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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    It's 2016—otherwise known as the year of the craziest presidential election of our lifetime and the enforcement of the latest Netflix price surge. 

    People using Netflix in 2014, probably binging the second season of Orange Is the New Black, may remember hearing about the streaming giant's plan to raise its monthly rate from $7.99 per month to $8.99, slated to be enforced in 2016. In October 2015, Netflix took it up one more dollar, bringing it to $9.99 per month.  

    Since all good things must come to an end, Netflix began enforcing the higher monthly rate to the other users subscribed to its standard plan on May 9. But there are more pieces to Netflix's pay structure than the standard 10 bucks viewers fork out every month. Now that there are all kinds of content providers to choose from—Hulu, HBO Go, Amazon—you may want to reconsider how much you're paying for your Netflix account.

    Netflix provides three streaming plans, each one separated by the amount of screens allowed to stream from the same account at one time and the resolution quality. Here's how each breaks down:

    Basic

    • Price: $8 per month
    • Screens: 1
    • Resolution: Standard Definition (SD)

    Standard

    • Price: $10 per month
    • Screens: 2
    • Resolution: High Definition (HD)

    Premium

    • Price: $12 per month
    • Screens: 4
    • Resolution: HD and Ultra-HD

    If you want to go old-school Netflix, circa 1997, the company still rents out its DVD and Blu-ray discs for varying monthly rates. 

    Limited

    • DVD price: $5 per month
    • Blu-ray price: $6 per month
    • Number of discs out at once: 2 (per month)

    1-Disc

    • DVD price: $8 per month
    • Blu-ray price: $10 per month
    • Number of discs out at once: 1

    2-Disc

    • DVD price: $12 per month
    • Blu-ray price: $15 per month
    • Number of discs out at once: 2

    3-Disc

    • DVD price: $16 per month
    • Blu-ray price: $20 per month
    • Number of discs out at once: 3

    Happy binging. 


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    A spinoff to the original U.K. version of The Office has long been rumored, and today star Ricky Gervais confirmed it's coming to Netflix

    The mockumentary David Brent: Life on the Road has been acquired by the streaming platform, Gervais announced today on the Opie with Jim Norton radio show. The series follows The Office's cringe-inducing boss David Brent (played by Gervais) as he takes off on the road with his band Foregone Conclusion, a storyline that originated in the first season of the show. The band has actually played real gigs. 

    Gervais, who recently starred in another Netflix joint, Special Correspondents, explained that "Netflix have bought out the rest of the world again" in picking up the film. "I’d rather 20 million people see it than half a million people see it in cinemas," he added. 

    The film will debut on Netflix after the theatrical release, though a U.S. date has not yet been set. 

    H/T Variety 


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    BY SAM GUTELLE

    Over its first two years, Astronauts Wanted has produced a number of projects led by big-name online video stars. With its latest project, the studio founded by ex-MTV bigwig Judy McGrath is expanding its network of creative partners while maintaining its expertise across social media. It has announced Flight Club, which will incubate media projects that will feature members of YouTube’s up-and-coming class.

    As has been the case with Astronauts Wanted’s other productions, the programs developed by Flight Club will play out across multiple social media platforms, from Tumblr to Snapchat to Facebook Video. For its first project, Flight Club is taking a page out of another transmedia company’s book and producing a modernized adaptation of a classic work of literature. In this case, the work in question is Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which will be adapted into an offbeat, oddball series called Midsømmer.

    Astronauts Wanted has introduced Midsømmer and the creators who will star in it via a series of videos on its YouTube channel. In one, for example, aspiring comedian Alex Vergel offers up his unique interpretation of the trickster Puck.

    Other creators who will appear in Midsømmer include Foxyhotmessthe Natural, and Erin Gilfoy, all of whom have subscriber counts in the five- and six-digit range. As Flight Club unveils new projects, it will bring in more emerging creators to serve as its stars.

    “There’s such an explosion of different platforms and ways of interacting with content over social platforms,” Astronauts Wanted chief creative strategist Nick Shore told the Hollywood Reporter. “The incubator was thought up in the context of how storytelling is going to evolve in a cross-platform world, with the main story being told on one platform and ancillary stories being told on a second platform.”

    To stay up to date date with Midsømmer, follow Astronauts Wanted on Tumblr and across social media.


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    A new initiative proposed by Berklee College of Music may end up overhauling the music industry's royalties system in the near future.

    The Open Music Initiative (OMI) will be led by Berklee's Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship in cooperation with MIT's Media Lab, and they're hoping to improve how rights owners get identified and compensated for their digital music. 

    The proposed solution? An open-source platform for tracking music creators and rights owners.

    So far, a list of more than 50 media entities have reportedly signed on with the build. The roster includes huge players in traditional media like Universal Music, Sony Music, and Warner Music Group, plus newer streaming giants like Spotify, YouTube, Pandora, Netflix, SoundCloud, and SiriusXM.

