Monday, May 18 2015

Ubiquitous Grooves: A Vinyl Obituary

Perhaps these days our real choice is not between buying vinyl or digital, but between listening and not listening.

Thursday, May 14 2015

A Tale of Two Ill-Fated Hollywood Stars

As Hollywood hopefuls Gig Young and Inger Stevens would learn, Hollywood is a dream factory; but it produces nightmares, as well.

Wednesday, May 13 2015

The Story of Billie Holiday’s Life Shouldn’t Overshadow the Power of Her Music

To say that Billie Holiday's songs remain memorable because we know she lived a hard life does her artistry a most insulting disservice.

Tuesday, May 12 2015

Hollywood Creative Accounting, or, How to Hide a Hit and Still Profit From It

From Batsuits to Lawsuits, Hollywood Studios have a long history of hiding profits to claim that enormous hits were actually flops. How do they do this, and why?

Monday, May 11 2015

Where Did All the (Action Figure) Girls Go?

The scarcity of the Black Widow action figure on toy shelves has me thinking about what we think we know about gender identity in play, be that play with toys or play in video games.

Friday, May 8 2015

Jóhann Jóhannsson on Composing as Storytelling

PopMatters talks with Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson about his role in the Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything, for which he won a Golden Globe.

Thursday, May 7 2015

Calling Mr. Aldrich: The ‘50s-era Fisticuffs of ‘World for Ransom’ and ‘Ten Seconds to Hell’

Robert Aldrich favors the classical presentation of angry cynical characters given to violence and grotesquery, which means he's often "tasteless" and discomfitting.

Wednesday, May 6 2015

Spectacle of Empty Gestures: Rihanna’s “American Oxygen”

The problem isn't that Rihanna's "American Oxygen" fails as political art, it's that we might consider it a success instead of a mere gesture.

Tuesday, May 5 2015

Covering Cover Songs

Cover songs don't have to be all that bad. Just listen to what Becca Stevens and Jason Moran have been doing lately, and you'll see.

Monday, May 4 2015

Deconstructing the Star Beast: How the ‘Alien’ Saga Went Wrong

Alien was a planned B-Movie that transcended its genre and spawned the rare sequel that is neither imitation nor complete deviation. Then the saga went to hell.

Monday, April 27 2015

The Ethics of Death-Defying Media

Furious 7's path to the screen is emblematic of the ways in which film and other media defy (and define) death as images develop lives of their own.

Friday, April 24 2015

Status Flow: The Kingly Rhymes of Marracash

A household name in his native country, Italy has in Marracash one of its biggest contenders of hip-hop.

Thursday, April 23 2015

Diss-Illusioned! Magic and the Supernatural

A new breed of magicians are self-consciously aware that their toolbox of trickery enables them to wield the potential power to affect beliefs—and thus behavior.

Wednesday, April 22 2015

Beyond Record Store Day: Digging Up Some Choice Used Americana Vinyl

There are plenty of good reasons to visit an actual record store besides that one hyped day in April.

Tuesday, April 21 2015

Great Movies With Terrible Sequels: Laughable Sequels in Action

Not even the combined might of Superman, Batman, Predator and James Bond can save their respective series from sinking like an ocean liner into the Bay of Pigs!

Monday, April 20 2015

America Hears a Hoosier at the Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Ally College Conference

A college conference is helping train students to battle the idiocy of laws like Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Friday, April 17 2015

Still Life: The Portrait of Time in ‘Boyhood’

Boyhood sets itself the daunting task of reflecting the breadth of a human adolescence, but it instead reveals that it is in life's minutia that we find the most meaning.

Thursday, April 16 2015

Laughing Through the Great Depression With ‘Sullivan’s Travels’

The real charm of Sullivan’s Travels is the way it exposes Hollywood’s mediation of the Depression and the trauma it inflicted.

Wednesday, April 15 2015

On Epigraphs and Other Incestuous Things

Like a cover letter, the epigraph must take me to the textual meat without giving me reason to discard the sandwich altogether.

Monday, April 13 2015

Death in the Land of Smiles

A recent biopic about the last executioner in Thailand explores the extremes between killing and redemption.

//Mixed media

Authenticity Issues and the New Intimacies

// Marginal Utility

"The social-media companies have largely succeeded in persuading users of their platforms' neutrality. What we fail to see is that these new identities are no less contingent and dictated to us then the ones circumscribed by tradition; only now the constraints are imposed by for-profit companies in explicit service of gain.

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