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Oh No They Didn't! -

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  • 12/15/13--09:15: What happened to Lady Gaga?

  • It’s already known as ARTFLOP.

    On Nov. 6, amid the kind of hype not seen since Michael Jackson floated a statue of himself down the Thames River, Lady Gaga released her third studio album, “ARTPOP.”

    And not since Jackson has such a globally famous, white-hot pop star had such a rise and precipitous fall: “ARTPOP” is on track to lose $25 million for her label, Interscope, prompting ­rumors of imminent layoffs.

    But it’s not just album sales. When Gaga opened this year’s MTV Video Music Awards, her performance was eclipsed by the twerking Miley Cyrus. Gaga’s work as both host and performer on a recent “Saturday Night Live” was underwhelming, and her recent ABC special, “Lady Gaga & The Muppets’ Holiday Spectacular,” had a dismal 0.9 rating among viewers ages 18 to 49, with just 3.6 million viewers total.

    “That ‘Applause’ Gaga is hearing these days has been reduced to a polite golf-clap,” said The Wrap, referring to the title of her first single from the album.

    Just five years ago, Lady Gaga exploded on the scene with her debut album, “The Fame.” She had an invented backstory as an art-school freak (in reality, she was a rich private-school graduate from the Upper West Side), a raft of witty, sophisticated pop songs and an ever-changing visual presentation that pulled from the greatest eccentrics of the 20th century, from Schiaparelli to Leigh Bowery — all thanks to a small, tightly knit team of stylists, collaborators and advisers that she called the “Haus of Gaga.”

    “I don’t feel that I look like the other perfect little pop singers,” she told Rolling Stone in 2009. “I think I look new.” Indeed, Lady Gaga felt like the first pop star since David Bowie to approach every aspect of performance sideways. In a landscape populated by earnest, business-minded, on-brand idols like Taylor Swift, Alicia Keys, Carrie Underwood and Katy Perry, here was this glorious freak show with mass appeal, a kook with genuine talent.

    And, as suddenly, it seems the public at large is now exhausted by Lady Gaga. Even she admits it: “People think I’m finished,” she told Britain’s Guardian newspaper in September.
    What’s gone so wrong?

    The inner circle flees

    When Lady Gaga released “The Fame” in August 2008, she insisted the album — full of songs about boys and booze — was much deeper than the average pop record. It was, she said, a meta-commentary on a culture obsessed with celebrity as the ultimate validation, and the masses loved it all: “The Fame” ultimately sold more than 12 million copies.

    “I operate from a place of delusion — that’s what ‘The Fame’ [is] all about. I used to walk down the street like I was a f–king star,” she told Rolling Stone. “I want people to walk around delusional about how great they can be — and then to fight so hard for it every day that the lie becomes the truth.”

    She credited the Haus of Gaga — her version, she said, of Warhol’s Factory — with engineering her rise. There was Troy Carter, the brilliant and loyal manager who signed her in 2007; Laurieann Gibson, her choreographer and creative director; and Nicola Formichetti, the visionary stylist who refined her catchall approach to eccentric dressing, turning her into a high-fashion obsession as well as a regular in tabloids, newspapers and gossip blogs. Within months, Gaga was the rare global superstar to toggle high and low.

    “I don’t want to take any credit for ­Nicola’s work,” she told CNN in 2010. “He’s really, really an amazing designer; he’s an amazing creative.”
    Formichetti quit this past summer. “I’ve done two albums with her, it’s been like five years, and you know . . . I cannot do it every day,” he told WWD. “She changes like five times a day; it’s insane.”

    Formichetti’s absence is keenly felt; since he quit, Gaga’s looks have become crude, obvious, off-putting. Most recently, she wore a grotesque, disfiguring grill to the YouTube awards, turned her face into a Picasso-inspired funhouse reflection and wrapped herself up like a burn victim.

    “She doesn’t know how to do this as well as [Formichetti] did,” says celebrity stylist Robert Verdi. “People think it’s just so stupid and easy to come up with a meat dress — but it’s such a unique way to approach branding talent. The synergy between the music and the way she presented herself actually lets people know how hard the styling was. I think she needs to find partners that understand her the way ­Nicola did. She’s falling short now — it’s hard to keep up at that level.”

    In November 2011, Gaga also parted ways with choreographer Gibson. “No judgment, but it just got a little dark for me, creatively,” Gibson told “Entertainment Tonight Canada.”

    The most shocking defection from Gaga’s camp came last month: Carter, the veteran manager who guided her ascent, quit less than a week before ARTPOP’s release. As Page Six reported, Gaga’s label was concerned that the rec­ord had no hits and asked her to tweak some of the tracks, or release the record as an EP. She declined, and Carter attempted to intervene, to no avail.

    Gaga, according to one source, said she refused to “adulterate my art,” and Carter quit.

    “I have a lot of experience in this area,” says one longtime label executive and producer. “Artists have a lot of help on their first albums, and they’re open to a lot of help, and they are very smart collaborators and make great work.”

    Once that work results in great success, he says, the artist invariably believes they are solely responsible. “Time and again, they feel like they could have done it themselves, and if they had done it their way, it would have been even bigger,” he says. “So they jettison the people who helped them get where they are and hire people who are less powerful, who let them do what they want. I think that may be where Lady Gaga is.”
    And without anyone formidable to guide her, Lady Gaga, for the first time in her career, seems culturally tone-deaf, releasing an album that’s ostensibly about modern art — a “reverse Warholian expedition,” as Gaga so loftily describes it — to a public that doesn’t care.

    The release party, dubbed an “artRave,” was held at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and included installations by Jeff Koons (who did her album cover), Marina Abramovic and Robert Wilson. Members of Gaga’s audience defaced several sculptures by Koons, whose “Balloon Dog (Orange)” just sold at Christie’s for $58.4 million.

    Once a master at spectacle, her artRave entrance, strapped in a gargantuan hovercraft that lifted her about three feet into the air, fell flat. When she performed, she wept for no discernible reason. She declared the event was no mere record-release party, but about something larger than herself: “the youth of the world.”

    She did not elaborate. She then rambled about her struggles with sobriety and said that by collaborating with her, Koons was “giving a gift to young artists all over the world,” her convoluted logic belying self-congratulation.

    “Never before,” said Pitchfork’s Amy Phillips, “have I felt more like I was living a scene from ‘Spinal Tap.’ ”

    ‘In a dangerous place’

    Perhaps the best analogy to Lady Gaga’s trajectory is the rise and fall of the Showtime series “Homeland.”
    When it debuted in late 2011, “Homeland” was a wild and unlikely hit, a thriller about a brilliant, bipolar CIA agent who falls in love with the Marine-turned-sleeper terrorist she’s tracking. Like Gaga, “Homeland” was a surprise: culturally relevant and super weird, electrifying in its warp-speed approach to burning through story.

    But after that first season, it became clear that the writers had no idea where to take their narrative, and the show’s once-organic outrageousness curdled into patronizing gimmickry.

    With her first record, Lady Gaga, too, burned through story — the outsider artist who crashed through popular culture, the “Mother Monster” to all the world’s freaks — and she clearly had no sense where to go next.
    She spoke of addiction issues with pot and alcohol, but that narrative never gained traction — perhaps it was too ­pedestrian, or perhaps no one believed such a dogged careerist would ever lose that much control. Nor did her alleged hip injury, which put her out of commission for months, capture public sympathy or imagination. She didn’t even use it to go away — instead, she commissioned a gold wheelchair, and she began to feel like the guest who just wouldn’t leave.

    “She had this incredible origin story emblematic of underdogs everywhere, but she’s no longer that,” says the exec. “She hasn’t found another thing that she can represent. She has to write another great story about where she is in her life — Eminem is really great at that. But when you come out and your new single is called ‘Applause’ and it’s about how you need it — you have to be about more than that.”

    The most critical problem, says the exec, is quality control. None of the singles Gaga has released since “The Fame” has reached the same level of critical and commercial success. “I don’t think she’s made groundbreaking music since her first record,” he says. “It’s not enough to be a larger-than-life personality and have marketing muscle behind you.”


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  • 12/15/13--10:32: RIP Peter O'Toole :(
  • peter

    Actor Peter O'Toole, who starred in Sir David Lean's 1962 film classic Lawrence of Arabia, has died aged 81, his agent has said.

    The Irish-born star began on the stage in Bristol and London aged 17, but his big break was when Sir David cast him as British adventurer T E Lawrence.

    It earned him the first of eight Oscar nominations, with others coming for such films as Becket, The Lion in Winter and Goodbye, Mr Chips.

    He received an honorary Oscar in 2003.

    He had initially refused to accept the award.

    In a letter he asked the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to delay the award until he was 80, saying he was "still in the game and might win the bugger outright".


