The House


Sons of Anarchy

For a few moments at the beginning of "Playing with Monsters," Sons of Anarchy doesn't take itself too seriously. The newly minted porn studio, Red Woody, helmed by adult star turned director Lyla (Wonter Ave Zoli), commences production on their first feature, a ridiculous lesbian spin on Frankenstein entitled Skankenstein. Members of SAMCRO, including the permanently forlorn Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam), giggle like schoolchildren as they watch the sensual absurdity unfold. There's even electrified nipples.

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TAGS: Annabeth Gish, Billy Brown, charlie hunnam, jimmy smits, Katey Sagal, Maggie Siff, playing with monsters, recap, ryder londo, Sons of Anarchy, theo rossi, Tommy Flanagan, wonter ave zoli


The Simpsons

1. "The 100 Best Simpsons Episodes to Stream." As part of Vulture's Streaming Week, staffers, including Matt Zoller Seitz, have assembled the 100 essential Simpsons episodes.

"Arriving near the end of season two, 'Lisa's Substitute' was one of the best early Simpsons episodes to operate almost entirely in 'sweet' mode (though it has its share of pop-culture references, such as Miss Krabappel trying to seduce Mr. Bergstrom à la Hoffman's breakthrough The Graduate). It's uncharacteristically reserved, and its final sequence—which finds Homer realizing some of his flaws as a dad and reaching out to his daughter to the extent that he can—is genuinely touching. This is also the first Simpsons episode in regular run to compact its opening credits and cut straight to the couch gag (in this case, a repeat of the one from season two's 'Itchy and Scratchy and Marge,' in which the family enters the living room and finds the couch missing)."

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TAGS: alessandra stanley, frances ha, greta gerwig, hou hsiao-hsien, j. hoberman, linda holmes, margaret sullivan, matt zoller seitz, new york film festival, sarah polley, Shonda Rhimes, the new york times, the simpsons, vulture


Doctor Who

Over Doctor Who's last couple of seasons, Steve Thompson has established himself as a specialist in producing harmless filler episodes. "Time Heist," co-written with showrunner Steven Moffat, is another example, but it's distinctly superior to Thompson's previous efforts, avoiding both the overwrought melodrama of 2011's "The Curse of the Black Spot" and the reset-button ending of last year's "Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS."

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TAGS: doctor who, jenna coleman, jonathan bailey, peter capaldi, pippa bennett-warner, recap, steve thompson, steven moffat, time heist


Fran Lebowitz

1. "Fran Lebowitz to Tourists: 'Stay Home.'" The accalimed author and public speaker on tourists, Bloomberg, hotels, Brooklyn, and more.

"Tourism as a number-one industry is a terrible, terrible idea for any city, especially New York. If you were going to turn a city, which is a place where people live, into a tourist attraction, you're going to have to make it a place that people who don't live here, like. So I object to living in a place for people who don't live here. As it became more and more intense, it became more and more a place where the actual citizens are pushed out to the edges. A friend of mine always says this: 'I don't care what kind of aesthetic people have; the second they have a kid, their house becomes hor-rible.' The second you have a kid, whether you think it's going to or not, your house becomes full of plastic junk. So this is the same with tourists. The city will sink to that level of having a house of three- year-old children, so they like certain things, they don't like certain things. And they like things that you don't like, or that I don't like. I do object to it. And I would like to see fewer and fewer tourists and I'm tired of hearing about how much money they bring to the city because the kind of jobs the tourists bring to the city are the worst jobs. They're hotel maid jobs, they're jobs that have no future to them."

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TAGS: child marriage, diana ross, emma watson, feminism, fran lebowitz, mahogany, michael a. gonzales, norman mclaren, Polly Bergen, united nations


Kathryn HunterThe preternaturally talented Kathryn Hunter practically defies credulity on stage. Last year, in Kafka's Monkey, the diminutive performer, using her ultra-flexible limbs, throaty voice, and piercing intelligence, transformed herself into a sentient male chimpanzee who had been taught to speak and behave like a human. A few months later, she equally dazzled as an ageless, genderless, shape-shifting Puck in Julie Taymor's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. The Greek-American actress, who grew up in England and has worked mostly overseas, is currently back in New York, at Theatre for a New Audience at Polonsky Shakespeare Center, in the aptly titled The Valley of Astonishment, a theater piece about the miracles of the mind co-written and directed by the renowned Peter Brook and his longtime collaborator Marie-Hélène Estienne. I caught up with Hunter recently to learn more about the new work and about her own remarkable journey as an actress.

How would you describe The Valley of Astonishment?

I would say it's an exploration of what it is to be human. We meet a woman who has a prodigious memory, a young man who has synesthesia, which is a condition where the senses are mixed—a sound becomes a color, words have tastes and forms and shapes—and we meet another man who's lost his sense of his body and is paralyzed, but who manages to walk again by controlling his limbs with his eyes. In the end it follows, most specifically, the story of the woman, Sammy, who becomes a performing mnemonist; she memorizes so many words and tables of numbers for these performances and then suffers from the inability to forget, and so she starts hallucinating. The piece has an unusual form, which I think people will find intriguing. As with the best storytelling, it changes narrative, changes tone; there's humor and then it shifts to a more poetic level. Peter [Brook] is continuing his [previous] exploration of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, which was based on the Oliver Sacks books. These neurological disorders, in fact, turn out to be quite wondrous. So at the end of the day, I think I would characterize the play as a celebration of the human being, a celebration of difference.

