Articles on this Page
- 01/02/14--11:58: _5-Second Films dest...
- 01/02/14--13:33: _Keyboard Cat, Lil' ...
- 01/02/14--13:48: _Shia LaBeouf hires ...
- 01/02/14--14:42: _This Sunday, you ca...
- 01/03/14--09:49: _Hey Internet, here'...
- 01/04/14--10:05: _Porn star Jenna Jam...
- 01/04/14--12:57: _A lesson from comed...
- 01/05/14--08:12: _Paul Walker's 'Fast...
- 01/06/14--12:10: _Celebrities posing ...
- 01/06/14--15:43: _Joseph Gordon-Levit...
- 01/06/14--17:05: _Producer turns crit...
- 01/07/14--05:12: _This 'House of Card...
- 01/07/14--09:32: _In iTunes' hottest ...
- 01/07/14--09:48: _Freezing-cold weath...
- 01/07/14--15:15: _'The Bachelor' brin...
- 01/08/14--07:19: _Are online gamers a...
- 01/08/14--08:17: _Gilbert Gottfried c...
- 01/08/14--14:39: _Lindsay Lohan's lap...
- 01/09/14--08:45: _Mark the 'Mean Girl...
- 01/09/14--11:17: _OMG, is Taylor Swif...
- 01/02/14--11:58: 5-Second Films destroys the Internet in epic finale
- 01/04/14--10:05: Porn star Jenna Jameson just got 4chan to do her dirty work for her
- 01/04/14--12:57: A lesson from comedian Natasha Leggero on the art of the non-apology
- 01/05/14--08:12: Paul Walker's 'Fast & Furious' character will be 'retired'
- 01/07/14--05:12: This 'House of Cards' season 2 trailer gets a little primal
- 01/07/14--09:48: Freezing-cold weather makes Vanilla Ice temporarily popular again
- 01/07/14--15:15: 'The Bachelor' brings out the misanthropic side of Jason Biggs
- 01/08/14--08:17: Gilbert Gottfried crowdsourced punchlines on Twitter last night
- 01/08/14--14:39: Lindsay Lohan's laptop full of nude photos was stolen in China
- 01/09/14--08:45: Mark the 'Mean Girls' anniversary with 'Mean Boyz' parody
- 01/09/14--11:17: OMG, is Taylor Swift dating Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel?
The video series devoted to getting the joke across in five seconds is finally calling it quits. The creators of Los Angeles-based 5-Second Films posted their two-part finale today.
In the first clip, they acknowledge Vine, Twitter's six-second video service, and how it’s rendered them obsolete. Then they set out on a four-minute quest to “destroy the Internet,” which, according to them, is a planet. During their mission, they discover deadly memes onboard, a “joke vortex,” and a Patton Oswalt cameo. Oswalt starred in many of their shorts. Every fan of the series has a favorite, and this might be mine.
In the second half, they reference one of the most popular 5-Second Films, before giving a nod to even more characters and films in rapid-fire succession. If you’re a fan, you’ll get the references. If not, you’re probably going to be really confused.
Spoiler alert: 5SF isn’t completely done. They’ll still be creating original sketches for Web culture site Uproxx. According to their Twitter account, there will also be new content that’s longer than five seconds, namely their first feature film, the highly anticipated Dude Bro Party Massacre 3.
Screengrab via 5secondfilms/YouTube
If piglets are more your thing than pigskins, it’s likely that your DVR is already set for Animal Planet’s 10th annual Puppy Bowl, airing on Super Bowl Sunday this February. And if puppies in football jerseys weren’t enough to entice you into their pregame show (what are you, a monster?), Animal Planet is upping the ante with some of the Internet’s biggest feline celebrities: Keyboard Cat and Lil’ Bub.
Classic Internet celebrity Keyboard Cat, who has stolen over 30 million YouTube hearts, will be the star of the Puppy Bowl’s Kitty Halftime Show. The ivory-tickling feline will taking on Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven” just hours before the singer himself will perform it at the Super Bowl Halftime Show, though I think we all know whose performance will be the must-watch, and it sure isn’t Mars. (The shows air at different times though, so no need to get catty.)
According to Keyboard Cat’s manager Ben Lashes, a Keyboard Cat Halftime Show has been nearly four years in the making, back when creator Charles Schmidt asked Lashes during the 2011 Puppy Bowl how to get Keyboard Cat to perform alongside the canine gridiron. Keyboard Cat’s Twitter would also light up with tweets during subsequent Puppy Bowls from fans requesting a musical cameo, so when Lashes was discussing other projects with Animal Planet last year, talk quickly turned to the ultimate tailgate. As he told the network, “It’s been a dream for four years, so we’ve got to make this happen!”
