by Jac Kern
Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings
Miley Cyrus kicked off her Bangerz tour in expected fashion: with a
mini-Britney, a gigantic phallic hot dog, the return of the infamous foam
finger and Miley entering the stage via a giant Miley head, sliding down a giant Miley tongue. Here’s a look at this recent performance of “Party in the USA,” basically a
children’s patriotic school play, if said children drank a bathtub full of
molly-laced Kool-Aid first.
Side note: This is what U.S. History class will look like in 2064.
We’re more than halfway through the Olympics and the U.S. is currently
in third place for medal standings
with 23 medals —the most decorated country at this point.
There have been some ups and downs: Superstars Shaun White and Shani
Davis failed to attain medals and other U.S. favorites scored much lower than expected. But history was made with Charlie White and Meryl Davis winning the first U.S.
gold in Olympic ice dancing; bobsledder Steven Holcomb again broke a 62-year
losing streak for the States (he and Steve Langton won bronze in the two-man
race, medaling for the first time since 1952; Holcomb in 2010 also led his
four-man sled team to the country’s first medal in that event in 62 years); and the U.S. commanded the podium for
men’s ski slopestyle as Americans Joss Christensen, Gus
Kenworthy and Nick Goepper took home the gold, silver and bronze, respectively.
The best spectacle came on the ice rink, though. Is that any surprise? With
music, dancing and sparkly costumes, the other sports just don’t compete when
it comes to entertainment. Retired ice princess Johnny Weir hasn’t missed a step with his
flawless looks while providing figure skating commentary for NBC — Gawker has
been on Weir Watch, documenting his sassiest
ensembles and accessories.
Is anyone else kicking themselves for having just discovered Russian
skating god Evgeni Plushenko? The highly decorated figure skater embarked on
his fourth Olympics in Sochi this year after undergoing surgery on his spine in
early 2013. Plush won Russia’s first gold at the games, competing in two team
events before kicking off the figure skating short program. Sadly — and right after
NBC aired an amazing reel on Plush and his very interesting history — the
skater injured himself during practice, just before he was about to compete.
Plush withdrew from the event, retiring from his sport effective immediately.
So this kind of thing happens all the time with athletes who push their
bodies to the limit. But Plushenko is more than just a talented skater. He was
a presence — with “top three in Russian woman” wife —
as this now-viral showcase (aka not a competition) performance proves.
And finally we have The Faces of Figure Skating, which pretty much
speaks for itself.
This dude is a dead-ringer for David Wain seeing a pair of boobs for the first time.You know that Crystal Head vodka that comes in a cool glass skull? Well,
fun fact, Dan Aykroyd founded the company, and some scientists created a face
based on the “skull’s” dimension. Here’s what it would look like if the Crystal
Head was a real guy:Jimmy Fallon took over The Tonight Show hosting duties Monday and it’s
already clear fans of his Late Night
jokes, skits and recurring bits can expect just about the same from his new
show and time slot. A cavalcade of celebrities
welcomed Fallon on Monday, with Lindsay Lohan, Rudy Giuliani, Lady Gaga and
other famous New Yorkers paying up as if they lost a bet that he’d never take
over Tonight. Fallon’s first guest
was Will Smith who, along with Jimmy, schooled us on the Evolution of Hip-Hop Dancing.
I also finally discovered that The Roots, when introducing Fallon, aren’t just yelling random numbers (I thought they were area code shout outs?), which
became clear when ?uestlove enthusiastically shouted, “One!” at the start of the
Fallon’s gonna kill it. So it’s definitely appropriate that his original
Saturday Night Live audition tape is
making its rounds. Spoiler Alert: Jimmy is a baby and auditioning for SNL appears to be the most terrifying
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Five years after its launch, Spotify remains at the center of the "to stream or not to stream" controversy, Scott Stapp of Creed's new solo single is "Slow Suicide" (not being a dick — that's what it's called!) and two generations of Pop stars take different approaches in their online feuding.
by Jac Kern
Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings
Miley Cyrus hosted and performed on Saturday
Night Live this weekend and I have to admit — she rocked it. You have to
give it to the writers for coming up with some original ways to incorporate her
recent now-ubiquitous scandals (VMAs, buzzworthy music videos, ever-exposed
tongue), but MiCy deserves some credit, too.
