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All the posts on www.papermag.com.

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    527fd045.jpg

    The cover art for Lana Del Rey's next Honeymoon single, "High by the Beach" (or, "How Everyone Spent Their Summer), is magnificent. Posted by Del Rey today to instagram, it's like a romance novel about the torrid love affair between a Nantucket bombshell and her one-hitter. The song is out August 10th (with the album slated for September), and will undoubtedly be the #stonergirl slow-dance song of the summer.

    Listen to Honeymoon's titular single below.


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    AugustConcerts.jpgSummer is entering the home stretch, which means long days, hot subway stations, and... free concerts! If you've gotten through June and July without enjoying the city's musical freebies, don't miss out on one of these great shows in August.

    8/5 -- Ratking and Bishop Nehru
    Rap punks Ratking are joined by 18-year-old rapper/producer Bishop Nehru for a SummerStage show at East River Park.
    East River Park Amphitheater, 7pm

    8/5 -- Full Band Electric Counterpoint + Dither and friends, featuringLee Ranaldo, Yo La Tengo, and Mark Stewart
    Electric guitar quartet Dither will host a night of rock-and-roll experimentation as part of Lincoln Center's Out of Doors series with special guests Sonic Youth guitarist
    Lee Ranaldo and indie rock veterans Yo La Tengo.
    Damrosch Park
    , Lincoln Center, Amsterdam & W. 62nd St; 7:30pm

    8/6 -- U.S. Girls and Yuck

    Toronto-based U.S. Girls (aka Meg Remy) brings her feminist pop to River Rocks alongside a set by London indie rockers Yuck.
    Pier 84; 6pm

    8/6 -- Caribou and Sinkane
    Caribou, one persona of Canadian electronic musician and math PhD Dan Snaith, takes the stage with Sudanese soul act Sinkane for an evening on the East River Promenade.
    East River Park; 7-9pm

    8/8 --30th Anniversary DJ Celebration: Quantic / Gilles Peterson / Afrika Bambaataa
    An eclectic assortment of DJs will take over Central Park for this SummerStage event featuring British-born, Caribbean-inspired Quantic, DJ/broadcaster/producer Gilles Peterson, and break-beat pioneer Afrika Bambaataa.
    Rumsey Playfield, Central Park; 5pm-10pm

    8/8 -- tUnE-yArDs and Shabazz Palaces
    Ebullient indie rocker tUnE-yArDs (aka Merrill Garbus) plays a set at the Prospect Park bandshell alongside experimental hip-hop duo Shabazz Palaces.
    Prospect Park Bandshell, 62 West Dr., Brooklyn; 7:30pm


    8/9 -- Caveman, Rivergazer, and The Fluids
    Peruse the Flea's assortment of antiques, crafts, furniture and food to the sounds of Brooklyn-based rock bands Caveman, Rivergazer, and The Fluids.
    Brooklyn Flea, 50 Kent Ave., Williamsburg; 2pm-6pm

    8/10 -- Coma Serfs and Watermelon Sugar
    Portland, OR's psychedelic garage-rock band Coma Serfs and Tacoma's (delicious-sounding) psychedelic sludge-pop group Watermelon Sugar converge at LES mainstay Arlene's Grocery for this freebie show.
    Arlene's Grocery, 95 Stanton St; 8pm
    Coma Serfs, Watermelon Sugar

    8/11 -- Rakim and DJ Tedsmooth
    The groundbreaking hip-hop artist and producer and Long Island native, Rakim Allah, will play a set following DJ Teddy Rafael Mendez's beats.
    Marcus Garvey Park, 122nd St. and Mt. Morris Park; 7pm-9pm

    8/13 --Lower Dens and Newtown Radio DJs
    As part of the MoMa Nights series, museum-goers can head out to the Sculpture Garden for free music every Thursday. On the 13th, a Newtown Radio DJ will open for Baltimore-based indie pop band Lower Dens
    Museum of Modern Art, 11 W. 53rd St., 5:30pm-8pm

    8/16 -- You Blew It!, Sorority Noise, and Microwave
    Orlando-based indie-emo band You Blew It! takes its tour to Jacob Riis Park in Far Rockaway with Hartford-based party punkers Sorority Noise and Atlanta-based alt-rock group Microwave.
    Riis Park Beach Bazaar, 157 Rockaway Beach Blvd., Queens; 2pm

    8/20 -- Annual Block Party feat. Bobby Sanabria Quintet
    Grammy-nominated Latin jazz musician and percussionist Bobby Sanabria will appear at Queens hub of jazz history, the Louis Armstrong Museum.
    Louis Armstrong Museum, 34-56 107th St., Queens; 4pm

    8/22 -- Mykki Blanco and Princess Nokia
    Queer rapper, poet, and performance artist Mykki Blanco will be hitting the beach in Far Rockaway with Princess Nokia, the alter-ego of feminist indie artist Destiny Frasqueri.
    Riis Park Beach Bazaar, 157 Rockaway Beach Blvd., Queens; 2pm

    8/22 -- Complete, Octagrape, and Honey Radar
    Cult band Complete is traveling all the way from Fort Worth, TX to Williamsburg's Union Pool for the venue's Summer Thunder series.
    Union Pool, 484 Union Ave., Brooklyn; 2pm

    8/29 -- Steve Gunn
    The singer-songwriter and former guitarist of The Violators will keep the "Summer Thunder" booming at Union Pool after playing there in 2013 and 2014.
    Union Pool, 484 Union Ave., Brooklyn; 2pm
     
    8/30 -- Garifuna International
    At the northern tip of Central Park, the Harlem Meer Performance festival will highlight jazz, Latin, world, and gospel artists every Sunday this summer. August's last group celebrates the song and dance of West African, Central African, Island Carib, and Arawak descendents known as Garifuna.
    Harlem Meer Performance Festival, 110th Street at Lenox; 2pm-4pm

    Complete, Octagrape, Honey Radar


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    violetta_supra.jpg[Photo by Luke Freeman]

    Scrolling through Violetta Kassapi's Instagram, your eyes are apt to stop at any number of photos and say, "Damn, I want those shoes/jackets/sunglasses/manicure." The London-based stylist and fashion editor at indie hip-hop and fashion magazine, Viper, has honed an effortlessly cool style as befits a girl who grew up in Camden, the creative hub that was the center of the city's music scene in the early and mid-00s, a scene that spawned the likes of Babyshambles, The Kills and Amy Winehouse, who was a close friend of Kassapi's. Amidst working on shoots for Viper, styling music videos for Major Lazer and MØ and serving as an official ambassador for Supra's #AlwaysOnTheRun campaign, Kassapi had time to chat with us about getting her start in fashion, inspiration and her favorite places to shop.

