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All the posts on www.papermag.com.

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    Just over a year ago, on June 21st, 2014, Kayla Newman recorded and published what is arguably the most important Vine of all time. Waiting in the car while her mother was inside a Chicago area Burlington Coat Factory, Kayla Newman gave us "On fleek."



    Over the next year, pop stars feuded over who said it first. Contentwebsites#explainedit. Taco Bell reportedly made its employees learn what it meant. In March, Newman was profiled by Newsweek. The Awl celebrated One Year On Fleek on June 21st, 2015.

    Two months into the Second Year On Fleek, we sat down with Kayla Newman at the Ms. Catwalk Boutique in Chicago's South Loop to talk about Vining, blocking haters on Snapchat, and staying on fleek.

    When did you start making Vines?
     

    I started making Vines when the app came out, and it was hot back then.

    What was that, 2013, 2014?
     

    That's when I started. I made little Vines, just playing around. But then I guess when June 22nd hit, it blew up then, and I'm just like, "Whoaa!"

    How long did it take to blow up?
     

    Not that long, but when I made that, I remember one of the first comments was from KingCurtisJayy, a big viner, and he liked and retweeted it, so I'm like, "OK." The next thing I know my Twitter feed blows up within 30 minutes, it's just, "Oh, Peaches gone be famous." I'm just like, "Y'all, stop playing!"

    How many followers did you have on Twitter and Vine when it happened?
     

    At first [on Vine], I had just the typical. 100, 500. After that, 1,000, 2,000, 3,000. Then, the next thing you know, it was like, 80,000. And then on Twitter, I wasn't really on there, but at first, it was about 800. I didn't really tweet that much. But then it went up to 2,000, it constantly goes up, and my Instagram got hacked at that time.

    Do you know who did it?

    No. That's why I was so mad! My followers started going to that account. My new account is with two underscores, the first one was with one underscore.

    Did you ever speak to the person who was faking your account?
     

    No, I just made another one. I'm like, "Well, it is what is is," you know? The account was going up 4,000, 5,000 followers, and then the next thing I know, I can't get in my account. That's the only part I hate. That's the only part I worry about. I try not to say too much or do too much on the media, because somebody that doesn't like you can hack or report, and then you're sweating. You don't remember all your followers. I didn't remember all those people, and I don't even know their name anymore.

    Do you have a platform that you think is most important to your brand online?
     

    I say it's Vine, but it's mainly going into Snapchat now. I tell my followers to follow me on Snapchat, and they see my lifestyle, they see what I do. It's my main app, and I try to make videos on Vine and Instagram and Twitter, but it's like Snapchat, [my followers] see me.

    How much of your day is maintaining your brand online and keeping your accounts going?
     

    I try to keep it up every day. At least give it 30 minutes to an hour. Just so they can see I'm still here, I still notice you, I hope you guys notice me. I try not to play, like put in skits or act, because you can tell when it's fake. Even with my mom, I try to get her involved. She was into it [at first], but it was like, "OK, why are you video recording me?" And I was just like, "Mom." But now she goes along with it. I just made a video on Instagram and she was talking perfectly fine. Even my family, they're getting adjusted to [the fact that] I have to make videos at least every day, or every other day, so my followers can keep up with that.

    How would you describe your brand online?
     

    I've never thought of it like that, to be honest. When you just make videos, it just comes naturally. I don't ever try to plan it out, because with me, it just comes. I could just be at school and something would come up. I do try to make videos in the moment, try to let them see what I go through on an everyday basis. Just little slices. People really connect with that, I learned. When the video blew up, of course I rode on that train, because being popular on Vine takes a lot, and I didn't have to kill nobody or do something stupid, like "Put Em In a Coffin." I didn't have to do that, so I just started making videos about life, and people really connected with that.

    How has the the massive influx of followers changed how you use social media? Can you use it just to talk with friends, or just mess around when you're bored, because now you have all of these people watching?
     

    Yes. I still do that, mess around with my friends. I have a close friend, we call him Mango, and most of my fanbase knows that it's Mango and Peach. So I still connect with them, and I still be real. I was thinking that too, like, "OK, do I have to be all, 'Hi,' like in the corner," but I realized you should just be you. And if they don't like it, they could always unfollow you.

    Have you met any other of the big popular Viners?
     

    Not really. They be on their own thing, and I be on mine.

    Have you made friends through social media?
     

    Yeah, I actually have. I wouldn't call them "friends," but just people I talk with every day. They know me. I try not to talk my business with them, but people feel like they can come be about stuff. And I'll just be like, "Oh!" It'll be shocking.

    Like you'll feel that you're not on that kind of level to talk about stuff like that?
     

    Yeah! Like, I wouldn't just come out and tell you about my life automatically. A lot of people feel like they can, though. I don't mind. I feel like that's good for me, if you can come to me and talk to me about anything. A lot of people have done that.

    Have you had negative reactions from people?
     

    I have, especially on Vine. But even my friend Mango, I had to ask, "What are you commenting back at them for? What is your purpose?" I'm still gonna make money at the end of the day. I'm still gonna be Peaches Monroee at the end of the day. There's no need to reply back to nonsense. It is what it is. OK, I'm fat. OK, you're ugly. OK! I'm ugly to you but somebody else thinks I'm fine. So I don't pay attention to that. There was a boy at my school, and he was like, "Did you see the comments? They were just all negative, but you're still beautiful." I'm just like, "Thank you!" Yeah, I see them. But I just don't pay attention to them.

    Do you ever go through and block people, or do you just ignore them?
     

    Oh yeah, I block a lot of people. On Snapchat: block!

    How does hate over Snapchat work? Are they sending you something back?
     

    Yeah, I make a video, and I just talk, and people will be like, "Oh Peaches, I love when you said that," or "Peaches, I love your outfit." They always love my nails. Everybody loves my nails. They all ask where I get my nails done, and I'm always like, "87th & Stony Island," if they live in Chicago. Everybody gives me feedback on the Snapchat videos.

