After tackling newspaper journalism with a Margaret Thatcher op-ed for The Guardian, Russell Brand has moved on to dominating television journalism as well. A video captures Brand eviscerating the hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe for essentially laughing at him to his face during an interview. Co-host Mika Brzezinski and panelists Katty Kay and Brian Shactman appear visibly nervous about interviewing the loquacious British comedian. Brzezinski starts the segment by admitting she's never heard of Brand, because she’s “not very pop-cultured.” The anchors titter about Brand’s outfit, whisper “uh-oh” after he mentions Americans are free to wear what they want, inexplicably plug the musical Kinky Boots, and appear shocked that Brand is able to give a coherent explanation for name of his new comedy tour, The Messiah Complex.
The hosts then proceed to complaining that it’s impossible to understand Brand’s accent, snicker that he'll never give them a serious answer (after he's just given one), and refer to him repeatedly in the third person. After smiling through several minutes of condescension, Brand points out, “You are talking about me as if I’m not here, and as if I’m an extraterrestrial.” Perhaps ...
World War II changed production in Hollywood, with the government taking tighter control to ensure a supportive home front and producing pro-Allies propaganda. But until now the narrative has been that Jack Warner and other studio heads opposed the Nazis out of a moral imperative. Ben Urwand, a musician and currently a member of Harvard’s Society Of Fellows, alleges the opposite in his new book The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact With Hitler. Working from archival documents unearthed in Berlin and Washington, D.C., Urwand’s evidence is stunning, and this profile in Tablet gives a brief glimpse into his detailed account of the specific communications between Jewish Hollywood executives and the Third Reich in order to “wish to 'keep the German market safe for American movies.'” Contrary to books that didn’t have this new evidence, like Thomas Doherty’s Hollywood And Hitler, 1933-1939, Warner Bros. and other studios were ousted from Germany because they couldn’t hold the rigid standard of the Nazi regime:
“During the 1930s, Georg Gyssling, Hitler’s consul in Los Angeles, was invited to preview films before they were released. If Gyssling objected to any part of a movie—and he frequently did—the ...
Get Self-Involved, Internet: James Franco seeks $500,000 to fund James Franco films based on James Franco's book
As the mayor of Gay Town, James Franco is imbued with a sense of civic duty that demands he reach out to his community, ensuring its every basic human need for James Franco’s art is met. Too often, however, bureaucracy can only leave art’s myriad dildos wrapped in red tape (and not even just for “Red-Tape Dildo No. 2,” debuting at the MoMA later this month). And in these occasionally desperate times, Franco must reasonably petition Gay Town's good citizens for their support, especially seeing as the Red Cross is too busy with hurricanes or whatever.
That’s why Franco has turned to Indiegogo to ask for $500,000 to complete his latest endeavor: a series of three films to be adapted from James Franco’s Palo Alto, a short-story collection James Franco loosely based on James Franco’s life in James Franco’s hometown. In addition to sheltering yet more of the world beneath the all-encompassing Franco umbrella, the project has some additional charitable angles. First, it will help to develop the careers of four directors Franco handpicked from NYU to make James Franco films. Second, any and all profits from the films will go to ...
In what has to be the biggest boon to science since the invention of the gorilla detector, artist Mike Boon has scientifically classified The Muppets. His Periodic Table Of Muppets works simply as pop art, with each character reduced to a basic color scheme, a two-letter abbreviation, and a set of googly eyes. It's a credit to the iconic nature of the characters that most of them are immediately recognizable, and it's a credit to Boon that he went deeper than simply drawing the characters as squares. Each square is organized by the character's first appearance (the Sam And Friends characters, including Kermit, take up the hydrogen/helium top tier of the chart), and principal puppeteer.
