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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    Earth to Echo is a film that knows its audience. The problem is that its audience, increasingly, needs a special reason to get off the Internet and come to the theater.

    Much like VidCon, the half-industry, half-fandom convention celebrating YouTube culture where it got a special advance screening Friday night, Earth to Echo argues that the reason is pure and simple navel-gazing: You should watch Earth to Echo to celebrate yourself.

    This is the same impulse that drew 18,000 attendees to VidCon: to celebrate the DIY group culture and community that has spawned a full-fledged generation of vloggers, entertainers, and online activists who express their voices through their cameras and their passions through their "likes." As hundreds of teens and a few parents lined up Friday night for the screening, it was clear that the risks this quirky little film was taking in appealing directly to an audience of tweens and teenagers might well pay off.

    Earth to Echo has a premise that's superficially very similar to J.J. Abrams' sleeper hit Super 8: kids with cameras, strange occurrences in the desert, mysterious government conspiracies involving an alien with whom one of the kids soon forms a close connection. Both films wear their Spielberg homages on their sleeves, and both films weave their coming-of-age narratives into their depiction of the emerging filmmaker.

    But where Super 8 concerns the individual growth of a single would-be independent filmmaker, Earth to Echo takes the fairly unusual tack of grounding itself in a community of friends who each have grown up with the Internet, specifically YouTube, as the backdrop to their somewhat isolated lives. 

    The boy who would be king of YouTube is Tuck, played with a subtle, quiet cynicism by Astro. At the VidCon premiere, when asked his favorite thing about his character, Astro replied, "My favorite thing is that Tuck is black." The film doesn't comment on the unfortunate novelty of a black character being the one behind the camera, but then it doesn't have to: Earth to Echo treads on familiar turf with its eclectic mix of misfits and social outcasts. Alex (Teo Halm) is a foster kid who is leaving shortly to go to a new neighborhood and a new family. Munch (Reese Hartwig) is an awkward kid with OCD, a chubby-cheeked everyman who has more than a bit of trouble accepting the whole alien deal. They each gain a measure of control over their lives through their participation in Tuck's YouTube filmography, alternately filming and being filmed, as casual onscreen as off. When they stumble across a mysterious-looking space canister, they set off, camera in hand, to help its inhabitant, dubbed Echo, make his way back home.

    Over the course of one eventful night, the boys journey through various sleepy Nevada towns, guided by the bubbly Echo, who delivers cuteness despite being slightly less charismatic than a Wall-E or an E.T. The goal, which requires going to various iconoclastic places and getting random pieces of hardware so that Echo can repair its spaceship, involves an entertaining amount of public vandalism and casual mayhem.

    In this and other criminal acts, the boys are sometimes aided by a winsome Emma (Ella Wahlestedt), who appears in the second act to be Awesome and Do Cool Things, only to be totally sidelined and ignored until it's time for her to be the default love interest. Far more successful is the complicated nature of Alex and Tuck's friendship, including the tacit presence of racism and classism in their respective realities. Occasionally this erupts into moments of tension, but the foundations of the friendship are never really in question. After all, we've captured it on camera. 

    But by far the standout of Earth to Echo is Hartwig's frenetic, nervous Munch. Hartwig transcends his character's status as Goonies riff and comic relief, imbuing energy and emotion into every line to become the film's true hero. The moment when Munch rises above his fear and establishes himself as this film's Book 7 Neville Longbottom drew a resounding cheer from VidCon's teen audience.

    In addition to the Goonies-style nature of the boys' friendship, Earth to Echo trades on other kinds of familiarity: Halm, with only four film credits to his name, is a minor Vine star with 30,000 followers. Like his character, he comes across as a likable, if taciturn, kid who'd rather film what he feels than talk about it. Throughout the film there's a sense that the Internet is the fourth of this ring of best friends. At one point they Google "how to drive a car," because, well, what else is Google for?  

    Where most films treat modern Internet culture as either something to poke mawkish fun at or hold up in reverence as new tech that will be hopelessly dated five years from now, Earth to Echo offers the Internet as the echo of our own culture. It also, interestingly, takes an almost punk derivative approach to the mingling of new tech and old, clunky, loud tech—from brass gadgets at a pawn shop to thingamabobs from a creaky jukebox. It's not quite dieselpunk, but let's call it at least hardwarepunk.

    All in all, Earth to Echo will appeal to the nostalgia of older kids who appreciate a good coming-of-age romp, parents looking for movies that eschew most of the usual stereotypes of teens on film, and the average YouTuber and tween who knows what it means to "do it for the Vine." By the end of the film, the baseline theme of "E.T. phone home" has become even more universal: The Internet is the way we phone home these days, and the aliens, after all, are right here.

    Earth to Echo opens nationwide today.

    Photos via Call Him Echo

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    House of Cards may be the toast of Netflix, but it hasn't exactly won over the Russian government. 

    Foreign Policyreports that the Russian delegation to the United Nations won't allow David Fincher's hit political drama to film two episodes on location within the U.N. Security Council Chamber. 

    Despite an assist from the U.N. Secretary-General's office and the British delegation to the U.N., Vladimir Putin's government couldn't be persuaded to open the doors of the Security Council to the production. According to emails obtained by Foreign Policy, the Russian delegation was the most vocal holdout among the members of the various U.N. delegations Tuesday night as the deadline drew near to reject or approve House of Cards' request to film in the chamber room.

    "Upon thorough reflection, we are objecting to the proposed filming in the Security Council," Russian delegate Mikael Agasandyan wrote in an email to council members late Tuesday afternoon.

    "We are of [the] opinion that the Security Council premises should be available at any time and on short notice. Besides that, we consistently insist that the Security Council premises are not an appropriate place for filming, staging, etc."

    In other words, although the production team was planning to film after normal business hours, world security has no regular operating hours, as far as Russia is concerned.

    The U.N. has recently been courting Hollywood to help shape its image by featuring notable U.N. spots in their films, such as the one they originally denied to Alfred Hitchcock when he approached them to film North by Northwest in 1959. Hitchcock wanted to film a murder in the U.N.'s North Delegates Lounge; the U.N. said no. Despite the relative merits of allowing its chambers to be featured in an iconic film masterpiece, the U.N. is apparently still wary about associating with less-than-positive portrayals of government and politics.

    Bo Shen, a member of the Chinese delegation, replied to concur with Agasandyan and the wisdom of the Russian delegation. 

    "I think Mikael's argument is reasonable," he wrote, citing the need for an advanced look at the script before the U.N. gets in over its head:

    "[The Chinese delegates] think council members should have a rough idea on scripts for those episodes which are relating to our work. DPI [The U.N. Department of Public Information] judged them to be appropriate but could not represent views of council members. Based on that, we regard the current information are insufficient before making a decision by the council."

