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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    Proving once again that they have sensible priorities in addition to the moral high ground, conservatives against same-sex marriage are using social media to threaten Mia Talerico, a 5-year-old Disney star—in some cases with gruesome death. Violent Instagram messages from one particularly deranged individual have prompted an official police investigation.

    Talerico’s offense, it turns out, lies in playing the eponymous lead on the Disney Channel’s Good Luck Charlie, which recently became the first sitcom on that network to introduce a gay couple into its cast of characters. One of Charlie’s friends, it’s revealed, is being raised by Susan and Cheryl, two lesbian mothers. Clearly another attempt at brainwashing by the queer Illuminati.    

    The “I have two mommies” trope is well-worn in children’s entertainment, the pair’s appearance was a one-off, and the series will end its run this month. But that didn’t cut it for the group One Million Moms, which lamented that its “thousands” of emails urging Disney to “abandon their plans to corrupt the [channel] with LGBT content” had gone unanswered.


     

    Disney stuck to its guns about a storyline “developed under the consultancy of child development experts and community advisors,” airing the episode as planned. Shortly afterward, the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed that they were investigating death threats and harassment targeting Talerico—who of course is neither a writer nor producer on the show.

    The messages that prompted Talerico’s mother, Claire, to contact Disney security, which then coordinated with the LAPD, appeared in a police report acquired by TMZ.

    “Die Mia, Fucking Die in hell! Kill yourself, you deserve to die,” read one, while another included an image of Talerico’s head “with a bloody fist coming through it” and the caption “Yes, kill you stupid bitch.”

    We know that Talerico is a celebrity, with all that entails, but here’s hoping she can take a break from online life following the finale of Good Luck Charlie—and just, you know, be a kid.

    H/T Inquisitr | Photo via Loveatic4mylife/Flickr


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    Oh, is your band still playing instruments? That’s so quaint. Somehow, Danish group the Bottle Boys have managed to be even quainter. They've  taken recycling to the next level, crafting a 13-song hip-hop medley made entirely by blowing on bottles.

    If you’ve ever wanted to hear Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It” or 2 Live Crew’s “Me So Horny” via a fivepiece harmonic bottle blowchestra, this is your lucky day. Does this revisionist approach to hip-hop change the message of some of these songs? Yes, but look at those guys! They’re blowing on a bunch of bottles and have even developed hands-free bottle holders so they can also perform choreographed dances. What would Kanye say about five Danish bros blowing out a cover of “Through the Wire”?

    The Bottle Boys have also covered Lady Gaga’s “Pokerface” and Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Getting Back Together,” but have they covered “Cups” yet?

    Screengrab via It’sBig!/YouTube


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    For whatever reason, our cultural obsession with game shows has always been tinged with an element of sadism. Whether we’re watching the contestants tell their sob stories on Chopped, or Alex Trebek feign empathy for a contestant who loses on Jeopardy!, we derive an inordinate amount of glee from watching people debase themselves for money on national television.

    Now, Kink.com is capitalizing on our sadomasochistic enjoyment of game shows by creating a game show that’s actually sadomasochistic. Kink Men has just released 30MinutesOfTorment.com, a gay BDSM site that’s being touted by the producers as “the Web’s first BDSM game show.”

    According to Kink Men director Van Darkholme, 30 Minutes of Torment is a grueling, half hour-long physical, mental, and sexual trial that is “corporal punishment at its purest.”

    30 Minutes of Torment is a test to see how well a person's mind, body, and spirit can hold up under extreme challenges,” Darkholme told Xbiz. “I plan to start by testing the participant's body. As time goes on and as the site evolves, we will play with the mind and spirit—like a reality show of mind-fucking.”

    Although adult companies have produced game show-inspired content in the past (most of which, for some reason, seems to be Japanese, if a quick Google search is any indication), 30 Minutes of Torment’s format doesn't have much of [a] precedent,” says Kink PR director Michael Stabile. “There have been other game show-themed porn, but usually they're just parodies, or are faux reality. This is a real challenge, every week, and not every man makes it.”

    There are 10 torment stations, including a padded cell, a gimp room, and an electric chamber. As per descriptions of some of the initial shoots on the (very, very, very NSFW) website, these challenges include waterboarding, edging (otherwise known as orgasm control), flogging, and a lot more stuff that you’ve probably never seen on Jeopardy!.

    Unfortunately, unlike most mainstream game shows, there doesn’t seem to be a cash prize for successfully completing the challenges on 30 Minutes of Torment: the site description merely says that contestants are rewarded with “bragging rights.” But either way, it’s sure to be almost as exciting as my personal favorite game show, Supermarket Sweep.


    H/T Xbiz | Photo via Wikimedia Commons


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    A new Kickstarter campaign is aimed at funding a short film—one shot almost entirely by kids fitted with GoPro cameras—that promises to illuminate the long-lost sensations of childhood. Twelve miniature cinematographers will be set loose on a New York City playground, free to do “whatever they like, however they please, and with whomever they wish to play.” 

    PLAY is a project spearheaded by Chris Mohney, VP of Programming at Maker Studios and himself a father with an interest in what kids get up to in their free time. His son Nate wore a GoPro for a demo.

