How to Taylor Swiftify Your Personal Brand in 12 Steps

Next week, Taylor Swift will release 1989, her fifth album and her “first documented pop album.” Swift announced the album back in August, but she’s been setting up her grown-ass reintroduction to the public for some time now. To the outside eye, Swift has made some major changes in her life: a move to New York, new famous pals, love life on hiatus, and above all, no more country twang. She’s done it in a brilliant way, with distinct strategies that could be useful to a number of different creators. Let’s go through the 12 steps of Swiftian reinvention as it relates to one’s personal brand. … Read More

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Examining the Post-‘Will & Grace’ Careers of the Show’s Four Stars

From 1998 to 2006, Will & Grace was one of the most popular sitcoms on television and its four stars — Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Megan Mullally, and Sean Hayes — were inescapable. They were an infectious cast of actors who worked best when together; Will & Grace was not always the strongest sitcom but it was made infinitely better by the chemistry between the leads and the comedic talent they all shared. These four actors catapulted to stardom early in the series’ eight season run and each won Emmy Awards for their roles (Mullally received two), so greatness wasn’t just expected — it was practically guaranteed. But now? Hayes recently started a run on the lifeless CBS sitcom The Millers, Messing is slumming it on a weekly basis with the aggressively terrible The Mysteries of Laura, and McCormack and Mullally have been all over the place during the last few years — was Will & Grace the peak for them? … Read More

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Move Over, James Franco: Tom Hanks Pens So-So Fiction for ‘New Yorker’

Move over James Franco and Steve Martin: you aren’t the only fiction-penning celebrities around. This week, The New Yorker features a short story by Tom Hanks — yes, that Tom Hanks — which seems to be heavily influenced by his time working on Apollo 13. While reading, I had do my very best to approach the story, a futuristic space-jaunt called “Alan Bean Plus Four”, as a lighthearted foray into fiction by a revered actor (director, screenwriter, producer, and cultural figure) and not as something I would mercilessly savage if I were in a fiction workshop and a “packet” of my peers’ writing had just arrived in my arms for a pre-class critique. … Read More

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The White House’s First Website Looked Like It Was Made in the 90’s (and It Was) : Links You Need to See

Today has been a difficult day on the Internet, with people dissecting Renee Zellweger’s face (LOL except NOT), Adobe apparently pulling its ads from Gawker under pressure from #GamerGate, and this tragic mansplain-y piece about mansplaining. But there’s hope, still, for content that keeps its head above water. Onward, my friends, or backward, perhaps: today marks the 20th anniversary of the White House’s website launch. Elahi Izadi has an illuminating examination of that fateful day, and—good lord—how far we’ve come. Although, I guess if you had to sign up for health care on the Affordable Care Act website…maybe not. … Read More

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History Begins Here: Luca Chiriani

Presented by Cole Haan

When we worked with Cole Haan to present our Inspiration Workshop at Wallplay last month, one of the many incredible discoveries we made was NYC artist Luca Chiriani, who helped us articulate the empowering theme “History Begins Here” through his original artwork. Other amazing elements of the weekend-long event series: Classes from General Assembly master teachers; panel discussions featuring creative thought-leaders and innovators; and a pop-up library from The Sketchbook Project. Check out the following video to see what inspires Chiriani, and keeps him motivated throughout his creative process. … Read More

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Happy 10th Anniversary to the Boston Red Sox Finally Winning the World Series!

This week marks the 10th anniversary of an impossible feat; when the Boston Red Sox pulled victory out of the jaws of defeat with an improbable four game comeback against their sworn enemies, forever rivals, forged in fire, with the immortal fuck-up of The Curse of the Bambino as the kicking-off point, the ever-smug and very victorious New York Yankees. … Read More

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‘Constantine’ Primer: The Five ‘Hellblazer’ Stories To Read Before The Show Premieres

On Friday, NBC premieres Constantine, a supernatural drama based on Hellblazer, a long-lived but relatively niche DC Comics title about a Liverpudlian punk-rocker-turned-sorcerer with suspect decision-making skills. Given the post-Whedon ubiquity of wisecracking antiheroes battling literal and figurative demons, those unfamiliar with the character can hardly be blamed for rolling their eyes at the prospect of another addition to the ghostbusting pantheon. And yet, if the showrunners do their jobs right, John Constantine has the potential to eclipse the trenchcoat brigade of paranormal investigators that preceded him to the small screen. He springs fully-formed from 25 years of paradigm-shifting comics that hit consistent high notes in terms of literary and artistic ambition, propelled by the (yes, I’ll say it!) auteurist idiosyncrasies allowed to flourish under DC’s once-hallowed Vertigo imprint. … Read More

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Yes, Those Pictures of Renée Zellweger Are Disturbing. But Why?

This morning, a series of photos surfaced, showing Renée Zellweger looking dramatically different—a bit like a stranger, a bit Sarah Jessica Parker or Robin Wright, and still a bit like herself, but only if one looks hard. “It’s always nice to meet new people, even if they’re old friends,” was Gawker’s only comment, and then the internet exploded with thoughts, horror and even anger at the star. … Read More

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Celebrate Leslie Jones’ “Saturday Night Live” Promotion with Her Career Highlights to Date

SNL writer, stand-up comedian, and all-around hero lady Leslie Jones was officially promoted to featured player last night, and those of us who’ve been paying attention to the sketch show’s 40th season know the news was a long time coming. Since joining the show as a writer at the beginning of 2014 — part of the same talent search that recruited cast member Sasheer Zamata and fellow writer LaKendra Tookes, who has since left the show — Jones has become one of the show’s most memorable faces, even without her name in the opening credits. Here’s some of Jones’s best material; watch it all, and get as excited as we are for this Saturday. … Read More

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Vashti Bunyan Discusses Her New and Final (?) Album ‘Heartleap’

“Heartleap,” the title track on Vashti Bunyan’s newest album (released last week), was the last she wrote, the last she recorded. And since she announced that this album may be her final musical endeavor in a sporadic career spanning 44 years, it may be the last song she ever writes, the last she ever records. On Drowned in Sound, she described this song’s rare process: on an album that was all about careful deliberation — a care that took seven years to administer and turn into an album — this was an atypical piece of music, in that it came to Bunyan almost immediately. Simply: she was staring at a painting by her daughter, acclaimed artist Whyn Lewis, then she picked up her guitar. … Read More

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