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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    With filming for The Walking Dead’s fifth season under way, there’s still plenty of updates to keep the audience of a TV show on hiatus happy.

    Deadline announced Monday that The Wire’s Seth Gilliam is joining the cast as a series regular in the upcoming season. The show bumped actors Andrew J. West, Alanna Masterson, and Christian Serratos up to series regulars in March, but this is the first new casting announcement for the show this season.

    With the anticipation higher than ever, not much is known about Gilliam’s character. He’s listed as playing Michael Todd (not his real name), a man with a “friendly, puckish humor,”  who is also haunted by a dark secret, Deadline reports. It’s possible that the character was created solely for the show, as was the case with Daryl Dixon, but many fans are speculating that Gilliam is actually playing Father Gabriel (or Father Gabriel combined with another character), a preacher who first encounters Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead comics after leaving his church in the aftermath of losing the Prison.

    Gilliam is also the third Wire alum cast for the zombie apocalypse show; Chad L. Coleman and Lawrence Gilliard Jr. are already on The Walking Dead. We’re already on board with The Wire’s takeover of the zombie apocalypse.

    And after taking a hiatus of their own, Epic Rap Battles of History has returned for a new season of vocal smackdowns—the first involving two of AMC’s more complicated protagonists.

    Rick Grimes is pitted against Walter White, and while both of them have done their fair share of killing and other atrocities, they took time to step away and bring the other down even further.

    The battle’s victor is left up to the audience, but that Breaking Bad Easter egg could suggest that Walter might’ve been the cause of all Rick’s hardships in the first place.

    H/T Deadline | Photo via ERB/YouTube


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    by Ray Downs

    He's so thoughtful, he plays Grand Theft Auto just to rescue the hookers.

    He's so awkward, he'll cover his male friend's eyes from behind and say, “Guess who?”

    He's so sensitive, he flushes the toilet after he farts in it.

    How the hell is Drake so popular when people relentlessly make fun of him to such hilarious degrees? This question has been bothering me for quite some time because I like Drake's music. It's nice to drive to, especially alone, in the rain, while I'm reflecting on my feelings. But along with Drake's music is the constant reminder, in a never-ending stream of memes, that Drake's persona is incredibly corny.

    It seems paradoxical: Why would I like a rapper more the more memes there are making fun of how lame he is? Can I truly enjoy “Hold On We're Going Home” when there's a meme of a sad-looking Drake head sitting in a bicycle basket wrapped-up like E.T. and says, “Just Hold On, We're Going Home”? At some point, do I also become a target of Drake mockery, holding his hand as we wonder why they're doing this to us? And how did Drake become so memeable, anyway?

    To figure out the answers to these questions, I sought out the pop culture and online humor wisdom of writer Michael Arceneaux, a contributor to publications like Ebony and The Atlantic, and Twitter comedian Desus (@desusnice), also of Complex's “Desus vs. Mero” podcast. According to Desus, Drake didn't just become meme-worthy; he took advantage of the fact that he was already basically a walking viral marketing campaign for the idea of softness.

    Read the full story on Noisey.


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    It's chocolate, it's peppermint, it's delicious! Now, the Junior Mint, the tasty confection at the center of a 1993 episode of Seinfeld, is now a video game.

    The parody Twitter accounts @Seinfeld2000 and @SeinfeldToday have both ushered in a new degree of interest in the 1990s sitcom. Both accounts depict how Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer would adjust to life in today's tech-heavy society. Recently, the cruder of the two accounts, @Seinfeld2000, imagined the Season 4 episode "The Junior Mint" as a video game.

    In the episode, Jerry and Kramer nearly kill Elaine's artist boyfriend when, as they observe his surgery, Jerry inadvertently knocks a Junior Mint out of Kramer's hands and into the boyfriend's exposed chest cavity. 

    At thejuniormint.com, the focal point of the episode is brought to morbid—and playable—life. Assuming the role of either Jerry or Kramer, the objective is to get your Junior Mints into the chest cavity from high up in the observation area. Forces such as doctors, other Seinfeld characters (hello, Newman), and—for whatever reason—Miley Cyrus try to impede your progress along the way. Thankfully, each of these obstacles can be knocked out with a bouncing Junior Mint, à la the old Atari game Breakout.

    Your soundtrack to the game is provided by none other than Ezra Koenig, lead singer and guitarist of Vampire Weekend, who hums the famous Seinfeld theme.

    If the Junior Mint game catches on, expect to see other Seinfeld episodes brought to life in a similar manner. Maybe next we will see a game based on "The Contest," in which the friends try to see who can go the longest without masturbating.

    In that game, Newman wouldn't exactly be a deterrent.

    H/T Pitchfork / Image via Evan Amos/Wikimedia Commons


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    There’s a scene in episode five of last season’s Louie, in which Louis C.K. and Parker Posey go on a date. It's one long shot around different locales in New York City, and in the last half, Posey’s character, Liz, leads C.K. on a manic march to the top of a building.

    There, she tells him what a wonderful time she’s having, before her face folds on itself like a faded map and the mood turns blue. It’s one of the most affecting TV scenes in the last five years.

