In Praise of Kanye West, James Franco, and Other High-Art Multi-Hyphenates

Earlier this year, famed rapper, producer, and headline subject Kanye West put out a fashion line through Adidas, called Yeezy Season 1. It was not the prettiest thing in the world, and, though he made grand proclamations about his intention to have these items priced fairly, at $450 for a sweatshirt, it is not affordable to most human beings, no matter how you shake it. To put it simply: the line was pretty much universally panned, and people told him to stop. But he shouldn’t stop. Neither should James Franco, Lena Dunham, Miranda July, Ethan Hawke, Shia LaBeouf, or any of their other multi-hyphenate friends. They should do whatever the hell they want — and, in fact, the more the merrier. … Read More

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Spectacular Aerial Photos of San Francisco at Night

You may well recognize the work of photographer Vincent Laforet — he specializes in spectacular aerial vistas, and we recently featured his images of New York City at night. Laforet has now turned his attention to San Francisco, and the resultant series — also shot at night — is as breathtaking as one might expect. Click through to check out some of the images (via Faith Is Torment), and visit his website for plenty more. … Read More

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Why Are Colleges So Eager to Police Speech But So Reluctant to Address the Campus Rape Epidemic?

This week, Jezebel’s Erin Gloria Ryan took a long look at the suspension of a rugby team at the University of Mary Washington over a vulgar, sexist “pub song” sung at a celebration and surreptitiously videotaped. At first glance, the tale looks like a gendered repeat of the racist SAE Oklahoma frat story, except further digging by Ryan reveals it was not quite the same situation. … Read More

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Exactly How Offensive Is Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart’s ‘Get Hard’?

In Etan Cohen’s Get Hard, out this Friday, ridiculously wealthy white asshole James (Will Ferrell) gets framed for Madoff-style investment fraud. Faced with a healthy prison sentence that begins in 30 days, he hires black working guy Darnell (Kevin Hart), who washes cars in his parking garage, to teach him how to survive (read: not get raped) in prison. Oh, the culture clash! Oh, the shenanigans that ensue! You can pretty much set a countdown clock to when hopelessly square James will turn up in the hood, sagging and sporting Locs and spewing street slang. And since Get Hard unspooled at SXSW last week, three questions have swirled around it: Is it racist? Is it homophobic? And if so, is it also… Read More

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Why Cancer Screening Is For Everyone: A Health Economist on Angelina Jolie Pitt’s ‘NY Times’ Op-Ed

On Tuesday, Angelina Jolie Pitt wrote an op-ed, “Diary of a Surgery,” in The New York Times, explaining why she had “a laparoscopic bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy” — or in layman’s terms, the removal of her ovaries and fallopian tubes. The piece is an informative and important piece of advocacy regarding women’s health and women’s options in the fight against cancer. (For the gossips among us, it is also skillfully timed, debuting the same day as Jolie Pitt’s film Unbroken became available on DVD and streaming.) … Read More

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Are Pop Music and the Art World Getting a Divorce?

Is the unholy shotgun marriage between pop music and institutional high art about to end in divorce? It’s hard to say. But after MoMA’s fiasco-level failure of a Björk retrospective, a relationship built largely on shared megalomania, reputational gain, and, well, money, appears to be on the verge of collapse — like most celebrity marriages. … Read More

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“It’s Criminal, and My Name’s On It”: Abel Ferrara on His Strauss-Kahn-Inspired ‘Welcome to New York,’ His Battle With Distributors, and ‘Pasolini’

It’s a little after 7PM in Rome, where a wild-haired Abel Ferrara, clad in black, is seated at his computer, typing away and cursing under his breath. “This is like a nightmare,” he growls. He’s paused our talk via Skype to respond to a few of the many emails that have circulated through his inbox since his battle against distributor IFC began last fall. “Directors defend these films against all of this bullshit,” he says. “That’s part of the job description. You have to protect and defend the film. That’s the director’s gig.” We’ve been discussing the now-edited Welcome to New York — his new film inspired by the Dominique Strauss-Kahn scandal, involving the attempted rape and sexual assault of former Sofitel housekeeper Nafissatou Diallo. … Read More

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If You Could Get an Audio Tattoo, What Would It Be?

Here’s a thoroughly silly hypothetical question that is nonetheless lots of fun to think about: If audio tattoos existed, what would yours be? … Read More

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How ‘Kumiko: the Treasure Hunter’ Presents Pop Culture as a Modern Religion

In David and Nathan Zellner’s Kumiko: the Treasure Hunter, the protagonist’s closest relationships are with a bunny, a damaged VHS copy of the film Fargo (unearthed, in a hilarious nod to the bygone era of the video store, in a cave), and the fortune buried by Steve Buscemi’s Fargo character Carl Showalter before he gets axed towards the end of the cult film. A rabbit, a VHS and some buried treasure may seem like a disjointed set of companions, but because of Kumiko‘s central theme of the pursuit of a potentially illusory “Answer,” they eventually come to mirror the focal points of religious zealotry.  … Read More

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“Because the Night” Belongs to Vivian: Links You Need to See

Did you know Patti Smith’s “Because the Night” — arguably one of her most accessible pieces — actually began as a Bruce Springsteen song that he wrote and rejected? The A.V. Club, in their column “Hear This,” has this week set its focus on songs written by men that women interpreted better. Check it out for more on how Patti Smith vitalized, morphed and rewrote Springsteen’s sloppy seconds and made “Because the Night” one of the most memorable rock ballads of the 70s.  … Read More

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