    Incognito at its fullest 🎥

    A photo posted by 〽️ac Peach 👯👑 (@peaches__monroee) on


    After the Newsweek story came out, did you notice different kinds of people following you? People reading Newsweek might not be on Vine looking at the new big videos.
     

    A lot of people in my generation, they know Newsweek magazine, but they don't know how big it is. But when their parents explain it to them, they're like, "Oh!" My mom was like, "Girl, that's good!" After that, older people started coming up to me to say congratulations. They'll be so shocked, because I'm only 17. I was 16 at the time, and the cover was Amanda Knox, so it was a big shock.

    Where do you see your online brand going from here? Will you continue it through college?
     

    I want to go into nursing, for OB/GYNs, and then I want to go into acting. I did a few plays at church, and people just fell in love with it. They even told me to go into drama in high school. I wanted to go into that, and start a foundation for teen girls who have low self-esteem, or dealing with stuff at home. Even with pregnancies. Just to let them know, you don't have to stoop down to people. I'm not a real confrontational person, so people might say I'm a punk, and it just is what it is, 'cause I'm not gonna break a nail. I want to teach girls to not stoop down to these girls' level, because first off, they're just jealous of you. The foundation is one thing I want to start while I'm at college -- even when I get out of high school. I told my mom, "I just want to push on that."

    Have you gotten offers outside Vine from your social media presence?
     

    Some, but there was something fishy, basically. I look at the offers, and send it to my attorney. If she agrees with it, cool, but the last few of them, we were like, "Nuh-uh, I'm not feeling that." I don't want to sell myself for just weaves, or just for money. I got a few offers, but I'm still personal. I just stay humbled. I can't let this get to my head. I know how young I am, it could just blow up in a minute. I just stay humble, and keep doing what I do.

    Do you think you'll ever reach a point where you'll want to step back from social media and take a break?
     

    I tried to. It just didn't work out. People come to me for stuff and advice, so it's like I'm letting them down. Every famous person say that the fans make them. I feel like my fans make me with the feedback, and with the advice. It makes me feel good that you can come to me and I'm a complete stranger. I won't tell. I'm not that female that's going to sit down with you then walk out and tell your business, I won't do that. That's one thing I feel like they're comfortable with. So, no. Stepping back from social media? No, that's not gonna happen.

    Do you have anything else you'd like to add?
     

    Just stay on fleek.


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    Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 6.13.21 PM.png
    Presented without comment is footage of Mariah Carey's Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony from earlier today -- now featuring a cameo from her cuddly, 4-year-old son, Moroccan Cannon, at the 59:56 minute-mark in the video below.

    There's also this handy version via twitter:


     

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    stonewall.jpgFinally, the not-great-looking historical movies about gay pride can grace our theaters! The first trailer for Roland Emmerich's Stonewall is here, and it looks... fine? The movie uses an invented handsome white dude named Danny (Jeremy Irvine), who looks like he goes from a naive, suburban boy to an aggressive, confident activist. At least we've moved far enough along that a reasonably expensive-looking historical drama about gay rights is actually kind of boring. Besides, Ron Perlman looks like he'll be great as Ed Murphy, the shady manager of the Stonewall Inn itself.


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    artworks-000125440233-oruhtj-t500x500.jpgLil B and Chance the Rapper had been teasing a collaborative mixtape for a minute now, but knowing them (and anything about the rate at which rappers claim collaborations are going to happen), skepticism was the appropriate reaction. But now, the tape actually exists, and it is glorious. A somehow very consciously half-polished work that still sounds good and fun and has, like, a beat from Thundercat, it's just a great surprise for the middle of your week (especially if you missed hearing Lil B actually go in and rap). If you somehow only have time for one track on the tape, check out closer "We Rare," which will replace the dearly departed "Trap Queen" as "song of the summer" if there is justice in the world of rap music. (There is not.)


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    Put those prayer hand up, because it looks as if a new #AaliyahForMAC online campaign is looking to get the cult make-up brand to launch a limited-edition makeup line inspired by the late R&B singer.

    According to organizer Jennifer Risinger, they want to "bring Aaliyah's legacy and memory to new generations" with a collection of eyeshadows, lip liners, glosses, contouring products and more from the brand she was apparently a huge fan of.

    Then again, we all know the key to prime Aaliyah face is some bronzer and a brick red lip. Yep, we'll take this over a half-ass Lifetime biopic anyday.



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    Migos_Pub1_credit_Diwang_Valdez.jpg
    photo by Diwang Valdez

    Migos's Quavo and Takeoff are playing coy when we ask them about wilding out since making it big with hits like "Versace" and "Hannah Montana.""If we tell you, then we won't be able to get it no more," Quavo smiles as he rolls a blunt. As we chat about their debut commercial release, Yung Rich Nation, out now, the two are taking sips of iced tea and finishing each other's sentences. In the end, the "juiciest" bit Quavo will cop to is that he "got my IO Hawk -- I got that off of fame." 

    But there's obviously more to the story -- since we last spoke to them back in March, the group was arrested back in April on drug and gun possession charges and their third member, Offset, is still in jail. And so, temporarily a man down, Quavo and Takeoff gradually open up and talk to us about family sparring, revamping their album and what's up with their new West Coast spin.

    I've always been curious what the family dynamic is like in the studio. Does the fact that you guys are family affect the recording process at all, like do you fight about dumb shit a lot? 

    Takeoff: Nah, we're too player. We are family and we do fight, but we stay cool. We say look, let's just go record a song, but we never let it get too out of hand. My momma's gotta call sometimes and be like, "What are y'all doin' over there?" But nah, we handle our business.

    Quavo: Yeah, but it is kind of tough, because we go so strong on each song and everybody records on their own time and then everybody will record together -- so we might have some differences about what songs should be on what and stuff like that. But at the end of the day, it's everyone's [collective] decision -- that's final. My decision, is for him [points at Takeoff]. Us. My decision affects everyone, you know? We gotta help each other. 

    I just know that at my family reunions, it can get heated...and you guys are just stuck in this little closet of a recording studio, you know?

