The House


Female Rock Critics

1. "The World Needs Female Rock Critics." The problem for women is that our role in popular music was codified long ago.

"The problem for women is that our role in popular music was codified long ago. And it was codified, in part, by the early music press. In the effort to prove the burgeoning rock scene of the sixties a worthy subject of critical inquiry, rock needed to be established as both serious and authentic. One result of these arguments—the Rolling Stones vs. Muddy Waters, Motown vs. Stax, Bob Dylan vs. the world—was that women came out on the losing side, as frivolous and phony. Whether a teen-age fan or a member of a girl group, women lacked genuine grit—even female critics thought so. 'The Supremes epitomize the machine-like precision of the Motown sound,' wrote Lillian Roxon in her rock encyclopedia. 'Everything is worked out for them and they don’t buck the system.' Judgments like that are still routinely applied to female artists today. In Jessica Hopper’s [The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic], under the chapter heading 'Real/Fake,' appears a 2012 essay on Lana Del Ray, an artist whose look harks back to those big-haired, mascaraed sixties singers, and whose career has unfolded beneath a cloud of suspicion as to her credentials, musical and otherwise. 'As an audience, we make a big stink about wanting the truth, but we’re only really interested in the old myths,' Hopper writes. The myth of women’s deceitfulness is one of the oldest."

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TAGS: Amy Schumer, anwen crawford, charles taylor, Ellie Kemper, gina rodriguez, jessica hopper, jonathan franzen, kate mckinnon, lena dunham, nick pinkerton, pickup on south street, purity, reverse shot, samuel fuller, the end of the tour, the first collection of criticism by a living female rock critic, the village voice, tomorrowland, Tracee Ellis Ross


Mary Ellen Mark

1. "Mary Ellen Mark, Photographer Who Documented Difficult Subjects, Dies at 75." The photographer, whose unflinching yet compassionate depictions of prostitutes in Mumbai, homeless teenagers in Seattle and mental patients in a state institution in Oregon made her one of the premier documentary photographers of her generation, died on Monday in Manhattan.

"The empathy and humanism of the work, published in book form in 1979, impressed critics. Robert Hughes, in Time, called Ward 81 'one of the most delicately shaded studies of vulnerability ever set on film.' After the show, Ms. Mark signed with the Magnum photo agency. Her interest in social outcasts remained a constant throughout her career, reflected in the book Falkland Road: Prostitutes of Bombay (1981), unusual for being in color. While on assignment for Life in 1983, she began photographing homeless teenagers in Seattle, a ragtag collection of small-time drug dealers, prostitutes and panhandlers who populate the pages of Streetwise, published in 1988. With her husband, the filmmaker Martin Bell, who survives her, she turned her encounters into a film, which was nominated for the Academy Award for best documentary in 1984."

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TAGS: apichatpong weerasethakul, cannes film festival, cemetery of splendor, daniel kasman, elizabeth semmelhack, Eve Ensler, justin chang, mad max: fury road, mary ellen mark, mubi, peter debruge, point break, scott foundas, the new york times, the vagina monologues, variety


Dheepan

1. "Cannes: Jacques Audiard's Dheepan Wins Palme d'Or." Variety's Justin Chang reports on this year's winners.

"French auteur Jacques Audiard's Dheepan, an intimately observed, mostly Tamil-language drama about a makeshift family of Sri Lankan refugees in Paris, was the unexpected winner of the Palme d'Or at the 68th annual Cannes Film Festival on Sunday night. 'Thank you, Michael Haneke, for not making a film this year,' Audiard said as he accepted his Palme--a reference to the fact that the Austrian helmer of The White Ribbon and Amour had beaten him for the Palme his last two times in competition, with 2009's A Prophet (which won the Grand Prix) and 2012's Rust and Bone. Audiard appeared onstage with his lead actors, Antonythasan Jesuthasan and Kalieaswari Srinivasan, both of whom made their screen debuts in Dheepan."

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TAGS: cannes film festival, carol, dheepan, eli roth, four-walling, grantland, jacques audiard, justin chang, knock knock, maggie gyllenhaal, manohla dargis, Rebel Wilson, the new york times, todd haynes, variety, wesley morris


Mad Max: Fury Road

1. "Ridin' Dirty." Richard Brody on Mad Max: Fury Road.

