• Matt Sayles/AP

    War of Words

    Feminists Attack Patricia Arquette

    Sunday night at the Oscars, the actress made a powerful plea for gender equality. On Monday she was deemed to have not been radical enough.

    Patricia Arquette made an impassioned plea for women’s rights and wage equality during her Oscars acceptance speech Sunday night. Her rousing words prompted a “#YesAllWomen” moment from Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez, who were seated next to each other and whooped in raucous applause.

    Arquette, who won Best Supporting Actress for her demanding performance and immersive role as a mother in Boyhood, thanked “every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation” who has “fought for everyone else’s equal rights.”

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  • Kevork Djansezian

    Ladies’ Night

    All Hail the Feminist Oscars

    On a night dominated by male-driven films, it was the powerful messages by a handful of Hollywood women that we’re all talking about. It’s about damned time.

    For the majority of Sunday night’s three-hour-and-45-minute Academy Awards telecast, Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer was being held hostage by host Neil Patrick Harris, a comedy captive in a flailing running gag about guarding a briefcase that held his Oscar predictions.

    This aggressively unfunny extended sketch was a shameful squandering of one of Hollywood’s most talented, underutilized performers—and therefore perfectly encapsulated the state of women in the film industry and the message these women passionately promoted at this year’s Oscars.

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  • John Shearer/AP

    CALL TO ARMS

    Patricia Arquette’s Badass Oscar Speech

    ‘It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America!’ the actress proclaimed.

    It was the Oscars moment that caused Meryl Streep to jump out of her seat, jab her finger in the air, and scream, “YES!” over and over again.

    The 87th annual Academy Awards had reached a critical lull in the proceedings. But the snooze-worthy broadcast was momentarily salvaged by journeywoman actress Patricia Arquette, who delivered a rousing speech upon accepting the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Boyhood.

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  • Frans Schellekens/Redferns

    Little Girl Blue

    The Secret Life of Nina Simone

    Before her roaring performance at the 1976 Montreaux Jazz Festival, Nina Simone was a star dimensioned by near bankruptcy and self-imposed exile. A new documentary asks ‘What Happened, Miss Simone’?

    It was an historic moment when Nina Simone took the stage at the 1976 Montreaux Jazz Festival, marking her return to music following an extended period of near bankruptcy and self-imposed exile. It’s hard to imagine Simone’s immense presence and immeasurable talent ever falling off the map. What Happened, Miss Simone?, Liz Garbus’ new documentary about the High Priestess of Soul, uses the concert to pose—and eventually come full to answer—its titular question. Unearthing a wealth of archival footage, rare interviews, and diary excerpts, the film narrates the triumphs and tragedies of Simone’s life and career largely in the late singer’s unmistakable voice, which by her own admission, “sometimes sounds like gravel and sometimes sounds like coffee and cream.”

    The metaphor extends to her erratic temperament, which could turn on a dime from vulnerable to volatile. Highly demanding and wildly unpredictable, Simone would infamously walk out on her audience or insult them midway through a song if she felt she wasn’t getting the undivided attention she deserved—but when she had them, they were rapt under her spell.

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  • Carlo Allegri/Reuters

    Shake It Off?

    Taylor Swift, Queen of the Zionists?

    Is Tay-Tay the latest star on the path to Israel-related controversy?

    Is there a coming pro-Palestinian backlash against Taylor Swift?

    This week, it was reported that several producers are competing to bring the Grammy-winning artist to perform in Tel Aviv this summer. Here is Tay-Tay saying “shalom” to MTV Israel to promote her latest album:

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  • Debbie Harry and Blondie performs at Perez Hilton's One Night in Austin showcase at the Austin Music Hall at the 2014 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival, on Saturday, March 15, 2014 in Austin, Texas. (John Davisson/Invision/AP)

    MUSIC ICON

    Debbie Harry: Miley is ‘Unstoppable’

    The punk legend opens up about the dire situation for women in the Middle East, her love for the “Wrecking Ball” singer, her upcoming string of solo shows and the Tibet House benefit concert.

    The world is still smitten with Debbie Harry’s face and she knows it.

    The Blondie front woman’s iconic image—imperious cheekbones, wide-set eyes, white-blond hair; the perfect Andy Warhol muse—is as famous as the new wave singles she immortalized with the proto-punk band in the late ’70s and ’80s. Harry herself has always made sure her visage is positioned as the band’s most striking “visual interest,” a canny move in retrospect.

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  • Gett: The trial of Viviann Amsalem, 2014. (Courtesy Everett Collection)

    UNHAPPILY EVER AFTER

    Trapped In A Jewish Marriage

    Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem spends two dreary hours in a cramped courtroom, but this galling battle for a divorce can move audiences to outrage and grief.

    “It’s easy to blame the one who yells. The one who whispers venom is innocent.” This line is uttered with such disdain by Viviane Amsalem—played by Ronit Elkabetz with exquisite emotional restraint that allows for this perfect burst of contained anger—that it hits you like a sharp, fast switch to the face.

    By this point in Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem, the title protagonist has been appearing before the beit din, rabbinic court, for years trying to obtain a gett, the Jewish divorce papers that a wife can only receive with her husband’s permission. Viviane can barely hold eye contact with her estranged—and that’s putting it mildly—husband, Elisha, who exudes the sliminess of a snake oil salesman with a dose of irritating cowardice thanks to Simon Abkarian (better known to American audiences as Alex Dimitrios from Casino Royale).

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  • TRANSPARENT

    ‘My Dad Transitioned into a Woman’

    Denise took the gun out of her mouth. She wasn’t going to give up her kids. She wasn’t going to say goodbye to Fran, her high school sweetheart and wife of 34 years.

