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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    Jennifer Lawrence’s non-celebrity BFF Laura Simpson may have caught her during her red-carpet fall at the Oscars last week, but to the surrounding photographers, she might as well have been invisible.

    Judging from what Simpson wrote in a Myspace blog titled “I went to the Oscars and nobody cared,” the experience of being a “normal” at the Academy Awards is pretty surreal.

    This year, I was lucky enough to be invited to the Oscars. While every girl I knew squealed and asked what I was wearing I was riddled with anxiety. The day before the Oscars I had a fitting with Dior where I got to try on some beautiful dresses. I was between two dresses: the Carrie Bradshaw all-you-can-eat dress and the Angelina Jolie sexy leg kimono. I really wasn't sure if I would ever get back to the Oscars so I let my inner Carrie Bradshaw take over and went with the dress with eight pounds of tulle. The fact that I was going to the show was no longer an idea but becoming a reality and like a 13-year-old girl at her birthday party, I had a complete meltdown.

    First of all, there’s a ton of stuff that the cameras never show us at home. The road leading up to the red carpet is “filled with barricades with different entry points so no crazy person can plow their car through, killing everyone on the red carpet. Guarding each entry point through the barricades are men in head to toe camouflage with gigantic automatic weapons.”

    Also, there’s what Simpson describes as “Jesus freaks” lining the street, just out of sight of the TV cameras. “I am not talking a few—I am talking every inch of the sidewalk is full of God-fearing picket signs and psalms. Right before you get to the red carpet, you get to Westboro Baptists with huge yellow signs of pictures of Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Walker saying ‘BURNING IN HELL.’”

    The weirdest part is that as a non-famous person, Simpson was basically treated like a total nonentity by most people working at the Oscars. While her BFF was posing for red carpet photos, photographers yelled at Simpson, “YOU IN THE HUGE DRESS, GET OUT OF THE FUCKING SHOT." 

    “It is no wonder actors are crazy,” she adds.

    The carpet is filled with screaming fans and photographers who only care about you; everyone is salivating to talk to you and telling you how great you look. We finally make it to the end of the carpet and I decide to use the restroom before I sit. Jessica Biel holds the door open for me and compliments my dress—no human being should be allowed to have her face and body. I get inside and Margot Robbie from Wolf of Wall Street shows me her Kardashian-sized diamond ring in line for the toilet and says "I feel like a guy with a gun should be following me—I could be halfway to Mexico with this by now." The lights begin to flicker and we are told we need to take our seats. I quickly pee and head to my seat.

    The good news is that once you get to the afterparties, things start to chill out a bit. Despite the weird treatment at the actual ceremony, Laura Simpson seems to be living the dream. She gets to be Jennifer Lawrence’s best friend (just like we all dream of) and meet Brad Pitt, who apparently smells incredible. 

    It turns out that the actual celebrities are way nicer to “civilians” than the press are, when it comes to Oscar night. Except Harvey Weinstein, who introduced himself by saying, “You know who I am.”

    Photo via disneyabc/Flickr

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    On Saturday afternoon, we were the Earth revolving around Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson. Roughly 3,500 people squeezed into the Austin Convention Center’s Exhibit Hall 5, and a nearby simulcast ballroom, to watch the astrophysicist give the SXSW Interactive keynote speech. He was introduced as the “man who has the power to demote Pluto,” but he was there to impart wisdom about much more than a dwarf planet.

    In a conversation with journalist Christie Nicholson, he spoke of the state of science literacy and education:

    “My personal definition of science literacy is how much do you wonder about the world around you? Children do this; they turn over rocks, but adults try to constrain that. … A scientist is just a kid who never grew up.”

    He waxed poetic about the periodic table, and the dangers of believing pseudoscience. He claimed that if an asteroid is heading your way, you want to be with the people who can figure out how to deflect it, not the people screaming “Run!” He also said that the first trillionaire will be the first person to mine asteroids. (He didn’t mention anything about mining Bitcoin.)

    Dr. Tyson’s wisdom often appears on Twitter, where he’s quick to poke holes in Hollywood blockbusters (and show off his selfie with President Obama and Bill Nye). But lately, social media has been buzzing about a new generation of Cosmos, the show originally hosted by Carl Sagan in the ’80s, which has developed a cult following in the last three decades.

    Tonight, Tyson’s version of the show debuts on Fox, executive produced by Sagan’s widow, Ann Druyan. Since Tyson is social media’s pop culture scientist, he’s opening up Cosmos to a whole new generation, something he acknowledged on Saturday.

    “One of the goals of Cosmos is to empower people to take ownership,” he said. “Cosmos debuts tomorrow night in 170 countries, the largest rollout of a TV series ever. Cosmos in its original incarnation took science out there and put a thread through that science, through you. It’s woven this tapestry through that thread, so you know and understand your place in the universe.  

    “The media leading up to Cosmos has been extraordinary. Cosmos is landing on fertile ground because science is becoming mainstream.”

    He then added that President Obama is going to introduce the first episode of the show on Sunday night. That’s a pretty impressive feat for a show about science. And much of the debate and discussion about the show will be happening in our own little solar system: social media.

