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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

older | 1 | .... | 352 | 353 | (Page 354)

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    HBO's Westworld may well be the next Game of Thrones

    Judging by its first proper trailer, Westworld also shares one of the most heavily criticized features HBO's most popular show: a passion for sexualized violence.

    Taking place in a Wild West theme park populated by humanoid robots, Westworld, which is based on Michael Crichton's 1973 sci-fi/Western movie, is a thriller about artificial intelligence, spiced up by its faux-Western setting. It's also got impressively high production values, with a budget of $54 million for its first 10-episode season

    With Anthony Hopkins starring as the theme park's director, and actors like Evan Rachel Wood and James Marsden playing some of the androids, Westworld is clearly aiming for prestige drama status. The new trailer is tense and very NSFW, but doesn't give much away about the show's plot or characters.

    We're curious to see how HBO markets Westworld in the months leading up to its premiere in the fall. This teaser aired during Game of Thrones, and highlights the kind of imagery you often see in Game of Thrones itself: grizzled old men talking to naked young women, plenty of bloody murder, a screaming woman being dragged along by the hair, and a literal pile of naked corpses.

    However, with Person of Interest creator Jonathan Nolan as one of the showrunners, we're confident that Westworld will tackle some interesting questions about artificial intelligence, even if the early trailers are geared more toward shock value.


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    In the week after the Orlando shooting, we’ve seen pushes in Congress for gun control, particularly with Sen. Chris Murphy’s (D-Conn.) nearly 15-hour filibuster. Now John Oliver is joining the fray and revealing just why it’s been so difficult to get anything done about it.

    It’s because of the National Rifle Association (NRA), which Oliver describes as “like PETA, but for guns and effective,” whose members are highly motivated in expressing their displeasure for any gun control legislation. Some members of Congress, many who receive money from the NRA, want to see proof that gun control would prevent violence, but the NRA got to that too: The Centers for Disease Control, a major funder of academic research, cannot do any research pertaining to gun violence thanks to the Dickey Amendment.

    Any measures to remove it have been stopped by Congress—even as recently as last week.

    But in order to do anything, Oliver says people have to get mobilized—and often.

    “If and when a proposal is on the table that you like, you’re going to have to make all those calls again,” Oliver said. “It doesn’t take much to outnumber the NRA. Planet Fitness members outnumber them. But if you want to see serious changes, you actually have to show up every fucking day.”


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    Coming off a Tony’s tribute to the victims of the Orlando shooting last week, 65 artists and actors in the theater community have teamed up to record a new single that will benefit the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida.

    Recorded last week at Avatar Studios, they covered Burt Bacharach's “What the World Needs Now is Love” to honor those who died or were injured at Pulse nightclub, as well as the LGBT community. It’s reminiscent of earlier charity singles such as “We Are the World” and brings stars from Hamilton; Shuffle AlongWaitressFrozenShe Loves Me; singers like Gloria Estefan; Carole King; and Sara Bareilles; and Hollywood performers together. A short PSA precedes the music video as many of the performers condemn the senseless violence in Orlando and proclaim that “love must prevail.”

    You can purchase the single through Broadway Records, which will soon also be available on iTunes.


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    Adults often marvel that for the teens and tweens, YouTube celebrities are more recognizable and influential than traditional Hollywood icons. But it’s been this way for years.

    It's become the norm for digital video, an industry that’s established itself as the future of entertainment. 

    For evidence of this culture shift, just look at the tragic Christina Grimmie headlines. The former Voice contestant and popular YouTuber’s shocking death this month echoed absolutely everywhere. Grimmie was proof that the silos of digital and mainstream media are one in the same for fans who don’t care where a star comes from. 

    On a business and development level, the mainstream is playing ball like never before. It's a focus that has shifted from investment—on brands and ads that help keep the paychecks flowing for both creators and infrastructure—to desperately finding a space.

    As the Daily Dot heads to Anaheim, California, for VidCon this week, here is a look at the in-flux state of digital video—and what comes next.

    The rise of monthly subscriptions

    Can digital video be an industry that runs on its fans? And what does that fan support mean for new platforms, stars, and their suddenly omnipresent work?

    The last 12 months have seen more players in the paid subscription game, most notably YouTube itself. In 2015 Vessel made waves as the first subscription-based service for the digital set, Victorious helped creators make their own apps, and VHX let creators sell specific content directly to their biggest fans. Third-party services seemed to be making a splash in the space, and it was only a matter of time before YouTube made its own play.

