A Completely Subjective List of the Best Vocal Ad-Libs in Music

One of the great joys of music is its sense of immediacy — sure, there are songs that are painstakingly planned and produced, and benefit from being so, but there are also tracks that sound like they really were recorded live, and are all the more thrilling for it. In this respect, there’s something particularly pleasing about the off-the-cuff line, something the singer has apparently hollered into the mic on the spur of the moment. These lines don’t always make sense, and they don’t necessarily have to — either way, they add color and a sense of spontaneity to a song (and they’re damn near impossible not to sing along with). Here is an entirely subjective list of ten of the best; of course, there are gazillions more, so let us know if you have any to add. … Read More

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‘Star Wars’ Meets Kids’ Imaginations in Craig Davison’s Evocative Paintings

If your childhood entailed a healthy mix of both getting lost in Nintendo and playing outside with your tangible friends, then British artist Craig Davison‘s Star Wars paintings will warm your heart and simultaneously make you wish that paper-towel rolls could still transform into lightsabers. In Davison’s series, pre-tweens use their imaginations to travel to a galaxy far, far away and craftily become beloved characters from George Lucas’ epic Star Wars universe. Clicking through the slideshow, you’ll encounter a makeshift Luke Skywalker (using Grandpa’s cane as a lightsaber), Yoda (with ears made from clothespins), R2-D2 (whose rotund head is crafted with a bowl), Princess Leia (toting a hair-dryer gun), Darth Vaders in hoodies, and spacecrafts made from the lids of trashcans. Prints of Davison’s work are available to purchase online from the ArtMarket and The Hawthorn Gallery websites. Feel the force! … Read More

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No Collar Victory: David Letterman’s Goodbye to Late Night

The lead-in to David Letterman’s goodbye to television was a mercilessly long Survivor special that concluded a season of experimental class warfare. Pitched as a battle between “white collar,” “no collar,” and “blue collar” contestants, the show canceled itself out predictably in the middle. While watching dutifully, I couldn’t help but wonder if this new Survivor, with its “no collar” victory, was nothing but a pale simulation of David Letterman’s 33-year-long “no collar victory” — his everyman’s war of attrition against all competitors in late night television. … Read More

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Brad Bird’s ‘Tomorrowland’ Should Have Been Great — So What Went Wrong?

It seems safe to bet that deep inside every filmmaker, there lurks a burning desire to make a movie in the exact style of his or her favorite director. It’s the best way to explain the scores of filmmakers doing mini-Scorsese movies in the ‘90s; young filmmakers of the late ‘90s and early ’00s gave us plenty of junior Woody Allen pictures. And when a certain kind of filmmaker (most likely one who was a kid in the 1980s) gets access to a big budget and a summer berth, they apparently want to make a Spielberg movie. J.J. Abrams did it a few years back with Super 8; Colin Trevorrow is reportedly making his Jurassic World, due next month, less a sequel than a Spielberg homage. And then we have Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland, with enough nostalgic golden glow, characters gazing off in a wonder, and John Williams-esque music cues to seem, in spots, like a Spielberg cosplay. Yet Bird seems to have learned the hard way what Abrams did in Super 8: the aesthetics are easy to ape, but one should never underestimate the value Spielberg places on tight, clear, logical storytelling. … Read More

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Will Memes Make Your Flights Safer? Links You Need to See

If you’re on the fence about getting a dog or becoming an organ donor, this heartbreaking PSA from Argentina will make you want to do both—because organs save lives and a dog’s loyalty doesn’t end, even if you die and your organs go to someone else. Between that and this beautiful and delicate video about the life of a honey bee cycle, you may be trying to prevent yourself from crying at your desk. As a preventative measure, watch this in-flight safety video Delta Airlines just released that brings back—wait for it—the Dramatic Chipmunk (along with 24 other memes). Maybe now at least some of us will pay enough attention to know how to inflate that vest in the event of an emergency landing. … Read More

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Staff Picks: “Carry That Weight,” Downtown Boys and Julia Roberts on ‘Letterman’

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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Stirring Images from the First Ever Illustrated Version of Toni Morrison’s ‘Beloved’

Toni Morrison’s Beloved is widely considered the greatest of all American novels published in last quarter of the 20th century, but, until now, it has never been released as an illustrated edition — this despite the effortless magic with which Morrison invokes (or provokes) her images of postbellum black life. Thankfully, The Folio Society has now released a moving, brilliantly illustrated version of Beloved, complete with an introduction by Russell Banks. Morrison chose Banks to write about the novel, and she also selected the novel’s gifted illustrator, Joe Morse, whose work you can see below. Flavorwire talked with Mr. Morse about his approach illustrating Morrison’s masterpiece. … Read More

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The Best — and Worst — Trends of the 2014-15 TV Season

Last week, networks announced their 2015-16 television season pick-ups, cancellations, and official schedules. Just by looking at the big four networks, it’s easy to pick out the trends they’re betting on for next year: movie-to-television adaptations, reboots and remakes, childhood nostalgia like The Muppetsmore medical dramas, and more superhero shows. But before we look ahead, and now that the current TV season is finally winding down, it’s necessary to take a look back at what networks were gung-ho about last year — and to see whether or not any of those ideas worked. From multiple knockoffs of The Americans to romantic-comedy sitcoms to, of course, superheroes, here’s a look at 2014-15’s best trends and worst failures.  … Read More

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Yoko Ono Is For Everyone

In October 2000, right around what would have been John Lennon’s 60th birthday, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame opened one of its most extensive exhibits ever, in honor of Lennon’s life and (mostly non-Beatles) work. Amidst the expected artifacts — handwritten lyrics, grammar-school report cards, the white baby grand from the “Imagine” video — sat one that was horrifying: a bag from New York’s St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital containing the clothes Lennon was wearing on the night Mark David Chapman shot him outside the Dakota. Coupled with Lennon’s glasses, caked in 20-year-old blood, this corner of the exhibit was intended as an emotional climax. Even at 13 years old, the weight of these artifacts impressed upon me a jaded anger: How could someone have violently ripped Lennon from this world when all he wanted was to make it a peaceful place? … Read More

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Shakespeare’s Real Face Is Finally Discovered! (And It’s Probably a Hoax)

Conspiracy theories concerning the identity of William Shakespeare bring together even the most disparate human beings. For example: what traits are shared between filmmakers Roland Emmerich and Jim Jarmusch other than their mutual suspicion that William Shakespeare was not, in fact, William Shakespeare? And blinding white hair? … Read More

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