    Photo by Audra Schroeder 

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    In Spotify Essentials, the Daily Dot curates custom playlists created by some of our favorite artists and writers. In this installment, "Delicate" Steve Marion of Saint Rich reveals the shocking subliminal messaging in pop music.

    IT'S ONE OF POP MUSIC'S MOST WELL-KEPT SECRETS: Every successful pop icon has employed subliminal messaging (among other) techniques to gain superstardom. 

    The commonly accepted narrative of young, scrappy upstart (Farrokh Bulsara, Stefani Germanotta, etc.) achieving super-stardom via self-transformation, talent, and force of will, is at best fallacious, and at worst a smoke screen designed by the artists themselves to obscure their nefarious methods for winning stardom.

    In reality, our monolithic figures of popular song have utilized a highly complex, da Vinci Code-esque, system that has been passed down and refined over generations. 

    Our mix reveals one of the rudimentary techniques acquired at the first level of THE SYSTEM (Operating Lyricist level 1, or OL-1) in which songwriters employ "the power of suggestion" to subtly influence the listener at the deepest levels of their unconsciousness.

    The following songs all contain references to THE RADIO. The effect of this messaging is to create an association between the artist and the radio. Fans will be compelled to call their local station and request the songs.

    The evidence speaks for itself. 

    Saint Rich's debut album, Beyond the Drone, is out now on Merge Records. You can follow the band on Twitter and at SXSW: 

    • Thursday, March 13, 8:45pm at the Parish
    • Friday, March 14, 7:50pm at Hotel Vegas Patio

    Photo by Kyle Dean Reinford/Merge Records

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    Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey premiered Sunday night, and it’s already starting to inspire future scientists.

    The Neil deGrasse Tyson–helmed series brings a sense of nostalgia for those who have seen the original documentary series from Carl Sagan. For the younger set, not only are parents allowing them to stay up past their bedtime to watch it, they’re learning that we are all made of star stuff.

    The entertaining and educational show is getting people excited about science and space exploration again, and nobody embodies that more than Delilah.

    She’s enchanted by everything she sees, and she can barely contain that excitement or sit down while she’s watching. (Wait for her to scream, “It’s the moon!”) And she actually knows her stuff, even if some of the concepts might not make sense to her until she’s older.

    Cosmos was very much a family affair, and even with just one episode it’s already creating a bond that these kids will remember for years, just like many of the parents had when the original series aired. Cosmos is definitely on board for this one.

    We’re all children of the cosmos, no matter what age we are.

    Photo via Davonne Maria/YouTube

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    In a move that makes a lot more sense than the Shit My Dad Says sitcom, Craig Fergson has announced that he’s developing a TV show based on super-popular Facebook page I F*cking Love Science.

    I F*cking Love Science posts a handful of bite-sized, pop-science factoids, links, and macros every day, usually reposted from other science blogs and sites like Reddit. The page is popular enough (10 million likes and counting) to have inspired a fare share of controversy already. The first big upset was when its editor revealed herself to be—gasp!—a woman, eliciting an array of dismally sexist responses.

    Later, as I F*cking Love Science began to reach the public eye even more, people began to point out that much of its content was posted without credit to the original creators, meaning that hundreds of images were basically being attributed to Facebook rather than the original photographers.

    The idea of a factual show based on this Facebook page actually seems like a way better idea than attempting to construct a narrative around the Shit My Dad Says Twitter feed. The I F*cking Love Science series will air on the Science Channel and still involve the Facebook page’s creator, Elise Andrew, meaning that it may actually retain some of the page’s original viral appeal.

    Announcing the new show at SXSW this weekend, Craig Ferguson said, “Science has a naughty secret—it’s that all things are connected. And this show is going to explore the randomness of science. Think of it as a late night Google search that goes a hundred pages deep until things get weird—and then you just keep going.”

    Photo via queensucanada / Flickr

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    Justin Bieber showed up at Banger's Sausage House & Beer Garden in Austin, Texas to perform an acoustic set during South by Southwest. While footage taken of the concert shows plenty of fans excited to see him, the bar apparently had to stop serving alcohol to accommodate the young singer, who is not yet 21. Bieber's performance was kept a secret, and it came at the end of manager/enabler Scooter Braun's SXSW "Sunday Funday" showcase. 

    Bieber dedicated this impromptu performance to his ex-girlfriend, IRL Disney princess Selena Gomez, who attended the show. He also kept his sunglasses on the entire time despite the fact that he was performing indoors, in a bar, at night, which is worrying evidence that the diminutive Canadian crooner has received a certificate from the Bono School of Pomp & Douchery.

    Bieber’s surprise appearance reconfirmed that the 20-year-old, for all his obnoxious pretentions and bratty antics, does have a solid set of pipes.

    What’s left unclear: Is Gomez back with Bieber? Did his borderline-creepy Instagram shout-out actually win her back?

    For people in Austin sad about missing the secret concert, first of all, I hope your teen years are going well, and second, there are still tons of great music acts to be heard at SXSW.

    H/T BroBible | Photo via Flickr/Themeplus (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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    South By Southwest is like Spotify streaming IRL: free, near-limitless music intermittently interrupted by ads.