    Last year a subscription-based version of YouTube was only a rumor, evidenced by a terms-of-service change for partner channels. In October YouTube Red emerged with a premium price on par with Netflix or Hulu to eliminate all ads from YouTube videos and grant access to exclusive content made with YouTube’s biggest stars. The $9.99 monthly price also unlocked the long-teased YouTube Music app with offline capabilities.

    Despite a bumpy start with creator blowback and concerns about payouts, the creator community has generally embraced Red at least in terms of how it generates revenue. Users might be slower to adopt the platform since they’ve been used to 10 years of free YouTube, but the company has offered incentives like cheap introductory subscriptions and a steady diet of originals. Like Netflix and Hulu, YouTube doesn’t share streaming data on its original content. But it's shown a commitment to supporting homegrown creators with programming and marketing.

    Since YouTube’s announcement more streaming-video-on-demand platforms have emerged, including Fullscreen’s offering, which pairs in-house talent with legacy teen programming like Daria and Dawson’s Creek for $4.99 a month. Their own original slate includes Grace Helbig and Hannah Hart’s Electra Woman & Dyna Girl, pop-culture talk show Kingdom Geek, and the My Selfie Life docu-series.  

    Other platforms like go90 have emerged as a non-paid content alternative. The Verizon-funded mobile-first platform launched in October 2015 playing host to scripted series like RePlay and reality ventures like Dance Off Juniors, produced by established digital companies. While content often gets promotion and previews on YouTube or Facebook, series live on the app and attract dedicated followings. For now, that’s all ad and brand supported, but it would be no surprise for a premium go90 to emerge with a monthly sticker price.

    The mainstream buys in

    Verizon’s investment into the digital video space is just one example of the mainstream’s unavoidable collision with digital. VidCon itself is attracting more attention than ever before, with major film marketing coming to the convention even for projects that don’t feature digital talent.

    Late-night programming has staked out an impressive stronghold in the digital space, alongside other traditional media programming that has found a digital home. A recent survey of top videos found that 54.5 percent of them were produced by “corporate media,” with the rest produced by independent creators. These are videos that held the top spot of most popular videos worldwide for the month of May, and big winners included Comcast’s NBC content, CBS’s Late Night, and HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

    While independent creators like Casey Neistat made up almost half of the top videos last month, it’s clear that digital isn’t being ignored by corporate gatekeepers, and content is flattening out in terms of where the audience finds it. TV may be the primary mode of delivery, but fans are turning to digital just as much as the mainstream. It’s been the prerogative of traditional media to get its content in as many digital delivery venues as possible: Vessel inked a deal to host Ellen clips, and Ellen has partnered with digital creators to host her own stable of talent.

    How mainstream and digital talent alike broadcast to their fans is the next hurdle in the digital landscape.

    Facebook Live and the hunt for new blood

    Livestreaming is not new. YouTube has supported live functionality since 2011, but its adoption as a format has been relegated to bonus content. Last year Meerkat and Periscope showed that live was a viable option for digital celebs. The leading platform for livestreaming, YouNow, allows for financial support from fans, and has already produced stars that can earn $10,000 a month streaming. They’re not the only live platform in the game, with apps like Live.Me attracting established and would-be stars to embrace going live.

    Cue Facebook. The company fully launched Facebook Live this spring, and subsequently pushed it as a priority—even paying premium partners like BuzzFeed to use the platform. It’s become a strategy component of digital marketing plans, and where the rich and famous pop in for fan questions.

    Facebook Live may be great for everyday users and top-tier traditional celebrities, but it had yet to breed its own celebrity until last month. That would be Candace Payne, better known as “Chewbacca Mom.”

    A video of Payne laughing in a Kohls-purchased Chewbacca mask skyrocketed to 158 million views and earned her an Ellen interview, college scholarships, and endless fanart tributes.

    Problem is Chewbacca Mom couldn’t monetize any of those Facebook Live views—like she would have been able to on YouTube—or accept donations from viewers like she could have on YouNow. For all platforms, finding ways for creators to make a viable living must be dealt with in order to foster a community. Facebook will be no different.

    And will Payne or any new platform star be able to sustain celebrity? Is she the most recent version of Alex From Target, a digital flash-in-the-pan who doesn’t sustain cultural relevance beyond a news cycle? (To be fair, Alex Lee, aka Alex From Target, still maintains 749,000 Twitter followers two years after his viral crossover, but sustainable stardom has escaped him.)

