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Adele Shuts Down Blur's Damon Albarn's Sexist Comments About Her Musicianship

CS5DonNWcAAtAHP-1.jpgIn the new Rolling Stone cover story, Adele gets raw about the fruition of her upcoming comeback album, 25, including clearing the air about some grossly condescending quotes Blur's Damon Albarn gave about the singer in September.

Damon-Albarn-014.jpgAlbarn had told The Sun that the reclusive chanteuse enlisted him to collaborate on 25, and (at the time) the songs he had previewed were "middle of the road."

He went on to say, "Adele asked me to work with her and took the time out for her. And I'm not a producer so...I don't know what his happening. Will she use any of the stuff? I don't think so. Let's wait and see. The thing is, she's very insecure. And she doesn't need to be, she's still so young.'"


Ms. Adkins didn't hold back, thankfully.

She told Rolling Stone that associating with Albarn "ended up being one of those 'don't meet your idol' moments, and the saddest thing was that I was such a big Blur fan growing up. But it was sad, and I regret hanging out with him."

720x405-R1248_FEA_Adele_C__.jpgShe then went on to call his egg shell-ego bluff by basically saying the music he offered blew hard:

"None of it was right. None of it suited my record. He said I was insecure, when I'm the least-insecure person I know. I was asking his opinion about my fears, about coming back with a child involved--because he has a child--and then he calls me insecure?"

The singer also revealed that, like us, she is tapping her god damn toes waiting for the new Frank Ocean album.

"I'm just fucking waiting for Frank fucking Ocean to come out with his album. It's taking so fucking long. That sounds so stupid, coming from me, doesn't it?"

Frank-Ocean-typewriter.jpgCome the fack through, boo.

While it's unclear whether or not Damon was one of the 209 million views currently on the video for Adele's lead single off 25, "Hello"--which not only broken the most Vevo views in 24 hours, but is also fastest music video to surpass 100 million views (in less than 5 days)--but statistically speaking, there's probably a good chance.

Sia Kicks Down the Cage Doors In New Song "Bird Set Free"

maxresdefault-1.jpgAustralian songstress Sia continues her streak of gut-wrenching ballads with a new single, "Bird Set Free," from her upcoming LP This Is Acting, due out in January 2016.

Similar to her last new offering, "Alive" (which was co-written by queen Adele herself), the blonde-bobbed siren belts out her wish to live an authentic life, over arena-sized percussion-- undoubtedly perfect for swaying along with your eyes closed.

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 4.41.25 PM.pngThe single art, like "Alive", features a cute fella donning a variant of the "Chandelier" wing made famous by its video's dancin' star, Maddie Ziegler.

maddie1.jpg"I don't care if I sing off key," the singer informs us. "I found myself and my melodies."

Sia goes on to confirm what we already knew: she's not in the game for anything else but the g-damn truth.

"I sing for love, I sing for me! I shout it out like a bird set free."

tumblr_n8vs08RZrQ1thrb0yo1_400.gifPeep the new track below, and try not to knee-slide across your office floor with your headphones on.

Watch Britney Spears Harness the Power of Earth's Rotational Pull While Dancing to "Toxic" On Jane the Virgin

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 5.19.47 PM.pngBritney Spears confirmed her guest-star on the hit CW show, Jane the Virgin, back in August, but now, we finally have our glimpse of the sugary icon in all her splendor in a new teaser for the November 9th episode.

Spears will be playing an "evil" version of herself, who's also the arch-nemesis of the show's resident narcissist/telenovela celebrity, Rogelio (Jaime Camil).

britney-spears-jane-the-virgin-1.jpgWhile the TV spot is criminally brief, it packs enough yasssss to get us through till next week.

Jane (Gina Rodriguez) is struck with bliss after Britney asks her to join in on some on-the-spot choreography from her classic track "Toxic."

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 5.17.05 PM.pngIf you're not gasping for air after those two quick hand-to-hip arm pumps, you're not human.

tumblr_ls7qva6pTt1r3ty02o1_500.gifWatch the promo below, and may the resurrection of Britney Jean Spears carry us through the eternal twilight of winter ahead.

Paige Powell's Rare Photos Of Madonna, Basquiat and Warhol Go On Display in Portland

Paige-Powell-The-Ride-still-1024x689.jpgStill from "The Ride," 2015, 3-channel color digital projection; 18:42 min.

The Portland Art Museum (1219 SW Park Avenue, Portland, OR) opens "Paige Powell: The Ride" tonight, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., featuring a special performance on the night by Pink Martini in the museum's Kridel Grand Ballroom. Noted Warholite, videographer and former associate publisher at Interview magazine, Powell moved from Oregon to NYC and documented the downtown 80s milieu before returning to Portland in 1997. 

This show includes her videos and also works by contemporary artists including Jean-Michel Basquiat, whom Powell dated and photographed, Warhol and a new version of Kenny Scharf's "Cosmic Cavern."  On view until February 21, 2016.

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 8.39.12 AM.pngMadonna dances at short-lived New York club, "Fresh 14." Photo by Paige Powell.

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 8.42.08 AM.pngAndy Warhol and Keith Haring at the Pop Shop. Photo by Paige Powell.

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 8.44.55 AM.pngAndy Warhol and Fiorucci shop boys Joey Arias and Tim and at Texarkana. Photo by Paige Powell.

Paige-Powell-Beulah-Land.jpgBeulah Land (162 Avenue A) opening, January 15, 1984. Photo by Paige Powell.

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 8.51.21 AM.pngThe late, great Anita Sarko at the Beulah Land opening. Photo by Paige Powell.

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 8.48.16 AM.png
Andy Warhol and Grace Jones at Nippon restaurant. Photo by Paige Powell.

Taylor Swift Was Sued For Plaigarism

22fe4638-d675-47f8-9726-5f43e27bb084.jpgTaylor Swift, singer and Machiavelliancapitalist , faces a $42 million lawsuit from a small-time R&B singer, who claims the mind-numbingly catchy "Shake It Off" was ripped from one of his original tunes.

Jesse Braham (whose stage name is Jesse Graham) penned the track "Haters Gonna Hate," which features the chorus, "Haters gonna hate, players gonna play. Watch out for them fakers, they'll fake you every day."

maxresdefault-2.jpgJesse Braham

Incidentally, Swift's hook (which was branded into your psyche with a steaming iron) contains similar words, "Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, and the players gonna play, play, play, play..."

tumblr_negrpsRwhx1u2jdpco1_1280.gifAside from that questionable coincidence, the songs bear no other similarities.

Braham is demanding not only financial compensation, but he wants his name listed as a writer for the song; he's adamant that Ms. Swift couldn't have possibly dreamed up such complex lyrics on her own.

While the Swift machine has yet to comment, we're not sure it's necessary.

The 50-year-old musician ALSO sued CNN, claiming the network stole the name for their show "New Day" from his self-run organization New Day Worldwide.

taylor-swift-gif.gifWhile we're sure this suit will be resting comfortably in the afterlife very shortly, we're actually v. into one of Jesse's sultry ballads, "Mr. Mailman," featured below.


Shia LaBeouf Talks About Ramen Egg-Salad, All The Times He's Been Arrested

Prison Ramen is a new book written by ex-con Gustavo "Goose" Alvarez and his childhood buddy Clifton Collins Jr. that collects essays from the likes of Shawshank Redemption's Clancy Brown and Danny Motherfucking Trejo. However, the bit we were (obviously) the most stoked on was Shia LaBeouf's, who talks about his own incarcerations as well as his own instant ramen hack recipe.

In his essay, LaBeouf shares that he's been "incarcerated" five times, the first time was for 6 hours as a 9 year-old trying to steal a pair of Nike Cortezes. The second was just 2 years later when he tried to steal a Gameboy Pokémon.