    With over 1,800 official showcasing acts shoehorned into Austin city limits, music has a way of finding you during SXSW: in parking garages and side alleys, in backyards and laundromats, on bridges and, in one infamous Black Lips stunt, the drive-thru lane of a fast-food restaurant.

    But as with Spotify, actually discovering exciting new bands can be difficult, if not daunting, without a starting point.

    I approach SXSW the way other people do fantasy football drafts—with spreadsheets, highlighters, and back-up options for every conceivable scenario.

    These are the 15 bands I’ll be scheduling my week around, with some more thrown onto a Spotify mix for good measure.

    1) Clear Plastic Masks
    Best bet: Thursday, Heartbreaker Banquet at Willie Nelson’s Luck ranch

    This Nashville-via-NYC quartet has a killer side project with Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard called Thunderbitch. Still need convincing? Check the band’s debut EP, CPM.

    2) Twin Peaks
    Best bet: Friday, 2pm at Buffalo Billiards 

    SXSW is boom or bust for buzz bands. At age 19 across the board and with an impressive indie debut, there will be no middle ground for Chicago’s Twin Peaks.

    3) Spanish Gold
    Best bet: Wednesday, 12pm at Lamberts

    As if Adrian Quesada needed another side project… Spanish Gold pairs the Grammy-winning guitarist/producer with My Morning Jacket drummer Patrick Hallahan and Hacienda's Dante Schwebel  for slinky AM gold.

    4) Quilt
    Best bet: Saturday, 1:30pm at Red 7 

    Quilt would make an ideal opener for Roky Erickson’s annual Ice Cream Social. The trio’s Held in Splendor (Mexican Summer) evokes the feel-good 1967 spirit of the 13th Floor Elevators’ Easter Everywhere.

    5) Curtis Harding
    Best bet: Wednesday, 10:30pm at Trailer Space

    In the spirit of Sharon Jones and Charles Bradley, former CeeLo Green backup singer Curtis Harding is a redemptive R&B crooner with a lifetime of dues paid and a suitcase full of heartache.

    6) Avid Dancer
    Best bet: Saturday, South By San Jose

    Jacob Dillan Summers, a former U.S. Marine and the bedroom songwriter behind Avid Dancer, appears to only have one song to his name. It just so happens to one of the best songs of the year.

    7) Odonis Odonis
    Best bet: 11:20pm at Hotel Vegas

    This Toronto trio throttles no-wave intensity with nails-on-chalkboard industrialism. There’s no way the band’s forthcoming full-length, Hard Boiled Soft Boiled, doesn’t go off live.

    8) Love Inks
    Best bet: Thursday, 1pm at Cherrywood Coffeehouse

    This minimalist Austin trio won me over with its disarming cover of Daniel Johnston’s “Walking the Cow.” Last year’s Generation Club (Monofonus Press) is even better.

    9) Timber Timbre
    Best bet: Wednesday, 12:30am at Swan Dive Patio

    With dark humor fit for a Wes Anderson film, 2011’s Creep On Creepin’ On earned Timber Timber a Mercury Prize nod. Judging from this NSFW velvet-room ballad, next month’s Hot Dreams will be a frontrunner this time around.

    10) Sylvan Esso
    Best bet: Thursday, 7:45pm at the Chevrolet Courtyard at Cedar Street

    What started as a one-off remix turned into a full-fledged collaboration between Amelia Randall Meath and Nicholas Sanborn. The duo’s debut lands this summer, following dates with Wye Oak and Tune-Yards.

    11) Dianne Coffee
    Best bet: Saturday, 2:45pm at the Liberty

    A former Disney voice actor, Shaun Fleming has rechristened himself as Diane Coffee and churned out a modern psych-pop classic, My Friend Fish (Western Vinyl) that slots perfectly between Girls’ Broken Dream Club and Foxygen’s We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic.

    12) Ava Luna
    Best Bet: Thursday, 12am at Victorian Room at the Driskill

    If Prince wrote a record for The New Girl instead of just appearing on the show, it would sound like Ava Luna’s Electric Balloon, the year’s most thrilling and unpredictable party record.

    13) Sturgill Simpson
    Best bet: Saturday, 11pm, St. David’s Historic Sanctuary

    Sturgill Simpson’s 2013 sleeper High Top Mountain captures classic country from a modern outlaw, the kind more comfortable on a “railroad of sin” than in Music City.

    14) Lydia Loveless
    Best bet: Tuesday, 8:35pm, at the Hole in the Wall

     “Honey don’t stop giving me head.” That’s the line that made my jaw drop for the first of several times listening to Lydia Loveless’s Bloodshot breakthrough, Somewhere Else. The 23-year-old alt-country songwriter from Columbus, Ohio, bucks expectations at every turn.

    15) White Denim
    Best bet: Saturday, 11pm at Clive Bar

    Still the best live band in Austin. Period.

    Photo of Twin Peaks by Ryan Ohm

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    Jimmy Kimmel has relocated his show to Austin for SXSW, and the first episode of a weeklong stint debuted last night. Keeping things as topical as possible, Kimmel and Seth Rogen tackled a recently trending hashtag, and the end of the HBO drama True Detective. But they set it in Austin. And recast themselves as Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey.