Meanwhile, rising young star Lil’ Bub will be checking in throughout the night from her studio in Chicago (here’s hoping that studio is in front of a toasty fireplace once again), ostensibly to point out the flaws in both teams’ offensive strategies—any smart cat knows that while a light footed rushing game looks flashy, defense wins championships.
In addition to the Internet’s biggest names, Animal Planet will be launching its first fantasy puppy draft (a safe bet for those who lost big in their earlier NFL fantasy drafts), live Instagram feeds of puppies and kittens who are watching from home, and best of all: penguin cheerleaders. The animal antics seem to exponentially rise from each Puppy Bowl to the next, so perhaps Lashes puts it best when he said “Dogs playing football and cats doing halftime shows will soon become the norm, so this is really a special moment in time.”
Indeed—any time the Internet can infiltrate our real lives to such an intense degree deserves mention. A faux Super Bowl halftime show featuring two of the biggest names in animal memes? The Web gods are surely pleased.
Shia LaBeouf is the ass that won’t quit.
Before the holidays, the actor enraged Daniel Clowes fans by plagiarizing the comic artist’s graphic novel, Justin M. Damiano, for his own short film, HowardCantour.com. He then apologized, but it turns out that apology was also plagiarized. He rung in the New Year by hiring a skywriting team to issue a five-mile-long apology in the sky over Los Angeles that simply stated, “I am sorry Daniel Clowes.” It should be noted that Clowes live about three hours away in the Bay Area.
CLOUD: - vapor floating in the atmosphere - remote servers used to SHARE DATA - to make LESS CLEAR or TRANSPARENT pic.twitter.com/jw9JlEi791— Shia LaBeouf (@thecampaignbook) January 1, 2014
On his Twitter account, he spent the last few days of 2013 once again apologizing to Clowes and others for his behavior, then shared one of his resolutions:
2014 Resolution - I need to work on being a less controversial tweeter.— Shia LaBeouf (@thecampaignbook) December 31, 2013
Elsewhere, people continued to wonder if he was engaging in some ego-driven performance art or on the verge of a breakdown.
This is by far the most I've ever been entertained by Shia LaBeouf.— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) January 2, 2014
Starting to think Shia Labeouf is now just plagiarizing the time Joaquin Phoenix acted all weird just to shoot a goofy mockumentary.— Jake Fogelnest (@jakefogelnest) January 2, 2014
In a new interview with Bleeding Cool, LaBeouf addressed the issue of plagiarism in the context of art. And his borderline manic answers make it sound like he’s certainly swimming in a lot of ideas. But how many are his? Bleeding Cool has been updating parts of the interview that actually came from other sources. Here’s part of one of his responses about plagiarism and authorship as “censorship”:
“The word law is against my principles.
The problem begins with the legal fact that authorship is inextricably
bound up in the idea of ownership and the idea of language as
Intellectual property. Language and ideas flow freely between people
Despite the law. It’s not plagiarism in the digital age – it’s repurposing.”
Sounds like LaBeouf still doesn’t quite understand the creative process. He also asked, “Should God sue me if I paint a river?”
Photo via jimmy thomas/Flickr
When thinking about what screams “rock and roll,” a nod to The Boss is inevitable. A nod to a network best known for hacky multi-cam comedies and endless CSI spinoffs? Not so much. Yet here we are, living in a world where Bruce Springsteen is now trying to sell albums by partnering up with CBS to exclusively stream his latest High Hopes a week before the album debuts.
Starting Sunday, January 5th, after that evening’s episode of The Good Wife, the network that’s usually aimed at pleasing people who are in bed by 10 p.m., not partying until 10 a.m., will be streaming Springsteen’s full album on CBS.com. A January 12th episode of The Good Wife will feature multiple songs from the new record, and the album will stay online till the 13th, before releasing officially on Tuesday, January 14th.
While it’s no secret that Springsteen’s original fans are perhaps a bit on the veteran side, the Columbia Records-CBS marketing gimmick is a head-scratching move. No doubt the partnership will expose the new album to a demographic that’s loved The Boss since 1975’s Born To Run, but aging rockers with new albums generally tend to do well regardless of silly marketing tie-ins. Pearl Jam’s latest Lightning Bolt topped the Billboard charts in its first week when it debuted this October, despite shaky critical reception. Springsteen’s own Wrecking Ball, the last album he performed, also took first place on the Billboard charts when it released in 2008. It was the rocker’s 10th number one album in his career, and a direct sign that his staying power has in no way diminished in recent years.
