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Everything to Know About the #Thighreading Tag Taking Over Twitter


You know the old adage: the more stretchmarks, the more blessings? No? Okay, well according to our crystals, the new Twitter tag #thighreading is going to be a big thing. After all, it's brought to us by feminist twitter star Emo Slut, who also gave us the popular self-affirming #selfiearmy twitter tag and launched #thighreading yesterday. It's probably the cutest way to foster body positivity on a site that often trades on vitriol.

What's a #thighreading, you may ask? Is it the new palm reading? 

Well, no. Though granted, we'll take #bodyposi over predictives any day. Because while it won't tell you the number of people crushing on you or if you'll have a regular poop tomorrow, what it will do is continue fostering an environment of support for anyone who's felt insecure about the way their thighs look. Pale, veiny, cottage cheesy, scaly, chubby, they're all iterations that are welcome; because fuck airbrushing, we like to believe the blemishes mean you're kind, generous and loyal -- with a tendency towards good fortune and happiness, of course. 

Thankfully lots of girls and have been chiming in with their own images/positive affirmations.

So take to Twitter to post your own #thighreading and share your cellulite/stretchmarks with the world.  

Jaden Smith Has a New Life Philosophy -- And It Has to Do With Stairs

It's no news that 17-year-old Jaden Smith has no problem blessing the Twitterverse with his wise words of wisdom, but the young philosopher seems to have reached a new level of sophistication with a metaphor comparing his life to a set of dark stairs. In this black and white (obviously) video of Jaden, he explains how all he "cares about is going up." So in the staircase, that is life, Jaden advises you to have zero qualms about borrowing ideas, even if they belong to Drake, Kanye or Tyler, because "it doesn't matter how you get up" as long as you keep moving. 

Joey Arias' Eight Most Insane Moments From Working at Fiorucci

07b61e7290781536f3fe0639069857be.jpgJoey Arias during his Fiorucci days in 1982, photographed by Amy Arbus.

As many of you might have heard Elio Fiorucci passed away yesterday. Fiorucci's 59th Street emporium (simply called Fiorucci) skyrocketed to fame in the late '70s and defined the decadent disco-liberated seventies. It was one of the most extraordinary stores that has ever existed in New York City, because it was a living breathing crazy cultural moment. Sure, there were the clothes which changed every month fromDay-Glo to leopard, but that was only the tip of the iceberg. There were the live window displays and the insanely loud disco music.  There were the wild parties that took place after hours, there were the throngs of customers  ranging from midtown secretaries to Greta Garbo to Andy Warhol to Yves Saint Laurent. And  then there was Fiorucci employee Joey Arias, the store's star and most famous sales associate. Before he could become a cabaret legend, Arias developed a huge following of customers that would come in to be entertained and cajoled by his hilarious energy and insane antics. In many ways Joey Arias was Fiorucci -- and that's why Elio loved him so much. People from all over the world would come to Fiorucci to see Joey as much as they'd come to buy the clothes. With Elio's passing yesterday I thought it would be fun to hear more from Joey about some of the most outrageous things he ever saw when he worked at Fiorucci. Here's what he said.

1. I was introduced to Lauren Bacall to help her through the store. She was a very intense lady. I actually thought she had a pole up her ass the way she walked around with so much attitude. She finally picked some clothes that she liked and I brought her to one of the dressing rooms, where she proceeded to light up a cigarette and just stare at herself smoking. Then she lifted the cigarette, with ashes and dumped them on my hand! I was shocked that she used my hand as an ashtray, eventually putting the cigarette out on my palm. I wanted to punch her, but she did purchase lots and tipped me. Showing her my blackened palm, I told her to please come back and smoke anytime.

2. A supermodel who will go unnamed would always pop in to pick up the latest item. One day as she was changing in the dressing room and I could hear snorting and coughing. I asked her if she was O.K., and, peering over the dressing room, I saw her with a huge bag of coke. She was going wild and dropped the bag. Coke spilled throughout the dressing area. She was flying and so were we!

3. A very strange lady used to come by every day -- she was very eccentric and surreal. She had her head tied in a flowing scarf and had a Halston shawl draped over her right shoulder and was always holding a Sherman cigarette between her long fingers and very long nails. She would walk like a Bob Fosse dancer. I was fascinated and wanted to know who she was. I asked her and she said "Kay," then did a twirl for me and sang a bit of a song from Funny Face called "Think Pink." At that time, I had Day-Glo bright pink hair and she told me, " the only reason I come here is to look at your hair." She dropped her cigarette on the wooden floor and stomped it out and I never saw her again after that.

Joey Arias and Klaus Nomi dance in the windows of Fiorucci for the '80s news show Real People.

4. The king and queen of Spain came to Fiorucci and Elio was there to greet them. The secret service scanned the store and closed the doors for half an hour so they could shop. Elio introduced me and I bowed to them as they gazed at me. I proceeded to show them everything.  They were pleasant and could barely speak English. In my broken Spanish, I  asked them if they wanted some enchiladas. They looked at me as if I was crazy and said they'd never had one. After all their looking around I thought I was going to make a great commission, but in the end all they purchased was a key chain with an angel attached!  What a drag that was.

5. Andy Warhol popped in quite frequently and loved having a quick coffee while he checked out the new items. The one thing that he really liked was the makeup bar. The makeup department had just purchased makeup for putting on dead people. He was so fascinated by this and wanted to try it, so the makeup artist proceeded to make him over. When she was done he looked a wax dummy of himself! It was a bit of a shock. He loved it and purchased every bit of that makeup.

6. A couple came in to buy jeans. I could tell they'd had a few martinis and they laughed and kissed the whole time. When I took them to their dressing room, they said they'd share since the store was packed with customers.  I heard some moaning and peeked into the dressing room and they were having full on sex. He was fucking her in the ass and she was making the crassest sounds. I told them to stop and they ignored me. We had to get security to stop them. They were asked to leave, although in the end they did purchase the jeans they were having sex in.  

7. I was standing at the back of the store when I saw this woman walking around in a light coat and dark round glasses. She had a bag and was creeping around the store, slowly looking over her shoulders. I thought she might be a thief, so I kept my eye on her. She would gaze at me and continue looking at clothes. I thought she was going to lift something, so I went right behind her and whispered in her ear if she needed help. She turned quickly at me and said "no, I'm just looking". Something was different with her, but  I couldn't put my finger on it. But when I saw her profile, I finally realized that it was Great Garbo. She knew that I knew, so when I went to grab the manager to see her she flew out of that store like a tornado.

8. Divine used to pop in the store and loved the music and clothes. He wished he could fit in the clothes and tried to put some on but ended up ripping them to shreds. It was like a John Waters film in the store. He was animated. He loved to open ladies purses and see what was inside and they would all be gagging over Divine doing that. It was a different time. People had a different attitude. At the end of the day..it was all fun and harmless. I'll never forget.

You can catch Joey Arias starring in the
Joey Arias *Experiments* at Pangea, now through August 3rd. Tickets are available here.