    In its short lifespan, True Detective’s already been parodied several times, specifically McConaughey's rambling, winding monologues. Rogen does his part to imbue his character with that same stoner sensibility, but bonus points for the impromptu breakdown into a Cyndi Lauper song. We also get some insight into the more romantic elements of the Harrelson-McConaughey  dynamic, specifically during the show’s chapter-closing fight scene between the two. And they make great use of Austin's favorite beer, Lone Star. 

    Screengrab via Jimmy Kimmel Live/YouTube 

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    Whether it’s on Tumblr, via Facebook, or over at Instagram, you really ought to be following Fly Art, a collaboration between Gisella Velasco and Toni Potenciano that marries two of the best things in life: fine painting and fresh hip-hop lyrics. The resulting series gives a whole new meaning to “the classics,” providing a veritable crash course in Western civilization.

    Images via flyartproductions/Tumblr

    Did Dalí have any idea he was designing sets for rap videos? Somehow, it really seems like it.

    Photo by Ian Burt/Flickr

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    Before last night's 18th season finale of The Bachelor, we all wondered to whom Juan Pablo Galavis would hand out a rose, and perhaps even a hulking diamond ring to; which one of two comely contenders sporting tousled banana curls and spangled dresses would be chosen? More than eight million viewers have tuned in weekly to watch Galavis, an American-born Venezuelan former soccer player with a penchant for homophobic gaffes, and his shrinking pool of potential wives search for love and tabloid fame.

    Steve Carbone was one of these viewers, but at no poit was he on the edge of his seat. Carbone, the man behind The Bachelor spoiler blog Reality Steve, has known for months which American sweethearts would rue the rose ceremonies.

    In an era of unprecedented spoiler phobia, anyone who breathes a digital word about a remotely new show must heed “netiquette” and insert a spoiler alert warning. Except Carbone, who’s made a career out of spoiling a schlocky TV show to the appreciation of a growing audience. Since 2009, the 38-year-old Texan has spoiled 15 seasons of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and Bachelor Pad and become something of a legend among reality TV fans and hate-watchers alike.

    In 2003, Carbone was working for his father selling linens wholesale when he decided to recapThe Bachelor as a hobby. Within a few years, Carbone gained a moderate following on the blog he called Reality Steve.

     In 2009, shortly before the show’s 13th season, Carbone received unsolicited intel about a twist-ending. A source claimed that after taping ended, bachelor Jason Mesnick ditched the woman he chose for the runner-up. Carbone posted the salacious report and faced widespread disbelief until Mesnick appeared on the show’s “After the Final Rose” special with his affianced runner-up.

    After his inaugural spoiler made a splash, Carbone started to collect sources and perform his own sleuthing. Within a few seasons, despite a few hiccups, Carbone devised a functioning spoiling system.

     “I’ve got no competition out there,” said Carbone, during a recent video chat with Reality Steve readers. “There’s not a single website in all of the Internet, as wide as the Internet is—there’s not a single website that posts spoilers to this show, season in and season out, and is right 95 percent of the time.”

    Even if no one cares to rival Carbone, his spoiling record is hard to beat. He nailed seven seasons in a row. ABC and Reality Steve detractors like to point out Carbone’s mistakes, but he’s made just three errors in the past few years and corrected all but one before the relevant episodes aired.

    The three Bachelor shows film and air in pretty rapid succession. Carbone begins posting detailed spoilers before the new season of each show begins, including lists of contestants and episode-by-episode break downs of dates and eliminations. During the season, he recaps episodes, hosts weekly video live chats to answer readers’ questions, and furnishes bits of Bachelor-verse intel as he learns it.

    Carbone gets a lot of material from confidential sources. But he also relies on less shrouded information to piece together what he sees as a puzzle. Many dates on the pre-taped show take place in public. Passersby and area residents who snap photos become Carbone’s on-the-scene correspondents. Social media has also increased Carbone’s access to contestants, whom he methodically tracks online. When suspected contestants, for example, de-activate Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram right before a season begins filming, Carbone knows they’re on the show.

    By 2011, Reality Steve brought in enough traffic for Carbone to live entirely off ad revenue. Currently, Reality Steve gets between 1-1.5 million unique monthly visitors and between 8-10 million monthly page views. Traffic is 10 to 15 times higher when the Bachelor shows are on the air.

    Carbone said he makes “a comfortable living,” but declined to reveal his income. But based on an online Adsense earnings calculator and insight from a Google Adsense partner company, Carbone may make between $4,500 and $5,500 a month from Reality Steve.

    Spoilers are nothing new, but it’s rare, if not unique, to make a career out of ruining a television show. Dr. Arnold T. Blumberg, a pop culture expert and University of Maryland professor, has never heard of a professional spoiler. He wondered why ABC hasn’t done more to protect its intellectual property, and surmised that, given Carbone’s success, other people would go into spoiling. ABC has in fact sued Carbone twice but has come away with nothing more than a $10,000 award.

    Knowing what happens doesn’t, in Carbone’s estimation, take away from what he deems “female fantasy porn.” Research has shown that, in some cases, people enjoy spoiled stories as much as their un-ruined counterparts. This might be especially true for a show like The Bachelor. It’s dull, predictable fluff, and as based in reality (and nearly as scripted) as any daytime soap. Reality Steve readers routinely tell Carbone they wouldn’t watch the show un-spoiled.

