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  • Posted 11/23/14 at 9:02 PM
  • Art

26 Female Artists on Lynda Benglis (NSFW)

If you are a young or emergent artist working today, there’s a pretty good chance you hadn’t even been born when Lynda Benglis published her infamously naughty ad in Artforum in November 1974. The legendary work turns 40 this month, and we reached out to 26 female artists — some working in 1974, some born since — to ask what they made of it then, what it means to them now, and how, if at all, they thought the state of gender politics in the art world has changed in the years since.

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Vulture's 2014 Pop-Culture Gift Guide

Find something for every art and culture obsessive on your list with this selection of books, Blu-Rays, albums, and a couple of big-ticket oddballs we couldn't help but throw in. Click into the gallery ahead to find a toaster for a hardcore Star Wars fanatic, an affordable Raymond Pettibon, and more.

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The Strange Intimacy of ‘Serial’

My wife Heather and I are both avid listeners of "Serial," the NPR podcast that reinvestigates a 1999 murder in Woodlawn, Maryland — just a few miles from Baltimore, where, as it happens, we live. A couple of weeks ago Heather had to take a medical licensing exam at an office park in Woodlawn itself, and as we drove out we realized we were passing through the show's geography. Our car suddenly became very grave. "So this is it," I said as we went through Leakin Park, where the victim's body had been discovered, and I realized my voice sounded solemn, a little church-y. We had our eyes out — everything seemed like it could be tinged with significance — the basic sociocultural advertising of the place, the size of the high school, and the dimensions of its roads (which figure in the murder). How shady was it, how safe, how diverse? I mean, ridiculous, right? What a couple of big-eyed yuppie weirdos. But of course this put us not so far from the style of the show's producer, narrator, and star, Sarah Koenig, who plays herself as a kind of amiable, obsessed doofus who troops through Woodlawn, a place she doesn't really know, looking for truths about the place and its inhabitants that the natives might have missed, in the hopes that she might right a wrong.

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Mockingjay Director Francis Lawrence on Reworking Philip Seymour Hoffman's Part and Getting His Star To Sing

When it came time to decide where exactly to split the third installment of The Hunger Games trilogy so that one book could be two films, director Francis Lawrence said it came down to understanding that Mockingjay had "two separate stories, and two very distinct dramatic questions." The first one involves Katniss finally understanding that "she means something to the rest of the world," and taking on the responsibility of her role in the revolution, at least as far as the propaganda war is concerned between the Capital and the rebel force that rescued her from the arena at the end of Catching Fire. ("Whereas the next one is Katniss saying, 'I'm going after President Snow,'" Lawrence said. "The quest to kill Snow is the second story.") Lawrence chatted with Vulture about his own propaganda campaign, why his leading lady cried on set, and who replaced Philip Seymour Hoffman when the actor died before completing all of his scenes.

"There's a blunt, almost awkward honesty that comes from her that is really charming." »

  • Posted 11/23/14 at 8:00 PM
  • Books

The Strand’s Stand: How It Keeps Going in the Age of Amazon

Walk into the Strand Book Store, at East 12th and Broadway, and the retail experience you’ll have is unexpectedly contemporary. The walls are white, the lighting bright; crisp red signage is visible at every turn. The main floor is bustling, and the store now employs merchandising experts to refine its traffic flow and make sure that prime display space goes to stuff that’s selling. Whereas you can leave a Barnes & Noble feeling numbed, particularly if a clerk directs you to Gardening when you ask for Leaves of Grass, the Strand is simply a warmer place for readers.

In the middle of the room, though, is a big concrete column holding up the building, and it looks … wrong. It’s painted gray, and not a soft designer gray but some dead color like you’d see on a basement floor. Crudely stenciled signs reading BOOKS SHIPPED ANYWHERE are tacked to it. Bookcases surround the column, and they’re beat to hell, their finish nearly black with age.