High Hopes has already seen one inadvertent promotion: an Amazon error that led to the album being leaked the weekend prior to New Year’s Eve, when each track was available for individual purchase on the e-retailer’s website. Once the tracks were out, they quickly popped up on file-sharing sites across the Web, though if a CBS audience is who Columbia is targeting, it remains unlikely that your parents will learn how to use Pirate Bay anytime before the album actually goes on sale.
Photo via kokalola/Flickr
Just days after we named Veronica Mars our Fandom of the Year, creator Rob Thomas and star Kristen Bell are getting our new year off to a great start, with the premiere of the first official trailer for Veronica Mars: the movie.
Coming on the heels of last year’s groundbreaking $5 million Kickstarter, the new trailer features a cameo from Jamie Lee Curtis and brings the whole gang together for a Neptune High reunion—oh, and mystery:
The trailer premiered last night on E! Online. It’s similar to the teaser footage that premiered at last year’s Comic Con, but gives us a clearer look at the main murder mystery, and the call that brings Veronica, now a successful lawyer in New York, back to suburban California for one last case—and, we hope, back into the arms of her tortured high school flame, Logan Echolls.
If the success of women in film at the 2013 box office is any indication, it should be a great year for women at the movies. And nothing says it better than starting the year off right with everyone’s favorite plucky female detective.
Veronica Mars opens in the U.S. in March.
Screengrab via YouTube
Porn star Jenna Jameson spent Friday night on 4chan asking for help in tracking down an ex-assistant who had messed with her social media profiles.
Jameson asked 4chan’s most notorious imageboard /b/, known for its raids, vote rigging, and justice seeking, to find the assistant who had accessed her social media accounts and deleted her photos. (Click to enlarge.)
Despite /b/’s penchant for believing everything they read, the community put the 39-year-old through her paces before they helped her.
/b/ asked her to do the popular “Tits or GTFO (“get the f**k out”)” and the “put shoe on head” memes in order to prove that she was indeed sincere. They also asked her to hold a dark colored shoe in her right hand. Jameson satisfied all requests.
With the verification out of the way, /b/ got down to business.
The quickly tracked down the ex-assistant’s address, last four digits of his social security number, and his credit score.
Jameson was pleased. (To see all the uncensored and very NSFW photos she shared on /b/, visit this Imgur album.)
Jameson can be seen in this Instagram photo wearing the same plaid shirt as she did Friday night.
Jameson, who appeared in more than 160 adult films, retired from pornography in 2008 to raise her children. Since then, Jameson has had some financial problems which forced her to sell her Hollywood Hills mansion in October. That same month a video of Jameson on "Good Day New York" went viral because, as Gawker put it, she was a “f**king disaster.” Jameson was on the morning show to promote her erotic novel Sugar. In November, Jameson announced that she was returning to porn to feed her children.
Photos via Imgur
Shia LaBeouf, take note. After making a joke on NBC’s New Year’s Eve countdown about World War II veterans, comedian Natasha Leggero sparked Twitter backlash from viewers who were incensed by her one liner. But rather than offer up the standard mea culpa, Leggero took to her Tumblr to explain why she wasn’t apologetic—and it was by far the best “apology” the Internet has seen of late.
The incident began when host Carson Daly referenced SpaghettiOs December 7 tweet in remembrance of Pearl Harbor: a cartoon SpaghettiO noodle holding an American flag with the caption, “Take a moment to remember #PearlHarbor with us.” Leggero commented “It sucks that that the only survivors of Pearl Harbor are being mocked by the only food they can still chew,” and thus opened the floodgates for the Internet lynch mob.
Hundreds of tweets were sent instantly by fans who felt that Leggero, a popular young comedian known for her appearances on Chelsea Lately, had crossed the line.
Natasha Leggero just made a joke about the SpaghettiOs Pearl Harbor tweet that was probably more offensive than the tweet itself.— Craig Lloyd (@craig_lloyd) January 1, 2014
Who is Natasha Leggero and why was she given a platform to insult WWII veterans? What's she done for her country? Real classy, @NBC.— T.J. Conwell (@RevConwell) January 1, 2014
Amidst rising cries for an apology from both Leggero and NBC, as well as death threats, Leggero turned to her Tumblr on Friday, ostensibly to apologize. However, she eloquently explained why she wasn’t going to churn out an insincere apology simply because she was expected to.
“I wish I could apologize, but do you really want another insincere apology that you know is just an attempt at damage control and not a real admission of guilt? Let me just try instead to be honest.
I’m not sorry. I don’t think the amazing courage of American veterans and specifically those who survived Pearl Harbor is in any way diminished by a comedian making a joke about dentures on television. Do we really believe that the people who fought and defended our freedom against Nazis and the Axis powers will find a joke about Spaghetti O’s too much to bear? Sorry, I have more respect for Veterans than to think their honor can be impugned by a glamorous, charming comedian in a fur hat.”