    “Surivor has a lot of strategy,” he said. “If you know who’s going home that episode, it becomes moot to watch. But The Bachelor is so silly, spoilers couldn't ruin it.”

    But does he partake in the operation that makes him a living? Apparently not: Carbone says he doesn’t read spoilers for shows he actually enjoys.

    Photo via DelucchiPlus

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    In Spotify Essentials, the Daily Dot curates custom playlists created by some of our favorite artists and writers. In this installment, Alexander Beggins of Austin indie folk band Wild Child gets into the zone.

    Writing music, or in a broader sense art creation in general, is all about finding "the zone."

    This is the best way I can explain it: You are in your bed and you are dreaming and it is one of those really fantastic dreams. Let's say it's a flying dream. You're flying around the sky when all the sudden you wake up. You desperately want to get back into the dream. You are now trying to find "the zone."

    It's a place where if you think or try too hard it won't happen; you'll never get back into the dream. What you need to do is focus on what you want and then forget about it, and then let your mind get fuzzy. Almost like one of those magic eye pictures.

    If I sit down to write a song, I make a pot of coffee, pull out my ukulele and a pen and paper and start working on an idea with the intention to write the world's next greatest song, I won't. I can't think of anything clever, the chords sound stupid, and I feel like giving up for the day.

    But if I sit down and try and I find some little seed of an idea and play it over and over again I'll get in "the zone." Over and over and over again, I'll play it. I try and get lost in it. I'll play it over and over and slowly start to deviate and I incorporate small new additions with each replay. This is the zone.

    I'm not trying too hard to come up with the greatest guitar lick ever. I'm just trying to let my mind drift and hear different ideas pass. The different ideas and riff combinations start to come together and create something. At that point, I'm just in my head getting lost in an idea plain and simple. This to me is creation at its finest. It happens naturally and it's beautiful. 

    I understand that this is not how all artists work, but this is how I work and I feel like I can tell if other artists write or have written in this way (at least in my head I can see even it's not the case). My playlist is a collection of 15 songs including one of our own that I feel showcase what I'm describing. I can almost see and feel all of these songs being written. I can see the artists going through their personal zen like processes of creation. They are inspiring and beautiful. Enjoy. 

    Wild Child’s new album, The Runaround, is out now. You can catch the band at SXSW:

    • Tuesday, March 11, 12:45am at the Main II
    • Saturday, March 15, 1am at Dirty Dog Bar

    Photo via Wild Child/Facebook

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    In Spotify Essentials, the Daily Dot curates custom playlists created by some of our favorite artists and writers. In this installment, the Wytches guitarist/vocalist Kristian Bell breaks down the band's key influences. 

    Like a lot of people who feel a genuine connection with music, I like to listen to songs that fit or erase a certain mood. It seems like quite a standard way of describing why someone would enjoy music, but that’s how it is for me. I guess my 'thing' with music is the extremes—soft and heavy or light and dark. When I dreamt up the Wytches, I imagined it being a split of the two. I felt like I would be neglecting my equal interests in well-crafted, beautiful-sounding songs and aggressive, sloppy tunes. I guess this playlist shows that contrast.

    When we first started this band, we didn't share a great deal of musical interests. A lot of touring has brought us together musically, bringing a long our favourite albums to listen to in the van and all that. “Talking Hava Negeilah Blues” was a big one on this last tour. Its such a funny song. Anytime things got a bit heated in the van, i'd just play that song. It became a 'thing'. You'd have to listen to it to realise how uplifting it is in its humour. A lot of really early Bob Dylan is comical genius. 

    A good 50 percent of our live show consists of songs that are a few years old now. We're always in danger of becoming terribly bored of some of those tracks. I've found that listening to music that is so far from our genre is a good way of refreshing our ears. A musical pallet cleanser, if you will. The Born to Die album by Lana Del Rey seemed to be a secret favourite for Dan and I. We had never discussed it;  we just found it in each other’s collection. 

    I'm unheathily obsessed with both Bright Eyes and Elliot smith. Gianni claims that he can't stand them both, but I think that he just says it for effect. They are two of the biggest influences on my songwriting, so I find it so strange how boldly we disagree. Without sounding all conceptual, it says something about our band's dynamic. I'd like to say it brings closer together but it doesn't. 

    Only kidding.

    The Wytches debut album is due spring 2014 on Partisan Records. You can listen to “Wire Frame Mattress” on Soundcloud and catch the band at SXSW:

    • Wednesday, March 12, 5:30pm at British Music Embassy at Latitude 30 
    • Wednesday, March 12, 12am at Latitude 30
    • Thursday, March 13, 4pm at Austin Psych Fest at Hotel Vegas 
    • Friday, March 14, 2pm at Gypsy 
    • Friday, March 14, 7pm at Snax x Snax at Wonderland
    • Saturday, March 15, 5:30pm at Wild Honey Pie

    Photo via the Wytches

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    Arthur Chu, the 11-time Jeopardy champion who has made headlines around the world with his unique strategy, has finally lost. He collected $298,200 during his reign.

    Chu, 30, was trailing in last place on Wednesday night, but had a fighting chance up until Final Jeopardy when he couldn’t correctly answer “He was the last male monarch who had previously been the Prince of Wales.” The answer was George VI but Chu guessed George II. Close but no cigar.