Taylor Swift is Coming Out with a Clothing Line

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 5.56.30 PM.png[Photo via Instagram]

As if she weren't already undisputed queen of the Western hemisphere, Taylor Swift is taking one step closer to world domination with the launch of a clothing line for the Chinese market. Created in collaboration with Nashville brand builder Heritage66 and sold through Chinese e-commerce site JD.com, the women's collection will include dresses, sweatshirts, and tops ranging from $100 to $120.

Designs purportedly cater to local sensibilities, as the items are available exclusively through JD.com starting next month. Heritage66 calls the move an attempt to weed out sellers who are using her brand to create unauthorized products; we call it a blessing to Chinese TSwift fans, since the rest of us will undoubtedly be left scouring eBay for resales. May the queen of pop also grace us with a collection of adorable crop top/skirt combos in the near future.

[h/t i-D]

The Bachelorette Episode 11: In Which Chris Harrison Reads Slut-shaming Tweets

Let's not make this a list series, shall we? This episode was interesting to me. You never really know what you're going to get with these Men/Women Tell All episodes (for instance Chris Harrison nearly murdered Juan Pablo in his), and I guess ultimately I'm glad they tackled the bullying and slut-shaming that is currently running rampant in our culture.  We've enabled millions of tiny little monsters who can tweet and comment vile things at real people with "virtually" no consequences so there was some value there, but that segment was tough to sit through.

First we're treated to a Bachelor in Paradise trailer, and my main takeaway from that is this brilliant thought-starter from Ashley S., our faux eyelashed virgin from Chris Soules's season. "Jared is definitely hot enough to be my first."

Know what? Great idea. Support this 100%. Jared should be at the top of a global listserve of men who would be a great first. Just think about how genuinely caring he would be. I think Jared could be a great resource for a lot of women if this Ashley Madison hack goes through.

Next up is a montage of all the "drama" for the season, and first up is Ian, who is clearly not having all that sex he was so looking forward to due to his offensive, rude, and overconfident behavior. "Princeton needs to teach a class on how not to be an asshole," says my favorite Greek chorus member Tanner, who also went on to call Ian "butthurt" which, while maybe not exactly a PC choice, made me laugh. Ian is so butthurt.

Ian bizarrely tries to channel his inner Atticus Finch in this moment, taking off his jacket and sinking to his knees to deliver a grandstanding apology to the guys, but not before asking if Kaitlyn could stop whatever it is she's doing and come talk to him, on his timeline, even though the lead always comes out near the end. Cool.

Pause while I ask the question everyone was wondering: Who the hell is Corey and why does he suck so much? He got as much screen time as sexy gentle giant Ben Z., and he said things like that that made me angrily drink wine: "Her decisions were in bad taste and disgraceful given what we were looking for." Translation? Kaitlyn had sex with a guy she's dating which makes her a whore and no man who goes on a group dating show wants damaged goods like that for a wife. Corey, if Ken doll were real you would be his annoying, divorced older cousin with a coke problem.

Thank goodness for  Ben "be still my heart" H., who jumps in after Corey agrees with Ian's previous assessment of Kaitlyn (she's 'disgraceful' if you recall, which = huge skank), asking him how many episodes he even appeared on. Zing!

Next we move on the JJ and Clint bromance, which I'm going to skip because it's boring, but I will say how refreshing it was to move seamlessly between misogyny and homophobia. Just nice to keep switching it up. However, if you can here's a clip.

Clint was kind of confusing as they debated Kaitlyn's decision to keep Nick on the show, because he made a great point when Joshua started whining about her decision to keep Nick, because previously she said she was confident her husband was in the room that night before Nick arrived, which i'm pretty sure she's contractually obligated to say.
"Dont you think that when you say someone else isn't right for her that you are valuing your opinions above her?" he asks, and yes! That's exactly what he's doing, so thanks for that Clint.

Apparently JJ was deemed worthy enough of a hot seat visit with Chris Harrison, but i'm over it. Let's move on to Ben Z. If you remember, he hasn't cried since his mother passed and was made to attend a faux wake for Kaitlyn as she lay "dead" in a coffin, because this show is concerned with emotional well being above all else. "That caused me to lock up a little bit more," he says. Uh, yeah. Chris Harrison really wants this tall drink of water to shed some tears-- I'd suggest watching videos of soldiers being reunited with their family and/or pets. Always works for me.

Hey, it's Jared, the nicest restaurant manager in all of Rhode Island! Other careers I think Jared would excel at, besides the one he has, at which I'm sure he is just excellent:
Customer service lead
Cruise director
Kayak tour guide
Getting it/Professional virginity consultant

Jared was gracious all season long and this is no different. Chris Harrison did him a solid by making him clean up all that patchy facial hair, and, as evidenced by the two makeouts I spied in the paradise teaser, it worked. I want the best for Jared in the same way I root for white Michelle Williams, Tim Riggins, and Bernie Sanders.

OMG it's Ben H! "It's like walking by a construction site in reverse" Chris Harrison says, casually both acknowledging and misunderstanding the concept of street harassment in one fell swoop. I've extolled Ben's virtues before (handsome, well-spoken, potentially sneaky-funny) so I'm into how into him I am-- let's get this guy to bachelor mansion, stat. Ben clears up what happened in San Antonio: Ben and Shawn were sharing a room in San Antonio (BTW-- of course Shawn ended up in the big bed leaving Ben the cot. You know he half-assed offered to switch knowing Ben wouldn't oppose) and Kaitlyn snuck down to the room and hung out with both for a while. Ben hopped in the shower because they had a production call coming up, and while he was in there Kaitlyn told Shawn he was the one. Case solved. If you were wondering why they spent so much time in Ireland, it's because once this (coupled with her sleeping with Nick) came to light they had to change the filming schedule, because you can't meet four sets of parents once you have sex with a contestant and go off-camera, even though Ben Flajnik and Juan Pablo did exactly that on their seasons.

It's time to bring out Kaitlyn, who gets down to business. "Spreading hate the way people have been is not okay. I can handle it but it's my family that it effects. I get death threats" she says, as the camera totally pans to a woman who made some. And here is where it got real. I saw varying reactions to this on twitter, but I think there was real value in reading aloud, swears and all, the truly disgusting things people have been saying to her, people who are themselves mothers.

Kaitlyn did a damn good job last night, standing up for herself when she needed to and touching on the double standard and hypocrisy in calling someone out on bad behavior when you yourself are publicly spreading hate. Just look at her Twitter replies and Instagram comments. It's frightening how quickly we've gotten to this point, and I'm sure there are lots of longform essays in the works on that topic as I type. "I would rather have you as a role model for my kids than some cyber bully who spews that kind of hate" Harrison (rightfully) tells her. "I'm proud to call you my friend and I'm glad you're here."

