Consider Prince in the early 1990s, not yet Formerly Known As, coming off two soundtrack albums, 1989’s Batman and 1990’s Graffiti Bridge, neither of which registered as substantial expansions of the artist’s very individualist persona. The latter shared a set list with everyone from funk godfather George Clinton to soul icon Mavis Staples, while the former pit his Purpleness against one of the very few pop-culture symbols more ubiquitous than his own. Prince’s previous studio album, 1988’s Lovesexy, had been well received by critics, but less so by the general public.
Prince (#1–10 of 12)
Three days later and I still have difficulty defining the heightened emotional state we’ve been experiencing in Minneapolis. I’ve personally been spontaneously ambushed by welling tears that have been hardly unexpected. But whether Prince’s death knocked you flat or merely held your attention, to be in Minneapolis right now, and to see and read about the tributes pouring in from every corner of the globe, is to tap into a once-in-a-lifetime moment of civic communion. You don’t have to be Prince’s biggest fan—I’m about 97 to 98 percent sure I’m not—to recognize it. This is a town of 3.5 million Prince stories.
Something intriguing seems to be happening to Saturday Night Live. There’s no denying that the departures of Fred Armisen, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, and Seth Meyers have overall drastically muted the show’s comedic palette, throwing it into a transitional funk. You’d think that booking names like Jim Carrey, Woody Harrelson, and Cameron Diaz to do some of the heavy lifting would help ease new cast members and writers into viewers’ minds. Instead, these recent episodes have felt mostly constrained by a soberness that’s prevented the 40th season of the program from finding its rhythm. But then it was announced that former cast member Chris Rock would return for the first time since leaving SNL to host the November 1st episode, with Prince as musical guest, what unfolded was one the show’s most engrossing episodes in a very long time, turning this transitional phase into a spectacle of its own.
1. “Lisa Kudrow’s Comeback Is A Rare Second Chance.” In 2005, Kudrow and Michael Patrick King created The Comeback for HBO, but, ahead of its time in its critique of celebrity, reality TV, and narcissism, it lasted only one season. Nine years later, they reveal the story behind the now-beloved cult comedy’s unlikely return.
“Kudrow had a different—and delayed—reaction to the show’s cancellation. ’I was sad, because I wouldn’t get to do it anymore,’ she said. ’I didn’t feel insulted. I felt—still—I was so proud of what we had done, honestly. And Michael was so angry. I thought, I’m not angry. Is that a problem?’ Years later, though, she was watching HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher alone in her house, and Maher made a joke about how you can make fun of a white man, because they have power, but, Kudrow remembered him saying, ’You don’t make fun of the victim. It’s not funny.’ Maher’s comment had nothing to do with The Comeback, but ’the penny dropped,’ she said.”
1. “2014 Webby Awards.” And the winners are…
“Zach Galifianakis, Jimmy Kimmel, the Jamaican Bobsled Team. All three ruled the Internet at one point over the past year, and are also now winners in what has arguably become the Internet’s most prestigious competition: the Webby Awards. The 18th Annual Webby Award winners are in, and Internet stars like Pharrell Williams, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Jamie Oliver are among those taking home hardware in 2014. Popular startups like Airbnb, Medium, and Twitter-owned Vine were also winners. Mashable also won the Webby Award for Best Business Blog for the third consecutive year, and the fourth time since 2010. (But who’s counting?) The Webby Awards were established in 1996 as a way to honor ’excellence on the Internet,’ according to the company’s website. The awards are broken down into two categories. The Webby Award winners are selected by judges from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, including Tumblr Founder David Karp, House of Cards producer and star Kevin Spacey, and media mogul Arianna Huffington. The Webby People’s Voice Awards are selected by Internet users from more than 200 countries worldwide. This year, more than half a million people participated in the voting, which ended last Thursday. Vice Media (7), Google (5), and Tumblr (4) all scored multiple wins in the People’s Voice categories.”
- david ehrlich
- do the right thing
- Game of Thrones
- George R.R. Martin
- house of cards
- jimmy kimmel
- kevin spacey
- Richard Linklater
- rolling stone
- simon abrams
- Spike Lee
- the breakdown
- vice media
- warner bros.
- webby awards
- zach galifianakis
Surprise: Beyoncé unexpectedly releases new self-titled visual album on iTunes.
Some snap judgments on the album from the Vulture’s Jody Rosen.
Pat Kingsley finally talks: Tom Cruise, Scientology, and what she’s doing now.
Prince to guest star on New Girl.
This Sunday marks the 30th annual MTV Video Music Awards. But this isn’t your father’s VMAs. After excising the words “Music Television” from its logo a few years back, and allowing viewers to vote for winners at its annual awards show, MTV has given its famous moonman award a temporary makeover (see above) to commemorate the ceremony’s move to Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Center. But one thing that hasn’t changed about the VMAs is the opportunity for show-stopping and iconic performances. From Britney’s snake to Madonna dressed as Marie Antoinette, we took a look back and picked 15 of our favorites.
- axl rose
- beastie boys
- britney spears
- christina aguilera
- courtney love
- gett off
- give it away
- i'm a slave 4 u
- jon bon jovi
- Kanye West
- Lady Gaga
- like a virgin
- livin' on a prayer
- Marilyn Manson
- missy elliott
- red hot chili peppers
- richie sambora
- ring the alarm
- single ladies
Why Hollywood’s reliance on franchises will only be hastened by this summer’s flops.
To make matters worse for Hollywood, homegrown films are beating tent poles overseas.
That ’70s Show alum Lisa Robin Kelly is dead at 43.
The NSA reportedly broke rules thousands of times per year.
Prince is on Twitter. We hear he also just got his first flip phone.
The 2013 PEN Literary Awards were announced today.
Restraint urged amid Egypt violence.
Prince is now Tweeting.
Eight showrunners and writers reveal the emotional hurdles in their nominated Emmy episodes.
How G.I. Joe, Barbie, and Darth Vader taught children about war.
Warner Bros. Records
Listen to Slant Magazine’s Best Singles of the 1980s, except for most of Prince’s songs, because he apparently wants to pretend it’s still the ’80s.