Pop Culture

In Defense of “Indulgent” Art

Recently, I watched Lost in Translation for the first time. (I know, I know.) Lying in my dark bedroom afterwards, flooded with emotion, I pawed through the Internet for more conversation. A couple years ago, on the tenth anniversary of the film’s release, The Daily Beast interviewed Sofia Coppola. The interviewer asked about Lost in Translation’s cult following, and Coppola — who had based the film on her own visits to Tokyo in her 20s — said, “I was just writing these little notes about stuff that happened to me, or what I thought, and I didn’t think anyone was going to be interested, so it’s really a surprise to me that that many people have seen it and that it did as well as it did. I felt like it was really indulgent, so yeah, it was a surprise. And it’s still surprising to me.”

I started thinking about that word, indulgent, which — along with self-indulgent — has come to represent something very, very bad where art is concerned. Why is it, I started to wonder, that we think indulgence, and indulgent art, are worthy of such… Read More

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Flatulent Symphonies, 3D Printed Skin, and Björk’s Crazy DJ Set: Links You Need to See

Today has been filled with musical surprises: firstly, everyone was parsing the Billboard Music Awards for things to GIF and things to grumble about. The event naturally represents music on the more accessible end of the spectrum, and while Britney and Iggy were being Pretty and Taylor’s Blood was being Bad, somewhere far away, a more experimental musical genius was deconstructing his, er, evanescent backend expulsions to show that there’s a classical symphony to just about everything. Meanwhile, Björk straddles the line of those who make off-puttingly corporeal symphonies (she did, after all, once collaborate with Matmos, whose song “California Rhinoplasty” wears its title quite literally) and the more Billboard-friendly mainstream. Last Friday, she did a DJ set at Tri-Angle’s fifth anniversary party in New York, where she played everything from Kate Bush to Death Grips to The Haxan Cloak. She uploaded her whole set earlier, and you can check it out at The Quietus.  … Read More

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Pop Culture’s Fiercest Warrior Women

From her shaved head and war rig to her mechanical arm, Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa in George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road has been a high point of the new film. A determined action hero who is resourceful and fierce, Miller’s surprisingly feminist post-apocalyptic tale is a welcome addition to the canon where badass female warriors reign. While Furiosa is become compared to Ellen Ripley from Alien, we’ve rounded up a few other great warrior women to appreciate. Feel free to add your favorite picks, below. … Read More

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Pop Culture’s Most Famous and Fabulous Cape-Wearers

A child prodigy piano player turned glittering Vegas entertainer, flashy songbird Liberace would have been 96 today. Behind the Candelabra, starring Michael Douglas as the flamboyant performer, introduced younger audiences to the King of Bling. Liberace was known for his outrageous stage shows, which featured everything from chorus girls and wild animals, to a Rolls-Royce and special effects. But Liberace was best known for his gaudy, sparkling, exotic costumes — including his capes. Today, we associate capes with superheroes, but pop culture has proven that cape-wearers are not limited to those with superhuman powers. … Read More

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Tom Waits Breaks Hearts, Salma Hayek Eats Them: Links You Need to See

For the last month, it seems every day is a tribute to Letterman, with increasingly famous guests (well, I supposed they stopped being increasingly famous after Obama did it) appearing on the Late Show and saying their own gracious farewells to the host of so many American evenings-at-home. Last night was Tom Waits’ turn. The veteran musician with the beautiful voice of a malfunctioning concrete mixer returned to performing after a two-year hiatus, and gave a heartfelt 10th Late Night performance with a fittingly titled new song, “Take One Last Look.” (This could also, if Arrested Development ever returned to Netflix, perfectly double as Kitty Sanchez‘s theme song; relatedly, The Mindy Project was rescued by Hulu today, and in anticipation of another season you may or may not want, here are 20 things you probably don’t know about the show).   … Read More

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Nothing Is Embarrassing: On Kim Kardashian’s Strangely Liberating Book of Selfies

Selfish, Kim Kardashian’s new 445-page book of selfies, is a bit of a party trick. Pull out the compact, three-pound art book at a social function, and people clamor to flip through the hundreds of near-identical selfies that chart Kim’s evolution both as a human and as a brand (is there a difference?). Some took a meta selfie with the book, Kim’s damp bosom and dewy face overshadowing their own smiles in the foreground. … Read More

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‘Mad Men,’ Mad Science, and Dying Bees: Links You Need to See

Today was a big day in tech. Not because of any eagerly anticipated reveal of an upgraded Smartwatch, but because you can now fly above Manhattan like a bird, thanks to this Oculus thing (as Gothamist calls it) at the Museum of the Moving Image (through Fri-Sun, June 7th), and because this little 3-D printed robot can crack a combination lock in 30 seconds and not even break a sweat. Hacker Samy Kamkar came up with robot idea, built the whole thing for about $100, and then published the blueprint and software code, along with a How-To video, on the Internet. Masterlocks everywhere are cowering in fear. … Read More

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“Pretty Girls” May Give You ‘Goosebumps': Links You Need to See

How, you may have wondered when “Pretty Girls” was first released, could the soaring(ly manufactured) talents of Britney Spears and Iggy Azalea be combined in a single song? Would said song not simply combust from that flammable combination of vocal fry and heavy bleach? And then, when you heard it, you realized it wouldn’t be the hilarious explosion of sonically offensive kitsch you expected, but rather just a middling and forgettable pop song. BUT. The video, on the other hand, which follows Azalea’s trend of making videos based on cult classics (it spoofs Earth Girls are Easy), is pretty deliciously, and memorably, tacky. Here it is, replete with all the leopard print and product placement (there’s a full interlude devoted to Samsung!) you could ever ask for: … Read More

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Staff Picks: Petite Noir, ‘The Ghost Network,’ and ‘Black Spider Memos’

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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How Would Radiohead’s “Karma Police” Look as a Painting?: Links You Need to See

Summer is finally settling down around us, and the warm weather will probably have you thinking about all the awesome things you want to do, while simultaneously distracting you from actually doing any of it. If one of your goals for something to pretend to be interested in accomplishing this Summer is writing, then you should read these rather educational pretend-letters between Hemingway and Fitzgerald about The Great Gatsby.  … Read More

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