    Quavo: Yeah, it is not a whole lot of space. Sometimes we gotta take it outside. A good 30 [minutes], a good spar.


    How's Offset's absence affected you guys, writing, working or performance-wise?

    Quavo: Well if you're up on your Migos history, you know that he was on our first mix-tape. Then once we blew up, he got locked up. So we had to do the same run once again when we had "Versace"...And then I mean, we all got in trouble this second time, so it's not like it was his fault, it's just unfortunately his record put him [in jail].  

    But is it hard to perform without your third person? 

    Quavo: Nah, because we use the fans to perform his verse. But sometimes we cut his verse due to standards of the show.  

    Takeoff: The fans go crazy. They have "Free Offset" signs. Like we just came from the Fresh Island Festival in Croatia and they had a big picket sign of "Free Offset." It was real tall and it was the only sign in the crowd. It had his picture on it, too. It was crazy. 

    Quavo: Normally when we go to shows they always have a "Free Offset" shirt or a "Free Offset sign."

    How is he, by the way? Is he upset that he can't be around for this? 

    Quavo: I actually talked to him 10 minutes ago. Just got off the phone with him

    Takeoff: He's good though, we talk to him like a regular conversation. We were on the phone laughin'. He's good. We keep him updated on everything.

    Quavo: Every time he comes out, it's something bigger than [before]. So evidently, God just put a plan in for us and so when he comes out this time, it's gonna be something bigger and better than it was before. 

    So you guys are working with [300 Entertainment's] Lyor Cohen, and I've read that he wanted to make you guys into a crossover sensation? And have you go to Sweden to produce and stuff?

    Quavo: Lyor can't make us no crossover sensation. 

    You guys are already pretty popular...

    Quavo: I mean, he's a mentor, he's been in the game for years, and we look to him for guidance on music. But as far as us laying down the tracks and putting them out there, we're gonna [do that] ourselves. 

    What was your reaction to the idea when it first came up? Did the suggestion rub you the wrong way at all?

    Quavo: Nah, we independent. We make our own decisions. We play our cards where we want to play them. Nobody will deal our cards.


    So whose idea was the Trap Symphony

    Quavo: I don't know -- whose idea was that? 

    Takeoff: It was Audiomack. Shoutout to Audiomack. 

    Quavo: Yeah, we give credit when credit is due to the right people. 

    Do you guys listen to much classical music?

    Quavo: No Beethoven, nah. We listen to [Migos-affiliated producer] Zaytoven. 

    So Quavo, you were named the most influential rapper last year by Complex. So what's it like to be the guy with the most imitated flow in the game. Is it annoying? Or is it flattering? 

    Quavo: Or what does it feel like for all three of us to have the imitated flow? I guess they're just not used to having groups, so they put me. But all of us [together] are the most influential rappers, and we change the game and you can hear it right now. It's just a blessing to see how far we came and the impact it's had on these other artists -- these artists who have been in the game longer than us and these artists who are just coming in. It's good, but we tend to get overshadowed by some people that have been in the game longer -- they get more glory songs than our song. But it's all good, it'll all take time. It's our time, we'll be aight. 

    Can you talk about why the album was pushed back and why the design and name were changed?

    Quavo: [It was mostly] just reconstructing. We didn't like the blueprint. You look at a house, you might like it at first, but then there are some things you might need to put in to [better] suit you and your squad. We just had to go back to the drawing board and put something else together. 

    Takeoff: [rapping] Every move is a chess move, gotta make a power move. 

    Quavo: But when it's crunch time, we're in there pushing out more music and more songs. Like "Pipe it up" came in the last 30 days of turning in the album, because Offset's not on it. Offset was locked up when we made that song. Also "Spray Champagne" and "Gangsta Rap" are on the album, those are like three songs that were crunch-time songs.

    Takeoff: And "Cocaina" [featuring Young Thug].

    Quavo: Yeah, that's four tracks. Yeah, we crack down when it's crunch time.


    So speaking of "Gangsta Rap," this album's way more West Coast than anything you've ever done before. Why? 

    Quavo: That's just what we grew up listening to. That's just what we like. We grew up listening to Southern music and West Coast [rap]. So when we first came out, we were all South, South, South...and now we're just changing lanes all the time. The next album may be all East Coast, you never know. You gotta hit every angle.

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    BFA_12358_1525257.jpg
    Robin Thicke and girlfriend April Love Geary (Photo by Joe Schildhorn/BFA)

    Sounds like it's Robin Thicke comeback season, because he's trying to get "Back Together" with you, girl. And hey, at least the presence of Nicki Minaj means it's not Paula-levels of sad.

    Because while there are a few cringe-y lines à la "I want to live between your legs," Max Martin's catchy Euro-disco production in tandem with Nicki's fire verse is almost enough to help you forget that he has a 20 year-old girlfriend.


    [h/t Complex]

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    A photo posted by Ryan Adams (@misterryanadams) on


    Quintessential "alt-boy" Ryan Adams took to social media earlier today to announce that he's recording a cover of Taylor Swift's entire 1989 album -- but "sad." Or at least we're assuming that's what he meant by "as played by The Smiths."


    And apparently Taylor's pretty pumped for Adams'"guaranteed saddest version of 'Welcome to New York' ever." Like passed out levels of hype.
      I dunno what it is about you Taylor, but the sensi boys just seem to love you. You Heartbreaker, you.

     

    Guaranteed saddest version of Welcome to New York ever - or your tears back

    A photo posted by Ryan Adams (@misterryanadams) on






    Totally Tod being Totally Tod Halen @totally_tod 4 Totally Tod #1989

    A photo posted by Ryan Adams (@misterryanadams) on

    [h/tPitchfork]

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    Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 12.11.38 PM.pngKim Kardashian: Hollywood is one of the stranger parts of the Kim Kardashian brand -- a game that allows you to, through relentless pursuit of social, emotional, and financial capital, become an approximation of Kim herself. It ties neatly into the boom of smart thinking about Kim (some of which she's done herself.) Now, Nicki Minaj is getting a similar game through a partnership with Glu, the same developer responsible for the Kim game. But the thing to get excited about here isn't the game itself (even if it might let you destroy trash men from your righteous and powerful perch or crash a bar mitzvah) -- it's the attendant writing and thinking. Kim Kardashian: Hollywood has inspired a nearly unbelievable amount of good writing, ranging from the straightforward and humorous to the insightful and academic. We can only hope that the Nicki game will be so intellectually productive.