Ditto, Harrison! And with that we have 12 Angry Men Confronting Kaitlyn Bristowe. I'm glad they tempered their everlasting entitlement by giving them a taste of the vitriol she's up against, and we (soft) start with Jared, who probably feels bad for a solid ten minutes if he misses an opportunity to hold the door open for someone. What can you say? She just didn't like him as much as he liked her, and that's that. Ben H. wants to know why she told Shawn she slept with Nick and not him, and Kaitlyn's "I'm just not that into you" took the form of an apology: "If it came down to it I would have been honest with you as well. I apologize."

Jonathan tries to give her shit for bringing Nick back and she (sweetly) gives him a mic drop. "Did you not vote for Britt?" she asks, him effectively shutting that down. "What if one of us brought a girl we were talking to on the show? Would that be fair?" my new nemesis Corey idiotically asks about a situation he wasn't even present for. "You guys, try and date this many people at one time and try and not make a mistake, I dare you" she says, and I cheered.

Ian takes another crack at an apology on his knees. Apparently he'd been writing her notes every week, which I can only imagine were super deep, and he wrote a note apologizing for his behavior. This one goes better, and Ian may not be met with as many hostile stares the next time he goes out.

And with that, bloopers! Thank god for Amy Schumer. Next week we have the finale, and hopefully the revelation that Ben H. is the future bachelor of my heart!

Hot New Beauty Trend: Literally Setting Your Hair on Fire


Friday treat 🔥🔥🔥 @lacesandhair @crisdioslaces #hairtreatment #hidratação #multivitaminas

A photo posted by @alessandraambrosio on

Uh, talk about "dried out," because apparently ladies are literally setting their hair on fire in the name of beauty. A Brazilian technique called Velaterapia, which literally translate to "candle therapy," is supposedly the new way to make your hair fuller, softer and way glossier -- but do we get s'mores after?

Speaking to the Cut, Vogue Brazil editor Victoria Ceridono says the process cauterizes the hair to prevent breakage and split ends. Ceridono says it's all done really quickly and that "you almost don't smell hair burning." Almost.

Afterward, your hair is then "embroidered," which basically means a stylist will shear off your split ends pretty much strand by strand and then place a multivitamin mix that will be welcomed whole-heartedly by your burnt ends. And while we're sure it's all the rage for a reason, excuse us if we don't feel 100% yet about our hair catching on fire. Can you say "hot mess"?

[h/tThe Cut]

It's... Lit? A Timeline of James Blake-Kanye Collab Rumors

A new Kanye West album rides the horizon, forever out of our reach (and forever an impending brick until the moment it hopefully isn't). Meanwhile, on the other, more daintily coiffed side of the Atlantic, a new James Blake album similarly looms -- this one fueling far less speculation but still dangling in the near future ripe with the possibility that it will be really, really good. But what if those two albums were... similar? What if James Blake and Kanye... collaborated? Together? On music? What if Kanye appeared on James Blake's new album and, in Stephen Colbert's words, "feated"? Let's investigate.

blake west2.jpgAugust, 2011 -- Just a few months after the release of Blake's stellar debut album, he announces a collaboration with Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, titled "Fall Creek Boys Choir." Writing for Grantland, Amos Barshad describes this as the pair "Watching the Throne" -- "the act of two individually successful musicians temporarily joining forces." The term comes from Watch the Throne, an album Blake will later admit he was invited to listen to before its release. "Fall Creek Boys Choir" does not sound like Watch the Throne.

November, 2013 -- Kanye calls Blake his "favorite artist" in an interview with Wired 96.5, prompting speculation that the two will work together at some undefined point in the future. One of the DJs crassly says "James Blake just made a ton of money." Kanye is obviously uncomfortable.

February, 2014 -- Blake expresses interest in the collaboration in an interview with Rolling Stone. claiming that Kanye has asked him to work on the follow-up to Yeezus (the album currently named SWISH), but that he isn't sure if their styles will be compatible -- especially since Kanye has described the record as his Born in the U.S.A. It is here that Blake describes hearing Watch the Throne, saying "It was nice to hear these songs that eventually became massive." Here is the video for one of those "massive" songs that does not feature James Blake.

November, 2014 -- In an interview with The Miami New Times, Blake, who appears to be mostly done with his follow-up to 2013's Overgrown, confirms that, yes, he is still interested in working with Kanye, and has a "specific song" he would like to get him on, if it winds up being possible before the release of the record. As the piece notes, Blake has collaborated with RZA on Overgrown's "Take a Fall For Me," a song that, yes, does not feature Kanye.

July, 2015 (today) --
Pigeons & Planes reports that Reddit has discovered what appears to be the newest issue of Esquire, which includes a quote from Blake confirming that, yes, he is working with Kanye. He is pretty sure. "I'm with him today," Blake says in the page found on the following image. "Today we should nail something down." He admits, however, that the track might not end up on his album, because the collaboration still might not work. Speculation continues.

fh5TjUm.jpgPlease return for tomorrow's installment of Guessing Takes With James Blake, where we track the rumor that Blake was maybe going to live in a house with Chance the Rapper or something.

Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift Get Into It On Twitter Over the VMA Nominations

The MTV Video Music Award Nominations were announced this morning, and though there were heaps of videos from smaller, but no less important, stars we would have loved to see be nominated, the VMAs are obviously not about that. The VMAs are about celebrating huge pop stars, their music, and the spectacular, viral videos that go along with them. Nicki Minaj was not pleased, therefore, to find her Vevo-record-breaking, hugely pop culture-shaping, gloriously dick-negative video for Anaconda left off the nominees list for "Video of the Year." Instead, it was nominated for "Best Hip-Hop Video" and "Best Female Performance." Her collaboration with Beyonce, which set the internet ablaze this spring, received no nominations 

So Minaj took to Twitter to ask where her Video of the Year nomination was, first thanking MTV for her other nods but pointing out, "If I was a different 'kind' of artist, Anaconda would be nominated for best choreo and vid of the year as well." Minaj also tweeted "If your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for video of the year." 

Taylor Swift, whose video "Bad Blood" is nominated for Video of the Year, took the latter personally and responded none-too-kindly.

Read their exchanges below, which also features an ill-advised cameo from On Air With Ryan Seacrest

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 7.32.32 PM.png
Minaj starts by thanking MTV for her nominations:

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 7.31.10 PM.pngScreen Shot 2015-07-21 at 7.33.54 PM.png

And then goes on to underline the incredible cultural impact that Anaconda had on the internet last year:

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Taylor Swift eventually chimed in with this:

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 7.36.34 PM.pngScreen Shot 2015-07-21 at 7.59.47 PM.png
And then, deep, long sigh: On Air with Ryan Seacrest inserted itself into the mix:
Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 7.59.11 PM.pngScreen Shot 2015-07-21 at 8.01.40 PM.pngScreen Shot 2015-07-21 at 8.01.50 PM.pngSwift responded with the following olive branch:
Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 7.53.50 PM.pngIf you need us, we'll be drinking Moscato Myx in a dark room.