This tableau was left intact when the store was renovated in 2003. Until then, the Strand had been a beloved, indispensable, and physically grim place. Like a lot of businesses that had hung on through the FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD years, it looked broken-down and patched-up. The bathroom was even dirtier than the one in the Astor Place subway. You got the feeling that a lot of books had been on the shelves for years. The ceiling was dark with the exhalations from a million Chesterfields. There were mice. People arriving with review copies to sell received an escort to the basement after a guard’s bellow: “Books to go down!” It was an experience that, once you adjusted to its sourness, you might appreciate and even enjoy. Maybe.

Why is there still a Strand Book Store? »

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 Sets Box Office Record, But Hits a Franchise Low

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 soared, but didn't quite hit the mark. Part three of the YA franchise blew past Transformers: Age of Extinction, which had brought in $100 million earlier this summer, to have the highest weekend box office debut with $123 million, but failed to meet predictions which had put the figure around $150 to $170 million. Mockingjay also marks a franchise low for the movie (the first two The Hunger Games and Catching Fire brought in $155 million and $161 million respectively). There wasn't any other competition this weekend, so the rest of the top five fell in line with previous weeks: Big Hero 6 took in $20 million, Interstellar $15.1 million, Dumb and Dumber To $13.8 million, and Gone Girl with $2.8 million.

The Jurassic World Teaser Trailer Is Here

Jurassic World, the fourth installment of the Jurassic Park series is here — a series so heavily encased in nostalgia it may as well be a mosquito trapped in amber. The dinosaurs are coming, you guys! And this time around there's going to be a not-fat Chris Pratt and Ron Howard's daughter Bryce Dallas Howard! It's just a teaser, so all you'll get is a 15-second glimpse and a super-slowed down piano version of John Williams' sweeping score. The actual trailer drops Thursday. The movie won't come until June 12, 2015, which is like a whole Mesozoic era away.

Ex-NBC Employee Claims He Spent Years Paying Women Off for Bill Cosby

A 90-year-old former employee of NBC, Frank Scotti, says that he served as a go-between for Bill Cosby and various women he was involved with. Scotti, who worked as a facilities manager where The Cosby Show was shot, told the New York Daily News he delivered monthly payouts to eight different women from 1989 to 1990. "I did a lot of crazy things for him," Scotti said. "He was covering himself by having my name on it. It was a coverup. I realized it later." Scotti also claims that Cosby had an "arrangement" with a modeling company that delivered aspiring hopefuls as young as 16 for "interviews" in Cosby's dressing room, with Scotti standing guard outside. Scotti also said that, after years of protecting Cosby, the comedian eventually forced him out of his job.

Katy Perry Tweets That Paparazzo Harassing Her Has a 'Tiny Penis'

Katy Perry is unhappy with Australia. Perry was in Sydney over the weekend for her Prismatic World tour, when she was trying to take a "quiet walk" to the beach when she was hounded by the paparazzi who wanted shots of her in her bathing suit. She tweeted long rant in response, saying Aussie photographers have "no respect, no integrity, no character. NO HUMANITY." It only went on from there, as she posted pictures of her "stalkers" i.e. the lovely paparazzi and singled out one of them Jamie Fawcett in particular, who she alleges took nude photos of her while naked. She said she has pictures of his "tiny penis" and "large gut." Can you hear her roar?

Saturday Night Live Recap: Cameron Diaz Is a Back Home Baller

One of the standout sketches on Saturday Night Live this week — and there were many — was an ode to the tsunami of compliments that await most of us upon going home for Thanksgiving. For the host, Cameron Diaz, however, all the positive notices she receives from returning to the show owe nothing to familial goodwill and everything to the fact that she crushed it.