"[George] Miller and his co-writers, Brendan McCarthy and Nico Lathouris, lend the story a quasi-Biblical starkness as well as a visionary mythology involving a band of older biker women, the Vuvalini, who are refugees from the 'green place' as well as the last bearers of witness to those bygone green times. The revolutionary fervor that rises toward the end of the film is rousing and gratifying. But it's precisely in these satisfactions that Miller's vision turns from stark to thin. Furiosa's place in the Citadel's regime is left unexplored; what she knew and when she knew it—the use of women as breeders and men as blood tanks—is never made clear. Her place in the hierarchy, the place of other women of similar martial talent, the means by which Immortan Joe holds sway over the Citadel's insiders and dominion over the huddled masses below, the passions that rise up—bloodlessly and cheerfully—when Furiosa and Max make their assault (such as it is) on the Citadel, all of these matters, which would render the world-making thicker and the characters more substantial, are left aside."

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TAGS: arielle holmes, benny safdie, bob seger, cooties, david letterman, heaven knows what, josh safdie, keith uhlich, late show with david letterman, mad max: fury road, night moves, patti hartigan, rey pamatmat, richard brody, the boston globe


Jon Hamm

1. "Jon Hamm Talks About the Mad Men Series Finale." The actor speaks with Dave Itzkoff of the New York Times about the screen cut to the 1971 Coca-Cola "Hilltop" commercial and more.

"My take is that, the next day, he wakes up in this beautiful place, and has this serene moment of understanding, and realizes who he is. And who he is, is an advertising man. And so, this thing comes to him. There's a way to see it in a completely cynical way, and say, 'Wow, that's awful.' But I think that for Don, it represents some kind of understanding and comfort in this incredibly unquiet, uncomfortable life that he has led. There was a little bit of a crumb dropped earlier in the season when Ted says there are three women in every man's life, and Don says, 'You've been sitting on that for a while, huh?' There are, not coincidentally, three person to person phone calls that Don makes in this episode, to three women who are important to him for different reasons. You see the slow degeneration of his relationships with those women over the course of those phone calls."

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TAGS: alex french, amy, Asif Kapadia, bill backer, catherine breillat, dave itzkoff, howie kahn, ilm, jon hamm, lászló krasznahorkai, laura bennett, mad men, man booker prize, mccann, nicole richter, reverse shot, slate, the new york times, wired


George Miller

1. "Mad George." For Variety, Scott Foundas profiles Mad Max: Fury Road director George Miller.

"[Nick 'Nico' Lathouris]'s one of those people who digs very deeply into material, and that's exactly what Fury Road needed,' says Miller. 'Otherwise, it would have been just a surface action movie. To the extent that you detect any subtext, that's stuff I really worked out with Nico.' That subtext included a strong feminist slant, including a topical discussion of women's reproductive rights (in the film's inciting incident, Theron's character breaks a group of pregnant 'breeders' out from under Immortan Joe's ever watchful eye). 'So much of extreme world poverty is really, truly because of the lack of empowerment of women, and if that were to change one day, a lot of those problems would be solved,' observed Theron. 'I think George is really aware of that stuff in the world, and I think he's truly interested in women.'"

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TAGS: aaron hicklin, charlize theron, film comment, george miller, i'll see you in my dreams, judy blume, mad max: fury road, maze runner: the scorch trials, nick pinkerton, out magazine, sam elliott, scott foundas, variety


Mad Men

1. "Mad Men Series Finale Recap: I'm Okay, You're Okay." Matt Zoller Seitz recaps the final episode of the show.

"The Coke ad at the end is funny and ironic. It packages hippie sensibilities for a TV commercial, and Don starts the series selling cigarettes and ends selling stomach-and-tooth-rotting soda. But the tone of that ad is uncharacteristic of Don, whose most striking campaigns tended to have a melancholy, self-aware vibe, bordering on meta. The Coke ad is all about making the viewer feel good. It's a Pollyannaish ad that befits a smiley-faced episode. I don't have a problem with that. These characters have made mistakes and learned from them while remaining the same flawed people they always were. Any happiness they receive in this finale isn't an unmotivated, unrealistic, out-of-nowhere gift. They worked for it."

