Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

Nathan Pensky


Sunday, March 25 2012

The Best Twitter Comic on the Planet?: An Interview with Rob Delaney

He looks like a regular dad. What you don't know about him, however, is how he is one of the funniest (and dirtiest) comedians alive, and owner of one of the funniest Twitter accounts of all time. Rob Delaney talks about the roots of his comedy, his pending lawsuit against Kim Kardashian, and more.

Wednesday, February 15 2012

No Formula for Funny: An Interview with Nick Kroll

Given the sheer number of hit films and TV shows he's been in, Nick Kroll could be listed as one of the most successful comedians of his generation -- yet there are some who don't know who he is. In speaking to PopMatters, he reveals how he creates his celebrated characters.

Thursday, January 19 2012

The Hippie That Wasn’t: An Interview with Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips have spent the past year doing off-beat collaborations, releasing songs in skulls both Gummi and real, and creating songs that last up to 24 hours. In this extensive interview with PopMatters, frontman Wayne Coyne discusses all of this... as well as his peacocks.

Wednesday, September 21 2011

Michael Has Issues: A Sad Sad Conversation with Michael Ian Black

Michael Ian Black -- of The State, Stella, and Michael & Michael Have Issues fame -- discusses his new album, Very Famous, and connecting to people through sad, sad conversations ...

Tuesday, July 5 2011

Bright Future: An Interview With Starscream

Writing songs for hit MTV shows, spearheading one of the most danceable subgenres in recent years, and all because of music recorded ... on a Gameboy. Welcome to the wild world of Starscream ...


Wednesday, September 7 2011

Trickster-Heroes in 'Buffy' and 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight'

While Spike represents a moral alternative to Buffy’s heroism, the Arthurian Green Knight's tricks -- including a gruesome beheading -- end as mere a parlor game. Spike is the superior trickster.

Monday, July 25 2011

Voluntary Amnesia in 'Dollhouse' and 'Pygmalion'

Long before Dollhouse's Echo submitted herself to five years of memory loss, Eliza Doolitle of Pygmalion experimented with some personal tabula rasa.

Monday, June 20 2011

Reality, and Then Some, as Conveyed in 'The Wire' and 'Oliver Twist'

The spoonful of sugar that The Wire employs in relating its harsh theme is all wrapped up in that medicine's themes of fatalism. The humor employed in Oliver Twist highlights the opposite: the needlessness of the system that allows orphans to starve to death.

Monday, May 2 2011

Characters Inside Out: Bryan Elsley's 'Skins' and William Shakespeare’s 'Hamlet'

Hamlet would have fit right in with the Skins kids; in particular, he would have found a friend in Effy, from Generation 2. Both question the nature of their worlds, both grow melancholic.


Tuesday, October 4 2011

Absurdity Writ Small: 'Mark Twain's Autobiography 1910-2010'

In his new book, the bright light Michael Kupperman has shown so readily in the comic strip form dims considerably for being written into prose.

Thursday, August 11 2011

'Childrens Hospital' Season Three - Alicia Silverstone Arc

As if to underline the show's awkward angle on humor, the characters here are extremely abstract, referencing stock players from famous medical dramas, but twisted.

Friday, July 29 2011

'Attack the Block' Engages the Brain and Quickens the Pulse

A remarkable film, Joe Cornish’s Attack the Block turns a popular science fiction sub-genre, the “alien invasion” story, into a complex, thoughtful statement on contemporary urban life.

Friday, July 29 2011

'Shark Week 2011' (24th Annual)

The savvy horror movie fan can see that the unstoppable force of the shark will soon collide with the immovable object of Dr. Skomul’s dopiness. And do they ever.

Wednesday, July 20 2011

Fake French: ‘Who Took the Bomp? Le Tigre on Tour’

Le Tigre is the kind of band where if you’re in for an inch, you’re in for a mile.


Wednesday, March 30 2011

Images of Faces and Hands in 'North By Northwest'

While hand imagery in North By Northwest has a practical aim, being to show the main character’s emotional state at a given moment, the film’s face imagery has more to do with expressing an idea, the loss of identity.

Monday, February 28 2011

Five Hilarious TV Lines from the Last Ten Years

Here are five lines from the last ten years of television that made me laugh. A lot.

Thursday, February 17 2011

The Problem With Happiness

Film culture has reached a point where whenever we see happiness without ridiculously manageable problems included, we expect tragedy.

Tuesday, February 1 2011

Against Awards, or Everything That Rises Must Not Converge

We don’t sort art, it sorts us. Which piece of art tops the list says less about the quality of the art than who made the list.

Tuesday, January 18 2011

Insufferable Human Drama as Catalyst in 'The Birds'

Setting off even the most explosive powderkeg of human emotion would not make a flock of birds go insane and start attacking, much less this smoldering controlled burn. But such is the only line of causation the film allows its viewer.

The Horror of 'The Virgin Spring' (Short Ends and Leader) [5.Jan.11]
'The Walking Dead' As Long Form Zombie Tale (Channel Surfing) [9.Dec.10]
The Suchness of 'The Social Network' (Short Ends and Leader) [28.Oct.10]
In Defense of Weezer (Sound Affects) [13.Oct.10]
'Chinatown' Via Rodgers and Hammerstein (Short Ends and Leader) [27.Sep.10]
A Crash Course in Fake Cursing (Short Ends and Leader) [15.Sep.10]
Beyond the Pale: Lady Gaga's "Alejandro" (Sound Affects) [1.Sep.10]
Revisiting the 'Star Wars' Prequels (Short Ends and Leader) [12.Aug.10]
Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon: Brian Eno (Mixed Media) [11.Aug.10]
Serious Men, Inglourious Basterds (Short Ends and Leader) [12.Jul.10]
Radiohead as Suburban Avant Garde (Sound Affects) [29.Jun.10]
The Artist Formerly Known As Thierry Guetta (Short Ends and Leader) [22.Jun.10]
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