Lake neighborhood, where she lives with her girlfriend, Welch explains that the idea for Blair came to her when she had hit a special sort of rock bottom. In many ways, it was the best thing that could have happened to her at a time when she felt ready to give up.  

    “I was going through one of my ‘I want to quit comedy because it doesn’t make any sense’ phases, and it makes you feel so vulnerable sometimes… like, you hate yourself,” Welch said while downing a pint of strong coffee. “I had left L.A. for the summer, and was at my mom’s house in Lombard, Illinois. I just got through a couple of breakups. I wasn’t sure if I would come back to L.A. I was feeling sad, and I found these sketchbooks in the basement that were my sisters’ and I had a Sharpie, so I was like, ‘Oh, I wanna try to draw a comic, because I want it to be super simple, just about the joke or the feeling.’ But I knew I wanted art attached to it.”

    That’s when Welch discovered Blair, a surly, two-dimensional character with one or two-liners who perfectly occupies Instagram’s one-square-panel space. Welch creates about one Blair post per day. Sometimes, Blair lets people know about Welch’s upcoming comedy gigs, like The Mo Show at UCB Theatre in L.A. But most of the time, Blair expresses a certain type of millennial sadness that many working creatives have encountered.

    Before moving to L.A., Welch hosted The Mo Show back in Chicago, the city closest to her hometown of Oak Park, where her parents moved from central Illinois when she was 12. Raised by a single mom, Welch is one of five kids. She has three sisters and one brother; her brother is also gay.

    Welch explains that as a kid, she was never a good student—teachers would say she had a lot of potential, and while she did well at math, she was more interested in science. She was also fascinated by the visual art and theater kids, but her free time was spent playing sports. In her standup set, she talks a lot about basketball, and how she could’ve gone the athlete route. Instead, she went to the University of Wyoming at Laramie, started working in radio, and then dropped out of college to do radio. It was around that time that she discovered comedy, and also realized that she was a lesbian, though not in that order.

    “I was never a performer but I started watching all these SNL DVDs because they were on sale at Walmart,” said Welch. “I would watch them alone and then one day I was just like, ‘Yeah, I can do that. I’m better than that.’ Blind confidence—always the key to getting into comedy." 

    She started doing improv in Denver, where she moved after Laramie. After a year, Welch moved back to Chicago and became a student at iO, Second City, and the Annoyance Theatre. She admits that she thinks she “still owes them all money.” In 2011, she moved to Los Angeles, and Blair was eventually born in August 2014.

    Welch’s comedic persona is separate from Blair, who is less about being funny and more about the depressing thoughts that will make viewers laugh. One of the stranger facts about Blair is that she began with a Pop Tart.

    “My mom loves Pop Tarts and she has them in her cabinet, and I was home alone eating Pop Tarts [the summer I went back to Chicago],” Welch explained. “I was going through other people’s accomplishments, and then I looked down at my paper plate and I was like, ‘Fuck this shit.’”

    It’s a common story for many creatives, who often hit a turning point in their work after they surrender to the fact that they’re unhappy, broke, single, lonely, or all of the above. Welch decided to start sharing Blair drawings on her Instagram account.

    “I just started posting them, and people started liking them,” she said. “It was really an ‘I give up’ moment. A couple of good things happened from that, and one of those was Blair.”

    Rather than dismiss her as an idea that arrived during a low point, Welch decided to keep drawing Blair. It wasn’t like the depressing thoughts stopped entering her head, even when things were going well. The comic grew even more when Welch separated those thoughts from herself and gave them exclusively to Blair.   

    “I’ll do a standup set and get validation from the audience—get laughs and then leave—and I don’t normally talk to any audience members,” she said. “But with Blair I can see all the comments and it is really reassuring. It’s validating to see that people relate to Blair in a certain way or they want to show their friends. So it’s essentially a meme, but it’s nice to see people be like, ‘Oh, that’s so me!’ And I’m like, ‘Good, it’s nice to see that we’re all depressed!’”

    Welch is currently working on a longer book of comics. In time, she hopes Blair will become animated as well. She could become another voice of our Internet generation.