    "The internet led to an explosion of innovation precisely because of its open architecture," said Neha Narula, director of research at the Digital Currency Initiative at the MIT Media Lab. "We now have the tools to build an open architecture for music rights, using a decentralized platform.”

    With big names already on board and ready to collaborate, it seems probable they'll be able to develop a tool that addresses the industry's needs.

    H/T Pitchfork

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    Jerry Seinfeld took over Mark Zuckerberg’s first ever Facebook Live Q&A session Tuesday afternoon with a few questions of his own.

    "Do you take a shower or work out first in the morning?" Seinfeld asked Zuckerberg.

    The actor was visiting Facebook’s headquarters to show the company's employees the first episode of his new season of Comedians in Cars. He also got the chance to test out the social network’s new virtual reality tool, Oculus.

    Zuckerberg interrupted his live session to invite Seinfeld to join in on the fun. After the comedian dodged his first question, he turned the tables on Zuckerberg asking him what time he wakes up every morning.

    The Facebook founder said having a baby has made him a morning person, and he now wakes up at 6am. Like the rest of us, Zuckerberg said he checks his phone first thing in the morning, claiming that "it won’t be more than a few minutes."

    Seinfeld did share what he eats for breakfast.

    "I like to have three eggs because I read about this lady in Italy that’s 105 and has three eggs for breakfast every morning…," he said. "It’s a fantastic breakfast. It holds you, like, for 4 hours."

    Zuckerberg had originally been hosting physical town-hall style Q&A’s around the world and recently had the idea to host one on the new Facebook Live feature.

    "Rather than just having a few hundred people in a room, we can do this here and have tens or hundreds of thousands of people participating in a town hall Q&A from all across the world," he said.



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    For the first time since he joined Barely Political in 2007, Mark Douglas and his beloved sketch comedy channel are in limbo. Call it a comedy mid-life crisis.

    Earlier this year, Barely Political—along with other Google-owned channels such as Threadbanger and the VSauce—split from the tech giant and are now owned by their creators. Though Douglas no longer feels the pressure to prove himself as an asset to Google, he’s also been met with a host of new challenges: mainly becoming a boss and supporting his four full-time employees. 

    “It totally feels like starting over. The funny thing is, I used to get really stressed out about writing and the pressures of coming up with—is this funny enough? Now, I’m running a business, the shoot stuff—writing, producing, and a shoot—that’s the least stressful part,” Douglas tells the Daily Dot.

    Douglas is chatting in his Brooklyn, New York, studio space—we’re in the Dia de Los Muertos-decorated conference room. When the landlord asked what his company did for money, Douglas said it was a successfulYouTube channel. In other words, he can pay the rent.

    For fans of Barely Political, successful doesn’t quite begin to cover the channel’s influence on the evolution of YouTube. Home to 2.1 billion views and 4.8 million subscribers, Barely Political is credited with being one of the first channels to start intentionally creating viral content. The channel was originally started by Ben Relles who sold the idea of “hot girls and politics” to Next New Networks, a company later acquired by YouTube. The channel’s first hit was “I’ve Got a Crush on Obama” featuring the infamous Obama Girl, and as Barely Political began taking off, the team realized they needed much more content.

    Enter Douglas.

    Like many comics, Douglas is both an introvert and extrovert—thriving onstage, but quickly uncomfortable in a crowded party. He stayed in New York City following his graduation from the American Academy of the Dramatic Arts but found that serious acting wasn’t for him.

    On the most basic level he wanted to be a funny musician—a role he later played out in a part on 30 Rock and performing sketch comedy around the city. Douglas was hating his job as a bellman, performing standup on the side, when a friend recommended he do voiceovers for Barely Political. Vocal impressions turned into sketch writing and soon, Douglas was hired full-time by the channel.

    Today the Key of Awesome is often mixed up for Barely Productions. While latter is the overarching channel that includes sketches, music videos, and vlogs, the Key of Awesome solely makes comedy covers and music videos of popular songs. The first episode of Key of Awesome came out in 2009 and with over 108 episodes in the bank, has become Barely Political’s most popular webseries. Douglas writes, directs, produces, and sometimes stars.

    “In the beginning, we were able to do it with a really small team but after a while, we started realizing the aesthetic of YouTube started to get higher with people like Freddie Wong making this incredible content,” remembers Douglas. “Now we have full crews and it gets pretty expensive. I don’t consider myself a filmmaker, my directing style is ‘Get what I have in my head on the screen.’ I don’t dork out over lenses or cool establishing shots. It’s mostly, ‘Don’t fuck up my jokes.’”

    For each parody, Douglas is on a time crunch between releasing videos and the popularity of their subject waning. That means writing, casting, filming, and editing often happens in just two weeks—a formula the team has nailed over the past six years. Their most viewed video “Tik Tok Kesha Parody” holds 144 million-plus streams. In years since, Douglas has parodied Bruno Mars, Pitbull, One Direction, Katy Perry, Meghan Trainor, Eminem, and more, and even seen his character actors gain fanbases of their own.