    That’s the push and pull of Louie, comedian Louis C.K.’s look at the highs and lows of life for a single middle-aged father. It’s episodes like those where Louie felt like one of the most revelatory shows on television, because it didn’t feel like a TV show anymore. It felt like a film.

    After nearly two years, the show has returned to FX for its fourth season, and the TV landscape is a little different. Now, there are shows that feel just as revelatory: True Detective, Broad City, and now FX’s Fargo. In season three, C.K. dealt with the women in his life and role reversal. Early in the season, he goes on a date with Melissa Leo’s character, Laurie, and the episode explores the murky chasm between intimacy and assault. In the Posey episode, she forces him to try on a dress. In the interim between seasons, C.K. riffed on the relationship between men and women in his standup.

    C.K.’s been perfecting the sad guy role, but he’s also a storyteller, and in the two-part series premiere, he starts pulling out the narrative threads a bit. In “Back,” his doctor (played by a wonderfully disinterested Charles Grodin) tells him his back problems are simply a function of evolution, and the rest of the episode follows that thread. C.K.’s getting older, and we’re watching him both evolve and devolve. He walks upright through the streets of NYC, then visits a sex shop, where he hurts his back and must seek help from an old lady.

    In “Model,” C.K. agrees to do a fundraiser gig for his buddy Jerry Seinfeld, and he shows up to the lavish Hamptons affair in jeans, so we immediately know something awkward will happen. He bombs as the opener, but is later approached by the only woman in the crowd who laughed at his set, an impossibly beautiful model (Chuck’s Yvonne Strahovski, who also appeared in last night's 24 premiere). They have sex, and afterwards she attempts to make him laugh by tickling him; he responds by accidentally punching her in the eye. At the hospital, he’s told her “pupil is paralyzed.” This almost feels like an in-joke for other comics—the sad guy who somehow gets to sleep with the model, then ends up literally paying for it.

    At the end of the episode, C.K., nursing a broken nose after the woman’s astronaut father punches him at the hospital, retreats back to his natural habitat: the comedy club. We’ve watched him attempt to evolve, but he didn’t quite make it this time. He smiles, as if finally getting the punchline.

    Photo via FX


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    The Veronica Mars movie isn’t getting a sequel anytime soon, but it is getting a Web-exclusive spin-off centering on Ryan Hansen's character, Dick Casablancas.

    The CW announced Monday that it would be launching Play It Again, Dick on CW Seed, the network’s digital-only studio.

    It’s not a direct spin-off show with Hansen playing Dick, the endearing rich asshole classmate of Veronica Mars who eventually became a series regular and fan favorite. The character last made an appearance in the Veronica Mars movie earlier this year.

    Instead, Hansen will be playing a version of himself who’s trying to get Dick Casablancas his own Veronica Mars spin-off.

    It’s unclear if any other former Veronica Mars stars will make an appearance, but the premise makes it easy for many of Hansen’s co-stars to show up while he’s trying to convince them to join the show, particularly for creator Rob Thomas, who will produce the webseries.

    Thomas first made the announcement on Twitter back in January, but he didn’t release any details other than Hansen would be starring in it.

    The show will premiere on CW Seed this summer.

    H/T Entertainment Weekly | Photo via Gage Skidmore/Flickr


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    After Craig Ferguson announced that he won’t renew his contract with CBS in 2015, the Internet erupted with speculation about who could replace him, throwing around white dude names as diverse as Joel McHale and Norm MacDonald. But CBS president Les Moonves (who, no, is not a character in Tropic Thunder) suggested that late night might finally be ready to do something different and hire a woman this time.

    This conversation always ends up being like Lucy holding out the football, enticing the Internet until we all kick at nothing—but if you have to get your hopes up, these are the names that should be on your prayer list.

    1) Sarah Silverman

    Why she would be perfect:

    Sarah Silverman’s comedy pilot was one of the most buzzed-about projects in 2012—before NBC dumped it. (You can watch it online, if you know where to look.) The cult comedian had been a regular on her ex Jimmy Kimmel’s show (memorably crooning the 2008 viral hit “I’m Fucking Matt Damon”), proving herself a surprisingly natural fit for a talk show audience. She’s sharp, quick and a great improviser, exactly the kind of presence you want behind the late night desk.

    Why it won’t happen:

    Anyone familiar with Sarah Silverman’s very off-color stand-up knows the notorious pottymouth would likely drive the censors at CBS crazy. With the reward of a female Lenny Bruce comes the risk of FCC fines or completely alienating the CBS audience who sticks around after NCIS is over. Silverman would be a much better fit a network like NBC, who already decided to pass on her. If E! is looking for a replacement for Chelsea Handler, Silverman could do worse.

    Odds: 100/1

    2) Wanda Sykes

    Why she would be perfect:

    Wanda Sykes’ Wanda at Large was a surprise hit after it debuted on Fox with 14.3 million viewers, boasting the fourth-highest ratings of any program on the network during its first season. After the show was mishandled by the network and cancelled the following year, Sykes found steady supporting gigs on The New Adventures of Old Christine, Alpha House, and the critically acclaimed Curb Your Enthusiasm. She remains a recognizable comic presence today.

