1. “The 2014 Billboard Power 100.” What is power? At its base, it’s the ability to reshape the world around you according to your vision.
“And who in the music industry did so with more verve than the two people leading this year’s Power 100? But they weren’t the only ones exerting a powerful influence on the music business, and popular culture at large. Take our top five: the head of the largest music company in the world; a man who shunned the spotlight while quietly building a diversified music empire; the leader of the most powerful live entertainment company that has ever existed; and another who runs the largest music catalog. The 2014 Power 100 list is filled with similar forces from across the industry which, if you’re lucky enough to work in, offer inspiration, guidance and shining examples of how to get it done.”
2. “Zach Braff sold his movie, Kickstarter backers await rewards.” Zach Braff Can’t Legally Share His Multimillion Dollar Movie Deal With Kickstarter Donors.
“The groundbreaking fundraising for the film, which cost $5.5 million to make, took place in April. In four days, its $2 million goal was met, and it went on to raise a total of $3.1 million from 46,520 contributors. Because Kickstarter and other crowdfunding sites do not allow investors to earn profits, project leaders offer rewards as incentives for contributions. Braff essentially offered his investors behind-the-scenes or VIP access, including personal copies of the script, roles as unpaid extras, screenings in 11 cities with Q&As with Braff, and on-screen credits.”
3. “So Money.” An oral history of Swingers.
“It was a movie about feelings for guys learning to be men, predating the modern Apatovian bromance by years. Swingers had its own restorative slang and presented a world—or a part of Los Angeles, anyway—with a version of cool that seemed both exotic and utterly attainable. It introduced characters so instantly loved and relatable that guys began assigning those parts to their own friends. Trents dancing on tables, saving vulnerable Mikeys from their own doldrums, were everywhere. We got in touch with our inner Robs, placing value on patience and listening.”
4. “This Is Danny Pearl’s Final Story.” Asra Q. Nomani on the life and death of her friend.
“In the summer of 2007, I set out to answer that question—to finish Danny’s last story. I got trained in a social-network database program that intelligence analysts and law-enforcement officers use to sort the targets of their investigations, and Georgetown University’s undergraduate journalism director, Barbara Feinman Todd, and I launched the Pearl Project, an investigative-reporting course for 32 students. Computer-assisted reporting, combined with old-fashioned shoe leather, was how we’d try to prove whether KSM’s ’blessed’ right hand was the one in the video. Our first big break came in an e-mail from a former F.B.I. agent who had seen an article in USA Today about the course. ’I know more than what the F.B.I. has allowed to be told,’ he wrote me. A week later, Tarine ’Ty’ Fairman, an agent who had been assigned to Danny’s case, showed up in our classroom with an inch-thick binder of internal F.B.I. reports. He’d interviewed two of the convicted kidnappers—and the courier whom Pakistani authorities had released.”
5. “Did a Rapper’s Murder Bring Down Greece’s Neo-Nazi Party? “ For a country torn apart for years by nationalist violence and economic austerity, this was either a breaking point or the beginning of a whole new wave of trouble.
“Shortly after Fyssas’ murder, an ex-member of Golden Dawn spoke at length to the Ethnos newspaper and depicted something between a criminal gang and a paramilitary group. He said that a new member had to participate in half a dozen ’actions’ in order to gain entry to the group known as ’the open Nucleus.’ Members who impressed the leadership were then admitted to the inner circle called ’the closed Nucleus.’ In Nikaia, George Patelis orchestrated these core members into assault groups, dispatching them to attack immigrants, anarchists, and antifascists. They wore black T-shirts and combat pants and were armed with helmets, shields, and clubs. They were macho, looked like steroid users, and were unquestioningly loyal.”
Video of the Day: The video for Disclosure’s “F for You” featuring Mary J. Blige:
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