Leggero goes on to suggest that, as a daughter of a Vietnam veteran, she’s aware of the larger issues veterans face, than an off-color joke from a comedian: PTSD, depression, inadequate care after active duty, among others. She urged readers on either side of the outrage to donate to the Disabled American Veterans foundation, but ultimately stuck to her guns and refused to cave in.
Her comment, and the impending backlash, immediately drew comparisons to former IAC head of corporate communications Justin Sacco, who shot off a gauche tweet about AIDS in Africa, before boarding an 18-hour flight with no Internet access. The difference between Sacco and Leggero, however, isn’t simply that Leggero is a comedian and thus gets a free pass. Yes, comedians can get away with more boundary-pushing statements in the name of comedy, but at the end of the day, those jokes still have to be funny if they want to pass muster. Much like Sacco lost her job over her comments, if controversial comedians aren’t actually funny, you can bet they’re not getting plum touring gigs in small arenas, either.
Leggero’s refusal to cave, while still maintaining a certain sincerity (the likes of which certain celebrities like Shia LaBeouf know nothing of), is masterful, humble, but above all, honest.
Image via CleftClips/Flickr
Film production company Universal has announced it will move forward with Fast & Furious 7 despite the death of lead actor Paul Walker, who was killed in a serious car wreck on Nov. 30.
The move has led to speculation about how the franchise will deal with the sudden disappearance of one of its key players. The studio was mid-way through the next installment of the street racing film series when production was halted by the fatal accident.
One thing we now know, according to The Hollywood Reporter, is that the screenwriters don’t plan to kill Walker’s character in the movie. Instead, they’re going to try to write a retirement into the script so they can still incorporate Walker’s footage and allow the series to live on.
To accommodate the reworking needed on the film, the release date has been pushed back eight months to April 10, 2015.
Update: A BuzzFeed comparison was more apt than we realized. The imgur poster got these photos from a BuzzFeed story, where you can check out even more celebs posing with their past selves.
Ever since the twerk heard ‘round the world, it’s been near impossible to read an article about where it all went wrong with Miley Cyrus without seeing a photo of the singer from her innocent Disney days. Miley even joined in the fun herself the day after Christmas, posting a photo of the Cyrus clan then and now.
But one Imgur user is taking it a step further by Photoshopping a slew of celebs posing with their younger selves.
Giving BuzzFeed a run for its clever photo money, Imgur user Badham21 has posted an album that will remind you just how cruel mortality really is (unless you’re Keanu Reeves, in which case, guess that red pill worked out after all).
Photos via Badham21/Imgur
When Joseph Gordon-Levitt first announced his plans to launch collaborative production company HitRECord back in 2010 with his brother Daniel, it looked like a bit of good PR for the acting-singing-dancing triple threat, more than an actual means to create movies, television, music, and everything in between.
Just three years later, HitRECord On TV is about to launch on new cable network Pivot, and HitRECord has posted their first episode online today.
HitRECord On TV, which launches on Jan. 18 with two back-to-back episodes, is Gordon-Levitt’s collaborative take on a modern-day variety show. It features Gordon-Levitt’s video musings on the theme of the episode, anchored throughout by crowdsourced collaborations that relate to the theme. The premiere episode, entitled “The Number 1,” is equal parts vaudevillian and modern, just as you’d expect vintage-suit wearing camera-toting Gordon-Levitt to be. Though the show is burdened with the expected lengthy explanations of how HitRECord works, exposition that is generally cumbersome in most other shows and movies is damn near inspirational with Gordon-Levitt at the helm.
The first short film, “First Stars I See Tonight,” shows exactly how a HitRECord collaboration works. Collaborator Roswellgray posted a story about growing up vision-impaired and seeing stars for the first time. Multiple users submitted voice recordings of the story, one of which was selected as the narration for the film. Gordon-Levitt recruited actors Elle Fanning and James Patrick Stuart to act the short out in front of a green screen, then threw up a call for visual artists to animate and musicians to score the film.
Despite snapshots of the collaboration process throughout his explanation, the sheer level of work that went into Roswellgray’s short isn’t truly felt until the first scene, when you see a title card (a common occurrence on every HitRECord project) showing exactly how many “records” went into the film: 12 videos, 75 images, 5 texts, 13 audio, all made possible by 1,440 contributions.
The show picks up the pace after “First Stars I See Tonight,” with Gordon-Levitt’s HitRECord avatar RegularJOE calling for more collaborations--an animated short on sound combatting silence, and a hauntingly beautiful song “You’re Not The Only One,” which Gordon-Levitt wrote after asking for musical chord submissions. Discussions on the theme are interspersed among the sketches, complete with mini-videos created by (who else?) HitRECord collaborators.