    Why it won’t happen:

    Wanda at Large was canceled over a decade ago. Although Sykes is still well-liked, women unfortunately don’t get many chances in Hollywood—especially black women—and her moment has likely passed. If this were 2003, she would still be a viable candidate for the job. Today, CBS would be more likely to appoint her as a sassy sidekick to a younger, sexier, whiter name. Hollywood is a lot like The Help that way.

    Odds: 75/1

    3) Tina Fey

    Why she would be perfect:

    Tina Fey is, arguably, the defining female comic of her generation, the 21st century’s answer to Elaine May or Carol Burnett. She’s found success on SNL, written the most memed-movie of the decade, won the Emmy for Best Comedy three years in a row and given us a sandwich-loving feminist hero for the ages. If Liz Lemon can find her Prince Charming, there’s no reason the actress playing her can’t have it all, too.

    Why it won’t happen:

    Does she even want this? Tina Fey is already working on two comedy pilots for next year, as well as co-producing a starring movie vehicle for herself and her real-life best friend, Amy Poehler. She just released Muppets Most Wanted last month and later this year, will be appearing in This Is Where I Leave You, the hotly anticipated adaptation of Jonathan Tropper’s novel, co-starring Jason Bateman, Jane Fonda, and Adam Driver. Tina Fey already has it all.

    Odds: 50/1

    4) Amy Poehler

    Why she would be perfect:

    Amy Poehler is the other half of everyone’s favorite hosting duo, the comic force that made the punchline that is the Golden Globes into must-see viewing. Parks and Rec only has one shortened season left before its run ends, and Poehler would be smart to stick to television; as Tina Fey’s own career shows, the movies aren't kind to the Leslie Knopes and Liz Lemons of the world. If she decides to make TV her permanent home, late night is a good spot for her.

    Why it won’t happen:

    If anything, Amy Poehler should be taking over Letterman’s chair, not Ferguson’s. She’s achieved too much in her career to play second fiddle to Stephen Colbert, who won’t be retiring anytime soon. It’s also not likely her schedule would be able to accommodate a late night gig, as Poehler is pulling double duty producing TV shows for Aubrey Plaza and Natasha Lyonne, in addition to working on the underrated Broad City.

    Odds: 40/1

    5) Samantha Bee

    Why she would be perfect:

    For the past 11 years, Samantha Bee has been the most consistently funny of Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show correspondents but hasn’t gone on to enjoy the mainstream success of Steve Carell or Stephen Colbert. After a decade, Bee is likely looking for something bigger, and joining her former Daily Show co-star would be a great way to do so.

    Also, wouldn’t her Daily Show correspondent husband, Jason Jones, would make a terrific co-host? They would be the Sonny and Cher of late night.

    Why it won’t happen:

    Samantha Bee is great, but she has less name recognition than anyone on this list and won’t bring in much of an audience outside of The Daily Show crowd. After Conan O'Brien's departure from as the host of NBC’s late night program, there’s increasing pressure to perform right out the gate, and Bee would likely take time to build a wider viewership. Facing off against Seth Meyers, who looks like he was born in that chair, doesn’t put her in an enviable position to do so.

    Odds: 30/1

    6) Jane Lynch

    Why she would be perfect:

    Glee’s light fades more with each passing day, and Fox will be airing a shortened season next year as the show fades into the abyss. After the show debuted in 2009, Lynch remained the breakout star, even as the show diminished in popularity. She’s one of the few celebrities who enjoys both cult success and widespread recognition, as well as a beloved gay icon. Ellen DeGeneres has proved a huge hit in daytime. Why not make Lynch her late night successor?

    Why it won’t happen:

    Although CBS has made strides for LGBT inclusion on shows like Two and a Half Men, it’s not exactly known for being gay friendly and has a bad reputation for transphobia. They might be willing to make inroads with the community through Jane Lynch, but they’re not the type to shake things up. To quote the Lynch-starring For Your Consideration: “You can't throw the baby out with the bathwater because then all you have is a wet, critically injured baby.” CBS is the definition of a moist infant.

    Odds: 25/1

    7) Amy Sedaris

    Why she would be perfect:

    Why doesn’t Amy Sedaris already have a talk show? It doesn’t make any sense. Sedaris has long been a favorite guest of both David Letterman and Craig Ferguson, as well as an accomplished comedian, actress, author, lifestyle guru, fat-suit wearer, and all-around wonderful human being. Hiring Sedaris would be a huge coup for the network, considering that her Strangers with Candy co-star, Stephen Colbert, will be hosting The Late Show.

    Why it won’t happen:

    Sedaris’ humor is willfully weird in a way that might make the CBS suits nervous, especially considering that her most iconic role is as an alcoholic drug abuser with buck teeth. Sure, she’s lovably quirky, but is that what CBS wants? Craig Ferguson’s own niche instincts never quite found a broad audience, and CBS won’t want more of the same in a replacement. After all, Ferguson was barely even factored into the Letterman conversation. That doesn’t bode well for Sedaris.

    Odds: 20/1

    8) Amy Schumer

    Why she would be perfect:

    Inside Amy Schumer showed the strongest year-to-year improvement of any of last year’s freshman comedies, finding both its voice and embracing its feminist undertones in season 2. Schumer has shown with “Food Room,” her Aaron Sorkin parody, that she can create viral hits, and her recent Gloria Awards speech showed the woman can deliver a monologue. If she can give America’s ladies all the feels, Schumer can continue to inspire them as late night’s first female host.