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    In 2006, when Beyoncé released her video anthology for the deluxe version of B’day, I remember thinking to myself, “Every major label pop artist powerhouse with money needs to do this until it becomes normal.”

    I didn’t scrutinize the videos. I watched from start to finish — withholding judgment — immersing myself in the experience of a full-length visual story told through the music of an album and an artist’s eyes.

    The CD was dying. It was the rise of iTunes and Limewire. The fangirl experience of sitting by your boombox, flipping through the album booklet, shaking, engulfing yourself in the piece of art you just bought was on its way to extinction.

    B’day was a big deal for me, because at the time, I was coming to terms with the fact that I preferred music videos over movies, and that’s just who I am. I feel more from watching a three-minute pop music video than I do a two-hour long movie. Maybe you’re the same.

    Seven years later. December, 13th 2013. I sent out the text message: “Did you WATCH Beyoncé’s NEW album yet?”

    Dreams do come true…

    With the biggest pop surprise of the year, Beyoncé effortlessly shunned the spotlight from many of her contemporary competitors.

    All that it took was a little advertisement broadcasted to her 8 million Instagram followers.


    No promotion, no cheesy co-sign, no talk shows, no advertisement during a big award show. Nothing. All she did was upload an Instagram video with the simple headline “Surprise…”

    With this gesture, you know this visual album is for the people who appreciate Beyoncé. You can criticize the production, the lyrics, the visuals. But your opinion doesn’t matter.

    Nothing’s being sold. There’s no label-masterminded chart goal. Clearly, this is a liberating art project.

    Beyoncé is a flawed human, like many who want to speak up and let us into their world.

    “Pretty Hurts” begins with her staring in the mirror with a Twiggy cut. Within a few seconds, we see her wearing a beauty queen sash that reads “MISS 3rd WARD” with her legs open. Our world is World War 3 and a psych ward. She is our poster girl for now.

    She’s playing the character the world knows her as.

    Beyoncé — the beauty queen.

    Beyoncé — the most beautiful woman in the world.

    Beyoncé — the perfect girl with the perfect body.

    Beyoncé — the only black girl, some white guys would fuck.

    Beyoncé — the object.

    The opening clip has a few devastating shots that confront the media’s hellish obsession with the perfect image she’s associated with — and the one young women will always look up to.

    She’s seen guzzling pills, purging, pre-plastic surgery lines all over her face. Giving you a honest, true, voyeuristic look at the harmful things people will do to their body to achieve perfection. But it also lets you into the pressure she feels being a sex icon.

    Smiling, a silver-foxed Harvey Keitel asks her: “What is your aspiration in life?”

    The video stutters, the story stutters, my mind stutters. She jumps into a pool of water as Miss 3rd Ward is figuring out what to say. She finally answers:

    “Well, my aspiration in life would be to be happy…”

    Now the angry prom queen from Hole’s Live Through This cover poses as her and smashes all her trophies. Possibly symbolic to a similar real life breakdown Bey could have had with her grammies one night, collapsing from the overwhelming pressure and feelings that one person couldn’t even imagine come with being a superstar.

    Pretty hurts, indeed.

    After white noise, a TV plays a clip of her as a child, blowing a kiss saying “I love you Houston”…

    It’s eerie and conflicted.

    “Ghost” opens with her against a clean white backdrop, flashing hunter eyes. It’s beautiful, similar to the harsh minimalism and simplicity of FKA Twigs’ “Water Me.” Could even be a subtle homage?

    She talks quickly, but gets right to the point: “All these record labels boring!/ All these people working a 9-5 just to stay alive! The 9-5 just to stay alive!”

    Wearing a white body suit, ribcages and breasts visible – she is a ghost moving her body side to side. This could open the discussion: Does Beyoncé want to disappear? Are “civilians” mere ghosts? Is everything meaningless? Even Beyoncé gets bored to death.

    Jonas Åkerlund’s “Haunted” is probably the most important visual in the whole piece.

    Beyoncé is the girl in black walking slyly into a mansion. A man lights a cigarette, we learn she is under surveillance. The security cam shots have the same beauty as Kate Moss’s iconic Vogue shoot that Nick Knight did as a commentary on the death of privacy in 1995. If only they knew back then…

    In Beyoncé’s nightmare mansion, she encounters a plethora of scary, erotically paranoid images. Girls in Beetlejuice outfits with black hair covering their faces, Eva Green giving an elderly man a lap dance, a young boy (or girl) sticking their tongue out, covered in bubble bath. A gang of boys in Juggalo make up spliced between scenes of her gyrating atop a bed in lingerie.

    The punk juxtaposition of arousing images and terrifying images seem to comment on our perpetual fear of pornography and women who have the power to sexualize themselves. We’re always haunted by the dangers of sexual imagery.

    I immediately reflect on all the times I’ve seen things I’ve never wanted to see — just from browsing the internet — and how I’ll always be haunted by these images. It’s an unfiltered world. I can see them now. I have goosebumps. I feel sick. These feeds are surprising and untrustworthy, and at some point, you’ll be haunted by something too.

    Lurking? Anyone? I mean, how can you not be paranoid in this world? Every day, you’re creeping on someone on social media and every day, someone is creeping on you. This is just how it works, and the paranoia is not going to go away. It’s just going to stay.

    The video ends with her walking out the mansion, as if she is waking up from the nightmare.

    “Drunk In Love” is beautiful, like a classic black and white Bruce Weber shoot come to life — only shot by Hype Williams. She dances fiercely on a tropical beach, shamelessly talking about being hungover and forgetful, in love and wanting to have sex with her husband. Jay-Z comes on the screen, raps causally, and you just smile, as if these are the private honeymoon videos we never got to see. It’s like a Carter family get-together, even though you aren’t Blue Ivy.

    “Blow,” the H-town roller rink anthem ode to oral sex, is explicit. It’s neon and colorful, yet it showcases Beyoncé as dominant. She is a woman in control, proud of her sexuality, unafraid to share with the world that she likes to get her pussy eaten. Comparing her vagina to a pack of Skittles: “Can you eat my skittles? It’s the sweetest in the middle. Pink is the flavor!”

    It’s transparent, but if transparency in pop offends or shocks you in 2013, pop isn’t the problem. It’s you.

    @LILINTERNET, a cult icon in his own right, directed “No Angel,” which feels like a soundtracked documentary about gritty Houston. It’s powerful and moving, showcasing Bey’s roots. A scene of her with her hair hanging out the window shows us that this where she feels free and comfortable, away from the paparazzi, close to nostalgic memories.

    “YONCE” is Bey in the trap. A hyper-sexual rap against Brooklyn walls, surrounded by beautiful models (including Chanel Iman) with grills. It’s demanding and hard.

    “PARTITION” is heavy. An exploration in one of her hardcore limousine fantasies, it starts out with her sitting at a table eating breakfast — clearly letting us know a sex dream is about to begin.

    “He Monica Lewinsky’d all over my gown!”

    That’s all she had to say. Boom. Game over. Bad gal who? The gasp-worthy “controversial” reference, the simplicity, the role of her as a burlesque stripper in the video.

    No sex is being sold here, sex is being told…

“I just want to be the girl you like…”

    Absolutely no regrets, no apologies. What a fucking rockstar. Bow down!

    “Jealous” shows Beyoncé left out, upset that she smelled different perfume on her man that keeps ditching out on her dinners. Who knows what the fuck this means? Maybe Beyoncé’s alter ego Yonce has a whole different life without Jay-Z and Blue Ivy, and she is letting out her struggles with envy.

    A normal clip of her playing pool at a bar and drinking with normal people seems to be a fantasy.

    When she’s noticed by fans in the street, we get a chilling look at what fame is like.

    “Sometimes I want to walk in your shoes, do the type of the things I’ll never do…”

    She is getting stares she doesn’t want, feeling insecure. She wants to run away. The most confusing part is the end, when she hugs a guy that just doesn’t look like Jay-Z.

    Anyone can be apathetic and think “I don’t care about famous people ’cause they are so privileged and rich,” but empathy is key. Especially when she is giving us so much of herself. We have to give back somehow, and hope she can feel that we’re trying to understand her pain.

    Wait? What? How do we know if this is true to her life or not? Well, that’s the point.

    Beyoncé has an unachievable enigma as a pop artist: never a coked-out tabloid story, no scandalous private pictures to identify her with. Her art of showing, not telling, on the visual album projects that power of mystery to a whole new level. It’s superstardom.

    Ironically, “Rocket” feels like the behind-the-scenes of Beyoncé’s Vanity Fair cover shoot. But if you listen close enough, she’s poking fun at your reaction to glam.