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    In honor of Bel Powley's stellar performance as Minnie, an arty teenager having a fling with her mother's boyfriend in the wonderful new film, Diary of a Teenage Girl, we decided to round-up our favorite on-screen teens in cinematic history. From Cher Horowitz to the Fabulous Stains, here are all of our tender, angsty characters from the coming-of-age cannon.


    Dawn Wiener, Welcome to the Dollhouse
    Dawn Wiener's awkwardness and hatred for her preening, tortuously perfect little sister Missy spoke deeply to anyone who ever felt like an outsider in the viper pit that is junior high. She also forever changed how we'll view finger foods.

    tumblr_mfvrs4AysJ1qzcer9o1_500.gifThe Stains,  Ladies and Gentleman, The Fabulous Stains
    Teenage Diane Lane and Laura Dern star in this early '80s tale of an all-girl punk band dragged into the evil, cut-throat wilds of the recording industry only to emerge triumphant. It stars members of the Sex Pistols, the Clash, the Tubes and some of the best eyeliner in cinematic history.
     

    Lydia Deetz, Beetlejuice
    A hero for sun-averse strange and unusual girls everywhere.



    Troy, Crookyln
    Zelda Harris is heartbreaking as the head-strong Troy, the only girl in a family of boys growing up in 1970s Bed-Stuy. It's one of the best coming-of-age movies from the past twenty years and have never seen this movie and not cried. (Nor have we ever looked at fold-out couches quiet the same and small dogs quite the same. Warning: The above clip is traumatizing.)

    persepolis.jpgMarjane, Persepolis
    The animated adaptation of Marjane Satrapi's autobiographical graphic novel of the same name, Perespolis follows the story of Iranian teenager Marjane (voiced by Chiara Mastroianni) growing up during the Iranian Revolution and her struggles with cultural identity living abroad in Europe and the difficulty she has re-adjusting when she returns to life in Iran.

    Realwomen2.jpgAna, Real Women Have Curves
    Based on Josefina Lopez's play, Real Women Have Curves brought America Ferrera to the public's attention as Ana, a teen in East Los Angeles. In addition to giving us Ferrera's career, the movie also focuses squarely on questions of young women dealing with body image.


    Andie Walsh, Pretty in Pink
    Molly Ringwald makes a strong case for making your own prom dress (and having your suspicions about people named Blane) in this John Hughes classic. Plus, Annie Potts' entire steez in this movie continue to be our ultimate fashion goal -- and this includes her '80s makeover in the end. We never met a bolo tie we didn't like,.

    sheedybreakfastclub-1426006220.gifAllison Reynolds, The Breakfast Club
    A goth with dandruff. What's not to love.
     

    Cher, Clueless
    In the hands of Alicia Silverstone, Cher Herowitz is a warm, oddly likeable pretty, popular girl who just wants everyone to be happy. Including, refreshingly, herself. Like you wouldn't date Paul Rudd if he was your ex non-blood related step brother?

    Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 12.28.04 PM.pngLoretta Lynn, Coal Miner's Daughter
    Spacek played country legend Loretta Lynn from aged thirteen to her thirties and it was such a great performance that even though she was 30 when she filmed it, she made our list. Spacek is so believable as a naive country girl from Butcher Holler and, hello, she did all her own singing.

    tumblr_m0y8ig8SLH1qcxtm5o1_500.gifCady Heron, Mean Girls
    As Cady, Lindsay Lohan had the irresistible innocence of a child star and the sophistication of a more grown-up ingenue. Her perfect delivery and on-screen magnetism helped make this little comedy a cult classic, with lines like 'You can't sit with us' and 'She doesn't even go here' still a major part of pop culture.

    martha-plimpton-thegoonies-3.jpgStef, Goonies
    Martha Plimpton was always the smartest, sassiest teen in all her movies. Plus in Goonies she loads on the accessories: glasses, scarf and dangly earrings. The chicest pirate-ship explorer there ever was.

    the namesake.jpgGogol, The Namesake
    We now mostly think of Kal Penn as a comic actor, star of the Harold & Kumar series (or, for a certain type of nerd, an adviser to the Obama White House), which makes it easy to forget that he's actually a pretty good actor. In The Namesake, he plays Gogol, a mistakenly named, second-generation Indian-American struggling with his heritage and adopted home -- and does it well.
     


    Jeff Spicoli, Fast Times at Ridgemont High

    As Spicoli, Sean Penn's made kids across America wish they were cool, pothead, deadbeat surfer boys who ditched school to go ride waves to say things like, "Hey dude! Let's party!" Not to mention putting checkered slip-on Vans on the map.

    Dallas Winston, The Outsiders
    The cast of The Outsiders is a who's who of 1980s heartthrobs. Rob Lowe, Tom Cruise, Emilio Estevez. But even in that drool-inducing ensemble Matt Dillion shines as Dallas Winston, the doomed hero of his band of wayward badboys.


    Get your fill of on-screen teens with Diary of a Teenage Girl in theaters August 7th
     


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    Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 4.00.08 PM.pngI first discussedNot Funny Ha-Ha with its author Leah Hayes at San Diego Comic Con, an odd place, perhaps, for the soft launch of a graphic novel dealing with the topic of abortion, but Hayes took the teaming throngs of costumed cosplayers in stride. The cartoonist happily engaged with interested parties, listening to personal stories and discussing her own motivations for tackling such heavy subject matter in comics form. Since then, the book has, perhaps unsurprisingly, garnered a fair amount of press from big outlets, with most praising the thoughtful and measured way the artist addresses the extremely sensitive issue. Hayes takes care to tell the story from two points of view, highlighting different procedures in different circumstances, while paying close attention to the processes that often get left out of broader discussions.