    Why it won’t happen:

    Although Inside Amy Schumer is far from an un-jumpable ship, would she be willing to abandon the show after only two seasons, just as its starting to pick up steam? The Comedy Central deal landed her a gig writing Judd Apatow’s next screenplay, and it’s likely to lead to much bigger things. The freedom of cable and the Apatow factory allows Schumer to be as outspoken as she likes, something she’s unlikely to get on conservative CBS.

    Odds: 10/1

    9) Chelsea Handler

    Why she would be perfect:

    In addition to enjoying an enormously successful stint on Chelsea Lately, Handler is a best-selling author with a huge female (and gay male) fanbase. If she gets the job, she’ll bring bring a huge chunk of her E! audience with her, as well as bringing in viewers who might not otherwise tune into late-night TV. Handler also does well with the 18-49 demographic, one that the elderly-skewing CBS struggles to bring in.

    Why it won’t happen:

    Viewership for Chelsea Lately has been steadily declining in recent years, and her most-watched recent episode was one she didn’t even host: Lindsay Lohan sat in her chair for the evening. Although her acerbic, detached style is reminiscent of Letterman, Handler is far more divisive than anyone else on this list, as hated as she is loved. A number of viewers likely won’t watch just because she’s hosting.

    Also, rumors are that Handler is close to a deal with Netflix, so she may be unavailable.

    Odds: 7/1

    10) Aisha Tyler

    Why she would be perfect:

    Aisha Tyler is such a no-brainer that the stand-up comic and voice actor might as well just hire herself for the job. She’s got previous hosting experience with Talk Soup on E! and the Whose Line Is It Anyway? reboot and has been the standout on The Talk, CBS’ knockoff of The View, since joining in 2011. It’s likely the network will move to keep her in the family with a promotion.

    Why it won’t happen:

    Tyler is a well-respected character actress (with notable gigs on Friends, 24, and CSI), but her biggest role is on FX’s animated series Archer, where she never appears onscreen. She’s far from a household name, and CBS is notoriously risk averse when it comes to programming. And as CBS’ core viewer predominantly old and white, they might go with someone who better fits the demographic. This is why television sucks.

    Odds: 3/1

    (Odds that CBS will say "screw it" and just give it to some white dude: 2/1)

    Photo via The White House/Flickr (PD) | Remix by Jason Reed


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    BY SAM GUTELLE

    Vine creator Alx James is turning his expansive online audience into a TV deal. The man with nearly five million followers on Twitter’s six-second video capture app has signed a reality television development deal with producer Collins Avenue.

    James, who has the fifth-most followers on Vine, has been making videos on the platform for just 10 months. He is perhaps best known for coining the term “water bugs” as a descriptor for people who wear oversized sunglasses.

    Through the deal with Collins Avenue, James–who was previously an American Idol contestant on two separate occasions–will attempt to bring his eccentric Vine personality to his own reality TV show. “It’s really great to join with Collins Avenue, where I will have the support to grow the world of Alx James,” he said. “I’m eager to partner with Jeff [Collins] and his skilled team in building the Waterbug Army.”

    Collins Avenue is best known for producing TV shows like Dance Moms, and its catalog has appeared on more than a dozen cable networks. The studio is no stranger to online content, having produced the third season of DanceOn‘s smash hit reality competition series, Dance Showdown.

    “Once in a great while a uniquely talented and quick-witted individual like Alx comes along that instantly captures the public’s attention,” said Collins Avenue President Jeff Collins. “We believe his memorable character spoofs, distinctive voices and extraordinary ability to tell a compelling story with a beginning, middle and end in just six seconds will allow us to expand the bounds of reality television in innovative new ways.”

    Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

     


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    The second season of Inside Amy Schumer has already provided some goldenmoments just four episodes in, and last night’s show proved it’s one of the best comedies on TV right now.

    In between sketches, Schumer often interviews people on the street, or sits down with interesting people on set. Last night’s “Amy Goes Deep” segment focused on an 106-year-old woman named Downing, and the conversation between two generations of women was quite illuminating. When asked what changes Downing’s seen for women over the years, she replies, “Well, everybody’s wearing pants.”

    Schumer’s become a sex-positive icon, and while she would indeed make a great late-night host, it will be more interesting to see where she takes this show, which, along with Broad City, has Comedy Central more of a level playing field.

    Also, if you haven't seen her Call of Duty sketch, please watch it now.

    H/T Gawker Screengrab via Comedy Central


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    After three longs shoots with 10 enthusiastic subjects, photographer Robin Roemer has finally unveiled her latest project: an Old Hollywood spin on the stars of New Hollywood. 

    Titled “New Hollywood,” the project immortalizes some of YouTube’s biggest talents, including Grace Helbig, Hannah Hart, Chester See, and Joe Penna (MysteryGuitarMan), and presents them in a light reminiscent of classic Hollywood in the early 1940s. 