With the Kanye West machine in overdrive this week—Yeezus officially comes out today, perhaps you've heard—some things were bound to go slightly off the rails. The album is audacious and a little scary, not unlike Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho, and its filmic companion, directed by Mary Harron. In some sort of homage to the film's Huey Lewis scene, Kardashian adjuncts Jonathan Cheban and Scott Disick star in this commercial—uh, short film—to promote the record. They are not good actors, and this video doesn't do the album any favors. Couldn't he have just written some lyrics about Patrick Bateman? The rhyme possibilities are endless.
Read This: Economist Alan Krueger explains income inequality and the middle class using rock and roll
Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Alan Krueger delivered remarks last week at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. The speech, entitled “Land Of Hope And Dreams: Rock And Roll, Economics, And Rebuilding The Middle Class” began by introducing the rock and roll industry as a microcosm for the US economy over the past three decades.
Krueger’s example begins by saying that the music industry has dealt with a significant lean toward a “winner-take-all” economy that significantly favors the top percentage of performers, and goes on to examine concert price inflation as a measure of that inequality. Concert prices have risen nearly 400% in the last 30 years, compared to 150% consumer price inflation—a rise attributed to technology evening the playing field in recorded music, and the difficulty in policing unauthorized reproductions. The top artists take back the lost revenue with inflated concert prices, which then squeezes out other artists who make a smaller percentage of revenue due to smaller audiences.
The most refreshing bit of analysis Krueger provides is a lengthy sidebar incorporating luck into the equation, and how much that unknowable aspect plays into popularity and profitability. He cites a fascinating ...
Insane new video finds Chris Brown singing with a holographic Aaliyah, bringing together Bloods and Crips
Though Drake is allegedly making an album with Aaliyah, his sparring partner Chris Brown has gone ahead and released a single with her ghost. The clip for “Don’t Think They Know” finds Brown playing peacemaker between Bloods and Crips in Los Angeles (because that could totally happen) and singing aside a holographic version of the late Aaliyah. Brown even drops a grammatically incorrect and vaguely motivational quote at the beginning of the clip, saying that “Unity is what we are afraid of so fear is insanity, lets love each other.” As if all that weren’t ridiculous enough, a guy who looks suspicious like Drake even pops up, reminding the world that, in fact, Brown doesn’t give a fuck about being a peacemaker.
“Don’t Think They Know” is off X, Brown’s new album due out July 16.
Troy McClure is the most beloved peripheral character in the Simpsons canon, and with good reason. The character was retired after Phil Hartman’s tragic death in 1998, largely confining McClure’s appearances to the “Golden Age” of the show. But the enduring hilarity of McClure’s varied and lamentable filmography is a wonder to behold, especially when strung together in a two-minute montage of 47 educational and promotional film McClure mentions on the show. Watch the clip, and imagine just how hilarious films like Man Vs. Nature: The Road To Victory, Alice Doesn’t Live Anymore, and The Greatest Story Ever Hula-ed would be.
Seattle-based Rose Windows just signed to Sub Pop earlier this year and already the group’s first album is on the immediate horizon. The otherworldly septet’s The Sun Dogs is a fusion of The Band, Eastern European music, and Black Sabbath. All of that might sound a little weird, but it works, and the full-length is due out June 25. Regular schmucks might have to wait to pick up the record, but The A.V. Club is streaming it in its entirety below. For smitten parties, the record is available now for pre-order via Sub Pop’s site.
With over 4 million articles, Wikipedia is an invaluable resource, whether you're throwing a term paper together at the last minute, or running down the list of Quiddich teams so you can decide who to support. But follow enough links, and you get sucked into some seriously strange places. We explore some of Wikipedia's oddities in our 4,257,369-week series, Wiki Wormhole.
This Week's Entry: List of Chairs
What It's About: You may not give much thought to the humble chair, but someone out there has, compiling a list of over 130 types of chair. Designs range from the Watchman's Chair, built with a forward slant so the watchman in question doesn't fall asleep; to the Fighting Chair (less exciting than it sounds), used by fisherman for extra leverage against a strong catch; to the Poofbag Chair, a foam-filled beanbag chair and a missed opportunity for whichever Arrested Development writer feeds Tobias his lines.