    I caught up with her right as promotion for the Fantagraphics title enters its full swing, to discuss both the practice of creating the book and the act of interacting with readers while promoting such a deeply emotional work.

    When we last spoke you were starting to hear a little feedback from a few people who had seen the book. Now it's everywhere.

    It's been amazing. It's such an honor. I'm so happy people are reading it. I've been very surprised and very moved by people's responses. I'm very happy that people at this point are responding to it in a way that's in keeping with the intent of the book. There's been a lot of really nice reviews understanding the overall picture and the tone I was trying to put forth. I was afraid that people would misunderstand.

    How would you describe that tone you were trying to cultivate?

    My hope was that people would understand that it's a non-judgmental [book]. It's not trying to tell anyone what to do or say what's right or wrong about abortion. So far people are picking up on that. There's some really intense pro-life websites out there that are going kind of nuts about it, but it's to be expected, and I was definitely bracing myself for that anyway. I have a feeling a lot of pro-life sites would have a problem with anyone writing about abortion, no matter how understanding or open you can possibly be. They're just going to get upset about the subject. I'm just excited that anyone's reading it. And any publicity is an opportunity for it to get in the hands of some women or men who might need it.

    What are you hoping it provides for readers?

    I really hope it provides people with a sense of connectedness with each other during what can feel like an isolating procedure. I hope it opens up the on-going conversation about abortion in general a little more. I hope it inspires other people to write or draw or express themselves about other things they've gotten that have been hard. I've gotten amazing responses from people who have not had abortions but have described the difficult situations they've gone through.

    Abortion is one of those subjects that everyone discusses in broad terms, but people seem to rarely discuss the procedure itself.

    I was noticing that a lot. And when I went to write the book, I didn't set out to be any sort of an expert on the subject by any means. But when I started writing it, I was looking around to see where all of the abortion creative outlets were, and I didn't really see any. There are certainly graphic novels out there that are about really tough things -- the Holocaust, being gay in the world or surviving an Iranian revolution. There are all these incredibly novels and pieces of art, but I didn't really see much about abortion.

    The visual element seems incredibly important for your ability to tell the story you wanted to tell, to have the procedures be such a central part of the narrative.

    A lot of people have asked "why comics?" I've been drawing comics my whole life, and that's just my form of expression. If I was a fine art painter, I probably would have done a painting about it, too. I like drawing things that are emotional. But I'm more at ease drawing weird emotional things than I am drawing practical, medical things. I really hope I did justice to the medical stuff I drew. I researched a lot and drew from experiences. But that was the part I was the most nervous about.

    The story is told through the experiences of two different women. Was that an attempt to make the story a bit more universal for the reader?

    Definitely. That was my way of showing two different procedures. I wanted to represent a medical and surgical abortion. That was my way of doing it. I could have shown one girl who had two different kinds, which absolutely happens in life, in the world. But I thought it would give me an opportunity to show more diverse situations if I could show two different girls at different ages.

    You spent all of that time immersed in this incredibly heavy subject matter. You got a bit of a break after you finished the book, but now that you're promoting it, are you back in the headspace again?

    In a way I am. The subject matter is always heavy. It's serious. And now it feels like there's a responsibility that comes with writing about anything medical and emotional. I am sort of reliving it. And people's reactions, coming up to me and telling me what they went through is super moving, but hard. I feel a sort of responsibility to be representing my own feelings correctly and any medical information responsibly and letting people know again and again that I'm not a doctor. I don't want any girl or guy to read this and not go to a doctor or talk to a clinician. That's my worst fear.

    Has the process of finishing and promoting the book impacted your own thoughts and feelings about the subject matter is any sort meaningful way?

    Finishing and promoting the book (or seeing it go out into the world) has impacted how I feel about the topic itself, yes. I already felt that abortion was a huge, complicated, sensitive issue but it's humbled me even more hearing the response from girls/women/men who have responded to me and shared their own experiences with it.

    Not Funny Ha-Ha comes out via Fantagraphics on August 8th; pre-order a copy HERE



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    difficult people 1.jpgHulu's Difficult People, starring Julie Klausner and Billy Eichner, is a very funny sitcom -- and that's what it is. Because although being an old-fashioned sitcom has become somewhat unfashionable in the TV world, Klausner and Eichner have made something squarely in the vein of ridiculously mean shows from the past couple of decades. Seinfeld is a huge influence in the show's basic misanthropy, of course, but there are elements of 30 Rock in the pacing, a hundred acerbic sitcom marriages channeled in the relationship between Julie and her boyfriend Arthur (James Urbaniak), and, of course, Curb Your Enthusiasm's DNA in the wanton barbs and social slights.

    To celebrate this legacy, we combed through the first two episodes of the series to find the choicest verbiage and reward it as the best of the best. Here are the Difficult-ies:



    Best Justification for Not Learning Basic Life Skills -- Billy Refusing to Use Power Tools
    "Because my father is dead, and when he was alive he was Jewish."

    Best Explanation for Unfortunate Life Circumstances -- Billy... Explaining His Unfortunate Life Circumstances
    "Because our lives are garbage and it's the world's fault."

    Best Lesson in Synonyms -- Julie Explaining the Theater
    "You know what 'understudy' is? A fancy word for 'disappointment.'"

    tech_waywithwords.jpgPhoto by Bill Durgin

    Best Insult
    --Billy Insulting His Younger Co-Worker
    "I'm sorry that NAMBLA doesn't have a 'Ones to watch' section in their monthly newsletter that you could use as a press clipping."

    Second-Best Insult/Special Award for Industry Satire -- Billy When Asked to Pretend to be a 13-Year-Old Boy
    "Imagine being a Comedy Central executive and being like that every day!"

    Best/Worst Racial Humor -- Billy and His Friend Abandoning a Hit-and-Run
    "Well I am sure glad Dr. Cornel West isn't around to see this."
     
    Cornel_West.jpgBest Expression of Disappointment -- Julie Not Having a Threesome
    "I didn't get spit-roasted or anything. I know, perchance to dream..."

    Congratulations to everyone!