Ultimately, gimmicks and new endeavors can only succeed if they’re as engaging as they are innovative, so the real question is whether the HitRECord on TV content is any good. Having gone into this with low expectations, especially for a half-hour variety show, I could not have been more impressed, both with what Gordon-Levitt achieved in a way to disrupt television, but with the actual quality of the work he produced.
“First Stars I See Tonight” was no doubt boosted by help from JGL’s actor friends, but the story and the animation was par excellence, and from creators I would likely never have heard of otherwise.
“You’re Not The Only One,” performed by Gordon-Levitt and a network of collaborators, has all the catchiness of a Sara Bareilles song destined to be stuck in your head for a summer. While not every sketch is likely to be a hit, giving each episode a theme at least ties even the lackluster sketches together in ways that current variety shows can’t.
And when discussing “current variety shows,” therein lies the rub: There really aren’t current variety shows. The closest comparisons lie somewhere between Saturday Night Live and America’s Got Talent, but HitRECord on TV is nowhere near a sketch comedy show, and digs a little deeper than 90-second chunks of showcasing Hollywood hopefuls. While the show, and Gordon-Levitt’s perma-good nature, can veer into the overly-twee at times (see: similar backlash against JGL’s 500 Days of Summer costar Zooey Deschanel), the content is unlike what we’ve seen on mainstream TV of late, and it’s beyond refreshing.
Indie musicians, successful animators like Don Hertzfeldt, even YouTube sensations with millions of followers have existed on the periphery of mainstream culture for years. By connecting them to each other and showcasing their work in a mainstream medium, Gordon-Levitt is showing Hollywood just how powerful productions can be, even those that hail from far, far outside the studio system.
Screengrab via hitrecord/YouTube
Mega-producer Scott Rudin, never quite content with playing second fiddle to polar vortex of rage Harvey Weinstein, has stooped to an even lower level in the moral-free antics known to surround Oscar voting campaigns: stealing a New York Times’ critic’s tweet, after clearly being asked not to, and using it a campaign ad for his latest film, Inside Llewyn Davis.
Renowned Times film critic A.O. Scott tweeted out at the end of the year a seemingly innocuous tweet about the Inside Llewyn Davis soundtrack at the end of last year--an homage to a film he’d already ranked as his top movie of 2013.
You all keep fighting about Wolf of Wall St. and Am Hustle. I'm gonna listen to the Llewyn Davis album again. Fare thee well, my honeys.— a. o. scott (@aoscott) December 31, 2013
Rudin, never one to pass up free publicity, had the film’s publicist Cynthia Swartz reach out to Scott to see if they could use his tweet—though slightly edited, as strict Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences campaign rules don’t allow for criticizing the competition, and the first line could be misconstrued as such. Scott’s reply?
Well this is a new one. I’d prefer though that my tweets not be used in advertisements. That seems like a slippery slope and contrary to the ad hoc and informal nature of the medium.
And changing the tweet is basically manufacturing a quote, something I avoid.
So I’m afraid the answer is no.
Fair. So what did Rudin do, in the face of a dirty two-letter word he’s not used to hearing? He went ahead and took it anyways.
The full-page ad ran in Saturday’s edition of the Times, and rather than just include Scott amongst a litany of other praise, it featured just Scott’s edited tweet, reading “I’m gonna listen to the Llewyn Davis album again. Fare thee well, my honeys,” mocked up to look like his actual tweet (reply, retweet, favorite buttons and all).
As Scott told Times editor Margaret Sullivan, he was surprised that Rudin had steamrollered his initial objections after being told no, and felt that the paper should have checked with him before approving the $70,000 ad using his words from a personal tweet, rather than a movie review.
For his part, Rudin is wholly unapologetic, claiming that he’s used tweets in the past to market movies, and finds no difference between what a critic writes in a review and what he tweets out. “If a critic is going to tweet it, we’re free to use it. We’re free to edit any review. We pull out what we want.”
Moreover, the Times advertising department approved the ad, which Rudin sees as the exculpatory evidence he already felt no need to produce.
It’s no secret that marketing departments routinely cherry-pick out-of-context quotes to pad their commercials with soundbites and glowing reviews as best they can. I once co-wrote what was essentially a scathing review of NBC’s new comedy Sean Saves The World, and while I did limply mention that I am a fan of Sean Hayes, my overall view on the show was not so favorable. And yet, imagine my surprise when my coworker saying “Sean will save with [a] weak passive victory,” and me following up with “And excellent teeth,” somehow got turned into“Sean Hayes is excellent,” in glowing capital letters on a commercial a few months later.