    “Yes, mass appeal. Don’t take your eyes, don’t take your eyes off it…”

    The Drake collab “Mine” opens with Beyoncé in a Virgin Mary get up with a white statue underneath her. It must be about genderless, imageless love. This is most apparent when two people covered with shirts on their head are kissing each-other, one shirt saying “You’re” the other shirt saying “Mine.”

    “Stop making a big deal out of the little things, let’s get carried away…”

    The beautiful authenticity of a tame Terry Richardson’s “XO” is refreshingly genuine, like a Kodak moment stretched out over the length of an entire song. Everyone is smiling, having a ball, being young, being fun, loving life. Her fans are right there with her. It’s a great moment.

    “***Flawless” is anthemic, angry and liberating. An ode to the power and rage behind the empire Beyoncé has built for herself, and at this point you should just be at her feet:

    “Bow down bitches, bow down bitches…”

    She moshes in slo-mo with her crew while a speech about the sexist expectations young girls are told to live up to in the entertainment industry is broadcasted. Ending and beginning with a clip of her when she was younger, it seems like Beyoncé has been abused by the system, but instead of being a victim, she’s lashing out with feminist flames. It sounds like the demeanor and mind of every powerful woman you know.

    The political aspect to “SuperPower” shows Beyoncé, the girl behind the burqa. It seems to be a dystopian clip, provoking thoughts about black politics, the government, and those in control. Frank Ocean’s face is not shown, but his voice is heard. It is unsettlingly perfect as usual.

    “Heaven” is as confusing as the clip for “Jealous.” It could be about a lesbian lover or best friend who died, and she’s mourning and reflecting on the fun they had together in a church…

    “Heaven couldn’t wait for you.”

    The girl was good enough to go to heaven.

    No shoes on, in a tropical paradise. Beyoncé lets us into the beauty of motherhood and the spiritual experience of having a child. “Blue” shows us how giving birth has changed her life positively.

    The sounds of Blue Ivy mumbling adds sentiment. The song is a beautiful close to the album.

    “Hold onto me, Blue…”


    Source:Thought Catalog

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    The Boston Bruins' visit to Vancouver to play the Canucks was short but was hardly uneventful.

    After the Bruins lost 6-2 to the Canucks (and Brad Marchand did some taunting), Bruins forward Milan Lucic hit the town to unwind as NHL players are wont to do from time to time. Only it doesn't look like it was a very relaxing evening.

    In a video posted onto YouTube claiming to be in Vancouver on Saturday night, Lucic is seen arguing with a man as police arrived to intervene. Lucic can be heard saying that he was hit three times by the other man in the confrontation but didn't hit back, which is probably good for the other guy, and Lucic. The "Do you know who I am?" card was played too. It's impossible to discern anything more than that.

    NSFW Warning: Strong language in the video.

    Lucic is a native of Vancouver and his relationship with his hometown hasn't been great, particularly since the Bruins and Canucks met in the Stanley Cup Final. Among other things, the church that Lucic attended in Vancouver was vandalized with some vulgar languaged directed right at Lucic.


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    Can MoS get a tag now?


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    Golden Hour: Cate Blanchett Is Back
    by Jonathan Van Meter | photographed by Craig McDean
    After six years running Australia’s premier theater company, Cate Blanchett is back, courting Oscar with her brilliant performance in Blue Jasmine and starring in George Clooney’s Monuments Men. And that’s only the beginning.

    Cate Blanchett has a peculiar relationship to time—to hours, to years. She does not, for example, know how old her mother is. “I guess if I analyze it I could work it out in relation to my own age,” she says, “but it’s a piece of information that my brain won’t let me compute.” At another point, we get to talking about answering machines, back when they still had microcassettes in them, and when I pinpoint the year I first bought one as 1988, she says, “That recently?”

    So it should come as no surprise that on a balmy night in late October, when I’m supposed to meet Blanchett at a theater in southeast London, she is late. The Menier Chocolate Factory, which sits hard by London Bridge, is one of those homey, unpretentious venues, part pub, part theater, that could be in Minneapolis, say, or Amsterdam. I arrive too early, so I get a drink at the lobby bar and wander around the room reading old posters. The place quickly fills up with happy ticket holders, eagerly waiting to be let into their seats, and at the exact moment I find myself staring at a sign that says, “No latecomers admitted. Absolutely no exceptions,” my cellphone rings.


    “It’s Cate,” she says, as if that gravelly voice could be anyone else’s. She tells me that her driver, Peter, is “driving like a demon,” but that she is “realistically, 25 minutes out.” Curtain is in fifteen minutes, I say. “I’ve been trying to see this play for weeks,” she says. “This is the story of my life.” Pause. “Do they admit latecomers?” I read the sign to her. “Oh, dear. Is there an intermission?” Yes, I say. “Well, that’s a bit churlish of them.” We agree that I will stay put and she hangs up.


    And that is when I have to decide: Do I tell the theater that Cate Blanchett, one of the world’s greatest living stage actresses, is the latecomer? Won’t the cast be disappointed when they find out that the rules couldn’t be bent just a little? Just this once? On the other hand, I think, maybe Blanchett, who is famously low-key and has run a theater herself, wouldn’t dream of asking anyone to hold the curtain for her. Maybe that’s an uncool thing to do in her world. After a few minutes, I head for the box office to tell the shy young girl that my late date is Cate. Her eyes widen and she scurries off. Within seconds, the stage manager, a can-do woman with a headset, appears in front of me. “How late is she?” Five minutes, I lie. “I will hold the curtain for as long as I can,” she says. Ten minutes later, Blanchett comes bounding up the steps, two at a time, and we are hustled to our seats without even saying hello. As the lights go down, she puts her arm around my shoulders, gives them a good firm squeeze, and calls me “Ace.”

    To read the full article, buy the January issue of Vogue, on newstands nationwide Tuesday, December 24.



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    Hilary Duff may regularly appear in our “Love Her Outfit!” gallery, but she thinks she needs to kick her personal style up a notch. Nearly two years after having son Luca, Duff says she wants get back to work — and to improve her image while she’s at it.

    “I’m getting ready to start working again, so I’m finally going to hire a stylist,” she told PEOPLE at an event at Switch Boutique in Beverly Hills, Calif. “We’ll see how [my style] changes. Two hours ago I put the kid down and threw this outfit together … when I’m working [my look] might be different when I have a little more help.”

    That doesn’t mean we should expect a major overhaul, though. As Duff says, “I have a good perception of what I like, and what I don’t like, and who I want to be, and who I don’t want to be.” And she’s not going to return to her pre-baby days, where she might reach for something just because it was on-trend and not necessarily because she loved it.

    “When I was younger it was more about what was fashionable instead of what fit my body,” she said. “Now my body has obviously changed since I’ve had a baby. There are things that work for me now that didn’t before … When I had more time to work on [my outfit in the past], it might have been a little more thought out, tricked out, but that’s annoying to me now.”

    Another way that her style has changed? She’s not as likely to fill her closet with trendy pieces, choosing instead to splurge on classic items. “I probably have less in my closet then I did before,” she said. “I have more things that I want to rotate, and I pay more for them but I enjoy them more.”

    ONTD, Has your style changed since getting older? If so, how?

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    Some of New York City’s most glamorous bohemians are taking to the barricades in a battle that recalls the heroic, successful stand against Westway but seems, given current realities, a bit more quixotic. “The Village is rapidly disappearing. I don’t believe it’s NYU’s prerogative to destroy it,” said the Oscar-nominated screenwriter Kenneth Lonergan, one of dozens of Greenwich Village actors, artists, and writers aligned with a group of more than 400 NYU faculty members to protest NYU’s ambitious expansion plan. “NYU pretty much owns the entire neighborhood!” the essayist Fran Lebowitz said with that trademark drawl. “I personally don’t feel universities add to the life of the city. Places where universities add to life had no life to begin with, seriously!” “You can’t walk on the sidewalk as it is,” Matthew Modine added. “This is the remaining portion of the city that predates the automobile. On a weekend, I find it impossible to walk out onto the street.” The thought of Modine and Lebowitz being impeded by students paying the full NYU freight of roughly $64,000 is indeed a little distasteful—although it has to be said that this is largely an upper-middle-class problem. The Village has always been for artists—but in the past, a much larger percentage of them were starving

    The person who has created this unfortunate situation is John Sexton, NYU’s president since 2001. Sexton is congenitally high-handed, as if anywhere in the Village and the sky above it is within the bounds of his fiefdom. Universities now are as much business incubators as student educators. They’re corporate behemoths, speaking the language of market share while enjoying the support of government and taxpayer largesse. Like the lion’s share of New York disputes, the argument between Sexton and his critics boils down to high-priced real estate. NYU’s master plan, called NYU 2031, proposes to add 6 million square feet of new space across the city in the next eighteen years. Nearly a third of that development is slated for Greenwich Village, where NYU is aiming to add four new buildings totaling some 2 million square feet. Indeed, if Modine does not like to be jostled now, by the time he’s 72 he may want to move to Florida.