    “[E]ven in the test shoot,” Mohney said, “there were all kinds of little moments of tension between kids that created little micro-dramas over social hierarchies and such.” Those interactions that unfold out of parental earshot constitute a significant part of the raw anthropological material that he hopes to capture in the experiment.

    The narratives woven by the participants will encompass “curiosity, friendship, estrangement, competition, physicality, triumph, frustration, and genius,” but most of all the “pure joy” of kids having fun together. For varied perspectives, both manic tykes and wallflowers will contribute: Mohney is “just as interested in those kids who are more into hanging out or the fringes.”  

    “All of it will be revelatory in its own way,” he said.

    Photo via Kickstarter  


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    Ever had one of those conversations that screeches to a halt after a fateful, cutting comment? Because HBO’s True Detective is full of them. Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson flip the odd-couple-buddy-cop routine on its head by continuing to openly despise one another, and the latter’s attempts at small talk are always purposefully derailed by McConaughey’s portentous, Cormac McCarthy–like pronouncements on the accident of human civilization.

    Heavy stuff, to be sure—so it’s nice that writer Bobby Finger has adapted the show’s hard-boiled philosophy into a three-panel Tumblr meme. Somewhat along the lines of the Inception-inspired image macros that used a squinting Leonardo DiCaprio as their punchline, True Detective Conversations always open with a Harrelson question, followed by a deadpan McConaughey reply, and wrap up with Harrelson looking distraught at the answer.


     

    “I got the idea during the third episode,” Finger said. “Woody asks Matthew something like, ‘Do you think a man can be in love with two women at once?’ And Matthew responds with, ‘I don't think a man can love.’ I was just thinking, come on Woody. You’ve spent three episodes being irritated by Matthew's meandering, existential rants and should know better than to talk to him about anything other than work.” 

    Despite this mild narrative critique, he’s totally hooked on the show: “It's beautiful and creepy and I would like to know who done it."

    Photo via True Detective on Instagram


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    Any Craigslist ad that blames Mark Wahlberg for a perceived injustice is going to be Internet gold. That’s how the missive of one Georgia man attempting to sell his silver Mini Cooper for parts begins. He states that he watched the 2003 remake of the heist film The Italian Job, and totally bought Wahlberg’s badassery. And also a Mini Cooper like the one featured in the film:

    So I'm just sitting there, watching 'The Italian Job', drinking my IPA, wondering what it is Mark Wahlberg does all day when he's not filming. I like to think he's a really nice person with good taste in red wine. About 3/4ths of the way through the movie I get this voice in my head: "BUY A MINI COOPER!" "SELL YOUR VW AND BUY A MINI!" "MINI COOPERS ARE SOOOO HOT RIGHT NOW!" Straight to the dealer I went and bought this here silver mini. "'Coopers are soooo hot right now" the salesman told me.

    He doesn’t specify when “right now” was, but he does go on to explain the beginning of his Mini Cooper’s demise, one week after buying his dream car. His narrative style keeps you on the edge of your seat, much like the plot of The Italian Job. In this scene, our protagonist is running late for work, and remembers he’s basically Mark Wahlberg driving a Mini Cooper in The Italian Job:

    Right then and there, I hit a hard left by that fantastic local organic fair-trade free-range grass-fed coffee roasters and realized my skinny jeans were just a little too skinny and vintage; I couldn't hit the clutch pedal right and slipped out of gear, my limp wrist couldn't turn the steering wheel fast enough to break the fishtail I was going into, my feathered hair went into my eyes and I couldn't see the road! Boom. Hit a fruit stand. If only life were like a Michael Bay movie, the 'Cooper would have sailed right through, and I'd have kept speeding down the street, preferably with Mark Wahlberg at the wheel and me in the passenger seat. Mark Wahlberg could have made that hard left by the coffee shop, no prob. And why is there always a fruit stand!? You never see fruit stands except when there's a car going way too fast down the road.

    He also provides several photos of the exterior and interior of the vehicle, as well as this work of art, for context.
     


    Ah, the death of a hipster's dream. In addition to scrap parts, he also offers a cautionary tale about material excess and hero worship. And if you’re going to emulate Wahlberg in any movie, obviously make it Michael Bay’s 2013 masterpiece Pain & Gain.


    Image via Eva Rinaldi/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)


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    Glee might be off the air for its final season and a half in the U.K., thanks to an unrelated nightclub franchise whose owner trademarked the name “Glee Club” years ago. In a surprise ruling issued earlier today, the High Court ruled that the TV show was infringing on the rights of the franchise, which operates four locations in the Midlands region of the U.K. The franchise also owns glee.co.uk.

    Glee Club owner Mark Tughan, who trademarked the name in 1999, argued that he’d lost revenue from having his clubs associated with the TV show. While we have a hard time imagining that comedy club audiences wouldn’t want their drinks served with a side of acapella pop music, the judge apparently agreed with Tughan.

    Deputy Judge Roger Wyand QC ruled that Fox had violated the Glee Club trademark:

    “I have found that there is a likelihood of confusion and 20th Century Fox's use causes dilution and tarnishing… the damage suffered by Comic Enterprises is caused by its venues being confused with the TV show and its potential customers being put off... Continued use cannot be in accordance with honest practices.”

