Pop Culture

A Report From the Exorcism and Levitation of Brooklyn’s New Vice Media Headquarters

Employees of Vice Media gathered in the atrium of their Williamsburg office on Tuesday afternoon and pointed their phone-cameras out the front door as a group stood on the sidewalk chanting, “Out, demons, out.” Led by jazz-pranksters Talibam!, a group of almost three dozen followed the procedures of the exorcism, overseen by keyboardist Matt Mottel. “Out, demons, out,” the assembled continued to chant, as the snow fell harder and faster. Small children beat on drums, and noise came from an electric guitar, a harmonica, and hand percussion. A man in a ski mask and blue crash helmet (topped with a cone of insulation foam) pierced the din by fairly expertly playing a balloon. The noise, in turn, triggered a car alarm, which bleated and flashed in sympathy with the oppressed. Almost everyone on both sides of the glass seemed to be documenting the event. … Read More

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Slime Mold Becomes a Musician and Joseph Gordon-Levitt Becomes Snowden: Links You Need to See

There’s nothing like watching a relatively serious, seemingly well-researched episode of machiavellian political TV, getting self-congratulatory about how you’re managing to understand the political jargon and follow weaving plots, feeling wholly immersed, feeling nearly like a very intelligent fly on a White House wall — only to have Kevin Spacey turn to you, swat you off the wall and back onto your couch, saying something heinously on the nose about power vs. money. All House of Cards watchers know the experience of the show’s winding narrative being unceremoniously broken by a jowly sideways glance at the camera; if you are, for some reason, a proponent of the controversial style choice, try watching all instances of the show’s pseudo-Shakespearean fourth wall-breaking back to back. … Read More

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Exploring ‘The Sound[s] of Music’ and Stomach: Links You Need to See

Today, the Internet is alive with The Sound of Music — for it is the beloved film’s 50th anniversary. “Beloved” seems an obvious adjective to apply to the 174 minutes of pastoral perfection. But actually, as The Daily Beast points out, when it was first released, critics saw it more as 174 minutes of a plasticly bucolic, saccharinely tender nightmare. The website notes that Pauline Kael was so revolted as to write: “We have been turned into emotional and aesthetic imbeciles when we hear ourselves humming the sickly, goody-goody songs.” … Read More

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13 Absurd and Design-Savvy Vintage Employee Handbooks

Today’s employee manuals just can’t compare to the handbooks of yesterday, with their quaint rules and vintage designs. Corporate rulemakers like Disney and Playboy asked a lot of their employees in order to maintain a strict order and image-focused facade that launched each organization to the top of the pop culture charts. See what the manuals for stewardess, amusement park attendant, and Playboy bunny required in this collection of vintage employee handbooks. … Read More

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The Secret, “Dank” Lives of Maraschino Cherries: Links You Need to See

Nostalgia has ruined the world, but what’s a world for if not ruining? That’s the question asked by Cat Frazier, a 23-year-old graphic designer who runs Animated Text, a website capturing the beautiful life of the young Internet, a life which has been flattened and Helvetica-d to death. Her mission is a noble one, and so has been briefly catapulted to “famous for the Coastal few who still read the New York Times” status with this gloriously pre-millennial layout. … Read More

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Wander Into a Magritte Painting While Masturbation-Charging Your Phone: Links You Need to See

Though painting may be undergoing an identity crisis in the conceptual/multimedia art era, there’s no doubt that for patrons of the arts, the form provides a necessary way for us to detach from the phantasmagoria of ever-morphing digital images and just stare at, say, a gorgeously rendered apple (or, hell, a whole basket of them!). Even surrealist work, whose oneiric style evokes a sense of nausea and movement, is still refreshingly static. In Magritte’s The Listening Room, for example, an apple may be inflated to fill a room, but at least we know we can’t click on it and make it talk, or use a slideshow to replace it with a plum. But it turns out that now we can, thanks to animator Ali Eslami and Unreal Engine, virtually wander through a series of Magritte’s images, including that of the famed mega-apple. Unfortunately, it’s pretty damn cool.  … Read More

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Staff Picks: Screaming Females, Bolaño, and Ned Beauman

Need a great book to read, album to listen to, or TV show to get hooked on? The Flavorwire team is here to help: in this weekly feature, our editorial staffers recommend the cultural object or experience they’ve enjoyed most in the past seven days. Click through for our picks, and tell us what you’ve been loving in the comments. … Read More

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Watch Erykah Badu Crash a Local Dallas Newscast

“It’s hard out here for a pimp.” Those are the first words from Erykah Badu’s mouth as CBS Dallas… Read More

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Cyberspace Is the Place? Afrofuturism in the 21st Century

“Planet Earth: sound of guns, anger, frustration. There was no one to talk to up on planet Earth who’d understand, so we set up a colony for black people here. See what they can do on a planet all on their own, without any white people there… Another place in the universe, up under distant stars.”

So muses Sun Ra as he wanders through the imagined landscape of a distant planet in his 1974 film Space Is the Place. The film is perhaps the first thing that might come to mind when you think of Afrofuturism, representing a sort of quintessence of the ideas of a man who essentially created that movement (even if it didn’t get named as such until decades later). It unites the main ideas of Afrofuturism: interrogating the nature of racial oppression and imagining a version of the future where black people and culture are free of such oppression, in Ra’s case by decamping to another planet entirely. Afrofuturist ideals are interesting in that they’re both expressions of utopian futurism and principles deeply grounded in history — the parallels with emancipation are obvious, and the vision of the real world as a place of incessant oppression remains as depressingly true as it was 40 years ago. … Read More

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