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TAGS: armond white, cannes film festival, frank rich, justin kurzel, macbeth, mad max: fury road, mad men, marion cotillard, matt zoller seitz, michael fassbender, Samantha Fuller, samuel fuller, steve jobs


B.B. King

1. "B.B. King, Defining Bluesman for Generation, Dies at 89." B. B. King, whose world-weary voice and wailing guitar lifted him from the cotton fields of Mississippi to a global stage and the apex of American blues, died Thursday in Las Vegas. He was 89.

"His death was reported early Friday by The Associated Press, citing his lawyer, Brent Bryson, and by CNN, citing his daughter, Patty King. Mr. King married country blues to big-city rhythms and created a sound instantly recognizable to millions: a stinging guitar with a shimmering vibrato, notes that coiled and leapt like an animal, and a voice that groaned and bent with the weight of lust, longing and lost love. 'I wanted to connect my guitar to human emotions,' Mr. King said in his autobiography, Blues All Around Me (1996), written with David Ritz. In performances, his singing and his solos flowed into each other as he wrung notes from the neck of his guitar, vibrating his hand as if it were wounded, his face a mask of suffering. Many of the songs he sang—like his biggest hit, 'The Thrill Is Gone' ('I'll still live on/But so lonely I'll be')—were poems of pain and perseverance. The music historian Peter Guralnick once noted that Mr. King helped expand the audience for the blues through 'the urbanity of his playing, the absorption of a multiplicity of influences, not simply from the blues, along with a graciousness of manner and willingness to adapt to new audiences and give them something they were able to respond to.'"

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TAGS: abel ferrara, alejandro gonzález iñárritu, b.b. king, carol, cate blanchett, george miller, isaac nabwana, mad max: fury road, nick pinkerton, ramin setoodeh, richard brody, robert downey jr., siberia, todd haynes, uganda, variety


Yoko Ono

1. "Yoko Ono and the Myth That Deserves to Die." Lindsay Zoladz on how she came to love the most hated woman in the world.

"What's most troubling about my Wish Tree memory is not what the boy wrote but that I laughed at it. Back then, I didn't feel any need to defend Ono--if anything, I wanted to position myself apart from what I thought she represented. I bought the Yoko Myth wholesale. The only received images I could conjure of her were ones in which she was tied to John: Here she is sitting silently at the Let It Be sessions as Paul fumes; there she is entwined with her man in the famous Annie Leibovitz picture. I still considered her name an insult—the woman who won't let the boys have their fun. In my early 20s, it felt important to let men believe that I wasn't like that. I hated all the parts of myself that could be perceived as co-dependent or excessively feminine. I was terrified of vulnerability because I thought it could exist only at the expense of independence. I thought I knew what a feminist was. I thought I knew about Yoko Ono. I had a lot to learn."

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TAGS: america in the king years, breaking bad, britney spears, brooklyn, david simon, hbo, hillary clinton, iggy azalea, james mcbride, liliana segura, lindsay zoladz, lost, pretty girls, ta-nehisi coates, taylor branch, the intercept, the sopranos, yoko ono


What Was Gay?

1. "What Was Gay?" In an increasingly accepting world, homosexual men are all too eager to leave their campy, cruising past behind. But the price of equality shouldn't be conformity.

"Of course, anyone who's even eavesdropped on the long-running debate over 'gay identity' among homosexuals will know that this position—that gayness might be located in sensibility or style as well as sex—is currently anathema. We live in the era dominated by a born-this-way, 'it's-a-small-part-of-me' ethos that minimizes gay difference to sexual attraction. The current dogma among mainstream LGBTQ advocacy organizations and the majority of gay writers and public figures sees gayness as little more than a hazy accident of biology that shouldn't be legally or socially disadvantaging. Any notion of some inherent cultural affiliation ('gays love Gaga') or unique sensibility ('fags get fashion') has been pretty much disavowed within the community—imagine the uproar if some naive network executive tried rebooting a minstrelsy-driven show like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy in 2015—and many straights have gotten the memo as well."

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TAGS: angelo muredda, avengers: age of ultron, david lynch, do the right thing, gay, glenn kenny, j. bryan lowder, jem and the holograms, lost, mad men, movie mezzanine, mulholland drive, Patrick Fischler, spike lee, the a.v. club







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