1. “The Down and Dirty History of TMZ.” How a lawyer from the San Fernando Valley created a gossip empire and transformed himself into the most feared man in Hollywood, all by breaking a few long-held rules and, as rumor has it, lording over a notorious vault full of secrets.
“Accounts of [Harvey] Levin suggest that he’s driven far less by a desire for personal fame and much more by a generalized, all-encompassing hunger: to be the best, to dominate the industry, to prove his naysayers wrong. He’s a man of extremes (in the ’90s, he was overweight; today, he’s incredibly fit, doesn’t drink, sleeps four hours a night, and looks younger than his 63 years). Former employees describe him as a ’mad genius,’ ’all fast-twitch muscle,’ and ’like he’s taking the blue pills in Bourne Identity.’ And it’s that metabolism and bottomless hunger that’s manifested in the site: When people call it all-consuming, they’re both referring to its domination of its corner of the gossip landscape and the way it dominates the lives of its employees, including Levin himself.”
2. “Passing of a Video Store and a Downtown Aesthetic.” Kim’s Video Closes and a Village Sensibility Dies.
“Of course, the jig had been up since Kim’s flagship store, on St. Marks Place, shuttered in 2009. The owner, Yongman Kim, consolidated what had grown to a four-store empire into one, and he shipped his 55,000-film collection to Sicily, where there was a fairy-tale promise that the films would find new life. Pressed by higher rents, Mr. Kim said, he plans to close the First Avenue store at the end of next month, 27 years after he opened the first one, on Avenue A, in 1987. But this is more than a story of rising rents and the disruption wrought by digital streaming. It’s the tale of a downtown culture now largely lost, one in which clerks and creative types mingled, influencing one another and the scene as well.”
3. “Comic-Con 2014: Outcry, action against harassment grows.” Harassment amid the fantasy.
“The uncomfortable moments aren’t limited to after-parties and encounters on the crowded convention floor. At a Game of Thrones panel at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con, a mix of cheers and groans rose up in the audience when actor Jason Momoa said his favorite part of his role on the HBO show is that he gets to ’rape beautiful women and have them fall in love with me.’ At a panel last year featuring female action stars called ’Women Who Kick Ass,’ audience members waiting for other speakers grew restless and complained audibly in the convention hall that the panel should be called ’Women Who Talk too Much.’”
4. “Dream Team: The Semi-Mysterious Story Behind the Music of Twin Peaks.” Composer Angelo Badalamenti and singer Julee Cruise reflect on the most influential soundtrack in TV history, one that won a Grammy and went gold.
“Although the first warbles of modern dream pop lie in the early 1980s releases of the Cocteau Twins and their contemporaries, Badalamenti, Lynch and Cruise gave the genre its synthy sheen on ’Mysteries of Love’ and added depth to it with Cruise’s 1989 debut, Floating Into the Night. ’It was obviously a different sound,’ Badalamenti recalls. ’When it came out, radio stations said they had no slots for it. Is it pop? Not really. Is it R&B? Certainly not. What is it? Even the more avant-garde stations found it unusual, so it was difficult getting airplay. But when ’Falling’ came out as the main title theme of Twin Peaks, that was a whole different story.’”
5. “The gale force of Garry Winogrand.” The Boston Globe’s Mark Feeney on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s retrospective of the acclaimed photographer.
“The dynamic arrangement of people—a phrase that describes both society as a whole and the sidewalk groupings Winogrand so often captured in his pictures—is the heart of what he did. ’A Student of America’ demonstrates this again and again. Stillness held little interest for Winogrand. Even with just a single person within the frame, his photographs seem almost always to teem. A toddler, standing in a New Mexico driveway, is dwarfed by the black space of the garage behind her and immensity of sky above. Yet even amid such emptiness she seems to be dancing. John F. Kennedy, photographed at the 1960 Democratic convention, looks waxworks-unreal; but the quartet of people around him are a study in animation. The fact that all five of them, as well as two others in the background, are looking in different directions adds an element in optical hilarity. The convention’s gone slightly Cubist.”
Video of the Day: In this video for “Rapt,” from her upcoming solo debut, Karen O gets her PJ Harvey on:
Links for the Day: A collection of links to items that we hope will spark discussion. We encourage our readers to submit candidates for consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org and to converse in the comments section.