Check out Jeremyville's Adorable LeSportsac Collab with Colette


Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 9.36.33 PM.png
The first time we saw artist Jeremyville's daily blog Community Service Announcements -- simple pop art cartoons with inspirational captions like "I believe in me" and "Be as you as you can be" -- we thought they were so adorable and uplifting that we wanted to carry them around with us all the time. Now, thanks to a joint effort between the Brooklyn-based artist and Colette, we can do just that. Jeremyville is teaming up with the Parisian boutique to create a limited run of collabs with brands like LeSportsac and Mighty Wallet -- and to launch the first CSA book, "Live Life Sunny Side Up," with a signing by the artist Wednesday night, 5- 6 pm.

We're particularly stoked about the LeSportsac collaboration, which includes two totes, a backpack, a duffel, and a cosmetics bag, all printed with Jeremyville's CSAs. They're cute without being kitsch -- and what better daily pick-me-up could you have than a bag that reminds you to keep your chin up?

CSA prints are also on display in an in-store exhibition, "Jeremyville at Collete," which runs through August 29. Check out the LeSportsac cuteness and some of our favorite prints below. 

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Inside the Deeply Bizarre Snapchat Movie That Has Even Marilyn Manson Freaked Out


GO find mudditchgirl91 via @marilynmanson twitter😝 link in bio

A photo posted by TEEN GUILLOTINE. (@internetgirl) on

Have you ever wondered what goes into being an Internet celebrity? What it's really like to play a character whose sole identity rests on online self-promotion? What it's like to be a girl who grows up on the Internet fancying herself an artisté? Well a real-time Snapchat short film that's been circulating this week online pretty much puts it all under a microscope for you and the results aren't exactly pretty.

An exploration of Internet voyeurism, exploitation and self-reflexivity in the age of virtual identity projection, it's a strange, disjointed and disturbing tale of cheez whiz, detergent pods and tongue-snipping. Cast via instagram and directed via FaceTime (if that's not Peak Internet, then we don't know what it is) it stars Tumblr sensation Internet Girl, aka Bella McFadden. Playboy dubbed it"The Weirdest Snapchat Story of All Time,"Oyster said it "Will Make You Question the World" and even our March cover star Marilyn Manson wasn't quite sure what to make of it -- needless to say if the King of Creep doesn't get it, you probably won't either. 
  We chatted up the film's director, Alex Kazemi over email to talk about the filming, casting and most importantly, what the hell is going on.

Read our Q&A below.

Can you tell me a little about where you got the idea? 

The whole entire point of this project was a social experiment, I wanted it to be like going to the depths of hell, getting footage and uploading it online and watching everyone react. I wouldn't say this is underground culture, mostly because anyone 13+ has Tumblr and is [subscribing to] the same homogenized sources. We're all constantly victims of shocking clickbait, like "Dude, did you see that Vine of that girl sucking a dildo attached to a Sponge Bob plushy?" or "Oh my god, that video of a caterpillar crawling on your face is so aesthetic." It's such a common trend right now on social media -- for the "internet art world" to do things that what maybe a mainstream audience would seem as "creepy" or "disturbing." Like it's very cool [for a 15-year-old] to caption "Choke me daddy under the morning sun" under a picture of ferns on Instagram and then think of it as creative. Why are people so obsessed with attracting negative, fetishistic attention? I can't understand it. I asked my therapist, and she said it's just narcissism. Ariel Pink watched it and said "This is fucked" and I go "Why? Is it because it's so real?" then he said, "No, because it's so fake. That's what is disturbing."

In terms of the exploitative aspects of this film -- how do you think that might relate to what some girls are doing online today?

You always hear these horror stories about these young girls at Terry Richardson shoots, or being pressured to sexualize themselves for the "male gaze," that kind of "Please, just do it. It's just for the art, it's creative, trust me" mentality.

How did you come up with the storyline? Is "Mudditchgirl91" based on any actual internet stars?

There is an up-and-coming actress in LA named Lauren Alice Avery. She's mostly known from Vine and Instagram, but she always posts pictures of her in a mud ditch -- in like a fetishistic way. From how much she talks about mud and mud ditches, it seemed like a sexual fetish. Like if a mud ditch could come to life in the form of a boy one morning, she would probably run away with it. I started wondering about what she or some of these Tumblr stars would do at home. Maybe, squeeze detergent pods on herself with a cut-off shirt and rub cheez whiz on her knees to Hoobastank? Do I definitely think that someone like Lauren would get off on disturbing people on Playboy's website and see an aesthetic to that? 100%.

Why did you decide on working with Internet Girl? 

I sat on Instagram for like 10 hours [casting], talking to like 100 girls, and then [Internet Girl] messaged me at 3 in the morning. [So I told her] "Ok, you are not going to tell people that you are apart of a real-time short film. There will be no context. You are going to actually say this is who you are, through your Snapchat presence," which she was down for. And when she posted on all her social networks to add Mudditchgirl91 on Snapchat, people genuinely thought it was her. [As we started to shoot the footage via Snapchat], her family was blowing up her phone in between shoots saying they wanting to check her into a mental hospital. Her boyfriend stopped talking to her. That's why I decided to upload the behind the scenes of her being at her most vulnerable points, in between scenes where I was talking to her/directing her on FaceTime. You can really hear what is going through her head through the sound of her voice. 

The Brooklyn Museum's Sneaker Exhibit is a Look at the History of Black Youth Culture

sneakers1.jpg(photo via The Brooklyn Museum/Jonathan Dorado)

Last weekend the Brooklyn Museum opened up a new exhibition called "The Rise of Sneaker Culture," which featured over a hundred pairs of sneakers from 19th century athletic shoes to the latest pair of Kanye West's Yeezys. The show, curated by Elizabeth Semmelhack, understands that attempting to tell the entire history of sneakers in one exhibition would be a high-topped order. Instead, "The Rise of Sneaker Culture" focuses on the way sneakers weaved their way into American society -- particularly through black American culture. 

The show follows a pretty linear timeline of sneakers from the late 1800s to 2015. As novel as it was to see pre-WWII basketball high-top and early shoes from companies like Keds and Converse, the 1960s is where the timeline raises real questions. That is where Adidas styles like the Gazelle, Samba and the Stan Smith are first seen, shoes that remain so much in vogue that versions of those styles could be seen on people's feet around the exhibition. It's refreshing to see just how enduring some of these styles remain, even a half century later. The sense of "what's old is new again" did not stop in the '60s with the exhibition, and in fact became even more heightened in the '90s, when companies consciously reissued retro editions of sneakers.

About halfway through the exhibition there is a sharp change: The introduction of hip-hop. The culture that is so connected to sneakers first appears in the exhibition with a mid-80s video loop of Run DMC talking about their groundbreaking hit "My Adidas". The shift towards hip-hop demonstrated sneaker companies' interest in black inner-city markets, as youths already sought out shoes but now saw some of the biggest voices of this burgeoning genre as unofficial -- soon to be official -- brand evangelists. And sneaker companies had already found some success tapping into black youth earlier in the '80s, through professional basketball players.

