From suburb-bound hipsters to Beyoncé and Girls, and the aftermath of terrible Valentine’s Days, we rounded up the best of the weekend’s cultural writings. Weigh in on the most talked-about pieces of the past few days and tell us what else you’ve been reading in the comments. … Read More
Last night, Beyoncé offered more insight into her career and personal life in the “revealing,” self-produced HBO documentary Life Is But a Dream. It was the Stefon of documentaries: there was crying, singing, dancing, and weird Terrence Malick-style shots of trees. Bey opened up about her miscarriage, discussed her intense love and admiration for husband Jay-Z, gave us a peek at daughter Blue Ivy Carter, and talked to her computer while we wondered how she wakes up in the middle of the night with such perfect hair. While the arguments that Life Is But a Dream was a little too polished dart back and forth, we’re sharing 15 things we learned about Bey after the break. Leave us your review of the film in the comments section. … Read More
The idea behind new search engine Giphy is so brilliantly simple we’re shocked no one’s come up with it before (and the site’s creator’s know it, too; the tagline is “This is Giphy. You’re welcome.”) Instead of forcing Tumblr addicts to keep massive animated .GIF folders of all their favorite reaction shots, Giphy designed a clean, efficient search engine for the Internet’s favorite image format. Even in the age of relatively mainstream blogs like What Should We Call Me, though, a glance at Giphy’s front page reveals that the site caters to the kind of dedicated fandoms that popularized the .GIF in the first place. So, in further service to the cult followings that obsess over Sherlock, Honey Boo Boo, Community, and other online favorites, we’ve compiled the best that Giphy has to offer for fans of the Internet’s most hashtagged topics. … Read More
At least among the people we know (most of whom are admittedly indifferent to football), the halftime show at the Super Bowl generated a whole lot more excitement than the game itself. In the last few years Beyoncé has become an icon of the proportions that few pop stars these days achieve, and in no small part this is due to her willingness to use her gender as a creative tool. The argument over whether Beyoncé is a bona fide feminist or just a pop star cashing in on “girl power” has raged for years, but whatever side of the debate you land on, her message of empowerment, commitment to her craft, and control over her image and performance are impossible to undermine. In celebration of her latest feat — that flawless halftime performance in which she was backed by an all-female band — we’ve rounded up Beyoncé’s most feminist moments to date, and welcome the criticism and discussion that she always seem to elicit. … Read More
Kelvin Okafor’s drawings are meticulous — so richly detailed that it’s almost impossible to believe that the image that you’re looking at was created by a graphite pencil and some charcoal, and not a camera’s lens. But these drawings were all done by hand, and he’s got the step-by-step process photos to prove it.
“I draw in sections,” he explains. “I’m right-handed so I work from left to right. After I’ve finished the left eye, I work the nostrils, then the left side of the cheek, then the lips. I always work in that order.” Such precision is time consuming, but worthwhile; it takes Okafor an average of 80 to 100 hours to complete each of his portraits. Click through to see a selection of his work (a mixture of celebrity pieces and intimate drawings of friends), and we think you’ll see why this 27-year-old British artist is currently taking the Internet by storm! … Read More
It is a truth universally acknowledged that in event of a nuclear holocaust two things will persist: cockroaches and pop music. In our monthly Pop for Skeptics column, Rohin Guha explains how the latter need not be a terrifying thing to navigate, nuclear holocaust or not.
No pop fan really knows what to do with himself in January. It’s a special time of year when new fads are still being cooked up and otherwise unremarkable artists — nice to see you again, Nicole Scherzinger! — stand a fair shot at selling more than just a couple records. Some enterprising pop oracles might consult science, the stars, and mathematical trends to make all kinds of predictions about what is set to become “the next big thing.” Others, like me, will wait until some stuff has happened to do that. Sure, with January finally over and done with, it’s probably a bit too late to be making prognostications about what we should look forward to in pop this year, but to borrow a phrase from last year: YOLO. Below, then, are precisely 50 reasons to look forward to pop music in 2013. … Read More
Everyone is freaking out because Beyoncé lip-synched “The Star-Spangled Banner” at yesterday’s inauguration; you can even compare a clip of her rehearsing with the final version. As Kristin DuBois, a representative for the United States Marine Band, explained, “All music is pre-recorded for the ceremony because there are so many eventualities and conditions that day. We performed, live, the band. But we received last-minute word that Beyoncé was going to use the pre-recorded vocal track. Those were the instructions we were given. We don’t know what the reason why.”
Interesting. But if history has shown us anything, it’s that when you’re performing at a major public event, sometimes erring on the side of pre-recorded caution can be a good thing. Don’t believe us? Here’s all the proof you need. … Read More
Whenever we watch any sort of Rolling Stones documentary, there’s almost always footage of the band frolicking around their personalized private jet with a half dozen half-naked girls. Inspired by such a display, we’ve created a timeline of famous musicians who have been photographed with (and aboard) their very own private planes. Let it be known — as time progresses, the photos aren’t as cool (and neither are the musicians, really), but go ahead and check ‘em out anyway. Click through for our Flavorwire roundup of musicians and their private jets, then hit the comments to lend us your thoughts. … Read More
1. Beyoncé just inked a $50 million deal with Pepsi that includes “a multimillion-dollar fund to support the singer’s chosen creative projects.”
2. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs debuted a new track over the weekend at a Hurricane Sandy benefit that Spin describes as “a spare thumper that recalled Florence and the Machine’s ‘Dog Days Are Over.’” So far the performance has yet to surface on YouTube, but we’ve got our fingers crossed that someone defied Karen O’s no cellphone footage request. … Read More
It’s not a year in music without at least one good bout of hand-wringing over someone’s controversial album cover, and 2012 has been no exception. The album cover is something of a dying art form these days, although the return of vinyl in recent years has revived it somewhat — but still, in an age when we get more and more of our art in a digital form, it gets harder and harder to attract people’s attention. If nothing else, the covers in this feature most certainly do the attracting-people’s-attention bit just fine — whether they’re actually any good or not is a judgement we’ll leave up to you. (Warning — one of the images that awaits you below is pretty spectacularly NSFW, and if you’ve been following the ongoing shitfight between Death Grips and their former label Epic, you can probably guess what it is.) … Read More