1. “Elaine Stritch R.I.P.” The tart-tongued Brodway actress and singer is dead at 89.
“Plain-spoken, egalitarian, impatient with fools and foolishness, and admittedly fond of cigarettes, alcohol and late nights—she finally gave up smoking and drinking in her 60s, after learning she had diabetes, though she returned to alcohol in her 80s—Ms. Stritch might be the only actor ever to work as a bartender after starring in a Broadway show, and she was completely unabashed about her good-time-girl attitude. ’I’m not a bit opposed to your mentioning in this article that Frieda Fun here has had a reputation in the theater, for the past five or six years, for drinking,’ she said to a reporter for The New York Times in 1968. ’I drink, and I love to drink, and it’s part of my life.”
2. “The Brilliance of Louis C.K.’s Emails: He Writes Like a Politician.” Where campaign strategy and comedy marketing collide.
“Louis C.K.’s regular-guy shtick permeates everything about his image: the plain black T-shirts, the self-deprecating humor, his Twitter bio (’I am a comedian and a person and a guy who is sitting here’), even his mass-emailing strategy. Louie—and it feels right to call him ’Louie’ precisely because of this guy-who-is-sitting-here image he’s so expertly cultivated—is, of course, not an ordinary guy. He’s a wildly successful comic, a ’comedy god’ even, and his decision to directly distribute his own material has changed the way all kinds of entertainers look at the economics of selling albums and going on tour. Yet Louie manages to write to his fans in a way that seems far more personal than the marketing messages that promote other entertainers in his class. The genius of his approach is that he’s using email the way a politician does—a mock-personalized approach to reach and influence a huge mass audience—only he does it with a level of credibility and authenticity that politicians never quite capture.”
3. “What Even Our Best Blockbusters Are Still Getting Wrong About Women.” Kyle Buchanan on Hollywood’s minimal use of female characters in its blockbusters.
“Part of the appeal of post-apocalyptic and sci-fi plots is that they take place in a different, reset world where all bets are off. So why do so many of them still play by the same antiquated rules when it comes to portraying women? Sure, you’ve got two successful dystopian franchises in The Hunger Games and Divergent that can actually boast female protagonists, but both of those series have made a pointed effort to stay out of the summer movie season entirely. More often than not, women are an afterthought in our wannabe blockbusters, an endemic problem that Hollywood still doesn’t know how to handle.”
4. “My Life with Piper: From Big House to Small Screen.” The other true story behind Orange Is the New Black.
“In the spring of 2013, I am watching an advance screener of the soon-to-be-released Netflix show Orange Is the New Black, and a guy named Larry, who looks more like me than not, proposes to a blue-eyed blonde named Piper, looking like the younger cousin of my wife. They’re on a beach, as we were when I proposed, and he removes a ring from a sealed plastic bag, as I did. Larry Bloom, in one of his best lines, explains: ’I gotta lock this shit down before you leave, Pipes.’ I’m pretty sure it’s something I said, too, and even if I didn’t, it’s the scene at which my friends dropped their vocal opposition to Jason Biggs. For the record, though, I have never called her ’Pipes.’”
5. ”Planet of the Aples’ Monkey Business.” Chuck Bowen asks if American blockbusters are catering to your sense of nihilism, or vice versa?
“This pretentiousness is the newest incarnation of Hollywood’s compensatory bigness, as movies are always said to be imperiled by new technology. Superman can no longer be a well-meaning alien boy scout who masquerades as a bumbling reporter. He must now be a Christ surrogate who trades portentous looks with Lois Lane in place of banter. The Transformers movies can’t be tidy little toy advertisements that deliver their set pieces in a reasonable ninety or a hundred minutes or so. They must be three-hour war films that are blessed with the production values that are pragmatically denied of filmmakers who might have an actual vision to impart. And so on. Jettisoned for this seriousness is everything else a pop movie can be reasonably expected to provide: characters, plot, dialogue, comedy, sex, or, in short, the expansive possibility of untethered imagination.”
Video of the Day: Conan O’Brien and Dave Franco get their Tinder on:
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