    What does that mean for Glee fans? For now, it means that Glee could be off the air in the U.K. while Fox appeals the decision. Any Glee merchandise, including soundtracks, would also be gone, as would a returning live tour of the show’s cast.  

    Tughan insisted that while he didn’t want to deprive fans of their favorite show, he felt that he had to contest all the revenue lost from customer confusion over whether his clubs were connected to the singing-and-dancing teen favorite.

    On Twitter, he called the defeat“a comprehensive win,” although Judge Wyand did not award damages in the case and called for another hearing to determine if actual revenue loss had incurred.

    Even if Tughan did lose revenue over the mix-up, we’re not so sure that a few confused patrons would balance out the anger of hordes of British Glee fans wondering why their show, now in its penultimate season, is off the air.

    Then again, fans have also noticed that the U.K. version of the show, currently airing on Sky network, seems to be weirdly sped up, so that some songs achieve a slightly Chipmunk-like quality. Perhaps U.K. fans will welcome the radio silence as an excuse to pirate the episodes and watch Glee at a regular frame rate.

    Gaining control over the use of the words “glee club” probably won’t be the end of Tughan’s problems with misled clubgoers, however. Glee clubs have been around in England since the 18th century. Tughan’s clubs have only been around for 15 years. And while they do promise plenty of comedy and music, nowhere do they promise a capella singing.

    Thus the cycle of glee- and Glee-related confusion will likely continue for Tughan.

    Photo via watt_dabney/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)


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    The zombie apocalypse has invaded New York City.

    To promote the new season of The Walking Dead, AMC dressed a bunch of actors like zombies ( or "walkers,” in the parlance of the show) and staged them under a sidewalk grate near Union Station. When unsuspecting pedestrians walked by, their legs and ankles were fair game.

    Needless to say, the marketing stunt caught people by surprise.

    This is just the latest viral promotional exploit to hit YouTube. The telekinetic prank to promote the Carrie remake was seen by almost 54 million while a mechanical baby strolling and terrorizing New York was an elaborate promotion for the horror film Devil’s Due.

    H/T Gawker | Photo via amc/YouTube


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  • 02/07/14--12:01: In defense of DMX
  • Rapper DMX made headlines Wednesday when he announced a public stunt that involved boxing a man whose name does merit further public attention. For three rounds, in one of those predatory, put-gloves-on-desperate-celebrity matches brought to you by eager opportunist, Damon Feldmen, and DMX (real name Earl Simmons) has promised to "beat his [opponent's] ass." No contract terms for the bout have been finalized, according to DMX spokesman Domenick Nati, but that matters little. The train has left the station, and not even a White House petition could stop it.  

    At least there's a silver lining: We have an excuse to talk about DMX.

    My wife fancies herself a huge music fan. She's put me on to most of the cool things that I listen to. Unfortunately, she's not big on Ghostface Killah. This has nothing to do with Supreme Clientele's dense fiction (never heard it, actually). She just hates the way Ghost treats his girlfriend on VH1's Couples Therapy.

    Rappers from the '90s—even the most charismatic and legendary—are first and foremost celebrities now. People don't so much dislike Yeezus as much as they dislike Kim Kardashian. Jay Z is Mr. Beyoncé. LL Cool J and Ice T are street smart cops.

    DMX is the uncle no one talks to any more because he can't get clean and always bails on family reunions. He can't use a computer, provides laugh at and not laugh with holiday cheer, and crashes weddings. How adorably viral!

    The guy is also the modern face of crack, and he's been a public mess for this entire century. His heart will give out in the next decade, and there will be 100 words written about it in People. But before he went off the rails, DMX was one of the most important working artists.

    He once reportedly engaged in a four-hour rap battle with Jay Z on a pool table. His first three albums debuted at No. 1, and he combined his harrowing street narratives with a sharp directorial eye that looked beyond his native Yonkers. X was practically the Martin Scorsese of gangster rap—elevating the simple gangster narratives with quick cuts, expansive soundtracks, and elemental experimentation. On his debut album, there's a whole song about his budding friendship with Damien, the demon in his head that makes him commit crime. A guy named Mickey knocks on his apartment door and X responds by blowing him away. He calls his girl and verbally abuses her with his unrelenting jealousy. "Stop Being Greedy" is the best I'll-play-both-characters song in the history of rap—and that includes Biggie's "Gimme The Loot." By album two, X was posing in bathtubs of blood and collaborating with Marilyn Manson.  

    At the peak of his chart-topping success—exemplified by the only song that people remember, 1999's "Party Up"—X terrified Def Jam and threatened to move to Arizona to record an experimental album called The Ears. The project was scrapped and a series of straightforward, formulaic releases followed suit. That’s because DMX is a volatile genius, and you can only bottle expressionist fits for so long. Def Jam did the equivalent of locking Norman Rockwell in a studio and telling him to paint fucking burger joints indefinitely. The barks and growls, the persona oscillating-raps, the “X gonna give it to ya”-esque catchphrases have a defined shelf life.

    Looking back, it's a miracle that X struck a pop nerve to begin with.

    Listen to this playlist and remember what it was it like when it was real. It’ll make you want to take a baseball bat to some mailboxes.  