He then nonchalantly mentions that when he was 20, he was held for 2 days for trying to stab his neighbor, in which he finally "understood that being in jail is not the move," because, duh. The fourth time was when, for some unknown reason, he wouldn't leave a Chicago Walgreens, which led to him spending a night in jail -- where he also happened to have "the best sleep ever."

However, LaBeouf's most recent arrest was just last year in New York, when he went to a Broadway performance of Cabaret drunk, and subsequently became disorderly...an incident that he euphemistically explains as, "I didn't behave very well during the performance and ended up spending twenty-five hours or so behind bars." Granted, dude also says that's where he had a "terrific" egg sandwich...there very one that inspired his own recipe for a ramen-egg salad sandwich -- though LaBeouf would, obviously, add American cheese on top this time...

Check out LaBeouf's recipe below and file it away...you know, just in case you need some commissary-style culinary inspiration.

 Bon Appétit?

[h/t First We Feast

How the Pepsi Art Dome at Voodoo Fest Announced the Future of Art

L1040762 (2).JPGThe Pepsi Art Dome

Inside a silver dome near the Flambeaux stage in New Orleans's City Park,  Halloween's Voodoo Fest attendees dressed as astronauts and flappers watched images of skulls and Andy Warhol float across a 40 foot screen. Original music, scored by a team of designers, helped the 18-minute piece transition from Warhol into a later animation of a graffiti artist and splashes dripped down the dome.

The Pepsi Art Dome at Voodoo Fest was produced by the digital media company Likuid Art and PepsiCo Creator -- a marketing innovation team that connects creators on the cutting-edge of art, technology, music, gaming, and the culinary world to help amplify their platforms. The collaborative installation, which features animated work by eight visual artists, takes the viewer through a trippy art galaxy -- each artists essentially gets their own planet.

"It felt like I was going to different planets," said Diana Sanchez, 21. "It was intergalactic traveling."

The idea for this massive project, which brought together artists and animators from Russia, Thailand, New Orleans and beyond, all started from one ten-second GIF. About eight years ago Likuid Art's CEO David Booth Gardner saw his friend's animated cityscape. He then watched the DVD, he says, on repeat all night.

"In that moment I saw what could be the future of art," he said. "I knew that artists were going to start creating by using digital tools."

As a producer of documentaries, Booth Gardner did not have many connections in the art world, but over the next few years he started meeting artists, which included Karen Bystedt whose negatives of Andy Warhol from the 1980s were animated as "Warhol Cubed" for the installation. The other artists showcased in the installation are Jon Moody, Kelly Graval "RISK", Greg "Craola" Simkins, Chris Saunders, Android Jones, devNgosha and Andrea Fellars.

As Booth Gardner began to connect with more artists and audiovisual engineers -- Dynamite Laser Beam created the piece's original music -- the project became more realized. PepsiCo Creator, Booth Gardner says, allowed the project to take some more risks.

For this installation, the selected artists submitted a piece of art -- such as Craola's painting "Where Am I" -- then, in most cases, were pretty hands off as the team of animators and composers did their thing.  

"We kind of just bounced ideas back and forth, and I got comfortable," said Craola. "I got more hands off knowing that the people that were selected were super talented and knew what they were doing."

L1050230 (3).JPGFestival goers inside the Pepsi Art Dome

The internet has changed how art is viewed. We often encounter art solely via a computer screen, alone, listening to SoundCloud remixes. While some festival goers may have randomly stumbled into the installation, the immersive dome created a heightened sensory experience that was also communal (people chilled in bean bag chairs). The work turned the digital realm into the temporal -- this piece is specific for Voodoo Fest.  

As the sun set on the festival day, the installation's line stretched toward the festival's blinking carnival rides. The dome had lit up into an otherworldly beacon (think: disco alien spaceship). People walked out of the dome -- what some dubbed "the temple of pop" -- having just witnessed what many consider the future of art.  

"I loved it," said Anna Bercegeay, 20. "The visuals were beautiful, and the screen felt like it was coming at me."

Did you stop by the Pepsi Art Dome? Share your photos and tag @Likuidart and @Pepsi!

7 Films to See This Month

From Todd Haynes' buzzy new film about a lesbian romance in the 1950s to a spine-tingling thriller out of Ireland, here are the seven movies you shouldn't miss this month.

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 11.35.54 AM.pngCarol

Another milestone in the brilliant career of director Todd Haynes. Rooney Mara plays an aspiring photographer in 1950s New York who, while working in a department store, meets a beautiful, wealthy, mysterious older woman Carol (Cate Blanchett) buying a Christmas present for her daughter. They enter into a flirtatious friendship, while Carol battles her ex-husband (Kyle Chandler) who is threatening to use a "morality clause" to retain full custody of their daughter. The (always) wonderful Sarah Paulson plays Carol's dearest friend who once had a dalliance with her. This spellbinding masterpiece is one of lush romanticism without one drop of cheap melodrama or false sentimentality. That's in part to the whip-smart screenplay by Phyllis Nagy (based on a Patricia Highsmith novel), the gorgeous score by Carter Burwell, sumptuous and evocative costumes by Sandy Powell and dreamy cinematography by Ed Lachman. The sublime Cate Blanchett shows the fragility and passion behind the composed classy exterior and Rooney Mara is a revelation, not to mention having the screen beauty of a young Audrey Hepburn.

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 11.36.43 AM.pngSpotlight
A riveting, sensationally good dramatization by director Tom McCarthy about the intrepid reporters for the Boston Globe who ripped the lid off the Catholic Church's systematic relocating of pedophile priests. Liev Schreiber plays the new editor of the newspaper who assigns the famed "Spotlight" team to find out if senior officials in the Church knew about certain bad priests and had lawyers pay off families and had court documents sealed under confidentiality agreements.  The superb cast -- Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci, among them -- taut direction, and emotionally devastating drama make this film the best of its kind since All The President's Men. Just terrific.

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 12.02.31 PM.pngThe Danish Girl
Eddie Redmayne is pretty phenomenal as artist Einer Wegener living with his beloved aspiring painter wife Gerda (Alicia Vikander) in 1926 Copenhagen. As a lark Gerda dresses up her husband in drag and they go to a dance but it awakens deep feelings in Einer that he has suppressed all these years and out emerges "Lili." As confusing and complicated as this makes their relationship, Gerda's paintings of "Lily" really take off and they leave for Paris to continue Einer's path of discovery and transformation -- finally to participate in one of the earliest sex change operations. Director Tom Hooper's (The King's Speech) sensitive direction, combined with Redmayne's amazing physicality -- the way he tilts his head or moves his hands as "Lili," is quite exceptional. And the amazing Alicia Vikander is just perfection.

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 12.03.11 PM.pngBrooklyn
A poignant drama nicely directed by John Crowley (Boy A) about an Irish immigrant's arrival in New York in the 1950s. Saoirse Ronan plays Eilis Lacey, a young woman who gets sponsored by a priest (Jim Broadbent) to come to Brooklyn, leaving her mother and beloved sister behind in Ireland. She has a job in a department store, lives in a girl's rooming house run by the tart-tongued Mrs. Kehoe (an exuberantly funny Julie Walters) but is overcome with homesickness. Talking evening classes for book keeping and going to local dances she meets a handsome Italian boy named Tony (terrific Emory Cohen) and regains her self confidence, but a death in the family forces her to decide where her home really is. Domhnall Gleason nicely plays a handsome "catch" for her back in her village and Saoirse Ronan is quite lovely on screen -- her face retains a prim, shy, quietness, while her eyes empathetically register the depth of emotion she is going through.
Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 12.03.42 PM.pngJanis: Little Girl Blue
A soul-stirring documentary by Amy Berg about the late, great, rock goddess, Janis Joplin. From a bullied childhood in Port Arthur, Texas, Janis Joplin journeyed to San Francisco at the height of the hippie invasion. She knew she had a big voice and sang blues in coffee houses but was hooked up with a rock band -- Big Brother & The Holding Company -- and infused her love for R&B singers like Etta James and Erma Franklin into their repertoire creating this howling, soulful, female Otis Redding persona. A treasure trove of archival footage is used -- from D. A. Pennebaker's coverage of the Monterey Rock Festival where her performance blew away people like Mama Cass to an electrifying recording session of Summertime. God knows she had her demons, but seeing Joplin in concert was to have your mind blown by her power and soulfulness, and this movie does her heartbreaking legacy proud.
Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 12.04.07 PM.pngThe Hallow
A supremely scary Irish supernatural chiller superbly directed by Corin Hardy that mixes folklore and frights with equal dexterity. Joseph Mawle plays Adam who arrives to survey a dense woodland in Ireland with his wife Claire (Bojana Novakovic) and their baby. He is examining the trees in the forest and is warned repeatedly by neighbors not to disturb the restless spirits there. His first inkling that things are not right is when he discovers a desiccated deer carcass covered in black goo. And then frightful creatures appear and lay siege to their house.