    Her last break-up had been a bad one. It was sudden, heart-wrenching. As a result, Alyssa Brunner, 22, wasn’t looking for anything serious when she met her current boyfriend a few months ago. But he was.

    So she decided she’d tell him about her family, in the hopes that it would scare him off. More precisely, she shot off a text message: “I have two moms,” she wrote. “Well, my dad transitioned into a woman.”

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  • In"Fifty Shades of Grey", JAMIE DORNAN and DAKOTA JOHNSON step into the iconic roles of billionaire entrepreneur Christian Grey and curious college student Anastasia Steele. (Chuck Zlotnick/Universal)

    SEX AND THE CITY 2.0

    Fifty Shades of Gilded Cages

    Strip Christian Grey of his wealth and trappings of nobility and he’s just a misogynistic jerk who beats his girlfriends.

    So I’ve been very cautious about airing my dislike of Fifty Shades of Grey, since as a self-identifiedly feminist dude I have to deal with the fact that I’m not at all the book or film’s target audience and a lot of the dudes who are ragging on Fifty Shades of Grey, with the sneering about “bored housewives” and “mommy porn,” are being pretty not-so-subtly misogynistic. It was the same way with Twilight (which Fifty Shades started as fanfiction of) and how Twilight bashers—like me—eventually jumped the shark and became themselves as insufferable as the Twilight fangirls they lampooned.

    But there’s a ton of smart, necessary critiques of Fifty Shades out there, talking about how, like his spiritual father Edward Cullen, Christian Grey is an abusive stalker packaged as a romantic hero. There are also plenty of folks from the BDSM community talking about how E.L. James is an outsider with a warped view of what healthy BDSM relationships look like, promoting dangerous and possibly illegal behavior under the guise of the “BDSM lifestyle,” and ultimately throws the real BDSM community completely under the bus by portraying Christian’s kinks damage from an abusive childhood, from which Anastasia eventually rescues him. (The ending of the Fifty Shades trilogy is a celebration of happy conventional monogamy—Christian even gives Ana an ice cream cone charm to commemorate his newfound love of vanilla.)

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  • GIRLS episode 37 (season 4, episode 5): Lena Dunham, Adam Driver. (Craig Blankenhorn/HBO)

    END OF AN ERA

    Lena Dunham On The Big ‘Girls’ Shocker

    The fifth episode of the show’s fourth season, titled “Sit-In,” featured a big change for one of television’s most complex couples. [Warning: Spoilers]

    “If I knew you were coming, I would have warned you,” Adam tells Hannah.

    Yes, the fifth episode of HBO’s Girls, “Sit-In,” saw star-crossed lovers Hannah (Lena Dunham) and Adam (Adam Driver) air out their grievances and, ultimately, break up. When we last left them, the fledgling writer had escaped the judgmental environs of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and returned to her stomping grounds of Brooklyn two-and-a-half pounds lighter, but carrying plenty of emotional baggage. But she opened the door of her apartment to find another woman there: Mimi-Rose Howard (Gillian Jacobs), Adam’s new paramour.

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  • Back To The Future

    ‘HTTM2’: J-Will Next ‘Daily Show’ Host

    The time travel movie sees a bright future for the Comedy Central staple

    The first response for many to Jon Stewart's announcement that he would be leaving The Daily Show this year was some combination of overwhelming fear and hysterical grief.

    The second was to wonder who had the chops to replace the venerable psuedo-newsman. Hot Tub Time Machine 2 may have given us an answer, predicting that Jessica Williams will have hosting duties in 2025.

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  • The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

    HI CI YA, HOLD TIGHT!

    The Spice Girls Return With 4 New Songs

    It’s the first new music to surface in years from everyone’s favorite all-girl British pop group—reportedly off their final album, Forever. But are the songs any good?

    Smack in the middle of the kind of news week that makes you let go of that last shred of faith in humanity, the Spice Girls have brought our souls back from the brink. On Wednesday, the Internet was blessed with four unreleased tracks recorded for the Spice Girls’ 2000 album, Forever.  

    “Pain Proof,” “Right Back at Ya’,” “A Day in Your Life,” and “If It’s Lovin’ on Your Mind” sadly lack Geri Halliwell because Ginger Spice had already peaced out in 1998. Still, for those of us who were raised on Baby, Posh, Ginger, Sporty, and Scary Spice, the tracks are pretty damn thrilling, packing the kind of nostalgic punch that will send you running for your white platform shoes and Spice World VHS.

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  • via YouTube

    ANGRY LAUGHTER

    Black Feminist Blogger Speaks Truth

    Amid tokenistic television and a whitewashed Oscar season, Aph Ko’s web series ‘Black Feminist Blogger’ pulls up the curtain and reveals the click-fueled demands of digital media.

    While shows like Scandal, Sleepy Hollow, and How to Get Away With Murder are well watched and critically acclaimed, women of color are all too frequently ignored in American visual media. Meanwhile, like cable television (before its colonization), the Internet is currently in a golden age for entertainers who are Black, Female, and underrepresented in mainstream entertainment.

    The last year has seen a proliferation of scripted comedies from Amani Starnes’s The United Colors of Amani, Azie Mira Dungey’s Ask a Slave, to Issa Rae’s The Mis-Adventures of an Awkward Black Girl (for which HBO has just ordered a pilot). But it’s not just about racial representation. A huge disconnect between entertainment and its audience is the equally unexplored wealth differential. A significant portion of characters on screens of all sizes are financially comfortable, well paid/respected members of professional classes, who are rarely forced to make choices based on economic necessity.

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