    Photo via alexindigo/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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    American bobsled pilot Jazmine Fenlator took a path less traveled to get to the 2014 Winter Olympics. The 28-year-old former track and field star learned the art of the bobsled in 2007. Though she didn’t qualify for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, she spent the last four years mentally and physically preparing for 2014’s competition, while struggling with her mother’s health issues and the destruction left by Hurricane Irene in 2011. Now in Sochi, she and her teammate, Lolo Jones, will try to win the gold for the women's team. 

    Fenlator had an impressive Spotify playlist to help her train. The 100-plus song mix includes Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Rocky, Lil Wayne, Drake, Icona Pop, Lady Gaga, Meek Mill, and the ultimate Olympic training anthem: Britney Spears’s “Work Bitch.” Last summer, Fenlator tweeted and Instagrammed her Spotify obsession. She’s also really intoCool Runnings.

    If you can’t watch the opening ceremony, streaming this expertly-curated mix is the next best thing.

    Screengrab via TeamUSA/YouTube

     


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    As an occasional music writer, my inbox is flooded daily with review copies of forthcoming albums, concert announcements, and meek introductions from unknown solo artists. Most of these emails land unopened in the trash, since I only have time to listen to about 2 percent of what I receive. But this week, something odd avoided my merciless filters, giving me pause.

    The message was from “John,” and the subject line read: “unreleased burial.”

    Burial is the stage name used by London’s William Emmanuel Bevan, a master of ghostly, cerebral dubstep. Whoever sent the email appeared to have done his research—Bevan has produced some of my favorite tracks from the past decade, honing his formidable talent in the process. Considered a recluse by the music press, he recently posted a surprising selfie and promised to follow up his recent EP, Rival Dealer, with additional tunes in 2014.


     

    Since the mystique around Burial has resulted in several Internet hoaxes, Pitchfork felt compelled to note that the photo and message were confirmed as authentic by Bevan’s longtime record label, Hyperdub. So it was heavy skepticism that I opened the curious note from John, which bore an attachment and this brief explanation:

    “hey. i stumbled upon this unreleased burial tune on a flash drive a few days back and i thought you would enjoy. cheers.”

    The signature read “anonymous source,” and the email itself derived from anonymoussource@gmail.com, an address that apparently belonged to “John Smith,” which had to be a pseudonym.

    The file he offered set off all sorts of alarm bells: “burial_wastedyouth_v6_nomaster.wav,” Google helpfully informed me, could not be virus-scanned. And what was this nonsense about discovering a deeply coveted piece of music on some random flash drive? I had never heard of a hacker trying to socially engineer the downloading of malware via the victim’s love for a niche electronica artist, but that’s what this appeared to be. I told John there was no way I’d bite.

    His reply seemed calculated to exploit my sense of self-doubt: “your loss,” he wrote.

    I still wasn’t going to take the chance that some distant stranger knew exactly how much I loved Burial and thought to send a bootleg song of his to me in particular. But he’d gotten the better of my curiosity. I started pressing him on his story.

    “I’m just trying to understand,” I wrote. “You found a flash drive and it had an unreleased Burial song on it?” All John would say was “yes.” When I expressed my security concerns, he simply contradicted me: “it is not a virus.” 

    Not terribly persuasive. But after some cajoling, John uploaded the questionable .wav file to YouTube. I clicked his legitimate link, feeling much safer, and listened to a perplexing five minutes of audio. The dry, spare instrumentals and disembodied voices certainly matched Burial’s 2007-era palette. Plus, Bevan had just said that he’d soon put out some leftovers: “I want to go and find some old tunes I did that still sound alright and never came out,” he’d told his listeners. “It would be nice to finally put some of them out on vinyl one day.”

    Nonetheless, something felt off. “Wasted Youth” never cohered or took some surprising twist, as Burial’s tracks tend to. It felt more like pastiche, or even parody, a cobbling together of some familiar sonic signifiers to create a fake original, like the counterfeit masterpieces painted by Wyatt Gwyon in The Recognitions. It coasted along on wobbly snares and snaps, failing to hold one’s attention. I began to suspect that John was trying to pass off his own work as an early, “lost” effort from a critical darling—hardly an unusual deception. The revered shoegaze band My Bloody Valentine, for example, made fans wait 22 years between albums, and in the interim, a few acolytes uploaded compositions under their name, hoping for instant viral buzz.

    When I raised this possibility, John rejected it out of hand: “i am not a musician. i just work in the industry.” Was he an employee of Hyperdub, then? A studio tech? “i work in a studio that has overlap with hyperdub,” he said. He continued to nix my questions about where exactly the song had come from: “i am close with the source and i don't want to tarnish my relationships.” Then why leak it at all, I wondered—“just because,” he wrote, with typical reticence. I was beginning to think, however weird John was, that he might have been telling the truth.

    After all, I couldn’t prove “Wasted Youth” wasn’t Burial, and I wouldn’t be shocked if it was. Really, the most suspicious element of this dialogue was that I was a participant.

    I haven’t made a living as a music critic for quite some time; weren’t there others more qualified to hear John’s dubious .wav file? He admitted he’d sent it to “a few people,” adding, “i selected people i thought would have interest in my find.” In that case, I figured, the track would soon be all over the blogosphere. Unless, like me, the other recipients had written off John as a scammer.