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 12.04.32 PM.pngJames White
A shattering portrait of a loving son but troubled soul --- James White (Christopher Abbott) -- taking care of his dying mother (superb Cynthia Nixon) in Manhattan. James, still slightly reeling from the death of his estranged dad, takes off to Mexico to get his shit together. But his mother calls him, needing him to return home because her cancer has spread. Director Josh Mond's film feels brutally personal -- the camera is always jammed right in the lead's face throughout. This really pays off emotionally in scenes when James really gets drunk and out of control, calmed down by his best friend (an excellent Scott "Kid Cudi" Mescudi). You feel like you are inside his tormented skull. It's a tough film to watch, but there are moments of beautifully observed insights and heartrending poignancy. The electrifying performance of Christopher Abbott is so raw, furious, and thrillingly off the charts you feel grateful to have experienced it. 

Our 5 Favorite Pics from Voodoo Fest

The Voodoo Music + Arts Experience hit us with more art and EDM than we could handle. (Florence + The Machine gave us life for days. And Ozzy on Halloween was perfect.) Over our weekend, we noticed a few things about life and love and more importantly: about style. Being fashionable at this creepy New Orleans fest doesn't mean flower crowns or fringe. It's all about the costume in our country's most haunted city. While Mother Nature wasn't exactly our friend -- it rained for most of the weekend -- we did get a chance to snap some of the festival's most stylish ghouls.

James Franco's "Concept Band" Is Doing An Entire Album About The Smiths

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 11.24.19 AM.pngCreative shape-shifter James Franco has just signed a worldwide deal with the Kobalt Music Group for an album based entirely on his poetry about The Smiths (I know, I know) with his shoegazey concept band Daddy (with musician Tim O'Keefe.)

franco-anger.jpgAside from the album, Franco will also be directing a film made up of music videos from each song on the album; both the LP and movie will be (boringly) called Let Me Get What I Want (you know, based on that one song??? That song!!!!! Yeah!!!!).

The Smith-inspired poems are from Franco's book, Directing Herbert White, which saw the actor reflecting the titular serial killer character of Frank Bidart's poem "Herbert White," his struggles with celebrity, and general straight white male anxiety about mortality.

The musical duo has also convinced Andy Rourke, the bassist of The *actual* Smiths, to make some kind of appearance on the record; Et tu, Andy?

The band (aka Franco feverishly typing from a blanket fort in his hotel room with a flashlight in his mouth) released this statement about the deal:

"Kobalt has the right forward-thinking approach to work with a project as unique as ours, where we see our work not only existing within the music realm, but extending into the film, art space and beyond on an independent basis."

"As unique as ours,"
I screamed, dropping a milk glass into a blender.

james-franco-james-franco-19758594-488-275.gifHere's a video for Daddy's song "This Charming Man," which they premiered on Vice last year.

The Cops Raided Lil Wayne's Crazy Valuable Art Collection Because He Won't Pay For A Private Plane

Lil Wayne has been having a... rough year. The Carter 5 is still nowhere to be found, Sorry 4 the Wait 2 basically vanished in a vacuum of "eh" (let's not even talk about Free Weezy), and he's the subject of a ton of lawsuits. One of which, Complex notes, involves Tunechi failing to pay over $1 million for leasing a private plan, which is basically the most Lil Wayne thing we can think of. That has apparently led to a raid on his property in Miami, including seizure of assets that were initially unnamed, but now appears to include pieces from his apparently $30 million art collection. WHAT? Do you think Weezy just spends his days staring at original Rembrandts or something? Damn.

As of yet, the police haven't named specific assets claimed in the raid, so there's a lot of room for... speculation! What else do you guys think got taken from Weezy? A tiger? Gold skateboards? Lasagna? There are a couple of bright spots for Wayne -- he's apparently currently in Los Angeles, so he didn't have to personally deal with the raid (thought it will probably be pretty annoying when he gets back). And at least he wasn't murdered by Birdman.

Hyperdub Boss And Dubstep Don Kode9 Talks About The Haunting "Nothing"

photo by Philip Skoczkowski

To most, Kode9 is the definitive don of UK underground dance music. As the founder of seminal dubstep label Hyperdub, which has put out everyone from Burial to The Bug, he's had the kind of impact on forward-thinking dance that very few have. 2014, however, was a tough year for Kode following the deaths of both friend and footwork legend DJ Rashad, as well as his longtime collaborator The Spaceape. It was a rocky patch that led him to spend the beginnings of 2015 locked away in a studio working on what would becoming the haunting Nothing. 

A challenging listen to say the least, it's a record that's surprisingly emotive in its sparseness, one fueled by a painfully-deliberate dive deep into the depths of uncomfortable loss and reckoning. The future has never looked bleaker and, honestly, better off, than it does in Nothing. As such, we spoke to Kode ahead of the album's release this Friday about everything from the mathematics of zero to Tupac to Mortal Kombat -- and learned more about what went into what is, in our honest opinion, one of the best electronic albums of the year.

What struck me first about Nothing was the nihilism of everything.

True. Death was the basis of it all, because by the end of last year I was so fucking pissed off about everything. I'd been making tracks all last year towards an album, but I scrapped everything on New Year's Eve and then started everything from scratch -- New Year's Eve 2014. 

But then I realized I made [these new] tracks without a concept or anything to finish the album. It kind of winds me up when artists get so stuck in a concept and say their album is about that, almost like it's been arbitrarily dumped on top of the music without any relation to it, but I always need a concept to finish an album. 

I was asking myself, "What's this album about?" And I really didn't want to answer that question...and, even though that's like an empty concept, it really helped me finish it. It was like a key that unlocked the whole of the album. That enabled me to finish. 

So the album started out of a literal "nothing"?

Yeah, it was an anti-concept -- but, in the middle of the album, I also started reading about the "nothing" as a concept. I started reading about it in philosophy and mathematics, in quantum physics, and it's really interesting. 

Zero is almost like a virus that the West doesn't want to let in, so as a number it didn't always exist. It was created in Babylonia and India, and Europe was totally hostile to the concept coming in because it completely undermined the Western way of thinking [based on concepts like] monotheism, Judeo-Christianity -- so there's something almost demonic about the number zero, and that's why zero didn't exist until the last 400, 500 years. But it came at the same time as capitalism, which sort of secularized the West and led to all of these innovations that led to modern science. So, it literally came from nothing and through the research for the album, I came to find that the concept of zero was actually quite complicated. 

It's so hard to believe this if your first solo album. 

Yeah, cause I'm so fucking old. This is a bit of a reset album for me. I'm going back to where I started with music -- making instrumental music. I wanted to make more of this album in the box. Digitally, with no synths. Just samples, so that probably affected it. 

I initially thought you meant "in the bando" -- like how Migos lock themselves up "in the bando" to make music.