Bitch may be feuding with Sinead O’Connor
and giving twerking a bad name, but she is definitely a solid performer. The weak skits of the night (How
dare SNL make a failed attempt at a
cheerleader sketch when we all know the Spartans
can never be topped? Too soon!) flopped because of poor ideas or shoddy
writing, not due to Miley’s lack of acting skills. The trend so far this year is the
best skits being prerecorded ones (the Girls
spoof with Tina Fey, this week's
Fifty Shades of Grey auditions),
which kind of defeats the purpose of it being a live show. Nonetheless, the No. 1 sketch of the night perfectly
blended a Miley earbug with the government shutdown: “We Did Stop.”
Meanwhile, Nori West is racking up finer garments
before her fourth month on Earth
(FOR FREE) than the rest of us can probably ever imagine owning. In our adult lives.
In Case You Missed It: Dumb and
Dumber To is actually happening. Not to be confused with the cringe-worthy
2003 prequel Dumb and Dumberer: When
Harry Met Lloyd (which I totally saw in theaters the day it opened), this Farrelly Brothers sequel will feature OG stars Jim
Carrey (Lloyd Christmas) and Jeff Daniels (Harry Dunne) picking up 20 years
after the duo’s last adventure. In D&D2,
which currently has an unspecified 2014 release date, one of the guys has a
long-lost offspring, and they both embark on a journey to find the child in
hopes of attaining a new kidney. Kathleen Turner will play Fraida Felcher, a
character mentioned but never seen in two scenes of the original (Below). Sounds like she's the baby mama. And
SPOILER ALERT: Jennifer Lawrence
will make a surprise cameo as a young Fraida. Hopefully we’ll get to see the
French Tickler in action. Billy the blind kid and Sea Bass will also return,
played by their respective original actors.
And because behind-the-scenes movie peeks are so fun, here’s Quvenzhane
Wallis on the set of Annie
with her near-identical stunt double who
is at least three times Q’s age. The Jay Z and Will Smith-produced remake, due
in theaters during Christmastime next year, will also star Jamie Foxx in the
Daddy Warbucks role, appropriately renamed “Benjamin Stacks.”
Although it’s been 13 years since Freaks
and Geeks originally graced our television screens, longtime fans and
newcomers discovering the fantastic series on Netflix or IFC can now experience
McKinley High in a whole new way. The Fine Brothers, Internet creatives behind
the popular React series, developed a Freak and Geeks
choose-your-own-adventure game that combines great television, old-school video
games and your inner 10-year-old’s favorite genre of books. Players can
actually click on different choices in the YouTube video, leading them to new
videos based on their selections. Play now!
Watch what you say to Siri: That robot voice on your phone is
actually a real lady!
Recently, we learned Lisa Frank is an actual, live human.
Next up: Siri. Voice actress Susan Bennett has come forward as the woman behind
the mysterious personal assistant living inside newer Apple mobile devices. The
recent Apple software update iOS 7 gives users the option of a new “male” Siri
voice, prompting Bennett to reveal Siri’s original real-life counterpart. Meet
Check out these cool paintings on coins:
by Zohair Hussain
As readers' interests shift, integrity seems to lose its main market in reporting
week’s “scandal” at the MTV Video Music Awards, the pacing of news and
reporting made itself known as a speed force to be reckoned with. In the minute-by-minute duration and aftermath of the performance of one, Miley Cyrus, and
her “partner in crime”, Robin Thicke, new age media came together to do what it
does best: twitter our feed with dribble and spit-up commentary.