    It’s not a stretch to call Douglas one of the godfathers of modern YouTube, along with the original team behind Barely Political: Todd Womack, Doug Larsen, Anastasia Douglas and Bryan Olsen. Their viral videos paved the way for comedy on the platform and helped define YouTube as not only a space to share videos, but to create consumable, shareable, and exclusive content. The channel has worked with everyone from Hannah Witton and Grace Helbig, to Epic Rap Battles of History, the Gregory Brothers, and even Wheezer.

    As for the future of Barely Political and Key of Awesome, Douglas is open to both revisiting the stripped-down style of the channel’s past and embracing a new future. Maybe television? A new webseries? He’s open to whatever.

    “The fact that I have a place—the fact that there are people who care what I make—feels huge to me,” Douglas says. 


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    Donald Trump has been testing the patience of his critics for months now, and for some his speeches on the aftermath of the Orlando shooting have been the final straw. President Obamatook him to task in a televised speech—and now a late-night host has banned him altogether.

    In one of his staple “A Closer Look” segments, Seth Meyers continued to attack Trump for exploiting the deadliest mass shooting in American history in order to push bigotry, trying to bar an entire religion from immigrating to the U.S., and implying that Obama sympathizes with terrorists. Even the act of reporting Trump’s remarks verbatim has gotten the Washington Post banned from his events for being “phony and dishonest.” 

    But Meyers and Late Night believe in freedom of the press, and they’re standing in solidarity with the Washington Post.

    “So as long as the Washington Post is banned from Donald Trump’s campaign, Donald Trump will be banned from ever coming on this show,” Meyers said. “You missed out, buddy.”

    Along with Samantha Bee and John Oliver, Meyers is one of the more consistent late-night hosts to rail on Trump beyond the joke. Meyers in particular has been doing it since the 2011 White House correspondents’ dinner. As such Trump has never been on Late Night and he was almost surely never coming, a point that Meyers admits just seconds later.

    Banning Trump from Late Night is ultimately an empty threat. Meyers knows it, we know it, and if Trump ever learns about it, he’ll probably make a point about the show's ratings on Twitter. But for Meyers, the ban probably felt pretty good.


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    Dating app Bumble is hoping its users want to share what they've been listening to on Spotify

    The Austin, Texas-based app, started by Tinder co-founder Whitney Wolfe, allows women to take the lead in starting a conversation, which ostensibly cuts down on the harassment or unsolicited photos that come with playing Tinder. This newly announced integration with Spotify adds another layer to the process of connection, both figuratively and literally; if a user is connected to the streaming platform, the profile will display their top-streamed artists. So, if you've been rocking Calming Music for Cats for the past month, you might want to take that into consideration, though that is a great conversation starter—especially if you don't have a cat.  

    "The partnership came about very naturally," a Bumble spokesperson told the Daily Dot. "There are some great friendships amongst both company's teams and it wasn’t long before we started talking about a collaboration. A little over a year later, we have a great integration that’s allowing our users to create even more meaningful connections through the power of music." 

    Spotify has posted its own mixtape for this occasion, made up of the most popular tracks from dating playlists on the site. The new feature will be rolled out over the next few weeks. 


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    Four months after its release, Kanye West's The Life of Pablo has changed its ending like a choose-your-own-adventure book. 

    West's seventh solo album briefly went dark on streaming services like Apple Music and Tidal overnight. When the album reappeared, a 20th, album-closing song, "Saint Pablo," was tacked on. For now, the Spotify version retains "Fade" as its closing argument. 

    In April, Def Jam told MTV to expect ongoing construction work and sporadic road closures with West's seventh solo effort, saying it would be an “innovative, continuous process... a living, evolving art project.”

    As for "Saint Pablo," it appears to be a song that West debuted in February at a Los Angeles night club. Featuring British crooner Sampha, and co-written by Jay Z, per the Tidal credits, "Saint Pablo" is a smooth-knocking, piano-accented gem bursting with chest-thump raps. Gun shots are sampled for optimum messiah-complex paranoia, and West's ability to speak in uncomfortable truths shines in lines like "most black men couldn't balance a checkbook, but buy a new car talking 'bout 'how my neck look?'"

    As art, The Life of Pablo has stayed in our earbuds through three seasons because it's emerged as a thrilling RSS feed for dedicated fans. 


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    Beyoncé used her Formation World Tour to pay tribute to the victims of the Orlando shooting at the end of her concert in Detroit Tuesday night.

    “I would like to dedicate it to all of the family members that have family who lost their lives in Florida,” she told the crowd.

    Queen Bey sang her 2008 hit "Halo" to honor the 49 victims killed at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Sunday. The somber moment was captured on cellphone video by a fan.

    She also expressed her condolences on Instagram.
    Beyoncé isn’t the only artist using music to recognize the tragedy. The Dixie Chicks, Bob Ware, and Adele have all dedicated performances to victims.