Strangest Fact: Ikea once sold an inflatable chair upholstered with fabric. It didn't last.
Controversy: Wiki user Toyokuni3 says of the barrel chair, "i doubt very seriously that the furniture in this image is 'restored'. it's almost ...
Patton Oswalt hasn't historically been shy when it comes to expressing his thoughts on comedy—he's an expert, after all. And he tends not to keep quiet when bullshit infects his world, like when a college valedictorian stole his bit, or when he got into a skirmish with a lady recording his show after being asked not to. (And here's an old argument Patton had with David Cross right here on The A.V. Club back in 2008!)
Earlier today, Oswalt posted a massive piece of writing broken into three chunks, in which he offers his take on comedians who steal jokes (and the public that doesn't care), a worldwide misperception about the shittiness of heckling, and rape jokes. Any sort of summation can't really do his 6000 words justice, but it's an absolutely worthwhile read from a guy who—as he points out—knows what he's talking about when it comes to these subjects. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll get an admission, you'll get some learnin'. And then you'll tell us that we pay too much attention to Patton Oswalt, though somewhere lurking in your brain you ...
Mavis Staples performed songs from the upcoming One True Vine on The Daily Show Wednesday night. Her latest album was produced by Wilco's Jeff Tweedy and is due out June 25.The soul veteran performed "Can You Get to That" with a sweet, ethnically diverse backing vocal section. There's also a video of here performing "I Like the Things About Me" and being cute with John Oliver here.
If you liked those, just imagine how much more magical they would sound in real life in Chicago September 6 and 7 at A.V. Fest!
Accused woman-hater Taylor Swift has been the target of multiple feminist blogs and magazines. Some claim she doesn't know what feminism even is. Most of her songs center around relationships and heartbreak, which is hardly feminist fodder. Some of her biggest hits were even co-written by a 41-year-old man.
So, naturally, someone created a Twitter account turning her anti-woman lyrics into 140 characters of lady empowerment. It's funny stuff, but knowing Swift, she'll probably blame an evil brunette.
Like all of the late-night talk shows, David Letterman hosts bands all the time on Late Night. But unlike other hosts, Letterman has a keen interest in the drums, specifically any set with a nicely painted or lacquered finish. The late-night host is a drummer himself, and seems totally unaffected by how awkward lead singers look when he talks to a drummer first. The CBC took note of Letterman’s perpetual interest in percussion equipment, putting together a montage of all the different drummers Letterman has made a beeline for following a band’s performance to ask, "Those your drums?" He passes right over everyone else to talk directly to drummers for The Strokes, Beach House, Guided By Voices, St. Vincent, Arctic Monkeys, TV On The Radio, and many others. (You can see the full list of bands on the CBC Music YouTube page.) He’s complimentary about setup and appearance, always sure to inquire whether the drummer owns the kit or merely rented it for the performance. And lest you think Letterman only has eyes for some nice floor toms, he inquires about other unique percussion instruments for Paul Shaffer to use, compliments Dave Grohl's guitar, and singles ...
Are the Fast and Furious movies perhaps too fast and too furious for your liking? Did you watch The French Connection, and say "this is great, but I wish all the cars in it were toy cars?" Then YouTube user LUXE37 has a treat for you. He (or she, but let's face it, he) has posted several 3-minute stop motion car chase movies, compete with rough storylines and '70s-cop-movie-appropriate sound effects. While the chases are more exciting than they have any right to be, with squealing tires, crashes, and the occasional explosion, the thing that makes the whole enterprise work is the smaller, quiet moments—a police car pulling into a gas station before peeling out in hot pursuit, or fire trucks lined up at the station, just waiting for the call. That, my friends, is acting.
