He’s dry-humping Gaga on ‘SNL’ and promoting his new album, but after child porn allegations and a secret marriage to an underage Aaliyah, why is he given a pass?Mario Anzuoni/Reuters
For Chet Haze, Tom Hanks’s wannabe rapper son, any success has the whiff of nepotism and privilege. It’s time to drop the gangster swagger and be authentic.Peter Kramer/Getty
A little essayistic song cycle on the life of Stephen Sondheim, told through half a dozen of the best numbers by American musical theater’s greatest architect.
The most valuable scene in Six By Sondheim, an HBO special premiering Monday night, is an interview clip of Stephen Sondheim recalling a formative afternoon he spent with Oscar Hammerstein II. When he was 15, Sondheim wrote a musical and took it to Hammerstein, asking him to judge it as if the boy were a professional. “In that case, it’s the worst thing I’ve ever read,” Hammerstein said, and the great man proceeded to show his little apprentice everything that’s wrong with the thing, word by word, song by song. Sondheim told a CBS audience in 1961:
A song, like a play, should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. It should have an idea, state the idea, and then build the idea and develop it, and finish. And in the end you should be in a place different from where you began.
It’s a simple composition lesson that not only songwriters, but also journalists, should follow. But, as everyone knows, nothing is simple with Sondheim, and it becomes something of a philosophical lesson coming from the mouth of the greatest architect of American musical theater, who has for more than half a century held dear to his idea of developing a Broadway experience for adults, all the while being more articulate than anybody else in both talk and music.
His abuse allegations brought the King of Pop to court. Last week, he wed in front of the prosecutor, his mom—now named Janet Jackson—and a DJ who unknowingly spun an MJ tune.
Gavin Arvizo, who as a boy was at the center of the sensational 2005 Michael Jackson sex abuse trial, has just married his longtime sweetheart. The wedding took place at the bride’s suburban Atlanta Baptist Church on Saturday November 30.
Courtesy of Diane Dimond
The bride, the former Shelby Drake, is a teacher and the daughter of a minister. She spent her early years living in England where her parents were missionaries. Her father, Bill Drake, is an ordained minister and a well-known Christian musician and singer. Drake, along with Catholic priest, Kevin Hargaden, performed the wedding ceremony. Going forward, the Catholic Arvizo intends to worship in both churches.
David O. Russell’s operatic black comedy ‘American Hustle’ boasts the most impressive acting ensemble of the year. Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, and Jeremy Renner joined the filmmaker in New York to discuss the film. (Note: Some spoilers)
Press conferences are inherently awful to attend. They’re early. It’s packed. People are pushy. The questions are (often) crazy. There’s always a loud, aggressive foreigner in the crowd spouting nonsense.
But the New York press conference for American Hustle was too good to pass up.
Director David O. Russell’s follow-up to Silver Linings Playbook is based on the FBI ABSCAM operation of the late ‘70s. Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale, sporting a hideous comb over and huge gut) and his mistress, Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams, ravishing), are raking in plenty of dough through various small time scams. After they’re busted by hotshot FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper, great perm)—much to the chagrin of his disapproving boss, played by Louis CK—they’re forced into cooperating in an undercover investigation involving Miami mobsters, U.S. congressmen, and the Mayor of Camden, New Jersey, Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner, bouffant ‘do). Things, however, get dicey when Irving’s fiery Long Island housewife, Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence, electric), gets involved.
Xbox One really is [censored] listening to you. With new technology, the video game system is punishing those who let the expletives fly while button-mashing.
You are not alone. FIFA 14 and NBA 2K14 are showing us a fascinating—and slightly disturbing—future of gaming. The Xbox One is constantly listening to what you say, specifically key words, including expletives, likely shouted at the screen after a particularly poor play. Hearing these trigger-words, the game reacts: in NBA 2K14, the player is given a technical foul; in FIFA 14, the player receives a strongly worded letter requesting that they improve their manners.
Xbox fans play the latest games during the Xbox One fan celebration and launch party in Los Angeles, California November 21, 2013. (Reuters)
The latter is not actually a new feature (it was included in FIFA 13), but the original Kinect was an addition to the Xbox 360 rather than an integral part of the system. It was more of a silly gimmick. But this new Kinect is every bit as important to the Xbox One experience as the console itself. Although the Xbox One no longer requires the Kinect to function, it comes with every system. Games can assume that it’s there, and many already do, meaning players who don’t have one connected will miss out on features that definitely add to the experience.
Monaural recorded sound has made a comeback, and it’s more than a gimmick—for proof just listen to Miles Davis’s classic work in its original format.