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    Chrissy Teigen has taken Donald Trump to task a few times on social media, but she upped the ante this week with one short-and-sweet Instagram caption. 

    The model and author posted a special message for the Republican presidential hopeful on his birthday Tuesday. It simply read, "Happy birthday, you monumental asshole." 

    The post has garnered over 165,000 likes and 10,000 comments from fans both applauding Teigen's attitude and debating Trump's controversial remarks. 

    Teigen has previously taken a stand against haters for both her use of in vitro fertilization and her decision to go out to dinner as a new mom. Plus, she and husband John Legend have taken issue with Trump a few times already on Twitter, so this post is just the most recent in Teigen's long and proud tradition of owns. 

    H/T Bustle


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    YouTube prankster JoeySalads is under fire for a "social experiment" video about reactions to a supposed "radical Islamic terrorist" versus a "radical Christian terrorist." It's a jarring setup, and the clip was posted to YouTube one day after the Orlando shooting on Monday.

    In the short sketch, JoeySalads (real name Joe Saladino) and another man drop small, metal boxes near unsuspecting pedestrians. Saladino's friend is dressed in traditional Islamic attire and yells "Allahu akbar" before running away, which translates to "God is good." Saladino is dressed in a shirt and jeans, and yells "Praise Jesus" while doing the same action. The stunt has caused outrage from fellow YouTubers.

    Saladino, who has 1.2 million subscribers, addressed the backlash in an annotation before the video begins to play.

    "Due to hate, I will be donating the money this video makes to the victims and the families of the Orlando Shooting," reads the first annotation. "Seems people are disliking before understanding the concept of this video This video shouldn't offend anyone, it simply opens up a dialogue to a tragedy, This video will raise questions to why certain things happen, watch the WHOLE video to understand."

    He also posted several follow-up videos on his vlogging channel. He explains that he had the video made for over a month, but it was currently a relevant topic and that's why he released it this week.

    He then followed up with a video and tweets talking about being attacked, and that his personal information is now out on the internet.

    Social experiment YouTube videos have come under fire from the general YouTube community and general public for their tactics in recent years. They've been called out for shock-value marketing, and dishonest premises that often rely on paid actors to get desired reactions.

    Main offenders like Sam Pepper, who posted videos showing him allegedly sexually assaulting strangers and pranking one friend to believe another had been killed in front of him, have admitted gags were staged in attempts to get views.

    Saladino responded to the Daily Dot's inquiry via email. The text of his email is below. 

    On facebook the video didnt have as negative as a reaction
    On youtube it was negative because many popular youtubers too offense to it
    And their fans just followed the wave,
    Many muslims were messaging me saying the video was great because all it did was show
    How ppl are afraid of islam and not any christianity
    When it comes to terror
    But man ppl were nit picking the video saying oh u did it too soon after the mass shooting
    Or your wearing cultural clothes Muslims dont wear that or you pronounced allah akbar wrong
    None of that is even the problem, ppl in america see someone wearing that clothes and either think
    Muslim or terrorist
    My video showed that, and all it did was open up questions saying "why do u think this is like this"
    Many ppl say its cause islam performs many terror attacks 
    Others say, its cause the media makes us believe that
    Thats all it was suppose to do the video
    And i posted it after the mass shooting because it is now a topic for discussion.

    H/T Brobible


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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. Today, a somber look at one of our all-time favorites.

    The weekend brought the tragic news of powerhouse vocalist Christina Grimmie being shot and killed by a disturbed gunman while signing autographs after a concert in Orlando, Florida. She was 22 years old. 

    While remembered by the general public for her standout performances on The Voice, for millions of us, our adoration started long before then. 

    A tiny girl with a huge voice, Grimmie’s painfully short career changed music on YouTube.

    She started her channel when she was just 15 years old and immediately gained more than a million views from her debut cover of Hannah Montana's "Don't Wanna Be Torn." In 2010, she performed her first YouTube collaboration with friends and fellow musicians Sam Tsui and Kurt Hugo Schneider. From there, Grimmie rose to become one of the most talented breakout artists on the platform. She was a frequent collaborator with musician Mike Tompkins, whose acapella style perfectly complimented Grimmie’s wide and powerful range

    In 2014 Grimmie auditioned for The Voice with a cover of “Wrecking Ball” that received a four-chair turn and standing ovation. While she was eliminated during the semifinals, her rock aesthetic and unforgettable chops landed her a tour with Before You Exit. Grimmie released the first songs of her new album to her nearly 3.5 million YouTube fans right before she left on tour last month.

    The YouTube and music communities have since rallied to honor Grimmie’s memory. Fellow creators Sam Tsui, Mackenzie Johnson, Dodie Clark, and AJ Rafael created covers in the star’s memory, crediting her for paving the way for other artists on YouTube. 

    Shane Dawson emotionally thanked her for her friendship while Phil DeFranco and Taryn Southern discussed the effect of this tragedy on the community as a whole. Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez sang tributes to Grimmie while Adam Levine, Pharrell Williams, Christina Aguilera, and Blake Shelton took to social media to share their heartbreak and prayers with the Grimmie family.

