Singer Joyce Villa wore a ‘Make America Great Again’ gown.
Scandalous dresses on the Grammys red carpet aren’t what they used to be. It wasn’t deep cleavage or a thigh-high leg slit that had tongues wagging about singer Joyce Villa on Sunday night. It was her red, white and blue gown emblazoned with “Make
America Great Again” in front, and “Trump” across the train.
It’s a controversial statement coming from an artist in an industry that’s largely in opposition to the new president’s social policies, not to mention from a woman who identifies as bi-racial.
[In other words, The Hollywood Reporter finds it shocking, and controversial for the President of the United States to receive public support from a non-white entertainer]
The singer-songwriter, who goes by the name Princess Joy Villa, teased the ensemble on Instagram with a photo of a heart-shaped clutch and a caption stating, “My whole artistic platform is about LOVE. I couldn’t be where I am today without the love and tenderness of those beautiful supporters and friends around me.”
Villa went on to say, ”I hope you enjoy tonight’s #grammyawards2017 and remember to forget your problems and focus on the future! You are infinite and beautiful and no one can stop you but you. Read the rest of this entry »
It has been a particularly embarrassing week for the press, and it’s only Saturday.
There’s no room for error, especially now that there’s a subgenre of “news” that has zero basis in fact, and is created from thin air for the sole purpose of generating cash.
But learning to be more careful and even-handed is apparently difficult for much of media, and this week was especially rough for newsrooms that are already struggling to regain credibility.
In no particular order, here are some of the most embarrassing media moments from this week:
The New York Times reported this week that former Texas Gov. Rick Perry agreed to be energy secretary without knowing the department oversees and maintains the country’s nuclear arsenal.
The story is written in such a way that Perry comes across as a bumbling bumpkin who’s in way over his head.
The problem with the report – well, there are many problems – the main problem with the story is that it hinges entirely on a bland quote from a GOP energy lobbyist. That source, Michael McKenna, has disavowed the story, and he says the Times took him out of context.
Other problems with the article include that McKenna was booted from the Trump transition team in early November, while Perry was nominated in mid-December.
Nevertheless, the paper’s editors say they stand by the story, “which accurately reflected what multiple, high-level sources told our reporters.”
This is a particularly interesting defense, considering there is nothing in the article to suggest the authors had more than one source.
In my story this week on the Times’ unsubstantiated hit on Perry, I included a link to USA Today’s Dec. 14 report on the former governor accepting the position at the Department of Energy. I included the link for one purpose: To provide citation for Perry’s acceptance remarks, which were published originally in a joint statement with the president-elect.
What I didn’t notice until later was that the linked USA Today report also included a bogus reference to the North Koreans.
The Dec. 14 article read, “The Twitter feed of the nuclear-armed dictatorship said, ‘Donald Trump minister of nuclear weapons Richard Perry known as governor of Texas province, famed for its production of tacos and bumpkins.'”
Unfortunately for USA Today, the North Korean government did no such thing. Like many others in media, the widely circulated newspaper fell for a parody Twitter account created and maintained by members of the libertarian-leaning website, Popehat.com. I removed the USA Today hyperlink from my article debunking the Times, and I updated with a link to a source that doesn’t include an embarrassing mistake. Read the rest of this entry »
With signs of Russian involvement in the damaging Democratic National Committee email hack, questions have been increasing about just what Putin’s motives might be when it comes to the US presidential election. We put that question to one of Moscow’s top Putin observers.
Mikhail Zygar writes: The year 2005 was a turning point in Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy and worldview. Until then, he’d had the sense that he was in control on the world stage, that he knew the rules of the game, that he understood whom he was dealing with and who his partners were. But in 2005, everything changed, and slowly the ground started moving out from under his feet.
That was the year Putin’s friend and partner Gerhard Schroeder lost the German elections and resigned as chancellor. Schroeder and Putin, who spoke German after serving in the KGB in East Germany, understood each other well and established close diplomatic and personal ties. But in 2005, Schroeder was replaced by Angela Merkel, whom Putin didn’t understand—and doesn’t understand to this day. In the intervening 12 years, he started suspecting Merkel of deceiving him, spinning intrigues and weaving conspiracies against him. He showed his distrust by bringing his dog to meetings with Merkel, knowing full well that she had an intense fear of canines.
