Happy Bi Visibility Day, Here’s Kelly Clarkson Covering ‘Make Me Feel’

Call that allyship — and call whatever behind-the-scenes queer booked this song for this day an icon. (She does love a holiday.) Clarkson turned it out, as she does, from opening with a signature “wooo!” to hitting all those big notes in the chorus, and then some. Related

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Tags: And today is Bi Visibility Day, which has been celebrated for decades as an occasion to focus on bisexuality (or, in recent years, bisexuality+, encompassing a broader spectrum of identities including pansexuality and queerness). Janelle Monáe’s “Make Me Feel” is a bisexual anthem, as we at Vulture declared upon its release three years ago. So it can’t possibly be a coincidence that Kelly Clarkson covered “Make Me Feel” for Kellyoke on today’s Kelly Clarkson Show, right?

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Categories: Entertainment News

Going Deep on a Classic Fugees Album (and 7 More Podcasts Worth Trying)

Listening Notes…

➽ JJ Redick, the journeyman NBA veteran known for his three-point shot and to some extent his contentious college career, is retiring from professional basketball at the ripe age of 37, which means he’ll likely be spending more time working on his relatively new career as a podcaster and budding podcast mogul. Are they only filming the show in the winter to play up the Salt Lake City aesthetic? Keep in mind, for example, the fact that Matney is affiliated with FITSNews, a conservative-libertarian political blog based in South Carolina that has a bit of a reputation for being a questionable tabloid-esque rag, and that a considerable number of DIY true-crime pods that appear in search results of the case rarely amount to more than amateur sleuthing. It can summon low-stakes experimentation with high-stakes results. The basement is where you might go to get away with something, and when you get away with something enough times, you’ll chase the next forbidden thing until everything feels like an unlocked door. The opening episode was smoldering with promise, teeing up a series of intriguing questions: Is it logistical for Jen Shah to still be on the show while being investigated for her part in a wire-fraud scheme? Here, the team has built a “concept album” featuring a series of essays from Abdurraqib about The Score, the second and final studio album by the legendary hip-hop group Fugees that broke records when it was released in 1996. Let’s end with a slight digression that might be even more niche for this readership: I’m plenty pumped about Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, which returned for its second season last week. Into this muck steps Say You’re Sorry, a new Audible Original that dropped earlier this month. More 1.5x Speed

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Tags: Kicking Abdurraqib’s lyrical deliveries up to a higher gear is some excellent scoring and sound design by Raj Makhija. We contain multitudes. This article was featured in 1.5x Speed, New York’s podcast recommendation newsletter. Alptraum and Peterous ultimately build toward a concluding thought that’s a little too optimistic for my sensibilities, but the series nevertheless offers a solid meditation on why we bother with public apologies in the first place. As a huge NBA consumer, I listen to Old Man and the Three quite a bit, though now that Redick’s retiring, I’m probably going to shift more attention to the other sharpshooter in the network that’s still in the league: noted podcast fan Duncan Robinson, who co-hosts with The Long Shot with Davis Reid. Furthermore, the apologies we do get rarely feel consequential. Sign up here to get it weekly. The show will probably drag things out for a few more weeks before it gets around to all that, but in the meantime, let’s keep things relevant to the original subject matter of 1.5x Speed: Mary Crosby started a podcast? Of the Booga Basement, the home studio where Fugees recorded The Score:

The basement was a place where one could be both brilliant and foolish depending on the hour or second. What good timing, too. When Abdurraqib describes Lauryn Hill’s vocals in “Killing Me Softly” — “I heard he sang a good song, I heard he had a style” — as gliding over the harmonies and beats, one can say that he is doing the very same thing himself. (Alptraum, by the way, also hosted the second season of New York Magazine’s audio-documentary series, Tabloid.)

Say You’re Sorry is built as a survey of case studies from a few different “apology arenas.” Its nine episodes run the gamut. On the one hand, whether from a celebrity or a corporation, they are a routinely expected occurrence nowadays, coming and going like the weather. Here’s a recent smattering: ‘Chicken Keeping for Urban Dwellers,’ ‘Gardening to Save Money,’ ‘Neem for Powdery Mildew,’ ‘Eating a Sunflower Head,’ and ‘Watermelon Mistakes to Avoid.’ I’m not quite sure where Kevin broadcasts from. Imagine someone with her apron and secateurs meandering about.) Epic Gardening is short and sweet, five to ten minutes each, dropping daily Monday through Friday. Terms & Privacy Notice
By submitting your email, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Notice and to receive email correspondence from us. Such pronouncements hardly ever transcend suspicion of being mere exercises in image management. This is a newsletter that will involve mention of Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, the legendary New Jersey hip-hop group Fugees, and gardening. Hope you enjoyed it. As with the case of most true-crime media on the internet more generally, do remember to exercise good news hygiene should you find yourself down this podcast rabbit hole. There are lots of guests, and the topics cover the usual subjects — perennials, cover crops, fruit trees, pests, and the like — but there are also more unusual topics. At this writing, the one that’s been trending the most on the various podcast charts seems to be Mandy Matney’s Murdaugh Murders (say that fast three times), and if I’m not mistaken, one of the hosts of The Murdaugh Family Murders: Impact of Influence popped up on CNN to discuss the case recently. Adhering to the concept-album conceit, Time Machine: The Score takes the shape of a two-parter — “Side A” and “Side B” — each containing four essay “tracks.”