Rudin cutting down Scott’s quote to fit his needs is technically no surprise—not just in Rudin’s boundaryless world, but in marketing as a whole. Furthermore, Scott’s tweets are public, and not privately limited to his over 36,000 Twitter followers, which blurs the line further between Scott, the film critic, and Scott, the human who fired off a tweet about a song he liked. GigaOm reporter Matthew Ingram points out that while Rudin only acknowledges violating the laws of common decency, he violated Twitter’s Terms of Service, which states that “In all cases, without explicit permission of the original content creator, Twitter content may not be used in advertising.”)
In a world where the privacy-obsessed routinely pepper their Twitter bios with meaningless phrases such as “RTs do not constitute endorsements,” the Rudin v. Scott debate quickly morphed into a more typical journalistic discussion about the separation of church and state between editorial and advertising. However, the question still remains for writers: if you use Twitter as a public medium for sharing opinions on the things you’re paid separately to write about, can you be upset when those opinions are cited just as equally as your regular work?
Regardless of where you stand on the ever-morphing debates of tech etiquette, one classic rule stands. Never ask first, just apologize later. Unless you’re Scott Rudin--then ask anyways, never apologize ever.
Screengrab via New York Times public editor
Hunt or be hunted.
That’s the latest tagline from Netflix’s runaway hit House of Cards, in a season two trailer released Monday morning. It's only 20 seconds longer than a previous teaser trailer released in December that warned viewers the road to absolute power is paved with hypocrisy and casualties; direness continues to abound in the new season.
Season two sees oily Congressman Francis Underwood being sworn in as vice president, though things quickly devolve from there. Secrets are outed, reporters are threatened, ribs-slinger Freddy growls that “they stepped on the wrong motherfucking rattlesnake,” and inexplicably, a steak is thrown into a lavish swimming pool. (Maybe it was cheaper than a fake horse’s head mixed up in silk sheets?)
House of Cards season two hits Netflix Instant on Feb. 14, because nothing says Valentine’s Day quite like fear, loathing, and Congressional corruption.
Image via Netflix/YouTube
There’s a certain beauty to isolated vocal tracks. The Internet has made it much easier to bring those tracks to the masses, allowing music fans to deconstruct, share, and critique them, oftens decades later. The podcast Song Exploder, a new show from the Maximum Fun podcast family, is a place where artists can break down their own creations.
For each episode, host/producer/musician Hrishikesh Hirway asks artists to deconstruct their songs piece by piece. The first episode featured the Postal Service’s 2003 hit “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight,” broken down by creator Jimmy Tamborello. He explains the foundational beat came from a close listening of Björk’s 1997 album Homogenic, and the second half’s sped-up four-four beat was influenced by the electronic band Lali Puna, and his love of Germany’s influential Morr Music label.
The isolated vocals of Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis, and Tamborello’s admission that he accidentally looped her vocals into a beat at the end of the song, is especially enlightening. Those studio “accidents” are often the crux of a song. If you’re not particularly a fan of the Postal Service, this deconstruction adds a bit of cultural context. Hirway’s links to Homogenic, Lali Puna, and Morr Music add to the music appreciation lesson.
Hirway says the idea came from his own experience as a musician doing remixes for other bands.
“In order to give a remixer freedom to their version of a song, you get the song separated into the different instruments, or stems,” he explained via email.
“Invariably, hearing the isolated tracks like that gave me a whole other perspective and appreciation for the song. It's part of the reason I love doing remixes. I thought more people should get the chance to hear songs this way.”
The show was the number one music podcast on iTunes the day after debuting on Jan. 1, which was quite a surprise to Hirway. He adds he decided to get meta with the Song Exploder format:
“On tour, on the long drives between shows, my band (The One AM Radio) and all of my friends' bands listen to lots of music and lots of podcasts. So doing a show about music as a podcast was the only way I could imagine it.”
Hirway couldn’t divulge too much about upcoming episodes, but the next podcast, out Jan. 15, is a perfect one for the polar vortex: The Album Leaf will deconstruct a song he recorded in Iceland with Sigur Rós.
Screengrab via subpoprecords/YouTube
Plenty of people are complaining about the unprecedented cold and snow that have marked the first week of 2014, but at least one guy has found a silver lining. That man, of course, is Vanilla Ice, arguably the most successful and fondly remembered one-hit wonder in pop music.
OK, maybe he had two hits, if we’re counting “Ninja Rap.” But it’s the “Under Pressure”–sampling “Ice Ice Baby” that we’re concerned with today, because if you in some way reference that track on Twitter during this polar vortex thing, there’s a good chance he will retweet you.