    Chu gained worldwide fame with an unorthodox strategy: He skips around the board searching for daily doubles and sometimes bets nothing on them, happy to simply take them away from opponents. He plays to tie, not win, and speeds through rounds so fast that he occasionally cuts off host Alex Trebek. The strategy earned him critics, but many, many more fans.

    Those who have been following Chu closely reacted online as his defeat closed in.

    Not everyone was sad to see Chu’s exit.

    Screengrab via ArthurChu/YouTube

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    Why choose one Beyoncé song when you can choose them all?

    Insanely popular a cappella group Pentatonix already did Queen Bey justice, but members Scott Hoying and Mitch Grassi, who formed the side project Superfruit, wanted to take on something from her newest album.

    The duo, who have a self-described “unhealthy obsession” with Beyoncé, ran into a problem many of us have. When it came to the Queen, they couldn’t decide which song to cover, so they went ahead and covered all of them.

    Unlike their work with Pentatonix, the song has an instrumental musical arrangement, but that doesn’t take away the fact that we now have our own bite-sized serving of Beyoncé to take with us on the go.

    It might be more useful than you will ever know.

    H/T Hypervocal | Photo via SUPERFRUIT/YouTube

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    In Spotify Essentials, the Daily Dot curates custom playlists created by some of our favorite artists and writers. In this installment, Pure Bathing Culture flips through its CD binder.

    This playlist is mostly a bunch of music we've been listening to in the van. We've been on the road a lot in the last year and have had a lot of long drives to take down.

    We don't have an iPod hook-up in our van so we can only listen to CDs while we're driving. It's become a fun activity for us and almost an obsession to find CDs at thrift stores and truck stops. We try to keep the circle flowing (and the van de-cluttered) by re-donating CDs at thrift shops once they've run their course with us.

    Generally, the two main genres we tend to get the most mileage out of are pop music from the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s, and new age instrumental music. It's not uncommon for us to listen to an album like Ray Lynch's Deep Breakfast for hours and hours and occasionally for an entire drive, just sort of bringing the volume up and down as we see fit. Another record that serves this purpose for us is the Dire Straits album Communique and a close third would be the Windham Hill Guitar Sampler. An interesting phenomenon that this process has created is that while it is all music that we really enjoy listening to, the albums become familial comforts and they have a way of serving as spirit anchors for us amidst the ever evolving chaos of being on the road. 

    Pure Bathing Culture’s Moon Tides is out now on Partisan Records. You can catch the band during SXSW:

    • Thursday, March 13, 9pm at Hype Hotel
    • Friday, March 14, 2:15pm at Austin Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 4

    Photo by Parker Fitzgerald

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    The revamped Cosmosdebuted on Fox Sunday night, and pulled in roughly 8.5 million viewers across ten networks, an impressive feat for a prime-time show about science.  

    According to Raw Story, one Fox affiliate in Oklahoma City edited 15 seconds from Sunday’s broadcast, during which Cosmos’ host, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, discusses human evolution. Here’s part of what they cut out:

    “Three and a half million years ago, our ancestors — yours and mine — left these traces. We stood up and parted ways from them. Once we were standing on two feet, our eyes were no longer fixated on the ground. Now, we were free to look up and wonder.”

    Viewer Adam Bates caught the edit, and uploaded the version to YouTube. It cuts off very abruptly at the beginning of Tyson’s speech, and segues not to breaking news, but to a preview of a segment about a teen bow-hunting phenom. 

    Here’s the original, via Raw Story:

    Sure, this could have been an accident, but the timing seems too perfect. And Oklahoma’s had its share of religious facepalms lately.

    Screengrab via Fox/YouTube

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    The day Grumpy Cat upstaged a panel of humans was one of the more telling cultural moments of South by Southwest.

    On Saturday afternoon, a full house gathered in the Austin Convention Center for Cat Cash: The Economy of Internet Cat Videos, a discussion about monetization and virality. About three quarters of the way through the panel, the humans on stage were silenced as feline superstar Grumpy Cat was brought in for “questions.”

    The phones immediately came out, creating a dense forest of arms and flash that quickly obscured Grumpy and her owner. They had to slowly back out of the exhibit hall and into the Convention Center hallway to accommodate the growing crowd of starstruck fans attempting to snap selfies. Grumpy, by her nature, could have cared less. This is the tipping point of cat video fandom.

    There was a similar scene at Sunday’s Cats Live Here event, hosted by Animal Planet. Fellow cat celebrity Lil Bub and her owner were tucked away in a corner of Cedar Street Courtyard, as fans waited in line for a photo. Her owner, Mike Bridavsky, petted her reassuringly as he did interviews, and she endured loud music and the enthusiastic voices of fans. She looked a bit terrified, and I felt a little bad for her.

    This extension of human emotion and empathy, however, is what has made cat video fandom such a popular Internet art form. Grumpy Cat and Lil Bub are a new breed of celebrity, and received top billing at SXSW alongside Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, and Lady Gaga. Much of the discussion about cat videos at SXSW hinged on their future, and how they can reach beyond YouTube or simple meme-dom. Animal Planet in particular is attempting to bridge the audience that tunes in for the Puppy Bowl and that of the cat video fan.