If you are familiar with Abdurraqib’s work in any way, you probably know what you’re getting here. Reader Pick: Epic Gardening

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“When I first discovered Epic Gardening a couple years ago, there weren’t a whole lot of gardening podcasts that I could find. A few installments are dedicated to unpacking celebrity apologies — perhaps the most popularly traded form in the genre — while the rest stretch across significantly heavier material: apologies from institutions, corporations, and countries, along with apologies grounded in situations involving sexual assault. ➽ Was that too niche? One that doesn’t seem to be listed in any of the major podcast players at this point in time? It’s a sorry state of sorries, enough to make one wonder why we even bother at all. Email

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Terms of Service apply. His show, The Old Man and the Three, is one of the more interesting entries in the steadily growing subgenre of athlete podcasts — by the way, The New Yorker’s Hua Hsu wrote a great piece about that trend back in March — and it serves as the centerpiece of ThreeFourTwo Productions, the podcast network he co-founded with Tommy Alter, whose production credits include Desus & Mero and The Shop. The host, Kevin Espiritu, has a gardening assistant named Jacques, and you’ll get to know both of them in their own ways. The 11th: ‘Time Machine: The Score’

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Given my deep enjoyment of Hanif Abdurraqib’s previous podcast work — his season of KCRW’s Lost Notes was in my top-ten list for 2020 — it shouldn’t be a surprise that I was quick to pick up his latest audio effort, and even less of a surprise that I enjoyed that too. (I’d listened to a British gardener discussing a garden show somewhere in England. As always, tell me what you’re listening to. The premise is instantly head-turning, made even more compelling by the fact that Say You’re Sorry is a project by Bucket of Eels, the new audio studio founded by Rose Eveleth, best known as the creator of the popular futurism podcast Flash Forward. Maybe Florida.” —Christi C. There are, in fact, several. Time Machine: The Score comes as the second release from The 11th, Pineapple Street’s feed dedicated to publishing works that don’t naturally fit conventional podcast structure (at least according to the studio’s judgment). Yesterday, ten days after Time Machine’s release, Fugees announced that they were reuniting for an international tour to celebrate the album’s 25th anniversary. But for the unfamiliar, here’s what to expect: vignettes that stretch across time and memory; sharp observations that conjure vivid imagery; reflections on the ways in which a piece of art can attach to one’s self and help form the basis of an identity. Say You’re Sorry recounts the details of these stories in forensic fashion, sometimes to an extreme degree, but the meticulous approach is a big part of what makes the show work. And that’s a wrap for 1.5x Speed! We’re back next week, but in the meantime: Send podcast recommendations, feedback, or just say hello at nicholas.quah@vulture.com. Did one of her co-stars tip the Feds off to her location? Reach me at nicholas.quah@vulture.com, or find me on Twitter. Let’s get to it. The essays are also, of course, gorgeously written. (See also: the internet focus on the Gabby Petito story.) Podcasting’s democratic nature cuts both ways, after all. (You can head here for my full review of the podcast.)

Meanwhile…

➽ If you’ve been furiously reading (as I have, admittedly) about the extremely convoluted and strange Alex Murdaugh case in South Carolina — which involves a double-homicide investigation, a failed self-assassination attempt that’s part of an insurance-fraud scheme, and an upwardly creeping body count — and at any point said to yourself, “I bet there’s a podcast about this,” obviously you’d be right. Created by the writer Lux Alptraum, who co-hosts the series with producer Siona Peterous, the series bills itself as a study of public apologies that intends to understand why they’re so hard to execute well and why they’re often difficult to believe. On the other hand, the air is utterly thick with powerful individuals and institutions that simply see no need to apologize at all. Photo-Illustration: Vulture

Happy Wednesday, everyone. 1.5x Speed: A Weekly Newsletter of Podcast Recommendations and Reviews
Listening notes for the top shows, from Vulture’s critic Nick Quah. Say You’re Sorry

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Would it be inaccurate to say that we seem to be in an era where public apologies have never felt more ubiquitous and elusive? Curious!

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Good Deal, Bad Strategy: Why the Paramount+ and Showtime Bundle Is a Mess

Those networks understandably didn’t want to do anything to help another subscription-based service build up their business, so it’s hard to argue it was a bad decision. I don’t think Apple will get quite as big a boost in Hollywood as Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video did when they snagged their first big Emmys. Streamliner

At your service. That sound you hear at the beginning of every Netflix original can now rightly be pronounced “ta-damn.”

