In this day and age, can one band find universal appeal? Yes, says Andrew Romano, and you’ll find out why when you listen to Arcade Fire’s near-perfect new album, ‘Reflektor.’
What does it mean, in this atomized age of ours, to be the biggest rock band in the world? What does it mean to aspire to that?
Regine Chassagne (left) and Win Butler of Arcade Fire perform as part of the 27th Annual Bridge School Benefit at Shoreline Amphitheatre on October 26, 2013 in Mountain View, California. (Tim Mosenfelder/Getty)
Our current millennium has been great, so far, for music. It is easier to make, easier to distribute, easier to find, and easier to fall in love with than ever before. More artists are making more of it than they were at the start of the century; more people are listening to more of it, too.
And Ellen Plans lesbian sitcom
Lady Gaga releases new song, 'Venus.’ In the song, Gaga rhymes "Uranus" with the line, "Don't you know my ass is famous." Entertainment Weekly
Chris Brown's arrest in D.C. could lead to jail time in L.A. Brown could spend four years in jail if a judge determines that this felony charge was a violation of his probation. Los Angeles Times
The ‘Work Bitch’ singer's music is being used to scare off Somali pirates. But fear not, Brit, you're in good musical company.
In his frenzied attempts at keeping a gang of dogged Somali pirates from attacking his ship in Captain Phillips, Tom Hanks was missing one apparently crucial weapon: a Britney Spears CD.
According to merchant navy officer Rachel Owens, the “Work Bitch” singer’s oeuvre worked expertly (bitch) at keeping Somali pirates at bay while she was on duty on a supertanker off the east coast of Africa. “Her songs were chosen by the security team because they thought the pirates would hate them most,” Owens said.
Warning: NSFW! The seven-minute lesbian sex scene in the French drama ‘Blue is the Warmest Color’ is the most controversial of the year. See what the scene looks like in the graphic novel upon which the film is based, as well as some thoughts from author Julie Maroh about the source material.
Much ink has been spilled over the feral seven-minute sex scene in the riveting French drama Blue is the Warmest Color.
The sexual bildungsroman, for the uninitiated, centers on Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos), a 15-year-old high school student in Lille. She is ravenous, and consumes everything from her father’s signature spaghetti to Marivaux with rapacious license. This attitude eventually extends to lovemaking. After crossing paths with Emma (Léa Seydoux), an out art student at a nearby college with an eye-catching blue ‘do, the precocious teen falls for her. The film is directed by Abdellatif Kechiche, and based on the graphic novel of the same name (French translation: Le bleu est une couleur chaude) by author Julie Maroh.
Music critic and former MTV News anchor Kurt Loder pays tribute to the prickly, brilliant Velvet Underground front man.
Lou Reed was a famously hostile interview. The first time I approached him in a journalistic capacity, somewhere back in the 1980s, the first words out of his mouth were, “No questions about drugs or fags.” This obviously closed off some important avenues of inquiry, but I guess we muddled through. He didn’t hit me, anyway.
Juan Naharro Gimenez/Getty
I wish I could say I can’t believe he’s gone. But Lou was 71, and he barely missed checking out before he got an emergency liver transplant last spring. In any case, he has left behind a body of work—really great records, truly indelible songs—that won’t be fading away in any conceivable future.
Harrison Ford stars as war-hungry Col. Graff in ‘Ender’s Game,’ in theaters Friday. The screen icon talks to Marlow Stern about drone warfare, being a conscientious objector to Vietnam, ‘Star Wars,’ and ‘Indiana Jones 5.’
Harrison Ford’s having a pretty busy year. The 71-year-old star of classics like Star Wars, Blade Runner, and Indiana Jones, didn’t appear in a film in 2012, but this year, he’s already turned in a fine performance as baseball exec Branch Rickey in the surprise hit 42, appeared in the dud Paranoia, and will have a small role in the upcoming film Anchorman: The Legend Continues, out Dec. 20.