That resonates with me a lot. That's another "zero" reason. Most of this album happened in January. Never have I made an album so fast in my life. This was just like putting myself in solitary confinement from New Year's Eve last year, and not really coming out of the box until the beginning of February. I was shocked by that, I was like "The fuck happened there?" It was a lot of stuff from the last year that I couldn't put into words that all came out in sound. 

There's a ton of influence from super in-your-face subgenres like footwork and Japanese horrorcore, yet Nothing is remarkable in the amount of space it has. How did you build these tracks? Would you say there was a process of subtraction or addition? 

The songs came out of these tiny, little loops I was building -- chopping things up and building. I think there's a few tracks like "Motel" and "Void," that are all built around very repetitive, minimal aspects...you know, the 8-bar switches of grime, but the minimalist thing that footwork has, which are just things that loop forever and ever, to the point of irritation. I was building these threads of like repetitive stuff with like no beats, very hypnotic, put my in a trance kind of stuff...I was like, in solitary confinement, sensory deprivation. 

Let's talk for a bit about [visual collaborator] Lawrence [Lek], can you explain to me exactly what the show is?

I'm going to be playing live, and there's going to be a large screen where Lawrence will be building a virtual environment, like a computer game type of environment, of a building that's called the "Notel," which is a fully-automated luxury hotel that's been evacuated. So there's no humans there. 

But all the machines are intelligent. Like when you order room service, it's delivered by drones, and things like that. But again there is no human service there, so the question is...what happens to these machines after their masters have left? Because the relationship between humans and machines has always been a sort of master and slave -- where machines are enslaved to human will, what humans desire. So, we're not quite sure what's going to be in it. As I'm playing live, Lawrence is going to be navigating through the hotel. Maybe a different space, a different room, a different floor for every track [that's played].

But there are "human" holograms, right? 

Yeah, I expect there to be holograms of Spaceape and Rashad. There's some kind of digital memory of humans present in the hotel, but as Lawrence described it, it's gonna be like a wildlife documentary of the machines in the hotel. Instead of focusing on like, tigers in the jungle, it's going to focus on what these intelligent machines do in the hotel after they're no longer enslaved to humans. 

So you might have, for example, an automated Japanese toilet that suddenly starts coupling with a jukebox and a respirator -- so you've got these three machines that were made for something completely separate, interacting with each other, and we don't know what comes out of that.

The future of The Discovery Channel, huh? 

Yeah, it's truly like watching the machines attain autonomy...Machines attaining freedom, whatever that means. 

Right, that's all very cyberpunk. 

Cyberpunk was dealing with all these issues before anyone else was. In terms of literature, and architecture, and art, and music, [it handled] themes having to do with intelligent machines and not seeing the world purely from the point of view of humans. And the idea that the human is a blip on the long time scale of history. The idea that we won't necessarily be around forever. 

There's another thread, which obviously comes from like Tupac holograms and [this idea of the] digital immortality of the musician. The weird thing about Rashad and Spaceape dying is that musicians make it easy for you to deal with their death because they leave you with all of their music, so they really do live on in your memory -- and the whole holographic rockstar thing is super interesting in that regard, because not only do musicians live on through their music and their recorded voice, but they can also have this digital immortality through digital holograms. Which is this really fucked up and trippy situation, but it's something that I think is going to become more and more important [to the industry].

I've personally always had a little bit of a problem with cyberpunk in terms of the way it tends to fetishize Asia, like a lot of works treat it as nothing more than a backdrop. Do any of these issues bother you as well? 

There's certainly a lot of cliches, particularly about Japan in the future -- but my counter to that is Yellow Magic Orchestra in the 80s and the way they were sort of doing [the same thing with Western culture]. They were making those moves in the opposite direction, by fusing Kraftwork with traditional Japanese folk music. And like [having] one of their tracks named "Plastic Bamboo" just sums up this synthetic folk. Old and new together. So there's this trend of Orientalism in western literature and music and so on, but there's the reverse thing coming from Asian artists. Occidentalizing, which I think is kind of more interesting in a way. 

And so when we did [Future Brown member] Fatima al Qadiri's record a few years ago [Asiatisch], that was the first record I had heard in a while that tried to conceptualize this idea of cultures hijacking other people's cultures. The problem with Orientalism is that the theory is a very one-way theory. It's one-way in the sense that it is only the West appropriating the East, but things are never that simple. It's always like a two-way interchange going on. Obviously there's a power relation, but the album draws attention to that stuff. 

Speaking of which, you flirted with sinogrime [a strand of grime music with Asiatic influences] a few years ago with a pretty well-regarded mini-mix.

It's just really complicated. You've got a bunch of black kids in East London, who aren't really thinking too much about it, [as it's] probably mediated through Wu Tang Clan, computer games, martial arts films, Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter. Like they're finding all of these Chinese musical motifs coming into their music, but never sampling from the original. Their source was already an appropriation, so it's an appropriation of an appropriation of an appropriation, so where the origin is and what the copy is just becomes more complicated than a simple story about Orientalism and appropriation. 

In a postcolonial sense though, there is a lot of forced Western influence on Asian artists though...like as you said, there's a pretty blatant power dynamic at play, which is why a lot of Occidentalism happens.

I mean it's super interesting, but it's an ongoing thing because the power shift towards Asia is going to make this a more and more important issue. These little, tiny debates probably seem irrelevant to most people, about grime producers and sampling, copying, Asian music; Asian musicians copying western music; but I think it's quite prophetic of much broader debates that are going to be much more important throughout the next hundred years.

The Eight Sexiest Male Politicians (Including Justin Trudeau)

The realm of politics is not averse to great looks because visuals and presentation are a big part of the campaigning game, after all. And with the recently elected Prime Minister of Canada shaping up as their most edible export (no offense to Drake or Bieber), it takes the political arena to a new level of hotness. So in honor of his cheekbones, here are my eight favorite politico hotties of all time. But I'm leaving out the Kennedys. Too obvious -- and too many to choose from, anyway.

Justin Trudeau.jpg[via]
As mentioned, the new Canadian PM is a stud straight out of an International Male catalogue. The chiseled features, the windswept hair...he's enough to bring sexy back to Canada, like, immediately. And he's liberal and marched in a Pride parade! Woof!

Gavin Newsom.jpg[via]

The hills of San Francisco looked even lovelier when the stunning Newsom was mayor starting in 2003. (He's currently the Lieutenant Governor of California.) Gavin is such a looker, with luscious hair, a dazzling smile, and eyes that light up a room like an exposed fluorescent bulb. If he feels like it, he could always step down and become the lieutenant governor of my heart. Hello?

John Lindsay.jpgJOHN LINDSAY
Elected Mayor of New York City in 1965, Lindsay was an impossibly good looking, lean, dirty blonde beauty who easily could have been a supermodel if he hadn't chosen a slightly less superficial profession instead. Later on, he was a natural as a guest host on Good Morning America because his looks were incredibly telegenic. But he made his biggest mark as mayor, helping NYC become glam again.

Bill Clinton.jpg
People didn't drop to their knees in front of this guy because he didn't radiate sex appeal. Bill happens to exude streams and streams of sexual energy, and his apparent willingness to do stuff, combined with his potent genes, make him a far hotter President than, say, Benjamin Harrison.

Barack Obama.jpg[via]
It's the most trivial of his many great traits, but let's face it, the man is good looking. Yes, he's visibly aged in office -- more rapidly than normal people, and understandably so -- but that's served him well, because now he looks handsome in a lived in and worldly wise sort of way. Simply irresistible.

Scott Brown.jpgSCOTT BROWN
The former Massachusetts Senator has sexy grey hair and a really great face that I would like to know better. He's a real dreamboat who puts the koo-koo-ka-choo back in Massachusetts.

Aaron Schock.jpg[via]
The former United States Representative for Illinois, the shocking Schock made the scene in such a splashy way that the New York Times said he "cultivated an image that is more about lifestyle and less about lawmaking." Works for me! And Schock looked hot down to his eye-popping abs, which he gamely showed off on a 2011 Men's Health cover. True, he resigned this year after a controversy, and yes, he was a Republican with some very icky views, but all of that can be used for role playing, no?