    How did you get into fashion?

    I grew up in Kentish Town right next to Camden Town in London -- it's famous for having very diverse cultures living next to each other, piercing/tattoo shops, markets and alternative music venues. I've always loved fashion since I was a kid and me and my friends used to design clothes together and wear them to Grime raves. My grandma was a very successful textiles designer and my mother owned a clothes shop so I have been surrounded and very passionate about clothes since I was a child. Luckily, I got into assisting styling at the photographer Rankin's gallery in Kentish Town at the age of 20.

    What has been the craziest shoot you've ever done?

    It must have been the video I styled for Major Lazer ft. MØ -- "Lean On." We shot it in India and had only a few days to organize 36 outfits. It was so crazy, I had a lot of the clothes made out there and was emailing ideas back and forth. It was lovely to visit the cloth houses when I arrived and fit Diplo and all the dancers.

    Who or what inspires you most right now?


    To be honest, the colors and clouds in the sky have been wild recently. The other morning my boyfriend and I woke up and we took the dogs to Primrose Hill -- we walked to the top and could see over the whole of London. Even though I had so many layers on, my bra got wet it was raining so hard and there wasn't a human in sight. It was so beautiful. I love the rain.

    What are your favorite cities to discover fashion?

    I love traveling and India is my spiritual getaway. The colors are amazing. Vintage and stripper shops in LA are out of this world, too. I get very inspired being out there!

    What advice do you wish someone had given you before getting started in fashion? What advice would you give to a young person wanting to get in the industry?

    Going back, I wouldn't change much. I appreciate everything I have learned along my way freelancing. But things take time. A beautiful garden is not created over night, it needs time to grow.

    Upload a photo or video showing off your creative fixation to Instagram, Twitter or Facebook with the tags with #AlwaysOnTheRun and @SupraFootwear for the chance to receive a pair of the new Noiz runner. For more info on the contest, visit SupraFootwear.com.

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    Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 12.10.07 PM.png[Photos by Jackie Nickerson]

    For anyone who's ever wanted to walk in Yeezus' shoes: now's your chance. Sneaker consignment store The Heat Check is selling the same Nike Air Yeezy 1 prototype Kanye wore at the 2008 Grammy Awards -- for the low, low price of $75,000. "This was the very first time the world got a peak at the Nike Yeezy 1... This is your chance to own a piece of Sneaker and Music history," the shop raves. If you're a size 12 and in possession of a hefty amount of spare change, you can head to The Heat Check's website to cop the sneakers; otherwise, check out photos of the shoes below.

    Kanye Sneaker 2.jpeg
    Kanye Sneaker 4.jpegKanye Sneaker 5.jpeg
    Photos via The Heat Check

    [h/t Stereogum]


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    A photo posted by Bel Powley (@belpowley) on


    [Photo via Instagram]

    Leave it to True Blood hunk Alexander Skarsgard to pull off head-to-toe drag at a movie premiere. At the San Francisco premiere of his latest film, The Diary of a Teenage Girl, the Swedish actor stole the red carpet spotlight with his 6'4" frame towering in heels, a glittering, floor-length gold gown, and of course a voluminous blond wig complemented by false lashes and sparkling blue eye shadow. Matching the rest of his '70s-wardrobed cast and crew, he looked like a dreamy disco queen right out of Saturday Night Fever. No word on whether he had the dance moves to match.




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  • 08/04/15--06:41: Emoji Sirens: Zayn Is Single
  • 6354692200360112505848010_43_iHEART_20140919_NP_0439.JPG
    photo by Patrick McMullan

    The One D we actually need is back on the market. 

    According to People, Zayn Malik called off his engagement to Little Mix's Perrie Edwards two weeks ago. We await Zayn As Flowers's comment.

    [h/t People]

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    Protest.pngDon't even try to tell Nadya Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot that music this century has been largely apolitical. Pushing back is what she does, and she is ready with a retort. "If you look hard enough you always can find some political agenda in art and music out there," she says. "It seems to me that it's just a question of your focus."

    But while there's always been protest music underneath the surface for those that want to go digging for it, the past year has seen enough pieces of outspoken political art that even the most casual of observers couldn't ignore the outcry -- even if they wanted to. Last year both Run the Jewels and D'Angelo released albums that repudiated police brutality, while Against Me!, EMA and tUnE-yArDs tackled transgendered rights, the surveillance state and harmful beauty standards, respectively. This year has only seen an escalation, as Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly, one of 2015's most acclaimed albums, finds the gifted rapper examining the social cost of generations of economic inequality, while new albums from Sleater-Kinney, Titus Andronicus, Refused and Conor Oberst's band Desaparecidos go hard on everything from mental health stigmas to the rotten history of Colonial America. "Music can do almost anything if you can get people to listen," says Refused drummer David Sandström, who recently reunited band will release their first album in 17 years, Freedom, out now. "The least it can do is channel ideas, which is a lot."

    Below, we speak with both Sandström and Tolokonnikova about their time in the protest music trenches.

    A Q&A with Sandström

    For a while, protest music was fairly rare in both mainstream and even to an extent in underground music. There were occasionally people speaking out, but not many. But now we have your band and several other artists using their art to bring attention to important issues. Does this sort of thing just follow a cycle, or do you think there's a reason so many people are starting to speak out now?
     
