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Heresy

Why the Five-Percenters Hate You

After Jay-Z wore a medallion linked to the obscure 5 Percenter religion, best known through prison stories and hip hop songs, we give you some background on the group and its beliefs.

Usually Jay Z’s bling simply means ‘I am so rich that conventional taste is out the window’. Not at a Nets game a few weeks ago when the rapper sported a heavy gold medallion engraved with the symbolism of an obscure religious cult that’s well known in hip hop circles and behind the wall, but a mystery to most. To those in the know, Hova’s pendant, an eight-pointed nautical star with the number 7 inside, a crescent and another star close by,  symbolized the Five Percenters.

NBA/

USA Today Sports/Reuters

I was in a unique position to recognize it, having seen the image tattooed on plenty of black men in prison and having learned something about the doctrine during my incarceration. In fact, I even had a bit of interaction with the 5 Percenter Nation of Gods and Earths. I’ll never forget my introduction:

Son of a Gun

He Left Nirvana for Iraq

On a night when his former Nirvana band mates were being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Jason Everman just wanted to drink in a quiet bar.

It’s a little past 1 am on Friday morning and the weekend warriors are trying to hail cabs on the streets in Brooklyn. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame just held a big concert and I’m on my way to meet a member of Nirvana, one of the bands in the hall’s newest class.

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Kurt Cobain, Jason Everman, Chad Channing and Krist Novoselic of Nirvana photographed in Hoboken, New Jersey in June 1989. (Ian Tilton/Camera Press, via Redux)

Jason Everman played with Nirvana in their early days but hasn’t had much time to look over his shoulder and reminisce about his punk rock youth before the ceremony tonight. He spent much of the past decade in Iraq and Afghanistan, serving as a special operations solider.

Do Not Enter

Avoid Coachella At All Costs

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Jason Sheldon/The Daily Beast

Each year, as the Ides of April approaches, a deluge of douchebags, trust fund babies, and payment plan-enticed artistes join a gaggle of celebs in donning wacky, barely-there duds (think: Dazed and Confused on MDMA) and head out to the desert of Indio, California, for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. What was initially intended to be a celebration of music has degenerated into a weird marriage of fashion and commerce.

This year’s edition is spread out over a pair of weekends—April 11-13 & 18-20—and features headlining acts: Outkast, Muse, and Arcade Fire. But the music, these days, is really more of a backdrop when it comes to Coachella. It’s about the scene and being seen.

But more on that later. To fully wrap your head around this behemoth, let’s take a walk down memory lane of an event brimming with moments that range from the resplendent to the downright bizarre.

Banter With the Beast

Bourdain Isn’t Calling in Sick

The chef-turned-adventurer’s CNN show ‘Parts Unknown,’ returns for a third season Sunday. He talks about ‘definitely iffy’ meals, food he’d ‘prefer not to revisit,’ Cinnabon, and more.

Anthony Bourdain —who has popped everything into his mouth from a raw seal’s eyeball to the nasty bits of a cobra, and lived to tell the tale—had a feeling he was going to get very sick this time.

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Mario Tomo/CNN

“I was in Liberia, and I think it was a tribal situation,” says the celebrity chef-turned-sociocultural adventurer, whose Emmy and Peabody award-winning CNN show, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, launches its third season this Sunday at 9 p.m. “They were eating out of one bowl full of unrecognizable protein. It was hot, very poor hygiene, definitely iffy. To be polite, I joined in. I had a pretty good idea of what was going to happen.”

Watch This!

Viral Vid: Nirvana’s Secret Show

Surprises Brooklyn bar after Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Fresh off the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2014 Induction Ceremony, the remaining members of Nirvana decided that one face-melting performance just wasn’t enough for Thursday night. So Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, and Pat Smear headed to Saint Vitus bar in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, to rock out some more.

Joined onstage by Joan Jett, Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth, and other musician friends, they treated the lucky crowd to a surprise 19-song set list that included “Lithium,” “All Apologies,”  “Heart-Shaped Box,” “In Bloom,” and this high-voltage version of “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

Congratulations, Internet

Welcome to #Latenight

That time slot after the local news doesn’t matter. As Kimmel, Fallon, and Colbert will soon show, Late Night’s all about YouTube, Twitter, and engaging with audiences on the Internet.

In a deleted scene from Pulp Fiction, Mia Wallace tells Vincent Vega her theory that the world is made up of only two kinds of people: Beatles people and Elvis people. “Now Beatles people can like Elvis, and Elvis people can like the Beatles, but no one likes them both equally,” she explains. “Somewhere you have to make a choice. And that choice tells you who you are.”