    To his opponents, Sexton can seem like the reincarnation of Robert Moses, the planner of Westway. “The NYU expansion plan doesn’t have a whole lot to do with the education business but a lot to do with the real-estate business,” said the actress Kathleen Chalfant. “It’s absolutely terrifying that it’s being done.”

    So last week, celebrities and their comrades in the anti-Sexton group NYU Faculty Against the Sexton Plan opened an online silent auction with more than 150 lots. There is a chance to shoot hoops with John Leguizamo (starting bid: $800), spend two hours shopping with Padma Lakshmi, who will “assess your pantry and spice needs” ($1,000), and take a private acting lesson with Philip Seymour Hoffman ($1,000). Lewis Lapham, who long seems to have considered himself too refined to consort with mere causes, has offered to have lunch with anyone willing to spend $2,500 and up.“Lunch with Lewis Lapham is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you’ll surely treasure,” the auctioneers promise. The Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Philip Levine donated the pen he used to write his 1999 book The Mercy. NYU’s “mentality reminded me of the kind of thing Reagan would do to break unions. It was that hideous corporate mentality,” Levine, a former NYU poet-in-residence, said. “The greed they’re showing just awes me.”

    “These buildings are the same kind of genre like that one on 57th Street,” Lebowitz said of NYU’s proposals, making reference to developer Gary Barnett’s 1,004-foot ultraluxury tower casting a shadow in the form of a middle finger over Central Park. “He decided to take an architectural lead from Dubai. But this is a city. People live here. This isn’t some invention in the middle of nowhere.”

    “The need for additional academic space as outlined in the core plan is clear and real, as the University Space Priorities Working Group—comprised mainly of faculty members—found in their interim report,” university spokesman John Beckman said.

    The battle in the court of public opinion is playing out as the anti-Sexton forces battle NYU in the courts. Soon, State Supreme Court judge Donna Mills is expected to rule in a lawsuit brought by opponents seeking to block the 2031 plan. The legal maneuvering is the latest chapter in a years-long battle between NYU and its Greenwich Village neighbors. Sexton’s own employees are the ones leading the celebrity brigades. NYU’s faculty has issued no-confidence votes against Sexton’s presidency, while the administration has accused faculty critics of “Swift Boating” his policies.

    In July 2012, the City Council voted 44-1 to approve NYU’s plan. While Sexton has so far moved forward implacably, some of the Molotov cocktails are starting little fires. NYU withdrew plans to build a 400-foot-tall hotel and residential tower alongside the site of the I. M. Pei–designed Silver Towers complex after Pei’s longtime business partner, Henry Cobb, called the plan “highly destructive.” There have been faculty outcries over Sexton’s Wall Street–esque compensation (nearly $1.5 million in salary) and an embarrassing front-page Times story last June that revealed that NYU provided Sexton with several loans, one for nearly $600,000, for his house on Fire Island, which led to an inquiry by Iowa senator Charles Grassley into NYU’s compensation and loan practices. In August, NYU announced Sexton would be stepping down when his term concludes in 2016, and that it would be ending loans for administrators’ vacation homes.

    One way to view the struggle for control of the Village is as the last battle of the Bloomberg era. “I actually think the outpouring is motivated, wittingly or not, by a sense that enough is enough development-wise in New York City,” said NYU media and communications professor Mark Crispin Miller, a leader of the faculty revolt. “The Bloomberg years are behind us now. It’s important for people to understand this fight.”

    Sexton’s vision to transform NYU into a global megabrand, with satellite campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai, among other world cities, and anchored by soaring new buildings in Washington Square, has made him a Trump-like villain to a certain set. It’s vulgarian versus aesthete, even though the university, whatever else it is, is a haven, one of the last, for the humanities. “You say, ‘Oh my God, what’s happened to this place?’ John Dos Passos, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Hart Crane. There were these magnificent people living there,” Levine said.

    The clock was recently turned back in the Coen brothers’ film Inside Llewyn Davis (Nicki Ledermann, the film’s head makeup artist, donated a $200 session for the anti-NYU auction). But the Village might not be able to go home again, to paraphrase Tom Wolfe—who lived on 8th Street.

    source: nymag

    not sure about the tags

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  • 12/16/13--11:33: James Franco Was Drugged
  • 1387125830_james-franco-v

    Could James Franco have been roofied? The 35-year-old actor took to Instagram on Dec. 14 to post a shirtless video of himself lying in bed.

    "What's up? Got drugged last night," Franco said before panning down to show off his right nipple. "Somebody slipped me something, in bed."

    In the video, the Oscar nominee's speech was slow, but at the end of the clip, he stuck his tongue out to the camera. So it's hard to tell if this is a serious incident or if Franco -- a part-time performance artist -- is merely joking.

    The 127 Hours actor recently released his "Bound 3" parody with friend and actor Seth Rogen, which imitated Kanye West's raunchy "Bound 2" music video which features a topless Kim Kardashian.

    He recently appeared as a meth dealer in the action flick Homefront and had a guest role on The Mindy Project. Franco is currently preparing for a Broadway role in the revival of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men with Bridesmaids star Chris O'Dowd and Gossip Girl's Leighton Meester


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    Angel Haze has been laying pretty low this year, but it looks like she's been putting the finishing touches on her major label debut, Dirty Gold, which is set to drop March 3rd on Island Records. The 12-track album has no features.

    Take a look at the tracklist and watch a lyric video for her new track, "A Tribe Called Red," below.

    01 Sing About Me
    02 Echelon (It’s My Way)
    03 A Tribe Called Red
    04 Deep Sea Diver
    05 Synagogue
    06 Angel + Airwaves
    07 April’s Fools
    08 White Lillies / White Lies
    09 Battle Cry
    10 Black Dahlia
    11 Planes Fly
    12 Dirty Gold


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    "12 Years a Slave" has dominated a number of regional critics awards announcements today, bringing its tally of Best Picture prizes into the double digits. So expect a number of posts reflecting that in the next hour or so. The Southeastern Film Critics Association went for the film in a big way, handing it prizes for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay in addition to Best Picture. Jeff Nichols, though, took the group's Gene Wyatt Award (for best capturing the spirit of the south) for the second time in his career. He previously won for "Shotgun Stories."
    Top 10
    1. "12 Years a Slave"
    2. "Gravity"
    3. "American Hustle"
    4. "Her"
    5. "Inside Llewyn Davis"
    6. "Nebraska"
    7. "Dallas Buyers Club"
    8. "Philomena"
    9. "Captain Phillips"
    10. "The Wolf of Wall Street"

    Best Actor:Chiwetel Ejiofor, "12 Years a Slave" (Runner-up: Matthew McConaughey, "Dallas Buyers Club")

    Best Actress:Cate Blanchett, "Blue Jasmine" (Runner-up: Judi Dench, "Philomena")

    Best Supporting Actor:Jared Leto, "Dallas Buyers Club" (Runner-up: Michael Fassbender, "12

    Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong’o, "12 Years a Slave" (Runner-up: Jennifer Lawrence, "American Hustle")

    Best Director: Steve McQueen, "12 Years a Slave" (Runner-up: Alfonso Cuaròn, "Gravity")

    Best Ensemble:"American Hustle" (Runner-up: "12 Years a Slave")

    Best Adapted Screenplay:"12 Years a Slave" (Runner-up: "Philomena")

    Best Original Screenplay:"American Hustle" (Runner-up: "Her")

    Best Documentary:"The Act of Killing" (Runners-up: "Blackfish," "Muscle Shoals")

    Best Foreign Language Film: "The Hunt" (Runner-up: "Blue is the Warmest Color")

    Best Animated Film: "Frozen" (Runner-up: "The Wind Rises")

    Best Cinematography:"Gravity" (Runner-up: "12 Years a Slave")

    Gene Wyatt Award: Jeff Nichols, "Mud" (Runner-up: Greg "Freddy" Cammalier, "Muscle Shoals")


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  • 12/16/13--11:37: Celebrity Picture Post
  • Salma Hayek at the "Reves d'Enfants" Arop charity event at the Opera Bastille in Paris

    Reese Witherspoon at the Ivy

    Adriana Lima showcasing the "Victoria's Secret Fantasy Bra" in Dubai

    Holly Madison at Nevada Ballet Theatre's "The Nutcracker"

    Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick in Calabasas

    Naomi Watts, Liev Schreiber, and their kids in Sydney

    Jessica Alba out in Brentwood

    Rachel Weisz in NY

    Miranda Kerr and Orlando Bloom out in NYC

    Mary-Kate Olsen out in NYC

     Kate Hudson out in Sydney

     Julia Roberts stopping by the "Late Show with David Letterman" in New York City

     Ashley Tisdale shopping in Beverly Hills

    Jaime King and Kyle Newman Go to a Baby Shower

    Naya Rivera

    Selma Blair and Arthur in Studio City

    Abigail Breslin at LAX

    Ashley Greene and Paul Khoury have lunch in Los Angeles.