Harrison Ford appears in a scene from Ender's Game. (Richard Foreman/Summit )
His latest—and most prominent—turn this year is in the sci-fi flick Ender’s Game. Directed by Gavin Hood (Wolverine), and based on a novel by Orson Scott Card, Ford stars as Colonel Graff, leader of the International Fleet, and chief administrator of the Battle School—a school preparing the world’s brightest children for interstellar warfare, via war games, to prepare for an all-out assault on the Formics, an alien race that devastated the earth years ago. Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield), a shy but brilliant tactician, is the world’s best hope for survival. The $110 million production is a surprisingly engaging film, and features Viola Davis, Ben Kingsley, and Hailee Steinfeld in supporting roles. And Ford delivers another impressive performance as the hard-ass, take-no-prisoners colonel; like a hardened, grizzled Han Solo.
He cheated death enough times to live a long, full life and proved that greatness takes time. On hearing of Reed’s passing Sunday at 71, Elizabeth Wurtzel reflects on his checkered career—and undying legend.
Lou Reed had the most amazing life.
He cheated death many a time. So what if it finally stuck out its ugly foot and tripped him at age 71?
Reed did damn well for himself. He made the most coherent case yet for self-destruction as a lifestyle choice that was somehow more hopeful and rhapsodic than whatever they were selling under steeples.
What is it about Sholem Aleichem’s stories of a poor milkman in the shtetl that has audiences bewitched for nearly 50 years after the smash musical debuted on Broadway? Jen Vafidis on a new cultural history of ‘Fiddler.’
It is extraordinary, not the norm, if a work of art can change how people look at each other. In this way, Fiddler on the Roof, the enduring musical about a Jewish milkman in Tsarist Russia confronting modernity and holding onto tradition, has done an extraordinary thing: it has brought the shtetl in a commercial, friendly way to several generations of Americans and global audiences. The story of Tevye the dairyman has gone through several phases, first as a collection of short stories written for a generation of Russian Jews who shunned the commoner language of Yiddish, and finally one of the top five musicals performed by American high-schoolers of any religious demographic. With an eye for cultural history and loads of research behind her, Alisa Solomon makes the case that over several generations of adaptations for film, television, and the stage as one of the longest-running Broadway productions of all time, Fiddler has played an inextricable part in the evolution of Jewish imagery in the 20th century. Wonder of Wonders: A Cultural History of Fiddler on the Roof takes the reader from Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem’s literary struggles with authenticity and language in the 1880s, to America’s tension over Jewish assimilation in the 1950s and ‘60s, to Russia’s reclamations of Jewish tradition in the 2000s.
Chaim Topol as Tevye in the 1971 film version of "Fiddler on the Roof." (Silver Screen Collection/Getty)
Solomon begins her history aptly with the original author of the Tevye stories: Sholem Rabinovich, who took on a pseudonym when he decided to write in Yiddish (then a language seen as illegitimate by the Russian Jewish intellectual elite). From the beginning of the life of Tevye, then, there was a struggle between how Jewish writers wanted their people to be perceived and how they actually were. Rabinovich felt strongly that the shtetl that he grew up with should be the center of his stories, and the characters should be as natural and authentic as possible. They should speak as they spoke—that is, in Yiddish, not in Hebrew. Still, there was a definite stigma against such a choice, and Rabinovich chose to write under a new name, Sholem Aleichem, which means literally “peace be with you” and is colloquially used as a greeting along the lines of “hello, how are you.”
Russell Brand is trying to use comedy to incite political revolution. James Poulos on what Americans can learn from his British brand of politics and celebrity.
If you’ve been paying attention to the recent spate of news-making media appearances, you know we’re supposed to take Russell Brand seriously. It’s actually a good idea: Brand is smart, engaging and politically informed. His curious brand of celebrity radicalism won't succeed at transforming American politics where Obama (and so many others) have failed. But it might just help us where we need it most.