    In the past the U.N. has opened its chamber doors to various entertainers and photographers. Annie Liebowitz did a photoshoot of former U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice for Vogue. But the grittier, darker House of Cards may not be the easiest sell for the General Assembly, which is, let's face it, probably more a house of diplomats and face-savers than a house of machiavellian international intrigue.

    Still, we do have two reasons to be grateful for the stalled production kerfuffle: We now have an exciting glimpse into what the next season of House of Cards will hold. Who doesn't love the image of Kevin Spacey sharply rapping his knuckles on a U.N. podium?

    And even better, we now know that the U.N. Security Council chats to each other about TV shows over email, just like the rest of us. Let the fanfiction commence.

    H/T Deadline | Photo via Wikimedia Commons (S.A. BY-3.0)

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    Label-trolling experimental hip-hop trio Death Grips has broken up, according to a Facebook post the band made Wednesday evening.


    If you’re a music fan with a karate belt in pursuing music blogs, these are the dudes with that one notoriously phallic album cover that adorned 2012’s No Love Deep Web. 2011’s Exmilitary was the group’s first, and a cross-platform, blog shine release. On cuts like “Guillotine,” rapper Stefan "MC Ride" Burnett performed as if ragingly drunk in the booth—slurring words, hurling abuse, simultaneously falling asleep at the mic and making up for it with wind sprint cadences.

    It was emotive and oily, tough to decipher but satisfying with repeat listens because of its anvil production from producer Andy "Flatlander" Morris and spine-clanking drumming from Zach Hill.

    But yeah, the rapping was reclusive and mush-mouthed. The gimmick was this self-serious, subversive streak of raging against the suburbs. In June, the band released a 30-minute LP Niggas On The Moon in sudden, surprise fashion.

    Critics didn’t seem to be feeling it. Wrote MySpace:

    Moon is a more pleasant listen than Deep Web, which is not exactly a compliment. To be fair, the second half of Government Plates, their last album, remains one of the biggest mindfucks in recent memory. That sensory rush, which climaxes with the ultra-dense, defiant rave banger "Whatever I Want (Fuck Who's Watching)," can't be matched, but it's like Death Grips didn't even attempt to reach those emotional highs on their new record. Much of the buzz surrounding Moon has to do with Björk's presence, and no disrespect to her at all, but that aspect of the album is played up entirely too much. Her vocals push this away from the stark minimalism that defined No Love, but don't do much more. Death Grips chop up her vocals in staccato blasts throughout the album, which, in their overall smoothing of their sound, largely feels like them going through the motions. The turmoil surrounding No Love's released was criticized by some as a publicity stunt, and Björk's appearance carries the sense that Death Grips just wanted to say "oh look, we have Björk on our record, isn't that cool." Sadly, they just might be proving their critics right.

    Upon hearing of the breakup, Rolling Stone critic and deliciously flippant critic Chris Weingarten tweeted a nod to “Guillotine” immediately after tweeting out a sad-faced emoticon.

    Weingarten profiled Death Grips in print Spin in 2011, and it was one of those holiday season airport snags you hang onto well after the flight so you can cross-check the artists. At its best, the band was a militant watchdog for the age of Anonymous. 

    Photo via

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    Sometimes, a movie can have so much significance to your life that you simply have to buy some kind of memento. A T-shirt. A poster. Maybe you’ll even hit up eBay for some unique memorabilia.

    In the case of The Fault in Our Stars (TFIOS), it seems that a fan may have gotten so attached to a piece of furniture from the movie that they actually stole it.

    In TFIOS, an iconic scene shows lovestruck teens Hazel and Gus kissing and talking on a bench in Amsterdam. Some time in the past couple of weeks, that particular bench (which was previously attached to the ground) has gone missing.

    "It's a bit embarrassing, because we do keep good track of them, but it's gone all right," said Amsterdam city spokesman Stephan van der Hoek.

    Amsterdam city representatives didn’t notice that the bench had vanished until TFIOS fan tourists began asking where it had gone, as the empty space had been disguised by a large potted plant. In recent months, Amsterdam tourist locations have noticed an uptick in TFIOS-related visitors, but this is the first time anyone has reported a potential theft.

    Of course, the bench could have gone missing for some other reason, but it’s difficult to imagine why else someone might decide to steal a heavy old park bench with a street value of pretty much nil. This kind of heist actually sounds like the plot of a John Green novel in itself, if he ever decided to branch out into crime fiction.

    Apparently the bench will be replaced in the next couple of weeks, but any TFIOS fan would be able to tell you that the replacement can’t possibly be the same.

    H/T BBC Newsbeat | Screenshot via thefaultinourstarsmovie

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    Brent Bailey is annoyed. “I’d love to get away with that kind of thing,” he says, speaking of actor Stephen Chang, who plays Frank Churchill, the rival to Bailey’s Mr. Knightley, on the popular webseries Emma Approved. Chang playfully chewed the scenery in a recent entrance on set.

    “I wish I could do that kind of physical comedy,” Bailey laughs, “But if I tried it, it’d just look ridiculous.”

    Do we detect a little jealousy, Mr. Knightley? It’s one of many moments during a recent sit-down with the leads of the hit Jane Austen reboot in which cast members Bailey and Joanna Sotomura seemed to be fully inhabiting their roles as Alex Knightley and Emma Woodhouse.

    It’s hard to believe that Sotomura, who confidently faces the camera twice weekly for the series’ avid viewers, is the same actress who declares that she was “nervous and shy” for her initial audition. Although she says that she started out feeling as if she had nothing in common with her character, the 27-year-old actress, whose career has included everything from performing Shakespearean comedy in Honolulu to being dismembered in the woods in Arkansas, is nothing if not adaptable.

    “It’s definitely different!” she says of her role as the confident young life coach who discovers over the course of the series that she’s the last person to be dishing out advice.

    “I think it was a couple of episodes in when we actually were filming, and we really let ourselves play with each other that we realized, oh... these characters were kind of meant for us.”

    Emma Approved is one of the major YouTube webseries launched from the fictional digital media enterprise turned real enterprise, Pemberley Digital. Creators Hank Green and Bernie Su launched Emma as a much-anticipated follow-up to the highly popular Lizzie Bennet Diaries, itself a reboot of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, set in the same modern-day universe as Emma.

    Although much of the action has been on the series’ YouTube channel, Emma has also had a strong transmedia and social media component like its predecessors Lizzie Bennet and Welcome to Sanditon. With Lizzie Bennet’s Emmy-winning transmedia team at the reins once again, the world of Emma Approved has expanded to Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Google+, and Pinterest. They’ve launched a real-life charity drive to tie in to the fictional world of the show. They’ve even taken their act on the road to VidCon; they'll hit Leaky Con later this summer.