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The Daily Beast

For decades, the late-night talk show landscape operated in much the same way. You were either a David Letterman person or a Jay Leno person, and your choice reflected both your comic sensibilities and what you wanted in a late-night host: comfortable and reliable (Leno) or prickly and edgy (Letterman). Sure, you might occasionally switch to the other show if a big star was dropping by the couch, but otherwise, you were either a Letterman person or a Leno person.

‘The Beginning’

‘Mad Men’: Where We Left Off

Peggy flaunts cleavage and fishnets, Don finds sobriety and a mandatory leave of absence, and Bob Benson’s still a potential sociopath with a hundred-watt smile.

After seven glorious years, Mad Men—the story of bigwig executives who drink all day, charm clients, and sleep with their secretaries—is set to embark on its seventh and final season on April 13. The first episode of the season is ironically titled “The Beginning.” The season will be broken up into two installments of seven episodes, meaning that the final 14 episodes of Mad Men will be spread over a two year time span. In preparation for Sunday, we're recapping where season six left the series' main characters—though God only knows where they'll end up.

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Frank Ockenfels/AMC

Don

New Look

From Swimsuits to Sitcoms

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Brooklyn Decker arrives at the 20th annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party in West Hollywood, California February 26, 2012. (Gus Ruelas/Reuters)

The curvaceous Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model opens up about her transition into acting with the new CBS sitcom ‘Friends with Better Lives.’

First impressions are tough to eradicate—especially in the cutthroat world of Hollywood. Once your role in the industry is set, you’re ensnared worse than Chris Farley in a little coat.  

For Brooklyn Decker, her entrée into the entertainment world came on Feb. 8, 2010. On that night, David Letterman announced on The Late Show that the statuesque blond had been chosen as the cover model of the 2010 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. The stunning image of her, smiling coquettishly in waist-deep water in the Maldives, breasts strategically obscured by hand-bra, was plastered on billboards and newsstands everywhere.

The image became so indelible that, one year later, Decker sported an identical yellow bikini in her big screen debut, wherein she portrayed the how-the-hell-did-he-land-her trophy wife of Adam Sandler in the high-concept comedy Just Go with It. A pair of underwritten roles, as Taylor Kitsch’s eye candy in Battleship and another younger trophy wife in What to Expect When You’re Expecting followed, and the burgeoning actress began to question her place within the movie machine.

So she did what so many other underutilized actors are doing these days: turned to television. First came the role of Gina Gibiatti, a nightmare of a woman who’s turned on by bum fights, in the F/X comedy The League, followed by a memorable cameo in arguably the best episode of Fox’s New Girl. The TV gods were so impressed that, when pilot season came around, Decker was cast as Jules Talley, a naïve single gal engaged to a New Age-y nut ball in the comedy Friends with Better Lives, alongside small screen vets Kevin Connolly (Entourage) and James Van Der Beek (Dawson’s Creek). The show was picked up by CBS and made its premiere on March 31, immediately following the series finale of How I Met Your Mother.

Judy Blooms

Confessions of a Co-Star

After starring in over 90 movies and TV shows—from ‘Arrested Development’ to ’27 Dresses’ to ‘The Descendants,’ it’s about time Judy Greer got the recognition she deserves.

There’s a game that Judy Greer plays every day, sometimes multiple times a day. Though at times it’s less of a game, really, then it is a chore: helping strangers on the street figure out who the hell she is.

Judy Greer

Doubleday/Random House

Because everyone recognizes her. Don’t you?

‘You Never Know’

Baseball Books Bring the Heat

Wrigley Field, Ted Williams, Nolan Ryan, Sabermetrics, the Pete Rose controversy—a fine new crop of baseball books looks at the old, the new and the very weird.

Sounds of leather hitting leather and leather smacking wood apparently also translate into sounds of pages turning as Major League Baseball (known around the planet as the “the Bigs,” ”Las Grandes Ligas) opens its 162 game regular season. Our National Pastime occasions a plethora of books and monographs dedicated to an array of baseball-related subjects. You can look to George Plimpton and Jacques Barzun for explanations about the attraction that baseball holds for writers. And there is a notion that many people enjoy reading about the sport more than watching it. In any case, the healthy sampling below confirms the narrative-friendly qualities of hardball.