    “I’m new to the whole YouTube world, and it’s been so interesting to me to get to know it and see how media is changing so much,” explains Roemer. “I was just interested in this juxtaposition between things like new media and how media was back in the ’30s and ’40s of Hollywood. That was a whole new scene, same kind of start of something, that everything was kind of uncertain.” 

    Though she's a newcomer to the scene, with 11 years of professional photography experience under her belt, Roemer has garnered a roster of clients that would impress even the late George Hurrell. Before making the move to Los Angeles, Roemer freelanced in New York City, working with stars such as Lady Gaga, Margaret Cho, and Janelle Monae.  Today, Roemer is the go-to photographer for many of YouTube’s top creators and was even employed to shoot Hart’s highly anticipated My Drunk Kitchen cookbook, set to be released this summer. 

    “I have a lot of respect for YouTubers because of the way they create media. There is such a self-starter, proactive spirit that YouTubers all share. It’s so fun to work with that type of person. They get it; they get what it means to create something from scratch,” says Roemer. 

    Perhaps most importantly, Roemer's latest project gives YouTube creators a level of respect generally reserved for traditional media celebrities. To give the prints a true vintage feel, Roemer shot on a 500C/M Hasselblad on black and white film and lit with hot lights—equipment that was all used during that decade. But it wasn’t all work and no play during the shoot.

    “It’s just kind of funny because, especially working with someone like Grace Helbig or Hannah, they’re just so down to earth and cool, to take such a proper portrait of them is always kind of funny,” laughs Roemer. “There was one moment where Grace had on this beautiful dress and she had on this amazing feather boa that we rented from this costume house and she’s laying on this couch and we’re photographing her … and she has these, like, sports socks.” 

    Roemer will debut her series at the Rebel's Ark on May 16, and trust us, it’s an event you will not want to miss. 

    Photos via Robin Roemer


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    On last night’s show, Jimmy Kimmel made sure we all remembered Mother’s Day is on Sunday by asking moms on the street the most shocking things their kids don’t know about them.

    “A lot of people operate under the illusion that their mothers were never young,” Kimmel says, before accusing "your mother, in particular" of being a pervert. So they went out to Hollywood Boulevard to prove it.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, many moms like pot. (My mom asked me if I wanted to smoke weed a few Christmases ago, and I’m still silently screaming about it.) These ladies also apparently like carpenters, plumbers, mud wrestling, and joking about adoption.  

    This should make for some fun conversations over brunch on Sunday.

    Screengrab via Jimmy Kimmel Live/YouTube


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    The Turner Prize is notorious for recognizing emerging artists whose work, according to many a bitter old fool, isn’t art.

    In previous years, the prize has been awarded to Tracey Emin’s dirty bed and a flashing light bulb. So perhaps it’s in keeping with the award’s progressive ethos that this year there aren’t any oil paintings or sculptures up for nomination.

    Shortlisted for the £25,000 prize at the Tate Britain gallery in London, however, is an artist who makes work from YouTube clips. It would probably annoy the hell out of purists—that is, if they hadn’t turned their back on the award, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, long ago.

    The shortlist announcement said this year’s Turner Prize shows “the impact of the internet, cinema, TV and mobile technologies on a new generation of artists.”

    Video artist James Richards mixes together footage from the Internet, old VHS tapes, and his own material to make what the judges call “poetic meditations on the pleasure, sensuality and the voyeurism that is within the act of looking.” One of Richards’ videos splices together a clip from A Nightmare on Elm Street with an old education tape.

    According to the BBC’s resident art buff Will Gompertz, all four of the nominees are essentially remixers, incorporating other people’s work into their prints and video installations. For example, Duncan Campbell’s entry is essentially a video remix of the 1953 arthouse documentary Statues Also Die by French auteurs Alain Resnais and Chris Marker, combined with choreographed dance footage he shot himself.

    You can watch Gompertz explain why this is art to a skeptical newsreader below.

    Photo via Runner1616 (CC BY SA 3.0) | Remix by Jason Reed


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    In March, a Los Angeles group called Vulfpeck launched an unconventional campaign to fund their upcoming tour: The band released a completely silent album on Spotify, called Sleepify, and asked fans to stream it while they were sleeping. 

    It was a pretty genius workaround.

    A Spotify representative called it "a clever stunt," but slagged the effort as “derivative of John Cage’s work.”

    Some critics warned that essentially ripping off Spotify could hurt other musicians attempting to make money on the site. People also applauded the band for turning the tables and attempting to get the payout artists deserve. The band reportedly earned $20,000 in Spotify spins.

    Then late last month, Spotify notified Vulfpeck that the album would be removed from the site.

    On April 22, Vulfpeck posted to its Facebook page, letting fans know that Spotify asked them to remove the album. The band included an “official statement” in the form of a three-track response album, including the song #Hurt, which is, ironically, currently on Spotify.

    When emailed for comment, a Spotify representative told the Daily Dot, “I'm afraid we don't really have anything more to say on this one. Sorry.”

    The band’s fans tussled with Spotify reps on Twitter last week, trying to get to bottom of the abrupt removal.

    The band’s keyboardist Jack Stratton, who appeared in the band’s promotional video for Sleepify, told Noisey he thinks Spotify “panicked when they realised someone was actually making money from the music,” but added that Spotify said it was receiving similar silent submissions in its email to the band.