    Though the world of the three Austen tales has expanded, the cast of Emma has stayed tight-knit. As the series heads steadily toward its final quarter, all eyes are on the future and each other. “We’ve been together so long as a group,” Bailey notes.

    Ten or 11 months we’ve been together, and we don’t know what’s happening after the book, if it’s going to continue further or what. So there’s that aspect where it could be coming to an end, and there’s that aspect of it where as you’re saying the lines on set it’s crossing over into reality.

    But don’t think that sentiment has let them skimp on the hard truths Emma offers its protagonist, the confident 20-something who thinks she knows her own mind. Through the course of Austen’s Emma, she learns that things aren’t always what they seem, and that vanity mixed with too much self-assurance isn’t always the best route to wisdom. So far, the path of Emma Approved has followed a very faithful trajectory to the plot of Emma, despite the very different trappings. The small British village of Highbury has been replaced with suburban California, and Emma’s domain is now the all-too-fitting life coach business she runs with the help of lifelong friend Alex Knightley. Now, as the plot gets ever-more tricky, they’re playing it strictly by the book.

    “We didn’t pull any punches,” Sotomura says when I ask about the climactic scenes in store for Emma. “This last round we shot’s going to get intense,” Bailey says. “Be prepared. There were tissues on set. It’s a hard story to tell. There’s hard lessons to be learned.”

    Unlike her predecessor Lizzie, Emma isn’t always an easy character, but Sotomura says she’s been blown away by “how loving and supportive the fans are.”

    “It’s been such an incredible year for both of us,” she says.

    We talked to the two about their first meetings on set, the challenges of following up an Emmy-winning hit, and the fascinating paths their characters are taking to discover exactly how much they don’t know about themselves.


    On auditioning:

    Sotomura: I went in and they didn’t say what I was auditioning for. I think the character was disguised as like Millie Tollhouse, and I was like, "What the heck is this? But all right." And I had a lot of fun. And then, "by the way, it’s Emma Woodhouse and you’re auditioning for the lead."

    And I got super-nervous and scared because I didn’t feel like I had anything in common with her, and I was like, how do I do this? So I just channeled whatever confidence I had stored deep-down, and I ended up booking it, thankfully.

    Bailey: I think I was auditioning at the same time you were, but then I had like a really long break. I think they were casting Emma and then going back—I think they went through a first round of Alex.

    Sotomura: And then I read for Knightley’s [audition], Annie’s, and Harriet’s, and I read opposite them for chemistry reads all in the same day. So I’d never done a chemistry [read] before, and he was the first one to walk in, of all the Knightleys, and I was just like, “Hi, OK, so what are you reading?” and just like stumbled everything and made a fool out of myself and was all embarrassed and bright red, and he was all professional and very Knightley. So, needless to say it was a fun day.

    Was there a moment during the audition when you each just knew that you were reading with someone who was perfect for the part?

    Sotomura: Well, I didn’t even feel like I was Emma… because like I said, I was nervous and shy and of course he walks in and he shakes my hand and I was like "blaaaghh."

    Bailey: Well, ‘cause I wasn’t sure, because when I auditioned for The Lizzie Bennet Diaries I would just read with whoever was the reader there. One time it was Mary Kate [Wiles], one time it was Ashley [Clements], so I had no idea if she actually was Emma or if she was just in the Pemberley family.

    Sotomura: The true reason why is because I screwed up a lot and he made me all nervous. But I feel like he was Knightley during the chemistry reads, when we had a fun banter going on… but I think it was a couple episodes in when we actually were filming and we really let ourselves play with each other that we realized, oh… these characters were kind of meant for us.

    On Mr. Knightley and drama:

    Much is made of how Emma is "clueless," but I think it's equally important to note that Knightley is oblivious as well throughout most of the book. I think in Emma Approved, we see him content to sit in his office and ignore the drama swirling around him.

    Bailey: I think he’s just the kind of the type of person who just doesn’t care about [drama]. He doesn’t care about what Frank is really up to, if he got a present for [Jane] or didn’t. I don’t think at the end of the day he cares—he’s just glad she got a new laptop so she can work faster.

    He just wants to make sure on the general level that everybody’s taken care of and happy. If there’s a problem, he will address it. But I think beyond that, I don’t really see him going home and talking about the gossip of the day; I see him going home and still balancing worksheets or toying with Excel. I don’t think he’s that type of guy.

    I think he does a really good job—or maybe it’s not a really good job—at masking his feelings and staying even-keel and focused on one thing at a time so that he’s not overwhelmed with life. It’s toward the end of the book that he actually lets his guard down for a second and then realizes his feelings for Emma, and then comes back and tells her.

    I think that’s really the first time where he actually lets his emotional guard down and steps out of work mode for a second, and he’s almost so selfless that he doesn’t ever look out for himself. He’s always trying to make everyone else happy, so there’s no reason for him to ever have the time to gossip. Because he’s always happy, unless somebody else is unhappy, and then it’s not that he’s now unhappy, he’s just not happy that you’re [un]happy so he’s going to try to figure out how he can change things.

    In the original story, Knightley is landed gentry and a squire who oversees a number of tenants. I was wondering how that translated into the current series for you.

    Bailey: I could see Knightley owning properties and still having an entire side-business that’s completely separate from this, but he just has other people who are delegated out to run those tasks. I don’t doubt that Knightley has multiple avenues of different revenue streams and people who work for him. I mean Knightley in the original book and some of the adaptations I’ve seen has seemed much more reserved and with a straight posture and very business man and very—I don’t want to say boring, but he’s just very…

    Sotomura: Composed?

    Bailey: Yeah, I think my version and then Paul Rudd’s version [from Clueless] is a much more playful, mellow version of Knightley, whereas the book and then the earlier adaptations is definitely more conservative Knightley, which I think makes him more relatable for our series because modern-day audiences relate more with the fun, everyday guy. Almost the way that Daniel [Gordh] played Darcy [in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries] is how I see how Knightley would have been. I love the way that Daniel did that, but for someone who’s on camera all the time with Emma, I don’t know if that would have translated as well for our show, to not have the kind of, like, fun with bantering.

    Sotomura: I think Knightley in our show needs to have a little bit of give with Emma’s push.

    Bailey: Right.

    Sotomura: I feel like if he were exactly like the book he’d have been a wall that she’s constantly hitting. He needs to have a little bit of sway.

    Bailey: Instead of bantering I could picture him just literally staring at her and then leaving the room!

    On fans who aren’t familiar with the story of Emma:

    What has their reaction been like so far?