Given how many naysayers Netflix battled early on — and still faces today, quite frankly — Sunday’s triumph clearly was a moment to relish for execs and staffers at the streamer. But read with the knowledge of what happened next, it’s hard not to read Sarandos’s innocuous quote today without it sounding almost like a Swift-ian taunt: Look what you made me do. But now, cordcutters who don’t pay for a TV package (and don’t want to bother with an antenna) will be able to stream live on Peacock. Of course, while HBO/HBO Max wasn’t operating at maximum capacity this year,  Netflix had to deal with pandemic delays, too: It went without new seasons of Stranger Things, Ozark, and Russian Doll because of the ’rona. More importantly, it put Apple TV+ on the radar of millions of potential subscribers, folks who may have vaguely known the tech giant now made TV shows but weren’t sure why they should bother with yet another streaming service. Since he couldn’t force HBO to sell him its hits, Sarandos in 2011 basically told Wallenstein he had no choice but to make them himself. Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photo by

While Netflix ruled the Emmys, there’s a good case to be made that Apple TV+ gained the most over the weekend— at least in terms of how much upside it got from the event. This is sort of a big deal: Until now, your options for watching SNL live were limited to NBC on broadcast, cable, or a virtual cable service such as YouTube TV or Hulu with Live TV. For one, it’s weird that this so-called bundle is only being offered for a few weeks. At first I didn’t understand all the hate for the idea, but the more I dug into what was actually announced, the more I agreed with it — to a point. Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photo by CBS

This story first ran in Buffering, Vulture’s newsletter about the streaming industry. Within five years, its overall tally skyrocketed to 112 noms and 23 wins — good enough to tie the mighty HBO in 2018’s kudos competition. Paul Giamatti on Showtime’s Billions. Apple’s Golden Delicious Night

Jason Sudeikis helped bring Apple TV+ some gold. Probably not! Head to vulture.com/buffering and subscribe today! And now, not even a decade after jumping into the business of scripted TV, Netflix has yet bulldozed through still more milestones: Its jaw-dropping Emmy haul this year — including Best Drama and Limited Series — makes it the medium’s most-honored programmer of 2021, relegating longtime champ HBO to runner-up status for the first time in nearly 20 years. If you’re already a Showtime subscriber, that’s an amazing deal, since Showtime’s base rate for a digital subscription is $11 (though it’s been as low as $9 per month via recent promotions). But a “bundle” is something you need to educate consumers on, so they understand why it makes sense to order two services instead of one, particularly when one is as brand new as Paramount+. Quite the contrary: The consensus among many agents and execs I spoke to back then was that Ted Sarandos and his free-spending band of digital upstarts were just the latest example of a very particular category of showbiz wannabes, the so-called “idiots with money.” They got the money part right; the idiots, not so much. As one person noted, it would make a lot more sense for ViacomCBS to give anyone with a Showtime subscription free access to the ad-supported level of Paramount+. But Sarandos had already seen data suggesting the serialized dramas those cablers were cranking out performed exceptionally well on streaming. But for anyone hoping ViacomCBS was finally ready to break its addiction to the short-term economic benefits of its current linear-centric economic model, the news is yet another disappointment. On Tuesday, ViacomCBS announced what it called a “limited time” promotion in which consumers can get a subscription to both Paramount+ and Showtime for as little as $10 per month. As investor and industry analyst Matthew Ball noted in his reply to me on Twitter, Showtime and P+ “obviously need to be collapsed” into one service, the way WarnerMedia has essentially done by mixing HBO and content from Turner cable networks into HBO Max. Josh O’Connor of The Crown was one of Netflix’s many winners of the night. Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photo by