It can’t be
denied that news reporting, in many ways, is stepping further away from hard
facts and closer to tabloid gossip. In a day and age where Twitter is the new paperboy,
it can’t be denied that the facts are coming faster. And while this could be an opportunity for better news, more quickly, more often than not we’re
trading chances for quick links to real stories with 140 character quips on
MC-Hammer-like “did you see her butt”s (#chauvanistsforCyrus).
disappointment comes, though, when we look to major media outlets (Still
trusted by some. Take off the aluminum hat, Johnny.) the next day for
hard-hitting news, only to see that they’ve decided to throw their own hats in
the ring. With prize-winning headlines such as CNN’s “Miley Cyrus twerks,
stuns VMAs crowd,” the morning news was just as obsessed as the evening
reporter, a writer, an observer, this obsessive, sprawling focus is what scares
me most. It isn’t the performance itself, full of dancers dressed as teddy bears or Cyrus’ gyrating hips on Thicke’s overly hyped crotch (See “Blurred
Lines” for more details). It isn’t so much the event that took place, as it was
the reactive reports that left an extra, bitter after taste to my morning
reporting, perceived to have more lenient, pop-culture laced subject
matter, used to hold itself to similar standards of respectful re-tellings of
facts rather than fiction. Though there had once been a clear distinction
between opinion pieces and news articles, even in the realm of aesthetic focus,
the lines are suddenly more blurred than ever. And where does that leave us,
the “responsible” voices?
in many ways, defined by the voices that carry out its most essential
conversations. If we are of the few so lucky as to have a readership, our words
carry the weight of decades of said cultural insight and historical backing.
What do we have to say for ourselves when these words, our influence, sacrifice
authenticity for celebrity? Integrity for popularity? What are we really
accomplishing when we re-draw the line between honest reporting and
scandalized, gossip mongering, and honest words inch closer to the latter? What
would our (fore)mothers say?
to say that there aren’t some voices, some news outlets out there, who aren’t
doing it right. While most couldn’t look away from Cyrus’ extended tongue
(search “Venom” and “Marvel Comics” for more details), The Guardian, for
example, wouldn’t look past the more subtly digressive implications of the
performance. Did you miss the moment where the young, stage-dominant, Caucasian
Miley Cyrus groped her not so white back up dancers? (The
Some took an even more seasoned route, using
temperance techniques to stop the sensational train in its tracks. In Rolling Stone's
initially deceptive write up, “It's Miley, Bitch: The Tongue
That Licked the World”, Rob Sheffield gave a more balanced account of the 2013
Video Music Awards, mentioning Cyrus almost in passing, and spending his time
taking equal shots at all the stars involved in what he said was MTV’s attempt
to make “sure this year’s VMA party was a real show. With a little help from
I ask again: What are we
creating when we allow objectivity to bend to the will of popular demand,
asking for glitter and jazz and sensationalized headlines? Nothing. We are
creating a secular sinkhole of informational access.
We lead our readers right back where they started.
says to me that there must be a change made. The truth is, we CAN stop. If we
Why can’t we create insight, rather than propagate fan
mongering, rather than cling to one star's fateful decision to wear her teddy
bear out that night? Let the reporters report and the readers decide. It’s now
or never. Robin Thicke will age (even more so, it seems) Miley Cyrus will
find Disney again (and a few more times after that), “Blurred Lines” will find
its way off the Billboard charts (catchy can only be caught for so long), but
the honest word —that will last for…at least a few more years.
5 Comments · Wednesday, September 4, 2013
I’m not saying whites can’t and shouldn’t
keep recording Blues, Hip Hop, Jazz, Gospel or they should quit
appropriating black African influences. Please. Keep it up. Let’s us know we’re alive and that we were here. Just stay in your lane.
by Jac Kern
Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings
Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards melted the face off the Internet, so if
you’re still trying to form an opinion and sift through gif reactions, or you’re
one of those people pretending you don’t know what the VMAs are — the Moonman
has been around since 1983 and the VMAs have been pooping out
pseudo-controversy for just as long. You know what they are. Sit back down — don’t worry, momma’s here.