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    Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 12.54.54 PM.png
    The Internet is a dark, dark place, filled with the sort of intensely weird cultural artifacts that should've been buried long ago along with my J-14 subscription. Proof of this came to me when I discovered the Zayn Malik dating simulator during a late-night thirst quest and realized that there was still an entire webful of weird, fan-made, choose your own adventure-esque games that allow you to live out a fantasy date with your celeb crush of choice. From getting together for coffee to rendezvous on airplanes to chance "oh my god, I must know you" meetings on the street, anything is possible in these virtual dates. Below are a few highlights from this corner of the web -- which include GOP candidates, cartoon characters and, uh, National Treasures.

    Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 12.40.13 PM.png

    In this GirlsGoGames simulator, you're on a plane and Biebs is across the aisle from. You're both flying coach (sexxy) and are en-route to Beibs' home country of Canada. Beware though, because this one is really Bieber trivia based -- like, the only way you can gain brownie points/progress in the game to an actual date and (finally) to his concert is to know things like who his idol is, where he likes vacationing, how old he was when he had his first kiss, etc. Even better, you can start the emotional manipulation early by accepting his offer of a backstage drink, only to have him frown and recoil if you accept -- apparently he's only interested in sober sweeties who know his preferred concert clothing and the name of his childhood dog. Not to spoil the game or anything.

    Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 1.14.32 PM.png

    Another one from the GirlsGoGames family, this one is a little more realistic and less about jumping through trivia hoops. This set-up here is less of a self-absorbed celebrity quiz bowl, and more of a sim set up that allows you to pick the least shitty/creepy thing to say in hopes that Zayn will be into it. If you have any semblance of dating etiquette and forget everything Tinder has taught you, you should be making out with this newly single stud in no time. ;)

    Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 1.02.30 PM.png

    This game literally last two seconds, but is well worth the download time, because you get to have a series of Weird Cage Faces™ say things like the above. Choose from 4 possible scenarios, which will either result in a "sexy,""romantic,""good" or "bad" ending -- though after playing through all of the options, I can tell you there's a pretty good chance you'll end up impregnated with the newest member of the Coppola clan. At least his last one turned out relatively normal.

    Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 1.57.55 PM.png

    Kiss Paris Hilton is all about getting everyone's favorite early-aughts debutante to make-out on the DL with other stars. Hilton can't PDA with big-dicked Jared Leto, because she can't be photographed kissing another celeb! The solution? Get on a rollercoaster and have Leto and Hilton make out for as long as you can without someone photographing them. That's right, just hold down your mouse and let go when you see a photographer -- and if you manage to achieve a long enough smooch then you get to progress to the next level up with the dude from Sum 41 and Benji Madden

    Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 1.36.16 PM.png

    Okay, so they may not be "real" celebrities, but no one can argue that Frozen's Elsa and Rise of the Guardians'Jack Frost aren't famous. And I think the fact that they have their very own crossover dating sim is evidence of their...impact. In this particular game, you're Jack Frost, invisible to all but the beautiful (and uh, extra-booby) Elsa who is super stoked to have you hang out at her royal ball. 

    This one is solidly stuck in fanfic territory and is probably the weirdest of the bunch, especially seeing as how the game design involves you literally just clicking "Next" over and over again until they make out, have sex and part ways. And even though you can choose between things like a "humorous" or "confident" introduction, trust us, you end up in the same, sad situation no matter what kind of greeting you pick. 

    Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 12.49.23 PM.png

    Don't bother. Despite its name this isn't the "dating sim" you'd might hope for, allowing you to act out your wildest fantasies on the Great Bronzed Mormon Haircut. It's literally just a weird Mitt Romney running mate simulator. And believe me, no matter how hard you try, you won't be able to get him to make-out with Marco Rubio :( At least it's just in time for tonight's GOP debates.

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    interior_leather_bar_movie_franco.jpgPretty much everything about HBO's upcoming The Deuce sounds great. David Simon, journalist and creator of The Wire, is set to oversee the drama about the Times Square porn industry during the '70s and '80s, writing with frequent collaborator, crime novelist George Pelecanos. Michelle MacLaren, one of the best directors in the game, is behind the camera. And in front of that camera is... James Franco. The show will loosely jump off from the real-life story of twins who wound up as major players in the porn world of Times Square, which allows Variety, in an article explaining HBO's order for the series, to publish one of the funniest, scariest, and vaguely thrilling sentences in the English language all at the same time: "Franco will play both twins."


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    darkstar-avatar-2015.jpg
    In true Darkstar fashion, the impassioned British duo have managed to create a strangely nuanced, emotive track out of mere 0s and 1s with their latest tech-lullaby "Pin Secure" -- and the parodical poignancy of directed Matt Halsall's accompanying video is just as carefully crafted.

    Taking on the aesthetics of cult, tech-dystopia TV show Black Mirror, Darkstar apply it to a not-so-distant world bound by the anti-immigration rhetoric of UK Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative Party. An expertly-shot video injected with a hefty dose of salient social commentary that's been especially poignant in the months following a disappointing General Election, it's a chilling, paranoia-laden reminder that there's always a downside to xenophobia disguised as "security."

    Watch the video below.
     

    Darkstar's Foam Island is out via Warp Records on October 2nd.

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    FrancoCalendarJamesxJames.jpg
    In the most James Franco news ever, it turns out the impossible multitasker will be playing a set of 70s porn star twins for HBO's forthcoming The Deuce -- because apparently the term "Franco-phile" wasn't loaded enough.

    The creation of The Wire mastermind David Simon, it'll apparently be an objective look at this pivotal time in adult entertainment, following more permissive legislation during this era of "change." And while we still have a whiles to wait for the actual premiere, we do have this James Franco selfie calendar to keep you company until the pilot's shot in October. Enjoy.

    [h/t i-D]

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    empire 1.jpg(photo via Michael Lavine/FOX)

    A new trailer for season two of Empire is here, and it is spectacular. Get hyped for September 23, when the season premieres.