Why Netflix’s Big Haul Matters

Back in 2013, Netflix became the first-ever streaming platform to land Emmy nominations in the series categories, thanks to House of Cards and its continuation of Arrested Development. This wasn’t a simple thing to do, by the way. The afterglow from Lasso’s big night will also be felt in Hollywood, particularly when Apple is competing for projects: Talent wants to know their work will be seen and recognized, and Apple showing it can mount successful Emmy campaigns obviously helps that cause a lot. From a long-term perspective, he’s absolutely right: From day one, CBS All Access should have been folded into a SHO+ or ShoMax. There is not a single person in Hollywood who would’ve predicted that when Netflix snapped up two seasons of House of Cards sight unseen in March 2011. Save for a quick Instagram post, he didn’t even issue an official comment the day after the Emmys, instead deferring to his global TV chief, Bela Bajaria, who was also muted in her reaction (she called it a “historic” day for the company, and for streaming in general). ViacomCBS seems to want to emulate what Disney and Apple have done with their digital bundles, but those companies combine at least three services, and those services are actually pretty different: Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ all offer very different kinds of content. Showtime and Paramount+, by contrast, are both platforms filled with movies, TV shows, sports, and even information-based programming. “I was here eight years ago, and we had no idea if we were going to be eligible even,” Netflix U.S./Canada scripted TV chief Peter Friedlander told reporters Monday during a post-Emmys news conference.  “It remains my first desire to license great off-network content as much as it is available,” Sarandos told the trade at the time. Obviously, Emmys aren’t some magic elixir that will suddenly let Apple double its TV subscriber base overnight. The first four episodes of the fall will stream live on Peacock, and while a rep for the service declined to comment, I have heard the goal is for the show to continue to do so all season long. I don’t think this relative modesty should be taken as a sign Netflix doesn’t care about awards anymore: Its massive budget for Emmy campaigning suggests it wants those little gold-winged statutes a lot, and it did hold that news conference to talk about its accomplishment Monday. I’m also still waiting to see if Peacock ever makes good on its promise to stream The Tonight Show and Late Night a few hours before episodes hit NBC, but as long as those pesky affils get their way, that won’t be happening anytime soon. They’ll all be eligible when nominations are announced next summer, as will the new seasons of Curb Your Enthusiasm and Westworld (probably) and the first season of And Just Like That …, which HBO Max is apparently now marketing as “a new chapter of Sex and the City.” Netflix (and HBO Max, for that matter) will also have to keep an eye on rapidly rising Apple TV+ and the supersized combo of Hulu/FX on Hulu, which figures to roar back next year with American Crime Story: Impeachment, Only Murders in the Building, What We Do in the Shadows, and Reservation Dogs. “So to be where we are feels like such a sea change.” Indeed, while rivals and some industry observers have made much of the fact that Hulu and Amazon Prime Video snagged Best Drama statuettes years before Netflix, such thinking misses the bigger point: Netflix fought its way to parity with quality king HBO in just five years, and then surpassed it three years later. (Think of it as another iteration of that “virtuous cycle” streamers love to mention.)

The bad news for Netflix is that competing for Emmys is going to get even harder in the next few years as its rivals boost their prestige-TV output. Netflix’s co-CEO doesn’t spend a lot of time publicly gloating about the streamer’s successful takeover of Hollywood. Putting a time limit makes it feel like a marketing gimmick rather than a strategy shift, which I’m assuming — perhaps incorrectly! SNL appears to be the first show to get the simulcast treatment on the streamer, but from what I’m hearing, it probably won’t be the last. It’s one thing to cut the price of a single service for a short time, something HBO Max is currently doing. We already saw some of that Sunday, between Apple TV+’s impressive performance with Ted Lasso and HBO Max’s first-year comedy Hacks doing even better than expected. NBC needed to work out a deal with its affiliates to air more NBC content simultaneously on Peacock, since those local stations pay NBC for same-day exclusivity. And P+ originals such as Evil could just as easily fit in on Showtime. Indeed, the HBO Max/HBO mash-up still did reasonably well this year even though it didn’t have some of its strongest players in the field this past season: Emmy faves Succession, Euphoria, Barry, and Insecure were all delayed by the pandemic. If nothing else, winning awards helps lure top talent to Netflix, which results in more quality shows, which leads to more subscribers and more awards. Talking to Variety’s Andy Wallenstein just after announcing the aforementioned Cards, the exec explains how premium-cable channels such as HBO and Showtime had been refusing to let Netflix license the most recent seasons of their shows, preferring to keep them exclusive to their platforms. SNL Comes to Streaming (Sort Of)

Buried deep in NBC’s Wednesday press release announcing guest hosts for the new season of Saturday Night Live was a somewhat major development for streaming: For the first time ever, you’ll be able to watch SNL live without watching NBC. Despite being a pretty solid value proposition for consumers, when I tweeted the news, much of the reaction I got — particularly from colleagues in the media — was negative. While doing research for this week’s newsletter, I stumbled upon an old interview with Sarandos that underscores just how much of an underdog Netflix was when it jumped into the first-run space. And if you get Showtime through cable or satellite, well, unless it’s heavily discounted, you now feel like a sucker for paying more … to get less. So while it’s going to be very tough for the streamer to pull off a repeat of this year, when it nearly doubled the Emmy haul of HBO, Netflix’s status as an awards-season superpower isn’t going away anytime soon. But ViacomCBS apparently thinks there’s more money to be made by tweaking the status quo rather than blowing it up, so here we are. That platform still wouldn’t be as strong as an HBO Max, but it would have been far easier to market a bulked-up Showtime than launch yet another standalone service. Bajaria reminded reporters earlier this week that “at any moment in history,” Queen’s Gambit probably would have been an Emmy darling, and she’s right. Related