It would take a musicological Borges to write the true history of recorded sound and its effect on the way we hear music. It would be a book full of Wonderland logic about how a technology invented to reproduce sound has, in turn, gradually shaped our expectations of what a song or a symphony sounds like.
Miles Davis in the recording studio in October, 1959. (Hulton Archive/Getty)
Somewhere in that arcane volume you would find a long chapter on the checkered past of monaural recording in the music industry, how it reigned alone for decades, was eclipsed by stereo, and how it rose again—if not to prominence then at least to parity.
The high-cheekboned actor wears a leather jacket and turtleneck and slicks back his hair in ‘Out of the Furnace.’ Is that his O-face in the ‘Nymphomaniac’ posters?
“He has such an interesting face.”
Kerry Hayes/Relativity Media
That’s the first thing Crazy Heart and Out of the Furnace director Scott Cooper says about Willem Dafoe. He’s right. You can’t not stare at Dafoe (and his exceedingly pointy cheekbones) whenever he’s on screen, whether it’s in Platoon, Spider-Man or his newest release, Out of the Furnace. In the film Dafoe plays John Petty, a gambling boss in the crumbling industrial town of Braddock, Pennsylvania, who gets Iraq war veteran Rodney Baze (played by Casey Affleck) into a rigged fight for cash. The fight ends up costing them both their lives when Harlan DeGroat (Woody Harrelson), a vicious Appalachian crime lord, decides that mashing Rodney’s face into a pulpy mess isn’t enough to settle the debt owed to him. Rodney’s brother (Christian Bale) takes matters into his own hands, plotting vigilante revenge.
There’s no nudity, only a soft whisper that gives you a euphoric, almost orgasmic, sensation. This is the erotic world of ASMR videos.
Sit back, relax, close your eyes, and listen to my soft voice. Let your mind wander as I whisper sweet nothings into your right ear, then in your left ear. Feel your scalp tingle as my voice gently surprises you from behind. I tell you about my day in a sultry cadence. It's the meter of my words that gives you goose bumps. I describe the pink hued iridescent bubbles in the bathtub, and the way they glide away from my skin as if it's made of silk. Though I don't let you see it, you can hear the water ripple. It sounds like you're in the bathtub with me as I describe the back massage I am about to give you.
I performed a twenty minute ASMR video. ASMR stands for "autonomous sensory meridian response.” It was one of the few custom videos I kept my clothes on for. The video was less about seeing me and all about hearing me: I was a talking head with audio aides around my laptop. Prepared with paper to rustle, rice to shake, and water to ripple. I would whisper to the right and left of the microphone (I even walked around it), and rock back and forth in my chair to create a distance in the sound of my voice. It wasn't one of the craziest things I've done, but it might have been the most unique.
From Ron Burgundy interviewing Peyton Manning to Benedict Cumberbatch doing R. Kelly, WATCH our countdown of this week’s buzziest videos.
5. A Christmas Story
It's that special time of year again. Instead of spending countless hours watching every holiday movie on television, here's a convenient Christmas film supercut.
Journey’s Neal Schon is marrying reality show princess Michaele Salahi, and you can pay to watch a ceremony that Schon swears ‘won’t be cheesy in the least.’
When an 80s rock star and a reality show princess decide to solemnize their feelings with a wedding ceremony, it stands to reason that they will do it on pay-per-view and charge each customer $14.95.
Recording artist Neal Schon of Journey and TV personality Michaele Salahi attend the 110th NAMM Show - Day 2 at the Anaheim Convention Center on January 20, 2012 in Anaheim, California. (David Livingston/Getty)
“It’s a musical event of love, laughter and music,” says the future groom, Neal Schon, the longtime lead guitarist and songwriter of the venerable pop-rock band Journey, best remembered for such hits as “Wheel in the Sky” and “Don’t Stop Believin’.” “It won’t be cheesy in the least.”
The French award Dylan the Légion d’honneur, then place him under investigation for hate speech. Have they not been listening to what he’s sung about for half a century?
The chances of the French authorities attempting to arrest Bob Dylan are probably remote. Slapping the cuffs on a superstar to whom you have just pinned a shiny Légion d’honneur badge would a little look perverse, even by Gallic standards.
Bob Dylan performs onstage during The 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards held at Staples Center on February 13, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Michael Caulfield/Getty)
It would seem sillier still if you were pursuing a figure who has had one or two things to say about human dignity down the years. To place him “under investigation” for alleged racism over remarks damning racial hatred would knock satire on its ear. France has just landed that punch.
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The Daily Beast goes backstage at the 2013 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, seeing how models like Doutzen Kroes and Lily Aldridge get ready for the runway.