@vanillaice can hear my dad Singing ICEICEBABY whist getting the ice out the freezer haha— Holly :) (@Hollyylvsmcfly) January 7, 2014
Brrrrrrr. Ice Ice baby. Too cold too cold❄️❄️ @vanillaice reference.— samantha huddleston (@mrshuddleston40) January 7, 2014
Ice ice baby❄️❄️ the perfect song for this weather, it's freezing @vanillaice— Leanne (@lele_carr) January 7, 2014
Sadly, the frigid weather finally caught up with Ice in Miami today, where it’s about 52ºF—which no doubt sounds fairly balmy to anyone stuck in Minnesota.
I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S FREEZING COLD HERE IN SOUTH FLORIDA, I DON'T LIKE THE COLD. LOL BRING BACK THE SUN AND THE FUN.— Vanilla Ice (@vanillaice) January 7, 2014
Be careful what you wish for, dude—“Vanilla Slush” is not a great rap name. Or is it? Hang on, I’ve got to buy that domain.
New seasons of The Bachelor are always fraught with tension for viewers at home: Did you pick the right contestant to win it all in your Bachelor fantasy league? Will Juan Pablo pull a Ben and pick the wrong girl? Who brought the $3 wine to the viewing party? But it seems full Bach-mania affected no one more than pie-sex guru Jason Biggs, who felt compelled to share his thoughts on the contestants.
First he went after looks:
This season's contestants on #TheBachelor are a dentist's wet dream.— Jason Biggs (@JasonBiggs) January 7, 2014
When that wasn’t enough, a family history of mental disabilities became fair game:
I bet that girl who has 9 special needs family members lets them play with her big titties every now and then cuz what else right?— Jason Biggs (@JasonBiggs) January 7, 2014
Then a quick swing back through dental standards and general appearance:
You can write the Ten Commandments on the front teeth of at least 8 of these chicks. #TheBachelor— Jason Biggs (@JasonBiggs) January 7, 2014
There are prettier faces being interviewed in the Florida State locker room right now. #TheBachelor— Jason Biggs (@JasonBiggs) January 7, 2014
He wondered if Bachelor Juan Pablo Galavis enjoyed the same type of casual misogyny:
Juan Pablo is having a really hard time hiding the fact that he thinks all these chicks are complete fucking disasters. #TheBachelor— Jason Biggs (@JasonBiggs) January 7, 2014
Juan Pablo will hate-fuck all these chicks. They will all convince themselves that they love him. He will be single when the show is over.— Jason Biggs (@JasonBiggs) January 7, 2014
Comedian Michael Ian Black tweeted out, possibly jokingly, to his million-plus followers:
@JasonBiggs You are a hateful shallow person. Unfollow.— Michael Ian Black (@michaelianblack) January 7, 2014
In retaliation, Biggs took a page from the Shia LaBeouf playbook and simply retweeted Black’s , along with a follow-up about the state of Black’s career.
Biggs is no stranger to internet controversy. Earlier this summer he penned what could be the least-self-aware essay of all time, lamenting how anxiety-ridden it is to be famous—not because he’s constantly being recognized, but because he suffers the crippling pressure that he might be recognized at all. Pretty serious stuff.
Photo via Eva Rinaldi/Flickr
Are gamers unpopular, overweight, and socially inept?
Are gamers as overweight and lazy as all the negative stereotypes might have you believe?
Not quite, according to a recent German study of thousands of gamers that says stereotypes of gamers as “unpopular, overweight, and socially inept” are not fully supported based on empirical data. However, online gamers are more likely to fall into those negative categories than gamers overall.
This isn’t a small question. After all, video games are a multibillion-dollar industry that dwarfs Hollywood. Every one of us at least knows a gamer or two, but there have been a distinct lack of scientific studies looking at how exactly the hugely popular pastime affects us.
It’s as predictable as clockwork. Last month, when StarCraft pro Kim “Violet” Dong Hwan was granted an athletic visa by the United States, Internet commenters became outraged: These aren’t athletes!
“Sigh,” said one commenter on NPR. “How much more lame can this country become? Bo Jackson was an athlete. This is just sad.”
Gamers—even the best of the best eSports stars—are often perceived to be out-of-shape and lazy. When outsiders don’t understand a video game, mastering it can seem like an utterly useless waste of time.
The German study is an important scientific insight into just who gamers are. For online players, it’s another reminder, if we needed one, to shut down, eat healthy, and exercise. The game will still be there when we get back.
For the next 5 minutes or so, tweet me a PUNCHLINE or SET UP you made up and I'll try and complete the joke. Include: #punchline— Gilbert Gottfried (@RealGilbert) January 8, 2014
This being Twitter, his attempt could have been a disaster. After all, crossing the line has gotten him in trouble before. There was indeed the inevitable sprinkling of racism and sexism from his followers, but Gottfried kept it old school for the most part. He was even a good sport when people brought up the Aflac duck. Here are a few of the funnier exchanges:
This concludes last night’s recap of dad-joke theater.
