We Need to Talk About Jessie J and Our Irrational Pop Star Preferences

With a record-breaking six Top 10 singles from one album in her native UK, Jessie J is England’s answer to Katy Perry. Admittedly, that’s selling her short — her voice possesses Aguilera power and she writes her own material — but details are unimportant in the mud-pit wrestling match that is the female pop star gauntlet. The singer’s most successful American single to date, Top 10 hit “Domino,” is straight-up Teenage Dream Perry, down to its reference to skin-tight pants. “(Insert new singer) is like (insert established pop diva starting to show cracks/long past her prime) plus (insert another big pop star)”: this is the musical conversation pop stars get, despite the fact that pop hits are defined more by their songwriters and producers than their interpreters. The personality conversation is an even uglier scene, one in which stars are made and fade away. … Read More

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Stark Photographs of the Empty 1972 Munich Olympics Stadium

Today marks the beginning of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, and millions of people across the globe will flock to the city (and to their televisions) to cheer on an international group of athletes. But what happens to those sports arenas once the games are over? Some are demolished, but some, like the stadium in Munich, Germany, host of the infamous 1972 Summer Olympics, remain. In a series posted to Behance, Munich-based photographer Robert Götzfried depicts the empty spaces, which he says are his favorite subjects: “Public space when no one is around. Swimming pools, soccer stadiums, cinemas — places that are usually loud and crowded in a quiet and peaceful way. It’s about forms, patterns — architecture in its purest way.” The terrorist attack that took place there 42 years ago gives this collection (spotted via Faith is Torment) an added layer of eeriness, yet it is stunning nonetheless.  … Read More

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“I’ve Never Felt Like an Outcast”: An Excerpt From ‘Gay Propaganda: Russian Love Stories’

As the world gets set for tonight’s Olympics opening ceremony in Sochi, it’s important not to lose sight of Russia’s troubling political landscape — and particularly President Vladimir Putin’s attacks on the freedom and safety of its LGBT citizens via a vague ban on “homosexual propaganda” that amounts to nothing less than government-sanctioned homophobia. … Read More

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10 of the Most Breathtaking Panoramic Photos We've Ever Seen

Photographs rarely live up to the fullness of actually being there. But more and more digital technology provides new ways to counteract the flatness of photos, elevating panoramic and high-resolution photography to new realms both in terms of technique and in the way images are presented. 360-degree rotation, massive composites, and interactive controls allow us to explore photography in some very enticing ways. For the voyeuristically inclined, the advent of huge multi-giga-pixel images means zooming and panning indefinitely across an endless sea of visual detail. We’ve gathered ten such breathtaking panoramas for you to feast your eyes upon. Click through and explore some truly spacious visual… Read More

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Nostalgia-Inducing Soviet Olympic Posters

In 1980, the Soviet Union hosted the Summer Olympics in Moscow. Times were different back then. Athletic shorts were shorter. And the posters were… awesome! We’ve dug up a few of these rare specimens for you to flip through, lightly annotated for context. Behold the wonders of their minimal design, awkward tangent propaganda, and bears. Meet Mishka, the Soviet Olympic Mascot, the definitive bear of all of USSR. He’s like Paddington Bear, but he comes in a giant floating balloon. Yeah, take that, London. … Read More

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Delightful Still Lifes of Olympic Athletes’ Daily Diets

What exactly does it take to fuel the body of a woman who’s about to compete in the 100 meter dash? How does her diet differ from that of a hammer thrower? Or a gymnast? Created by Michael Bodiam and Sarah Parker for Nowness, A Day on My Plate displays the real food items that make up the typical daily diets of five Olympic athletes; using cardboard and paper to create oversized place settings, Parker tricks our eyes, making it look like the plates are all packed to the gills with incredibly tiny servings of everything from fruits and veggies to donuts and french fries. “We wanted people to be able to draw direct comparison between the diets, and to produce something quite playful that subtly hinted at the sport each athlete participated in,” explains Parker. Click through to peep their plates, and let us know who you think has the most appetizing options in the comments. … Read More

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10 Secretly Athletic TV Characters

In keeping with our intense and very serious coverage of the Olympics, today we’re spotlighting the lesser-known athletes of some of our favorite television shows. While some characters, like Chris Traeger and Schmidt, consider fitness one of their defining attributes, others play more coy, keeping their athletic abilities all but hidden. Click through for our roundup of these “secret” career highlights, which includes everything from Jazz-Kwon-Do and archery to spin class, as well as some names you might recognize, including Betty Draper, Marge Simpson, and Pete Hornberger. Have we overlooked any of your favorite characters’ athletic achievements? Let us know in the comments. … Read More

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How to Fake Like You Know About the Olympics

Anyone who hasn’t been on life support or Mars over the last month or so will know that the Olympics start today. Even for avowedly non sports-oriented types, the quadrennial two-week sporting fiesta is kinda hard to avoid, so we advise you to embrace it — if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, and all that. And so, here’s our guide to faking your way through the Olympics, from why it’s perfectly OK to skip the opening ceremony to why cricket should totally be an Olympic sport. … Read More

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Awesome or Awful: Joe Klamar’s US Olympic Team Portraits

Joe Klamar, chief photographer of the Agence France Presse, has been getting a lot of flack on the Internet for the portraits of Team USA that he shot back in May at a media summit in Dallas. How dare he take this opportunity to capture our heroes and not bother straightening the American flag in the background? Why would he is a less-than-uber-professional lighting set-up on Michael Phelps’ storied torso? Well, haters gonna hate. Others believe that as a industry vet with some 20 years of experience, the Czech photographer made such “mistakes” deliberately, in order to be subversive. Klamar is currently exhibiting at the PowerHouse Arena Gallery in New York, whose press release highlights the photos’ “powerful and nuanced compositions and display of personality.” So, what’s the verdict? We like the realistic representation of these people, intended or not. “You will not see world-class athletes like this anywhere.” Clearly. … Read More

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