If you really don’t watch the VMAs, it’s important to understand that the V and A do not
matter — MTV rarely plays music videos, as we all know, and no one ever
remembers who actually wins the Mooman by the end of the night. The respected
academy of critics are teens who vote for whichever marginally talented star tweets
the most. You watch for the pop culture experience — whether it’s Fiona Apple’s
“bullshit” acceptance speech, the Britney-Madonna kiss or Beyonce’s baby bump
announcement, crazy shit goes down at the VMAs. And this year was no different.
The big draw of the night was Lady Gaga’s big comeback. It’s been two
years since a big performance and release, and Mama Monster also is back from a
hip injury that kept her out of the public eye for a bit. Gaga opened the show
with her new single, “Applause,” which was welcomed by audience boos (those
turned out to be staged. Gaga — go figure.). The performance looked like some
kind of jazzy, art school, off-broadway number, complete with dudes in leotards and onstage
weave and costume changes, ending in LG in a big ass brown curly wig, a mermaid
shell bra and thong. Her body was siiiiick
(eat it, haters) and it was nice to see her look/act like a human — this is not the
meat dress-wearing, alien goth princess, Jo Calderone Gaga. This is ARTPOP
Artists.MTV, Music, Lady
She seemed a little more down-to-earth, if that’s possible? Like she was
having fun, and not taking it too seriously. Which is good, because her new
song is in a fucking Kia commercial.
Next up is the kind of moment that makes careers
and ends presidencies. Just kidding. It’s just Miley! So I (like every human
with access to the Internet) detailed my roller coaster of emotions when I first
watched Miley Cyrus’ video “We Can’t Stop.” And I must say, I have no problem
with MiCy growing up and changing directions. Alternatively, I have no problem with her being a completely fake, manufactured product (cut to Lady Gaga —Government Name: Stefani Germanotta — looking like the normal girl she
actually was less than a decade ago, on an episode of Boiling
Points. Most pop stars were once Hannah Montanas before their producers gave them "molly"
and a rejected Rihanna beat, OK?). I have no qualms with her getting an fierce
haircut and wearing denim diaper shorts and
juxtaposing her former good girl image with her current hot lady looks. But there's a difference between shifting
from Country to Pop or Disney kid to edgy starlet and purposefully quashing
your saccharine image by motorboating a woman's thonged butt on TV just for the
shock factor. I see you Miley, and I will not respond to you.
One note I must make about the performance is Miley did share the
spotlight with the black chicks from her "We Can't Stop" video. (Side note: those giant bear
backpack apparatuses they’re wearing look really heavy!) Many critics of the
vid questioned why these “friends” only appeared in one scene of the video,
when she appears to be so immersed in black culture throughout (See: Conversation
on cultural appropriation
I’m not prepared to start here). Once Miley was done assaulting her backup
dancers, rubbing her fur-covered crotch and definitely not lip synching (for
better or worse), the two songs that had everyone clutching their pearls this
year came to an uncomfortable head as Robin Thicke made his way onstage.
Thicke’s video for “Blurred Lines” sparked up just as much controversy
as Miley’s in recent months. From scantily-clad models (plus a naked one in the
uncensored version) to lyrics like “I know you want it” — plus dumb hastags
all over the place — there were bound to be some haters. But, doesn’t that
description sound comparable if not tamer than nearly any popular music video
circulating right now? Now, I can understand the concern about the subject of
“blurred lines” when there is so much right-wing bullshit about rape culture
going on right now. But the video came out in March, and it wasn’t until
recently, once a few people started writing about their disapproval, that other
folks started recycling these opinions and making parody videos that completely
miss the point. Look, I’ve got a soft spot for Robin Thicke. He started off more
than a decade ago as an R&B singer — he’s got a smooth-as-a-baby’s-butt
voice so of course his songs are
going to be sexual and of course some of his videos are going to feature sexy
girls. He’s married to actress Paula Patton, whom he’s been with since he was
16. They have an adorable son named Julian Fuego. If anything, Miley would corrupt him!
So Miley rips off her PedoBear onesie to reveal the two-piece from the
“Blurred Lines” video and everyone realizes yes, she’s going there. The world
looked on in sheer terror as she twerked every which way upon Thicke, stroking
him and herself with a We’re No. 1 finger you see at hockey games. Miley’s butt
looked really scary and Robin looked like Beetlejuice.