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  • Posted 11/23/14 at 11:44 AM
  • Snubs

Lily Allen Snubbed the Band Aid Charity Single Because It's 'Smug'

There was a reason why you didn't see Lily Allen in the star-studded 30th anniversary reboot of the Band Aid charity single, "Do They Know It's Christmas?" The song featured all the British famouses, from Sam Smith to One Direction. Noticeably absent were Adele (who isn't responding to her manager) and Allen. The singer received an invitation, but turned it down. "It’s difficult to explain why I didn’t do it without sounding like a complete ****," she told the Daily Mail. "I prefer to do my charitable bit by donating actual money and not being lumped in with a bunch of people like that." She went on, "It’s like the success club and I'm not really in that club. I don't think I’m above it all — I'm way below it — but there’s something a bit smug about it." As for Sir Bob Geldof, she's chill with him, because he doesn't care and is "grumpy" like her. Happy holidays!

Jennifer Aniston Would Do a Friends Reunion When the Cast Is Super Old

Jennifer Aniston was on The Graham Norton Show to promote Horrible Bosses 2 alongside Jason Bateman when inevitably, Norton asked about when we get that darn Friends reunion so that people would stop "wanging" on about it. "I say we just wait until we're much older and then we're golden friends," replied Aniston. So that way, no one will make comparisons about how they look now versus then. (Aniston also talks about how she got the "Rachel" cut because her stylist was completely stoned at the time). Then Norton suggests they make it "really grim and depressing" so that no one will ever ask for that again. It all gets charmingly morbid from there.

Josh Boone Will Direct Stephen King’s The Stand in a 4-Part Franchise

The Fault in our Stars director Josh Boone confirmed that, yes, it's official: Warner Brothers is allowing him to turn what many consider to be Stephen King's greatest work (it's No. 1 on our list!) — or "The Godfather of post-apocalyptic thrillers" — into not just one film, but four. During an appearance on Kevin Smith's podcast, "Hollywood Babble-On," Boone explained that after turning in an epic script, the studio asked him if he would want to turn it into a franchise. Um, YES.

"I said, 'Fuck yes!'" »

Watch Stoner Woody Harrelson Sing ‘Kumbaya’

Last week, Woody Harrelson hosted SNL, resulting in what we called "the best and most consistently entertaining episode in years." One of the sketches "New Marijuana Policy" celebrated New York's kind-of-confusing new drug policy (the city declared that people carrying up to 25 grams of weed "may be eligible" for a ticket instead of being arrested) in dramatic fashion with pot revelers going out on the streets to celebrate — including a dreadlocked Harrelson. In a digital outtake from the set, he leads the crowd in his version of "Kumbaya." Just imagine Bob Marley and Jesus hot-boxing it somewhere in the clouds.

Country Singer Billy Gilman Comes Out in Emotional YouTube Video

Inspired by Ty Herndon's public coming out, fellow country singer Billy Gilman followed suit hours later in an emotional YouTube video. "Being a gay male country artist is not the best thing," Gilman says in the clip. "It's difficult for me to make this video, not because I'm ashamed of being a gay male artist, or a gay artist or a gay person. But it's pretty silly to know that I'm ashamed of doing this knowing that because I'm in a genre and an industry that’s ashamed of me for being me." He adds, "I can honestly say I'm scared to death."

Gilman made his debut with "One Voice" at just 11 years old. »

Watch Beyoncé Chill Out With Her Girls in ‘7/11’

You may have heard that Beyoncé dropped two singles, "7/11" and "Ring Off," in anticipation of her repackaged — sorry, platinum — album Beyoncé set to go on sale Monday. And last night, Bey released a lo-fi music video for "7/11." She cavorts in her underwear with her gal pals and parties with red Solo cups. It's all very casual, if casual were extremely well put together and edited for extreme precision. Beyoncé!

Bill Cosby Gets Standing Ovations During Florida Performance

Last night, Bill Cosby performed to a sold-out crowd at Eastern Florida State College in Melbourne, Florida, and no member of the audience took up a local radio station's offer to disrupt the show over the sexual assault allegations dogging the comedian, reports the New York Times. Instead, they gave Cosby standing ovations when he came onto and left the stage. In an interview with Florida Today, Cosby said the radio station's offer had created a "frat house mentality." "Now suppose someone brings a weapon or decided to do more foolishness," said Cosby. "There will be announcements made and the stations made some disclaimers, but what if people don't listen to what they said and they entice violence? That's not good for anyone."