‘Nobody’s Happy’: Broadcast TV Battles the Streaming Blues as Fall Season Begins

The Price Is Right on the New Showtime and Paramount+ Bundle, But It Won’t Last

Tags: What’s more, its biggest winner this year — The Queen’s Gambit — kicked butt even though it went up against an instant classic HBO limited series in the form of Mare of Easttown. People get the concept of stuff being on sale. But Apple’s sales pitch to consumers just got a lot easier: If you want to watch the best comedy on TV, you need to get Apple TV+. What’s more, as many commenters pointed out in their replies to my thread, bundling two services for less than the price of one is just sort of … silly? And the Winner Is … Streaming! That Ted Lasso was able to capture the Best Comedy award and score victories in several other key races, less than two years after Apple TV+’s launch, serves as a massive validation of that strategy. Anyone who’s currently paying full freight for digital Showtime now has to figure out how to cancel their current subscription and sign up for the new deal. That would dramatically boost P+’s sub tally while also making Showtime customers less likely to cancel. — is what’s really going on with the bundle offer. The streamer has made it clear it wants to be a new version of HBO, i.e., a destination for a curated, premium TV experience filled with content from the industry’s best creators. But that’s partially due to the fact Apple already has garnered a ton of respect from the creative community, and because streaming platforms are now the center of the creative universe in a way they weren’t even as recently as five years ago. Netflix has emerged as an Emmy titan, and the most-honored platform in 2021, not due to some fluke but because it has spent the past decade investing billions of dollars in the production of extraordinary television — and TV Academy voters reacted accordingly. “But if we can’t come to terms with traditional season-after model, that pushes up our appetite to compete with those distributors for that same content.” Would Netflix have forever limited itself to being the home of premium reruns had HBO simply said, “Sure, you can have Boardwalk Empire six months after its season ends”? This new bundle isn’t a bad thing, particularly if you’re a power user of Showtime or P+. Not only that, but the streaming giant’s overall tally of 44 Emmys also matches CBS’s 1974 record for most awards won in a single season. You could also catch a rerun of the show the next morning on regular Hulu.

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David Dobrik Says He’s ‘Stranded’ in Slovakia Because of Green Card Issues

“Everyone went back home because this is taking way longer and it’s a lot harder than I thought it was getting my visa and green card.” The ten-episode series, which was announced earlier this month, is set to plot Dobrik’s first trip outside of the country as an adult, his reunion with family in Slovakia, and his apparently rocky journey to obtain a green card. Photo: Scott Kirkland/The Walt Disney Company/PictureGroup/Shutterstock

Should’ve stayed married to Jason’s mom? Now, it’s just him and his assistant, Taylor Hudson, in Slovakia. “Hi guys, sorry I haven’t been too active on social media,” he explained on his Instagram Story on September 22, per an Insider report. Former Vlog Squad member Seth Francois, 26, had previously come forward with his own experience of sexual assault. “I hope to return to the States soon. Dobrik addressed the alleged assaults in two apology videos this spring. Vulture has reached out to Discovery+ for comment. His channel was temporarily demonetized by YouTube as sponsors cut ties. In a June 2017 clip, Dobrik tells Francois he would be kissed by another member, Corinna Kopf, but he’s actually kissed by now-48-year-old Jason Nash. Dobrik also stepped down as head of app Dispo. Wish me luck.”

Dobrik’s latest opportunity comes less three months after he returned to YouTube. “This like a fucking scavenger hunt, so I’m apologizing because I can’t get any vlogs up or anything,” he explained on Wednesday. David Dobrik, the controversial YouTuber accused of creating a toxic work environment within his “Vlog Squad,” says he’s currently “stranded” in his home country, Slovakia. Related

A Timeline of the David Dobrik Allegations and Controversies

David Dobrik Thinks People Have ‘a Reason’ to Call Him a Sociopath, Is Hiring HR

Tags: Dobrik landed the TV show around three months after returning to YouTube amid sexual assault allegations. The 25-year-old vlogger had recently been on a European tour with his friends, documenting the travels for his vlog and the Discovery+ TV show Discovering David Dobrik. without deportation. In his most recent vlog, Dobrik surprises his friends with the international trip, explaining that he got his green card. A green card would allow him to come and go freely. I’m literally stranded. In March, a young woman alleged that she was given alcohol as a minor and raped by Vlog Squad member Dom Zeglaitis, 26, during a 2018 video shoot. It’s like I’m lost. “I’m thrilled to bring more of David Dobrik’s special brand of fun and adventure to Discovery+ with this epic new event series,” Discovery executive vice-president Scott Lewers said, announcing the series earlier this month. Dobrik took a hiatus at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and remained offline amid allegations of sexual assault against current and former members of the Vlog Squad. Dobrik is one of over 600,000 Americans protected by DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an Obama-era policy allowing children of undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S. No charges have been brought. Dobrik previously explained to fans that under DACA he’s restricted from reentering the U.S.