    Rosario Dawson in LA

    Halle Berry at Bristol farm market

    Gwen Stefani in Studio City

    Blake Lively at JFK

    Xfactor judges

    Helen Mirren in LA

    Sarah Jessica Parker in NY

    Kylie Jenner in LA

    Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze, Jr. with Charlotte in LA

    Kendall Jenner at LAX

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    Sequels for popular 90s films Rounders and Shakespeare in Love are likely on the way. A multi-year agreement announced today will see The Weinstein Company produce new movies, TV shows, and live productions in partnership with Miramax, the studio that brothers Bob and Harvey Weinstein founded in 1979 and eventually sold to Disney. Miramax is now controlled by a group of private investors, who in recent years have focused on milking its huge library of over 700 films rather than producing fresh content. The newly announced pact allows the Weinstein brothers to dig back through that archive and resurrect old hits for a new audience.

    "There is so much intellectual property, and we’re in an age where, for however long it lasts, content is king," said Harvey Weinstein. According to Deadline, the Weinsteins already have two items on their agenda: sequels to Shakespeare in Love and Rounders, the underground poker drama starring Matt Damon and Edward Norton, are both said to be top priorities. “I’ve discussed making Rounders 2 with Matt Damon and I would say that’s going to be instantaneous,” Weinstein said. He pictures the film's story beginning with a poker game in Paris before "we’re off to the racetrack and Vegas with Matty and Edward Norton, and a new super-villain to replace John Malkovich.” Other possibilities include a Good Will Hunting television series and a sequel to 1996 cult classic Swingers. "Reuniting Harvey and Bob with the acres of cinematic diamonds that is the Miramax library, and combining the two companies' powerful distribution capabilities, will create an unparalleled partnership in cinematic excellence," said Miramax chairman Tom Barrack Jr.

    A sequel to the dark comedy Bad Santa is also at the forefront of these plans. Other films named in the press release about the collaboration that could warrant sequels either released theatrically or on DVD/Blu-ray include Bridget Jones’s Diary, which already saw one sequel, the police drama Copland, Robert Rodriguez's From Dusk Till Dawn--which already had a direct-to-video prequel and sequel--Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau's breakout Swingers, Kevin Smith's Clerks, which also already had a sequel, Shall We Dance, and The Amityville Horror, previously remade by MGM.


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    I'm usually loath to use the phrase "trigger warning" because I think it's overused to the point of absurdity. HOWEVER, there is content in this interview that is absolutely triggering, so proceed with caution.

    It has been nearly 15 years since music journalist Jim DeRogatis caught the story that has since defined his career, one that he wishes didn't exist: R. Kelly's sexual predation on teenage girls. DeRogatis, at that time the pop-music critic at the Chicago Sun-Times, was anonymously delivered the first of two videos he would receive depicting the pop star engaging in sexual acts with underage girls. Now the host of the syndicated public radio show Sound Opinions and a professor at Columbia College, DeRogatis, along with his former Sun-Times colleague Abdon Pallasch, didn't just break the story, they did the only significant reporting on the accusations against Kelly, interviewing hundreds of people over the years, including dozens of young women whose lives DeRogatis says were ruined by the singer.

    This past summer, leading up to Kelly's headlining performance at the Pitchfork Music Festival, DeRogatis posted a series of discussions about Kelly's career, the charges made against him, and sexual assault. He published a live review of the singer's festival set that was an indictment of Pitchfork and its audience for essentially endorsing a man he calls "a monster." In the two weeks since Kelly released his latest studio album, Black Panties, the conversation about him and why he has gotten a pass from music publications(not to mention feminist sites such as Jezebel) has been rekindled, in part because of the explicit nature of the album and also because of online arguments around the Pitchfork performance.

    I was one of those people who challenged DeRogatis and was even flip about his judgment -- something I quickly came to regret. DeRogatis and I have tangled -- even feuded on air -- over the years; yet, amid the Twitter barbs, he approached me offline and told me about how one of Kelly's victims called him in the middle of the night after his Pitchfork review came out, to thank him for caring when no one else did.He told me of mothers crying on his shoulder, seeing the scars of a suicide attempt on a girl's wrists, the fear in their eyes. He detailed an aftermath that the public has never had to bear witness to.

    I thought that last fact merited a public conversation about why.

    In this interview (which has been condensed significantly), DeRogatis speaks frankly and explicitly about the many disturbing charges against Kelly and says, ultimately, "The saddest fact I've learned is nobody matters less to our society than young black women. Nobody."

    Refresh our memories. How did this start for you?

    Being a beat reporter, music critic at a Chicago daily, the Sun-Times, R. Kelly was a huge story for me, this guy who rose from not graduating from Kenwood Academy, singing at backyard barbecues and on the El, to suddenly selling millions of records. I interviewed him a number of times. Then came out. I'd written a review that said the jarring thing about Kelly is that one moment he wants to be riding you and then next minute he's on his knees, crying and praying to his dead mother in Heaven for forgiveness for his unnamed sins. It's a little weird at times. It's just an observation.

    The next day at the Sun-Times, we got this anonymous fax -- we didn't know where it came from. It said: R. Kelly's been under investigation for two years by the sex-crimes unit of the Chicago police. And I threw it on the corner of my desk. I thought: "player-hater." Now, from the beginning, there were rumors that Kelly likes them young. And there'd been this Aaliyah thing -- Vibe printed, without much commentary and no reporting, the marriage certificate. Kelly or someone had falsified her age as 18. There was that. So all this is floating in the air. This fax arrives and I think, "Oh, this is somebody playing with this." But there was something that nagged at me as a reporter. There were specific names, specific dates, and those great, long Polish cop names. And you're not going to make that crap up. So I went to the city desk and I asked, "What do we do with this?" They said Abdon Pallasch is the courts reporter, why don't you two look into it and see if there's anything there? And it turns out there had been lawsuits that had been filed that had never been reported.

    When you cover the courts in Chicago or any city, you go twice a day and you go through the bin of cases that have been filed and every once in a while Michael Jordan's been sued or someone went bankrupt and it's this sexy story and you pull it out. These suits had been filed at 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Ain't no reporter working at 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve, and they flew under the radar. So we had these lawsuits that were explosive and we didn't understand why nobody had reported them.

    Explosive in what regard?

    They were stomach churning. The one young woman, who had been 14 or 15 when R. Kelly began a relationship with her, detailed in great length, in her affidavits, a sexual relationship that began at Kenwood Academy: He would go back in the early years of his success and go to Lina McLin's gospel choir class. She's a legend in Chicago, gospel royalty. He would go to her sophomore class and hook up with girls afterward and have sex with them. Sometimes buy them a pair of sneakers. Sometimes just letting them hang out in his presence in the recording studio. She detailed the sexual relationship that she was scarred by. It lasted about one and a half to two years, and then he dumped her and she slit her wrists, tried to kill herself. Other girls were involved. She recruited other girls. He picked up other girls and made them all have sex together. A level of specificity that was pretty disgusting.

    Her lawsuit was hundreds of pages long, and Kelly countersued. The countersuit was, like, 10 pages long: "None of this is true!" We began our reporting. We knocked on a lot of doors. The lawsuits, the two that we had found initially, had been settled. Kelly had paid the women and their families money and the settlements were sealed by the court. But of course, the initial lawsuits remain part of the public record.

    So her affidavit, this testimony -- it's all public record?

    To this day, any reporter who so cares can go to Cook County and pull these records, so it drives me crazy, even with some of the eloquent reconsiderations we've seen of Kelly in recent days, that they keep saying "rumors" and "allegations". Well, "allegations" is fair, OK. You're protected as a reporter, any lawsuit that has been filed as fact. The contents of the lawsuit are protected. So these were not rumors. These were allegations made in court.

    Do you think part of how it's been handled and why it's been under-reported is that music writers may not know how to deal with it in a journalistic sense?

    Let's start with the most mundane part. A lot of people who are critics are fans and don't come with any academic background, with any journalistic background, research background. Now, nobody knows everything, and far be it from me to say you've got to be a journalist or you have to have studied critical theory in the academy. Part of what we do is journalistic. Get the names right, get the dates right, get the facts right. Sometimes, on a very rare number of stories, there's a deeper level of reporting required.

    There's another reason: People are squeamish. I think a lot of people don't know how to do it, don't care to do it, and it's way too much work. It's just kind of disgusting to have to write about this and bum everyone out, when you just want to review a record.