    The not-so-distant future

    It’s not just about who will create, or where, but how those creators will be developing content. Virtual reality and 360 technology, available to creators since March 2015 on platforms like YouTube, are gaining ground as a new venue for feasible production and distribution. 

    While it’s not yet common to see VR headsets in households or expect all video experiences to be seen from 360 degrees, several outlets, from YouTube Red to Saturday Night Live, have started producing in the mediums, and during NewFronts this spring multiple networks announced investments in the technology and plans to open specialty studios specific to shooting in VR.

    It might not be tomorrow that every vlogger presents a fully immersive video experience, but the state of digital video today is just as much about what’s coming in the next month as what’s happened in the 12 prior. For better or worse, online stars are known to embrace new technology if it means gaining inroads with their fans. 

    The lanes are widening while the road is under construction, and all we can do is hang on.


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    If you've been watching season 5 of Veep, then you know that President Meyer's daughter Catherine has been quietly plugging away at her thesis film, Kissing Your Sister: The Story of a Tie, by following her mother around the White House. The documentary finally debuted during Sunday night's episode, and as a special gift to fans, the writers have also created an entire website to go along with it. 

    The site is jam packed with fake promotional materials for the film, including screening information, upcoming "Marjorie Films" projects, and behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast: 

    Veep showrunner David Mandel told Vulture that the site was the "logical extension" for her documentary, and a good way to share all the extra footage they shot for Sunday's episode. 

    "What's really fun about it is, it doesn't have the pressure of being the show," he said. "It can just be. If you find it and enjoy it, great. If you never see it, it doesn't take anything away."

    H/T Vulture


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    It was a series of boasts and blocks, but the Cleveland Cavaliers's historic Game 7 win on Sunday was really summed up by LeBron James's hat, which featured an image of a frog sipping tea. 

    That image has come to be associated with the Kermit sipping tea meme, also known as the But That's None of My Business meme, which has become a visual representation of internet shade. Remember when Drakethought he was trolling James during the Eastern Conference Finals with some damn emoji? Remember when America's sports writers voted rival Steph Curry as the NBA's unanimous MVP? 

    Never has a meme hat said so much by saying so little. James also showed off the hat's versatility and how easy it goes from a day to night look. 

    It was a meta-meme moment for James; last night, his cry-face was thrust into the meme-light alongside Crying Jordan. But this meme was king.   

    And now, everybody wants a piece. SB Nation has the lowdown on where you can actually find the hat: eBay, where, at least at this listing, more than 125 were sold in an hour. (The hat manufacturer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.) 

    Let's toast to a summer of tea. 


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  • 06/20/16--12:50: The year of Grace Helbig


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    Digital music has had issues with copyright law since its inception, and now 180 recording artists have signed a petition calling for action.

    The petition will run as an ad in Washington D.C. magazines Politico, The Hill, and Roll Call from Tuesday to Thursday this week, requesting that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)—the act that regulates copyright online—gets an overhaul. 

    Major earners like Taylor Swift and Paul McCartney are among the signers, along with big names from every genre of music. Vince Gill, Vince Staples, Carole King, and Kings of Leon have also given their signatures, and 19 organizations and companies also reportedly signed the document, including major record labels. 

    The ad will include messaging that says the DMCA “has allowed major tech companies to grow and generate huge profits" by "creating ease of use for consumers to carry almost every recorded song in history in their pocket via a smartphone," while "songwriters’ and artists’ earnings continue to diminish.” 

    The hope is to catch lawmakers' attention, and with that many artists and companies on board, it's certainly a start. 

    H/T Billboard


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    Amazon has one huge trump card in its war with Netflix.

    We’re talking about pilot season, the recurring program wherein Amazon rolls out a new crop of pilots and asks viewers to submit their feedback, thus inviting the potential audience to help decide which shows will go to series and which will remain as non-starters. Amazon has just recently launched the latest round of pilot season, and while this one is heavy on kids’ programming, there are two noteworthy drama pilots in the docket as well, both adapting critically acclaimed novels. One of them absolutely deserves to become a full series, and the other shows potential, even if it doesn’t fully live up to it.