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Roger Michell, Director of Notting Hill, Dead at 65

He is survived by four children. Photo: Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Roger Michell, the stage and film director perhaps best known for the beloved 1999 romantic comedy Notting Hill, has died at the age of 65. From there, Michell went on to direct Richard Curtis’s classic Notting Hill, starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts. In the 2000s, he directed a variety of projects including the underrated rom-com Morning Glory with Harrison Ford, Rachel McAdams, and Diane Keaton, Hyde Park on Hudson with Bill Murray, and the acclaimed Le Week-End. Related

Barry Jenkins Hilariously Livetweeted Notting Hill From a Plane

Tags: Michell was born in South Africa to a British diplomat and began writing and directing theater at the University of Cambridge, before becoming resident director at the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1985. Michell’s publicist confirmed to the Guardian that he died on September 22, with no cause of death given. Roger Michell. Throughout the 1990s, Michell directed numerous plays at the National Theatre, and began his film career in 1995 with the BAFTA-winning BBC adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, which got a theatrical release in the United States.

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American Horror Story: Double Feature Recap: These Are Winter Problems

Just like it’s virtually impossible to eat just one Oreo and then walk away from the bag, it’s equally difficult to achieve one coveted professional milestone and then walk away peacefully satisfied. Does that ring prophetic, bleak, or familiar? Most of them. Maybe this one will help them live forever, the Chemist says to baby Eli. Harry tried to stop, telling his daughter that now that spring is on its way, and he’s written what amounts to five years of work in one winter season, they can go cold turkey with the black pills. (DON’T GO!)

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Keep up with all the drama of your favorite shows! Be careful what you wish for because you won’t even be able to appreciate it after you get it because you’ll already be wanting something else, something more. His attempt to pump the brakes gets his neck chewed out by the fruit of his loins. The uptick in murders could keep tourists and visiting gays away if the news made it to the national press. In the case of Harry and Alma, they never get to enjoy the success they quite literally killed to achieve because they were so consumed with obtaining even more of it. It’s all “I love you, Daddy” when they’re greasing their palms with allowance, but things turn ugly in a flash when that giving hand starts turning up empty. Belle kidnaps baby Eli as a ploy to get Harry and Alma over to the house to kill them, but Ursula tricks a handful of pale people into crashing the party. Although I found myself tipping a bit toward the “Well, okay, that’s that, then” side of the scale as the credits rolled on “Winter Kills,” it was still an exceptional finale. And That’s a Laurence Fishburn(e)

• At the end of the finale of “Red Tide,” they showed a snippet of part two, “Death Valley,” which is definitely heavy on the black-and-white early-’50s top-secret aliens and government secrecy vibes. Belle and Austin make moves to clean up the town and preserve their snack supply and their formerly quiet writers’ retreat by targeting Harry, Alma, and Ursula as the vermin that needs fumigating. Alma can now, and forever, shove her violin straight up her lobster roll. The pales feed upon Belle and Austin, Alma feeds upon her dad, and Ursula guns down anyone left who isn’t part of her endgame plan. While the conclusion to part one of Double Feature could have gone in many different directions, it followed a pretty clear-cut path, as far as Ryan Murphy/Brad Falchuk projects go. Ursula lies to the pales, telling them that sometimes there are second chances, but there are no second chances left in Provincetown. More black pills lead to more pale people, and before long, they run out of chances there. After a bloodier-than-usual winter, the townies of Provincetown gather to prepare for the warmer seasons but are confronted with a problem. An eternity in a landscape of talentless bloodthirsty zombies? Email

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By submitting your email, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Notice and to receive email correspondence from us. Flash forward three months, and Ursula, the Chemist, Alma, and Eli are shacked up in Hollywood like the, yes, blood-sucking Brady Bunch, and Ursula is handing out black pills to anyone with a laptop at Starbucks who looks like they could make her a buck. Kids are nasty that way. American Horror Story
Winter Kills

Season 10

Episode 6

Editor’s Rating

5 stars

*****

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As much as I’ve been looking forward to the finale of “Red Tide,” in hopes that the bloody footpath laid out in the previous episodes would lead somewhere delightfully horrible and surprising, I’ve been dreading it all the same. Ursula lingers behind as an unhinged Willy Wonka, only instead of candy that turns greedy kids into blueberries and floating farts, she’s turning everyone into a killer or a douchebag. Tags: And after seeing the kind of damage a pill that promises success caused, imagine what would come from a pill that promised immortality. There were snippets of Hollywood throughout this, and it’ll be interesting to see how, if at all, the finale of part one will lead into this. The Chemist and baby Eli drive off searching for a new city and the creation of a new pill. In my recap of episode five, I theorized that the tricky thing about success is that success isn’t the real draw; it’s the striving and the doing that get you to it, and I stand by that, especially as a thematic map pin stuck in this finale. The moral? Put that under your pillow along with your collection of participation ribbons. The team behind American Horror Story has often been chastised for crafting amazing introductions to their seasons that then run out of gas toward the end, but I doubt if anyone will feel that way about this season. There’s always more. I mean, really. • It felt very shoulder-tappy when the Chemist told Eli that she might develop a new pill that allows them to live forever. Alma (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) severed all remaining ties to her humanity, Belle (Frances Conroy) and Austin (Evan Peters) died at the hands of the talentless piss-ons they so desperately feared becoming, and Ursula (Leslie Grossman) and the Chemist (Angelica Ross) turned Hollywood into a deep-fake, real-time Walking Dead soundstage. I think we’ve seen that show before. If anything, this seems like a good tie between bloodsuckers and aliens. No wonder she’s thinking of calling it quits. Is there such a thing as “special” if everyone’s special? God, they really put that lady through the wringer. I haven’t grown this attached to an ensemble of malcontents and a-holes in a long time, and, well, I’m going to miss them. • If Holden could stop a Burger King from opening in Provincetown, he could stop aliens from doing whatever they’re sure as hell planning to do to poor Sarah Paulson in part two. More.