The newly released trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug has inspired a lot of reactions: excitement over Orlando Bloom’s return, disappointment over the lack of Benedict Cumberbatch’s dulcet tones, confusion over how the rest of the relatively short novel can be divided into two more feature length films. Uberfans Kellie and Alex of TheOneRing.net filmed their reaction to watching the trailer for the first time (which involves a lot of screaming, jumping, and hugging), and now there is a video of some of the film’s stars reacting to that reaction video. Peter Jackson screened the fan video on set for Evangeline Lilly, Orlando Bloom, and Lee Pace and released a video of their reaction on his Facebook page. The three costumed stars are adorably engrossed by Kellie and Alex's excitement, and Lilly admits, “This might be more intense than the trailer.” Presumably Kellie and Alex will now release a reaction video to this reaction video which will just set off an endless chain of reaction videos until the end of time when we all fall into Mount Doom.
In the interest of science, creativity, and the science of creativity, we're posting a film or TV still every week, and we're going to ask you to come up with a clever caption. Whoever's caption gets the most likes will win some kind of nonsense prize from The A.V. Club office, most likely a Simpsons toy of some sort. The winner of the last contest was The Hero Of Akron-Canton (again!), who gave the world "Add the word 'feet' after her name!" Very clever.
Make sure you post your caption as a new comment, not as a reply, so we can sort out the winner. And though we know you'll be tempted to go for the easy, gross joke, remember that our commenting policy isn't out the window here. This week’s still comes from The Bling Ring, which I think is about some rich ladies or something? I dunno, you can read our B+ review right here. Here's one to get you started:
"No, it's way more evocative of the ideas in Critique Of Practical Reason than Metaphysics Of Morals!"
Here's a photo of Robert Downey Jr. making a child weep with the realization that Iron Man is just a lie
As part of a continued effort to make sure he grows up strong, one assumes, the mother of 18-month-old Jaxson Denno doubled down on the burden of his name by giving him an early lesson in hard reality. According to People, Heather Denno told Jaxson he was going to “meet Iron Man”—only to instead introduce him to Robert Downey Jr., stripped of his powerful suit and Tony Stark goatee, and reduced to an ordinary man of flesh for his upcoming role in The Judge. Naturally, Jaxson immediately burst into tears, overwhelmed by the truth that we are all brittle beings, vulnerable as anything on this earth to danger and decay, and that the idea of an all-powerful guardian protecting us from harm is only self-delusion.
Fortunately, Denno says her son “was fine as soon as he talked to him,” with Downey presumably telling little Jaxson all about his role in James Toback’s Two Girls And A Guy and what it says about deception and moral ambiguity, and a newly matured Jaxson agreeing that, yes, this is the world he must live in now. [via Gawker]
For a band named after an angry outburst, Fitz And The Tantrums seems pretty content. The up-and-coming L.A. band just filmed an episode of Guitar Center Sessions set to air tomorrow, Friday, June 14 on DIRECTV’s Audience Network (channel 239). During the show, the group played tracks from its newish record, More Than Just A Dream, as well as tracks from the group’s 2010 debut, Pickin’ Up The Pieces. Below, The A.V. Club has the premiere of a clip of the group playing “The Walker,” one of the tracks off the more recent LP. It’s kind of a barn burner, so buckle up.
This supercut of "Weird Al" Yankovic's pop culture referencing polka medleys may be a little over a year old but his music and comedy are so timeless that they are always worth sharing. YouTuber TheQxx put together a stream of eight of Yankovic's famous polka medleys and synced them up with footage from his live performances so they match his every mouth movement and moment of accordion grinding goodness. This medley of medleys doesn't include his Hot Rocks Polka of Rolling Stones songs, his Queen cover Bohemian Polka or his Polkamon song for the soundtrack of The Pokemon Movie since they're one-offs and not medleys, but that's alright.