Eliot_Spitzer.jpgELIOT SPITZER
The New York State Governor who got busted for patronizing whores in 2008 is so sexy I'd pay HIM. Slightly balding, with a jaunty tousle of hair in the middle, and blessed with striking features and piercing eyes, he always seemed like the Mr. Right many a gal and gay guy would swoon over for some daffy dalliances. (And you'd even get paid!)

Santigold Gives Us The Infectious, Jaunty "Can't Get Enough Of Myself"

Santigold is back, baby -- and this time it's with an upbeat jaunt of a single from her forthcoming album 99¢. Appropriately dubbed "Can't Get Enough of Myself," it's an infectious, sun-infused playground of flute lines, dub-inflected percussion and whirl-a-round synths. Definitely a danceable number.

Listen to the track's premiere on Zane Lowe's BBC Radio 1 show earlier today. 

[h/t Pitchfork

Just So You Know, Fanfiction About Nick Jonas' Diabetes Exists

The Jonas Brothers were pretty much the first case of Internet fandom, having come into prominence during the initial boom of early social media in the late aughts, and despite having long-disbanded  ravenous admiration for the trio remains discarded throughout the web in the form of fanfiction -- from Camp Rock nostalgia, to pregnancy.

They're abandoned cars, resting quietly on the side of the Internet highway.

But some are able to move past fandom, and sink into the deepest trench of...something.

Such is this case of fan-fiction about Nick Jonas' diabetes.

Yes, this is real.

Nick Jonas was diagnosed with diabetes in 2005, at the age of 13, and as his celebrity grew, he became vocal about his struggles with the condition -- specifically life-threatening circumstances -- and has used his platform to spread awareness.

Upon Googling info about Nick's illness, however, it's not that hard to come across a
a small but sizable pocket of JoBro fans who decided to weave Nick's ailment into some jaw-droppingly specific and unsettling vignettes that run the mill from garden variety chaste Florence Nightengale fantasies, to some POV Munchausen-y delirium.

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 2.13.50 PM.pngOne scenario depicting Nick's initial diagnosis (Chapter 3. "Diagnosis), from a fanfic collection entitled Living the Dream, is the most intensely detailed (and impeccably structured) of this specific topic.

It begins with the subject line: "The Jonas Brothers are in the prime with their best-selling tour yet. But Nick is experiencing some weird issues on the way. What's wrong with him? Can a girl help him get through it and face his biggest challenge yet to get through and live the dream?"

Stay with me.

The chapter begins some sort of medical personnel named "Mrs. Juan," informing Nick of his condition.

"Nicholas Jonas, I'm very sorry but you have Type 1 Diabetes," Mrs. Juan said to me. I couldn't believe it. Diabetes? I didn't even KNOW what that was. So all I could ask her is "Am I going to die?"

Some of the content reads as if the fan has either had first hand experience with this ailment themselves, or was attempting to sound like they do, literally translating WebMD into the story with mentions of multiple IVs. Enter: Kevin and Joe with a teddy bear and a "basket of balloons."

Joe says, "Here you go, little brother," to Nick. (ugh)

Where are the parents, though?

"Where's Mom and Dad and Frankie?" Kevin said, "They're at Grandma Jonas', so they could learn a little more about...you know...and get some comfort."

After starting to cry, Nick is comforted by his brothers.

"Kevin sat at the side of my bed while Joe grabbed the other chair and sat on the other said. Kevin grabbed my non-IV hand and looked at me, saying, "Look Nick, I know it's really hard for you right now, but it WILL get better. This will NOT stop us, you hear? As long as you can manage, of course."

Non-IV hand: check.

Things take a terrifying, Mullholland Drive turn in the next chapter, describing a dream Nick has.

"There were two monsters after me; one was a scary looking man that had a t-shirt that said "Diabetes," and the other was Death itself, clothed in a black cloak and everything.
"Come with me, Nick, and you'll live a painful life," the diabetic man said evilly.
"No, come with me Nicholas, and leave this cruel world. It would end all the pain," Death said to me coyly.

A coy reaper; nothing worse.

The story continues on (and on, and on), bringing in newfound love interest and fellow diabetic named "Liz" for Nick who, who after comforting Nick, is invited on tour with the band.

The full point of the fan-fiction is realized when Liz (presumably the alter ego of the writer) exclaims, "Seriously you're inviting me, of all people, to come on tour with you guys?" I ask my best friends Nick, Kevin, and Joe.

My best friends.

Here are some other dark fanfic subject lines involving Nick Jonas:

-Summary: Sacrafice. It's a mid-evil ceremony to gain power from the Gods. But when evil starts sacarficing for their own selfish reasons, the laws of nature can be change.
Its been 200 years since their last victom's blood was shed. Now they need a new victom. One whos is pure of heart and full of spirt. They search long and hard for the one they must sacrafice and find the perfect person....Nick Jonas

-Summary: Nick Jonas is going to a boy scout camp but what happens when a twister hits and he is left to help his friends. Nick is not famious one shot based on a true story

This makes even the most violently unhinged, bloody declarations of love from One Directioners and Beliebers look positively...sane, and that's saying a lot.

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 2.24.02 PM.png

Highlights from Logo's "Cocktails and Classics" Live Screening of Mommie Dearest in NYC

(photo via www.out.com)

Donning wire hanger necklaces, black satin robes, cold cream masks and white headbands were only a few ways that Michael Musto and friends paid homage to Faye Dunaway's dramatically over the top depiction of Joan Crawford in the cult classic Mommie Dearest. The live screening of the film at Midtown's Eventi Hotel gave the small audience a live taste of what Logo's show "Cocktails and Classics" has in store for its second season. 

"We really try to engage the spirit of what it might be like for you at home if you had a bunch of friends over," explained the show's host Michael Urie. "We show movies that appeal to the Logo sensibility, movies with a strong female character, campy movies, movies that if you haven't seen you should see, and if you have seen you would enjoy watching with us." 

It is somewhat similar to Bravo's The People's Couch but instead Cocktails and Classics encourages viewers to have a party while watching the hosts and industry special guests have a party on television. Musto describes it as a "big meta party!" complete with juicy behind the scenes details, quizzes, games and scene reenactments. Urie practically begged Logo to obtain the rights to the original The Poseidon Adventure, which he grew up obsessed with as a child. 

"We reenacted the scene where the ship flips over. We had a lot of fun and were just really silly with it," Urie said. 

Other films the show lovingly jabs include All About Eve, Little Shop of Horrors, and The Witches of Eastwick.Steel Magnolias screenwriter Robert Harling and Academy Award winner Joel Grey from "Cabaret" are some of the industry insiders dishing on all of the production secrets every film enthusiast is dying to know. 

Right after cocktail hour, Musto and Urie were joined by D.J. Pierce aka Shangela Laquifa Wadley -- who is also a film party attendee on the show -- and Rutanya Alda, who played Carol Ann, for a quick chat about the film, explaining why it is a must see in the gay community.  

"The fashion, the lines, the acting, it's kabuki, it's camp and yet it makes you feel something. How could you not feel something for Christina?" explained Musto. "Faye Dunaway is brilliant, she was over the top. Newsflash! Joan Crawford was over the top." 

"You create a connection, too," Pierce added. "Like people who may not have seen the movie before or the younger generation of gays connect with people who have seen the movie and know so much about it and means so much to them, it's like 'Oh I've seen Mommie Dearest! You've seen Mommie Dearest! We're cool."

The light-hearted banter, similar to what audiences are sure to witness on the show, quickly turned into the ultimate tea spilling session when Musto and Rutanya dished on their theories and insight on the controversial mixed reviews on Dunaway's portrayal of Crawford and if it contributed to the stalling of her career. Rutanya alda addresses this topic in her Carol Ann tell all The Mommie Deareat Diaries a secret she has kept for 30 years without a thought that maybe this was something people were interested in.   