    Grimmie’s brother Marcus, who tackled the shooter, has since spoken out on Facebook:

    They were known for their unbreakable bond, visible in their matching, gamer-centric tattoos of "P1" and "P2" for "player 1" and "player 2."

    This week, hundreds gathered to hold a vigil for Grimmie in her hometown of Evesham, New Jersey, where the star will be laid to rest in a private ceremony later this week. 

    Grimmie’s manager and Selena Gomez’s stepfather, Brian Teefey, started a GoFundMe to help raise funds for the star’s funeral and in a matter of days, fans had donated over $160,000. While these funds will go to helping Grimmie’s family in the wake of this tragedy, Grimmie’s former Voice coach Levine stepped forward to pay for the funeral.

    It wasn’t just her raw talent as a musician that made her so beloved, but the extent to which she allowed fans into her family. And as much as she loved her YouTube audience, the feeling was mutual. When her mom began her second battle with breast cancer, Grimmie’s fans created videos to raise her spirits.

    To the YouTube community, she was known as a multi-dimensional person; a gamer, musician, fashion icon, animal lover, daughter, Christian. She was known as kind, generous, hard-working, and through example, inspired fans to live life authentically and passionately. 

    Let's be clear: Grimmie is the epitome of the best parts of YouTube—inspiring, talented, generous, self-made. While she will always be missed, her legacy and influence will continue to thrive and inspire millions. 


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    If you love musicals but can't make it to New York, here's some good news: She Loves Me is about to become the first Broadway show you can stream live from home. 

    The June 30th performance of the Tony Award-winning show will be broadcast on streaming service BroadwayHD, the company announced Wednesday.

    The livestream on BroadwayHD.com will mark the first time in history that a Broadway show has been viewable this way. And with admission set at only $9.99, it's a considerably lower price point than a traditional ticket.

    She Loves Me was recently nominated for eight Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical, Best Actress in a Musical (Laura Benanti), and Best Actor in a Musical (Zachary Levi). It took home the award for Best Scenic Design in a Musical.

    H/T Entertainment Weekly


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    BY GEOFF WEISS

    YouTube star Hank Green, who established the popular vlogbrothers channel with his brother, John, in 2007—as well as VidCon, the world’s largest online video convention, in 2010—will launch this month a nonprofit organization called the Internet Creators Guild (ICG), which aims to be a resource and support system for digital influencers.

    ICG will provide creators with business and contracts advice and will interact with the press and video platforms on their behalf, according to Fast Company, which was first to report the news. The organization will be funded by a $50,000 grant from VidCon, as well as membership dues, which will be priced at $60 per year. 

    Its first order of business will be creating a website that includes basic information about how to deal with copyright strikes, when to ban commenters, how to use copyrighted music, and how to best collaborate with brands and MCNs.

    Laura Chernikoff, who has worked with the Green brothers for years and currently serves as the guest manager at VidCon, will leave the company after next week’s gathering to serve full-time as the executive director of ICG. While Green won’t work directly with ICG day-to-day, he will serve on a separate advisory board with fellow creators Burnie Burns, Akilah Hughes, Casey Neistat, and Louise Pentland.

    Helming the organization alongside Chernikoff will be a board of directors comprising six bold-faced YouTube stars, including: filmmaker Anna Akana, gaming creators Satchell Drakes and Aureylian, vloggers Ashley Mardell and Olan Rogers, and beauty guru Wendy Ayche. Entertainment lawyer Jonathan Katz will serve on the board of directors as well.

    “There are lots of organizations that, among the interests they have, is supporting creators, but no organization with that sole interest,” Green told Fast Company of the need for such an entity within the space. “I think that YouTube and Facebook would benefit from having the people who are professionally creating on the platforms to have a good way to communicate their desires and their problems. I see it as information sharing.”

    “Quite often, creators don’t know what should be a standard rate, fair contract, or even best behaviors and practices,” added Akana.

    YouTube, which will not have a formal relationship with ICG, nevertheless applauded the concept. 

    “We’ve long admired [Hank and John Green’s] willingness to stand up for what they believe in, driving thoughtful discussions around the opportunities and challenges facing creators in this rapidly evolving ecosystem,” Sebastien Missoffe, YouTube’s VP of operations, told Fast Company in a statement.


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    Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love has been horrendous in the NBA Finals vs. the Golden State Warriors. Not just on the floor, where he’s basically been invisible as the Warriors have taken a 3-2 series lead. But he’s also been disappointingly bad while trying to give a high-five to LeBron James.

    Those performances are probably what led an apparent Cavaliers fan to start a GoFundMe page that's asking people to help donate $10 million to pay for Love’s entire 2016 salary, which then would allow Cleveland to bench Love for game 6 of the series on Thursday.

    As the creator of the page, Giles Debenham, wrote, “Kevin Love is playing like a bum and just taking up room on the court. Pay this man to take a seat and let the Cavs win these finals!!”

