1. “10 great films about masks.” In the guise of a tie-in with the release of Frank, starring Michael Fassbender as masked singer Frank Sidebottom, we celebrate the rich history of masks on screen.
“Two of the cinema’s greatest mask-based horror films premiered within months of each other. Mario Bava’s Black Sunday (originally The Mask of Satan) opened with an alleged witch having a metal mask being hammered into her face, while Georges Franju’s even more unsettling vision saw Christiane (Édith Scob) donning an eerily blank-faced mask in order to hide the fact that her face is badly burned following a car accident caused by her plastic-surgeon father (Pierre Brasseur). Acting almost entirely with her sorrowful, intensely expressive eyes, Scob gives one of the cinema’s great masked performances, the mask in this case acting as a surrogate for her father’s failed attempts at creating a more plausible one out of the flesh of kidnapped young women. Masks also turn up in Franju’s other films, notably his Feuillade remake Judex (1963), whose highlight is a masquerade ball in which everyone is disguised as animals and birds.”
2. “The Lost Creators Come Clean.” Ten years later, they talk about their mistakes, their successes, the worst episode, and why we’re all still talking about this damn show.
“Lost premiered in September of 2004 and quickly spiraled into one of the most compelling, divisive shows on TV. Its unconventional, complexly wrought structure, enigmatic characters, and collection of perplexing mysteries became an immediate part of the cultural conversation, engaging fans in a truly obsessive way. It’s arguable that no show since has generated such an extreme level of viewer involvement and debate that continues nearly four years after its finale aired. [Damon] Lindelof and [Carlton] Cuse, who note that they hope to work together again in the future, remain as involved as the fans, and had some thoughts on why exactly Lost affected pop culture so deeply. Just don’t ask them if you can take the hatch home with you.”
3. “Courtney Love: I wrote the Kurt Cobain ’bitch with zits’ note.” The former Hole singer is on tour, putting the band back together, and fighting even more accusations about her husband’s death. At least she’s friends with Dave Grohl again.
“Love confirms that she is the author of the note, a private, caustic joke about a sexist media that hero-worshipped Cobain while vilifying his wife, a talented artist in her own right. ’Obviously I wrote it—don’t you guys understand sarcasm?’ The media, she says, are just as culpable in this morbid witch-hunt as the truthers. ’It endangers me, and it endangers [Love’s press-shy daughter] Frances.’ The risks facing the progeny of dead celebrities feel especially pertinent to Love in the wake of Peaches Geldof’s recent death. She’s toying with the idea of covering the Boomtown Rats’ I Don’t Like Mondays in Geldof’s memory at her Shepherds Bush Empire show this weekend. ’Is it in good taste though? I can’t decide.’”
4. “Shailene Woodley on Why She’s Not a Feminist.” The actress talked to TIME about sisterhood, revenge and her reasons for avoiding the “F” word.
“No because I love men, and I think the idea of ’raise women to power, take the men away from the power’ is never going to work out because you need balance. With myself, I’m very in touch with my masculine side. And I’m 50 percent feminine and 50 percent masculine, same as I think a lot of us are. And I think that is important to note. And also I think that if men went down and women rose to power, that wouldn’t work either. We have to have a fine balance.”
5. “Say Goodbye to One of NYC’s Last Beloved Video Stores.” Michael Musto interviews Alan Sklar, owner of Alan’s Alley Video in Chelsea.
“It was inevitable, but it’s still tragic. Alan’s Alley Video — one of the last remaining video stores in NYC — has a “For Lease” sign in the window, as the landlord is seeking a higher-paying tenant. The 25-year-old Chelsea landmark (207 9th Avenue), which serves old videos as well as DVDs of new releases, is the brainchild of Alan Sklar, who has served a community of film lovers looking for things that aren’t quite so obvious and available. (A friend of mine recently curated my home with the entire Ken Russell collection thanks to Alan’s. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Roger Daltrey do a Texas two-step as Franz Liszt.) A victim of both rising rents and technology changing the way people get their movies, Alan’s is a gem, down to the winding shelves and the imperious cat who stares you down as you search them. And the store always gave you several nights with the film, and without even the bother of a membership (just a credit card and ID). Here’s my chat with Alan Sklar, 65.”
Video of the Day: The “Are You Still a Slave?” discussion at the New School in which bell hooks calls Beyoncé a “terrorist”:
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