8.-Superstar-Ron-Wood_4000W_700_467.jpgadidas x Run-DMC. 25th Anniversary Superstar, 2011. Courtesy of Run-DMC, collection of Erik Blam. (Photo: Ron Wood. Courtesy American Federation of Arts/Bata Shoe Museum)

A photo of the historically black fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha basketball team from the late 1920s is placed early in the exhibition to draw an early line between black basketball culture and sneakers. The early high-top Converses on display proved sneaker companies cared about basketball well before black players were even allowed in the NBA, but the early '80s saw a shift. Nike's Jordan line of sneakers, named after Michael Jordan, the then-young Chicago Bull, pushed the style of NBA-approved sneakers -- color (!) -- and, with intense marketing, made Jordans the shoe for someone passionate about sneakers. Jordan and hip-hop's influence on sneaker culture turned the rest of the exhibition into a study on the last thirty years of black youth culture.

The shift is a slightly harsh pivot, when one steps back to remember just how many cultural boundaries and lines are crossed with sneakers. There is little mention of women's shoes despite the number of women that could be seen in the exhibition on opening weekend. And the almost exclusionary focus on basketball reduces the sneaker subculture of other sports like skateboarding. Still it's hard to underestimate the power of the cultural force the sneaker industry found in the lifestyle of black inner city kids, which those companies marketed to white children across the suburbs of America.

air jordans.jpgNike Air Jordans. (Photo via Kathy Tarantola, courtesy American Federation of Arts)

Thus, multiple walls are devoted to the entire Jordan line of shoes, there are clips from the early hip-hop documentary Wild Style, a Missy Elliot video, and multiple rapper-designed shoes, all appearing alongside luxury brands attempts at sneakers. The video monitors displaying mid-70s tennis matches of Stan Smith, Jimmy Connors and Arthur Ashe, though only a few steps away, feel distant from post-Jordan sneaker culture. Museum cards mention the irony of these billion-dollar brands selling the coolness of black youth back to the rest of America -- but the exhibition still appeared to take advantage of that cultural trade. The show sidesteps many of the criticisms faced by shoe companies (particularly Nike) over the working conditions that allowed these shoes to become global products.

The disconnect is amplified when so many of the last shoes displayed were more likely to be found at Barneys than a sneaker shop in Brooklyn. Progress appeared limited to the form of the sneaker rather than the youths who popularized and wore them. Instead of the latest LeBrons, KDs, Adidas or even some of the throwbacks done recently by Reebok, the final shoes are higher end collaborations with designers like Raf Simons, Jeremy Scott and Rick Owens.

3.-All-Star-Non-Skid-From-Converse_4000W_700_499.jpgConverse Rubber Shoe Company. All Star/Non Skid, 1917. Converse Archives. (Photo: Courtesy American Federation of Arts)

They're interesting novelties, but when so much of the show focused on sneakers worn on playground courts or by professional athletes, the time spent on Visvims and shoes with a handful of known copies feels less a part of sneaker culture and more flaunting of what the museum could acquire. "The Rise of Sneaker Culture" succeeds on its goal of showing the progression of American sneaker culture, but when the last shoes shown were ones that cost the amount of rent for a New York City apartment, it became clear its definition of sneaker culture lost its universality along the way.

Eau de Bad Gal: Rihanna Launches a New Perfume


Excited to announce my newest fragrance "RiRi"... coming soon! #ThisIsRiRi

A photo posted by badgalriri (@badgalriri) on

If the Barbie-meets-Dynasty 'gram Rihanna just posted is the real deal, it looks like we're about to get a brand new fragrance this fall, aptly titled "RiRi." 

Adding to her cannon of scents, which includes perfumes Rogue Love, Nude and Reb'l Fleur, RiRi looks to be expanding to all realms of primo merchandising, as this announcement comes right on the heels of her clothing line and temporary tattoo collection -- meaning you're one step closer to your transformation (which we've dubbed a "Rih-vival") into the baddest gyal that ever lived.

Now the only pertinent question we have left is what it will smell like. Maybe pink bubblegum and musk with a hint of kush? We'd wear it.

Prince's New Video, "Baltimore," Features His Dance Rallies For Peace

In the midst of protests in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray at the hands of police this past spring, a man from Minneapolis stepped in with an idea for restoring peace: Prince. The singer hosted dance rallies throughout the city, the results of which can be seen in a new video that accompanies his track, "Baltimore," featuring Eryn Allen Kane. The uplifting video shows photos and clips from the protests and ends with this quote from Prince: The System is Broken. It's going to take the young people to fix it this time. We need new ideas. New life... Watch it below.

Would it Matter if Drake Ghostwrote His Lyrics? Draining the Energy From Meek Mill's Tweets

Let July 21, 2015 go down in history as one of the craziest days in the history of Rap Twitter. In addition to the Nicki Minaj-Taylor Swift VMAs conflict, Nicki's boyfriend Meek Mill came after Drake for allegedly not writing his own verses. Let's run through the accusatory tweets, applying the Talmudic readings appropriate for rappers airing their grievances on public social media fora:

Was anyone comparing Drake to Meek Mill? Serious question -- Meek put up surprisingly good numbers for his latest album, which made it to the top of the charts, but Drake is one of the biggest artists on the planet. (Note that Meek is probably elevating his own stature here by punching up.)

The "we" in this tweet likely refers to Nicki, who, in addition to her own Twitter story, has a very complicated relationship with Drake, which likely influenced one of the other Meek tweets:
Then, Meek apparently outs Drake's ghostwriter as Quentin Miller:

But as rapper (and friend of the magazine) OG Maco pointed out, Miller has songwriting credits on the album, which would make it difficult to consider him a ghostwriter working in secret (the way most of these arrangements work).Ghostwriting in hip-hop has a crazy long history (including a notable dust-up involving Nicki herself), with a vast array of approaches to the ethics and importance of writing one's own lyrics.

There are lots of good questions here. For example: If someone admits they don't write their lyrics, but are more curatorial, do they still deserve credit? What kind? Why don't we give sufficient credit to producers who explicitly craft beats for these tracks, contributing in an arguably more important fashion to the overall sound than the rapping itself?

More specifically, would it really matter if Drake ghostwrote his lyrics? Maybe! Some of his recent output is more generic lyrically, more similar to commonly accepted ghostwritten tracks, while others (and much of his broader appeal) bank hard on the personal touch, suggesting a level of intimacy to the Drizzy experience that would be lost if everyone knew he wasn't actually penning the words. It might be one of the few things that could plausibly hurt his appeal.

All of these are legitimately interesting questions -- about art and hip-hop in general, and Drake in particular as one of the most popular artists alive -- that are, obviously, best addressed in Twitter beef.

Okay, this one is actually a pretty sick burn.

Uh, There's a New Lululemon Beer


So luxury yoga store Lululemon is launching a limited edition craft beer, because apparently you didn't feel like enough of a "conscientious consumer" parody already. 