    Among the many beautiful details:
    • Andre wants to get rid of Lucious, who pits Jamal against Andre while also in a separate feud with Hakeem (because this is Empire and everyone is fighting everyone at the same time).
    • Lucious, who is in prison, raps in his jumpsuit from a cell or something.
    • Chris Rock looks warily at someone or something... in his own jumpsuit, because he is also in prison.
    • ...Marisa Tomei is here!
    • Most important: Hakeem glides around the Empire offices on an IO HAWK, because of course he has one of those now.
    As great as the new season looks, there is some reason to be nervous -- at the Television Critics Association press tour, creator Lee Daniels said he wants a spinoff about Cookie, which is maybe the worst idea anyone has had since Hakeem's fake relationship with Tiana. Taraji P. Henson's balls-to-the-wall, full-on soap performance is a minor work of art in its own right, delightfully angry and powerful and pretty much the only thing that grounds the show in even a semblance of expressionist emotional reality. All of the men of the Lyon family are basically satellites in her orbit -- does Daniels really think that, like, Yazz can hold down the fort? (Not that "Drip Drop" isn't great.) Besides, without Cookie dialogue... what would we tweet every week?


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    The winner of last night's "debate" wasn't any of the Republican candidates. It wasn't FOX. And it wasn't the people who live-tweeted the agonizing political spectacle. It was Hillary Clinton, who took the opportunity to take a selfie with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, perhaps one of the most powerful forms of social currency in 2015.

    I got my selfie!!! I really loved hearing her speak & hearing her goals for our country! #HillaryForPresident

    A photo posted by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on


    This photo is a pretty fantastic subliminal. While the Republican candidates are braying about which one of them was the first to oppose women's control over their bodies, Hillary Clinton -- a politician frequently characterized as cold and out of touch -- snags the endorsement of one of the most powerful celebrities in the country (certainly, one of the most powerful to young women). It's a power move that rivals and far surpasses something like, say, Drake's PowerPoint of memes. Hey Drake: If you're going to be a cold, calculatinglame, maybe take a lesson from the professionals.

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    235 POUNDS OF NEON PYTHONS AWE SHiT LOOK WHO iT iS THE WHiTE BARRY BONDS

    A photo posted by RiFF RaFF JODY HiGHROLLER (@jodyhighroller) on


    Fuck South Beach, because according to the Riff Raff School of Diet Thots, steroids are out and snacks are in, breakfast should be a buffet, everything should come with a side of mac and cheese. Hell yes. 

    VERY HEALTHY BREAKFAST

    A photo posted by RiFF RaFF JODY HiGHROLLER (@jodyhighroller) on

    i EAT ALMOND CRUNCH FRENCH TOAST iN THE AQUABERRY SHOWER JUST TO REMiND MYSELF WHO i AM

    A photo posted by RiFF RaFF JODY HiGHROLLER (@jodyhighroller) on


    After all, how else is he gonna bulk up to 240 pounds to pursue the WWE dream he's always had? And even though I'm pretty sure the metaphorical beefing up is supposed to be done with lean meats -- I guess Hawaiian BBQ 5 times a week counts. Like his dedication is truly inspirational.

    LAMB CHOP SLiDERS, CRAB ARTiCHOKE PROVOLONE CHEESE DiP & MAC & CHEESE BACON CHEESE BURGER HUSH PUPPiES ON THE MENU FOR TODAY, i AM GETTiNG FAT BUT i DONT CARE BECUZ MY MAiN GOAL iS TO MAKE $100,000 A WEEK WHiCH i DO GiVE OR TAKE A RANGE FROM $75,000-$215,000 AND PUT ON 5 POUNDS PER WEEK iM NOW UP TO 231 AND i WORK OUT 4 DAYS OUT OF THE WEEK AND MAKE SURE THAT WHEN i WORK OUT i DONT BRiNG MY PHONE SO iM NOT DiSTRACTED BY ANYTHiNG AND i DONT TAKE BREAKS i THiNK OF ALL THE HATERS THAT CANT NEVER BE ON MY LEVEL YET ALWAYS WANT ME TO NOT REACH MY GOALS AS i LiFT WEiGHTS RELENTLESSLY AND WHEN i SiT iN MY VERSACE STEAM ROOM i THiNK OF ALL THE TiMES PEOPLE DOUBTED THAT i WOULD BE THE MiLLiONAiRE iCON i AM TODAY, SOME PEOPLE SAY "BE HUMBLE" BUT NOBODY CAN EVEN iMAGiNE WHAT i GO THRU OR WENT THRU TO GET WHERE i AM OR WHERE iM GOiNG AND i HAVE PEOPLE STEAL MY STYLE OR STEAL MONEY FROM ME BUT iM STiLL GROWiNG MENTALLY & PHYSiCALLY SO NOBODY CAN TELL ME SHiT SO FUCK U iF U HAVE "ADViCE" FOR ME OR YOU WANT ME TO "BE HUMBLE" GET THE FUCK OUTTA HERE WiTH THAT BULLSHiT DONT GiVE ME ADViCE GiVE ME MONEY AND MORE LAMB CHOP SLiDERS AND DONT TALK TO ME WHiLE iM EATiNG UNLESS YOU ARE A HOT CHiCK OR ELSE i MiGHT BiTE YOUR FUCKiNG HAND LiKE A 3 MOON WOLF AND THEN THROW YOU ON THE GRiLL SYANARi SUCKERS i AiNT EVEN GOT STARTED YET SEE YOU AT 250 POUNDS OF PURE MUSCLE MASS

    A photo posted by RiFF RaFF JODY HiGHROLLER (@jodyhighroller) on

    HAWAiiAN CHiCKEN CAJUN SHRiMP MUSSEL SWAMP SOUP MACARONi CLAM CHOWDER ON YOU SWEET & SOUR FLOWERS

    A photo posted by RiFF RaFF JODY HiGHROLLER (@jodyhighroller) on

    ALWAYS MAKE SURE TO EAT LOTS OF BBQ BEEF BRiSKET & JAPANESE SHRiMP COMBO CLASSiCS iF U WANT TO WEiGH 233 POUNDS OF iCON

    A photo posted by RiFF RaFF JODY HiGHROLLER (@jodyhighroller) on

    CRAB LEGS iN COLUMBiA SOUTH CAROLiNA NEXT STOP CHARLESTON #TheseNeonPythonsAintGunnaFeedThemselves

    A photo posted by RiFF RaFF JODY HiGHROLLER (@jodyhighroller) on


    Get too full? Well then just follow his lead and smoke a blunt + settle that stomach with a bottle of red 40-laden Hawaiian Punch.