H/T @AndyLanger | Photo via comedy_nose/Flickr
Starpulse reported LiLo, who was in the country being honored with a Sohu Fashion Achievement Award, tweeted on Monday about loving her time in Shanghai but being bummed that her laptop was stolen. The tweet has since been deleted.
Lohan tweeted, "...offering a reward for anyone who can retrieve and rtn it, bummer to go home w/o it. xo L." The reward, she said, would be “"Whatever it takes."
The tweet may have gone missing after notorious gossip site TMZ reported the laptop had nude photos of Lohan on it, as well as “personal correspondence from several celebrity pals, including Woody Allen and Lady Gaga.”
Lohan told TMZ the images were all from "various photo shoots that were never supposed to be released.”
The deleted tweets could mean either that the computer was returned or that Lohan changed her mind and doesn’t want it found now that its contents are public knowledge.
April marks the 10th anniversary of Mean Girls, a film that continues to influence the tides of pop culture. To mark the occasion, YouTube parody star Todrick Hall just produced his own homage video called Mean Boyz.
Instead of Lindsay Lohan’s female protagonist, we have Cody, who just moved to West Hollywood from Indiana. Hall really amplifies the gay humor that's central to his other work here: One mean boy’s father invented Grindr. RuPaul's Drag Race contestant Willam Belli plays Tina Fey’s Ms. Norbury.
While there's been criticism of the video, I basically felt like I was watching the Drag Race version of Mean Girls, which I’d watch eight more hours of.
Screengrab via Todrick Hall/YouTube
Here’s why bloggers are abuzz this morning with bad jokes about future breakup songs: News broke on a celeb gossip site that America’s favorite cheerleader Taylor Swift, 24, and 23-year-old Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel, whose company rejected a $3 billion offer from Facebook, spent their holidays attached at the lips.
Photo via TechCrunch/Flickr
Last we heard, there were rumors that Swift was a secret 4chan user. But these are even better.
From a post this morning on Laineygossip:
“I’m told that Taylor was at a party with Spiegel over the holidays and it was understood that they were checking each other. Nothing overt but my sources say there’s no doubt she was there with him and for him and that they’re seeing each other casually—so far.”
Tech bloggers and Swifties immediately took to Twitter:
The thinly veiled breakup song ("His Love Disappeared") writes itself. http://t.co/3CUjr684WC— Kevin Roose (@kevinroose) January 9, 2014
Evan Spiegel & Taylor Swift is the super villain power couple of our time— Katie Heaney (@KTHeaney) January 9, 2014
Ew. Rumor is that Taylor's dating Snapchat's CEO? http://t.co/BS0j8oRhVK— Queen Taylor. (@TaylorDevotion) January 9, 2014
Ha ha, very funny. But the most interesting tweet by far: a tweet sent out by 2010 Stanford graduate Daniel Bohm on Jan. 3. This is a full six days before this latest piece of gossip went wide.
I can't wait to hear Taylor Swift's song about Evan Spiegel. There, I said it.— Daniel Bohm (@dbohm1) January 3, 2014
Swift’s rep denies any involvement with Spiegel. But a Stanford source close to the situation told us that there’s more to the story than just rumor.
Talk of Spiegel and Swift has been making the rounds in Stanford alumni circles since Dec. 31, when a Stanford graduate in New York started texting fellow alums he had heard news that Spiegel and Swift were dating.
The following night, Spiegel, who has thrown multiple young-alumni events at Snapchat’s Santa Monica headquarters over the last few months, threw a New Year’s Eve party in Lot 613, an events space in the Downtown Arts District. According to multiple sources, Swift was at the party as well. She arrived late and didn’t drink, said a source. “She was nice. She complimented people on their shoes and hair.” Multiple attendees confirmed that Spiegel and Swift were spotted together throughout the evening.
A separate source told us that Spiegel reached out to the Stanford Alumni Association, who had helped him organize his Snapchat party, to arrange for extra security for Swift to attend the Jan. 1 Stanford–Michigan State Rose Bowl game.
While Spiegel was most recently linked to model girlfriend Lucinda Aragon, a source extremely close to Aragon tells us that the couple “broke up in the last few weeks.” Spiegel hasn’t been spotted in Aragon’s Instagram feed since Oct. 23 of last year, and despite a Nov. 17 tweet referring to Spiegel as her boyfriend, the pair no longer follow each other on Twitter. They seem to be on good terms, though: On Jan. 1, Aragon retweeted this Rose Bowl message from Snapchat: “Let’s go Stanford!” Aragon did not go to Stanford.
Photo via avrillllla/Flickr