Now, Putin seems to be experiencing déjà vu: In the upcoming U.S. election, the battle is, once again, between a Gerhard Schroeder and an Angela Merkel—but with the differences and the stakes hugely amplified. The American Merkel is even more unpleasant to Putin. Hillary Clinton is already inclined to dislike him and Russia from her experience as secretary of state. Their personal interactions have not been positive; there is no love lost between the two. And then you have the American Schroeder, who seems to be an even better fit for Putin than the German one, and better even than Putin’s favorite international partner, former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Donald Trump, in the Kremlin’s view, is extremely pragmatic, extremely unprincipled and extremely cynical—which makes him easier to reach an understanding with. Not to mention that Trump, unlike Clinton and just about the entire rest of the Washington foreign policy class, has explicitly expressed admiration and sympathy for Putin.
This is the kind of relationship with a US president the Kremlin has dreamed about, and has been unable to attain, for years. Read the rest of this entry »
Before West canceled the remainder of his Saint Pablo tour, he made a number of statements on stage and in a new interview that has left his fans both puzzled and outraged.
The cause and his condition were not immediately clear after the 1:20 p.m. incident.
Further details were not immediately available. A rep for the star did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Before West canceled the remainder of his Saint Pablo tour, he made a number of statements on stage and in a new interview that has left his fans both puzzled and outraged.
On Monday morning, the concert promoter Live Nation announced that West was canceling the remaining 21 shows of his tour and that all tickets would be refunded.
The news came a day after he unexpectedly canceled his Los Angeles concert just hours before it was a scheduled to begin and two days after he walked off the stage 30 minutes into a concert in Sacramento.
West’s rep pointed to the statement from Live Nation when asked for comment.
- Kanye West Cancels Rest of Saint Pablo Tour Dates
- Kanye West Cancels LA Concert Day After Politically Charged Rant
- Kanye West Goes on Political Rant During Concert, Says ‘I Would Have Voted on Trump’
But the 39-year-old hip hop artist said plenty before that on a variety of subjects before the cancellation of his tour. Here now is Kanye West in his own words.
Surface magazine releases its interview with West conducted in between stops on the Canada leg of his Saint Pablo Tour. In the 30-minute videotaped interview, West touches on a number of subjects from how he does business to his artistic abilities to his views on the future of communication. Here are some highlights:
“I think business has to be stupider. I want to do really straightforward, stupid business — just talk to me like a 4-year-old. And I refuse to negotiate. I do not negotiate. I can collaborate. But I’m an artist, so as soon as you negotiate, you’re being compromised.” Read the rest of this entry »
Get a glimpse into the world of Sneakerheads and the billion dollar business of reselling sneakers.
At least President West won’t feed us some line about not having inhaled…(read more)
Evie lund at RocketNews24 discovered this gem: Meet Joyous String, a four-kid string quartet with musical aptitude way beyond their years. Joyous String belong to the Joyous Music School of New York. They’ve been playing together since they were just four years old, and have progressed to the point where they can produce a flawless rendition of the Michael Jackson classic “Smooth Criminal” without even breaking a sweat….Here’s their version of “Smooth Criminal”!
Here’s their rendition of Katy Perry’s mega-hit “Firework”
From today’s Fresh Air, a wonderful interview with producer Kevin Howlett. Worth a listen. Hearing about The Beatles early show business career, and early appearances on BBC radio programs, reminds me of interviews with members of Monty Python. As they described it, England’s radio and television landscape at the beginning of the 1960s, was buttoned-down and formal. The notion of performers talking informally in front of a microphone, improvising and being mischievous, was unprecedented. What the Beatles were allowed to do was — though it’s hard to imagine now — was revolutionary.
Also of interest, the BBC never preserved any recording of the Beatles broadcasts, in all those years. Producer Kevin Howlett had to seek them out from individual collectors who’d recorded the live broadcasts. Good thing he did!