    Sandström: I think when speaking about artistic expression one must always bear in mind that the artist is always in hers or his -- why is it so hard to establish a gender-neutral pronoun in the English language? -- own world. Artists employ their own specific filters to interpret and process the world around them, and whatever makes their expression extraordinary also works the other way: there's nothing ordinary in how the world impresses a creative person. I'm saying this to clarify that someone who, for example, writes songs for a living is not in the world like most people are, and that's sort of the function of people like us: for someone in society to be able to not just take a step back and see what's going on, but to sort of exist a step back (or to the side or beneath or whichever way you want to look at it); to look at the human endeavor and comment/illuminate/portray. So maybe as a result of this position, there's a latency in our response to certain catastrophic events in the recent past, such as the global economic crisis, the Arab spring, Putin's calculated insolence in the Crimea, the renewed sprouting of the fascist germ in Europe, the surveillance epidemic in the US and its related scandals, etc.

    There's also the issue of habituation to a radically altered media landscape; there's a reactive element to writing political songs, and how do you process and react to a terrible current event when ten new ones flood your phone every five minutes? I think this new hyper-awareness is detrimental to certain artistic sensibilities. We live in a tumultuous era, and the turmoil has never before been so accessible, if not inescapable. On our new record we write about the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean, the myriad conflicts plaguing the Congo, Europe's complicity in many of the humanitarian catastrophes that its NGOs are fighting (sometimes, if not often, counterproductively) to end, the specter of fascism [in Sweden], and sometimes I wonder if we're just adding to the roar.
     
    As an artist that was outspoken in a time when few were, did you ever feel alone or frustrated? 
     
    Sandström: No, not really. We were part of a subculture where a certain degree of political awareness and activism basically was required. This was the Swedish and European punk/hardcore scenes of the '90s. So we've all come of age, specifically me and frontman Dennis Lyxzén, surrounded by certain ideas, by the Sisyphean mentalities of various extraparliamentary leftist groupings. So if we've felt alone, it has been because none of these movements inspired commitment and participation in us, but maybe that's a good thing. To keep formulating and revising, to stay intellectually independent, however inviting the homogenization of those collectives may seem. Also, these days, on the flipside of the roar, it's easier to find voices and minds akin to one's own.

    Refused is returning after a long absence, and your new record is as fiery and outspoken as ever. What made you want to come back?
     
    Sandström: It was more a cluster of coincidences and then several small adjustments to them than a big decision. But it was obvious after a while that we needed the band, personally, all of us. Not all types of music can bear the weight of big ideas, most songs tell you about the human condition, relations, emotions, they're like padding between people and their experiences. Flannery O'Connor wrote: "Experience is a terrible teacher"; songs can mend and soothe us when we go through shit. But that's not what we do -- our job is to evoke wrath, to provide an arena for catharsis. Madness and chaos, it's productive, and great for coping with a complicated and terrifying existence.

    A Q&A with Tolokonnikova

    Were there any particular musicians or artists that inspired Pussy Riot?

    Tolokonnikova:
    Guerrilla Girls, Bikini Kill, Le Tigre, Socrates, Dziga Vertov, Kazimir Malevich.

    When did you first become politically aware? Is it just something you can't avoid noticing when you grow up in Russia?

    Tolokonnikova: I was 12 when they arrested Mikhail Khodorkovsky. I found out about his arrest through stickers that I suddenly found on every wall of my town (I lived in Siberia at the time). "Khodorkovsky GO HOME" the stickers wept.

    "Who is Khodorkovsky?" I asked my father.

    That question was the start of my political curiosity.

    Your band's case made headlines around the world after you were arrested. Were you ever surprised by how many people who had never even been to Russia were sending you support?

    Tolokonnikova: We're standing in the cage made of plexiglass. Khamovnichesky District Court. August 2012. Today we have to give our closing statements. We've slept two hours 'cause we've been preparing our speeches almost all night.

    "Madonna just appeared in a balaclava at her concert, with 'Pussy Riot' written on her back," our lawyer says to us.

    We are looking at our prosecutors and understand that their game is already lost. No matter if they will give us several years in a penal colony or not.

    Obviously none of us could explain to ourselves [why we got] such a big amount of support. It was just a miracle.

    Because of your actions, more people are aware of the abuses of Putin. Are there any other ways you think Pussy Riot's protests made an impact?

    Tolokonnikova: Yes, we've made balaclavas look cooler than ever.

    You were released in late 2013. Did the experience of being imprisoned make you think twice about ever protesting again?

    Tolokonnikova: When I was released my first words were something like "We will get rid of Putin!" If you are a political activist, prison can only make you an even bigger badass for the government to deal with than you've been before.

    What is next for you and for Pussy Riot?

    Tolokonnikova: We'd like to overthrow Putin, but if we fail we'll probably just continue to do music videos.

    Finally, how did you come to appear on House of Cards, anyway?

    Tolokonnikova: We just met (House of Cards showrunner) Beau Willimon at a PEN gala and had a great conversation on Russian-American relations, and then Beau said that we should be in HoC as opposition to Mr. Petrov (who's of course Mr. Putin). Obviously we said yes 'cause we are huge fans of the show.

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    Everyone loves talking about Tom Cruise. Last week was Tom Cruise Week at Grantland surrounding the release of the practically inexplicable fifth installment of the Mission: Impossible film franchise. The success of this movie, and praise for Cruise's performance -- exemplified by Matt Zoller Seitz's review, which breezily and pleasantly riffs on the star's persona -- has prompted a sort of full-career reevaluation of the star. As Bilge Ebiri at Vulture tells us, "It's Time to Start Liking Tom Cruise Again." He writes:

    Like many viewers around my age, I had grown up watching these movies, but watching them all together, back to back, I was surprised at how well they held up -- and how riveting Cruise was in them. (Even some of the roles that seemed like a joke at the time, like his turn as the Vampire Lestat in Interview with the Vampire (1994), assumed a strange kind of beauty and intelligence.) Here was an actor who had given his all, and then some, and had made sure, to the best of his ability, to tackle interesting, challenging work -- even when it seemed at first like he was phoning it in.
    This is a pretty fascinating place for critical (and, to look at the box office receiptsfrom the new MI film, which had the biggest single-day opening in the franchise, public) opinion on Tom Cruise to land, given the twists and turns his reputation has experienced in the past decade or so. But, from the comfort of the movie theater, it's hard to remember just how far back his career goes, so here is a timeline of changing public opinion on Tom Cruise.



