Longform You Have to Read: The Extraordinary Life of Mike Nichols

In a world where you have more options for satisfying longform reading than ever, your friends at Flavorwire are taking the time once a week to highlight some of the best that journalism has to offer. Whether they’re unified by topic, publication, writer, being classic pieces of work, or just by a general feeling, these articles all have one thing in common: they’re essential reading. This week, we’re paying tribute to the late Mike Nichols, the legendary director and entertainer who passed away this week. … Read More

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That Lana Del Rey/Eli Roth Rape Scene, Discussed

Editor’s note: This is a conversation between our staffers on the disturbing Eli Roth/Marilyn Manson/Lana Del Rey video that surfaced this morning, which Manson’s representatives claim he had no part in. As can be expected, it contains graphic content. … Read More

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‘The Cosby Show’ Is Too Important to Erase From TV History

When I was a kid, I watched The Cosby Show. This is not surprising information: Basically every kid, every person, that I knew — black or white, but especially black — watched The Cosby Show. Older friends had the pleasure of watching the show during its original run; I was grateful for its existence in syndication, airing 24/7. It was on Netflix for a while, and now it’s on Hulu. There is always a way to watch it. But yesterday, in the wake of the seemingly endless and horrifying rape allegations against Bill Cosby, TV Land pulled reruns of The Cosby Show. Earlier that day, Netflix pulled his stand-up special, Bill Cosby 77, which was set to air over Thanksgiving, and NBC axed his upcoming sitcom. The latter two decisions are not only understandable but absolutely necessary. The former is a bit trickier to dissect. … Read More

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New Kara Walker Video Shows ‘A Subtlety’ Was Performance Art All Along

We’ve known Kara Walker’s video follow-up to her installation piece A Subtlety, which showed at Williamsburg’s Domino Sugar Factory site this summer, was coming for a while. In a conversation with the LA Times last month, Walker revealed she’d filmed audience reactions to her monumental piece — the same audience reactions that provoked outrage in some attendees. While the full, 28-minute video premieres at Chelsea’s Sikkema Jenkins & Co. tomorrow, Walker released a five-minute preview clip today, and while tactlessness certainly makes an appearance, it’s a largely evenhanded look at the interaction between A Subtlety and its onlookers, and how those interactions became part of the art itself. … Read More

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One Direction’s New Album Is Worth Your Time Even If You’re Not a Pop Fan

I never thought a boy-band would turn me on to Journey, but here we are. With its piano line highly reminiscent of Journey’s “Faithfully,” One Direction’s “Steal My Girl” has sent me down an ugly Steve Perry rabbithole. But in some brilliant twist, I don’t even have to switch the album to get my early ‘80s pop-rock fix: One Direction have it covered just fine on their fourth full-length, Four, out this week. … Read More

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Why Mike Nichols Was So Much More Than ‘The Graduate’

If you Google Mike Nichols today, the headlines for the top entries in the news wedge are unsurprisingly similar. “Mike Nichols, Acclaimed Director of ‘The Graduate,’ Dies at 83,” goes the New York Times. “‘Graduate’ Director Mike Nichols Dead at 83,” reports CBS News. The Hollywood Reporter: “Mike Nichols, Director of ‘The Graduate,’ Dies at 83.” And AP (via Huffington Post) writes, “Mike Nichols, Oscar-Winning Director of ‘The Graduate,’ Dies at 83.” It is, I suppose, a testament to the influence and importance of that 47-year-old movie that it’s pegged as his primary achievement; scroll past the lede and you’ll probably read about Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and perhaps that he was married to Diane Sawyer. But a look at the entirety of Nichols’ five-plus decades in show business reveals much more than that; he was an innovative and brilliant artist whose influence was and is still felt across popular culture. … Read More

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Some Dad Jokes Are Darker — and More Political — Than Others

Yes, dads are having a moment. But after reading Anna North’s recent New York Times post, “What it Means to Be a ‘Dad’” — as well as many of the pieces it cites — I can’t shake the feeling that much of this dad stuff is lumped together injudiciously. It’s not all the same.

What I mean is that there are two distinct approaches to the “dad phenomenon” at work, and they are not mutually inclusive. … Read More

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50 Great Dark Books for the Dark Days of Winter

We’ve reached the time of year when the days seem impossibly short and the nights never ending. Good if you’re a vampire or like to go to sleep early, less exciting for the rest of us. So what is one to do with all this extra darkness? Well, read some dark books, of course. Because there’s nothing better to cut through the literal gloom than to curl up with some intellectual doom. All you need is a tiny light to see your book by. Read on for 50 gloriously dark novels to read during these dark days. After a while, you may even stop wishing for the light to… Read More

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Is Amanda Palmer’s ‘The Art of Asking’ Good For Artists?

The idea of reading Amanda Palmer’s book The Art of Asking: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help sounded faintly ridiculous — could I, too, learn the art of asking, just like Palmer, and maybe reach $1 million for my Kickstarter project? But as it turns out, Palmer’s book, an offshoot of her popular TED talk, “The Art of Asking,” isn’t really a how-to; it’s more along the lines of a memoir. Palmer figured out a strategy that works for her as an artist, and despite the fact that she’s undeniably divisive as a public persona, there is some wisdom in her ideas for artists and, arguably, women. … Read More

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What ‘Mockingjay–Part 1′ Misses by Glossing Over Katniss’ Trauma

Throughout much of Mockingjay, the third novel in the Hunger Games series, the unraveling of Katniss Everdeen’s mind takes over the page. Even from the beginning, she strokes a pearl that Peeta found in the arena in Catching Fire and often repeats variations of her mantra: “My name is Katniss Everdeen. I am seventeen years old. My home is District 12. I was in The Hunger Games. I escaped. The Capitol hates me. Peeta was taken prisoner. He is thought to be dead. Most likely is dead. It is probably best if he is dead.” Later in the book, she plays a game with the recovered but mentally unstable Peeta, “real or not real?,” as his mind comes back from the brink. … Read More

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