    Sotomura: Well, I know at the beginning I think they were kind of shocked, because, you know, you had this super-relatable character of Lizzie Bennet, who you love instantly because you’re like, "Oh, I absolutely have been that girl." And then you have Emma, and you’re like, woah, because she’s so confident and vain and a little bit on her own high horse. So I know in the beginning, it was hard for them, especially if they hadn’t read the books, to understand where we were going with this character and what her evolution was going to be.

    But recently, from what I’ve seen, they seem to be really on-board and support the show and like her growth, especially after we had the scene with Emma and Elton, where she really gets put in her place and she gets fired from her first job, and has failed essentially for the first time. I think that was really nice for a lot of new fans to see that, oh, wait a minute, this isn’t a robot, this is a human person who is trying, and failing, and picking herself back up. They’ve been really supportive from what I’ve seen.

    Bailey: It’s interesting to see fans who haven’t read the books—as the series has progressed, they’ve definitely caught on. It’s funny, because you can see from their comments that they pretty much know what’s about to happen, even without having read the books. Like when that whole laptop thing came, I saw so many comments from people who read the book, and they were like, they knew exactly who it was from. They were just like, "No, it’s obvious, I can see it." I think the story is being told so well that even if you haven’t read it, you can kind of see what’s coming.

    And it’s kind of 50/50 on both sides. You get some people who’ve read the books who absolutely love the way we’re adapting it, and then you get some people who aren’t as thrilled. But I think it’s definitely more positive than negative, which has been wonderful.

    Has the success of Lizzie Bennet given you guys the ability to take more risks?

    Sotomura: I know that’s a big reason why Bernie Su set Emma up the way he did. It could have been just like Lizzie Bennet where it was more realistic. But Emma’s is more sitcom-y and procedural, definitely very colorful and stylistic. I think that’s the risk they took. They went, "We could do another Lizzie Bennet Diaries but with Emma, or we could try something different."

    Bailey: Bernie said he wanted to try something new and see if he could push the boundaries more, which is I think what he’s been doing, not only with the show, but also with the transmedia aspects of it. And then now getting into Emma having a real-life fundraiser that’s tying into the show. I think the biggest luxury we got from the Lizzie Bennet Diaries was having a giant fanbase that loved Jane Austen, which then was like, "Cool, we’re already on board." And then we got to take those fans onto the next show for us. And we’ve also had them have people go back and watch their show, so I think it’s been very mutually beneficial.

    On friends and frenemies

    One thing I love is how much Harriet has grown. Is that something that Dayeanne Hutton brought to the role or is that something that has been scripted along the way?

    Sotomura: I would definitely say both. I think the writers really wanted to see Harriet become her own character, not just Emma’s side project. That way it’s kind of a trifecta, with Emma, Knightley, and Harriet running [Emma’s business]. And then I think also Dayeanne has grown and evolved as her own person and her own actress, and just like me, as the series goes on, finding fun ways to play with the character you’ve been given. So I’d say it’s a nice combination of both.

    And like it sounds silly, but a big part of Emma Approved is actually the wardrobe as well. I know Bernie wanted to have it so that you could actually purchase the different items that the girls wear. Our stylist Jessica Snyder had it so that Harriet’s wardrobe also grew with the characters, so now she’s evolved and become her own stylist, but in a very Harriet Smith kind of way.

    Bailey: The writing, the styling, her hair and makeup, as well as her confidence that’s built throughout the series—the combination of all of them has had the most impact on the series in terms of visible growth. If you go back and watch the first episode she’s completely different than she is on the most recent one. I think it’s a perfect little combination of everybody’s hard work.

    In the original version, we had Mrs. Elton harping on Jane all the time and really being the social pressure that Jane has to react to. Without that, now it’s Emma that’s basically become that social pressure, and I think a lot of that facet of Mrs. Elton’s character has been put on Emma and their dynamic. How do you think that’s affecting their relationship and how you play Emma?

    Sotomura: It’s definitely true. It’s hard because you have to try to play that relationship where Emma’s putting that social pressure onto Jane, but also trying to find a genuine connection with her, which is two very polar opposite intentions. So it’s been difficult, but also fun to explore. It’s interesting, because you can tell Emma maintains that tiny bit of jealousy of Jane, because she sees Jane as that perfect model of a human without trying. And Emma’s like, "Well, I am, too, but just a little bit better!" So it’s definitely an interesting relationship.

    Bailey: I think it makes it interesting, too, because it keeps the relationship slightly friendly, but then also extremely competitive, which it’s fun to watch that go back and forth.

    Sotomura: Frenemies, would you say?

    Bailey: Frenemies.

    Sotomura: But only from Emma’s standpoint, because Jane I don’t think has any idea.

    Bailey: Jane’s kind of like Knightley.

    What, at this point in the series, are Alex’s thoughts on Frank Churchill?

    Bailey: Blehhhhh. I think Alex just thinks Frank Churchill in one word, would be ridiculous. He does look up to him from a business sense, that Frank is smart with his investments, his money, and he respects him on a work level. But I think that the way he holds himself and the way he acts around Emma is so completely unprofessional.

    Which I think is where some of his jealousy stems from, because in a way I think he kinds of envies him, that he can be so carefree. Because he’s just like, “No, you can’t act like that in a place of business!” So I think it’s like a healthy combination of jealousy mixed with respect.

    Sotomura: Like Jane and Emma!

    Bailey: It’s pretty similar to Jane and Emma. I think Knightley’s definitely more jealous of Frank. Just because he’s got way better style. His hair is beautiful. And he can just get away with anything and everybody always laughs. I can see Knightley trying to do that thing where he pokes his head in, and everyone would just be like, “...You’re weird.”

    There’s a healthy amount of jealousy there. But it’s good, because even for me personally, seeing how crazy Stephen will play Frank, it forces me to break out a little bit more to try to compete with that, and so I think that Knightley would do that from the same aspect: "All right, I’m going to be a little bit filthier, just so you still think I’m interesting, Emma."

    Sotomura: Aww.


    You guys have said in the past that you’re looking forward to the romantic elements. Why do you think they’ve never considered each other romantically before now, or have they?

    Bailey: I think they’ve been friends for so long they’ve just kind of formed that bond. Even if you had considered it, it wouldn’t be worth messing up the friendship, and now you have a business on top of it. I think Knightley’s logical mind is like, "All right, now we’ve got a friendship and a business, going into a relationship would just be an awful idea." I think it really takes that moment—obviously the pivotal point in the book—to break them out of their routines and make them take a hard look at what they really want out of life and each other, which makes them eventually do what they do. I would say spoiler alert, but you know exactly what happens. So I think it’s one of those things where they’ve shut off that emotion completely towards each other. They still have that flirty, good chemistry, but it’s always like, well, she’s my best friend. So it’s when they decide to change from being best friends to embracing that they’re best friends and using that as a beneficial point of their relationship.