    It remains to be seen whether Vulfpeck will receive the money from Sleepifythey’ll apparently know sometime this monthbut this experiment has been interesting in terms of highlighting Spotify’s strengths and weaknesses, and how easily its business model can be deconstructed. When asked if he thinks Spotify is now their enemy, Stratton says he’s still a fan: 

    “I make a joke in the Sleepify video about how Spotify will throw in the history of recorded music if you sign up for Sleepify," Stratton said. "As a band though, you have to be practicing yoga and eating grass-fed butter to face the coldness of the free market.”

    H/T Noisey Screengrab via Jack Stratton/YouTube


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    Apparently, Cher is down with the Wu-Tang Clan.

    The group’s “secret” one-copy double album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, will be making the rounds soon, visiting museums and galleries as a rare 31-track artifact that will be sold to one very wealthy person. The crowdfunding effort to purchase the album is currently at $15,000.

    Forbes reporter Zack O’Malley Greenburg recently travelled to Marrakesh, Morocco, to interview the album’s producer, Tarik “Cilvaringz” Azzougarh, and christen the album as the first “civilian” to hear it. Forbesposted a video of his journey, which included an in-studio listening session, and a 51-second snippet of one of the tracks, which went unnamed, featuring Ghostface Killah rapping over a trademark Wu beat. Towards the end, you can hear … Cher.

    According to Rolling Stone, a rep confirmed that Cher is indeed on the album, credited as “Bonnie Jo Mason,” a pseudonym she also used for 1964 Phil Spector-produced single “Ringo, I Love You." A rep also confirmed that she recorded her vocals on two tracks separately, so there was no “direct interaction.” Bonnie Jo Mason was actually credited on the album’s website, as were “FC Barcelona soccer players.” How Cher came to be down with the Wu is still a wonderful mystery. 

    The album, six years in the making, is so secret, members of Wu-Tang themselves allegedly didn’t even record their vocals over beats related to the tracks, and no one in the group received a copy of the album. Wu-Tang Clan were recently discovered to have a larger vocabulary than Shakespeare, which makes anticipation for this album pretty high.

    But imagining Cher alone in a recording booth singing, “Wu-Tang, baby”? That’s priceless.

    Photo via scluzay.com


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    After a 17-year absence, the Power Rangers are set to go-go back to the big screen.

    Saban and Lionsgate Entertainment announced that the colorful, Zord-building group will indeed be making a comeback to movie theaters. So far, no official release date has been revealed, but Power Rangers fans are no doubt excited to see their favorite heroes' long-awaited return. It will be the group's first theatrical appearance since Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie was released to critical failure in 1997.

    The movie appears to be a reboot of the franchise, meaning that producers will likely be searching for new teenage actors to fill the roles. In other words, for the first time in years, it looks like someone other than Jason David Frank will assume the role of Tommy the Green Ranger, as Frank is now 40 years old.

    In addition to Turbo and its predecessor, Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie, the Power Rangers franchise has spawned 17--yes, 17-live-action TV series since its American debut in 1993. The most recent of the series, Power Rangers: Super Megaforce, premiered on February 15, 2014.

    H/T Hitfix / Image via ze_bear/Flickr


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    Billy Eichner is having a good year. The 35-year-old comedian has a recurring role on NBC’s Parks and Recreation, and his game show Billy on the Street is entering its third season on the cable network Fuse. Eichner and his friend/sometimes-creative-partner Julie Klausner just landed a scripted TV pilot for USA executive produced by Amy Poehler. He’s also the voice of Ambrose on Bob’s Burgers

    Clips from his show regularly go viral, and his biggest problem getting people to play along isn’t his ambush-and-yell interviewing style anymore—it’s the fact that too many people are starting to recognize him when he pelts them with bizarrely intricate questions about celebrity culture (sample question: “Do you think Prince puts down ‘the moon’ as an emergency contact?”). 

    A clip showing Eichner destroying a car with Lindsay Lohan was just one of his viral hits this year. The comedian also dressed Amy Poehler up like rapper Pitbull, and ran around the streets of New York City accosting passersby and celebrities alike for his show, which has received a Daytime Emmy nomination and garnered plenty of famous supporters. And his cranked-up, aggressive persona, flickering from ebullient to belligerent and always enthusiastic, gives Eichner an instantly recognizable comedic voice. 

    Eichner is becoming as high-profile as the celebrities he references in his rapid-fire, pop-culture-fueled quizzes. And, as he is first to acknowledge, he owes his success to the social Web. 

    “I would not have a career without Facebook and Twitter," Eichner told Backstage last year. "That’s the truth. Because it was my videos getting circulated on social media that brought me to the attention of all these blogs, and that’s what led to this TV show, which completely brought my career to a different level and just made so many more people aware of me." And he’s right. Eichner’s success at nearly every turn of his career has been propelled by the way he's used social media to share and self-promote. 