The guy who brought the world the Lego: Breaking Bad parody has delivered another pop culture infused video game parody video that the world will probably never get to actually play. This time, YouTuber Brian K. Anderson turned his attention to the recent resurrection of Arrested Development to create Bluthfighter, an AD-inspired two-on-two fighting game that lets various members of the Bluth family (and Carl Weathers) beat the snot out of each other for our amusement. Of course, each character has their own Mortal Kombat-esque special moves and abilities like GOB's Segway-powered rush attack and Tobias' freezing blue balls, so watch out for Lindsay's razor-sharp collarbone katana. [via CNET]
Get involved, Internet: Help build a bronze statue of Bob Dylan in his birthplace of Duluth, Minnesota
Though Bob Dylan is a global music icon today, he came from humble beginnings, born Robert Zimmerman in Duluth, Minnesota before his family moved northeast to Hibbing. As the most famous son of the City on the Hill, it makes perfect sense that a local artist wants to place a bronze statue in tribute to the legendary songwriter. Minnesotan sculptor Tom Page has designed a 12-foot tall, 8-foot wide sculpture of Dylan walking with his guitar, lyrics blowing away in the wind, with plans to place the sculpture somewhere along Highway 61 in tribute to Dylan’s album Highway 61 Revisited, named for the route that stretches from north of Duluth all the way to the Mississippi delta. With a $75 contribution, donors can have their names engraved on a plate around the sculpture, and higher levels offer more prominent sponsor name placement and miniature replicas of the sculpture. The project even has the endorsement of current Duluth mayor Don Ness. It’s not quite the no-brainer that the statue of Robocop in Detroit was, given that Dylan didn’t spend his entire childhood in Duluth, but it’s a striking design for a sculpture, and the low-budget introductory video ...
Despite his limited vocabulary on Game Of Thrones, Hodor contains Hodors—or rather, the actor who plays him does. According to his website, the multifaceted Kristian Nairn is also a dedicated World Of Warcraft player (you can check out his characters here) who sometimes pals around with and threatens to crush Kelly Clarkson. And more importantly, Nairn is a popular DJ in his native Ireland, appearing regularly at the Belfast club Kremlin—mixing it up on the ol’ Hodors and Hodors, putting down those four-Hodors-on-the-Hodor rhythms, and generally causing everyone to throw their Hodors in the Hodor and wave them like they just don’t Hodor. You can check out one of his remixes below, in which Nairn demonstrates he definitely knows when to let the Hodor….mmm…. Hodor.
It’s not bad, but dude needs to get hip to some of that real Hodorcore shit.
In What's In My Bag? viewers get to watch various artists shop for music at one of Amoeba's record stores. The latest episode features Fred Armisen at the San Francisco shop, picking up albums from obscure artists such as Brazilian singer Joyce, and the soundtrack for the movie Go. He also keeps his sunglasses on the entire time. The bag's contents give viewers a great Google jumping off point, though, with the Portlandia star big-upping interesting older artists such as John Fahey, The Turtles, and Captain Sensible (Armisen's favorite). He then ventures into some Paul McCartney 7-inches, followed by a couple of '80s jams and a capella artist Petra Haden. Experience it all below.
Superman’s Fortress of Solitude is his place to get away from it all, and sometimes conduct science experiments in peace. But as a piece of real estate—a structure made of crystals in the Arctic—it’s tremendously expensive. The blog of real estate company Movoto has been creating valuations for the homes of comic book film superheroes, and Superman’s solitary abode is the latest.
The investigative listing weighs options on building material, since the Kryptonian crystal Sunstone is sadly fictitious. Fused quartz apparently shares Sunstone’s ability to store information once it’s heated, but then it’s no longer crystalline, so the author chooses the significantly more expensive option of diamond. (Though, as many recent articles attest, the diamond market is rather dubiously inflated.) Judging by the value of the world’s largest uncut diamond—the Cullinan Diamond, not the Fabulous Baseball Diamond—and entire fortress would cost somewhere in the ballpark of $813 trillion. That dwarfs the valuation of Wayne Manor at $32 million, but mostly because of the opulent choice of diamond as a building material and the insane market valuation of the jewel.