    The Last Tycoon

    Based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s unfinished final novel, published posthumously in 1941, The Last Tycoon contrasts the glitz of Hollywood's Golden Age with the stark realities of the era in which those silver-screen dreams were being crafted. Matt Bomer (Chuck, Glee) is Monroe Stahr, a hotshot producer at a growing studio who’s currently overseeing a movie based on his late wife, a starlet whose tragic death only cemented her legacy as a beloved screen icon. He regularly butts heads with studio boss Pat Brady (Kelsey Grammer) over the proper balance between art and commerce, something that becomes all the more difficult with the rise of unions and as the growing influence of Nazi Germany threatens to interfere with his passion project.

    Stahr and Brady themselves are loosely based on two real-life titans of Hollywood history: Irving Thalberg and Louis B. Mayer. Fitzgerald left The Last Tycoon unfinished when he passed away at age 44, but it was later completed and published based on his notes. Tycoon has been adapted for the screen a couple of times before, but this particular incarnation started as an HBO project back in 2013, before eventually finding a home at Amazon after the cable network ultimately passed on it. Writer Billy Ray (Captain Phillips) has been with the project throughout that process, both writing the script and ultimately directing the Amazon pilot that finally got made. And while HBO might have decided to pass on The Last Tycoon, the finished product definitely shows potential to be worthy of brushing elbows with shows like The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire.

    The Last Tycoon is a great pilot, visually and thematically contrasting the impossible glamour of 1930s showbiz against the darker realities of the era. The studio is a haven filled with talented, beautiful people bringing dreams to life... while a Hoovertown populated by the desperate and the downtrodden lurks just outside the gates, waiting to be bulldozed to make room for more manufactured reality. World War II is still on the horizon, but the shadow of the Nazi regime is also encroaching in unexpected ways. Bomer is wonderful as Stahr, a seemingly untouchable Hollywood golden boy whose perfectly groomed exterior hides deep scars and uncertainty. Grammer continues to play against a Frasier type as Brady, a father figure to Stahr, but not so paternal that he’ll let his fondness for his padawan stand in the way of his larger ambitions for the studio. Lily Collins also shines as Cecelia, Brady’s daughter who wants in on her pop’s entertainment empire—aspirations her father is determined to stomp flat.

    The Last Tycoon is gorgeously shot, with strong performances and a cracking-good script by Ray (favorite line: “I’m not talented enough to be unprepared—are you?”). Hopefully this one will garner lots of thumbs up from viewers, because it’d be a tragedy for this one episode to be the last we see of The Last Tycoon.

    The Interestings

    Young Jules Jacobson is both thrilled and a little overwhelmed when her mother and sister drop her off at a creative arts camp in the summer of 1974. Much to her surprise, she soon finds herself mingling with the cream of the crop, the camp’s “cool kids,” who sardonically dub themselves “the Interestings.” There’s aspiring cartoonist Ethan Figman; musician Jonah Bay, who hopes to outshine the shadow of his famous and successful mother; siblings Ash and Goodman Wolf; and Cathy, who dreams of being a ballerina but worries that her breasts are too big. From that initial summer meeting, The Interestings flashes forward and back through the ensuing decades, revealing how the so-called Interestings lives have unfolded—almost never, unsurprisingly, as the kids imagined.

    Six Feet Under’s Lauren Ambrose plays the adult Jules in this adaptation of Meg Wolitzer’s critically acclaimed 2013 novel (except in the 1970s camp scenes, when young Jules is played by Katie Balen). The rest of the grown-up cast include familiar faces such as David Krumholtz (Numb3rs) as Figman and Jessica Pare (Mad Men) as Ash. British director Mike Newell (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Four Weddings and a Funeral) helms the pilot, from a script by TV veterans Lynnie Greene and Richard Levine (Masters of Sex, Nip/Tuck).

    The cast are all capable and deliver fine performances, with Ambrose and Krumholtz as standouts, but the time-hopping narrative does sometimes make it hard to get a true feel for who the characters are at any given point. Obviously that would be the focus of the proposed series—how they got from there to here, and all the stops along the way. But it still feels like maybe lingering longer in one or two of the sequences would have worked better, as opposed to constantly staying on the move quite so much. The script also suffers from the fact that, even though the self-applied nickname “the Interestings” is supposed to be somewhat tongue-in-cheek, this group of kids is still supposed to live up to that appellation, at least in future potential. While young Katie Balen is great as Jules, the rest of the Interestings come off as privileged and elitist at best, and punch-worthy little shits at worst. That may be part of the point, but either way the early scenes didn’t sell me on wanting to spend four decades watching these characters grow up.