    1983: Cruise stars in Risky Business, which begins to make him a star. This involves a scene where he dances in his underwear. It's the first time a Cruise performance permeates national consciousness and becomes a lasting symbol, but it will not be the last.



    1986:
    Tom Cruise stars in Top Gun, which definitely makes him a star. He is a major force in Hollywood for nearly two decades following this movie.



    1990: Cruise stars in Days of Thunder with Nicole Kidman and the two marry, catapulting himself into the echelon of stars partly notable through their larger-than-life relationship with another star.

    1990-2000: Tom Cruise is nominated for three Academy Awards, for Born on the Fourth of July, Jerry Maguire, and Magnolia. During this time, he mostly takes serious (but dashing) roles where he notably does not operate giant robots or jump off of stuff

    1999: Cruise and Kidman star in Eyes Wide Shut, Stanley Kubrick's final film. Two years later, they get divorced -- in part, apparently, because of the pernicious influence of the Church of Scientology.

    2001:
    By now, Tom Cruise is a known quantity, a rugged, all-American action hero. Here's Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman on Mission: Impossible 2:

    Cruise, whose aquiline handsomeness grows sleeker each year, has become the most forcefully athletic of our action demigods. He has even learned to rib himself (there's a good running gag at the expense of his gleaming grin), and he acts with his body as much as his face; he holds the screen, from that pressure-drop opening on, with the lean eloquence of his physical alacrity.



    2005: Tom Cruise is interviewed by Oprah. The "erratic" behavior he evinces -- the famed jumping on the couch, shaking Oprah, just generally looking a little too excited to be on the talk show -- comes in the early months of his relationship with Katie Holmes and makes him seem practically inhuman, leading the public to connect some dots between his film persona, his media appearances, and Scientology. He is still trying to shake this off. 

    Over the next several years, his reputation suffers many blows related to his relationship with Katie Holmes and the public's growing awareness of how seemingly nuts Scientology is. This period is best summarized in an excellent L.A. Weekly piece (also cited by Ebiri) that runs through the ways Cruise's spotlessly maintained image crumbled under the weight of the internet.



    2008:
    Tom Cruise has a beautiful cameo in Tropic Thunder. His character, violent studio exec Les Grossman, helps revitalize public opinion, and gets people to say "Hey, Tom Cruise is pretty funny! Maybe he's not so strange after all." (This happens the same year his Mission Impossible-themed Scientology video for the church is leaked.) Over the next several years, his reputation is slowly rehabilitated except that...

    2012:
    Holmes files for divorce (using a burner phone to contact her lawyers), blindsiding Cruise and leading to all sorts of rumors about their relationship and why she would go to such extremes to end it without his knowledge. In the ensuing "scandal," there are stories that Scientology is literally auditioning potential girlfriends 
     

    2013: People make fun of Edge of Tomorrow before its release because it looks like an insane Tom Cruise vehicle, then admit after seeing it that it's pretty good. The low-key success of the film helps re-cement Cruise as a broadly acceptable, talented star, (Richard Roeper writes that its "unkillable" conceit is a metaphor for Cruise's career) even as the release of Lawrence Wright's Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief makes even more damning accusations about Cruise's role within the cult.

    2015: Cruise climbs back atop the box office, just a few months after the release of Going Clear, the Scientology documentary that... does not make him, or other celebrity members of the church (hi, John Travolta), look good. Still, he appears to be back on top -- possibly thanks to a generation of moviegoers that has come of age seeing him primarily as a fun, slightly goofy action hero, rather than the serious actor (and full-on star) was during the first half of his career. Is it easier to give Cruise a pass if he's mostly the dude from the Mission: Impossible movies rather than the consistently Academy Award-nominated star who can get Born on the Fourth of July made?

    And here we are. Will Tom Cruise continue to be respected as a great movie star? Will he return to the status of "kind-of crazy guy"? It's hard to say, but Roger Ebert's original review of Cruise in Jerry Maguire from 1996 -- possibly the peak of impeachable Cruise stardom -- might help: "He plays Maguire with the earnestness of a man who wants to find greatness and happiness in an occupation where only success really counts."

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    Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 5.27.51 PM.png[Photo via]

    It's been a rough couple of weeks for celebrity relationships, with long-term couples left and right splitting up in what can only be described as karmic retribution for Gwyneth Paltrow (or her Goop editorial director) coining the term "conscious uncoupling." Over the past few days, we've bid goodbye to Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale, Zayn Malik and Perrie Edwards, Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton, and even our beloved Bennifer 2.0 (the Will and Jada Smith divorce scare has thankfully blown over). But apparently that still wasn't enough to satisfy the wrath of the gods, because as of this afternoon, Kermit and Miss Piggy have announced that they too are breaking up.

    "After careful thought, thoughtful consideration and considerable squabbling, Miss Piggy made the difficult decision to terminate our romantic relationship. We will continue to work together... However, our personal lives are now distinct and separate, and we will be seeing other people, pigs, frogs, et al.," both characters wrote on their Facebookpages.

    Looks like even a pair of felt hand puppets can't keep it together in this day and age of astronomical divorce rates. Love is officially dead.

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    A photo posted by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on


    By now, Drake's narrative of being a textbook "nice guy" has been well-established. He's a sensitive mama's boy who wears his heart on his sleeve and just wants to wrap his sad-eyed self in a stylish Chanel poncho. And so when he brought out the powerpoint of Meek Mill memes out last night at OVOFest, it bothered me, especially because he chose multiple ones that included Nicki Minaj, who has now become a strange object of advantage in this (extended) beef between two men.

    After all, it seems that as of late Minaj has been reduced to nothing more than a measuring stick between two men competing for dominance. A point that's reinforced by one particular, ireful image; a Drake-endorsed meme that takes his "Back To Back" diss and sticks it atop a fake wedding snap of Minaj and Meek -- an image where she is wearing the tux as a groom and Meek Mill is her bride in a wedding dress. Because while Minaj does run circles around Meek's career, it's an image that's nothing more than a backhanded compliment; an image that at its core chides Minaj for her "poor choice" in men. 