"I had no idea people wanted to know about what happened, and I never intended to publish a book. I wrote these journals while filming and during a hard time in my life, and the only thing that helped me feel better was writing." 

The episode of "Cocktails and Classics" viewing Mommie Dearest will air this Sunday. 

David LaChapelle Talks with the Inventor of the Digital Camera About the Death of Print Photography

In 1975, Kodak engineer Steve Sasson created the first digital camera. He spent the next several decades trying to convince his bosses that this was a device that people would one day want. David LaChapelle, one of the most acclaimed photographers and music video directors working today, wasn't initially sold on digital cameras when he encountered them in the '80s, but eventually he became one of the first directors to shoot only in digital video, often with Phase One, his camera of choice. It took a while for Kodak to see the point of digital photography, but once it took off with the public, it took off hard, and the company wasn't quite prepared; it filed for bankruptcy in 2012. For our Nowstalgia issue, on stands now, PAPER arranged for Sasson, who was awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 2009, to talk with LaChapelle about the rise of the digital image, the death of print photography and accidentally creating the selfie. It's a fascinating conversation between two photography pioneers about the unintended consequences of new ideas. (This interview has been edited and condensed.)

Steve holding camera credit the Eastman Kodak Company.jpgPhotography courtesy of Eastman Kodak Company

David LaChapelle:
First, let me say hello. It's an honor to talk to you. I worked six years in black and white in laboratories in the dark ages of my life. And I remember how toxic the chemistry was. I once spent 21 hours in the darkroom and the next morning after getting some sleep, I woke up and I could taste the fixer in my lungs. With digital, it changed all that. There are people that miss getting their hands in the fixer and stuff; well, you might miss cancer, too. It's also great for the environment. I'll let you talk, I just want to get this off my chest. I have pictures in museums around the world: Chile, Rome. I print really large-scale, I have murals that are 30 feet. And next to an analog print will be a digital print and people can't tell the difference at all.

Steve Sasson:
Yeah, we've reached that point now where there's no ability to tell between a fine-grain film and a high-resolution image capture. People argue when we reached that point, but let's let the other people argue about that.

Your invention, and your brain, and your lifetime of work have done so much for the environment, for the carbon footprint. You should really be proud of that. You invented the pencil. I always get this question, "Oh, there's so many people taking photos now on their cameras -- how does that change photography?" And I say, "Well, it makes photography accessible to everyone. Like the pencil." Does that mean there's gonna be more great writers? I don't know. I don't think there are more great writers because pencils are available to everyone, but it's definitely made it accessible to everyone to capture things and take pictures. It has changed news, like with the police right now and how people are filming the police.

Now, Steve, you didn't really see any of this happening when you first developed this camera, right?

No, remember in '75 and '76 when I was demonstrating my prototype system, I called it filmless photography in the sense that I was clearly suggesting a way to do it without consumables at all. No film, no processing, no paper. But we hadn't really experienced the world that we have today. We didn't have the Internet or even personal computers at everybody's desks. So this homogenization of the digital information age hadn't occurred yet. I was really proposing to eliminate the cost of film and paper. And when I demonstrated the system in '76 to Kodak executives, I took their pictures in a conference room and I displayed them right there: no chemicals, no processing. It took about a minute to do the whole process. And that's what our conversation revolved around: Could this ever be practical? Prints were very successful for over 100 years. No one was complaining about the photographic process in general and prints specifically.

And now you hear the opposite. People complain that no one's printing anything.

Right, because now the whole world has changed and you have ubiquitous desktop printing.

And Instagram.[laughs]

Right, social networking and things like that. So I think when you do something like this, as much as you think you can see a bunch of new things happening, you really don't see the entire picture. Nobody does until it happens much later.

So you didn't have some grand revelation. Like you woke up from a dream going, "Oh my god, I'm going to change the way that -- everyone can be a porn star now." You didn't have that moment. [laughs] Did Kodak have any concern about losing revenue because of their other products, if this thing is successful?

 In '76, when I demonstrated my system, there were lots of questions about the technical viability of this stuff. "How would you handle color? How could you ever get hi-res? Would the economics of this ever be possible?" Those were the technical questions. And I think it took us about 13, 14 years to answer those questions. But in 1989, we built a camera that looks a lot like a DSLR today. They were megapixel color imagers, memory cards, and we used compression. But then we ran into the problem where Kodak didn't want to sell them because it cannibalized a very profitable business line.

You're like the Napster of photography.


They didn't want to believe it was coming, and it changed the whole music industry. And the same thing happened, really. It's not that far off of an analogy. People did not want to see downloads happening and they were in denial, and then it happened anyway.

I mean the question I was always asked was, "Show me the money. Show me the business model. Show me the revenue." And I always couldn't really answer that question because I didn't have it.

Well, it wasn't your job. You were the inventor; they should've found ways to do that. The music industry should've taken... I can't remember the guy's name who started Napster, but instead of fighting him, they should've brought him onboard and said, "How do we make this work for us? Because this is the future." But they didn't have that vision.

Yeah, it was hard to have those discussions. Remember, photographic film was probably the most profitable consumer product ever dreamed up. It had a tremendous revenue stream, tremendous profitability.

And exactly, think about what you've done for journalism. If it wasn't for the digital camera, along with the Internet, there wouldn't have been instant pictures as they happen.

Well, yeah.

A lot to have on your shoulders. [laughs] How does that make you feel, to be one of the people who ushered in the age of information? That's like ushering in the Iron Age or the Industrial Revolution or something. Do you go to bed at night thinking, "I ushered in the age of information"?

I don't really think about it too much. I've worked almost my whole life in digital photography. I wasn't allowed to talk about it, of course. I took my first pictures in 1975 on my camera and I worked continuously in digital imaging. But I wasn't allowed to talk about it until 2001, when it became clear that it was an advantage to be in the digital photography business and Kodak was a big player in that business. Then one day you wake up and you see, "Hey, things are really out there in the consumer world." I started seeing it in my real life world in the early 2000s or so.

But in '75, it was your dream. Did it occur to you that you could take pictures of your girlfriend and not have to take it to the lab?

[laughs] Well, I tell you...

C'mon, that thought had to cross your mind at some point. When did it cross your mind that you could take pictures of your girlfriend naked and not have to bring it to a lab and no one else would know?

Well, I tell you, the resolution wasn't as good as experiencing things themselves. I think what's changed is our view of what photography is. It's changed it from recording events to a casual form of conversation. In other words, I want to express a thought or a feeling --

It's been made casual.

Yeah, it made it extremely casual, extremely easy.

It used to be an experience, getting your picture taken. Now it's casual. That's a great adjective.

Yeah, I mean it is. From my point of view, I worked in this field for well over 30 years. Almost every day was taking a step, or solving a problem, or learning something new, seeing what other people are doing. I like to say that you don't have to invent everything when you're doing something. The whole world is inventing along with you so thank goodness for people developing the Internet and higher-speed computers.

So now you're shying away from inventing the selfie, which really you did.

I like to say that's a result of the long unintended consequences. It's something I must admit that in all the years I've worked on this, I never considered that a possibility. It's annoying -- I was in Hawaii, standing there, it was beautiful scenery and people would come out with like lightsabers, they'd whip out these giant sticks and stand there and take pictures. It was weird, you know?

Do you both believe that print and actual film photography is dead?

Is it dead? Well, I get a lot of reactions from photographers. They love film. Harvey Wang did a documentary about how the development of digital affected film photographers and what I learned from that was that there's a certain set of people who love the physicality of film. And what I mean by that is that they can hold it in their hand, they can develop it, they can look at it. It's a very visceral, human thing. And although these photographers freely admit that ... you can't run a business without it being digital to a large extent. They still miss or long for the physicality of film. As long as those people are around, and I don't know how long they will be, film will certainly offer a place to do that.