    Sotomura: And I think, for Emma, too, she’s not used to losing things. She’s used to getting everything she wants and then keeping it and having it and just dictating a lot of aspects of her life. I think Knightley falls into that category. I think she’s so used to having him there, as a brother figure, as a friend, as a business partner, that she doesn’t realize how much she really cares about him until there’s a possibility that he could be gone.

    Bailey: You don’t realize what you have ’til it’s gone.

    Sotomura: I mean, it’s exactly that, but and especially for a girl like Emma, you don’t have to just realize it, you almost have to take it away in order for her to be like, “Wait a minute!” and then realize this entire time that it’s something she not only loves but desperately needs in her life. “It” being Knightley. So I think she just never considered the possibility of not having him there.

    Bailey: I think that’s why Emma’s so good at being alone. It’s because she’s never actually alone. She’s always got those qualities you want in a relationship within Knightley. Which I think helps with her confidence, because then, she’s not even technically single. She has a business partner and such a strong relationship with Alex that it fills a lot of things that everybody wants to feel, having that closeness.

    Do you think Alex has ever thought of that in that specific way? Why would I need to get married?

    Bailey: He’s got kind of a great setup, but he’s got this perfect best friend there, and they have their own drama for their own reasons, but they don’t have relationship problems. They just have the really great parts of the friendship. So he’s like, “Why would we mess this up? If we’ve got something really great going, why would we complicate it?”

    Sotomura: But after awhile you realize you need love in your life. I think they both kind of break eventually and realize that friendship can only go so far.

    Bailey: I think you can only get so much fulfillment from a friendship and from a relationship you can get so much more. And I don’t think at the time Knightley or Emma really feels like they need that, and then when they lose each other, they realize they do.

    Emma Approved updates twice a week on YouTube. Start watching here.

    Screengrabs by Aja Romano

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    Warning: This article contains minor spoilers for Orphan Black.

    What’s better than watching Tatiana Maslany dance as all her clone counterparts on the Orphan Black finale this season? A young child donning all the appropriate outfits, hairstyles, and dance moves to recreate the iconic scene.

    For those unfamiliar, BBC America’s Orphan Black is a show that deals with (basic spoiler alert!) a group of clones, all played by Critics Choice Award-winner Maslany. That’s right, she plays all of the clones, who are all main characters with their own styles, characteristics, and mannerisms. The more you watch, the more you can’t believe that Maslany is all these characters, but it’s true. Since Masalay plays everyone—this past season saw a clone cast of five—she has to play scenes against herself in every episode, usually two or three at a time. In the season 2 finale, the show decided to ambitiously feature a four-clone scene, but instead of the show’s usually tense clone-on-clone moments, they went the more hilarious route of an all-out dance party. The cast and crew documented the challenging two-day shoot on the BBC America YouTube channel.

    Inspired by the original, youngster Cynthia Galant made her own four-clone dance party video, and it’s adorable. Galant’s got all the clones down—Helena’s headbanging, Alison’s reserved rock-out, and Cosima’s raver style included. She even threw in a prim and proper Rachel in the final frame.

    And, spoiler alert again, if you recognize Galant, that’s because she plays the younger version of the clones on the show (she’s been seen as young Rachel and the newly introduced Charlotte). Writes her father Alexander in the YouTube description, “Cynthia had a blast doing it and now has a whole new respect for Tatiana's hair, make-up and wardrobe change overs.” That just makes this even cuter.

    Screengrab via Alexander Galant/YouTube

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    A magician might never reveal his tricks, but one voice actor is willing to break down the process of voicing one of animation’s most iconic characters.

    Granted, Bob Bergen didn’t create the voice of Porky Pig—Joe Dougherty, who actually had a stutter, and later Mel Blanc, made it a Looney Tunes staple—but in a clip from the documentary I Know That Voice, he demonstrates and deconstructs what makes Porky’s voice Porky’s, and how he went from being the butt of jokes to a more “heroic figure.”

    It’s not as easy as it looks, especially when Bergen strings it all together in a sentence.

    Bergen has been voicing Porky since 1990, so he’s got the character down solid. And despite how much we try, we still probably won’t get it as good as him.

    And that’s all, folks.

    Photo via Matt Hilton/YouTube

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    Years from now, when anthropologists study our society and the phenomenon of “thirst” that has overtaken the millennial generation, they will trace the outbreak to Zac Efron. The hysterical cries of “I literally can’t” will be documented as coming from the mouths of those watching videos of Efron dancing.

    His dance moves, now more Magic Mike than High School Musical, aren’t just for show; they’re part of the gross domestic product. It was only a few months ago he was giving lap dances to the cast of Workaholics to promote his new film Neighbors—a stunt that worked, with the film raking in a domestic total of almost $150 million.

    Currently, Efron is showcasing his body rolls and booty shaking on Instagram, partying with some rich Italian dude named Gianluca Vacchi, Michelle Rodriguez, and choreographer Youssef Giga. 

    May the bounty that is Efron dancing to popular hip-hop on Instagram never end.

    H/T Vulture | Photo via 23165290@N00/Flickr (CC By 2.0)


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    He's been nominated for an Emmy and an Annie for his work on Cartoon Network's Adventure Time and his own Clarence. But Skyler Page's career may be at a standstill after a number of colleagues spoke openly on Twitter about claims that he harassed at least one woman in his animation team.

    Cartoon Brew is reporting that Cartoon Network has fired Page less than a day after colleagues in the industry came forward on Twitter to publicly allege that he harassed one of their own: Emily Partridge, a storyboard artist who worked with Page while storyboarding Adventure Time.

    Comic artist Maré Odomo tweeted the allegation about Page on June 30th without naming Partridge.

    Her tweet came a day after Partridge independently began tweeting about the assault. Both Odomo and Partridge were accused of fabricating the incident; Odomo was additionally accused of libeling Page.

    The flurry of accusations leveled at Odomo prompted Partridge to name the assault perpetrator.

    Before she came forward, Partridge spoke about how intimidating she found the prospect of speaking out publicly about the assault.

    When she finally did, however, she was joined not only by Odomo but by Regular Show storyboard artist Ryan Pequin:

    In the wake of Partridge's naming of her assailant, at least one person implied that they had been aware of Page's behavior in the past:

    Both Partridge and Pequin stressed that she was being given support from others in the industry

    Although Cartoon Network did not return the Daily Dot's request for comment, a representative told Cartoon Brew that "Skyler Page is no longer an employee at Cartoon Network Studios."

    Meanwhile, Patrick Harpin, head of story on Clarence, took to Tumblr to urge fans not to take their anger out on the show itself:

    I was Head of Story on “Clarence” from the beginning.