Aptly dubbed "Curiosity Lager" (mostly because we're still trying to wrap our heads around this), it apparently contains chinook and lemon drop hops for a chilled out, medium-light mouthfeel that'll bring you one step closer to enlightenment. 

A likely marketing ploy for their Lululemon Men's collection (because girls don't drink beer?), the fact that they'd co-sign a calorific product that's known for its gut-giving abilities is a weird one seeing as how they've happily become a brand synonymous with catering to a very particular type of person -- namely the thin and affluent. After all, what else do you expect from a place with a body-shaming ex-CEO, severely overpriced sweats and now fucking "craft beer." The last thing I need is to see some classically-attractive white couple doing a perfect, GMO-free keg stand as I struggle to keep my knee pudge straight. UGH.

And of course, it's debuting at a punny half-marathon/festivalin Vancouvercalled Seawheeze.


Bye forever.

A/S/L: Exploring Web 1.0 with The Lucas Bros

lucas bros 1.jpgThe Lucas Brothers. Photo by Bobby Bank

The internet has been part of our lives for long enough that a generation of writers and artists has come of age with it, and used it as a tool to construct their creative and professional identities. But that also means that they grew up alongside an internet that today's teens would find foreign and scary, during the days when MySpace was the biggest social network, AIM buddy profiles were important social statements, and having your own GeoCities page was a big deal. Our column,
A/S/L, asks the people who are best at the internet to tell us about their personal Web 1.0.

This week, we talk to comedy duo Kenny and Keith Lucas, aka The Lucas Bros. Primarily known for their delightful, surreal animated show Lucas Bros. Moving Co., which airs as part of FOX's Animation Domination Hi-Def block, the brothers (identical to the point where it's difficult to tell their voices apart on the phone) are also excellent stand-ups, and helped create truTV's Friends of the People sketch show, currently airing on Thursdays at 10:30 p.m.

What was the first internet service you made accounts for?

Kenny: It was AOL. That was my first major account, and I made it because I wanted to talk to girls online. 

Keith: Ditto. I started with AOL as well.

Was it also to talk to girls?

Keith: Yeah, the motivation was... pretty much the same.

What were your screen names?

Kenny: HPCBison03. HPC was High Point Central, that was my high school, Bison was our mascot, and '03 was the year I graduated.

That's a surprising amount of school spirit.

Kenny: Oh, I was just unimaginative. I didn't have any high school spirit. It was the first thing I thought of.

Keith: My furst one was MVPiazza41. I was a big Mike Piazza fan, and 41 was for Dirk Nowitzki. I'm a big Dirk Nowitzki fan, so I just combined the two.

How did you guys find people to chat with? Was it people you knew, or the kind of stuff Dateline did reports about?

Keith: It was a little bit of both -- it was such a new way of communicating that sometimes you'd talk to people that you knew, but sometimes you'd veer onto other sites, just because it was something new. So I did both.

Kenny: I didn't have many friends from high school that I talked to. I talked to a few, but for the most part I talked to strangers.

What kind of away messages did you guys have?

Kenny: I was actually really silly with mine. I would leave, like, wrestling quotes. The one I'm most proud of was "I'm the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be." That's from Bret "Hit Man" Hart, my favorite wrestler. I thought it was cool.

Keith: I wish I would've saved some of them. But I changed it so frequently. I had mostly rap and wrestling quotes.

Were you guys on MySpace or LiveJournal or anything like that?

Kenny: Yeah, I was on both. That was freshman year of college. I don't remember my screen name from MySpace, though, no idea what it is.

Keith: I just used my first name.

Kenny: Oh, really?

Keith: Idiotically, I just used Keith Lucas, for my MySpace. But for my LiveJournal, I was like... I had a LiveJournal where I just talked about philosophical things. It was in college, when I really started to get into philosophy. I figured I'll keep a LiveJournal to keep track of it.

What kind of philosophy?

Keith: John Stuart Mill's On Liberty, I talked about his Rights for Women. It was a lot of stuff, actually -- anything that I thought was interesting, basically from the liberal perspective, some stuff from the libertarian perspective. So I just wrote about that. 

Have you heard of Philosophy Bro? He summarizes stuff like that, like, "You have the freedom to pound all the Natty Lights you want, as long as you don't interfere with anyone other sick bros' freedom to pound Natty Light."

Keith: Damn, that's really funny.

What else did you guys do on MySpace and LiveJournal?

Kenny: It was just a continuation of what I did on AOL, trying to talk to girls. On LiveJournal, I would write about stuff that was happening in my life. I had a private profile, so I didn't care. I just wrote about how I felt, what girl I was interested in -- that pretty much dominated my adolescence. But it was not philosophy. I was not as smart.

Keith: MySpace was just me trying to be cool. It was one of the few ones were you could put music on the site, so I kind of took advantage of that and put whatever music I was listening to on my site. I remember at one time people had like, the collage of pictures going across your MySpace, and I did that, but I didn't spend a ton of time on MySpace, because Facebook came out almost immediately after, and once Facebook came out it, my days on MySpace were through.

Kenny: It changed the game.

You were immediate adopters?

Keith: Immediately.

Kenny: Yeah, MySpace just started getting really weird. Facebook felt more selective and insulated.

Did you guys keep trying to talk to girls?

Kenny: Nah, I stopped. I grew up. I was like, "It's getting weird now, Kenny."

Who were the internet-specific celebrities you guys cared about?

Keith: I don't remember it being as big as it is now, where you have Instagram stars, and YouTube stars, and Vine stars. Maybe Bill Simmons? He was pretty huge through the internet, so he wasn't really on TV or anything like that at the time. We knew him as The Sports Guy. So he was one of the first internet celebrities that I'm aware of.

Did you guys ever meet any of the girls you were trying to talk to?

Kenny: I met one girl from my AOL days, and it was creepy. Because you talk so freely on the internet, but when you meet in person, we were both really timid, so it didn't work out and I almost vowed never to do that again.


Kenny: I don't think I've ever done it again, meet people off the internet, except Instagram I guess. With Instagram, you can see the pictures, and it's a little bit more humane than MySpace.

Make a timeline of your lives, tracked by the websites that have been most important to you each year. [Note: This is a condensed version of the timeline, with direct quotes where applicable.]

2000 -- AOL
2001 -- MySpace
2002 -- Facebook
2003-2008 -- ESPN, Napster, and we had this thing on our college campus called Direct Connect that I used a lot
2009 -- Facebook, a lot of blogs, just like LiveJournal and stuff like that, ESPN, NBA.com, RottenTomatoes, IMDB
2010-2015 -- Bleacher Report, Twitter, Instagram, and a bunch of -- like, The Atlantic, The New York Times, that's when I started reading sophisticated stuff. The New Yorker

Who were you guys starting to read on those places?

Keith:Ta-Nehisi Coates, I read him a ton on The Atlantic.

Have you read his new book yet?