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TAGS: a midsummer night's dream, fragments, kafka's monkey, kathryn hunter, king lear, marcello magni, marie-hélène estienne, my perfect mind, peter brook, the conference of the birds, the man who mistook his wife for a hat, the valley of astonishment, theater de complicté, theatre for a new audience


The Knick

Like its preceding episode, "Start Calling Me Dad" starts with a phone call in the dead of night, this time in the household of Dr. Bertram "Bertie" Chickering (Michael Angaro), whose buttoned-down father picks up the receiver. It's Thackery (Clive Owen), and he summons Chickering to the Knick for "experiments." When the flustered young physician finally makes it to the hospital, he finds his boss strung out on drugs, workshopping, with a pair of comely Chinese sex workers (Ying Ying Li and Pei Pei Lin) from his opium den of choice, alternative approaches to the doomed placenta praevia operation that's haunted The Knick's first season. As his work-bender winds down, Thackery commissions Chickering's help in testing a new invention: a type of uterus-pump-sheath that pressures the womb from the inside, allowing pregnant patients to die slower, and the doctors more time to save the prospective baby's life.

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TAGS: Cara Seymour, clive owen, collin meath, david fierro, Eric Johnson, Eve Hewson, grainger hines, Jennifer Ferrin, Juliet Rylance, maya kazan, melissa mckeekin, michael angaro, recap, start calling me dad, the knick


Scotland

1. "Scottish independence: Scotland votes No." Alex Salmond's dream of independence has been shattered after Scotland voted to stay part of the United Kingdom.

"Scotland today rejected independence and voted to remain part of the United Kingdom at the end of the most intense political campaign the country has ever seen. The silent majority finally raised its voice on a tense yet utterly compelling night of political history. During a referendum that attracted record numbers of voters and was hailed as a triumph of democracy, the people voted to maintain the 307-year Union. A decisive No vote was the culmination of two and a half-years of vigorous and at times edgy campaigning, which looks certain to change the constitutional map of Britain for ever. As the votes were counted, a grim-faced Alex Salmond was seen boarding a private jet at Aberdeen airport just after 3am. Photographed with his wife Moira, the First Minister was contemplating his political future after the referendum he had strived for throughout his life delivered a telling blow against him."

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TAGS: alex salmond, azadeh jafari, belle and sebastian, football, iran, j.c. chandor, joe berlinger, michael moore, nick pinkerton, north dallas forty, reverse shot, sarah larson, scotland, stuart murdoch, the longest yard, the new yorker, united kingdom, vahid mortazavi


Jennifer Lopez and Iggy Azalea

Jennifer Lopez's eighth studio album, A.K.A., may have bombed, but the singer is evidently not giving up. Instead, she's giving butt. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) Her collaboration with the red-hot Iggy Azalea on the single-worthy "Acting Like That" was probably her best bet for a rebound, but we'll have to settle for the "Booty" remix, which also features the Aussie model turned rapper. The duo premiered the music video for the track tonight, and there are few surprises: The clip, directed by video veteran Hype Williams, features copious swimsuits and fishnet stockings, twerking, booty-popping, and lots and lots of gelatinous grease. It's unlikely to reignite interest in Lopez's music career, but the video is sure to rack up plenty of views, as the fortysomething mommy of two more than holds her own alongside the 24-year-old Azalea's self-proclaimed "high-fashion booty." Watch it below:

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TAGS: a.k.a., booty, hype williams, iggy azalea, jennifer lopez, music video


Charles Chaplin

1. "The Brave Open Letter Graham Greene Wrote Defending Charlie Chaplin from McCarthy." To mark its 100th anniversary, The New Republic is republishing a collection of its most memorable articles. This piece, an open letter from Greene in defense of his friend against McCarthy and his cronies, was published on October 13, 1952.

"I can't figure out why other people like it. I know why I like it. I know the things that were interesting that kept coming up in conversations. And then also, to work on a script with the person who wrote the novel, that can be a gift. There can also be a lot of frustration. Or certainly it can be perceived that way. Will this person be able to see the forest for the trees? Or will they be so wed to how difficult it was to make this storyline work that they're not willing to jettison certain elements when it doesn't? I know that's a commonly-held philosophy about novelists. But with Gillian, it couldn't be further from the truth. She has—and David Koepp has it too—that love of where the audience is in the narrative. She was very good at taking things that were 13 chapters into the book and saying, well that could be in the introduction. She picked out the traits that needed to be dramatised, but didn't necessarily put them in the same chronological order."

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TAGS: adrian peterson, charles chaplin, cold sweat: my father james brown and me, graham greene, james brown, john green, joseph mccarthy, nathan rabin, rian johnson, robin gaby fisher, terry gilliam, the fault in our stars, todd vanderwerff, transparent, yamma brown


David Fincher

1. "David Fincher Interview." Ahead of his highly anticipated adaptation of Gillian Flynn's psychological best-seller, Gone Girl, LWLies is granted an audience with director David Fincher.

"I can't figure out why other people like it. I know why I like it. I know the things that were interesting that kept coming up in conversations. And then also, to work on a script with the person who wrote the novel, that can be a gift. There can also be a lot of frustration. Or certainly it can be perceived that way. Will this person be able to see the forest for the trees? Or will they be so wed to how difficult it was to make this storyline work that they're not willing to jettison certain elements when it doesn't? I know that's a commonly-held philosophy about novelists. But with Gillian, it couldn't be further from the truth. She has—and David Koepp has it too—that love of where the audience is in the narrative. She was very good at taking things that were 13 chapters into the book and saying, well that could be in the introduction. She picked out the traits that needed to be dramatised, but didn't necessarily put them in the same chronological order."

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TAGS: bilge ebiri, claire denis, david fincher, david lynch, eraserhead, gone girl, jacob hall, little white lies, netflix, sam adams, screncrush, the hunger games: mockingjay, the texas chainsaw massacre, tobe hooper, wim wenders






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