Let’s all cleanse ourselves by looking back on Thicke’s earlier, hairier years.
One actual quality performance of the night came from Justin Timberlake.
Sure, he’s ubiquitous, but damn, the dude is talented. JT sang and danced his
way across every stage in the Barclays Center, never missing a beat or breath, touching on
hits from all throughout his career. Naturally, everyone was waiting for the
anticipated *NSYNC reunion, and every time a cluster of male back-up dancers
rushed onstage, I thought that was the moment. Finally, four shadowy figures
emerged from an illuminated stage, and Justin joined them in the center.
I hate to be a spoilsport, but, *NSYNC, you’re tearin’ up my heart. Nearly any
millennial Pop lover was either a Backstreet Boy or *NSYNC fan, and I was
more of an *NSYNC girl. Nevertheless, when I recently had the opportunity to
attend the BSB reunion concert of PNC Pavilion, you better believe I screamed
my lungs out with the rest of the crowds of pathetic women. I had to hand it to
the ‘Boys — they looked more attractive as 40-year-olds than they did 20 years
ago! They were in shape, still had their chops and were really good sports
about it. The concert really was a fun time. So when I saw an overweight,
wobbling Chris Kirkpatrick struggling to pull his jacket over his tummy, I
could not focus on anything else. A single tear ran down my cheek. And why the
hell, of all songs to play during this rare moment, would they sing
“Girlfriend?!” I still love you, *NSYNC, but reunion wasted, in my opinion.
VMA, Artists.MTV, Music, Justin
More stuff: This picture is NOT the Smith family reacting to that Miley mess I
just recounted. This is a still taken during Gaga’s performance and it’s not
even an accurate reaction, so stop sharing it, ya losers.
Drake, Bruno Mars, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Kanye also performed,
and no one is going to say anything about that. Drake reminds me of a dinosaur
and his song was really boring. Kanye performed in a shadow in front of a
screen cuz he’s a dad now and he can’t be bothered with camera close-ups, guys.
The camera cut away to reaction shots from Taylor Swift so often, she should be credited as a co-host. Good god.
Katy Perry’s new song "Roar" ended the night with a boxing-themed performance
by the Brooklyn Bridge, but it seems like everyone was too busy freaking out about
Miley to notice. It was pretty fun, but apparently it sounds a lot like Sara
VMA, Artists.MTV, Music, Katy Perry
news, even D-list celebs, Like Dharma & Greg’s Thomas Gibson can get
Breaking Bad’s Anna Gun (Skyler White) wrote a New York Times op-ed about how everybody
HATES her — or at least the character she plays — any how this widespread
abomination doesn’t seem to carry over to male characters on television.
"Beauty and the Beat?"
In his latest video, my newest hero Todrick Hall takes it to the next level and
tells the story of Cinderella using the music of Beyoncé. Rupaul’s Drag Race star Shangela plays the fairy god mother.
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 28, 2013
FRIDAY AUG. 23: Fascism is a scary word that most people
think was invented in Germany to try to exterminate a race of people and
make everyone left drive shitty cars. In turn, it is not the most
interesting subject to conservative Americans.
by Jac Kern
Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings
James Gandolfini, who rose to icon status with his leading role in The
Sopranos, died Wednesday in Italy from a heart attack. He was 51 years old.