    So far, the page has been a big hit on social media, and it’s been shared more than 850 times. But as of Wednesday evening, seven people had only donated $35.

    Even still, fans aren’t happy with Love, and somebody physically showed his or her disgust by destroying a Cavaliers banner with Love’s name on it.

    But it all ended well for Love earlier this week when James consented and gave the man the high-five he’d wanted all along.

    And somebody else tried to fix the “We believe in Love” banner.

    H/T The Big Lead


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    Looking for a good documentary to watch on your cozy day in? We've got you covered with the ultimate guide to the best documentaries on Netflix

    1) The House I Live In

    Have a thing for watchdog journalism calling out the U.S. government? This documentary gives an in-depth look at the history of America’s war on drugs and how it has negatively affected poor, minority communities. What was once labeled as “government conspiracy” is explained, verified, and backed up in the award-winning documentary.

    2) She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry

    This documentary gives you an all-access pass into lives of the heroes behind the women’s liberation movement of the 1960s. The girl-power history divulges into the radical waves made for things we rightly take for granted in American society today. These women stood on the front lines in battle for gender equality and are still around to tell the world about it. 

    3) What Happened to Miss Simone?

    Did you know her real name was Eunice Kathleen Waymon? "Nina Simone" was a stage name because she didn’t want her mother knowing she was performing in saloons at the start of her career. And this Netflix-produced documentary opens with her less-than-humble start in 1930s North Carolina and progresses through her journey across the country to become a pioneering all-timer. With archived footage and priceless family photos, Simone’s identity as a black political activist during the civil rights era and her struggles with mental illness are brought front and center. (Her alluring, timeless performances? Plenty of that too.)

    4) After Porn Ends

    It’s the billion-dollar industry that has a special place in many people’s lives. But unlike other porn documentaries, this 94-minute flick doesn’t focus on the business side of the industry. After Porn Ends dives into the careers of those in the field and how hard it is to start fresh after they’ve hung up their dancing shoes. It shows a harsh reality of why many of them enter the business and why even more can’t stay away for very long. 

    5) Pump

    If you’ve ever found gas prices too damn high, Pump is for you. The 2014 film explores the world’s dependency on petroleum and how much the price per barrel controls nearly every economic aspect of our lives. It gives you a historical viewpoint to how petroleum seeped its way into almost everything we use on a daily basis and how many wars it’s really started. 

    6) Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

    Remember the Enron scandal of 2001? This documentary lays out the saga from beginning to end in a two-hour behind-the-scenes look into the bad guys that eventually steer the company to bankruptcy. From suicide and strippers to inside trading and a $40 billion lawsuit, TheSmartest Guys in the Room masterfully airs out all of the fallen energy empire’s dirty laundry. 

    7) If You Build it

    Need one of those feel-good, impact documentaries? See how a handful of high school students in the nation’s poorest county used a class project to give their small town something that brought the community together while boosting its economy. Set in Windsor, North Carolina, the 2013 documentary shows how two innovative teachers grapple with the school district to get funding for their course. See to what lengths the two will go to let the students and their project succeed in a small town in fear of change. 

    8) SOMM: Into the Bottle

    Do you know what a sommelier is? Neither did I until I watched this enthralling documentary. It's all you ever wanted to know about the history of wine—it literally goes into the bottle, as its title promises—and the cinematography is out of this world. Aerial views around European vineyards leave you wanting to book your next international flight to experience them in real time. It fascinatingly breaks down everything to do with the little red glass you have after work. 

    9) The Art of Organized Noize

    Ever wonder how rap duo Outkast got its start? Talk about hard work, dedication, and a lot of bars. The humble beginnings are brought to the stage in this 2016 rap history lesson. The documentary highlights how the two were pioneers in putting southern rap on a national radar. Featuring artists like Diddy, FutureLudacris, 2 Chainz, and Cee Lo, the documentary pays homage to the basement label Organized Noize that thrust Outkast onto a national scale. 

    10) Finding Fela!

    Describing this documentary as only a look into the life of a Nigerian musician would be an insulting understatement. This 2014 doc illustrates the late performer in his prime as a political rebel in the 1960s. See how Fela Kuti used music as a political sword against a tyrannical Nigerian government: Kuti was inspired by the civil rights movement in the U.S. and worked to see a revolution in his own horizon. A man of many wives and flaws, Kuti’s tantalizing spirit is revived in this two-hour epic. 

    Read more from the Daily Dot:


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    We’ve been shelling out for a subscription to HBO (or its recently launched streaming counterpart, HBO Now) to get our legal fix of Game of Thrones, True Detective, Veep, and Silicon Valley for years, but many of us are far from getting our money’s worth.

    Before streaming became our medium of choice, HBO offered a wide variety of premium content for subscribers. New films debuted on HBO every Saturday night, offering a variety of popular and prestigious movies months after they left movie theaters. Add in the slew of of original programming, primetime boxing, and sports talk shows, and HBO’s status as a powerhouse was cemented even further.