Russell Brand performs on stage in Atlanta, Georgia during his 'Messiah Complex' tour. (Splash News)
Like most people we are invited to take seriously, it has been a really good couple of months for Russell Brand. Surprisingly and delightfully, he has rocketed to newfound fame not by taking himself more seriously, but by devoting his life to matters deeper than Arthur or Katy Perry. Moved and touched by the prospect of radical politics, he edited an issue of Britain's New Statesman magazine, released last Wednesday, that includes his own 4500-word manifesto. He publicly criticized Hugo Boss for dressing the Nazis (and was purged for this dire offense from all things GQ). He appeared on the MSNBC show co-hosted by Mika Brzezinski, depicting it as an infantile puppet show, revealing that even media figures can be liberated by the imprisonment of vapid fame.
Lou Reed served as gatekeeper of New York City’s dirty, sexy underbelly filled with drugs, transvestism, and prostitution, writes renowned NYC nightlife columnist Michael Musto.
“Cool” is one of those words that is completely meaningless because the second you apply them to someone, they totally evaporate. Being truly cool means never having to say you are, and certainly never having to get anyone else to say it either. But I’d make an exception for Lou Reed. Dripping with NYC attitude and angst, Lou was the epitome of cool from day one, when his impenetrable shades, leather jacket, and droning voice made him the modern day answer to the tough, bisexual antiheroes of 1950s cinema. The man was cool personified, and his passing due to his liver-related ailment today at age 71 sounds the death knell for irony-laden rock chic.
Brando and Dean by way of Cale and Bowie, Lou had an acid-drenched view of the world’s horrors, but he infused it with wry wit and sweet sentiment that made his world a haunting place of dark romance and transcendence-seeking. He’ll always have a place in the history books for having gotten a chart hit out of transvestism, drugs, and prostitution by way of “Walk on the Wild Side,” his 1972 song that detailed the Warhol superstars’ original treks to New York, which they brought to its knees (while they were on their knees). The song became my guidebook to the freaks and fabbies I’d missed out on because I was still in school at that time and actually doing my homework. It was my invaluable introduction to the wonderfully racy glamour of the nightlife underworld, and with the record’s deadpan vocals and woozy guitar riffs, backed by “colored girls” do-wopping, it made me a believer—in transvestism, prostitution, and Lou Reed.
Those themes remained Reed favorites with his ’73 album Berlin, which I picked up in a one-dollar bargain bin in L.A. three years later, and which changed my life all over again. I was mad for the junkies-in-love theme and loved the decadent use of Berlin as a bleak and hazy backdrop for a zoned-out rock opera of a concept album. This one made the Who’s Tommy look like Mary Poppins by comparison. The despairing songs could never be chart hits, but that made them all the more delicious, with certain phrases searing into my impressionable young mind forever. (One example: “After the applause had died down…,” with Lou perversely leaning on the “the”.)
Don’t expect the lawyers at Lockhart/Gardner to unite against a common enemy this week. In ‘Hitting the Fan,’ exit plans rile up the firm. It isn’t pretty. Warning: spoilers.
Pardon the hyperbole, but there has never been a more aptly titled Good Wife episode than “Hitting the Fan.” The proverbial shit did indeed hit the fan when the Lockhart/Gardner partners discovered Alicia (Julianna Margulies), Cary (Matt Czuchry), and the rest of the fourth year associates’ plan to leave.
Alicia (Julianna Margulies, right) and Cary’s plans to depart Lockhart/Gardner are suddenly exposed, leading to mass firings and a desperate battle between the two firms to retain clients, on "The Good Wife." (David M. Russell/CBS)
Tonight’s episode capitalized on the tension that has been building up not only since this season’s outstanding premiere, but also since the first season. “Hitting the Fan” is so momentous because of the degree to which it contrasts with last week’s equally excellent episode, “Outside the Bubble.” That episode felt rather like the calm before the storm as it juggled multiple storylines and we saw the lawyers at Lockhart/Gardner united against a common enemy: a paralegal suing the firm for sexual harassment. This week finds them desperately fighting each other over clients in the wake of the exposure of Alicia and Cary’s exit plans.
Lou Reed died Sunday a legend. Punk old-timer Legs McNeil on how, despite his best efforts at acting like a grump, the Velvet Underground front man was beloved.