Holsten’s, the New Jersey ice cream shop featured in the final scene of the legendary
television series’ finale, paid tribute to Gandolfini by reserving the booth where
he and his on-screen family filmed their last shot. Let’s remember Tony Soprano
by watching this 2002 clip of Jim on Sesame
Street, where he talks to Zoe about how it’s OK to feel scared sometimes.
are no strangers to harsh public scrutiny – just ask Miss Utah USA, Marissa
Powell. But most contestants don’t have to worry
about being criticized for being too cute. At the 25th annual
World’s Ugliest Dog Contest in Petaluma, Calif., freaky is fabulous. You’ll
find everything from hairless, cross-eyed mutts with missing body parts to
patchy, freckled pooches with potbellies and snaggleteeth. The Chinese crested,
seen here, is an iconic “Ugly” dog with features often exhibited by this
contest’s winner — but not this year. Pictured: a NOT UGLY ENOUGH DOGThis weekend, Walle, a “late entry” 4-year-old beagle-boxer-basset mix, won the
crowd over with his gigantic head (ugly?), the hump on his back (ugly?) and the ability to sit upright on
his butt (ugly?!). Like Potter Stewart, when it comes to ugly, I know it when I
see it and I ain’t seein’ it. Sashay away, Walle. You’re too pretty for this
What do you get
when you cross the egotistical prince of Hip Hop with a beloved stylistic
filmmaker? Kanye Wes.
Molly Miley Cyrus’
evolution into full-on festival groupie/Tumblr chick is complete. Check out her
new vid for “We Can’t Stop,” featuring cameos by taxidermy, a My Size Barbie, Pepto-Bismol blood, smoke bomb crotches and a hot dog piñata:
#WHATISHAPPENING Noisey raises some
“important questions” about the video
since it is both impossible and futile to even form an opinion about it. All I
know is Miley’s fervent ass shaking/slapping and non-drug references are making
me totally uncomfortable. Just a few years ago I relied on older friends to
explain drug stuff to me and now I’m feeling totally weirded out by Miley and
her rolling (or whatever the term is now), twerking, thumb-sucking friends.
Yet, I can’t stop…watching this freaky
mess over and over!
Is your stockpile of
Twinkies starting to dwindle? Fear not, Tallahassee,
because select Hostess snacks are set to be back on store shelves July 15.
& Co. and Apollo Global Management teamed up to buy Twinkies, CupCakes,
Donettes and other Hostess cakes so we can continue to fill our bodies with
preservative-rich baked goods for years to come.
The Steve Jobs
biopic starring Ashton Kutcher is in theaters Aug. 16. Check out the new
Ashton’s Steve Jobs
is legit but, so help me God, if I have to hear that Macklemore & Ryan
Lewis song one more time…
Nik Wallenda crossed a gorge near the Grand Canyon on live television Sunday,
walking 1,500 feet above the ground on a two-inch cable, and didn’t fall to his
death. Good job, Nik! Wallenda comes from a family of tightrope walkers — his great-grandfather
Karl Wallenda, born in Germany in 1905, began performing at age 6. Nik became
the first person to cross Niagra Falls on a high wire last June and Sunday’s
stunt gave him the title as the first aerialist to walk directly over the Little
Colorado River Gorge. There weren’t any harnesses, cables or safety nets — just
a pole to hold for balance. Wallenda prayed loudly to Jesus throughout the
23-minute spectacle. At the peak of the gorge crossing, 13 million viewers tuned in either on TV or online, a staggering number compared to the 2.7
million who tuned into the game-changing Mad
Men finale also on Sunday night (the series’ biggest audience ever). Why do people watch this stuff? It's kind of sick, even if there's a 10-second body splatter insurance delay. :'( :'( :'(
1 Comment · Wednesday, February 13, 2013
WEDNESDAY FEB. 6
Everyone knows that grocery shopping
sucks, but that if you eat out too many times in a row you start
wondering if your parents would call you a loser or feel bad for you if
0 Comments · Tuesday, July 19, 2011
It was announced that Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Lil Wayne have been nominated for possible induction into the International Bowling Hall of Fame. (Kim Kardashian, Michael Jordan and the only people who make logical sense, Jeff Bridges and Bill Murray, are also up for the esteemed honor.)