    The introduction of HBO Go and NOW brought its great original content to the streaming forefront. While there are many TV shows, miniseries, and documentaries on HBO to choose from, there are just as many movies worth watching. We’ve picked out a few movies to kickstart your binge-watching session. (Original HBO Films are marked with an asterisk.)

    1) 101 Dalmatians

    Even if you’ve seen the live-action version of 101 Dalmatians (and its sequel, 102 Dalmatians, which is also streaming on HBO), it’s certainly worth revisiting. Released nearly two decades before Disney’s current live-action renaissance, it’s fun and silly while not straying too far from the original animated version. Glenn Close captures the essence of Cruella de Vil, while Hugh Laurie and Mark Williams—better known for portraying Gregory House and Arthur Weasley, respectively—are the bumbling henchmen Jasper and Horace.

    2) All the Way *

    All the Way depicts President Lyndon B. Johnson’s push to get the Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed through Congress while seeking the support of civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. It was already a critically acclaimed play on Broadway before its television debut in May. Bryan Cranston, who won a Tony for his portrayal of Johnson on Broadway, reprised his role for the film (he’s likely a top contender for the Emmy) and is joined by Anthony Mackie, Melissa Leo, and Frank Langella.

    3) Bessie *

    Queen Latifah, Mo’Nique, Khandi Alexander, and Michael Kenneth Williams star in the HBO biopic about American blues singer Bessie Smith. Ambitious and complex, it paints an extensive picture of the singer from struggling in the early days of her career to becoming “The Empress of the Blues.”

    4) The Book of Life

    Vibrant and imaginative, The Book of Life weaves a tale of life, love, and death in the backdrop of the Day of the Dead, giving viewers a key lesson on the holiday while illustrating a beautiful story—and a unique rendition of Radiohead’s “Creep” after the band approved of the script.

    5) Confirmation *

    Kerry Washington stars in the film adaptation of Anita Hill courtroom battle against Clarence Thomas, who was then nominated to join the Supreme Court, sexually harassed her. It’s harrowing and highlights the importance of the hearings for those who were too young to remember Hill's sexual assault allegations, which had real-life ramifications—even if Thomas ultimately did get confirmed.

    6) Coraline

    Based on the Neil Gaiman novel of the same name, Coraline is one girl’s escape into a parallel world that’s not as wonderful and perfect as it first seems, followed by her attempt to save her parents. 

    7) Furious 7

    The seventh film in the Fast and the Furious franchise is as much a continuation to the long-running series as it is a tribute to star Paul Walker, who died before filming finished. Dynamic and poignant, Furious 7 was beloved by critics (although not the Academy) and was one of the highest-grossing films of 2015.

    8) Game Change *

    The stories that emerged from the 2008 presidential election after Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) named Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate feel like a much simpler time given the current political landscape. With Julianne Moore taking on Palin, it’s a more nuanced portrayal than Tina Fey gives on Saturday Night Live, but is every bit as scathing.

    9) The Iron Giant

    The Iron Giant didn’t make much of an impact at the box office when it was first released, but it’s since become a beloved cult classic. Set during the Cold War, a young boy finds and befriends a massive metal robot that fell from space, and together they have to withstand the military forces trying to destroy the Giant.

    10) Mad Max: Fury Road

    Chances are you probably already saw Mad Max: Fury Road in movie theaters, but it’s more than worth revisiting after it inspired a newfound Mad Max fandom and won six Academy Awards earlier this year. Tom Hardy may play the titular character, but it’s largely Furiosa’s movie as they drive and try to navigate a post-apocalyptic world that people have noted might be where we're headed.

    11) The Normal Heart *

    Glee creator Ryan Murphy directs an all-star cast in The Normal Heart, which started out as a play and focuses on the early days of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s as a group of people come together and create an organization calling for research on the disease that’s killing their friends.

    12) Spy

    Melissa McCarthy and Paul Feig are a Hollywood power duo, and in Spy that’s no different. Yes, it’s a spy movie, but it’s also a smart comedy that turns the tropes of an action/spy movie on its head, in part due to great performances from McCarthy and Rose Byrne.

    13) Trainwreck

    Trainwreck, which stars Amy Schumer (who wrote the screenplay), subverts the type of story we usually see in a romantic comedy by switching the roles for the leads. It also puts LeBron James’s acting skills on display, which makes our dreams for that Space Jam sequel grow even bigger.


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    In an unprecedented move in late-night TV this election season, Seth Meyers on Tuesday banned Donald Trump from appearing on Late Night. Now, the presidential candidate is taking some jabs of his own.

    Meyers's Trump prohibition came after came after the Republican presumptive presidential nominee banned the Washington Post from covering his events over its coverage of his response to the Orlando shooting. And now, Trump is firing back at Meyers with a rather predictable blow.

    Trump responded to the ban in a statement by criticizing Meyers’s ratings and noting that Meyers desperately wanted him on his show.