    Overall, The Interestings is a mixed bag that does, at minimum, earn its title. But “interesting” may not be enough to merit a return as a full series. If it’s a choice between this or The Last Tycoon, that choice is easily made.

    In addition to the two new drama offerings, this round of Amazon’spilot season also includes a half-dozen new kids’ pilots, including a revamped version of Sid & Marty Krofft’s Sigmund and the Sea Monsters. Head over to Amazon to check them out.


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    Croatian ultras have been causing chaos on the field for their national team and apparently plan to continue doing so in Tuesday's match against Spain. If they're successful, Croatia's national team could be disqualified from the rest of the Euro 2016 tournament.

    The extremist fans recently posted on Facebook their stadium infiltration layout, similar to what they published prior to their demonstration in Croatia's match with the Czech Republic last Friday. According to the photo caption, a group known as U.V. will provide additional reinforcements. Their plans of action appear to be crudely drawn in with the use of Microsoft Paint.

    During Croatia's previous game, the ultras protested in the last minutes of the game by throwing flares onto the field and starting riots in the stands. The Croatian team led the Czech Republic 2-1 when fans disrupted the match with pyrotechnics, but the game ended in a 2-2 draw. 

    These protests aren't the first of Croatia's ultra fans. Their most notable demonstration occurred last summer, when they burned a swastika into the pitch in a qualifier match against Italy. 

    Ultra fans often have political or sometimes racist agendas. In this case, Croatia's fans have one clear goal: to bring down the Croatian Football Federation and what is thought to be a corrupt leadership—namely, Zdravko Mamic and Davor Suker. 

    Mamic manages the Dinamo Zagreb football team, Croatia's most powerful club, and Suker serves as the federation's president. The latter is also a member of the executive committee for the Union of European Football Associations, better known as UEFA. Fans are more than unhappy with the two, as they are under fire for unfair player contracts, alleged embezzlement, and apparent manipulation. This explanation post on Reddit breaks down the controversy.

    Meanwhile, with the prior warning via Facebook, some are pressuring the French to lock down on security. If fans managed to enter the stadium with flares, it's questionable what else they could smuggle through.


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    The Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA Championship Sunday night, ending Cleveland's 52-year drought of professional sports victories. But there's one thing the team had stolen from them: New Browns quarterback Robert Griffin IIIripped off a Cavaliers graphic while trying to congratulate the team and claimed it as his own.

    Griffin is one of the latest editions to the Browns, a team that appears to be especially cursed, even for Cleveland. In an attempt to embrace his new city, he tweeted out his congratulations to the Cavaliers Monday morning. He (or whoever runs his social media accounts) grabbed a graphic being widely shared online and posted it.

    At first glance, you might not notice anything off about it. But in the bottom left corner of the photo is a message of copyright: “© 2016 Robert Griffin III.” And in an even bigger social media faux pas, Griffin’s tweet cropped out the logos in the original poster, one featuring the Cavaliers’s logo and Twitter handle and the other “All In 216.”

    The Cavaliers’s post arrived online Sunday night, right after the team officially won the Championship.

    A few hours after posting it, Joe Caione, a web designer for the Cavaliers, called Griffin out for cropping out the logos and putting his name on it.

    Some of Griffin’s fans took to ribbing on him for stealing a Cavaliers graphic and trying to claim copyright on it, but they quickly surmised that it might’ve been done through a service like WhoSay, which allows celebrities to claim copyright on the photos they post online. Griffin does have a WhoSay account with the Cavaliers graphic being the most recent post—and it turns out that he has a history of posting photos to WhoSay that will put his copyright claim on it.

    Griffin has yet to respond to the criticism, but if he does, chances are he might try to blame it on the intern again.

    H/T Deadspin


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    LeBron James won two NBA titles with the Miami Heat before clinching a third Sunday night, but that one gave the city of Cleveland’s its first professional championship in 52 years.

    The hometown win was emotional for James, and he's been celebrating with zest. To wit: James posted video with the Larry O’Brien trophy on Monday after his playoff social media hiatus which shows James professing his love to the golden trophy.

    “I love you,” he said. “I love you so much. Don’t you ever leave me like that again. You’ve been gone way too long.”

    And during the Cleveland Indians game on Monday the video was featured on the team's kiss cam, where the Cleveland love was right at home.

    Always a gentleman.