NPR: England got a lot more of The Beatles than Americans did during the group’s formative years. Between 1962 and 1965, The Beatles were featured on 53 BBC radio programs, including their own series, Pop Go the Beatles. They performed originals and covers and chatted with BBC hosts.
The Beatles: On Air-Live At The BBC Volume 2 has just been released. Kevin Howlett produced both that and the newly remastered reissue of the first volume, which was originally released in 1994. For reasons he explains to Fresh Air host Terry Gross, Howlett had to search for many of these recordings, and they weren’t easy to find.
Howlett has written a new companion book called The Beatles: The BBC Archives,which includes transcriptions of the band’s BBC radio and TV interviews as well as fascinating internal memos about the Beatles and their music.
On the challenges of his project working in the BBC archive
My quest to restore the BBC archive [of the Beatles] goes way back to 1981 when I joined the national pop network in this country, BBC Radio 1, as a young rookie producer. I was 24 years old. The management knew I was a Beatles fanatic, I was a child in the ’60s growing up with the Beatles, and they gave me this task. What a dream thing to be handed. They said, “Can you investigate what programs the Beatles performed music in and what songs they did?” And the BBC’s written archives are a wonderful place where they kept every single piece of paper relating to the Beatles’ performances, so when I wrote the book it was a magnificent source of material: memos, contracts, audience research reports — so that was fine, you could find out all of the information.
But then finding the music on the tapes? That was a completely different matter. Some of these recordings come from transcription discs, LPs that were distributed by the BBC to other countries for broadcast. Some come from producer listening copies. There were some producers at the time that thought maybe it is worth keeping this material, and in some of these cases, listeners who taped off the radio.
On The Beatles’ audition for the BBC
The very first thing that Brian Epstein did when he took over the management of The Beatles was to fill out an application form for the variety department of the BBC. This, again, reminds us that there was no rock business as we know it. This was show business and they would be on with all sorts of other acts, radio ventriloquists even, that kind of thing. Read the rest of this entry »
10. Matchy-matchy group-themed seasonal sweaters
9. A vanilla milkshake infused with white chocolate and cocaine
8. People who are still watching Agents of SHIELD
7. Three quarters of Hall & Oates
6. People who really like Kanye West from that interview they heard on NPR
5. Joan Walsh’s entire dating history; also, the periodic bouts of milky smegma occurring over the course Joan Walsh’s dating history
4. People who watched that video of the guy faking Sign Language at Nelson Mandela’s funeral and became outraged at the racism this man must have faced in Africa to drive him to commit fraud
3. LL Bean’s new, ill-advised clothing line, the Kasual Khaki Kollection
2. The victim profile of the many children that Harry Reid has strangled
…and the number one thing almost as white as the HuffPo Politics staff…
The real national divide isn’t between red and blue states
The densely populated coastal corridors from Boston to Washington and from San Diego to Berkeley are where most of America’s big decisions are made.
They remind us of two quite different Americas: one country along these coasts and everything else in between. Those in Boston, New York, and Washington determine how our government works; what sort of news, books, art, and fashion we should consume; and whether our money and investments are worth anything.
The Pacific corridor is just as influential, but in a hipper, cooler fashion. Whether America suffers through another zombie film or one more Lady Gaga video or Kanye West’s latest soft-porn rhyme is determined by Hollywood — mostly by executives who live in the la-la land of the thin Pacific strip from Malibu to Palos Verdes.
The next smart phone or search engine 5.0 will arise from the minds of tech geeks who pay $2,000 a month for studio apartments and drive BMWs in Menlo Park, Palo Alto, or Mountain View.
The road to riches and influence, we are told, lies in being branded with a degree from a coastal-elite campus like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, or Berkeley. How well a Yale professor teaches an 18-year-old in a class on American history does not matter as much as the fact that the professor helps to stamp the student with the Ivy League logo. That mark is the lifelong golden key that is supposed to unlock the door to coastal privilege.
