Gore Vidal’s Insane, Rejected Cairo Pulp Novel Resurfaces

The little man shook his great head. “I have been to many countries. I’ve done many things. Now I play piano at Le Couteau Rouge.”

“What do you know about a woman named Hélène de Rastignac, a French countess?”

Le Mouche sighed. “Many things. I know, for instance, that she is not French, but Alexandrian, and I know that she is not a countess.”

“But is she rich?”

“I shouldn’t be surprised.”

“Was she a spy in the war?”

“Everyone in Cairo was a spy. It was the thing to be.” … Read More

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Courtney Love on Spending Time With Kurt Cobain Through ‘Montage of Heck,’ His Mystery Illness, and Their Sex Tape

Brett Morgen’s Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck is shaping up to be one of the year’s biggest music documentaries, and Sunday night the film finally made its New York premiere at the Tribeca Film Fest. With it came Courtney Love. In a candid conversation following the film, Love, Morgen, and Rolling Stone contributing editor Neil Strauss discussed the film’s unprecedented access, unconventional use of mixed media from Cobain’s personal archives, and intimacy… in the form of a long-lost Kurt and Courtney sex tape the couple tried to record… Read More

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The Guerrilla Feminism of ‘Inside Amy Schumer’ and Comedy Central’s Radical Sketch Shows

Early in the Season 3 premiere of Inside Amy Schumer, a football coach (Josh Charles) attempts to teach his team not to rape. The high school boys respond with extreme bafflement, trying to find loopholes: “Can we rape at away games?” they ask. “What if it’s Halloween and she’s dressed like a sexy cat?” And, most cutting and familiar, “What if she’s drunk and has a slight reputation and no one’s going to believe her?” The key to the sketch is in its increasing incredulousness, how the joke is punching up at those who perpetuate rape culture rather than at those who are the target of it. It’s not exactly something you can imagine on NBC’s Saturday Night Live, but it’s right at home among Comedy Central’s uproariously funny — and surprisingly socially conscious — sketch comedies.  … Read More

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Michael Eric Dyson’s Attack on Cornel West Fails to Count Activism as Real Work

The two times I’ve seen Cornel West in person in the last four years were very different experiences. The first time, he was getting arrested to protest New York City’s racially biased “stop-and-frisk” policy at my precinct in Harlem. I watched, camera aloft and chanting, as he and a mixed-race, mixed-gender, mixed-age group were loaded into a police truck, handcuffed. The second time was at a Jane Austen Society of North America conference, where West, a keynote speaker, brought the (surely not entirely progressive) house down with his class and religion-based readings of Austen’s texts and praise of her literary genius. … Read More

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Provocative Documentary ‘CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap’ Asks, “Where Are All the Women in Tech?”

Early in Robin Hauser Reynolds’s new documentary CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap (which premiered yesterday at the Tribeca Film Festival), Pixar director of photography and general badass Danielle Feinberg tells a story from when she was a teenager, taking a class in mechanics, in which they would take apart a broken lawnmower and put it back together, trying to fix it in the process. She was the only girl in the class. At the end of the project, they all lined up to try (and fail) to start their lawnmowers; she went last, and the kick of watching it roar to life is a feeling she still holds on to. It’s thrilling to buck expectations and thrash stereotypes — even if, in the case of computer science, said expectations and stereotypes are so confounding. … Read More

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Beautiful Paintings That Explore the Paradox of Recapturing Punk

There’s no dearth of imagery documenting the rise of punk in the ’70s and its commercial peak in the ’80s. Look in any Hot Topic and you’ll be reminded of just how abundant but thoroughly vacated the aesthetic has become, and how the very “man” it critiqued ended up turning politicized DIY into an overpriced instant-identity that pairs best with Dippin’ Dots. Yet Kelsey Henderson’s paintings (spotted on Booooooom) depicting punk’s aesthetics — head-shaving, spikily bejewling, a rejection of formalism and virtuosity — seem wholly fresh. They draw attention to the paradoxes of painting the punk scene, noting both a painting “problem” and a punk “problem” — and paying tender homage to both through the illogic of it. … Read More

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Amy Schumer on Her Third Season and Why “Rape Is Good Fodder for Comedy”

The Tribeca Film Festival hasn’t fully embraced episodic television as a cornerstone of their programming just yet — at least, not compared to other fests, like SXSW. But a few shows made their way into the program this year, and one of them was a bit of a no-brainer; with its Gotham-based production, man-on-the-street interstitials, and general New York attitude, Inside Amy Schumer is a very good fit. On Sunday afternoon, the star and several key members of her crew stopped in to show the third season premiere and talk about it. … Read More

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The Stoner Canon: Essential Weed Movies, Books, Music, and TV Shows

Pot-smoking and pop-culture consumption go hand in hand: do the former, and you run the risk of only wanting to partake in the latter. So it makes some sense that pop culture has taken ample advantage of pot. At its funniest, it’s given us the stoner comedy of Richard Linklater, the Coen Brothers, Amy Heckerling, and Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson. At its trippiest and most philosophical, it yielded some of the greatest art of (and set in) the ’60s and ’70s, from The Beatles to Dylan, Fear and Loathing to Inherent Vice. Then there are the more lively party-stoner creations, represented here by hip-hop touchstones The Chronic, Missy Elliott, and The Beastie Boys. Farther afield, we get the inadvertent stoner favorite, a diverse subset that ranges widely, from Adventure Time to David Lynch’s Eraserhead. Each of these categories is well represented in Flavorwire’s Stoner Canon, which we’re proud to present in celebration of… Read More

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‘Mad Men’ Season 7 Episode 10 Recap: “The Forecast”

She’s back: Sally Draper! In fact, last night’s episode was all about parents and children, of both the literal and metaphorical varieties. Titled “The Forecast,” presumably referencing both the prognostication Roger assigns Don to write for a high-level McCann meeting and all that kids represent, it largely succeeded at sidestepping baby boomer generation gap clichés. Instead, in a beautiful mess of an episode whose dialogue sometimes got a bit too self-consciously sage for its own good, Mad Men took a more uncomfortable path to examining what selfish, narcissistic parents do when their children get in their way — and what happens when those children grow up enough to recognize their deep flaws. … Read More

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‘Game of Thrones’ Season 5 Episode 2 Recap: “The House of Black and White”

Excluding a minor check-in with Tyrion and a not-so-minor interlude at the Wall, “The House of Black and White” centers on Game of Thrones’ women. Each is involved in a microcosm of the struggle that defines their lives in this man’s world of violence and bored rock-skipping during discussions of wedding logistics: asserting control over both themselves and others, an enterprise that’s doomed to fail, or at least not entirely succeed. When Cersei smirks that “clearly it would not be appropriate for a woman” to be Hand of the King, the gloat is bittersweet; she’s both flaunting her ability to become de facto Hand anyway and admitting that she’ll never truly rule because of who, or rather what, she is. “The House of Black and White” sees everyone from Sansa to Ellaria to Daenerys in the same situation—they’ve seized more control than most men would give them, but not nearly enough to level the playing field.  … Read More

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