    H/T Uproxx


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    Artists have tried to make sense of the world after the Orlando shooting, and on Tuesday, Frank Ocean unpacked his feelings in a powerful post on Tumblr

    The singer, who came out in a Tumblr post in 2o12, reflected on the massacre at Pulse on June 12, and also recounted a memory of his father:

    I heard on the news that the aftermath of a hate crime left piles of bodies on a dance floor this month. I heard the gunman feigned dead among all the people he killed. I heard the news say he was one of us. I was six years old when I heard my dad call our transgender waitress a faggot as he dragged me out a neighborhood diner saying we wouldn’t be served because she was dirty. That was the last afternoon I saw my father and the first time I heard that word, I think, although it wouldn’t shock me if it wasn’t. 

    He goes on to address issues of mental health and the anti-transgender bathroom bill, saying "Many hate us and wish we didn’t exist. Many are annoyed by our wanting to be married like everyone else or use the correct restroom like everyone else. Many don’t see anything wrong with passing down the same old values that send thousands of kids into suicidal depression each year. So we say pride and we express love for who and what we are. Because who else will in earnest?"

    The internet has been eagerly awaiting and predicting the release date of Ocean's latest album, which appears to be called Boys Don't Cry, though this is his first post since April. 

    Read the whole post here or below:  

    I read in the paper that my brothers are being thrown from rooftops blindfolded with their hands tied behind their backs for violating sharia law. I heard the crowds stone these fallen men if they move after they hit the ground. I heard it’s in the name of God. I heard my pastor speak for God too, quoting scripture from his book. Words like abomination popped off my skin like hot grease as he went on to describe a lake of fire that God wanted me in. I heard on the news that the aftermath of a hate crime left piles of bodies on a dance floor this month. I heard the gunman feigned dead among all the people he killed. I heard the news say he was one of us. I was six years old when I heard my dad call our transgender waitress a faggot as he dragged me out a neighborhood diner saying we wouldn’t be served because she was dirty. That was the last afternoon I saw my father and the first time I heard that word, I think, although it wouldn’t shock me if it wasn’t. Many hate us and wish we didn’t exist. Many are annoyed by our wanting to be married like everyone else or use the correct restroom like everyone else. Many don’t see anything wrong with passing down the same old values that send thousands of kids into suicidal depression each year. So we say pride and we express love for who and what we are. Because who else will in earnest? I daydream on the idea that maybe all this barbarism and all these transgressions against ourselves is an equal and opposite reaction to something better happening in this world, some great swelling wave of openness and wakefulness out here. Reality by comparison looks grey, as in neither black nor white but also bleak. We are all God’s children, I heard. I left my siblings out of it and spoke with my maker directly and I think he sounds a lot like myself. If I being myself were more awesome at being detached from my own story in a way I being myself never could be. I wanna know what others hear, I’m scared to know but I wanna know what everyone hears when they talk to God. Do the insane hear the voice distorted? Do the indoctrinated hear another voice entirely?

    H/T Pitchfork 


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    Rise9 launched at VidCon last year with a splashy mansion party that featured mermaids. Attendees, accustomed to staying within walking distance of the convention center, had to board a bus to a secret locale. An actual, metallic “golden ticket” was required for entrance.

    For all the fanfare, Rise9 remained shrouded in mystery. A year later it's set to return to Anaheim, California—and we finally know what they’re doing.

    “What Rise9 is going to be and what we did at VidCon are pretty much the same thing,” co-founder Zack James tells the Daily Dot. “Rise9 is going to be like that 24/7, on a daily basis.”

    He doesn’t literally mean mermaids at all times, but he does mean that type of VIP experience. Rise9 wants to be the exclusive club for the influencer set. The velvet rope-lounge for vloggers.

    James and co-founder Alex Negrete have a long history in the digital space. Negrete’s legacy channel, Keep The Heat, still boasts 663,000 subscribers, despite him taking a break to battle testicular cancer—a diagnosis that he says helped him balance life and pursue new ideas. James also ran a channel, Outback Zack, though he removed nearly all of its content so that his multi-channel network—the company he’d partnered with to help sell ads—couldn’t keep making money from his video views (most notably with a rant in 2013 against companies like Machinima and Maker that he believed took on lots of funding and weren’t actually helping content creators). Machinima cut ties with James that year, and both he and Negrete have since moved on to Facebook channels, running a handful of powerful meme accounts like YoMama , Keep the Heat, Living the Single Life, and AniMeme.