    Eichner’s early career wasn’t nearly as plugged in. In the 1990s, he gained a real life cult following based on a theater show in New York he put up called Creation Nation after graduating from Northwestern University. Perhaps if he’d been born 15 years earlier, Eichner would still be a little-known but much-loved gem in the theater world. But Eichner’s career jump from underground New York experimental theater kid to kinetic pop culture star happened because he had a new set of tools at his disposal: social media. After she saw one of his performances, Rachel Dratch signed on to co-star in an "Empire State of Mind" spoof called "Forest Hill State of Mind," about Eichner’s experience growing up as a middle-class gay Jewish kid in Queens. The video was one of his most popular earlier clips. 

    Like his music spoof, Eichner’s manic, guerrilla, man-on-the-street game show first saw the light of day on YouTube. After he’d grown a cult following, Eichner enter into a partnership with Funny or Die, which led to his show getting picked up by Fuse. But you can still see some of his early clips on YouTube, where he began posting material seven years ago. Looking at older clips, viewers can see the evolution of Eichner’s gonzo interviewing style; his first uploads show Eichner far more toned down than he is now: 

    While his career gained momentum and his comedic voice grew more amped-up, Eichner connected with his growing fan base by staying engaged on Twitter and Facebook, regularly replying to tweets and responding to posts from supporters. He’s still quick to respond to tweets from fans, though he took his Facebook from a private account to a public page as his fame grew. 

    The rise from the social Web to the small screen is becoming an increasingly common path for up-and-coming comedians. Look at Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson’s Broad City, now a well-received show on Comedy Central. Glazer and Jacobson started Broad City as a low-budget webseries, posting their short videos on YouTube and using social media to promote their project. Amy Poehler (who may well be considered the patron saint of webseries at this point) helped the comedians secure a deal with Comedy Central and serves as the show’s executive producer. Saturday Night Live’s recent recruits like Noël Wells, Kyle Mooney, and Beck Bennett all honed their impersonation and sketch skills by posting videos on YouTube, reaffirming that the online video hub is a major place to spot new talent nearly 10 years after the Lonely Island comedians made the jump from YouTube to SNL

    Struggling would-be stars no longer need to hope against hope that Lorne Michaels will pop into their improv showcase. It’s never been easier to self-promote and network from the outside in. And with platforms like Vine emerging as alternative entries into the comedy world, stories like Eichner’s will go from a remarkable DIY victory to the understood way of tweeting, posting, and uploading your way to recognition and success. It’s already happening: Vine stars Nash Grier and Cameron Dallas have already nabbed a movie deal based on their six-second clips. 

    But the Internet-based path to comedy is evolving, too. The Lonely Island guys jumped from Internet straight into SNL, which is a comedy institution. Eichner aligned himself with a larger online comedy hub, Funny or Die, before breaking off into Fuse, but his fame is more dependent on the virality of his video clips than on how many people are tuning into the entire Fuse show. 

    What’s next for Eichner? There’s no official confirmation yet, but his character Craig is expected to return to Parks and Recreation next season, and as long as Billy on the Street keeps churning out viral hits, a fourth season seems inevitable.

    But, as always, check social media for updates. 

    Screenshot via Billy on the Street/YouTube


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    If there is anyone who would know how to open a bottle of Champagne like a boss, it would be Good Eats and Iron Chef America personality Alton Brown.

    In a May 7 YouTube video, Brown explains a method of popping open a bottle of bubbly that has not been seen since the days of Napoleon: ditching the corkscrew and instead using a saber. Yes, Brown enthusiastically endorses "sabering" a bottle of Champagne.

    "But since we live in the age of the litigator, I have to go ahead and tell you right now that under no condition do I advocate you attempting to undertake this desperately dangerous display of panache," Brown cautions. "Besides, you're not cool enough anyway and you'll just come off looking like a dope with a fistful of glass, standing in a bubbly puddle."

    "Any sword will do the trick. Feel free to use your scimitar or your katana … but not, of course, your Hattori Hanzo. That should be reserved for other things."

    Brown has yet to demonstrate using a saber to open other items, such as cans of soda or loaves of bread, but we sure would love to watch him try.

    Screengrab via Alton Brown/YouTube


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    Folks in the music industry should plan for the new five-second rule.

    According to a new study from Music Machinery, 24 percent of Spotify users skip a song after only five seconds of streaming it. A skip is outlined as any instance wherein users “abandon the song before it finishes,” whether they searched for and started another track or moved to a new playlist selection. In fact, nearly half of Spotify users can’t be bothered to finish a song.

    Last.fm was for acutely self-aware romantics. Myspace was for building fake empires. But music-streaming service Spotify—almost three years into its American run—is a trusted, lived-in extension for most users. Its data is thus a reliable litmus for how modern listeners work.

    The skip numbers:

    Skipped in

    Likelihood of skip

    First 5 seconds

    24.14 percent

    First 10 seconds

    28.97 percent

    First 30 seconds

    35.05 percent

    Before song finishes

    48.6 percent


    The data was pulled from the skipping behavior for millions of listeners and over billions of plays.

    The study concluded that the average listener skips 14.65 times per hour, or once every four minutes. Women (45.23 percent) are slightly more prone to skipping than men (44.75 percent). Mobile users (51.1 percent) are considerably more impatient than desktop users (40.1 percent).

    That makes sense: Desktop Spotify sessions often soundtrack work hours and linger as background noise to projects. Mobile listening skews toward hyperactive hours—toggling cuts to optimize commutes, or when people hijack your phone to put on “Turn Down For What” at a gathering. To make sure that isn’t self-involved speculation, here is that data reflected in chart form.


