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Millennials and the American City

Michael Tubbs, a 23-year-old councilmember in Stockton, California, and the star of the documentary ‘True Son,’ says that now is the time for young people to engineer social change.

“What are you going to do after you graduate?” was a question I grew to loathe during my senior at Stanford University. The pressure was immense as I was fully expected to add another prestigious institution to my resume, whether a high-profile company, a top graduate school, or a renowned fellowship.  For months, I struggled with the decision and after being rejected as a finalist from a fellowship I found myself at a crossroads.  Until that point, public service was the thread that tied my extracurricular and academic pursuits in college together, but it wasn’t something that I saw as a viable full-time pursuit. I struggled to make a decision, until I reflected on a traumatic experience from the year before.

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Stockton City Council District 6 Councilmember Michael Tubbs photographed at Stockton City Hall, April 24, 2013. (Robyn Twomey/Redux)

During the fall of my junior year, I interned in Intergovernmental Affairs in The White House with a focus on outreach to local elected officials. Although I hated the menial tasks the job required, it gave me a window into the power of local government.  During my internship, my cousin was murdered in Stockton, one of 50 homicides that year. In the midst of grieving, I began to feel that I had a special responsibility to use the resources I had been given to make the world a better place, although in which capacity was still unclear.  It wasn’t until a year later that I achieved clarity when I decided to run for city council in Stockton—with no money or political experience. The impetus behind this decision was a desire to change the odds for children like my cousin and me.

Food Mystery

The Search for General Tso

A new documentary premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival explores how and why General Tso’s chicken became a cultural touchstone.

It’s a taste both foreign, and familiar. Chicken is diced into square inches, marinated, and deep-fried in a wok, followed by a quick toss in brown sauce. The sauce is a mélange of flavors—tangy, salty, and sweet—lathered on a crisp shell encasing the warm, tender meat.

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General Tso's Chicken (Ian Cheney)

General Tso’s chicken has become a staple of American dining; a dish that, were it not for pizza, could be crowned the most popular ethnic food item in the country. And it’s a total cash cow. The dish is carried in most of the 50,000 Chinese restaurants in the United States, produced very cheaply, and sold for about $10 a pop, resulting in billions of dollars in tasty revenue.

JUST FOR LAUGHS

The Brilliance of Billy Crystal

In his one-man show, ‘700 Sundays’, Crystal interweaves the bitter and sweet—growing up Jewish in Long Beach, being the token Munchkin on the school basketball team—and reminds us what great comedy is.

We were all born to tell the stories of our lives; the problem lies in scaring up an audience. Billy Crystal is one of an elite that can draw throngs just by talking, and he gets a chance to prove his story worth telling and worth hearing in 700 Sundays, the one-man show taped for HBO during its recent Broadway run. It premieres tomorrow night, and yes, Crystal’s life easily merits two hours of yours.

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Billy Crystal’s “700 Sundays,” one of the most-acclaimed and highest-grossing plays in Broadway history, comes to HBO. (Carol Rosegg/HBO)

This isn’t a “my greatest hits” revue in which Crystal reprises his best-known comic inspirations, although he does note in passing his immortal tribute to cockamamie castings of Hollywood: Edward G. Robinson as a disgruntled Israelite in The Ten Commandments, invoked by Crystal with a gangster-ish growl of “So, where is your Moses now?”  It is legendarily funny.

Writers’ Room

How TV’s Best Shows Get Written

The writers of ‘Scandal’ almost did what!? ‘Community’ star Jim Rash takes us inside ‘The Writers’ Room,’ a behind-the-scenes look at how TV’s best shows are created.

You couldn’t write a bit that good.

Just hours after the up-to-there slit on her red-carpet gown made “Angelina Jolie’s leg” an Internet meme at the 2012 Oscars, Jim Rash (along with co-writers Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon) win Best Adapted Screenplay for their work on The Descendants, rush to the stage to accept their trophies, and Rash juts out his hip and sticks out his leg, the perfect mimic of Jolie and the perfect Oscar moment.

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Jim Rash from the film "The Way Way Back" poses for a portrait during the 2013 Sundance Film Festival at the Fender Music Lodge, on Tuesday Jan. 22, 2013 in Park City, Utah. (Victoria Will/AP)

PIECE OF WORK

The World’s Master Art Forger

The Tribeca Film Fest flick ‘Art and Craft’ paints a crazy picture of a man obsessed with re-creating and donating famous works—and fooling many in the process.