Kanye West almost never does interviews, but The New York Times’ Jon Caramanica wrangled him for a series of fascinating chats running today through the paper. The feature finds West in California, finishing up Yeezus with Rick Rubin and expounding on both the virtues of minimalism and of himself. There are points in the piece where West might sound a little over-the-top, to say the least, but the whole 5-page read is really just a detailed glimpse into the life of a true artist and outspoken individual.
The whole thing is available on the Times’ site, and Yeezus is out June 18.
Nathan Barnatt, the slapstick comedian and dancer better known as Borat of video games Keith Apicary, combines his love for fearlessly making a fool of himself in public and gaming with a new Super Mario Super Dance video. Barnatt's public displays of dance also feature cameos by podcasters and Nerdist regulars Jonah Ray and The Indoor Kids' Emily Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani. The video features Barnatt in a full Mario getup dancing to a 16-bit inspired Super Mario World song in a wide variety of public scenes that have been seamlessly spliced together. It's an impressive piece of work, especially since he insists he's not using a green screen to magically transport himself around the western United States.
With the G8 summit approaching, Elvis Costello and Mumford & Sons came together at last month's Sasquatch Festival to raise awareness via agit8, a series of protest songs meant to push for One Campaign's anti-poverty initiative. They chose to cover Bruce Springsteen's "The Ghost of Tom Joad." Not to be outdone by...well, themselves, they sprinkled a bit of Woodie Guthrie's "Do Re Mi" in the middle, creating a truly lovely experience.
[via Rolling Stone]
Kveikur, the latest album from Sigur Rós, doesn't come out until next week, but it is currently available to stream in its entirety via Amazon. The album is the Icelandic band's seventh, and Sigur Rós' three members produced it themselves. Kveikur, due out June 18 on XL Recordings, packs a heavier punch than previous records, and is worth a listen. It is also available for pre-order here. Check out the title track's video below.
Though the group is currently touring Europe, Sigur Rós will cross the pond this September for a tour. Dates under the video.
Sept. 14 — Detroit, Michigan — Laneway Festival
Sept. 15 — Cleveland, Ohio — Jacobs Pavilion
Sept. 16 — Cincinnati, Ohio — PNC Pavilion
Sept. 17 — Indianapolis, Indiana — The Lawn
Sept. 19 — Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — Stage AE
Sept. 20 — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — Mann Center
Sept. 21 — Raleigh, North Carolina — Red Hat Amphitheater
Sept. 23 — Charlottesville, Virginia — John Paul Jones Arena
Sept. 24 — Norfolk, Virginia — Old Dominion Constant Center
Sept. 25 — Charleston, South Carolina — North Charleston Coliseum
Sept. 27 — Nashville, Tennessee — The Woods
Sept. 28 — Asheville, North Carolina — US Cellular Arena
Sept. 30 — Chicago, Illinois — Chicago Auditorium Theatre
Oct. 1 — St. Louis, Missouri — Fabulous Fox Theater
Though the lead-up to Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories portrayed the now-unmasked duo as forward-thinking, genre-eschewing robotic geniuses, the album really just mines the past for their favorite sounds. “Get Lucky” has Nile Rodgers disco-funk guitar, and now intrepid YouTube PV Nova user has put together a remix that travels through time with the song. "Evolution Of Get Lucky" travels through every decade of the 20th century to imagine what "Get Lucky" would sound like if it was a hit at that time. It starts out in the 1920s—when the instrumental version of the song sounds a bit like the opening to Stars’ “Your Ex-Lover Is Dead”—and moves on through delta bluesy styles and big band sounds. In the 1950s it apes “Rock Around The Clock” and Elvis, then spaces out in the 1960s before hitting the best section in a 1970s style. The krautrock-influenced '80s and “I’m Too Sexy” segments aren’t as fun, but it’s still a good little history lesson using a hit song in three minutes.
- Just For Laughs
- Man Of Steel
- The Kids In The Hall
- Game Of Thrones
- Arrested Development
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