• Paul McCartney Out There Tour 2013

    Thu. July 31

    Paul McCartney, Still on the Run at 72

    Mark Tapson

    I remember when rock was young, as Elton John sang, so young that no one could even imagine a rock star being over the age of 30. The very thought of someone that old still pumping out power chords onstage would have seemed ludicrous to my generation. Speaking of “My Generation,” The Who’s lyric “I hope I die before I get old” was our creed; and then, to the consternation of us all, we got older, and today some of those early rockers (at least those who didn’t die before they got old) are still playing sold-out tours—like Sir Paul McCartney.

    Macca needs—or should need—no introduction to anyone who hasn’t been in a coma for the last fifty years. In an industry in which careers come and go like shooting stars, the 72-year-old has worked steadily for half a century and is currently on tour again, putting on…

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    Music

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  • mafs-cortney-jason-wedding-4-P

    Thu. July 31

    First Comes Marriage…

    Abby W. Schachter

    The newly rebranded cable channel FYI (formerly Bio), is upping the ante when it comes to unrealistic reality television. Instead of a show about competitive courtship that culminates in a marriage proposal—a la ABC’s The Bachelor and The Bachelorette—viewers can tune in for a courtship that starts with a wedding.

    In Married at First Sight three couples are paired up by experts—sexologist Dr. Logan Levkoff, spiritualist Greg Epstein, psychologist Dr. Joseph Cilona, and sociologist Dr. Pepper Schwartz—using some kind of supposedly scientific mating formula to decide which of six singles should marry each other. The point, according to the show’s description is to take “brave” souls who’ve yet to meet their perfect match and find that person for them, have them marry the first time they meet, and record the results for its entertainment value. Over the course of the season, viewers “will follow the classic lifestyle…

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    Culture, Television

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  • laverne30f-1-web (1)

    Thu. July 31

    In Defense of Transgenderism

    Erin Vargo

    Last week, an Australian model, Andreja Pejic, came out as transgender, adding her name to a burgeoning list of beautiful women (Carmen Carrera, Geena Rocero, Isis King) formerly known as men. It was noteworthy not only because Ms. Pejic has graced the covers of Elle and French Vogue, but also because she has now made the complete transition from her former gender. She will only be modeling women’s clothing from this point forward.

    Previously this year, I wrote an article criticizing the media for their obsession with gender bending, specifically as it related to Johnny Weir’s extravagant hat at the Kentucky Derby. I stand by my argument in defense of femininity: “In the human world, unlike in the animal kingdom, women are the decorative ones. Our potential for beauty is our specialness. It is our power in the process of evolution… Women and men should not be compared.”

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    Culture

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  • true-blood-season-4

    Wed. July 30

    “True Blood” and Misogyny

    Mark Tapson

    When it comes to explicit sex and violence on television these days, Game of Thrones probably leaps first to mind, but it would be difficult to find a show that pushes those boundaries further than True Blood, HBO’s sex-and-gore-soaked soap opera about small-town Southern vampires. It would also be hard to find a show that aims more vile and violent vitriol at women.

    True Blood was brought to the small screen by writer/producer Alan Ball, who scored big with the Oscar-winning American Beauty, his melodramatic vision of middle-class America as a prison of dysfunction and hypocrisy. Ball’s antipathy to the right is well-known; he called, for example, the bogeyman of a Republican theocracy in America “way more terrifying than any fictional monster could ever be.” The show persistently denigrates right-wing stereotypes, and even though Ball left True Blood just before this final season, it seems to be carrying on…

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    Culture, Television

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  • Baton Rouge, LA

    Wed. July 30

    Where the Happy People Are

    Abby W. Schachter

    There’s an old Talmudic saying meshane makom meshane mazal, meaning a change of place changes your luck. Perhaps those living in New York City, which new research shows is the unhappiest city in America, will want to heed this adage and move.

    To begin with the researchers—Harvard professor Edward Glaeser, Vancouver School of Economics professor Joshua Gottlieb, and Harvard doctoral student Oren Ziv—collected data from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey called The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, and then adjusted it for age, sex, race, income, and other factors. The result is a list of 177 metro areas ranked from miserable to altogether satisfied.

    Now, if you’ve ever lived in New York City, the results won’t surprise you. But one Manhattanite was surprised by which city came in at number 2 for the unhappiest, as was I. It was Pittsburgh, which is the city I…

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    Culture

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  • 100392204

    Tue. July 29

    Kids and TV: How Much is Too Much?