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Samantha Bee Will Go Full Frontal for Another Season

“Now we have enough seasons for you to binge one every day of the week,” Bee said in a statement. clue, has been renewed for a seventh season on TBS. Photo: Dominik Bindl/WireImage

Enable the adult settings on your DVR, because Full Frontal With Samantha Bee, a recent Jeopardy! Bee Movie. Related

Samantha Bee Reckons With Being a Boss 

Tags: Ya like jazz? Full Frontal’s renewal also cements Bee as the current longest-serving female host in late-night TV — her show debuted in 2016 — ahead of the likes of Amber Ruffin and Lilly Singh. The network confirmed today that the new season will debut in January 2022 and move to a Thursday night time slot. “I warned you I was tenacious.” Something that’s also tenacious?

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J. Smith-Cameron Answers Every Question We Have About Harriet the Spy

She was the perfect person to direct that movie. I had contacted her to be part of some marches and stuff like that. Role Call

Role Call is a series in which Vulture talks to actors about performances they’ve probably forgotten by now, but we definitely haven’t. I have a real fondness for it, and it was a really magical time. I do remember it was very cold and I was in an evening gown. They had all these really crème de la crème character actors who were Canadian in Harriet, all of whom were, I thought, wonderful. I felt like we were both trying to be a little bit buttoned-up and starchy, and I thought that worked out okay. I remember Courtney Vance was there — I had gone way back with Courtney, I had known him in my early 20s — and I remember hanging out with him a little bit in the hotel. She was just very warm and friendly. She alienates her friends and writes such mean things about them.Totally. Those ’90s sweaters!I remember being so impressed with her, and I thought that she dressed us so particularly. In New York, children are sort of sophisticated in a way, and yet there’s something provincial about them because they can’t go anywhere and be wowed by any place they visit because they’ve already been in New York. Do you still keep in touch with Rosie at all? She was kind of arch. And then the next year after it came out, I think in ’97 or ’98, I was in this play called As Bees in Honey Drown, and it was kind of a big hit Off Broadway, and I had this real tour-de-force part. And then I was at the premiere for The Marvelous Mrs. How did the adaptation’s change in tone feel to you, once you saw the movie?I almost think of it as two separate things. And I thought I gave a very funny audition doing that, not pulling the punches of that. And that’s sort of what they did. And this was sort of like a brighter, sunnier [version]. When Harriet, based on a 1964 Louise Fitzhugh novel of the same name, was released in 1996, it was a moderate success at the box office, earning a total of $26 million on a $12 million budget. And that’s such a New York-y thing, you know? So we kind of stayed in touch on social media, basically. It’s kind of droll … Harriet’s very snarky, but it came out of her being precocious and an only child. She’s assumed a sophistication and maturity that she doesn’t have yet. She’s a beyotch. Smith-Cameron made her Broadway debut in 1982 in Crimes of the Heart. And showbiz kids are usually a little different than other kids, but those kids were the nicest version of that, if you can read between the lines there. It was just a very festive, jolly time. Even though it was very different, I thought it worked. And when I saw it was the lady from Harriet the Spy who’d done the clothes, I was like, that makes sense. But I was the odd kid who liked tomato sandwiches when I was little, too. She has appeared in many Broadway and Off Broadway plays since then. But when I saw the movie, I was very proud of it. A true professional. She’s sort of grouchy, and you can infer that she’s got a whole “this is a sophisticated kid that’s younger than her inner life” thing. The adult Canadian actors included Sally Cahill as a maid, Jackie Richardson as Janie’s mother, and Robert Joy as Harriet’s father. But he did say he thought I was worth the price of admission. And as someone who didn’t grow up in New York, I remember marveling at it, that a kid could be that blunt or that frank on her own. I thought it was really great and really charming and had a really fresh look … yet it was slightly confusing because it didn’t quite feel like the book. I read an interview with Vanessa Lee Chester, who played Harriet’s friend Janie, where she said she remembered the director always dancing and playing music on set to keep the kids energized. And I just remember her taking it very seriously. It was really exciting to have a female director, so I really appreciated that. You know what I mean? And in a way, you’d almost rather that. VHS consumers will remember the orange-clamshell release featuring two Rugrats episodes (the pilot of Hey Arnold! Smith-Cameron played Alexa, a con artist, in a role that earned her an Obie Award, a Drama Desk nomination, and an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination. More From This Series