    Obviously Skyler Page sexually assaulted a female artist at CN. Skyler’s a piece of shit, and CN should give him the boot. Emily Partridge is one bad-ass chick for standing up to a guy who a lot of people wanted to cover up for. Skyler’s asshole behavior (though not yet sexual assault) was the main reason I quit the show more than a year ago.

    I can’t imagine how fans of the show are feeling right now. But the reason you like Clarence, in spite of it’s creator, is because the “creator” had very little to do with the show. Despite what it says in the credits, Skyler never wrote a single episode of Clarence. It was created by the writers (me and Spencer Rothbell) and the talented board artists (people like Charlie Gavin, Derek & Diana). We took Skyler’s idea of “a fat dumb kid” and made a character out of it. Skyler mostly “kept the couch from floating away”, and read whatever lines we gave him. There’s been enough victims of Skyler Page, don’t punish the talented crew that actually raised Clarence.

    Partridge meanwhile criticized Cartoon Brew, apparently for using her photograph in their article about Page's firing without first seeking her permission. 

    Photo via mustache----cash----stash/Tumblr

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    With July Fourth already upon us, we turn to our trusty companion, YouTube, to help us plan the perfect last-minute party with patriotic themes. You can paint your nails in a patriotic fashion, dip-dye some shorts into an American flag, or make an Americana wreath, but people only really care about three key things at your Fourth of July party: drinks, grilling, and dessert. For that, YouTube is here to help.

    Step 1: Drinks

    Layered cocktails

    Bethany Motta’s lifestyle channel Bethany’s Life teaches us the fine art of color layering beverages to give you a red, white, and blue appeal. This video isn’t much for making special drinks (cranberry, Sprite, and Gatorade isn’t really our drink of choice) but does give you the key to success with any layered drink choice: Layering is based on sugar content in the drinks. Drinks with the most sugar go at the bottom! 

    Americana Jell-O shots

    This plays on the same principals of the layered drinks, but requires patience, as you need to give the Jell-O time to set between layers. For an extra treat that'll send your party to the next level, the middle is a panna cotta instead of just more jello. Top it off with a cherry and include alcohol of your choosing if you’re of age.

    Step 2: Food (Savory)

    BBQ sundaes

    We’ll admit these don’t look cute at all, but show us a YouTuber who can make beans, meat, and coleslaw look cute in a mug and we’ll applaud them. These sundaes are functional though, and a great way to avoid overusing paper plates or doing the pesky "balance your plate on top of a drink" dance. Handles are essential. Who cares if it’s cute; it’s tasty.

    Bacon steak rolls

    There’s no better way to say "America" than by taking steak and wrapping it in bacon and throwing it on a grill. Deceptively easy to make, they're served in hot dog buns, making them the classier alternative to your typical burgers and brats.

    Patriotic cheese and fruit spread

    Ann Lee (Anneorshine) has a healthier take on your Fourth with a fruit and cheese plate that evokes the colors of America. Strawberries, blueberries, and a mild white cheese (cut into stars for maximum patriotic effect) come together to form a flag that your friends will immediately destroy as they devour the snacks, but hopefully not before you snap some Instagram pictures. This incredibly simple idea is perfect for the last-minute party planner.

    Step 3: Food (sweet)

    Chocolate flag pretzels

    Rosanna Pansino believes that you’ve got pastry bags lying around for your Fourth of July soiree, so let’s pretend. These chocolate flag pretzels are for the more artsy among us who can draw straight lines with melted chocolate and have the patience for icing individual square pretzels into American flags. Let’s all aspire to have it this together for next year.

    Captain America ice cream sandwiches

    Pansino also gives us something both nerdy and patriotic, and we love it. Plus you get to roll colored cookie dough into shapes that look like those store-bought cookie dough rolls and impress your friends with your mad baking skills.

    American bald eagle cake

    If you’re as good as the folks Gastro Lab and can draw a bald eagle on a cake, what are you even doing reading this list? Can we come to your party?

    Photo via Brandon Zeman/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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    Guardians of the Galaxy is here to tell you that planet Earth is a pile of crap.

    The new viral marketing site takes the form of a travel agency called Galaxy Getaways, giving details of various alien locations featured in the movie.

    “Hawaii. Tahiti. The Bahamas,” intones the Galaxy Getaways YouTube commercial. “Some of the most beautiful destinations on Earth... look like sh*t compared to the rest of the galaxy.”

    Galaxy Getaways flies you from your earthbound home to one of three planets: Morag, Knowhere, or Xandar, where you can explore a few scenes using Street View.

    Morag is a desolate wasteland with some ancient alien ruins, Xandar is a luxurious but overly sanitized resort planet (home to the galactic police force Nova Corps, headed up by Glenn Close), and Knowhere is a classic sci-fi mining town full of dive bars.

    Is it just us, or have viral marketing sites really upped their game this year? The X-Men: Days of Future Past sites practically had better worldbuilding than the movie itself, and the Hunger GamesCapitol Couture magazine is knocking it out of the park. It takes a lot to make you ignore the fact that these sites are all just cynical advertising ploys, but somehow, more and more movies are managing it.

    Photo via Marvel

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    What’s the deal with cocaine? Just ask anyone on Joel McHale’s answer to Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

    The original Jerry Seinfeld web series is well into its fourth season on Crackle where he and his guests drive around in fancy cars and talk intimately about comedy and their careers while sharing a cup of joe together. It’s a well-oiled machine, even when the guest isn’t necessarily a comedian, but it can also be a bit absurd at times.

    McHale, who already perfectly skeweredTrue Detective on The Soup, didn’t want to stick to the caffeinated stuff in his own CICGC parody. But instead of sticking to the caffeinated stuff, he and guest Tony Hale went with something a little more jolting—and illegal.

    It rings just like a regular episode of CICGC from the old car to the focus on Hale’s work on Arrested Development and Veep with lots of talk about cocaine, but it quickly escalates into a drug deal gone wrong. But a host has to do his job. He’s just along for the ride.

    Screenshot via WatchTheSoup/YouTube

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    Fourth of July falling on a weekend offers a chance for America’s favorite pastime: binging. Sure, you could watch Orange Is the New Black a third time. No one’s judging. But here are 10 other Web-bred series you might have missed.

    The Program

    OK, this actually just debuted this week, but it’s Maria Bamford’s new series about gambling addicts, so you know it will be good.  

    Sound Advice

    Much like Lisa Kudrow’s clueless therapist in Web Therapy, SNL’s Vanessa Bayer makes things weird as the world’s worst media coach to the stars. Watch and rewatch the episode where she rips apart boy band The Wanted.

    The Untitled Webseries That Morgan Evans Is Doing

    MTV just picked up comedian Evans’s YouTube series, which will debut in the fall on Catch up on the 15-episode series now.  