    Just look at the lyric used here: "shout out to all boss bitches wifing n****s," a diss that makes it pretty clear that he thinks Meek's a straight-up scrub, and that Minaj "should be" attracted to someone more on her level, i.e. him -- the smart, successful one. 

    nickimeek.jpg
    As Complex's Claire Lobenfeld put it earlier, Minaj shouldn't have been dragged into this into the first place. Inserted into this drama, Minaj is reduced to a weird trophy wife of sorts when she could likely out-spit both the men at its center. And beneath this idolization of her is the disturbing implication that having the friendship and love of this wonderful, talented woman isn't reward enough. Instead, she's simply used as a tool to chip away at the ego of another man.

    Like most rappers in the game right now, Meek Mill projects an image of alpha male authority -- the kind of guy who positions himself as the second coming of Tupac and proudly proclaims that, "Bitch I'm a boss, I plan the shots, I call the costs" -- while Drake is known as rap's sensitive guy. And because Meek's schtick revolves around performing this sort of dominating, lavish braggadocio, and because he's gotten together with a female friend and peer that Drake has been romantically linked to in the past, it feels a lot like this beef has been Drake's chance to emasculate his rival and hammer home the fact that he's just as hard. All at the expense of Minaj.

    Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 11.20.16 AM.png
    What makes Drizzy's behavior even worse is his supposed "friendship" with her. There's something particularly unappealing about his verse on Minaj's "Only" -- "I never fucked Nicki, cause she got a man / But when that's over, then I'm first in line" --  in a way that's reminiscent of classic beta male moves, which has similarly plagued the indie rock community for forever: put a woman on a pedestal, and wait until your opportunity comes, because you are entitled to her affections. 

    Drake didn't need to objectify one of the most powerful women in pop culture when his (or Quentin's) verses were already better than Meek's on their own. Meek's track was so weak that Drake could've won this battle by just letting his talent speak for itself. Or maybe this was a simple smoke and mirrors trick to distract everyone from the original ghostwriting accusations? Either way, it's time for her to move on from both of these boys, or at least as far away from this virtual dick-measuring contest as possible.


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    laura.jpg(photo via Rupert)

    Artnet reports that artist Laure Prouvost's solo exhibit "Burrow Me," displayed in Lithauania's Rupert arts center will veer dangerously close to the premise of a movie. Prouvost's art invites visitors to dig for the remnants of her (fictional) grandfather, a conceptual artist supposedly lost 20 years ago while digging a burrow for a performance piece. Several different types of shovels -- the GPS Shovel, the Four Step Shovel, the Sexy Shovel, the Reading Shovel, and the Drunk Shovel -- are available for use by people entering the burrow searching. The piece is meant to highlight participants' relationships with their own grandparents -- people who you are connected to, but in a sense can never really know or understand -- but, in practice, it seems a lot more like a really cool, treasure-digging adventure. Get your flashlights
    .

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    Update 8/05: Kravitz has responded in the chillest way possible via this tweet. Plus, if anyone was going to be crazy jealous over this it would be Steven Tyler, right? All of the scarves-on-mike-stands and undulating in the the world could never come close to the ultimate rock-sex-god image that is a dick unfurling itself from too-tight leather pants. Axl weeps. #Penisgate.

    So Lenny Kravitz had a little accident yesterday when his peen decided to do a lil peek-a-boo during the first song of his Stockholm show.

    Looks like it may be time to retire the leather pants, Len. Oops.


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    Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 5.09.11 PM.png
    MoBo The Great (aka Monique Burrell) is a force to be reckoned with -- the rising Chicago rapper spits pure fire, and her recent Fuck The Public project is verifiable proof of that. 

    And we've got the premiere of the music video for her single "Pimparachi," which puts her sharp wordplay and unapologetic braggadacio to the forefront. All coupled with a horn hook that's approaching Donnie Trumpet Surf-levels of swank, it's no wonder she performed at Jay Z's concert twice -- and apparently even got Timbaland vibing to her verse. 

    Get to know her a little better with our Q&A below.


    Tell me a little bit about your Fuck the Public project?

    It was something I came up with when I first started getting on the music scene. I was trying to break my way into the scene by getting on blogs, but in Chicago it's very divided. And like if you don't have a coastline, or if you're not a part of SAVEMONEY or something like that, it's very hard to break in. I almost felt like since nobody's fucking with me, well then fuck everyone, and then over time it just became something much deeper -- it just became a way of living. You know in society, they set so many standards about if you're a woman and you're a rapper, you're expected to dress like Lil Kim or you're expected to rap like Nicki Minaj. Society sets all these double standards, so it just became something different. It went from fuck everyone to just fuck society and just do what you want to do and stand for what you believe in.

    On that note, does the double/physical standard you were talking about play into the way you choose to dress or present yourself? 

    When I first got on the scene, I was really into streetwear. Like my fashion idols are mostly men, but Teyana Taylor was one of my [icons], so that was where I get a lot of my fashion from. But...now, I just try to find a way to balance everything. You know I want to stay true to myself, but you know I am a 21-year-old woman so I want to dress my age and things of that nature as well. It's all about balance.  

    You have something very unapologetic and triumphant about your entire EP, what spurred this?

    It's just me. I'm an Aries, and Aries are just feisty leaders, so that's just who I am as a person. My project was actually done three years ago, but after I got onstage with Jay Z last year, I completely scratched that project. Then I brought in all amazing producers, I brought in BJ The Chicago Kid and Katie Got Bandz, and we basically constructed an album. 

    Let's talk about Jay-Z for a second. You performed at his concert? How did that happen? 

    Well the first time was in 2010 at the Blueprint 3 tour. My grandma bought me a ticket to the concert and I remember I was sitting in the 300 aisle...So I just remembered sitting there and I was just like, "Man, one day that's going to be me on that stage," and literally right after I said that I felt like this indescribable energy and it was just like move, move. So I left the 300 section and went down around the United Center to the side seats -- and Jay always does this intermission where he points out what you're wearing. At the time, I was wearing this blue Florida Marlins hat and he was just like, "You want me to sign your hat?" and like "Do you want a hug?" and I was like, this shit is so fake right now -- but I was like "Hell yeah, I want a hug." And I was like, "I want to be a rapper just like you." And he was like "You want to be a rapper?" and in his New York accent he's like, "Alright, go ahead, spit some shit then, but don't take over my whole show."...The second time, him and Kanye came back for Watch The Throne and that's how he gave me his hat. Like I was sitting front row and he just took his hat off and gave it to me. I don't know, I feel like we had this weird special connection. 

     me>
    What else happened the second time? 