    Blair’s a lot like Daria and Cathy, both animated characters who speak rather bluntly about their not-always-positive internal thoughts and feelings. But whereas Daria is perpetually adolescent and Cathy is a grown woman, Blair might strike viewers as a millennial who has yet to figure out basic adult responsibilities —and it’s unclear if she really even cares to.

    Blair has accepted her loneliness, mostly embracing it to the point of not giving a shit. Occasionally she will stalk an ex’s social media account, but mostly she’s just alone, broke, and content enough just eating ice cream in bed.

    In her standup, Welch jokes about the nature of comedy as a strange “last resort” for creative people; her long-standing love affair with basketball; the real nature of stranger danger that every Uber driver inspires in female passengers; and the fact that for gay ladies, their hands are pretty much their dicks. Blair is merely an outlet for those random, dark, unwanted thoughts that creep into her brain.

    Though Blair doesn’t appear on stage, if audience members listen hard enough, they might be able to find her in Welch’s voice. Anyone who knows Blair would definitely understand that standup comedy isn’t on her list of things to do. How could it be? She rarely leaves her apartment.

    “What I love about Blair is that people message me and they’ll be like, ‘I had such a Blair day,’ or ‘I had such a Blair moment,’” Welch said. “It’s basically depression.”

    Images via Mo Welch/Instagram | Remix by Max Fleishman


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    If you're planning on watching the 88th Academy Awards on Sunday night, you probably want to do it with a cocktail. The biggest night in Hollywood usually runs more than three hours

    Whether you're throwing an Oscar party or throwing on a ballgown and watching by your lonesome, you'll need something to do to fill up all that time until they announce the winner for Best Picture. It's true that the 2016 Oscars will be different than previous years. This year's ceremony is marked by the #OscarsSoWhite controversy and subsequent boycott by many prominent figures in black Hollywood, a topic that won't likely be ignored by this year's host, comedian Chris Rock

    But three hours is still a very long time for any televised event, much less one that mostly consists of boring speeches and montages of films you still haven't seen (here's looking at you, Room). Why not try your hand at one of these cocktails to celebrate Oscar night? 

    1) Mad Max: Fury Road

    "The Furious Skull" by John Henderson of the Happiest Hour NYC

    1 ½ parts Sugar Island Spiced Rum or similar brand of spiced rum

    ¾ part sweet vermouth 

    1 dash Angostura bitters 

    1 Campari ice cube

    1 skull-shaped ice cube mold (you can find plenty online, such as this one or this one)

    For the Campari ice cube: Pour a mixture of Campari and water at a ratio close to 50:50 into your mold. Freeze overnight.

    For the cocktail: In a short rocks glass, combine rum, sweet vermouth and a dash of bitters. Place the Campari ice cube in glass and if desired, garnish with a small pinch of pink salt. As the salt hits the cube, it will cause the Campari cube to melt.

    2) The Revenant

    "The Swedish Flame" from Manmade DIY

    For a woodsy drink fit for The Revenant's protagonist, you'll just need your favorite bourbon, a sprig of rosemary, and some simple syrup. You can find the full instructions at Manmade DIY

    3) Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    "Fate of the Stars" by Nicole Trzaska of the Liberty NYC

    1 part Sugar Island Coconut Rum or similar coconut rum

     ¼ part butterscotch schnapps 

    1 part coconut water 

    ¼ part fresh lemon juice

    Blue and pink cotton candy

    In a mason jar, gently place two different-colored cotton candy bunches. Mix all liquid ingredients in a container and shake over ice. Slowly pour over the cotton candy to liquefy and morph the color of the cocktail. Once all is liquefied, top with ice and a straw. 

    4) The Martian

    "The Martian Sunset" by the Common Man

    Matt Damon's long stay on the Red Planet as seen on The Martian might have been improved with a Martian Sunset. The drink by Common Man calls for tequila, fruit juices, and dark rum. You can find the full instructions in the YouTube tutorial above. 

    5) Steve Jobs

    "The Steve Jobs Apple-tini" by Nerdist

    This clear, apple-flavored concoction by Nerdista is a good bet for fans of Steve Jobs and Michael Fassbender alike. You can view the full recipe here

    Photo via John Henderson/The Happiest Hour NYC


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