    Since John put the suspect song on YouTube, it’s been viewed 45 times, meaning I’m not the only one to have heard it. Still, there’s no coverage anywhere. Perhaps everyone else is as paralyzed by uncertainty as I am—in no way convinced this is the real deal, and yet wondering if it could be.

    Photo by shinji akhhirah/Flickr


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    When the Russian Police Choir lined up to perform at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, on Friday, most people were probably prepared for a deep and sad anthem to Mother Russia. What else could come from the stoic Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs?

    Fortunately, the Russian Police Choir shattered our stereotypes and got down to a funky rendition of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” Even the older guys in the back seem to crack a smile as the younger fellows dance as best they can in starched uniforms.

    Russian cops singing a tune written by a pair of French electro-pop artists and American singer/producer Pharrell Williams? I guess the Olympics really do bring nations together, if not for sport then definitely under the banner of dance music.

    H/T Billboard | Screengrab via NBCOlympics


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    OK, so the whole #SochiProblems thing is pretty funny, what with the double-toilet bathrooms and Sochi supposedly being overrun with feral dogs. But this new hoax is taking Olympic schadenfreude a step too far.

    On Saturday, the Daily Currant published an article about Boris Avdeyev, the technician responsible for the giant Olympic rings during last week’s opening ceremony. During the ceremony, five glowing snowflakes were meant to open out into the Olympic rings, but one of them failed to open, causing hilarity among everyone who was watching on TV and secretly hoping that something would go horribly wrong.

    According to the Daily Currant, Avdeyev was later found dead in his hotel room.

    “Although his body was badly mangled and the wounds were consistent with a struggle, so far officials say they don't suspect foul play,” read the article.

    “Sure there were stab wounds and bruises all over the body,” admits the lead investigator on the case. “But who knows what caused them. Maybe he tripped and fell on a set of knives. Right now we’re ruling this an accidental death.

    “It’s terrible when accidents like this happen. But then again, maybe Mr. Avdeyev should have thought twice before he screwed up the Olympics. Accidents tend to happen to people who betray Russia.” ”

    The Daily Currant is a satirical site, and this news story was completely invented. Unfortunately, it was plausible enough for people to start spreading the link in droves, presuming that the Russian government had indeed assassinated someone for failing to open all five Olympic rings on time.

    The truth is that the rings were designed by George Tsypin, a theatrical production designer who previously worked on the infamously disastrous broadway show, Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark. Who is, by the way, still alive—although probably not very proud of his professional reputation.

    Basically, the Sochi Olympics may seem like they’re rife with minor disasters, but next time, check to see if this specific disaster is actually real. If it involves a corpse, chances are it’ll be reported by a publisher other than a satirical one.

    Photo via theironyboard / Tumblr


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    Some two years ago, Charlie Sheen took us on a wild ride. In the weeks leading up to Sheen being fired from Two and a Half Men, the seemingly unhinged actor went on many a no-holds-barred rant, and we were introduced to his world of prostitutes, tiger blood, anti-semitism, and “winning.”

    He was replaced on Men by none other than Ashton Kutcher (who received a mind-boggling amount of money for taking on the role). At the time, Sheen and Kutcher traded niceities about the switch-up, and the world kept spinning: Sheen kept up his antics, and the show your parents watch if Everybody Loves Raymond isn’t on that night continued.

    But now, years since the brouhaha, the two actors are engaged in the most passive aggressive of passive aggressive battles: a subtweet war.

    While Kutcher has only recently entered the fray, Sheen’s been stirring the pot since the beginning of January (and likely dropped the odd Kutcher slam before, but this is when things really picked up steam).

    Ashton finally responded to all this when he was on Jimmy Kimmel on Wednesday. Fast forward to the 3:46 mark where Kutcher says: 

    Can I just enter a public plea with Charlie? Dude, shut the fuck up already! It's like three years later and you're still blowing me up on Twitter?

    And then the Sheen retaliation rained swiftly down upon us.

    The tweet was, however, follow by this one…

    Kutcher succintly responded, repeating his former sentiment.

    Message received, though not well, apparently. Sheen tweeted this the next day.

    But then this happy birthday note seems intended to mend any hurt feelings…

    Weirdly, the Twitter antagonism might all go back to this tweet of Kutcher’s from Jan. 14:

    The next day, Sheen tweeted this:

    Was he trolling Kutcher? Mocking him? Or did he, too, just enjoy that adorable photo? All that’s clear is that since then, he’s been subtweeting Kutcher like it’s his job. Which, truth be told, might actually be his next gig if Anger Management’s ratings keep falling.

    But maybe, just maybe, the subtweeting war could be ended if they just remembered their mutual love of dog as backpacks. 

    H/T the Daily Mail | Photo via timmarshall/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)


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    Yesterday, CBS honored the 50th anniversary of when the Beatles melted American culture on The Ed Sullivan Show with a star-studded concert, but the high-calorie spectacle was tough on the stomach. Somewhere between the house band of uninspired session millworkers, Katy Perry's melodramatic cover of "Yesterday," and a dreadful version of "Revolution" from Imagine Dragons so state-sanctioned that Vladimir Putin slow-clapped in awe (probably), I questioned—for the first time ever—the staying power of the Fab Four.