Now, Steve, how did Kodak adjust as a business once film was on its way out and digital took over, because obviously they were making most of their money off of film for a while.

Well, not well. They knew film was an endangered species for several years. I think 2001 was the best year for film -- the most film was made. But then it crashed, it really went down very quickly. No one could anticipate when that would happen and we used to talk a lot about that, and all of a sudden it just happened. Once that happened, all they could do was cut their expenses. In 2012, they declared bankruptcy. They tried to maintain their many other businesses and they still have a business now with printing. The profitability of film was just enormous and to have that go down at 18-20% a year is what I think the decline rate was.

It really mirrors the music industry.

In many ways, that's right, in terms of digital and communication and sharing. The only difference is that these images are personal and so people have an emotional attachment to these images, so being able to save them and having to recall them many years later is the only file that gets more valuable the older it gets. That's just a little bit of a difference. But I think there's a lot of parallels there.

SteveSasson_Camera_DI.jpgSasson digital camera, 1975. Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, New York. Photo courtesy of George Eastman House

Exploring Bias In Film Theory: Why Aren't More Female Directors and Filmmakers of Color Considered Auteurs?

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 4.22.45 PM.pngAgnes Varda

Hollywood moves in familiar patterns, with habits so regular that even the most disinterested moviegoer knows the drill. Summer is for blockbusters, fall is for Oscar-bait, and late winter is for the bombs, those sad monstrosities that the studios try to shuffle into oblivion with as little fanfare as possible. However, for viewers of a certain stripe, who prefer international titles and experimental features over superhero flicks, the year isn't measured in typical seasons. For these cinephiles and film fanatics, the stretch from the first sun-drenched Cannes dispatches to the last wind-chilled nights of Sundance is the true centerpiece of the year in film. While most viewers might be drawn to a new release by an appealing star or the familiarity of a franchise, the chatter around these film festivals is distinctly different.

"Did you see the new Todd Haynes?"
"I'm going to the Hou Hsiao-Hsien tomorrow."
"The new Gondry? Not his best."

This auteurist approach to understanding film is a defining aspect of highbrow festivals, and frequently dominates the conversation and criticism around so-called "Serious Cinema." However, despite the popularity of auteur theory as a lens through which viewers can read a film, it has also been criticized for the way that it has often erased women and people of color from the cinematic landscape.

Auteur theory emerged in France in the mid-twentieth century, based on the idea of the director as the author a film. It was developed by film theorist Andre Bazin and critic and filmmaker Alexandre Astruc before further blossoming in the pages of Cahiers du Cinéma in essays by a group of upstart film fanatics, including Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut, who would go on to put their theories into practice as the mavericks of the French New Wave. While the word "auteur" often conjures images of self-consciously artistic cinema, the Cahiers critics frequently discussed the theory in the context of the dream factory of Golden Age Hollywood, reading the imprint of directors' distinct artistic personalities and fixations in seemingly-formulaic genre pictures, elevating figures like Alfred Hitchcock, with his recurrent motifs of frigid blondes, mistaken identities and necrophilia, from "vulgar showman" to serious artist. To them, Hollywood's Joseph L. Mankiewicz and serious-minded Danish ascetic Carl Theodor Dreyer could be seen as equally artistically valid.

Iconic critic Pauline Kael was an early critic of the theory as applied in English and American criticism, reserving particular vitriol for critic Andrew Sarris, who originally popularized the theory for American audiences in The Village Voice. In her essay "Circles and Squares", published in Film Quarterly in 1963, Kael says, "The auteur critics are so enthralled with their narcissistic male fantasies....that they seem unable to relinquish their schoolboy notions of human experience." She goes on to question, "Can we conclude that, in England and the United States, the auteur theory is an attempt by adult males to justify staying inside the small range of their boyhood and adolescence -- that period when masculinity looked so great and important but art was something talked about by poseurs and phonies and sensitive-feminine types?"

Gendered critique of the theory continues, with contemporary film writers like Melissa Silverstein, founder and editor of Women and Hollywood and artistic director of the Athena Film Festival, an annual film festival highlighting women's leadership that takes place at Barnard College, citing inherent biases: "In general, I have minimal interest in the whole discussion of auteurs because it leaves women out. Women are just beginning to create a body of work that lets them into the conversation. And there is a lack of respect for women's work whether it stars men or women because there is a lack of respect for women's visions."

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 4.16.22 PM.pngElaine May

Film history, like all history, is not a static thing, but is in a constant process of re-assessment and re-writing. While the popular conception of film history is still dominated by mammoth male figures -- Welles, Godard, Fellini, Bergman, et al. -- there have been encouraging signs in recent years of the narrative expanding to include more and more female filmmakers. In some cases, this has manifested itself in the rehabilitation of neglected careers, like that of Elaine May. The sharp director of The Heartbreak Kid and screenwriter of The Birdcage and Primary Colors first rose to prominence as half of a brilliant comedy due with Mike Nichols. While the latter went on to be enshrined in film history for works like Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf and The Graduate, May's directing career was cut prematurely short after the failure of her notorious Dustin Hoffman-Warren Beatty comedy Ishtar, for which she was unfairly and disproportionately blamed. However, within the past several years, May has been rehabilitated as a critical darling, with The New Yorker's Richard Brody lauding her as "one of the great geniuses of the American cinema" and Criterion's online release of her Peter Falk and John Cassavetes-starring Mikey and Nicky, which Brody has called"the great gangster movie of the nineteen-seventies" and "a welcome corrective to 'The Godfather'."

You could argue that cinema's delay in recognizing May as a great director is due, in part, to the fact that like other female directors such as Amy Heckerling or Nancy Meyers, she worked in commercial cinema, rather than the more self-consciously serious and highbrow modes of independent or art cinema. However, critic Stephanie Zacharek of The Village Voice -- who objects to auteur theory primarily on the grounds of being overly simplistic ("To me, the auteur theory is a way of trying to break film down into manageable chunks to understand it. And who wants film to be manageable?") -- has found that the commercial film stigma is often applied unequally. "Even if we're just talking about male [commercial] filmmakers who have come to prominence since the 1970s -- Scorsese, Tarantino, Spielberg, De Palma, Nolan, Fincher -- we feel very comfortable discussing their individual styles, or at least their specific approaches to filmmaking," she says. "But you don't hear a lot of people discussing the films of, say, Sofia Coppola or Kathryn Bigelow in the same way, even though each, by this point, has a very distinctive voice."

International female filmmakers have fared slightly better, facing fewer growing pains in their process of ascending to the top ranks of historically significant auteurs. Soviet master Larisa Shepitko, who left behind a small but stunning body of work before her premature death at age 40, in 1979, has gained attention since the Criterion rereleases of her films The Ascent (1966), and Wings (1977). Meanwhile Czech filmmaker Věra Chytilová's madcap Daisies has been rightly acknowledged as one of the most distinctive works of the Czech New Wave, cementing her place in film history. (Her early short "Ceiling" recently appeared on a double bill with Roman Polanski's "Two Men and a Dresser" in the Museum of Modern Art's "Home is Best" series.)

jeanne-dielman.jpgA still from Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

Perhaps the most notable example of a lionized female filmmaker whose recognition, influence, and space within the narrative of film history only continues to grow, is the great, recently-passed Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman. Akerman's 1975 film Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, is regularly recognized as one of the most important works of cinematic history. The formally exacting, punishingly long work records in uncompromising detail the rote daily routine of a single mother over the course of three days, from domestic duties to the prostitution with which she supports herself and her son, and culminates in a shocking act of violence. Reverence for the film has only continued to grow in recent years (undoubtedly aided by the Criterion Collection's exquisite 2009 release), and critics have consciously worked to recognize her towering place in the story of cinema. In a recent Twitter exchange, Rolling Stone writer David Erlich noted that Akerman made Jeanne Dielman at the remarkably young age of 25, prompting film writer Kristen Sales to respond, "petition to replace this narrative with the 'orson welles was only 25 when he made citizen kane' narrative." Ever active, and unflaggingly artistically ambitious, Akerman's last film, the documentary No Home Movie, a document of the last days of Akerman's Holocaust survivor mother, earned rapturous responses and was one of the few female-helmed films presented at this year's New York Film Festival.