    “I don’t want to come off as pretentious, but I want everyone to find a quality to the environment.”

    Now they’re turning their attention to building a new social club for the digital elite. It’s not an easy task. For one, they haven’t found a physical space, but they also want to make the experience something beyond four walls.

    “We see this as a place that feels professional yet comfortable, relaxed but a sense of high energy,” says James. “We want people to dive into their work in an environment that’s a home away from home. It’s not just a place, but how can we do this on a regular basis? How could a hiking group achieve this? How could a vacation achieve this? We want this in the everyday lifestyle of an influencer.”

    There’s a line that James and Negrete draw between “creator” and “influencer.” Anyone who picks up a camera or starts a Vine profile can become a creator. An influencer is more specific: This person, through their videos, has picked up a following and can impact those people in their tastes, spending habits, and opinions. 

    That's who they want in the club. And chiefly because James and Negrete say they’ve seen events like VidCon, which were once aimed more directly at creators over audiences, transition from a networking space just for influencers, to one overrun with fans and brands.

    “When we first went to VidCon, we used to experience these parties that made us feel like a rock star,” James says. “Like, ‘Yes, this is why we’re influencers, this is why we’re in the industry.’ We’re here to not simply just create content or make a living from it, we’re here to have a lifestyle. You don’t have any of those events anymore. It doesn’t make any sense to RSVP for a party when you know that everyone else has RSVP'd and half of those RSVPs have to stand outside for hours.”

    Continues Negrete: “We want to provide more of that atmosphere where you can interact with influencers and creators. … When you’re in a room you know everyone you meet is doing something cool.”

    Last year VidCon instituted a Creator track for those who aren’t yet established industry players but looking to learn and create during their VidCon trip. The pure Community track—a credential for fans just wanting to witness their favorite stars—remains the most popular attendee option. James and Negrete want to focus on experiences exclusively for the influencers, the ones who can’t walk the main hallways for fear of being mobbed. 

    Yet determining who gets into the club is another tricky proposition. Since the early days of VidCon not only has attendance ballooned, but the pool of digital video creators has as well. Where do you draw the line between a bonafide influencer and a wannabe?

    “We’ve been in a situation that’s an open event and we’ve been bombarded by people and questions that are not attractive to us,” explains James. “I don’t want to be at an event where 10 people ask me how many subscribers I have. I want to be in a place where they ask what brings you here? What makes you, you? I don’t want to come off as pretentious, but I want everyone to find a quality to the environment.”

    The initial plan is like any exclusive club: Focus on the people they know, and people they don’t who have a strong reputation. Eventually they envision a committee structure and nominations similar to SoHo House (an international members-only club that caters to the entertainment community in places like Los Angeles, New York, and London) that require members to be recommended by at least two current participants.

    But to compare themselves to a place like SoHo House leads to the question of why a digital creator would want to be in an influencer-specific club, when the mainstream has begun engaging so directly with digital: Why box themselves off?

    James and Negrete think the key is forging a club that isn't beholden to traditional entertainment players.

    “When I look at Hollywood, and I look at TV, there’s a structure that needs to be adopted to the new media world in order to make this a healthy industry,” says James. “The trick for us as influencers is yes, individually it’s cool to [land] a book deal, but everything we make, how can we make that deal more catered toward defining an industry?”

    The other murky area is what will the creators get, tangibly, out of a club membership? James and Negrete don’t have specifics beyond building a community that mirrors YouTube, where those creators have already found ways to collaborate on creative projects through individual networking. James and Negrete’s goal is to capture what they felt in the in the early years, at those first VidCons, in the form of their own club.

    “It was a community, but it felt like a club in and of itself,” says Negrete. “[Rise9 is] just about making sure the community and the culture evolve as platforms grow.”

    At their VidCon party this week, they’ll focus on that community.

    “Our theme this year is ‘Throwback to the Future,’” James says. “We see the early days of the community as the future of our industry. We want them to remember this can happen at any moment. We want to make it very clear at this event that we see community as the future of this industry.”

    No mermaids this time, but there will be a Delorean. Now they just need that community to show up. 


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    In the world of K-pop music videos, YouTube views are everything. Fans make it a point to stream new clips on repeat, in hopes of boosting their favorite idols into the history books. Rookie girl group Twice is no different, as fans of the nine-strong, bubbly clique just made them the fastest idol group to reach 50 million views.