    He didn't call me up on stage, but I was like if I get a sign I feel like this can happen again -- like anything that happens once can happen again. It was just a matter of me getting his attention...So he saw the sign and he's like, "I can't read the whole thing, give it to me"...and I'm like front row so I hand him the sign and he's reading it like, "You were sixteen? Well shit, let's keep it going then." And I hopped on stage so fucking fast and I killed it because I had like three years to really think. The first time because I didn't know it was going to happen, so like this time I made sure to look him in the eyes and get the crowd participation and I did it the right way, so it turned out amazing. And Timbaland was on stage the whole time too, he was a DJ that night -- and he was like backstage pumping his fist.


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    This_Is_Our_Youth_1.jpg
    Photo by Victor Skrebneski

    Ryan Murphy's forthcoming sorority horror show Scream Queens already looks frightfully good, if its glitzy trailer and star-packed cast are any indication -- and now they've added a new famous new face to the mix, Rookie's Tavi Gevinson.


    Tavi's took to Twitter yesterday to announce her role as Feather (yeah, side-eye), the super young girlfriend of Dean Cathy Munsch's (played by Jamie Lee Curtis) ex-hubby. And along with the likes of Emma Roberts, Ariana Grande and Billie Lourd, we're eager to see who else may be joining the fictional world of Wallace U in the coming weeks. 

    [h/tDazed and Confused]

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  • 08/05/15--06:00: Instagram Bans #EDM Hashtag
  • Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 1.05.17 PM.png

    Instagram has added #EDM to their list of banned hashtags, because apparently "#EDM was being used to share content that violates our guidelines around nudity" -- aka people were posting dirty snaps there. Uh, I don't know why, but I guess if David Guetta gets you going, that's your prerogative. 

    Either way, the company has come under fire as of late for banning a series of tags that could potentially be "misconstrued" by these guidelines à la the eggplant emoji, #pussy and the recently reinstated #curvy -- which is still heavily monitored for some reason 😑. But unlike Twitter or Tumblr, which removes violating content after its posted/reported, Instagram is different in the sense that it preemptively bans certain phrases and words. Is it because of EDM's love of the nipple pasty and booty shorts? Do we have to get all #FreeTheNipple about this too, because we're more than happy to -- at least until Instagram decides to stop being...overzealous.

    [h/tThump]

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    Are you an aging "young person" (or even... an adult)who is only vaguely aware of the internet and feels set upon by teens who increasingly resemble a pack of Periscoping hyenas? Are you a little behind on the trends and nervous that cool is slipping away from your peripheral vision? More importantly: Did a youth recently come up to you in a Footlocker, point at your feet, and yell, "WHAT ARE THOOOSE?" before running away cackling? Did this experience leaving you feeling scared and alone? This is for you.

    Though the phrase had been around for a while, the current, hyper-meme-ified version of the phrase that's taken over Vine, "WHAT ARE THOOOSE?" originated with Brandon Moore, a.k.a. Young Busco, a man so heroic and virtuous he has literally been assaulted in the pursuit of answers to life's greatest question: "WHAT ARE THOOOSE?" In an Instagram video posted June 14, Moore asked this question of a police officer arresting a women for drinking in public, and launched a movement.

    Free Myesha fast

    A video posted by Snapchat @youngbusco (@youngbusco) on



    Like many of the best memes, "WHAT ARE THOOOSE?" is infinitely flexible, allowing its conceit to be applied to practically any situation where mediocre footwear is involved. (Most situations, if we're being honest.) Being "WHAT ARE THOOOOSE"-ed should be a wake-up call, an alarm suggesting you reevaluate your shoes, the first inkling that maybe your life hasn't gone the way you hoped it would. If someone asks you "WHAT ARE THOSE" you might need to take a personal day off from work. At least get some new Adidas or something, pay for an extra appointment with your therapist. Admit your shoes are lame -- she's probably wanted to point it out for a while.

    Accordingly, the meme evolved to encompass a vast array of cases in which someone needed to get called out, or where even the possibility existed. Many of the early instances focused on pre-existing pop culture, in everything from Spongebob to Arthur to this look at a sightly meaner version of Forrest Gump.



    And as borderline sociopathic kids prowled the streets looking for content, not even their grandparents were safe.



    Admittedly, the pure humor of the meme peaked early. This is the undisputed ruler of "WHAT ARE THOOOOSE" memes -- a clip from Jurassic Park with some, er, interesting footwear added to the dinosaurs.



    WHAT ARE THOOOOOSE? More importantly, why are those? The thing that makes the Jurassic Park iteration so hilarious (to the point where, several times during the past few weeks, I have spontaneously burst into laughter simply after remembering that it exists) is a combination of elements using the original meme structure as a skeleton. Like, is it because Sam Neill is crying with joy at seeing the Yeezy Boosts? Is it because there's a magical world where dinosaurs have access to Kanye's shoes and won't give them to anyone else? Does anyone know?

    No one knew, and yet the meme persisted, to the point where even adoring Directioners were throwing it out at shows. If Harry Styles isn't safe from "WHAT ARE THOOOSE?" can anyone be said to truly be free from angst, from the possibility that at any moment they might be set upon by merciless youths with camera phones?
     


    And Complex literally asked Nick Young what those were. But as the meme has aged (seriously, a few months is like an eternity in meme-time -- Moore has already moved on to asking people "WHAT IS THAT?"), people have found interesting ways to use the meme, calling attention to lame things that aren't shoes. For example:


    Would Judith Butler be proud that gender performativity found its way into these meme tweet? Let's hope so. Now that you, a human too chill to keep up with the hunger that drives new trends, understand "WHAT ARE THOOOOSE?" the half-life of the meme has dropped by about six weeks. You're meme-ing on borrowed time. So go out there, find a child with lame shoes picked out by his or her parents, and just ask one simple question.