"People shouldn't have to go through that and shouldn't answer to innuendos." »

Jimmy Fallon’s Lip-Sync Battle Gets Its Own Show

Jimmy Fallon's greatest celebrity challenge — the lip-sync battle — is getting its own stand-alone TV show. As we've learned from RuPaul's Drag Race, the lip sync tests a performer's charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent. Fallon, along with John Krasinski and Stephen Merchant, will executive-produce Lip Sync Battle for Spike TV. They'll also perform on the series. We already know Merchant does a mean lip sync, but we'd like to see a throwdown between Paul Rudd and Emma Stone, who gave us the most memorable performances on Fallon. Let's revisit, shall we?

Netflix Has Saved NBC’s Ellie Kemper Comedy

It turns out The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt really can’t be broken: After NBC opted not to go forward with the Ellie Kemper–led fish-out-of-water comedy from 30 Rock producers Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, Netflix has swooped in to buy the first season of the series — and order a second season for good measure. In a late Friday press release, NBC basically admitted there was no room at the Peacock for Kimmy: “We have a very drama-heavy mid-season schedule,” said Robert Greenblatt, who oversees both the NBC network and sister studio/Kimmy producer Universal Television. Of course, NBC could have found some physical room on its lineup for the show — it’s not like its Tuesday or Thursday comedies are setting the world on fire. But network execs likely figured there was little chance a quirky comedy from the 30 Rock brain trust would stand much of a chance on NBC right now, given the network has zero real comedy hits (and Parks and Rec is headed into its last, probably low-rated season). Enter Netflix, which doesn’t have to worry about ratings and can now associate itself with Fey. As Greenblatt noted, “It’s an instant win-win for everyone.” All 13 episodes of the first season of Kimmy will launch on Netflix in March.

  • Posted 11/21/14 at 6:37 PM
  • Art

24 Hours in the Art World: The Sleepover Edition

Remember the terror and joy of freshman lock-ins? Well, the art world is having its equivalent tonight, courtesy of Creative Time, where 200 pajama-clad party people will descend on Neuehouse for a 24-hour sleepover. Word currently being passed around is proper dress code includes “designer sweats, sloth onesies, health goth, pj's, and even birthday suits.” Also, unlike high school, where sleeping bags and adult chaperones were the evening’s entertainment, the run-of-show reads more like a Burning Man than Bayside High. 

For starters, there will be a re-creation of Salvador Dalí’s infamous dinner parties, following his obscure, limited-edition, 136-recipe book Les Diners de Gala. Then Andrew Kuo and Mike Boner are teaming up as the duo Hex Message, which Kuo says is “close friends making a racket,” probably on par with your high-school punk band. Following this will be Tom Sach’s "Space Program: Mars" Red Beans and Rice, where the NASA-loving sculptor will wheel around a food cart filled with red beans and rice (which — fun fact! — follow Louis Armstrong’s own recipe and are the traditional meal consumed by the NASA launch crew whenever they send a successful mission to space). Justin Lowe and Jonah Freeman have also put together a film program that includes a variety of shorts — from early Walter Ruttmann and Hans Richter abstract films to an amateur ethnographic film. Most of these are from film prints from the collection of David Hollander, founder and co-director of Cinemarfa. For those who survive the evening — and staying is not required; one can come and go as one pleases — at 6 a.m., Grey Area is sponsoring a yoga session, and then the cult-y downtown favorite Dimes is catering breakfast. 

Will there be any actual sleeping involved? Creative Time has secured a few dozen “deluxe cots” and pillows and blankets, as well as toiletry kits from Aesop, ensuring that halitosis and under-eye bags don't spoil the fun, unlike the high-school principal. 

For those with sleepover fright, tomorrow at 9 p.m. the events ends with a dance party with sets by Chairlift's Caroline Polachek and artists Matt Jones and Kadar Brock. 

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