Keith: I just bought it, I think I'm going to start reading it today. I've been reading so many interviews he's done -- he was on Charlie Rose, I want to see that interview. He's such a provocative thinker, I can't wait to read his book.

Is there anyone else you feel like you've had a relationship with, professionally or otherwise, because of the internet?

Kenny:Ricky Velez. He's a really fantastic comedian, and I had only met him on the internet -- I think it must have been through Facebook -- and then we did The Nightly Show together, and we became really good friends. I like him a lot.

Keith: Yeah, stand-up comedians -- a lot of comedians you meet on the internet first, because you're friends with so many mutual people, and then you meet them in real life or at a show or something. Like, Morgan Murphy, we met on Twitter, and then we did the Doug Benson podcast, and she was really awesome. I feel like I know most comedians before I meet them. It's kind of strange.

Kenny: It's really weird.

Do you feel like that's been a good thing, to be part of that community?

Kenny: Yeah, I think being part of the comedy community has been fantastic. It's so honest, and you're going to laugh constantly. It's so great, and just a fun, cohesive group.

Keith: And there's so much going on that it's impossible to keep up with everybody, but with the internet it's much easier to keep tabs on what everyone's doing, and what's the next evolution of comedy. You get more informed.

That kind of answers the next question, which is about the best opportunities you've gotten from the internet.

Keith: Yeah, the information -- you just have so much information at your disposal. You know, just learning about the history of things. It could be World War II, or it could be whatever. It's just so much, it's overwhelming, and sometimes you feel like -- well, I know I don't have the brain capacity to take in all of it, but I think we're just fortunate to be able to have that tool, especially as comedians. We live off of our information, information is what helps us feed our jokes, so the more you have the better off you are.

Like, when we were writing Lucas Bros Moving Co., we all lived on the internet, because there were so many references that we wanted to utilize, but sometimes you just can't remember what references you want to use. With the internet, they're at your disposal. Ithink it made us sharper writers. 

Kenny: And it also increased the competition for comedians, it made us work harder -- you have competition from Vine people, YouTube guys, Instagram people, so you just have to stay ahead of the curve. You have to embrace it.

Do you feel like that access has changed the way those references function from the way they did in, say, the '90s?

Keith: Yeah, I mean, I still think you have to be even more clever, because of the fact that the information's out there now. You don't want to use an obvious reference -- you want to use something people may not even know of, but if they look it up, they'll say, "Oh, that reference is perfect." And that's how we try to do we it -- we try to use references to stuff we don't think other people would use, or are aware of.

Kenny: Or, if they do use it, as I said, you just have to be a bit more clever. And that's where your training comes into play.

Do you wish you spent less time on the internet? Do you wish you spent less time on it now?

Kenny: I personally believe the internet came to me at the right time. Because I think I had an authentic childhood, from, say, six to 14 -- I was outside, I was exploring, I was going on journeys with my friends. There was very little internet, so I thought it was perfect -- I didn't have it. But then I got to college, and I think that's when you really needed the internet, because so many things relied on it. I'm happy we had it. I don't think I spent too much time on it, but it's getting there now.

Keith: Yeah, I use it so much -- I use it every day -- that I can't imagine what life would be like if I didn't have it. But I guess on some level, I'd like to use it less, because sometimes the information can just be overwhelming. It's not always positive, and like, if you check The New York Times every day you're going to be bombarded with negative -- or not negative, but just, like, sad stories.

Kenny: It can be a bit of a mood-altering thing.

Keith: Yeah, sometimes it's good to just step away and embrace the outside world.

The 10 Most Habit-Forming Nun Movies In History

I'm not terribly religious, to put it mildly, but my aunt is a nun, and I simply worship her and her cohorts, so whenever I see an actress in a wimple, I melt. In fact, my aunt the nun took me to see several nun movies when I was a kid, resulting in a lifelong obsession with habit forming acts of cinema. Here are my 10 faves:

This Italian "nunsploitation film" was banned in Britain as a "video nasty," but it ultimately saw the light of day as a bracing mix of the artsy and the exploitive. Fellini goddess Anita Ekberg is fabulous as a morphine addicted, possibly  murderous nun with fake eyelashes, penciled in eyebrows, and a taste for sex with women only if they wear silk stockings. Warhol star Joe Dallesandro arrives as a good looking doctor (dubbed with a voice that sounds hilariously wrong for him) and things get even wackier, especially when Ekberg leads her nursing home charges in a bizarre calisthenics routine in between bouts of shtupping and killing. Shining a spotlight on the unsavory things that can happen in a religion-based institution, "Killer Nun" is an absolute riot that I'm a devout fan of. But when the needles come out, you might want to start praying. (And by the way, no, this is not one of the films my aunt took me to see.)


This droll spoof of Watergate-like power plays set in a convent boasts the ultimate method acting cast: Glenda Jackson, Geraldine Page (whose reaction shots alone are priceless), Melina Mercouri, Anne Jackson, Anne Meara, and Sandy Dennis, who's a riot, especially when nibbling on pizza on a bus or winking at a drag queen in a ladies room. Added to that incredible ensemble are the real-life husbands of three of the actresses: Rip Torn, Jerry Stiller, and Eli Wallach. Oh, sister!

rs_600x278-150327112001-julieandrews.gifTHE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965)
This priceless adaptation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical about a young woman studying to be a nun and the effect she has on a bunch of singing children and their dad is one of the best musical films ever made. Sure, it's pure kitsch, and the way the adorable von Trapps outsmart the Nazis isn't exactly documentary truth, but from the second Julie Andrews starts spinning around the Alps, there's pure magic on the screen. And the film cannily manages to reject and embrace the nun community at the same time. Loved it!


Bratty girls battle it out with uppity nuns in a Pennsylvania convent school and the whole thing is a rollicking slapstick farce that's charmingly entertaining throughout. Rosalind Russell is formidable as the Mother Superior, Hayley Mills is winning as the young mischief-maker, and Gypsy Rose Lee even pops up as a very progressive modern dance teacher. By the end, when Hayley chooses God, you're amazed at how genuinely touched you are. Followed by a sequel, "Where Angels Go...Trouble Follows."


One of the most visually striking films ever made, this Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger drama is based on the Rumer Godden book about sisters on a journey of the soul. Starring Deborah Kerr and Jean Simmons, it involves a gaggle of nuns who travel far, far away to the Himalayas, where they're beset by fantasies, allure, nightmares, and mental illness. A real dark gem.

This shameless weepie pushes every imaginable button and gleefully succeeds to the point where I'm inevitably a sobbing mess by the end. Jennifer Jones shines as Bernadette Soubirous, the French girl who got a lot of attention for claiming to have seen the Virgin Mary, a fact that didn't go down well with the jealous and/or disapproving other nuns at the convent. But they come around to believing Bernadette, as she radiates beatific joy, all while suffering from a disease she never bothered to mention to anyone. This is Hollywood hokum at its finest, and I bought it hook, line, and stinker. And Linda Darnell looks fierce as the blurry vision of the Virgin.