The outpouring of tributes after Akerman's tragically premature death (she was only 65 years old) on October 5th illustrated -- in their reverence, intensity, and sheer quantity -- just how enormous her presence is in the cinephile consciousness. As touching as the responses were, the reverential mourning was also a stark reminder of just how unusual Akerman's position is. Besides French New Wave favorite Agnès Varda, you'd be hard-pressed to think of another female filmmaker of Akerman's generation who would receive such universal recognition of greatness.

While it is clear that reading cinema history and the modern cinematic landscape through the lens of auteur theory has minimized the role of women, the most pressing question is: why?

Prominent indie film fixture Ry Russo-Young, director of films like Nobody Walks and You Won't Miss Me and a performer in The Color Wheel and Hannah Takes the Stairs, recognizes the collaborative process of making a film, but asserts, "I absolutely believe films reflect the perspective and vision of the director." However, she feels that romantic ideas about directors are distinctly gendered.

"Historically and often critically," she says, "the director's role has been fetishized into a stereotype: the lone, uncompromising man with a brilliant creative vision. As a woman growing up with this cliche, I have a voluntary distaste for it because it's the same white male genius thing -- it excludes everyone else and other perspectives. A quick Google search of 'filmmaker auteur' and I find seven terrific white male filmmakers, but not one woman or person of color. And even when we think about The French New Wave, Agnes Varda is often left out of that conversation, which is a shame because she's brilliant!"

Along with the gendered auteur archetype, another possible explanation for women's absence in this approach to cinema is the auteur theory's emphasis on a filmmaker's body of work. In order to recognize the idiosyncrasies of taste, style, and thematic preoccupations that make a director's work distinctly his or her own, it is helpful to have several films to reference, to see which elements occur again and again. Further, there is something particularly satisfying for the dedicated cinephile about crafting a neat narrative out of the arch of a filmmaker's career, as when we discuss Fellini's ever-deeper dive into his own id as he moved from realist dramas like La Strada to surreal, hyper-theatrical extravaganzas like Juliet of the Spirits. As filmmaker Josephine Decker, director of Butter on the Latch and Thou Wast Mild and Lovely (another female director who has found an enthusiastic advocate in Richard Brody), explains: many female filmmakers simply don't have bodies of work hefty enough to demand auteurist readings. "I think there are a lot of women who make one incredible film and then maybe just don't have the opportunity to make another," she says.

According to Decker, there are several reasons why female filmmakers might produce smaller bodies of work than their male colleagues: "I think the women who become famous directors get famous later in the game than men do, generally. I think Sofia Coppola and Lena Dunham are huge exceptions, and I think it made a really big difference that both of them had parents who were artists. Because being an artist as a woman is not necessarily nurtured." Beyond the lack of encouragement, Decker also identifies the difficulty of balancing family and the rigorous demands of filmmaking: "Being a woman in my early thirties who really wants to have kids, I keep thinking, 'Wow, I'm really glad I got these two movies done.' Because I'll maybe make one more, then have to take a few years off....I think it's very difficult for women to develop a body of work because of family pressures, and also family desires."

Whatever its shortcomings, however, auteur theory remains an appealing and popular way of imagining cinema, particularly that of the high art variety. While the popularity of the theory does not appear to be waning any time soon, it is possible that it is being applied in more imaginative ways, and that notions of who qualifies as an auteur are expanding to make room for more diverse figures.

BFA_1446671924_1718518.jpgAva DuVernay[Photo by John Salangsang/BFA.com]

More and more contemporary female filmmakers are garnering spots in the cinematic pantheon: French directors Catherine Breillat (Abuse of Weakness, Fat Girl) and Claire Denis (Bastards, Beau Travail) are staples of serious international festivals, while established auteur Jane Campion (Bright Star, The Piano) has found recent success on television with the stunning Top of the Lake. Despite the historically male-heavy programming of the New York Film Festival, the Film Society of Lincoln Center has done invaluable work in recent years for the visibility of serious female filmmakers with their filmmaker residency. Since its inception three years ago, two of the residents have been women: Fish Tank director Andrea Arnold in 2013, and this year's Athina Rachel Tsangari, whose film Chevalier is featured in the festival. (The 2014 resident, Argentinian director Lisandro Alonso, also offered a welcome departure from the frequent Euro-centrism of serious cinema culture.)

Alongside this promising progress, resistance and unequal opportunities remain, particularly for women of color. "The real tricky thing," says Russo-Young, "is that much of this [biased] thinking is completely unconscious and subliminal and exists in women and men, so it's not a simple fix." However, as the internet has opened up the critical landscape to more and more voices, many women are highlighting the work of female filmmakers and combatting male-centric views of film history. Silverstein's Women and Hollywood is an invaluable source for information about women in commercial cinema, while British film magazine Little White Lies' recent "100 Great Movies By Female Directors" series, compiled by female and male critics, provided a breathtaking alternative cinematic history.

One of the most outspoken advocates for reevaluating the inclusivity of the narrative of film history is Selma director Ava DuVernay, who was passed over for a Best Director Oscar nomination, even as the film she directed was nominated for Best Picture. Empire writer Eric Haywood said of DuVernay in a Tweet, "I think the idea of [Ava DuVernay] boldly & competently directing men is what upset the Academy more than anything." Russo-Young agrees, stating, "I doubt Auteur theory is to blame for sexism and racism within the industry, but, as a society, we still associate control with men. The notion that a woman has the power and even the confidence to have complete control over an artistic process as complex and multifaceted as filmmaking is still foreign to us." However, DuVernay is actively working to reshape ideas of what a director looks like, not only in her own work as a director, but also with her distribution company Array, which supports the work of women and artists of color. Similarly, Silverstein insists that it is not criticism and historical evaluation that will raise the profile and power of female filmmakers: "The way to correct the representation of women is for people to hire women. It's that simple."

The act of filmmaking is becoming more and more accessible with every passing day. Cameras are more widely available than ever and anyone with an Internet connection can share their vision of their own unique universe with untold numbers of viewers, from next-door neighbors to strangers an ocean away. Critics and historians certainly have a responsibility -- they play an essential role in raising the visibility of women in the cinematic landscape. Most important, however, is that women continue to contribute to the medium, until their presence is too great to be ignored.

Go forth, women, and create.

Is Pot the New Artist Merch? Freddie Gibbs Just Came Out With His Own Weed Strain

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Holy smokes! Hip hop star Freddie Gibbs is releasing a new cannabis strain called Freddie Kane OG, and we hear it's brain-meltingly good. 

Then again how couldn't it be? Developed with some help from the weed experts at Chroncierge, Freddie Kane's an indica/hybrid been described as "euphoric, tranquilizing and analgesic" -- which isn't surprising at 29% THC. So pack a bowl, blast some Piñata and think of other artists who could potentially sell kush as merch. Check out a few of our favorite (hypothetical) herbs below.

  • Rick Ross' Pear-Infused Bossativa 
  • Azaelia Stanks
  • Budson Mohawke 
  • M.I.A.'s Vaper Planes 
  • Indigo Girls (because, duh)

Diddy Just Dropped a New Album, and It Doesn't Have Nearly Enough Lil Kim

With little-to-no warning, wealthy artist and Drake-puncher Diddy dropped his latest, MMM, an album by Puff Daddy and the Family it's not clear that anyone needed but that is certainly here now. It features Big Sean, Future, Pusha T, and several other people you may have heard of. But is it any good? (If the relative scarcity of Lil Kim is any indication, NO. Give us more Lil Kim, Diddy.) Check out MMM below.