    The baby boomers have successfully found a way to sell the Beatles every five years or so since 1970 with retrospectives, compilations, commemorative video games, remastered versions of seminal releases in mono, films, Vegas shows, induction ceremonies, anthologies, the Super Bowl XXXIX halftime show, live albums, etc. Every occasion seemingly ends with Paul McCartney on a piano leading the “na-na-na-na” chants from “Hey Jude.” These projects are all fine opportunities for 7-year-olds to become lifelong fans; in general, their mere existence is a net positive for societal progress.

    But not Sunday’s useless “reunion” concert.

    That’s because the Beatles are the uncanny valley of rock. No matter how intricate the licks John Mayer and Keith Urban write out in cursive, no matter how soulful Alicia Keys and John Legend are while belting "Let It Be" on dueling pianos, offering up Beatles covers is a perpetual fool's errand because Beatles standards are as distinct as they are popular. The Breeders are a well-regarded alt-rock band from the ’90s whose spirit animal Beatles song is “Happiness Is a Warm Gun.” Yet their version's terrible because it was an easy and lazy undertaking that did nothing to challenge the DNA of the original John Lennon cut—making its whole existence, then, just as superfluous.

    When the rare Beatles cover works, it’s not because a great voice took a ctrl+C command to sheet music and spat out a shinier rendition (see: everything that CBS aired Sunday). On the contrary, the rare, worthy Beatles cover deconstructs, finds a fresh emotional perspective, and attacks. 

    These are 10 Beatles covers you’ll be well-served to listen to.

    1) St. Vincent,  “Dig a Pony”

    I’ve run this clip back at least 20 times a year since ’09. It’s pretty easily my favorite Beatles cover. Again, there are no obscure songs when we’re laying out this catalog. To that end, going for “Dig a Pony” is a precocious move because it’s as close to a hidden gem as the Beatles allow . It’d be a miserable failure if Annie Clark was a soft voice cartwheeling through a Pitchfork blurb. But she has hands like a mechanic and taps into the song’s landlocked emotional prism. 

    2) Rubblebucket, "Michelle" 

    I dig this version of 1965’s Rubber Soul time-stopper. Brooklyn indie dance buzzkill collective Rubblebucket is combatively sugary on its lovesick version—the band emphasizes the “I love you” section in oddball fashion, turning it more Buddy the Elf than Paul McCartney. It goes down like one of those Cool Whip pies with an additional, inch-thick layer of cream.

    3) The Damned, "Help"

    Recorded only a decade after the original, this 1976 punk cover is octaves apart from the sad but optimistic original. John Lennon shed his former band’s early stuff as he inched toward middle age in the ’70s, but he was always proud of “Help” because of its emotional maturity; it wasn’t just a pretty-face melody. Then again, Lennon also reportedly disliked “Let It Be” because he felt that it endorsed the status quo during a time of uprising, so what the hell did he know?

    4) Siouxsie & the Banshees, “Dear Prudence”

    Despite its prime real estate on the White Album, “Dear Prudence” is an entirely dispensable Beatles song. It doesn’t even get picked in the top 50 of a Beatles song draft. But transpose the melody, interpret lyrics like “come out and play” or “look around” as sullen post-rock, and it’s a U.K. chart-topping rainy day anthem.

    5) Daniel Johnston, "Got to Get You Into My Life"

    McCartney is a world wonder because of his pop sensibilities—the guy has infinite melodies. But without Lennon's realist editing, he skewed too sunny at times. The original was basically a show tune, until the ever-unbalanced Central Texan Daniel Johnston took the song’s naïve, heel-clicking nature and—with just a pinch more earnestness—turned a hair-raising, stalker-ish corner.

    6) Wilson Pickett, “Hey Jude”

    Most of the soul Beatles covers are entirely righteous. Joe Cocker, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder—they took pristine melodies and buried them in bark-at-the-moon humanity. There’s a live cover of “She Came In Through the Bathroom Window” from Ike & Tina Turner that strikes the shin like a drunken slide tackle. Pickett’s “Jude” is a bottle of Evan Williams tipped over, short-circuiting the Fender Harvard amps. You can almost mosh when then-session guitarist Duane Allman opens up the playbook, and Pickett loses his shit at the end.

    7) Type O Negative, “Day Tripper"/"If I Needed Someone"/"I Want You (She’s So Heavy)" Medley

    Speaking of moshing…Brooklyn-based doom metal lifers Type O Negative take their metal chops to an unlikely trio of sunny, early Beatles standards. The first-day-of-guitar-lessons riff in "Day Tripper" is bacon pressed to thick, flat perfection. But the real gem drops two-plus minutes in, when bassist and singer Peter Steele drops the “If I Needed Someone” bridge and chorus, singing it like a depression-riddled cry for help.

    8) Boris with Merzbow, “Walrus”

    On this collaboration between leading Japanese experimental noise musicians, there’s an ever-present sucking noise mixed on top that sounds like a ghost ship overrun with cannibal rats

    9) Syd Straw & Marc Ribot, “I Must Be In Love”

    “I Must Be In Love” is a Rutles song that parodies “A Hard Day’s Night” and, more so, the enduringly simplistic nature of the early Beatles singles and their effective, youthful, lovestruck puns. “She’s a dream, she is real” goes the kitsch. Here it’s a melancholic, face-value exchange.

