Latest Blog Posts

by Victor P. Corona

13 Sep 2010

The Yahoo! commercial set to Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights” shows a young office drone escaping his dull gray world via a purple door bearing the company’s logo. The Yahoo! entertainment news portal thereby releases him into the magical realm of modern fame, a world of limousines, red carpets, music video shoots, Jacuzzis, and, of course, the flashing lights of the paparazzi. Actual celebrity photographers have probably grown accustomed to their subjects’ middle fingers as well as the smiles and waves of the would-be famous. On August 31st, the anniversary of Princess Diana’s fatal car accident, the paparazzi also encountered the restraining hand of the state. The California State Assembly passed a measure that imposes a heavy fine and up to a year in jail for violating existing traffic laws “with the intent to capture any type of visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression of another person for a commercial purpose” (Assembly Bill No. 2479). In reporting news of the bill’s passage, blogs vigorously circulated a 2008 video of Kate Moss being mobbed by photographers at LAX. The sight of a 5’7” woman shielding her children from a massive pack of paparazzi might make even the Yahoo! ad’s would-be star yearn for the solace of his cubicle.

Three days after the bill’s passage, Lady Gaga released a video called “The Left Eye” through, a “fashion and art internet broadcasting channel” created by the British photographer Nick Knight. Shot from her point of view, the short video offers a rare sense of what it means to be the subject of the blinding blur of flashes, to have one’s “physical impression” be so desired and so profitable. Amid the clamor of paparazzi calling her name, one hears the frenzied cry of a fan, quickly followed by the hush of a plush hotel lobby. Just a year ago, at the start of her performance of “Paparazzi” during the MTV Video Music Awards, Gaga sang, “Amidst all of these flashing lights I pray the fame won’t take my life.” This prayer apparently went unanswered, given that her performance concluded with a bloody simulated hanging. For this year’s VMAs, to be broadcast on Sunday night, Gaga has earned the most nominations ever received in a single year and is now “the number one pop star in the world,” as Kanye described her in a recent tweet. The middle fingers that she offered to the paparazzi at a Mets game this past June made clear that Gaga shared other celebrities’ annoyance at the camera lenses and shutter clicks that are in step with their every public movement. But if pop commentators’ predictions of Gaga sweeping Sunday’s VMAs prove accurate, those flashing lights will only multiply and grow brighter.

by Steve Horowitz

13 Sep 2010

Rabbis will tell you there are no Jewish ghosts. Just like heaven, the concept of ghosts cannot be found in the Torah (the Jewish Bible). Gentiles have the Holy Ghost, but not Judaism. Christianity and Judaism have less in common than many Americans would like to believe. But in Jewish culture—ghosts abound. This is especially in the writings of the great Yiddish Nobel Prize winner Isaac Bashevis Singer. Ghosts, imps, demons, the spirits of the departed and such inhabit the world of his fiction. Who knows, he might be right? During this High Holiday season, it is good to be reminded of those departed whose spirits still live within us. These glimpses of Singer offer a pleasant reminder of his humanistic joy. And if decides to come back and haunt us, like Casper, he will be a friendly ghost.

by Chris Catania

13 Sep 2010

The Gorillaz concept album Plastic Beach has been coming to life in Europe these past few months, and now their quest for total Northern Hemisphere domination continues as the Escape To Plastic Beach Tour looks to conquer North America this fall.

Confirmed as support for the North American dates, N.E.R.D. will join the tour at Boston’s Agganis Arena and will be performing all the North American dates except Montreal, QC and Wallingford, CT.

Who’s joining the Gorillaz crew on this side of the pond? The current “partial” line up of guests scheduled to appear on the tour includes: Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Bashy, Little Dragon, De La Soul,  Roses Gabor, Bootie Brown, Bobby Womack, Kano, Miho Hatori (to appear in Los Angeles and NYC only).

The Gorillaz Plastic Beach band, which features Mick Jones and Paul Simonon of the Clash, will only be appearing in select cities. You can visit for a full list of scheduled appearances.

And to get fans ready for the tour, a live chat on Ustream and Facebook will be happening this week. The interactive and virtual preview will be hosted by fictional character/bass player of Gorillaz Murdoc will be chatting live from Plastic Beach on Thursday, September 16th at 5pm EST, 10pm London BST via Ustream. It can also be viewed on the band’s Facebook page, You can submit your questions in advance via Twitter using the hashtag #gorillazlive.

by Matt Mazur

13 Sep 2010

En route to the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival, I feel compelled to begin this week of film festival coverage by describing just what kind of stamina it takes to actually get to the mythological film world mecca in the first place. Sadly, the journey is not always full of glamor, starlets’ pretty shoes and hot gay parties. In fact, at least for me, this epic trip frequently begins with a bargain-basement Amtrak train ticket, eating at Subway constantly, arduous border-crossings, and more often than not, months of meticulous planning and re-planning being undone at the very last possible second for little or no reason.

For a representative of an independent website like me, traveling to an out-of-the-country festival is fraught with anxiety and scrambling: scrambling to actually fund the trip; scrambling to get my non-movie writer life in order before leaving for more than a week; scrambling around Toronto bug-eyed and crazy to see as many movies as quickly as possible and write something of decent, coherent quality; and finally, scrambling to have one’s voice heard in a sea of indie and corporate-owned sites and blogs who can afford to not bring original, academic analysis to the table because of ridiculously high traffic (this hierarchy of writers is marked by a bold letter “P” for “priority” on the passes of those particular deities, who get first crack at access to a wider variety of film screenings that the lowlies do, much like Cannes’ color-coding system). All I know is by the time I return to Massachusetts, my dogs will hate me, as will a few studio flacks and maybe a couple of filmmakers.

by Jacob Adams

10 Sep 2010

Somehow, I’ve remained completely oblivious over the past few months to the news that a new version of Jonathan Swift’s timeless Gulliver’s Travels starring the ubiquitous Jack Black is coming soon to a multiplex near me.  I’m not quite sure how I’ve missed this fact, since I don’t live in a cave and I do try to stay somewhat informed of culturally important movie happenings.  However, my ignorance of the new Swiftian—or should I say Blackian—adaptation led me to an interesting observation upon watching the film’s theatrical trailer.

For the first minute or so of the trailer’s 2:26 running time, I was convinced that a new indie comedy in the vein of 500 Days of Summer was being promoted.  Jack Black plays with action figures and works a dead-end job. Some interplay with an attractive co-worker on an elevator suggests an office romance in the works.  We get the impression that Black will never advance beyond his lowly mailroom position. However, he is working on a writing sample and has been assigned a story about the Bermuda Triangle.

//Mixed media

Because Blood Is Drama: Considering Carnage in Video Games and Other Media

// Moving Pixels

"It's easy to dismiss blood and violence as salacious without considering why it is there, what its context is, and what it might communicate.

READ the article