    Burning Love

    A parody of The Bachelor, with The State’s Ken Marino as the bachelor in question, and an amazing array of comedic talent (Natasha Leggero, June Diane Raphael) as his broken potential life partners. It simultaneously critiques and lampoons the sexist foundation of the real show, and the “reality” of dating shows. It will see its spiritual bookend on July 15, when Hulu’s original series The Hotwives of Orlando debuts.

    Broad City

    Before Comedy Central, Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson were on YouTube for two seasons. While you wait for season two of the Comedy Central show, catch up on their origin story. The season one finale is the perfect critique of summer street harassment. (Side note: It’s the 25th anniversary of Do the Right Thing, so watch that too.)

    Call the Midwife

    I understand these are all very funny webseries, so if you want to take it down a notch, this show about nurses saving babies in London’s East End during the ‘50s  is available on PBS’ website. (Side note: On Golden Pond is currently on Netflix, if you want to keep the tears coming.)

    High Maintenance

    To come off that Call the Midwife train, go with the low-key humor of High Maintenance, which Vimeo just announced as its new original programming. Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair wrote and produced the series, which uses a weed dealer to tell the stories of different characters living in NYC.

    Awkward Black Girl

    Issa Rae’s wonderful webseries tells the story of J, as she navigates the day-to-day life of a working woman. Rae also produced the webseries Little Horribles, which is binge-worthy on its own.

    Upright Citizens Brigade

    The show that gave us Amy Poehler still holds up, and it crossed the important comedic divide of 1998-2000. Find it on Hulu.

    Out With Dad

    This Canadian series documents the life of teenager Rose as she comes out to her father, Nathan. It also offers the foundation for real-life discussions between kids and parents.

    Bonus: This clip from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia:

    Screengrab via Broad City/YouTube 

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    Hollywood studios are reportedly suing 15 South Koreans who dared to create homemade subtitles for television shows.

    According to the Korea Times, the country's oldest English-language paper, six American television studios, including Warner Bros. and 20th Centrury Fox, have hired a local law firm to sue the alleged rogue subtitlers for violating the studios' copyright of subtitles. One officer told the Times that the studios believed the group to be facilitating some of the most-pirated of their shows in the country.

    Koreans who create their own subtitles without permission face up to five years in jail or a fine of up to 50 million won, according to the Times.

    A quick perusal of Reddit's r/Korea shows it's apparently quite easy for Korean speakers to get translation for the American media they love. Websites like Filenori allow users to simply download a file that inserts subtitles into corresponding shows.

    Warner Bros. didn't respond to the Daily Dot's request for comment, and 20th Century Fox was closed for the 4th of July.

    Illustration by Jason Reed

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    Here’s an appropriate teaser for Fourth of July weekend: the trailer for the long-awaited Jimi Hendrix biopic, starring Outkast’s André Benjamin, a.k.a. André 3000.

    All Is by My Side, which was written and directed by 12 Years a Slave screenwriter John Ridley, debuts Sept. 26, and tells the story of the legendary musician’s time in London, from 1966 to 1967. During that time, he recorded his debut album, Are You Experienced, and played an incendiary set at the Monterey Pop Festival. Benjamin reportedly even learned to play the guitar left-handed, like Hendrix.

    And to celebrate Fourth of July, let's all watch this again: 

    Screengrab via Katrina Wan PR/YouTube

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    If you’ve had “Hooked On A Feeling” stuck in your head recently, it’s probably because of Guardians of the Galaxy

    GotG has already invited plenty of comparisons to Star Wars, but one of most significant differences is its soundtrack, which is almost entirely composed of 1960s and ‘70s pop tracks. This music choice was an unexpectedly brilliant decision, because it makes the GotG trailers way more memorable than they otherwise would have been. It’s not often that you see a sci-fi movie where the space travel scenes are backed by cheesy pop music. 

    As we explained in our guide to the Guardians of the Galaxy, the main human character in the movie is a guy named Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) who left Earth as a child. One of the few things he has to remind him of home is an old mixtape titled “Awesome Mix Vol. 1,” full of songs by artists like David Bowie, Blue Suede, and the Jackson 5. 

    Peter Quill’s childhood mixtape is being released as the movie’s soundtrack album later this month, but MTV has put together a Spotify playlist to tide you over until then.

    Chris Pratt listened to nothing but this playlist the entire time he was filming GotG, so he’s probably heartily sick of all these songs by now. Many fans will take a leaf out of his book and listen to "Awesome Mix Vol. 1" on repeat from now until the movie comes out. But in a way this soundtrack album is almost a spoiler in itself. We suspect that it will sound way better after you’ve seen the movie, because then it won’t ruin any surprises. 

    Photo via flicksandbits

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    YouTuber Davie504 is the bass whisperer, able to summon lines from Mortal Kombat and Zelda with ease. He recently took it a step further, and attempted a medley of 100 bass lines.

    Hearing them stitched together in medley form, it’s interesting how the bass lines evolved and and crossed genres. The transition from Pink Floyd’s “Money” to The Beatles’ “Come Together” is especially illuminating. The usual suspects are there—Chic, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Parliament Funkadelic—but there are some deep cuts too. He should collaborate with this guy

    Screengrab via Davie504/YouTube

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    After much flak from the independent music community, YouTube has stalled plans to force indie labels to join their streaming service or find themselves blocked on the platform. 

    When the Google-owned company announced its intentions in June, YouTube’s head of content and business operations Robert Kyncl said the blocking could start “in a matter of days." Now a new report from the Financial Times indicates that YouTube"is allowing more time to negotiate a solution with labels, although it still intends to block them if they cannot reach agreement."

    Impala, on behalf of independent music companies, has asked the European Commission to examine whether Google was abusing its market position in the small-label negotiations.

    "YouTube is insisting on extracting a package of rights that no other partner could get away with," Impala said in its official complaint. 

    YouTube’s negotiations with the independent labels relate to its plans to launch subscription-based streaming services to compete with Spotify and Amazon. So far 95 percent of the industry, including the big three labels Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music. Indie labels holding out on signing the deal include XL Recordings and Domino. Big-name musicians fall under these labels, including Adele, the xx, and Arctic Monkeys, all of whom would be blocked from YouTube if deals don’t come through.

    There’s no indication as to how long YouTube is allowing for further negotiations on the deals, but for now your favorite Adele tracks are sticking around.

    Screengrab via AdeleVEVO/YouTube

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    Pop music and money have always been closely intertwined, especially since the former, done right, can lead to the latter in massive quantities. From “Money” to “All About the Benjamins,” there's a long tradition of making music that's about, well, money, Benjamins, dollar dollar bills, Euros, Yen, ducats—all kinds of currency. With the exception of weird fantasy epics and allegorical protest songs about capitalism, however, music about money tends to usually be about real forms of money.

