1. “The Meme As Meme.” Why do things go viral, and should we care?
“Pinpointing when memes first made the leap to the Internet is tricky. Nowadays, we might think of the dancing baby, also known as Baby Cha-Cha, that grooved into our inboxes in the 1990s. It was a kind of proto-meme, but no one called it that at the time. The first reference I could find to an ’Internet meme’ appeared in a footnote in a 2003 academic article, describing an important event in the life of Jonah Peretti, co-founder of the hugely successful websites The Huffington Post and BuzzFeed. In 2001, as a procrastinating graduate student at MIT, Peretti decided to order a pair of Nike sneakers customized to read ’sweatshop.’ Nike refused. Peretti forwarded the email exchange to friends, who sent it on and on, until the story leapt to the mainstream media, where Peretti debated a Nike representative on NBC’s Today Show. Peretti later wrote, ’Without really trying, I had released what biologist Richard Dawkins calls a meme.’”
2. “Nowhere to Run.” For Reverse Shot, Matthew Connolly on Andy Warhol’s Vinyl.
“When discussing the film frame (as a boundary of visual perception as opposed to, say, a unit on a strip of celluloid), two elements tend to come to the fore. First, the frame provides a perimeter within which filmmakers can add, subtract, rearrange, and otherwise construct the mise-en-scène of a given shot. Which characters we see and don’t see; how objects and bodies relate to one another in time and space; what patterns of color, light, and shape form and change over the course of a shot—all of these and more become possible through the specific parameters set up by the length and width of the frame itself. Second (and perhaps somewhat more abstractly), the frame delineates the borders between the world of the film and the space within which it has been created. No matter how far the screen stretches or how completely the camera appears to explore a given arena, there comes a point where what allows the film to come into existence—the production equipment, the crew, the camera itself—remains just out of frame, a conceptual border beyond which we can only imagine as we sit in the darkness of the movie theater. In this way, the frame not only shapes the aesthetic possibilities of the film image, but defines the idea of the film itself as a constructed visual object whose very being necessarily depends upon artists and technicians whose decisions beyond the frame determines what goes before it.”
3. ”’Lumière! Inventing Cinema’ in Paris Celebrates the Birth of Movies.” For The New York Times, Rachel Donadio on the exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris.
“The show captures a time of optimism when viewers first had access to footage from around the world, before the carnage of World War I descended on Europe. It also seeks to put the Lumière brothers in context. Many innovators, including Thomas Edison in the United States, were experimenting with recording images, but it was Louis Lumière who in 1894 invented the cinematograph, a compact device that united all the existing technology to capture 17-minute films on 35-millimeter strips and to project them. He patented the machine in 1895.”
4. “New York’s Ziegfeld Theatre in Danger of Closing.” The modern-day movie palace in Midtown is the favorite venue for glitzy Hollywood premieres.
“New York’s storied Ziegfeld Theatre is on the verge of closing its doors as its operators have grown frustrated with the money-losing moviehouse and seek someone to take over the lease. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, James Dolan, CEO of Cablevision, which runs the Ziegfeld, was asked whether he planned to close the legendary venue that has played host to countless Hollywood premieres. ’Yeah. Probably,’ Dolan said. ’It loses a lot of money. The theater business is a tough business.’ But on Tuesday, Cablevision said in a statement that ’the situation has changed and the Ziegfeld will remain open for the foreseeable future.’ A spokesman wouldn’t elaborate but it’s safe to say a search is on for someone to take over the three years remaining on Cablevision’s lease on the property.”
5. “This Is What It’s Like to Be an Actor of Color During TV’s ’Diversity Push’” Slate’s Aisha Harris chats with three professional actors of color about the current state of diversity in Hollywood.
“But there’s a downside to the diversity push, too. As Allen explains, it can actually be harder to pinpoint the roles that he’s likely to get cast in. ’I prefer when it’s ethnically specific because then I know [that] what I’m going in for is right for me, and it’s written for someone who looks like me, as opposed to throwing darts in the dark and hoping they stick.’ [DeWanda] Wise, a black actress whose résumé includes several appearances on primetime TV shows, is similarly hesitant to embrace the idea that Hollywood has improved significantly when it comes to diversity. She believes that the ’all ethnicities’ casting call has become ’almost too PC’: ’It could be anybody [in the role], which on the one hand is nice,’ she says, ’because you’re not reading something and thinking, this is what you think of me [as a black woman]?’ At the same time, she finds that the lack of specificity in casting notices can be frustrating, sometimes veering into what feels like diversity tokenism: She cited a recent audition for a role in which there was an Asian woman seen right before her and a Hispanic woman seen immediately after. Wise also believes that the lack of specificity in casting calls is at least a little bit dishonest. ’A lot of these conversations are going on behind the scenes. They will have a set of auditions, then they will decide among themselves.’ Allen echoes that sentiment: ’A lot of times [casting directors] already have in mind who they want for the project.’”
Video of the Day: A new trailer for Joe Dante’s Burying the Ex:
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