    “He has begged me to do the show for the last two years. I have told him emphatically ‘no,’” Trump said. “I only like doing shows with good ratings, which as everybody knows, I only make better (by a lot).”

    As the Wrap points out, Meyers is actually doing pretty well for himself—especially considering his show starts at 12:35am ET. He averages approximately 1.58 million viewers and .5 rating in the key 18-49 demographic, and he consistently beats his main competition, James Corden’s Late Late Show, in the ratings. And according to recent numbers, Meyers has better ratings than many of the cable news programs Trump appears on or calls into. (That said, cable generally has lower ratings than the networks due to accessibility.)

    Meyers cannot claim that he never invited Trump on his show like John Oliver did last year; at one point Meyers had Trump booked for Late Night, but the presidential candidate backed out“not for any reason outside the normal campaign reasons.” He’s had Democratic and Republican presidential candidates on his show before, so trying to get Trump was a natural move.

    In response to Trump's dig, Meyers doubled down on the ban in Wednesday’s episode, telling his audience that “it takes an amazing amount of courage on our part” to ban a presidential candidate who probably had no interest in ever appearing on his show.

    “So, ball is in your court, Donald,” Meyers said. “Either rescind your Washington Post ban or you’re not allowed to appear on a show that you have no interest in appearing on. Although, maybe now that you can’t have it, you’ll changing your mind.”

    Meyers's feud with Trump is completely in-character for someone who’s turning his show into must-see political late-night—but it’s still a big move when ratings talk. 

    H/T Variety


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    Change is afoot for Black Cindy (played by Adrienne C. Moore) and her fellow inmates at Litchfield Penitentiary on season 4 of Orange Is the New Black. Most importantly, it’s become a for-profit prison: That means tighter management, 100 new inmates, and overcrowded quarters for Netflix's breakout pack of diverse women.

    The ramifications of Litchfield’s new private managers, the Management & Correction Corporation (MCC), certainly can’t be understated.  

    “[It] effects even [new warden] Caputo, who has now taken the reigns of Litchfield,” Moore tells the Daily Dot. “He sees the day-to-day of what’s going on… Now you’re starting to talk to this company, so to speak, of people who don’t really have a connection with the prison and with the inmates. He’s sort of torn between the outside world and the inside world.”

    These new changes also mean that Black Cindy, or Tova as she is now known after her recent conversion to Judaism, faces new difficulties in keeping her faith. “Cindy definitely takes her newfound religion to heart… With this new blood coming in, her newfound beliefs are tested with some of the new inmates,” says Moore.  

    Getting into character

    When we spoke, Moore—who has also worked off-Broadway theatrical shows—was performing as Tranio in a Shakespeare adaptation of Taming of the Shrew at New York City’s Central Park.

    “[Theater]’s my gym because it definitely gives me a workout,” explains the actor. “When you do television, you’re filming out of sequence sometimes. You have to ground yourself very quickly in the character and in the work and in the words. I think theater allowed me that sort of sharp, quick focus to do that.”

    Last year Moore visited a prison to learn more about the inmates that she portrays. While speaking with a woman who was caught for her involvement in a drug ring, she asked the prisoner what she learned from the experience: “She said, quite frankly, ‘I think everyone has an addiction. Mine was easy money and I got caught for it. But I think everyone has an addiction. It’s just a matter of whether or not it’s going to be your demise as well. Not to say that every addiction is going to land you in a prison but every addiction can lead to a downfall.’” (In case you’re wondering, Moore admits an "addiction" of her own: french fries. “If I could eat french fries every day of my life, I would,” she says.)

    But when Moore gets on the set to shoot OITNB, she emulates Black Cindy best while thinking of one simple motto: carpe diem. 

    “For that, you kind of have to have this—you know—just ready for whatever’s going to happen type of approach,” she says. “And so, I typically try not to think too hard about what I’m going to do in a certain scene with a certain actor in a certain moment because I think that kind of lends its way to not being as improvisational and sort of carefree as one would hope.”

    Black Cindy’s continuing travels and travails

    Moore's character has come a long way since her pre-prison days as a kleptomaniac TSA agent with a penchant for being an irresponsible mom. Regardless of her religious conversion, though, Black Cindy’s still up to mischief in OITNB season 4. 

    “She’s always into some type of money-making scheme so you’ll see what she [does] this season to make sure her commissary dollars stay locked and loaded,” hints Moore. “There might be a question of love for Black Cindy in season 4. So we’ll see how that pans out.”

    While commentary on race relations has always had a place on OITNB, it will be front and center in the upcoming season.

    Misconduct from a new group of over-aggressive guards, concerned more with orders from management than justice in the prison system, sparks a Black Lives Matter-esque movement at the prison. And we’re pretty sure that Black Cindy won’t shy away from voicing her opinion.

    “We really explore segregation and the differences in these communities in more detail this season,” says Moore. “Things kind of come to a head in a huge way that I can’t wait for the fans to see.”


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