This two and a half hour epic, directed by Oscar winner Fred Zinneman, was a class project from beginning to end. Audrey Hepburn looks tres chic, but is utterly convincing as a nun who's stationed in the Belgian Congo and who eventually splits the convent to deal with the results of the Nazi occupation. (What's with nuns vs. Nazis? Seems to be a winning combination.) The cast also includes prestige actors like Peter Finch, Edith Evans, Peggy Ashcroft, and Colleen Dewhurst, so like I said, this thing is far from just nun-sense.

In this movie based on a Clare Booth Luce short story, two French nuns (Loretta Young and Celeste Holm) traipse around a New England town to try to get help in building a children's hospital. On paper, this sounds like something that would ordinarily make me spew, but the performances and direction are lovely, and it's pulled off so charmingly that I happen to find the film an utter delight. Young and Holm were Oscar nominated, and so was Elsa Lanchester (who plays a painter of religious work). They should all have been sainted for the efforts.

DOUBT (2008)
John Patrick Shanley's Pulitzer winning play about a forbidding nun/principal and her refusal to budge in labeling a priest a pedophile was a riveting study in the essence of condemnation and whether more wiggle room should be allowed. The movie version wasn't as potent as the Broadway production, but still, with Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams in the leads, it's not exactly chopped liver. I had no DOUBT it would get Oscar nominations, and it did.

Lounge singer Deloris Van Cartier (Whoopi Goldberg) witnesses an execution and has to hide out in a habit, whereby she appalls and ultimately uplifts the real nuns, who all get together to put on a kickass show. This free-wheeling comedy manages to be both irreverently sassy and hearteningly feelgood. Bette Midler foolishly turned down the lead role of the smash film, which spawned a sequel, a Broadway musical, and (coming soon) the inevitable remake.

Runner's Up: The Magdalene Sisters, The Bells of St. Mary's, Dead Man Walking, Nuns on the Run, Dark Habits, Viridiana

Watch Nick Jonas Sing "Chains" While Getting Chained Up By Drag Queens

nickjonas.JPGNick Jonas has been having quite a year so far while trying to rehabilitate his image. In addition to several endearingmedia appearances, he's made some... interestingmusic choices and also performed in a toy store. Now, he's made the title of his song "Chains" literal in a performance at London's G-A-Y Club. Giving the audience (and whoever was conveniently recording right in the middle of the club) something "special," Jonas was draped in chains by drag queens over the course of the song. Does it matter that this seems like part of a long-term PR plan to rebrand Jonas' image? Not for the next five minutes, it doesn't. [via Cosmopolitan]

We Read Piers Morgan's Sexist Nicki Minaj Piece So You Don't Have To


We all know we live in a clickbait Internet economy, one filled with neo-libertarians and insecure men sipping heavy on the haterade. Today's hateclick though? None other than the Daily Mail's resident #AllLivesMatter advocate Piers Morgan on the Nicki Minaj/Taylor Swift VMA incident. A man who excels at sharing his "HEAR ME" takes on issues that he has approximately zero stake in, typically regarding people of color, women, American history or a combination of all of the above.

The latest is no exception.

Unfortunately, the article has been trending on Twitter all day and currently has 2.4 million shares, so we came up with a pretty simple solution -- we read it, summarized and subsequently tore it apart for you, in the hopes that you can satisfy your curiosity without helping him monetize his shitty, outdated ideas via your clicks. 

Okay, take a deep breath, and let's begin. 

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 3.14.58 PM.png
For starters, this headline. "Stroppy"? Way to be completely dismissive of a black female artist's very valid points about racism in the music industry. The dictionary definition of "stroppy" after all is "touchy, belligerent, difficult, easily angry," aka the classic Victorian diagnosis of female hysteria. Minaj is not being "touchy" nor is she playing any card. She's simply sharing her frustrations about working in an industry where looks are everything and essentially determine your worth as a female entertainer. Because I'm sure Morgan has ample experience in that arena, right?

He then goes on to call her a "whiny brat," bringing up the fact that because Beyoncé's "7/11" video was nominated, this wasn't a case of industry racism or sexism. It's a point that completely ignores the crux of Minaj's argument, which is that black women are huge creative forces in entertainment, yet they are rarely honored/validated for their tremendous impacton pop-culture-at-large. And she just so happens to be a very good example of how unfair this shit sometimes is.

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Seeing as how it was easily the most meme-fied video of the year and the clip that smashed a Vevo record, it's easy to see where Nicki's frustration comes from.

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 3.58.46 PM.png
This wasn't a battle waged against Swift personally and it wasn't Minaj's tweets exploding, as Morgan says, "like toxic firecrackers," it was her making a wider critique of a situation that she has to live and deal with every day. Taylor merely inserted herself unnecessarily into a situation, and was (pretty politely) called out. 

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 4.31.14 PM.png
Misunderstandings aside, just because a tiff happens online, it doesn't mean you have to take a side -- especially if you gleefully use it as an opportunity to chide a woman for "being too sensitive" and reinforce old, vile racist and sexist stereotypes. Because the most disturbing part of his op-ed is the constant use of derisive descriptors (i.e. "raged,""sneered,""flounced," the aforementioned "stroppy") that are there to undermine Nicki's agency, painting her as a tyrannicalwoman who's just being way too touchy about this. He also describes "self-styled 'Black Twitter'" as a "very large, vocal and aggressive social media group of mainly black Americans who collectively leap on any perceived racial insult or bias to expel their indignation."

It's just an all-around bigoted trainwreck of an article. Perhaps it's time for 50-year-old Morgan to listen to the wise words of a 16-year-old.

Let's stop feeding the ultimate troll that is Piers Morgan -- though that's not a tall order here in the States, where his CNN show crashed and burned after a disastrous run. We all know, after all, who's the real "stroppy piece of work" here.

"It Was Joy, Exuberance, Disbelief:" We Talk to Someone Who Was With Ai Weiwei When His Passport Was Returned



A photo posted by Ai Weiwei (@aiww) on

Ai Weiwei's work as an artist is an amazing blending of concept, craftsmanship and politics, and his work as Chinese dissident has made him a hero of freedom-loving people everywhere. Whether in major museums or on Instagram, his images are statements that fight for political and social outspokenness and are a major part of his ongoing quest for freedom. That quest doesn't end today just because he's had his passport returned after four years of being a virtual hostage in his home, but it's progress.

Speaking to the LA Times, director Alison Klayman, who made a penetrating documentary on the artist's work, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, points out:

"[The passport] opens up a lot of hard-to-answer questions: What will happen next? Will he be safe to travel abroad and return freely? Why now and why did it take so long? Why was it taken away in the first place?"
Still, today is a day to celebrate.

I reached out to collector and Ai Weiwei friend Larry Warsh, who was with the artist when the passport was delivered: "What an amazing moment it was to be with him. It was joy, exuberance, disbelief and more. Imagine what we take for granted. His patience and preservation paid off and it is is unfolding as we speak."