You’ve heard of Canada, right? It’s that large country directly north of the United States where they play hockey and make ginger ale.
Could you name its capital? Most of these Harvard students couldn’t.
Exploding the myths about the paranoid tales we tell
Jesse Walker writes: It might seem like we’re living at a uniquely rich moment for conspiracy theories. Over the last few years, we’ve seen it claimed that Osama bin Laden didn’t really die, that Barack Obama is covering up the true circumstances of his birth, that Kanye West and Kim Kardashian have encoded Illuminati symbolism in their baby’s name, that the National Security Agency has been secretly intercepting Americans’ phone calls and e-mails—oh, wait. That last one’s true.
It’s easy to write off conspiracy theories as the delusions of the political fringe, a minor nuisance fueled by the rise of the Internet. Easy—and inaccurate. Conspiracy stories have been a major part of American life since the colonial days. They are not just found in the political extremes, and they are not invariably wrong. And even when they are wrong, as is so often true, they still have lessons to teach us. To understand why conspiracies matter, it helps to clear away some myths that have attached themselves to the subject.
Myth #1: People today are uniquely prone to believing conspiracy theories
A 2011 article in the British newspaper The Independent flatly declared that “there are more conspiracy theories and more conspiracy theory believers than ever before.” This, the reporter continued, was largely “because the internet has made it easy to propagate rumour and supposition on a global scale.” As an example, he cited a story that the Ku Klux Klan secretly owned KFC and was lacing “the food with a drug that makes only black men impotent.”
But there has never been an age when conspiracy theories were not popular. From Puritan fears that Satan was commanding a conspiracy of Indians to Thomas Jefferson’s concern that the British had “a deliberate and systematical plan of reducing us to slavery,” from the assassination rumors that followed the death of President Zachary Taylor to the tales of subversion told during the Cold War, every significant event in American history has inspired conspiracy theories. And a lot of insignificant events have, too.
Publicist Ronni Chasen was waiting at a red light in Beverly Hills in 2010 when she was shot five times through the car’s closed passenger window and killed.Christopher Wallace, aka Biggie Smalls, was leaving a party in L.A. when a gunman sprayed the door of the rap star’s Suburban with 9 mm bullets, striking Wallace four times and killing him.
The combination of guns, death and the particular vulnerability that a car on a public street presents to stars who are under siege from paparazzi and stalkers hits close to home for many in L.A.’s celebrity culture, where spending lavishly on personal security is a seldom-discussed necessity. Read the rest of this entry »
By Andrew Malcolm
Our 152,000 combined followers on Twitter (click here for that) and on Facebook (then click here to subscribe to that) know that on weekday afternoons we regularly share a selection of that evening’s late-night jokes before broadcast.
Usually, we publish a collection of these jokes at the start of each week.
Letterman: So, Anthony Weiner has apologized for this new scandal. He also apologized for the next one. And the next one after that.
Fallon: British Royal Birth: Kate Middleton’s baby weighs about eight pounds. Americans asked, ‘How much is that in dollars?’
Conan: At their press conference, Anthony Weiner’s wife said she will stand by her husband. Especially when he goes on the computer.
Leno: In a GQ interview, VP Joe Biden says he can die a happy man never having been president. You know what? So can we!
Conan: The other day at LAX, Kanye West punched a photographer. Apparently, Kanye got mad at the guy for not taking his picture.
Conan: The TSA says passengers can soon pass through security without taking their shoes off if they pay an extra $85. That explains the TSA’s new motto, “We catch terrorists who don’t have an extra $85 on them.”
Conan: Anyone here go to Comic-Con? I was going to go, but I was stopped by security for “Possession of a Wife and a Job.”
Conan: Britain’s says it will outlaw “extreme porn.” Of course, it Britain, “extreme porn” means the Queen waving without a glove.
Conan: A new study finds the happiest ages are 23 and 69. And the happiest person of all—a 69-year-old dating a 23-year-old.
Fallon: Eliot Spitzer is on the show tonight! He’ll only be here for about five minutes, but we’re charging him for the full hour.