    During Saturday’s panel, Grace Suriel, Animal Planet’s director of social media, claimed that only 24 percent of Puppy Bowl viewers had even heard of Lil Bub, whose Animal Planet special aired a week after the Super Bowl event. Over the next year, they’re going to continue to explore that space, and find new ways to introduce cats like Lil Bub to their audience, by partnering with channels like Animalist.

    “I think cats are just so complicated,” Suriel says. “They have such different personalities [than dogs]. They can be snarky, they can be funny, they can be lazy. They’re adventurous. All the best cat videos are of cats—you know, they jump and they fail. They’re almost like humans, in that every single one is different.”

    Is there a new cat celebrity we don’t know about yet?

    “I don’t know,” she says. “I feel like maybe we should have a cat version of American Idol. It’s really essential for us to be fans. We’re always combing through videos. We’re all cat nerds and dog nerds. We have meetings and talk about the cat videos we love. That’s how we found out about the Internet Cat Video Festival.”

    Scott Stulen, creator of the Internet Cat Video Festival, was also on Saturday’s panel.

    He said, somewhat tongue in cheek, that in the past two years of touring the fest, they’ve generated 2.5 billion media impressions, and made a net profit of $0. But he also points to the human connection that sustains this industry.

    “I think it’s much easier to project some human characteristics to a cat,” he says. “I think dogs perform for the camera, and they want to please their owner. Cats are independent, and they could really give a shit at times. And that’s part of the appeal. There’s something about that that transcends multimedia. Cat videos aren’t new; the Keyboard Cat video was shot in the ‘80s, but it didn’t take off until 2008 when it was posted online. Social media as a vehicle for sharing is a big part of it.

    “[Cats] are sort of this perfect combination of things: It’s cute, it has personality, highly shareable, and it’s an easy subject that everybody understands. A lot of the submissions for the festival come from Russia, Japan, Australia, Eastern European countries. Cat videos transcend language, in a really unique way. And it’s another example of how the Internet really is everywhere.”

    Stulen says the festival got the initial attention because of its setting—the Walker Art Center in Minnesota — and the perceived lowbrow art of cat videos, paired with the highbrow culture of a museum. But that curatorial aspect remains when he’s looking for new videos.

    “I would defend some videos as being an art form. I think they’re at least pop culture products worth consideration and discussion. And there’s that Warhol component as well. The interesting thing in all this is that cat videos have blurred the lines between who’s the artist, who’s the distributor, who’s the curator.

    “Part of this discussion that’s sort of fascinating is, with Internet cat videos, you can shoot something, have millions of people see it, and no normal cultural institution or arbiter of taste had anything to do with it. It was put out there, and the public decided that we like this. That’s fairly new."

    Stulen is leaving the festival to take a new job, but admits the fest helped land him this new gig. While the cats are the medium, the human owners, curators, and “meme managers” like Ben Lashes are all part of this new cat economy, as is YouTube ad revenue and merchandising like mugs and books. Now, a publisher can look at Facebook and YouTube stats to find out a celebrity cat’s demographic, and how to market to it. Lashes paired with a “legit” toy company to make Nyan Cat toys. Grumpy Cat is now the unimpressed spokescat for Friskies’ new shrimp flavor.

    However, it looks like a successor to the north has taken up Stulen’s torch. It was recently announced that Laureen Harper, wife of Canada’s prime minister, will be hosting a YouTube cat video festival at the Toronto International Film Festival in April, which will likely bring them to a whole new audience.

    Stulen adds that, as cat videos get more popular, and there are more literal copycats attempting to emulate a formula for success, you can never force virality.

    “I’ve seen countless Henri imitators, most of which are unfunny, and it’s because it’s missing that spontaneity, it’s missing that heart. Henri’s so great because he’s just a common housecat that Will [Braden, his owner] has developed a personality around, which is the opposite of Grumpy Cat or Lil Bub. They’re not doing anything, but they’re so unique. I think what’s interesting is seeing genres pop up within cat films.”

    It remains to be seen if, as mentioned during the panel, a channel devoted to 24-hour cat videos appears in the future, but the economy is growing, and we’ll likely keep clicking and putting up our cameras, desperate to get a shot with the stars. It’s their stage, after all.

    Photo via mseckington/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)/Remix by Jason Reed 

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    Selfies have nearly reached their tipping point, what with the Selfie Olympics, that Oscars selfie, and the need to now define exactly what selfies are. YouTuber Jason Rodjanapanyakul took it over the tipping point by selfiebombing strangers at the mall in Bellevue, Washington. He employed the right etiquette, however, by proclaiming “Selfie!” before doing so.

    Many of them smile for the camera, many of them look weary of this overly enthusiastic man snapping pictures with them, when they just want to text in front of Dippin’ Dots in peace. He even includes some inspirational words of wisdom with the video:

    “Go out and change people’s lives... one selfie at a time."

    This adds to the Twitter hashtag #selfieswithstrangers, which offers an interesting look into our interactions with strangers, via our phones. Would we be this brazen without our phones?

    Not sure if he changed anyone’s life, but he managed to not get punched by anyone.