Lou Reed was always a grumpy old man. Okay, so I did my best to ask him the most annoying questions when the Punk magazine staff first interviewed him after our first night at CBGB’s, with questions like, “How do you like your hamburgers cooked?”
Lou Reed, 1942-2013. (Michael Ochs Archives/Getty )
Lou never forgave me, which was OK by me. I was a bit put off by Lou’s date, Rachel, a transvestite with a 5 o’clock shadow, who sat next to Lou during the interview and didn’t open her mouth. Weird. It seemed to me that Lou inhabited some ultra-hip netherworld where all the rules had been discarded or rewritten—gay, drug addict, narcissist—and as repulsed as I was by this place he occupied, I was also fascinated.
The rock legend died Sunday at the age of 71. Take a walk on the wild side and remember him with The Daily Beast’s playlist.
Lou Reed didn’t rank among the artists with the top 100 best-selling albums of the 1970s—but his songs will outlast almost all those marquee names. Reed’s subjects were drugs, dislocation, and alienation, and the sometimes lonely life on the wild side. His only constant companion was the city of New York.
Lou Reed, circa 1970. (Michael Ochs Archives/Getty)
Reed specialized in finding the light in dark corners. He first found fame as a singer, songwriter, and guitarist for The Velvet Underground, whose debut album captured the horror and fleeting joys of the junky life in songs such as “Waiting for the Man,” “Heroin,” and “Sunday Morning.”
A documentary at last pays tribute to Divine, one of the most influential figures in drag and gay culture. By Jimmy So.
One of the more peculiar ironies of notoriety is that the more a work is hyped as controversial, the less likely it is that you have actually seen the film and know it enough to extol or decry it. People have been talking about Pink Flamingos ever since naturalists expecting a documentary about birds have been known to come out of the theater vomiting. But what does the 1972 movie actually show? Poop, we’ve heard. Specifically, the drag queen Divine eating dog poo at the film’s end. It is director John Waters’s “exercise in poor taste,” as we’ve gathered from the tag line. It is a cult movie, a camp movie, a controversial movie, and a perverse movie. But what does that all mean?
Divine in "Pink Flamingos." (Everett Collection)
If you were to actually sit down and watch Pink Flamingos, you’d find yourself plunged into a deliberate world of weird, as two families compete to be “The Filthiest People Alive,” and make a run at the title of being stupidest as well. The first third of a list of the film’s indefensible acts would go something like this: impregnating kidnapped women and selling the babies to lesbian couples, peddling heroin in inner-city elementary schools, crushing a live chicken while having sex, flexing one’s anus to the song “Surfin’ Bird.” The staged offenses are so numerous that they become numbing in abundance.
That scene where Cameron Diaz has sex with a car? Cormac McCarthy wrote that. From a motor-powered garrot to lyrical pillow talk, read the best passages from the screenplay of ‘The Counselor.’
Though Ridley Scott faithfully adapts Cormac McCarthy's first feature film screenplay, the director could not possibly include every passage of lyrical prose, crammed into a wordy 175-pages. Here are the best scenes and speeches (some that you won’t see on film) from The Counselor.
The Counselor (Michael Fassbender) tries to navigate through a world with which he’s totally unfamiliar. (Kerry Brown/Twentieth Century Fox )
1. ‘Auto’ Erotic
NBC Plans ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ Series
Will be set in Paris.More
NBC Plans More Live Musicals
After success of “The Sound of Music.”More
Actress Eleanor Parker Dies
Played baroness in “The Sound of Music.” More
Netflix Planning Romney Doc
Will air in January.More
‘Frozen’ Wins Weekend Box Office
“Catching Fire” still holding strong.More
I DREAMED A DREAM
Susan Boyle: I Have Asperger’s
Call diagnosis a “relief.”More
Former stockbroker Jordan Belfort once had sex on $3 million in cash. Check out more stats about the man behind Leo DiCaprio’s leading role in Martin Scorsese’s latest.