    You and I got into it over Twitter around Pitchfork, in part over the fact that you were saying, "If you are enjoying R. Kelly, you are effectively cosigning what this man has done." At the time, I was being defensive, saying people can like what they like.

    To be clear, I think Pitchfork was cosigning it. I think each and every one of us, as individual listeners and consumers of culture, has to come up with our own answer. I don't think there's a right or wrong answer. The thing that's interesting to me is that Pitchfork is a journalistic and critical organ. They do journalism and they do criticism. And then when they are making money to present an act -- that's a cosign, that's an endorsement. That's not just writing about and covering it. They very much wanted R. Kelly as their cornerstone artist for the festival. I think it's fair game to say: "Why, Pitchfork?"

    I had purposely not listened to his music since the initial charges came out and I saw these 9th- and 10th-grade girls interviewed on TV, talking about how he was in the parking lot of their school every day and everyone knew how come. That is what it took for me.

    Part of our reporting was sitting with those girls, sitting with their families, seeing their scars on their wrists, hearing the emotion.

    Some of our young critical peers, they're 24 and all they know of Kelly's past is some vague sense of scandal, because they were introduced to him as kids via Space Jam. A lot of your reporting on this is not online, it is not Google-able. Collective memory is that he "just" peed in a girl's mouth.

    To be fair, I teach 20-year-olds at Columbia. Ignorance is nothing to be ashamed of. Nobody knows everything. A lot of art, great art, is made by despicable people. James Brown beat his wife. People are always, "Why aren't you upset about Led Zeppelin?" I got the Bonham three rings [tattooed] on my foot. Led Zeppelin did disgusting things. I read Hammer of the Gods, I'm disgusted by the group sex with the shark. [Note: it was actually a red snapper! Still gross.] I have a couple of responses to that: I didn't cover Led Zeppelin. If I was on the plane, like Cameron Crowe was, I would have written about those things if I saw them.

    The art very rarely talks about these things. There are not pro-rape Led Zeppelin songs. There are not pro-wife-beating James Brown songs. I think in the history of rock & roll, rock-music or pop-culture people misbehaving and behaving badly sexually with young women, rare is the amount of evidence compiled against anyone apart from R. Kelly. Dozens of girls -- not one, not two, dozens -- with harrowing lawsuits. The videotapes -- and not just one videotape, numerous videotapes. And not Tommy Lee/Pam Anderson, Kardashian fun video. You watch the video for which he was indicted and there is the disembodied look of the rape victim. He orders her to call him Daddy. He urinates in her mouth and instructs her at great length on how to position herself to receive his "gift." It's a rape that you're watching. So we're not talking about rock-star misbehavior, which men or women can do. We're talking about predatory behavior. Their lives were ruined. Read the lawsuits!

    And there was a young woman who was pressured into an abortion?

    That he paid for. There was a young woman that he picked up on the evening of her prom. The relationship lasted a year and a half or two years. Impregnated her, paid for her abortion, had his goons drive her. None of which she wanted. She sued him. The saddest fact I've learned is: Nobody matters less to our society than young black women. Nobody. They have any complaint about the way they are treated: they are "bitches, hos, and gold diggers," plain and simple. Kelly never misbehaved with a single white girl who sued him or that we know of. Mark Anthony Neal, the African-American scholar, makes this point: one white girl in Winnetka and the story would have been different.

    No, it was young black girls and all of them settled. They settled because they felt they could get no justice whatsoever. They didn't have a chance.

    And they learned that after putting these suits forth and having them get nowhere? Do you think they didn't get traction because of the representation they had, or Kelly's power? Were certain elements in concert with that?

    I think it was a lot of things, including the fact that Kelly was fully capable of intimidating people. These girls feared for their lives. They feared for the safety of their family. And these people talked to me not because I'm super reporter -- we rang a lot of doorbells on the south and west sides, and people were eager to talk about this guy, because they wanted him to stop!

    Going back a little bit to our original question. So, you get this tape dropped in the mail...

    Well, the tape came a year after we ran the first story. We ran this story and the world shrugged. Associated Press picks it up: "Chicago Sun-Times has reported a pattern of sexual predation of young women by Robert Kelly," and everybody says, "Ah, well, OK." Then one day I get this call that says: Go to your mailbox. There's this manila envelope with a videotape in it.

    We had gotten one videotape already after the first story, and we gave it to the police. When I say "we," I mean a roomful of editors sitting around asking: What is the right thing to do here? This would seem to be evidence of a felony, we should give it to police. There was one tape, but the police could not determine the girl's age. The forensic experts they had looking at it said judging by the soles of her feet, they could tell she was 13 or 14 at the time this tape was madeAnd some 40-odd people testified that it was her?

    Yeah. Coaches, best friend's parents, pastor, half the family, grandmother, aunt -- but the mother and father never testified, the girl never testified. When we wrote our story about the tape, the girl and mother and father took a six-month vacation to the south of France. We'd been to the house several times. We'd rung the doorbell. This was an aluminum-siding, lower-middle-class house on the South Side, with a station wagon which is 13 years old -- you know what I mean? And now they're in the south of France. And one time the dad got a credit as a bass player on an R. Kelly album. He didn't play bass.

    The situations are incredibly complicated, and sometimes there is an element of: We're gonna exploit this situation for our favor. That doesn't mean that it's legal or it's right or that girl wasn't harmed. It tore that family apart.

    How many people do you think you've interviewed? How many people came forward?

    I think in the end there were two dozen women with various level of details. Obviously the women who were part of the hundreds of pages of lawsuits -- hell of a lot of details. There were girls who just told one simple story, and there were a lot of girls who told stories that lasted hours which still make me sick to my stomach. It never was one girl on one tape. Or one girl and Aaliyah.

    The other thing, the thing that people seem to not know: She was fresh out of eighth grade in this tape.

    Fourteen or fifteen. That puts a perspective on it. She's not sophisticated enough to know what her kinks are.

    Let's talk about what it is, aside from not just having reportorial chops, that might hold somebody back. I feel that a lot of younger journalists came up through blogs, not journalism school. They are fearful to write about it because they don't know what they can say, what language they can use, if they can be sued for even acknowledging charges.

    You may not know how to report, but you should know how to read. The Sun-Times was never sued for the hundreds of thousands of words that it wrote about R. Kelly. You cannot be sued for repeating anything that is in a lawsuit. You cannot be sued for repeating anything that was said during the six- or seven-week trial. It's in his record, and then there's Kelly's own words. Then read [Kelly's biography] Soulacoaster. It was not a pleasant experience for me to read Soulacoaster! But read it, and read what he says in his own book! Do your goddamn homework!

    What are the other factors?

    Here's the most sinister. This deeply troubles me: There's a very -- I don't know what the percentage is -- some percentage of fans are liking Kelly's music because they know. And that's really troublesome to me. There is some sort of -- and this is tied up to complicated questions of racism and sexism -- there is some sort of vicarious thrill to seeing this guy play this character in these songs and knowing that it's not just a character!

    Songs like "Sexasaurus" kind of makes it novel. The ironic, jokey Trapped in the Closet series airs on the Independent Film Channel and features Will Oldham -- that has these other hallmarks of "art" that read to a white, hipster, indie-rock audience, then, because we are not taking certain things seriously, we can choose not to take the lives of these young black women seriously.

    It puts it in the realm of camp or kitsch. If you have an emotional reaction to a work of art and you use all your skills as a critic to back it up with evidence and context. That's all we can ask of anybody. We're all viewing art differently. The joy is in the conversation. Pitchfork is the premier critical organ in the United States for smart discussion of music, books, and artists [lol], but it doesn't have this discussion. Reviews his records but doesn't have the conversation about, "What does it say for us to like his music?"

    I think, again, everybody has to individually answer. I can still listen to Led Zeppelin and take joy in Led Zeppelin or James Brown. I condemn the things they did. I'm not reminded constantly in the art, because the art is not about it. But if you're listening to "I want to marry you, pussy," and not realizing that he said that to Aaliyah, who was 14, and making an album he named Age Ain't Nothing but a Number -- I had Aaliyah's mother cry on my shoulder and say her daughter's life was ruined, Aaliyah's life was never the same after that. That's not an experience you've had. I'm not expecting you to feel the same way I do. But you can look at this body of evidence. You, meaning everybody who cares!

    You told me about the night after your critical review of R. Kelly's performance at Pitchfork ran, one of these women called you at 2 a.m.

    This happens a lot. If you are a good reporter, you are accessible to people and you cannot turn a story off. And that sucks! The number of times since I began this R. Kelly story that I was called in the middle of the night, was talking to someone on Christmas Eve or on New Year's Day or Thanksgiving.... Yeah, I got a call from one of the women after the Pitchfork festival review. "I know we haven't spoken in a long time...," and said thank you for still caring and thank you for writing this story, because nobody gives a shit.