    Update: No one is safe from "WHAT ARE THOOOSE," not even Michael Jordan. (Or The Washington Post.) Look upon what the Lord hath wrought and weep, for your poor footwear has brought down unrelenting divine wrath in the form of merciless teens. You shall be next.


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    nonafaustine_1.jpg

    Nona Faustine, "From Her Body Sprang Their Greatest Wealth" 2013
    Shot at the "site of Colonial Slave Market, Wall Street"


    In our selfie-and-dick pic-addled age, it's refreshing to see someone taking nude self-portraits not for attention or for the gratification of another person but for artistic expression and critical socio-cultural examination. For the last couple of years New York artist Nona Faustine has been posing nude and shooting photos of herself at New York City's former slave sites in a series entitled White Shoes. The poignant photographs, which show her standing atop a wooden box completely nude with the exception of chains around her wrists and a pair of white heels (symbolic of this country's white patriarchy), are taken on Wall Street (once home to the colonial-era slave market) and at City Hall (which was built atop the African Burial Ground), among other locations; they're a stark reminder of how America's history of slavery both literally and figuratively contributed to the construction of our nation's (and the world's) financial system. It's also a corrective to -- as Jackson Connor puts it in a piece for the Village Voice -- the "collective amnesia in the North that suggests slavery was strictly a Southern evil" because, in fact, New York (then New Amsterdam) was the "capital of American slavery for more than 200 years."

    In her artist statement, Nona says her practice is "situated inside a photographic tradition [that questions] the culture that bred that tradition...through self-portraiture I explore issues about the black body within photography and history... The questions I address in my work are, why bodies matter? Whose bodies matter? How do you make interpretations of your world with what you've been given."

    Her work, particularly arriving as it does during a time when our national discourse is looking more critically at ideas of racism, violence, and police brutality, adds a vital perspective and, hopefully, a jolt to the complacency so much of us may have when it comes to thinking about issues of race, the legacy of history and social justice. You can see more of her work below and HERE.

    nonafaustine2.jpgNona Faustine, "Over My Dead Body" 2013
    Shot at "New York City Hall, (built on top of the African Burial Ground)"


    nonafaustine3.jpg
    Nona Faustine, "Of My Body I will Make Monuments In Your Honor" 2014
    Shot at the site of a "Dutch Pre-revolutionary Cemetery in Brooklyn. Where 3 slaves are buried, among the early settlers."


    [h/t Hyperallergic]

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    So Macklemore (and the ever trusty Ryan Lewis) just released a song featuring Ed Sheeran called "Growing Up (Sloane's Song)" and it's a touching track meant for his new baby girl. It centers around Macklemore's attempt to figure out fatherhood while on the rebound from some substance abuse problems and even though every so often he strays from that sentimental message to talk about all the music festivals and yoga poses his daughter's going to do as she grows up, it's an okay tune at its core -- an indulgent tribute track that obviously has a lot of personal meaning for the singer. The one thing we're scratching our heads about is why Ed Sheeran, of all people, was chosen as the collaborator, especially in light of the fact that Sheeran's recently come under fire for receiving praise for making music that many see as just an appropriation of music made by people of color (and whose work gets overlooked or overshadowed in favor of Sheeran's). Oh wait...



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  • 08/05/15--08:43: The 6 Best Celebrity Trolls
  • Most of the time celebrities are the ones who get trolled -- their egos often make them easy targets for people with not much to do and a lot of internet savvy. Trolls have provoked celebrities into a running segment on Jimmy Kimmel, mass Onion-related confusion, and an entire bad TV show with an even worse name hosted by Mario Lopez.



    Sometimes, people in the public eye have a sense of humor and the capacity for revenge. Often, simple deadpanning and weirdness coming from people you ordinarily wouldn't expect to have a sense of self-awareness is enough to cause mass humor. This is especially potent in sports, with the infection of the entire Kansas City Royals with Fetty Wap-itis, Marshawn Lynch's refusal to answer questions, or the repeated name changes of Chad Ocho Cinco -- sorry, Johnson). But it also happens for artists and actors, who can, if prompted, go troll for troll with the best of them. In their honor, here are some of the best celebrity trolls.



    Drake's Lint Roller

    Remember when everyone made fun of Drake for using a lint roller at a basketball game? Whatever you think of Aubrey (or his now-insane feud with Meek Mill), it's pretty clear that that kind of low-key presentation is basically what he was born to do -- turning himself into a meme and reaping all of the attention benefits. Also, eventually there were official Drake lint rollers, because of course there were.

    Taylor Swift's Becky Shirt
    Say what you will about her (and you should!), but Taylor Swift is an unbelievably media-savvy pop star, perhaps exemplified by her winking awareness of the "No it's Becky" Tumblr meme, which originally used her image as a stand-in for a girl who died after "snorting marijuana." This is a brilliant troll, Taylor, A+ work.



    James Franco Making Out With Himself

    James Franco is another dude whose entire life sometimes seems to be a series of trolls, perhaps because it would be impossible for one human being with a coherent sense of self and an established value system to do all of the things that he does. But the most ridiculous example of his Franco-ness is almost certainly that video where he tentatively kisses himself, because it's an "art" piece for The New York Times that is also 100% a thing that "James Franco" as our mortal minds understand him would do.

    SWISH
    Kanye changing the title of So Help Me God to SWISH is definitely a troll, right? Like, he doesn't seem to be treating music as his top priority anymore -- it's "just harder" for him now, which is totally okay! -- and the fact that the tossed-off tweet where he says the album is called SWISH has stuck is a pretty good indication that Kanye likes making people think bizarre things about him before he comes back with the real art. Maybe he should just drop this one already, though? (At least give us the "Wolves" CDQ, because come on.)
     


