1. “Read the ’Stomach-Churning’ Sexual Assault Accusations Against R. Kelly in Full.” As part of a Village Voice interview, music journo Jim DeRogatis gave access to the files and transcripts he’s collected in reporting R. Kelly’s sexual assault allegations.
“To be clear, I think Pitchfork was cosigning it. I think each and every one of us, as individual listeners and consumers of culture, has to come up with our own answer. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer. The thing that’s interesting to me is that Pitchfork is a journalistic and critical organ. They do journalism and they do criticism. And then when they are making money to present an act—that’s a cosign, that’s an endorsement. That’s not just writing about and covering it. They very much wanted R. Kelly as their cornerstone artist for the festival. I think it’s fair game to say: ’Why, Pitchfork?’”
2. “G.B.F. Was Rated R for Being Gay.” Gawker’s Rich Juzwiak on how the good-natured teen comedy getting the R rating points to the MPAA’s discomfort with gay sexuality.
“[Director Darren] Stein says that the R-rating is like a ’danger post’ for parents, and [G.B.F. writer George] Northy laments that with the classification, the movie is less likely to be shown to people for whom the movie may be most useful, students in high schools’ gay-straight alliances, for example. Stein says that he can’t afford to appeal the rating (like the Weinstein Company did recently for Philomena). It’s just not in his budget.”
3. “The Best Films of 2013.” The Dissolve’s contributors, among them Noel Murray, Keith Phipps, and Scott Tobias, select their favorite 20 films of the year.
“Finding consensus among nine writers can be a struggle, but when a year is as strong as 2013, the abundance of riches makes it especially hard to figure out which great films to line up behind—and which great films are relegated to ’any other year’ status. For The Dissolve’s inaugural year-end best-of list, only one film appeared on all Top 15 ballots: Spike Jonze’s Her, a forward-thinking science-fiction/romance that takes place in the near future, but captured the tenor of the times like no other film this year.”
4. “The President of the Cool.” Ishmael Reed and why Barack Obama, among Democrats, comes closest to the style of bebop called “the Cool.”
“Cool jazz is exemplified by the saxophone of Lester Young and his protégé Stan Getz; the trumpet of Miles Davis (especially on his 1957 album ’Birth of the Cool’); the vibraphone of Milt Jackson and the song stylings of Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan and June Christy. Like the president, cool musicians carried themselves with a regal bearing. Some members of the generation before them had to engage in minstrel-like antics to make a living. Cool musicians demanded respect, and when attacked didn’t blow up, but, like the president, responded stoically. One of his favorite words is ’persistence,’ the attitude of his hero, the saxophonist Sonny Rollins, the greatest surviving bebopper.”
5. “Paul Thomas Anderson: An Autocritique.” Greg Gerke on Paul Thomas Anderson’s answering of Ingmar Bergman’s call for a young filmmaker to have something to say.
“The bounty of responses to Paul Thomas Anderson and his films speak to his artistry. After David Lynch and Terrence Malick, he is the star of the American narrative cinema and is certainly leagues more commercial than those two old souls, now name brands. Because he is a contemporary, I confess a competition. It is one-sided, but not drooling. What I have made in the past five years may pale to what The Master is. Many pages and many words that don’t cohere into one principled mountain risk the dyspepsia that graces the internet, our mutual multi-glutinous mouthpiece. Our mediums are different, our means are different, one doesn’t know the other exists — it sounds like many crush relationships, but it is the basis for more than thwarted love or genuine repulsion.”
Video of the Day: Jennifer Lawrence’s butt-plug confession on Conan O’Brien:
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