As a self-proclaimed “philanthropist,” Father Arthur Scott has donated hundreds of notable artworks to museums all across the country. Institutions like the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., and the Philadelphia Museum of Art have accepted works by Paul Signac, Alfred Jacob Miller and Louis Valtat. Or have they?

Art and Craft

Sam Cullman/Oscilloscope Laboratories

Each museum registrar heard the same story: Father Arthur Scott’s mother has recently passed away and while his sister—still in Paris—settles the estate, he is there to facilitate her wish to bequest the institution with a piece from her collection.

SEX SCANDAL

Rape Allegation Rocks Hollywood

The man claiming to have been sexually abused by 'X-Men' director Bryan Singer reveals a shocking catalog of alleged abuse that has ‘destroyed’ his life.

Michael Egan III, the 31-year-old man accusing X-Men director Bryan Singer of sexually abusing him as a teenager, says he considered committing suicide as he struggled to come to terms with what he alleges happened to him.

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AFP/Getty

In an exclusive interview, Egan told The Daily Beast: “I didn’t know who to talk to, or how to deal with the demons eating away at me. Suicide absolutely went through my mind. I had a horrible time with drinking. If it hadn’t been for the support of my mother and family, I don’t know what I would have done.”

Sort of The End

‘Community’ Stares into the Abyss

When it seems like it’s the end for a show, there's a lot of crap that gets flung at the screen. ‘Community,’ forever stuck in television limbo, knows that.

There’s a moment in Community’s season finale when Jeff (Joel McHale) tries to convince his study group friends that everything is over and it’s time to move on. He says that he and Britta (Gillian Jacobs) are getting married.

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Justin Lubin/NBC

“What does this look like?!” says Dean Pelton (Jim Rash), who, along with Annie (Alison Brie), is flabbergasted. “An hour-long episode of The Office?! There’s pick axing and electric zapping!”

Sordid

Casting Couch Horror Stories

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Happy 40th, Victoria Beckham!

Watch This!

Viral Vid: Russian Winnie-the-Pooh

A.A. Milne must be rolling in his grave.

What happens when the Soviet Union appropriates one of the most beloved characters in children's literature? You get a dark brown, raccoon-like, bizarro "Vinni-Pukh" whose voice resembles that of a grouchy old witch.

The Hard Truth

That's Mr. Dickhead to You

The founder of Iceland's Phallological Museum, famous for his quest to add a human penis to the collection, feels deceived by the documentary 'The Final Member.'

If you ask Icelander Sigurður “Siggi” Hjartarson, the founder of the world’s only phallological—yes, penis—museum, why he’s spent 40-plus years collecting almost 300 different animal phalluses and “penile parts,” his answer is simple: “Well, somebody had to do this.”

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Sigurdur Hjartarson, owner and founder of the Icelandic Phallological Museum, poses next to a stuffed elephant penis at the museum in Husavik May 8, 2008. (Bob Strong/Reuters)

He’s not sure why anyone would be weirded out by what he calls the “new science” of phallology. His museum has specimens from the tiny (a hamster, at two millimeters in length) and the large (17 whale penises and counting, one measuring nearly six feet); the ordinary (as ordinary as polar bears and gorillas, anyway) and the mythical (Icelandic elf, troll, and merman phalluses are on display). He has lampshades made from bull scrotums and silver penis sculptures of the Iceland men’s handball team. He even has wooden, penis-shaped phones, mini-bars, and cutlery sets that he carved himself.

Singularity

Chris Nolan’s Secret Weapon

A local news cameraman turned Oscar-winning cinematographer, Wally Pfister has been Christopher Nolan’s go-to director of photography. It's time for his $100 million directorial debut.

Wally Pfister is nervous—and with good reason.

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JOHNNY DEPP as Will Caster in sci-fi thriller "Trancendence." (Peter Mountain/Alcon Entertainment)

In a few hours, Pfister, 52, will slip into his best suit and head from his house in the Hollywood Hills to Westwood’s Regency Village Theater for the red-carpet premiere of his new movie, Transcendence.

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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