    MY ELECTRiC BiLL GUNNA BE HiGH AS FUCK

    A photo posted by RiFF RaFF JODY HiGHROLLER (@jodyhighroller) on


    Oh and don't forget dessert.

     

    THANKS TO ROB AT HOUSE OF BLUES THE TOP CHEF MADE ME BANANA PUDDiNG CHEESCAKE AND iTS NOT EVEN ON THE MENU

    A photo posted by RiFF RaFF JODY HiGHROLLER (@jodyhighroller) on


    Now this is one Foodiegram we can get down with.


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    Twenty years after watching two British dudes on MTV rap about being too hot for their mesh tops, it's easy to forget they're still alive, let alone making music. But Right Said Fred and nine more of your favorite '90s one-hit wonders are alive and well -- even if some of them quit music to pursue acting, fashion or fell running (more on that later). For your TGIF gratification, here's a look at what the hell happened to ten artists whose hits soundtracked your Bar Mitzvahs and high school dances.

    Chumbawamba ("Tubthumping," 1997)


    Chumbawamba, the British band that brought us the 1997 hit "Tubthumping," mislead us with the lyrics "I get knocked down, but I get up again": The group announced its culmination in 2012 "with neither a whimper, a bang, or a reunion." Former lead guitarist Boff Whalley did, however, continue to pursue his passion for the fringe sport fell running -- racing on hilly terrain -- which he documented in the 2012 book Run Wild.

    Divinyls ("I Touch Myself," 1990)


    Sadly, Chrissy Amphlett, vocalist of the Australian group Divinyls, died of breast cancer in 2013. Shortly after, 10 singers including Olivia Newton-John covered the song in a video aimed at promoting a different type of self-touch for early breast cancer detection. As for guitarist Mark McEntee, he settled down with designer Melanie Greensmith and their two dogs in Sydney, where they run the fashion brand Wheels & Dollbaby.

    Right Said Fred ("I'm Too Sexy" 1991)


    Brothers Fred and Richard Fairbrass of English pop group Right Said Fred were not "too sexy" for an appearance on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver last year after news came out that Bashar al-Assad had bought their music on iTunes ("So we're dealing with someone with the political instincts of a young Joseph Stalin and the music tastes of a 14-year-old girl from Orange County named Tiffany," Oliver commented). On the show, the group performed a very different rendition of its hit single, calling Assad "too awful for this Earth." When the Fairbrass brothers aren't rewriting old songs to defame dictators, they're recording new ones, including the recent single "Raise Your Hands."

    Sir Mix-a-Lot ("Baby Got Back," 1992)


    While a lot of us remember this song as the de facto soundtrack of Bar Mitzvah and Sweet Sixteen grindfests, for most adults, our only exposure to "Baby Got Back" these days is when we hear it sampled on Nicki Minaj's "Anaconda," which Sir Mix-a-Lot deemed a "new and improved version" of his hit. The rapper has kept busy with new music and even a few acting roles, including playing himself in The Simpsons and a fictional DJ in Grand Theft Auto IV.

    Aqua ("Barbie Girl," 1997)
     


    After "Barbie Girl" exploded in the States in 1997, Danish electro-pop group Aqua fell off most Americans' radars. But unbeknownst to us, Aqua has put out three more albums since and sold 33 million total records, making it the best-selling group in Danish history and the 5th-best-selling in Scandinavia, surpassing Bjork by about 10 million records. 

    Rednex ("Cotton Eye Joe," 1995)


    Rednex's hit single and band name may evoke images of the American south, but the group is actually Swedish -- and it's still touring around Europe... sort of. In 2012, the group's website announced it would thereafter consist of "a larger community of performers, a 'pool' of artists that in total make up more than one Rednex set-up. The days of a permanent band is gone." 

    Eiffel 65 ("Blue (Da Ba Dee)," 1998)


    Though best known for expressing the pain of a gloomy day with strings of gibberish syllables, Italian Eurodance group Eiffel 65 has recorded two albums and a number of singles since, including the anti-materialism anthem "Too Much of Heaven" and the straightforwardly titled dance tune "Move Your Body."

    Lou Bega (Mambo No. 5, 1999)


    Here are a few lesser-known fun facts about Lou Bega: he's German (though of Italian and Ugandan descent), and his famous hit "Mambo No. 5" was actually a remake of a 1949 instrumental piece by
    Pérez Prado, on top of which he sprinkled lyrics about life as an incorrigible flirt. Bega has continued making music inspired by Latin and international classics, though his other songs only managed to top a few European charts. You might've seen him pop up in other corners of pop culture, though, including as the singer of the theme song for Disney Channel cartoon Brandy and Mr. Whiskers, as a persona in the computer game Tropico, and as himself in the video game Walt Disney's The Jungle Book Rhythm n' Groove.

    Vengaboys ("Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom!", 1999)


    On the brink of the new millennium, Dutch dance-pop group Vengaboys titillated preteens everywhere with the lyrics, "I want you in my room. Let's spend the night together from now until forever." Though the peak of their fame didn't last "until forever," they did sell 25 million records, winning a World Music Award for best-selling dance group, and continue to release singles and tour Europe.

    House of Pain ("Jump Around," 1992)


    After the hip-hop group disbanded in 1996, lead rapper Everlast collaborated with Santana on "Put Your Lights On" and became a one-hit wonder in his own right with the 1998 single "What It's Like." Some artists were just destined for one-hit wonderdom. DJ Lethal, however, went on to join Limp Bizkit, producing more than one hit and proving that our pasts don't have to define us.

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