    Ashley E. McGuire

    The other day, in a moment of type-A parenting neurosis, I did a Google search on the recommended limits on toddler television. I let my daughter watch two, twenty-two minute episodes of T.V. a day (sue me), and I needed my monthly reminder that I was not destroying her brain or life chances at becoming a corporate CEO or a world-class violinist.

    I wound up wasting my entire forty-four minutes of mommy time reading a million articles that scaremonger parents about letting their kids spend time in front of the boob tube.

    The first thing I learned was actually kind of horrifying. The average American toddler watches 32 hours of television a week. That comes to over 4.5 hour a day. Once you account for eating and sleeping, that is basically half of a toddler’s waking hours.

    Not surprisingly, over-exposure to television is dramatically more pronounced in low-income and single-parent…

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    Culture, Television

    1 Comment

  • breaking-bad-all-characters

    Tue. July 29

    Why We Need Dark Television Shows

    Julia Shaw

    Over the past ten years, my favorite television shows have been the darkest ones on television. Deadwood, Luther, The Wire, Breaking Bad, and True Detective are at the top of my list. These shows are violent dramas, detective shows, or focus on political questions. They are among the most morally serious shows on television.

    I do not share Ashley McGuire’s lament against dark television shows. True, the 1990s featured flighty television shows. But counterbalancing those silly shows were some incredibly dark movies: Se7en, Fight Club, Eyes Wide Shut, Fargo, Schindler’s List, Silence of the Lambs, L.A. Confidential, American Beauty. Several of these movies won Oscars.

    Today, we are still are inundated with silly, meaningless television shows (reality shows anyone?) But thankfully, television has also improved.  Indeed, movie stars and major directors have taken their skills to television. Television in many ways is the new serial novel.…

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    Television

    1 Comment

  • "The Leftovers" New York Premiere

    Mon. July 28

    Justin Theroux On Political Correctness

    Mark Tapson

    Many people only know Justin Theroux, if they know his name at all, as the future Mr. Jennifer Aniston. They probably don’t realize that he’s a successful actor in his own right, with a résumé ranging from comedies like Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion and Zoolander to much creepier fare like American Psycho and Mulholland Drive. They are almost certainly unaware that he is a screenwriter as well, whose credits include Iron Man 2, Rock of Ages, and Tropic Thunder. But if he can make an impact with his newest project, with which he hopes to tear down the walls of political correctness, he might become a household name.

    Theroux is no stranger to testing the boundaries of PC. Tropic Thunder featured Robert Downey. Jr. essentially performing in blackface (technically speaking, Downey’s character, an actor, underwent “pigmentation alteration” for his role as the black sergeant). In…

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    Culture

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  • Film Review Wish I Was Here

    Mon. July 28

    Zach Braff’s “Wish I Was Here”: Manhood, Maturity, and Mortality

    R. J. Moeller

    There are some films of our modern age that give off the feeling that the director selected the melancholy, obscure soundtrack before a single stroke of the screenwriter’s pen struck the paper. This is probably because screenwriters no longer use pen and paper, choosing instead to craft their narrative on a MacBook loaded with the type of calculated iTunes playlists they hope someone else overhears and asks something like, “Who is that band? I’ve never heard them before.”

    Visions of Wes Anderson in a suede jacket with elbow patches ought to be dancing in your head right now.

    Zach Braff’s 2004 Indie hit Garden State is definitely one of those films, but one that, in this reviewer’s opinion, largely held up when it came to things like story and heart. Despite the movie’s glaring “See how cool Zach’s taste in music is!” moments, I thoroughly enjoyed Garden State…

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    Movies

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  • 80716122

    Fri. July 25

    Horror Movies for the Rest of Us

    Mark Hemingway

    For the last decade or so, we’ve been in the midst of a horror movie revival. It seems that every other week brings a new fright flick to the multiplex. Already this year we’ve had another Paranormal Activity sequel, Holy Ghost People, The Sacrament, Haunt, In Fear, Afflicted, The Borderlands, Oculus, Something Wicked, The Quiet Ones, Stage Fright, Wolf Creek 2, Delivery, Beneath, and many more forgettable films that have already bounced  in and out of theaters.

    Obviously, I don’t care much for this horror revival.  It’s not that I don’t like horror. Quite the contrary—some of my best movie memories as a teenager involve horror films. And I’ve read more trashy paperbacks of the sort you find on the really great blog “Too Much Horror Fiction” than I care to admit.

    But I have a simple two-part litmus test for the horror genre…

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    Movies

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