    There's some new money in town, though, and it's the hottest thing since Beanie Babies. For those of you who have been living under a rock, it's called Bitcoin, and it has a lot of ardent fans who are convinced it's the answer to many of our global economic woes. Some of these fans are so ardent, they've recorded music about Bitcoin, the same way, say, T.I. and Young Thug recently made a song "About the Money." Is this music any good? I wanted to know, so I tracked down as much Bitcoin music as I could and listened to it all.

    To understand the merits of various songs about Bitcoin, though, it's probably important to understand a little bit about how Bitcoin works and why it inspires both so much devotion and so much mockery. Bitcoin is a digital cryptocurrency, which, at the time of this writing, is trading for around $650 per Bitcoin, or BTC. There are a finite amount of Bitcoins out there, and new ones are generated through a process of “mining”: Essentially, computers compete to solve an extremely complicated mathematical puzzle and unlock the next “block,” which contains a record of recent transactions, a bunch of bitcoins, and a puzzle that launches the next block. Because of the way it's designed, Bitcoin is anonymous (and therefore impossible to track), immune to duplicate transactions, and completely outside of any government regulation.

    bitcoin troll dance

    Animation via Zhou Tonged on YouTube

    Due to these qualities, it's popular among people trading illicit goods (its main use for years was on the black market exchange Silk Road) and among people who don't trust the government, particularly those who are convinced of an impending global economic collapse triggered by hyperinflantion due to the use of fiat currency (a.k.a. regular money that isn't tied to an actual object, like gold). Due to these qualities, Bitcoin also has a reputation of being an obsession of Libertarian message board nerds who have a complete misunderstanding of both economics and overall human society. It tends to get mocked due to the extreme volatility of Bitcoin's real world value. Are these critiques warranted? You listen to these songs and tell me. To improve comprehension, here's a short glossary of key terms:

    Satoshi Nakamoto: The pseudonym of the anonymous figure who pioneered Bitcoin and coded the original algorithm, who is regarded by some (based on these songs at least), as a bit of a minor deity.

    Block chain: The chain of officially discovered blocks and, thus, the official record of all transactions. Occasionally, the block chain might split into different paths, causing a fork, which eventually must get resolved back into one official block chain to avoid duplicate transactions.

    Read the full story on Noisey.

    Screengrab via Laura Saggers/YouTube

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    There’s a dark horse in the race for song of the summer—a complete unknown racking up rewards points by way of SoundCloud mileage. Ryn Weaver’s electro-pop ballad “OctaHate” has enjoyed more than 750,000 plays since its June 24 debut, topping Billboard’s Emerging Artists chart in the process. Credit well-connected collaborators, what is almost surely a fake indie label, and, sure, a pleasant, resonating chorus.

    The track's success is easily linked to a bevy of prominent collaborators—co-writer Charli XCX, Passion Pit singer Michael Angelakos, Norway’s DJ Cashmere Cat, Midas Touch producer Benny Blanco (who’s written for Maroon 5 and Ke$ha). But Weaver ardently downplays major label involvement, citing an organic, yearlong friendship with Blanco as the driving force behind the amalgamation of hitmakers.

    It's a smart preemptive strike, a glad-handing campaign of social media transparency that undermines the Internet at large’s Lana Del Rey-recalling, pitchfork-wielding quest to uncover the smoking men with briefcases who orchestrated sudden fame. We’re friends. This is a passion project. You can’t imagine how much fun we’re having.

    Weaver—formerly actress Aryn Wuthrich—even took to Stereogum’s comments section to defend herself from the skepticism and snark. She credits her big break to a chance meeting at a cocktail party:

    "hehe that would be nice to have some major label money. Actually, i met benny [Blanco] at a party a year back and showed him my sound cloud . . . [Benny] had already been working with cashmere cat a bit… and he showed michael some of my music that I had produced and written on my own … and we all kinda just started to make some music."

    Weaver also says she flew back and forth between New York and Los Angeles to record “OctaHate.”

    Here she is two months ago with Blanco and British singer-songwriter Jessie Ware.

    In 24 hours, as Mic points out, Ware, Charli XCX, and Hayley Williams tweeted hearty endorsements for Weaver’s “OctaHate.” The crew love was good for 100,000 plays on opening day.

    For her part, Weaver has been earnestly exuberant about her streak of good fortune, hanging out backstage at Bonnaroo and kickin’ it like the charismatic new kid that she is.

    What makes her ascent questionable isn’t that Weaver’s name was made so abruptly. Jennifer Lopez couldn’t sell a CD if it was sold by area Girls Scouts and included Thin Mints; the game needs to trot out alternative business models.

    Make no mistake: “OctaHate” isn’t popular because famous and connected people worked out a hot sound and then sent Japanese lanterns of goodwill floating into the Twittersphere. What happened was the right people got “OctaHate” into the right inboxes (Fader, Stereogum, BuzzFeed).

    Weaver’s public relations are managed by industry titan Sacks & Co. This PR firm works with artists like David Byrne, Julian Casablancas, and Emmylou Harris. They presumably do not work for free. Weaver’s PR representative Reid Kutrow has not responded to a request for comment, but to be fair, it’s a holiday week.

    Consider the case of Fall Out Boy. Ten years ago the band was paraded around American punk clubs and released material under indie label Fueled by Ramen. 2003’s Take This To Your Grave remains a headrush of pop-punk theatrics. Unfortunately, Fueled by Ramen operated under the watchful eye of Island/Def Jam, and that bubbling emo scene was basically a grapefruit league for the majors. It wasn’t very punk, but it did involve an inordinate amount of live performances, risk-taking, and research to see what actually resonated within the circuit. 

    Weaver is “signed” to Friends Keep Secrets, either a winking front for larger players or the most poorly run indie label in America. It has a Twitter page with fewer than 100 followers. It has a dead Tumblr page. It makes an aggressive point to not promote anything. (Perhaps unsurprisingly, Friends Keep Secrets couldn't be reached for comment.)

    The handle follows—and is followed by—Blanco, Ware, and several artist managers including Blanco’s Andrew Luftman. Its logo was drawn by New York City artist Todd James. Its first public tweet was retweeted by Blanco.

    Whatever is going on, it's almost certainly not a face-value surge. We all love that great The Devil Wears Prada speech where Meryl Streep goes off on Anne Hathaway’s blue sweater and debunks the notion of unique taste because everything comes from people that market things. But the notion that Weaver’s ascent stems from an organic groundswell without a serious, covert public relations push is insultingly dishonest.

    Photo via Instagram/Ryn Weaver 

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