    According to Korean news outlet Osen, Twice's "Cheer Up" video hit the milestone just 58 days after its April release. No other band has achieved as many views in such a short period. (Psy is still king, with 100 million views in 52 days for the 2012 hit "Gangnam Style.")

    "Cheer Up" has a cute, glossy sound and energetic drums, making it a catchy summer tune. True to its name, the Twice girls sing about teasing a boy to "get it together and cheer up" before they'll reveal their feelings.

    Twice's rate is rivaling the senior groups of K-pop, which is impressive considering the girls debuted in October. In the race for 50 million views, the closest group to follow is the legendary Big Bang, which achieved the mark in 82 days for "Bang Bang Bang." Girl's Generation ranked third, taking 91 days for "I Got A Boy." 

    "Cheer Up" appears on Twice's second mini album Page Two, which has sold nearly 130,000 copies thus far.

    The group will join the 11-artist lineup for KCON Los Angeles next month, the largest Korean culture and music convention in the U.S. They'll be performing with the likes of fellow rookies like Gfriend and Monsta X, as well as K-pop powerhouses like BTS, Shinee, and Block B.


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    Looks like one of the most iconic diabolical villains in telenovela history has been sent to Litchfield for her crimes—and she's not here to make friends.

    Orange Is the New Black has been given the telenovela treatment with Naranja Es el Nuevo Negro, a fun little video posted to the show's Facebook page that features actress Itatí Cantoral reprising her role as Soraya Montenegro. 

    Soraya has had a bit of a comeback since her days on María la del Barrio as the star of the popular "Cries In Spanish" meme. Those familiar with the show know that she's a lady you do not want to mess with. In her show, she killed her husband to steal his fortune and got into violent fights with practically everyone, even her wheelchair-bound stepdaughter.

    With the help of some creative editing, Soraya explodes in anger after getting hit with pie by Crazy Eyes and isn't letting the fact that Brook is sitting on her bunk just fly. Oh, and even Vee is no match for the unparalleled level of madness of Soraya. 

    News broke earlier this month about Cantoral's return for an OITNB promotional scene. She told Mexican news site Excelsior, “It’s incredible! Because they are going to put the most important Mexican villain, Soraya, in jail.”

    The telenovela madwoman's revival makes a lot of sense since much of the plot in season 4 plot centers around the prison's group of Spanish-speaking women. 

    And while it looks like Soraya's going to be in the SHU for a while, hopefully she'll be back with the other women soon. The drama's just too good. 


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    Tumblr on Tuesday announced that it's joining the livestreaming arms race, teaming up with existing platforms to launch a video feature that can be shared straight to users' dashboards.

    The website partnered with applications YouNow, Kanvas, Upclose, and YouTube to host live feeds. It's not an original video platform, in other words—more like a Tumblr home base.

    According to Tumblr Support, livestreaming through all partnered apps is available through iOS and Android, except for YouTube, which will be iOS compatible "in a few days."   

    To inform the internet of this new feature, Tumblr put on a live broadcast from Sunnyvale, California, in the most Tumblr-esque of fashions. The debut was teased on the Live Video blog with a full schedule of events and a series of GIFs hinting at what viewers could expect for the websites' new announcement. 

    Following the broadcast, Tumblr tweeted updates from its first-ever livestream:

    At 4:00pm ET, Tumblr began the live broadcast with opening words from a staged surface of Mars, later followed by an appearance from Tumblr celebrities like Things Organized Neatly. The live entertainment ensued with a Q&A from artist Adam J. Kurtz in a banana room, and a basketball lesson from a Harlem Globetrotter. 

    How it works

    To enable Tumblr sharing users create an account with a partnered app and connect it with their personal Tumblr account in the app's settings. After granting access to the phone's camera and microphone, livestreaming is just a click away.   

    Even though Tumblr doesn't actually host the content, the feature acts like its social network rivals. Like Facebook Live, users will be able to tune in and replay videos that have been posted or reblogged.

    One of the most convenient add-ons, Tumblr will send a push notification to notify users when people they follow "go live" and will move the post to the top of the users' dashboard. For users with multiple Tumblr accounts, the option to choose where to post is available.

    Tumblr posted that by the end of the day users will be able to start their livestreaming adventures, and that it trusts people to be "beautiful, weird, compelling, and just generally Tumblr about this whole thing."

    This will be fun.


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