WRIGLEY FIELD STADIUM

Walter Arce/Landov

This year there are biographies and biographical memoirs for Hall of Famers Ted Williams, Pete Rose, Brooks Robinson, Nolan Ryan, veteran pitchers Jerry Reuss and Jamie Moyer, and 30-year MLB umpire Al Clark. There are books on landmark years, special stunts, Moneyball-inspired statistics, a couple of novels and a handful of anthologies.

NIGHT HAWKS

Which Colbert Will CBS See?

Fans are worried that Stephen Colbert will lose his edge after he takes over from David Letterman on CBS’s The Late Show. But the competition between him, and Jimmys Fallon and Kimmel could refresh the stale landscape of late night.

Oh television, you capricious beast you. One week, Stephen Colbert is the focus of a hashtag-led campaign to have his show canceled amid a race row, the next it is announced he has landed one of the plummest jobs on late-night television.

Stephen Colbert

Scott Gries/PictureGroup

The outstanding puzzle, the one which Colbert, CBS, and even Colbert’s fans will no doubt stoke playfully in the coming year, is which Stephen Colbert will rock up to present his first edition of The Late Show, after David Letterman’s retirement in 2015. He has already indicated it will not be the bug-eyed, conservative-satirizing hyperbolist of The Colbert Report, which has disappointed some fans.

Dark Pop

When Harry Met Cancer

Harry Hudson was about to launch a music career when he found a tumor the size of a grapefruit in his chest. Then the 20-year-old documented his fight on Twitter and Instagram.

Harry Hudson can pinpoint the exact minute he was booted out of the Garden of Eden.

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Brittany Dixon

An up-and-coming musician, Hudson was on the brink of stardom when life came crashing down. He had just managed to score a meeting with the legendary Martin Kierszenbaum, head of Cherrytree Records, the same guy who launched Lady Gaga's career. It was a good meeting. Kierszenbaum seemed impressed. But that sense of elation would last only a few short hours.

Torchbearer

Openly Gay in the NCAA

The 22-year-old guard followed in the footsteps of Missouri All-American Michael Sam and NBA player Jason Collins in confronting their fears and coming out. And this is just the beginning.

College basketball has finally entered the 21st century.

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University of Massachusetts basketball guard Derrick Gordon, 22, enters a hallway before facing reporter on the school's campus, Wednesday, April 9, 2014, in Amherst, Mass. (Steven Senne/AP)

Exactly two months after NFL prospect Michael Sam publicly came out as gay, University of Massachusetts shooting guard Derrick Gordon has done the same, becoming the first openly gay player in Division I men’s college basketball.

Way Back Machine

Colbert’s First ‘Late Show’

It was in 2005, before ‘The Colbert Report’ premiered. And he’s not in character!

Before Stephen Colbert was officially replacing David Letterman—it’s happening!—Stephen Colbert needed David Letterman.

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CBS

Once upon a time, you see, The Colbert Report had not yet debuted, Stephen Colbert was not yet one of the country’s most beloved late-night personalities (and certainly was not yet entirely defined by the “Stephen Colbert” persona), and The Late Show was not yet a television dynasty with a host soon to abdicate his desk-throne. That time, to be exact, was fall 2005, when Stephen Colbert made his first appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, the very show he would be announced as the new host of nine years later.

Adaptation

Woody Allen Returns to Broadway

Bullets Over Broadway seems ripe for musicalization, though the audience may wonder if the on-stage story is Allen’s comment on, or defense of, the moral responsibility of an artist.

Late in the second act of Bullets Over Broadway, one character proclaims of her new lover, “With an intellect that big, you tend to create your own moral universe.”

Bullets Over Broadway

Paul Kolnik

The theme of morality, and the vicissitudes of its codes, runs through this adaptation of Woody Allen’s 1994 film as regularly as the leggy chorines and tap-dancing mobsters who inhabit the 1920s Manhattan of the musical’s world. In the film’s final scene, the protagonist puts aside his own philosophical wrestlings, makes a few satisfying declarations on the value of human life over the integrity of art, and decides to get married and move back to Pittsburgh. In the hands of another filmmaker, the character’s neat conclusions might make for little more than a feel-good Hollywood ending. But Allen shoots the scene in the damp, moody shadows of a Greenwich Village night, and as the credits roll, the viewer is left with the sense that something unsettling, something more complicated, remains hidden and unanswered in the alleys just beyond the camera’s frame.

Why the GOP Is Angry About Colbert

When Stephen Colbert was announced as David Letterman's successor, Rush Limbaugh and company both criticized and politicized the move. Keli Goff discusses whether they're actually mad.

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