    Everyone Involved With the Hoverboard Thing
    What a weird day on the internet it was when, all the way back in the spring of 2014, a video appeared featuring Christopher Lloyd, Schoolboy Q, Terrell Owens, and Moby all testing out fake hoverboard technology. It turned out Funny or Die was ultimately responsible, which helps explain this otherwise mystical troll, but that doesn't make it any less funny.

    shialol.jpgShia LeBeouf's Existence
    There is way, way too much here to boil it down to one story. What would you even pick? The plagiarizing for rap "freestyles"? The weird facial cutting? The green-screened motivational memes? The... threats? Maybe instead of being a troll, Shia LeBeouf is just kind of an asshole.

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  • 08/05/15--09:00: 10 Bad Meryl Streep Movies
  • Meryl Streep can never do wrong -- except when she does wrong. Although our greatest actor deservedly has a reputation for brilliant career choices, the fact is that she's basically human and occasionally fucks up, with material undeserving or unsuited to her. Here are 10 Meryl movies that were downright not good, shockingly enough (and perhaps even more shockingly, I left out She-Devil and Death Becomes Her because I liked them, and I even found some merit in August: Osage County, though it was far from a triumph). Here comes Sophie's...I mean Musto's choices. And by the way, here's hoping her new flick, Ricki and the Flash (opening August 7), isn't #11.

    Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 3.47.43 PM.pngSTILL OF THE NIGHT (1982)
    A pseudo Hitchockian suspenser in which museum curator Meryl may or may not have killed one of psychiatrist Roy Scheider's patients, this Robert Benton snoozer could have derailed Meryl's career juggernaut if people took it more seriously. Benton had led Meryl to her first Oscar in Kramer vs. Kramer, so it's obvious why she wanted to work with him again. But the result was like watching ice water freeze. "Slavishly imitative of all those B-film noir clichés" said one critic, while another swore it was "a lifeless and frustrating muddle.""It's clever but chilly," asserted the New York Times, "in the way of something with a mechanical heart." Perhaps not Still-born, but definitely not a career high for Meryl, who never worked with Benton again.

    Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 3.48.27 PM.pngFALLING IN LOVE (1984)
    Meryl reunited with Robert DeNiro for this plodding tale of extra-marital romance, but their Deer Hunter magic was nowhere to be seen. In fact, this Brief Encounter wannabe is one of the most boring movies ever made. Said Variety, "The effect of this talented pair acting in such a lightweight vehicle is akin to having Horowitz and Rubinstein improvise a duet on the theme of 'Chopsticks'."

    Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 3.48.43 PM.pngPLENTY (1985)
    A 124-minute slog based on the David Hare play about a woman who worked for the French Resistance during World War II and never recaptures her sense of glory, this was all talk, with nothing to recommend it to the public, except for the fact that a fascinating cast (including Sting, Tracey Ullman, and Ian McKellen) were buried alive in miles of dialogue. It was dreary shit -- and as Leonard Maltin put it, "The central character played by Streep is so tedious."
     
    Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 3.49.12 PM.pngHEARTBURN (1986)
    This urban-professional comedy couldn't possibly fail. After all, Nora Ephron, Mike Nichols, Meryl, and Jack Nicholson were all involved. So what the hell happened? I don't know, but I kept waiting to laugh -- or to care. Meryl did so much better in later comedies like Postcards From The Edge and The Devil Wears Prada. In retrospect, they make Heartburn seem like a passing fit of gas. PS: Another alleged comedy, It's Complicated (2009), comes pretty darned close, but has some good stuff in it.

    Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 3.50.04 PM.pngTHE HOUSE OF THE SPIRITS (1993)
    Meryl went Chilean by way of a Danish director with this Bille August adaptation of the Isabel Allende novel about a South American family cursed with magical realism and bad plotting. It was Chile con crap! What a pompously awful mess. "Turgid, overlong, silly, hysterical," said one critic, "and that spells TOSH!" But at least the hokey House proved that Meryl and Glenn Close were two different people; they appeared in the film together, and this was before CGI.

    Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 3.50.34 PM.pngDANCING AT LUGHNASA (1998)
    Meryl's the queen of stage-to-screen adaptations [see Plenty, above], so no one was surprised when she landed a key role in this version of the Brian Friel play about five single sisters in rural Ireland. But what was magical onstage became rather limp onscreen, suffused with a cinematic glow that failed to energize it out of the bargain bin. I didn't dance out of that theater -- I marched home, depressed for my Meryl.

    Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 3.51.53 PM.pngSTUCK ON YOU (2003)
    This rare Farrelly Brothers flop isn't a Meryl Streep film at all. She simply cameos in it (uncredited). But still, it's part of her oeuvre, and when she appears at the very end, co-starring in a musical version of Bonnie and Clyde's story, you have to wonder if she owed someone a favor. A semi-amiable but hardly necessary spoof about conjoined twins Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear, the film isn't grossout enough, nor is it brilliant enough, to be that remarkable. Fortunately, Meryl's bit is a scream. She elevates everything!

    Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 3.52.13 PM.pngPRIME (2005)
    In this offbeat comedy, Meryl was the Jewish therapist of Uma Thurman, whose younger boyfriend turns out to be Meryl's son. Meryl added her usual oomph to the proceedings, but the whole thing had an air of  "weird choice." Said USA Today, "This romantic comedy's predictability and rather dull love story make it the cinematic equivalent of a slightly stale hamburger." No nominations all around.

    Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 3.52.43 PM.pngMAMMA MIA! (2008)
    I know the show is a phenomenon, and the movie was an even bigger one, but so is Velveeta cheese. While I can appreciate the canny plot machinations and the giddy joy of hearing ABBA music, I didn't think this was a good piece of work, especially since some of the numbers were badly staged and occasionally you could catch a look on Meryl's face that said "Get me outta here." I empathized.

    Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 3.53.16 PM.pngTHE GIVER (2014)
    No, I didn't see it, but I did see that on rottentomatoes.com, it got a paltry 36% critical rating thanks to reviews like, "Yet another young adult novel gets squashed into a bland, Saturday afternoon time waster" and "Due to its relentless action-film momentum, much of the book's central themes of humanity and love conquering all are entirely lost." But Meryl survived her role as Chief Elder, coming out later in the year as the Witch in the hit version of Into The Woods. She was Oscar nominated once again, and will nevermore make bad choices. Maybe.

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