    10) Nina Simone, “Revolution”

    Simone had classical piano chops, jazz hands for days, and was great at peeping into the pop world and poaching structures. Here she takes Lennon’s roll call of things that are problematic on a macro level and fleshes out a more focused protest niche.

    Photo via Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons


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    Our cultural obsession with turning trainwrecks into entertainment continues: Rob Ford now has his own YouTube show, Ford Nation.

    A couple of teaser clips aired last week, featuring the Toronto mayor and his brother, Doug. And it’s just as cringe-worthy as you’d expect. The Ford brothers stick to politics, framing their vignettes as pleas for Ford’s re-election in October, interspersed with awkward who’s-on-first humor.

    “Please judge me on my record, not my personal life,” Ford says in one clip. In another, he answers a question from a viewer who asked why he denied his substance abuse problems.

    “I do not have a substance abuse problem,” he responds. “Did I experiment with drugs? Yes, I have. Why did I lie? I think everyone in the world is lying. I was embarrassed and didn’t want to tell the truth.”

    Ford Nation originally aired on Canada’s Sun News Network, but was canceled after one episode. However, this coincides conveniently with the news that Toronto Star reporter Robyn Doolittle’s book, Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story, was optioned by Canada’s Blue Ice Pictures, which will turn it into a movie or television show.

    This YouTube venture brings it all full circle, really. After all, it’s the platform that launched all the colorfulclips of Ford’s foibles.

    Screengrab via Ford Nation/YouTube


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    Game of Thrones superfans understand. We’ve been in serious withdrawal for the past few months gearing up for the show’s return this April. HBO has released a 15-minute teaser for the upcoming season, and they’re calling the clip “A Foreshadowing.” You’ll love it almost as much as Roose Bolton’s bastard loves, well…


     

    OK, enough of that. Here we are:

    Here’s what’s in store for the fourth season, as far as we can tell:

    • People running away from things
    • People running toward things
    • Jaime Lannister debuting a fun and flirty haircut at 2:29

    • The introduction of Oberyn Martell, a.k.a. the Red Viper. Because the one thing GOT desperately needs is a new pentasyllabic character whose backstory the writers can spend the rest of the season establishing—only to completely drop it
    • Joffrey and Margaery’s wedding
    • Peter Dinklage and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau dancing at 10:10. Get it.

    • A five-second supercut of Hodor saying “Hodor”
    • The actress who plays Brienne talking about biting off a man’s ear and spitting it in his face in literally the most jubilant, adorable way possible.

    Here is what we don’t see: 

    • Gratuitous violence and nudity 
    • How the remaining Starks will avenge the Red Wedding
    • Like, a billion characters: where’s Stannis, Littlefinger, Melisandre, Davos, Tywin, Daario, or Tyrion’s squire Podric, so gifted in the sheets?
    • Whether Samwell and Gilly will ever get it on. Seriously, producers, can you make this happen? I’m willing to sit through at least five to six expository scenes with Bran and the creepy kid from Love Actually if you can actually make this happen. 

    Other than that, there’s a lot of promo interviews with the actors talking about their favorite lines and characters from the show, some of which are more interesting than others. (No, Kit Harrington, we don’t care what it was like to shoot with CGI direwolves. Just keep pouting and running more curl-defining product through your hair.) But whatever the teaser’s shortcomings might be, you’ll most likely be in 100 percent agreement with the following YouTube comment:

    Okay, time to get serious. Let’s agree to cancel the remainder of February and all of March and jump into in April.

    H/T YouTube | Screengrab via YouTube/HBO


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    News anchor fails have become as common as the sun rising every day. The latest face-palm moment comes courtesy of KTLA’s entertainment reporter Sam Rubin, who interviewed Samuel L. Jackson on live television this morning.

    Jackson was on KTLA to promote the new RoboCop movie, and Rubin starts off by asking him about the reaction to his Super Bowl commercial. Jackson looks confused, probably since he wasn't in a Super Bowl commercial, but Laurence Fishburne was. You can see Jackson’s facial expression change, and you know Rubin’s about to get a SLJ-style verbal beatdown.

    “You’re as crazy as the people on Twitter,” Jackson says. “I’m not Laurence Fishburne. We don’t all look alike!”

    When Rubin attempts to pull his foot on out his mouth and ask about RoboCop, Jackson gives him a swift “Oh hell no!” He then gives Rubin a rundown of all the black men currently in commercials, just in case he gets confused again. 

    TMZ captured the whole awkward interaction.

    Rubin later offered an official apology, stating that he was actually referencing a Captain America: The Winter Soldier promo during the Super Bowl, but once Jackson called him out, he went with it:

    “I pride myself on the fact — that unlike a lot of people who do this kind of work — more often than not, I really do know what I’m talking about. But I didn’t 30 minutes ago, and I’m really embarrassed about it, and I very much apologize to Samuel L. Jackson and anyone else who was offended for what was a very amateur mistake.”

    Screengrab via JoBlo.com/YouTube


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    Surrounded by plush stuffed turtles and penguins, Wesley Chan and Phil Wang nestle in among the computer screens and game consoles that decorate the large two room Wong Fu office. They’re going to move offices soon, but their efforts to pack have been delayed, leaving piles of puppets, merchandise, and fan made art lining the hallway floors and offices.