    It was a horrible day and a horrible couple of weeks when he was acquitted. The women I heard from who I'd interviewed, women I'd never interviewed who said, "I didn't come forward, I never spoke to you before, I wish I had now that son of a bitch got off." Jesus Christ. Rape-victim advocates -- I don't believe in God -- they do God's work. These young women who volunteer to be in the emergency room and sit with a woman throughout the horrible process, I don't do that. I'm not saying I'm even in the same universe. But somebody calls you up and says, I want to talk about this or thank you about writing this, or, "I can't sleep because I'm haunted, can you hear what I want to tell you?" We do that as a human being. I would like to forget about this story. I'm not saying I'm Super Reporter. I'm saying this was a huge story. Where was everybody else?

    There is a disregard for your ongoing concern about this. "Let this go, Jim. Get over it, Jim. He was acquitted." You have never dropped this, and your peers are pissed because it puts the rest of us over a barrel. I can speak to this, too. It's often uncool to be the person who gives a shit.

    "You're jealous of R. Kelly, you're trying to make your name off his career."

    Because you would love nothing more than to have to report and carry these stories of rape.

    Rapes, plural. It is on record. Rapes in the dozen. So stop hedging your words and when you tell me what a brilliant ode to pussy Black Panties is, then realize that the next sentence should say: "This, from a man who has committed numerous rapes." The guy was a monster! Just say it! We do have a justice system and he was acquitted. OK, fine. And these other women took the civil-lawsuit route. He was tried on very narrow grounds. He was tried on a 29-minute, 36-second videotape. He was tried on trading child pornography. He was not tried for rape. He was acquitted of making child pornography. He's never been tried in court for rape, but look at the statistics. The numbers of rapes that happened, the numbers of rapes that were reported, the numbers of rapes that make it to court and then the conviction rate. I mean, it comes down to something minuscule. He's never had his day in court as a rapist. It's 15 years in the past now, but this record exists. You have to make a choice, as a listener, if music matters to you as more than mere entertainment. And you and I have spent our entire lives with that conviction. This is not just entertainment, this is our lifeblood. This matters.

    Go to source to read the court files and all of Jim DeRogatis' Sun-Times reporting on the case against R. Kelly.

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    Well, that was fast: The sales of that new Beyoncé album that came out last Friday has already broken an iTunes record or two, Apple has announced.

    The singer’s self-titled “visual album” — which, of course, was available exclusively on iTunes — sold a ridiculous 828,773 copies in just three days, making it the music platform’s fastest selling album ever. The release also broke the U.S. first-week album sales record, with 617,213 units sold in America.

    That shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, though: in addition to being sold only on iTunes, there are no a la carte singles or digital downloads; fans either have to purchase the whole thing or go on living their lives without new Beyoncé music, a fate that was clearly too unthinkable for many.

    Apple reports that the album has gone to No. 1 in 104 countries, which, by the U.S. State Department’s count, is the majority of the world. All of this amounts to Bey’s biggest sales week ever, which will easily give her the No. 1 slot on this week’s Billboard albums chart.

    This will be her fifth straight debut atop the chart. The numbers will also make her the highest-debuting female artist this year, far outpacing the next contender, Katy Perry, whose Prism debuted with 286,000. The last lady musician to gin up sales this big was Taylor Swift, whose Red sold 1.2 million in its first week in November 2012.


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    He's known for his party animal antics, and rarely lets an evening go by without enjoying a night on the town.

    So when it came to Harry Styles celebrating after One Direction's performance on The X Factor final on Sunday night, the 19-year-old singer went all out to mark the occasion.

    Harry was seen leaving One Marylebone after the X Factor wrap party at 3.30am on Monday morning, followed by Meredith Winston - the wife of his close friend and 1D film producer Ben.

    The stunning woman had also been seen arriving with Harry at the nightspot for the celebration, and was seen chatting to both him and bandmate Niall Horan, who attended with his rumoured girlfriend Barbara Palvin.

    It is not clear just how Harry and the pretty female know each other, but they did look pally as they enjoyed the evening out.

    Skärmavbild 2013-12-16 kl. 19.58.46

    The pair were seen deep in conversation inside the party, and left the venue just metres apart from each other.

    The young woman had dressed to impress for the night out, opting for a chic fur-trimmed black suede coat over her dress, teamed with a metallic clutch bag and heels.

    A source close to the star could not identify the woman.

    Meanwhile, Harry went for his usual rocky look with a pair of skinny black jeans and slightly unbuttoned black shirt.

    While the nature of Harry's relationship with the mystery woman remains to be established, the pictures are still unlikely to please his girlfriend Kendall Jenner.

    Harry and reality queen Kendal, also 19, were first romantically linked when they enjoyed a date in Los Angeles in late November.

    They have since been seen together on numerous occasions, the most recent of which saw Harry make a visit to Kendall's hotel in the capital during her flying visit to London.

    But as Harry was seen enjoying the X Factor party with the mystery brunette, Kendall was en route back to Los Angeles - arriving home there in the early hours of Monday morning.

    A source recently told the Daily Star newspaper that Kendall had spent two years plotting to nab Harry before they initially started dating.

    A source close to the family told the paper: 'Kendall wanted to make the move on Harry from day one but she was advised by mutual friends he wouldn't be interested until she turned 18.

    'The reasoning was that while she was below 18, she'd be too close to the age range of 1D's hardcore fans, who are mainly young teens.'

    Prior to dating Kendall, Harry's most famous relationships were with Taylor Swift and Xtra Factor host cougar Caroline Flack.


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    We all know the ‘90s are back, with grunge style appearing on the runways and streets, “Boy Meets World” getting a remake, and the Backstreet Boys releasing a new album. Along with notable fashion, music and TV shows, the ‘90s were a great decade for infamous celebrity couples. Although most of them have now broken up, we still have a soft spot for power duos like Johnny and Kate, Britney and Justin, and even Brad and Jen.

    9. Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe, 1997-2006
    The ultimate Young Hollywood couple – they starred in the dark teen dramedy “Cruel Intentions” together – Witherspoon and Philllippe met at Witherspoon’s 21st birthday party, with Witherspoon reportedly telling Phillippe, "I think you're my birthday present.” They dated, fell in love and married in 1999. They had two children together, Ava and Deacon, and separated in 2006.

    7. David Beckham and Victoria Beckham, 1997 – today(aaaaaaw)
    The only couple on our countdown who are still together today, “Posh & Becks” are the picture of happy domesticity and A-list power. Married in 1999, the couple now have four children, Brooklyn, Romeo, Cruz, and Harper, and are arguably bigger than ever - though they no longer have matching haircuts.

    5. Johnny Depp and Kate Moss, 1994-1998
    The brooding actor and the rock star supermodel: it’s a match made in tabloid heaven. When the four-year relationship (the couple were rumored to have been engaged) ended, it reportedly left Moss heartbroken, with the supermodel later describing their split as “Years and years of crying.” However, she’s also said, “I was lucky to be with Johnny at that stage. He taught me a lot about fame." The two recently reunited to co-star in Paul McCartney’s new music video, “Queenie Eye.”

    2. Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, 1998-2005
    Hollywood’s golden couple seemed like they had it all in the late ‘90s: love, marriage in 2000, and perfect blonde hair. We all know what came next: a messy divorce, cheating rumors, and “Team Aniston” and “Team Jolie.” Although the media portrays them as bitter enemies, Pitt said in a 2009 interview, “We still check in with each other. She was a big part of my life, and me hers.”

    1. Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain, 1991-1994
    The ultimate grunge couple, Courtney Love of Hole and Kurt Cobain of Nirvana were the picture of flannel-wearing, drug-using, creatively supportive love (remember their joint 1992 Sassy magazine cover and its headline, “Ain’t Love Grand?”). The two married in 1992 (with Kurt in pajamas because he was “too lazy to put on a tux”) and their daughter, Frances Bean Cobain, was born later that year. Cobain committed suicide in 1994.

    BONUS: No 90's couples post could be complete without a creepy 90's love song. Swooon.

    FULL LIST at Source: Fashion&Style.

    Which dreamboat celeb did you date in the 90's, ONTD?

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    One of the greatest loves of Colin Farrell's life was over 40 years his senior.
    During a sit-down with Ellen DeGeneres on Monday, the Irish actor, 37, opened up about his unusual and touching relationship with screen icon Elizabeth Taylor, who passed at age 79 in 2011.

    'It was kind of like the last, it feels like in my head, not her, I’m projecting, but the last kind of romantic relationship I had, which was never consummated,' said Colin, who is now starring in Saving Mr Banks.