    Screengrab via JasonSoSilly/YouTube

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    It’s the end of an Internet era.

    After more than five years of commenting on viral videos, Ray William Johnson, who once had the most popular channel on YouTube, is calling it quits with web series =3.

    He explained his reason for ending the show, which still gets millions of views per video, to his loyal subscribers in one last 14-minute post.

    “This show isn’t fulfilling me creatively anymore, and I have to move on,” he explained. “I mean, really, the only satisfaction I get doing this these days is that I get to entertain and interact with you, which by the way, has been an incredible experience.”

    Johnson first announced that he wanted to quit =3 last December, but he didn’t reveal the final end date until Sunday. He told his audience that he had outgrown writing jokes about viral videos and making =3 “no longer feels gratifying.”

    Johnson had his own slew of problems with =3 over the past couple years. After parting ways with Maker Studios in October 2012, he filed a lawsuit against the company for not returning ownership of his channel’s AdSense account.

    Johnson is already working on other projects. He runs a successful podcast that’s “in the top 10 percent,” has run other popular web series and music ventures, is getting a graphic novel published later this year. He also sold a show to FX that may make it to TV.

    However, =3 itself isn’t ending. That was Johnson’s original plan, but after getting pushback from his fans, he’s planning to shut down the show long enough to find a new host, producer, and writer—jobs he did himself.

    Johnson may be leaving, but the show must go on.

    Photo via RayWilliamJohnson/YouTube

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    From Doritos’ sponsoring of Lady Gaga’s headlining performance and Kanye West and Jay Z’s Samsung spectacular to Soundgarden tearing through 1994’s Superunknown in its entirety for the iTunes Music Festival, major brands have been responsible for some of the most memorable moments at South By Southwest this year.

    In fact, that’s been the case for several years now. Relaxing in the Registrants’ Lounge, Deep Eddy looked back on some this biggest SXSW wins for brands, bands, and companies.

    Share your finds from this year on Twitter, Instagram, and Vine using the hashtag #SXSWin. We’ll be posting our favorite selections at

    1) Guitar Hero: Metallica

    One good way to hype the worldwide release of your new blockbuster video game’s to pit the subject of the game—in this case, the biggest metal band on the planet, Metallica— in a 3,000 person venue smack-dab in the middle of an eight-ring circus. Metallica’s hour-long set on Red River came adorned in corporate garb in ways we’d never seen at SXSW, but the gamble paid off. The band killed; the game did even better, selling 1.5 million copies in its first year in stores.

    Photo by whittlz/Flickr  (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

    2) Prince’s one-night stand

    It seemed an unlikely pairing: Prince, who typically shills for no one and distrusts the Internet, and Samsung, a cellular phone company with deep pockets. By the time the night was over, Prince, then 54, had played one of the most memorable sets in SXSW history: one set and six encores for a total of three-and-a-half hours. He celebrated, some have reported, by cruising down Rainey Street for IHOP.

    Photo by annainaustin/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

    3) The Flaming Lips debut Zaireeka

    As far as album experiences go, you’d be hard pressed for find one stranger than the Flaming Lips’ eighth studio LP Zaireeka, a four-disc collection designed to be played simultaneously. Uh, wha? How do we know if we’ve got this thing right? Wayne Coyne and the company helped in 1997, seven months before the album’s release, when they crowded 30 cars into a parking garage on Red River and told everyone to press play. More than 2,000 fans showed up. Zaireeka! Eureka! Here’s footage from another test run of the album:

    4) The Fader Fort

    The Fader Fort stands today as the first structure to ever completely make irrelevant the issue of which bands will be playing its parties. There’ll be a line down the street anyway, whether it’s Kanye West (2009) or  the Kleptomaniacs (who cares). With its free swag, free booze, cool grooves, and stylish shoes, Fader found a way to stand out amongst the sea of hipster girls and rock dudes.

    Photo by 4ELEVEN Images/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

    5) Third Man Records

    Leave it to guitar hero Jack White to be the one guitarist posting up solo on a street corner to blow up like a bag of hot Doritos. White’s roaming record store—a little yellow school bus—had a line down the block through the rest of the week, be it at Waterloo, Sixth and Red River, or Fourth Street around the Warehouse District.

    Photo by mikekatzif/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

    6) Broken Bells popup show

    Though comprised of big names—with James Mercer fronting the Shins and Danger Mouse being, well, Danger Mouse—few people coming into SXSW 2010 had been handed the opportunity to quantify Broken Bells, the duo’s new band. They figured a popup show would be the best way to get the word out. SXSW used Twitter to announce the venue only hours before the performance, which turned out to that same parking garage on Red River the Flaming Lips tore up. A week later, Broken Bells hit at No. 2 on the Billboard 200.

    Photo by Austin Powell

    7) Rachael Ray’s Feedback Festival

    OMG, the bagels and the tacos! Food Network star Rachael Ray’s been throwing her annual musical buffet in some form or fashion every SXSW for much of the past decade, showing up with a truck full of tasty snacks and even bringing in a few bands worth checking out. This year’s stock features Blondie, CeeLo Green, Foxboro Hot Tubs, and Cody ChesnuTT.

    Photo by 
    annainaustin/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

    Main photo by whittlz/Flickr  (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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