    Tonight they will stay late again, editing the footage for their latest friendzoned-themed video and hashing out details for their upcoming projects. It’s a typical Wong Fu day: Film now, edit later, sleep never.

    The group is made up of three members—Ted Fu, 32; Wesley Chan, 29; and Phil Wang, 29—who have been making videos together for over a decade.

    With Fu running the group’s website and Wang and Chan taking the lead on creative projects in Los Angeles, the three have turned their YouTube channel into an indie media empire with over 2 million YouTube subscribers tuning in weekly to watch their skits and short films, which range in genre from comedy and drama to personal vlogs. They’ve spoken at over 130 universities and even met with President Obama through the Asian Pacific Islander coalition

    You might have even see their popular video “The Last,” featuring Harry Shum Jr. and Kina Grannis. It gained over 7 million views and inspired numerous YouTube parodies.

    The appeal of Wong Fu breaks down like a Venn diagram: Wang, the talkative, personable one; Chan, the mysterious one full of wanderlust and an affinity for triathlons; and Fu, the quiet one with a much beloved head of gray hair.

    Together, they made the blueprint for DIY success on YouTube, carving a path for countless others to follow.

    The trio’s collaborations actually predate the platform.

    Wong Fu Productions was founded in 2003, after the three met in a digital arts class at University of California, San Diego. They hosted their early videos by buying bandwidth for a WongFuProductions website—a setup that’s difficult to fathom now in the YouTube era.

    The trio eventually took on the name Wong Fu Productions (a title already established by Phil from a previous group) and began uploading their short films and skits onto their website.

    “We bought bandwidth on a server and people would have to right click and download directly from us,” Wang recalled.

    Wong Fu migrated to YouTube in 2007 and have since loaded its channel with nearly 400 videos ranging from skits, music videos, short films and the occasional webseries. The group has even been approached to make content for major brands, including Subaru and AT&T.

    “None of us ever wanted to be actors or performers,” Wang said. “I think most YouTubers, they wanted to be in front of camera; they had a personality that they wanted to share. We were always just kind of behind. For us, it was more of a surprise; we’re just being ourselves and people are enjoying that.

    “I’m constantly confused why people find us interesting. We’re not so reliant on personalities. We’d rather let the work speak for itself.”

    It doesn’t take long to see why the trio’s work has become beloved by fans worldwide. There’s a sincerity at work that’s charming without being coy.

    “People feel like when they’re watching us, they’re just watching a friend,” Wang said. “The fact that we’re a group that has been able to stay together is testament to that. We always say, we never let egos get in the way.”

    Wong Fu’s channel has been credited with giving the Asian-American community the space to be creative away from the stereotypes imposed by traditional media. Their videos often include guests like Chris Dinh, Ryan Higa, Justin Chon, Freddie Wong, Harry Shum Jr. Far East Movement, and David Choi, among others.

    “YouTube gave a space for people that weren’t accustomed to showing off their talent,” Chan said. “It’s like, ‘Here’s a playground; do what you’re best at even if no one knew you were good at it.’ It just kind of showed off human ability and skill, not just for Asians either.”

    “If you just listen to one of our videos, you would have no idea that [the actors] are Asian,” Wang added. “I think that’s what we want, just for people to see us as American instead of Asian-American.”

    While Wong Fu continues to push the boundaries of digital media with its interactive webseries and long-form videos, it centers the majority of its content around relatable topics: falling in and out of love, the complications of friendships, and building relationships.

    “There are so many things to see and so many things to capture, share with people in a photograph, and I think the same can be said about our videos or our stories,” said Wang, who hopes to soon explore the biggest cave in Vietnam. “There’s a lot to see in the world and we want to share it.”

    A decade in, Wong Fu is only getting more ambitious. The three recently started preproduction on a full-length feature film they’ve described as a mix of 500 Days of Summer and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

    And somehow through all the group’s success, Wong Fu is still shocked by their fan’s overwhelming interest in each of their lives.

    “It is surprising when you’re reminded how much people know about you because they watch our Wong Fu weekends,” Chan said with a grin. “You’ll get to know us really well, everything from childhood to interests to favorite kind of food or how we act. You meet someone and they’re like, ‘Hey Wes,’ and then they bring something up and you’re like, ‘How did you know that? ‘Oh yeah, I told you; I told two million people.

    “But it’s never awkward and uncomfortable. If it is, it’s because we’re awkward and uncomfortable.”

    Photo via Melly Lee


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    If that lucky someone in your life happens to love guns, puns, and painfully minimalistic Valentine's Day cards, 4chan’s gun loving community has got you covered.

    4chan’s weapons board /k/, where people share photos of their firearms and debate gun laws, has whipped up some hilarious cards to share on the day of love.

    The cards feature photos of some of /k/’s most beloved weapons, including the “moist nugget,” a Russian “bolt-action, internal magazine fed, military rifle that was used by the armed forces of the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union and various Eastern bloc nations,” Urban Dictionary states.

    Here are the best 11 cards /k/ came up with.

     

    H/T Reddit | Photo by JoLi Studios AKA Leasepics/Flickr (CC By-SA 2.0) and Neal/Flickr (CC By 2.0) Remix by Fernando Alfonso III

     


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