    It all started when Colin bumped into her team in a hospital.
    'My youngest son was being born,' started the looker who has two sons, James, aged 10, and Henry, aged four.
    'We were in Cedars and I bumped into - it was about an hour before Henry arrived - and I bumped into somebody outside the lift. It was Elizabeth’s manager and her close friend Tim Mendelsohn and they said what are you doing here?'

    Colin - who Eileen Atkins, 70, famously confessed in 2005 had asked her for no-strings attached-sex when they co-starred in Ask The Dust - continued: 'I said my son’s about to be born. They said oh. I said what are you doing here? And they said well Elizabeth’s having a stint put in her heart, it’s no big deal cause she had so much sh** and I said, "Will you tell her I said hello? She probably won't know who I am."

    'And they go, "No, she knows who you are," and I went wow, "Cool. Well, tell her I said hello and I wish her the best" and they said, "Will do,"' recounted the Total Recall star, who has reportedly dated Demi Moore, 51, as well as Britney Spears, Naomi Campbell and Lindsay Lohan.
    'I got home a few days later with Henry and I was thinking about Elizabeth and how she was doing and I called my publicist and I said I bumped into some people of Elizabeth Taylor’s, some friends of hers, could I send her some flowers?' the twice-married star said.

    Colin added, 'And my publicist said that’s funny because I’m looking at and orchid from Elizabeth Taylor for you... I said wow that’s amazing.'
    After several oohs and ahhs from the audience he shared, 'I said, well send that bad boy over to the house.'
    He also noted that the bouquet came with a hand-written note from the acting legend, who appeared in numerous hits such as Giant, Butterfield 8 and Cleopatra, and was married to seven different men (she twice wed English actor Richard Burton).
    'I then cheekily about a week later said, listen is there any chance I can go…can I go and see her?' Colin admitted.

    After his rep made some calls, the two started hanging out. 'That was the beginning of a year and a half or two years of what was a really cool,' he said.

    'I just adored her,' the In Bruges star, who had attended Elizabeth's funeral in 2011 and even read a poem, said.
    'She was a spectacular, spectacular woman.'
    He also touchingly added he wouldn't have minded being her eighth husband: 'I wanted to be number eight but we ran out of road.'

    One of the things the two stars bonded over was their insomnia.
    'She’s wasn’t much of a sleeper at night like I’m not, so at two o’clock in the morning I’d call her,' he let on.
    'She wouldn’t mind me speaking of this because I’d be very careful of you know… I’d call her at two in the morning and the nurse would answer the phone I’d say is she awake?
    'The nurse was like hold on I'll just check and then I’d be on the phone and I'd hear hello? And I’d go how’s it going and we’d talk for a half an hour an hour into the wee hours. Really cool.'

    Ellen, who looked very interested in every detail of Colin's story, several times said, 'Wow.'
    She then joked, 'It makes sense we’re not friends because I go to sleep at like 9:30 or 10 so that’s why you can't call me.'

    In the March 2011 issue of Harper’s Bazaar Elizabeth spoke about Colin in an interview conducted by Kim Kardashian.
    Elizabeth told the reality TV star: ‘I love Johnny Depp, and I love Colin Farrell – both brilliant, nuanced actors with great range.’
    During the interview, Ellen also asked the Winter's Tale actor if it's true he once auditioned for a boy band.
    'What are you laughing at? Acting is only a fall back,' joked the single star.
    'I was 17 or 18 and I was dancing in a nigh club in Dublin in with a pair of leather pants and a nice rubber black t-shirt.'
    When the host asked if he had a picture from that auditioned, he laughed that he would bring it next time he was on the talk show.

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    Nicholas Brody, the Marine and prisoner of war turned sleeper agent turned congressman played by Damian Lewis on “Homeland,” was all but a ghost in the most recent season of this Showtime thriller. Having gone on the run at the end of Season 2, Brody was largely absent from Season 3 — except for one episode, in which he resurfaced in Caracas, Venezuela — and then in the year’s final arc, he proceeded to make up for lost time.

    Retrieved from Caracas by spymaster Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin), Brody was sent by the C.I.A. into Iran with the mission of assassinating the leader of its revolutionary guard. Brody accomplished this mission and was sped away to a safe house by Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), the C.I.A. agent and his sometime lover, where the two of them began to contemplate their future together.

    (This is your last chance to avoid significant spoilers.)

    Instead, Brody was snatched away by Iranian authorities, having been given up by the C.I.A.’s new overlords. He received a speedy trial and was hanged in public while Carrie watched in horror.

    Mr. Lewis, an Emmy Award-winner for his portrayal of Brody, spoke from London on Monday about his final year on “Homeland,” his character’s fate and the next phase of his career. These are edited excerpts from that conversation.

    How are you holding up today?

    I’m very well, thank you. It’s raining in London, which seems appropriate. It’s a sympathetic landscape. The grief from the heavens.

    Were you told at the start of this season what the full trajectory for Brody was going to be?

    Yes. I’d known for some time now. There was a big chunk in the middle where I wasn’t in very much of the season. All that was made clear back in March, April. They were very generous and they freed me to up do other things. So certainly, I’ve known for the better part of the year and it’s been a difficult secret to keep. Only my wife knew. I couldn’t afford to tell anybody.

    This may sound like a preposterous question, but given that this is “Homeland,” is he definitely dead?

    [Laughs] Well, people liked to have a go at “Homeland” occasionally, on the grounds of plausibility. It’s everybody’s favorite show, but occasionally the wool isn’t pulled over everybody’s eyes successfully. If Brody was resurrected somehow, that might just be pushing it too far. But, hey, as 007 himself said, Never say never. In the world of successful TV shows, anything is possible. But I’d be surprised.

    When you were informed yourself, how did you take that news?

    With a mixture of emotions. I loved doing “Homeland,” I loved playing Brody. I’m extremely proud of who we all created together. I think he’s a tragic hero for our time. He himself embodies a cautionary tale, going right back to the beginning, about sending young men to war and the damage it can do. He had brief moments of happiness and glory, but was essentially a very unhappy figure for three years. I enjoyed playing him, but I never expected him to last this long.

    Typically, actors sign on to these serialized shows for a five-year hitch. That wasn’t necessarily guaranteed to you, that you would get a full five years out of this character?

    No, it’s never guaranteed to the actor. The contracts are weighted heavily in favor of the studios, and you are rewarded financially as a result. There is a quid pro quo there. But it’s right — the control of the material must remain with the writers and the studio.

    Brody, it was just unclear from the get-go, how long he would be required for. Certainly, in the conversations I had with ["Homeland" creators Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon], it was intimated to me very strongly that I would only be there for a period of time. They ended up creating such a compelling, unpredictable, sad and ambiguous character who was capable of so much damage — he was able to affect story on such a grand scale. They created a monster that they couldn’t quite control. Sometimes it feels like that to me. The thought of having to continue to write him was too hard, perhaps. It was going to create too much of a challenge. I sympathize with them. Brody’s a very unbalancing force.

    Did you have opportunities to say your goodbyes to co-stars like Claire Danes?

    We all had a little tear in our eye and a lump in our throat in Morocco, on the very last night. That last scene, of Brody’s demise, was shot on our very last night of filming. We were exhausted and emotional by the time we got to 7 in the morning, as the sun was coming up over Rabat. And we said goodbye to each other there, very quickly, very simply. The way that actors cope with these things, you forge friendships and allegiances over a small period of time. But you always hope that you’ll reconnect somewhere down the road. It’s a way of softening those moments, which can be quite traumatic — suddenly saying goodbye to a whole family that you’ve created.

    That scene was terrifying to watch. Was it as frightening to film it?

    It was terrifying, actually. I had tried hard not to engage too much with the idea of staging my own execution. [Laughs] That might have kept me up. But certainly as we got there and saw the crane in front of the square, they had hired about 200 local extras and they were chanting and banging the car as I came through the crowds. Looking at the crowd, cheering and baying for your blood, all around you, it was very unsettling. Claire chose not to watch it, I don’t think, until she had to. But “Homeland” has never pretended to be a comedy.

    You’ve gained so much stature in American television from doing “Homeland.” Now that you have a little more time on your hands, will you continue to work in American TV?

    In some ways, the process hasn’t really changed. The same thing happened to me after “Band of Brothers.” You finish a great job, and you take the best job that’s put in front of you. The whole point is to keep working on good material, with people who are brilliantly talented. That’s what was so fun about “Homeland.” I have no idea what will come my way.

    Have you gotten the phone call yet from “Downton Abbey”?

    [Laughs] No, no one’s asked me to put a top hat or a tailcoat on yet. Although I do know Julian [Fellowes, the "Downton Abbey" creator] quite well. Maybe he’ll call, and I’ll play an American on “Downton Abbey.” Maybe I could be Elizabeth McGovern’s American lover or something.


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