     

    Age is critical: Teenagers skip at well over 50 percent, people in their 30s at only about 35 percent, and, interestingly, people in their late 40s and early 50s revert to the skipping impulses of teens. That could be because teenagers are logging onto their parents’ accounts while low-skippers in their 30s are often buried with toddlers and have less time to tinker with mixes.

    Skipping behavior also goes up heavily on the weekends. The study concludes, convincingly, that “when people have more spare time, they are more apt to curate their listening sessions by skipping tracks.”

    That seems to be the key tenet here. Modern music fans with access to streaming services expect to be able to follow their whims down rabbit holes of new music. And it better move us in five seconds.

    Photo by kennymatic/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed


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    Twitter has certainly become a place to record emotional turning points in life. So far, we've seen livetweeted births, livetweeted deaths, and livetweeted breakups of at leasttwo couples, albeit by impartial third parties. Now, one British personality has apparently livetweeted—in the first person—her decision to divorce her cheating husband.

    Katie Price, best known for her modeling career and reality television appearances under the pseudonym Jordan, has spent most of her life in front of cameras and in the spotlight. So when she allegedly caught Kieran Hayler, her husband of just over a year, in bed with best friend Jane Poutney, she decided to share that part of her life in real-time too: She took to Twitter to detail the whole sordid affair to her 1.9 million followers.

    The announcement, however, was just the beginning. Price's tweets quickly escalated to a no-holds-barred series of emotional rants.

    Once the angry tweets subsided, she worked her way to the next stage of grief and began to express her feelings of hurt at the revelation.

    Everyone, be wary of how you treat your spouses, lest you be subject to such (warranted) public shaming.

    H/T The Mirror / Image via Philip Rosie/Wikimedia Commons


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    The 2014 Eurovision Song Contest is currently happening in Copenhagen, showcasing Europe’s most talented and, often, most outrageous and fringe musical acts. Tonight, Conchita Wurst takes the stage for the second semifinals to perform “Rise Like a Phoenix,” and not everyone is happy about it.

    Wurst is the drag persona of 25-year-old Austrian singer Thomas Neuwirth. She has collected more than 40,000 fans on her Facebook page, and 3 million views on the video for “Rise Like a Phoenix.” She often performs in luxurious evening gowns, and a full beard.

    In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, she claimed she decided on the name “Wurst” because in Germany and Austria, it means “it’s not important.”

    She’s also faced controversy and transphobic comments ahead of her performance. Last week, anti-gay Russian legislator Vitaly Milonov claimed Wurst's appearance would be insulting to "millions" of Russians, and that the Eurovision Song contest is a “Sodom show.” Activists in Belarus urged the state television network to boycott her performance. A Facebook petition to ban Neuwirth from the competition was also created in Austria, with nearly 40,000 likes.

    Eurovision’s entries often include members of LGBT communities, and the contest has developed a huge following in those communities, but the tensions in Ukraine and Russia, and the enforcement of Russia’s anti-gay propaganda laws, could affect the voting outcome in that region of Europe.

    This transphobia hasn’t affected Wurst, though. She told the Associated Press, “If this is only about me and my person, I can live with it. I'm just a singer in a fabulous dress, with great hair and a beard.”

    To prepare for tonight’s performance, here’s Wurst’s Eurovision rehearsal, in 3D form:

    Screengrab via Eurovision Song Contest/YouTube


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    When it comes to announcing tour dates, most bands pay this task no matter and defer to a strategically emailed press release. But the Black Keys took to YouTube this morning to launch their summer tour, and we have to give the Akron, Ohio rock duo extra credit for the comparatively lavish approach to drumming up hype.

    In the minute-plus video, comically set in the FBI headquarters, singer Dan Auerbach approaches what resembles the White House press corps and proceeds with all the obligatory components of today's political mea culpas: a sheepish stare, darting eye contact, a poorly read prepared statement. 

    “Many of you have cheered for me or worked with me or supported me,” Auerbach says, “And now everyone of you has good reason to be critical of me.”

    (Sound familiar? The lines are lifted wholesale from Tiger Woods’ post-infidelity presser.)

    Auerbach is buried in boos. Drummer Patrick Carney follows suit, is likewise met with jeers before he can get a word in. Then it cuts to SMPTE color bars, and the meat and potatoes of the info scrolls: "The Black Keys Turn Blue World Tour. Tickets are for sale May 16, 2014."

    The band’s new album Turn Blue is out May 13. You can stream it via the iTunes store. The lead single, “Fever,” is unfortunately an SMPTE color bar—a boring, placeholder ditty overrun with instrumentation that doesn’t go anywhere. 

    http://youtu.be/iZZUY32iCzU

    A legitimate bummer, because in terms of major brand rock stars, the Black Keys are the most harmless, pleasant, and fun outfit of blues burglars working today. They inspire college bros to dig beyond Zeppelin, and their best stuff is gold. Let’s hope Blue harbors an optimal Keys summer jam.

    For a complete list of tour dates, visit the Black Keys' website.

    Photo via Richard Abrahamson/Flickr (CC-BY-2.0)


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