Richard E. was shown ahead of the movie in theaters), a relic of its home viewing popularity. If you really loved the book, it’s almost like, don’t try to be the book. Welch was sort of stuck up, and she talked to Harriet like an adult. Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photo by Paramount Pictures

In the small but mighty subgroup of “films featuring misfit preteen girls whose precociousness frequently leads to trouble,” there is Little Women, The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, Matilda, and, for the Nickelodeon generation specifically, Harriet the Spy, a genre-defying movie (is it comedy? On a different note, when I rewatched the movie, I realized that the clothes, by costume designer Donna Zakowska, are fantastic. It was like everything was taking off for her. Do your own thing. It almost doesn’t read like a children’s book. She really is. It was the first time I got to know Rosie, and I remember that she had seen me in plays, and she was very enthusiastic about working with me. I still feel that there may be another version of Harriet the Spy that’s really shot in New York. a drama? I wish I remembered it better. Very much her own person and very creative and authentic and full of life. And I remember on [O’Donnell’s] talk show, her talking about it and saying, “Oh my friend J. And Rosie O’Donnell’s Golly is also a very, very specific character in the book. She was so sweet and bubbly in the messages, again. Smith-Cameron is fantastic in that play, what did you think of it?” And she’s talking to Russell Crowe, and it wasn’t his kind of play. The movie had a female director, Bronwen Hughes, which was a pretty big deal for the time, and still is. Maisel, back whenever that was — the last few years, I don’t know about you, but I could not tell you the time when it was — I remember seeing [Zakowska] and being so knocked out watching the clothes in Maisel. Bronwen was like Puck or something. Okay, we need to talk about those tomato sandwiches.The tomato sandwiches! It’s not a child’s world, exactly. But she was sweet about it. Welsch tells her she’s been fired after taking Harriet out into the city without her parents’ knowledge.Oh, gosh. Because no one was really in touch in real life for a while. That was great. And Harriet was spunky but not — you know how in the book, Harriet is an oddball? I do, because Rosie’s so political, too, and so outspoken. I mean, it’s hilarious. Vance appeared in The Preacher’s Wife the same year that Harriet was in theaters. On impressing Rosie O’Donnell with her theater credits, hanging with Courtney B. Vance in Canada, and the enduring brilliance of the Harriet costumes. Grant Answers Every Question We Have About Spice World

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Douglas Petrie co-wrote the script. I think Bob and I both felt a little bit like we were straddling the book characters and the way the whole movie was kind of conceived. Listen, I’ll have you know that I bought a tomato from a farm stand driving into the Hamptons yesterday, and I went, “I’m gonna have a Harriet the Spy tomato sandwich.”

With mayo?Yeah! Most of your scenes in the film were with Michelle Trachtenberg, who was only 10 when she started filming but was already a child star thanks to The Adventures of Pete & Pete. I remember that we stayed in this cool hotel in Toronto. She was just like the Pied Piper, energetic. Smith-Cameron, the veteran actress (and current Succession star) who played Violetta Welsch, Harriet’s mother, to parse through the story they ended up filming and everything that happened behind the scenes, too. She’s like Lynda Barry or Fran Lebowitz in child form. It had its own little universe that was very true to itself, and very fresh and funny and sweet, but just a different tone. Tags: a spy caper?) that put then-10-year-old Michelle Trachtenberg on the map, showcased ’90s New York in all its rose-colored glory, and introduced a world of viewers to the joys of tomato-and-mayo sandwiches. Vance in Toronto, and the enduring brilliance of the Harriet costume design. She was this very appealing, bubbly, very beautiful child star from Nickelodeon. What do you remember from your audition?So the first screenplay was written by Theresa Rebek, who I really admired a lot, and I think she then was replaced and it was rewritten between the time I auditioned and got there. She’s still gotta work out things. Because it’s such a classic, it could be done again and again. So when I first read my audition scenes, Mrs. And I remember being very impressed by all the local Canadian actors. They’re all oddballs in the book. There’s a lot about the book that just immediately gets your attention when you read it. I had satin suits that felt like they were almost a callback to the original era the book is written in, and other things that were very of the moment, so she was kind of bridging the book and the flavor of the movie, which had a different world to it. You also had a great dynamic with Robert Joy, who played Harriet’s dad, Ben Welsch.I’d known but never worked with him, and he’s sort of a legend in the New York theater world and the film world. And she was feeling her oats, but not in an obnoxious way. Cameron spoke to Vulture — a day before leaving for Italy to film scenes for the HBO hit later documented on her Instagram (and in the pages of New York Magazine) — about impressing O’Donnell with her Broadway bona fides, hanging out with Courtney B. You have a great scene with Rosie early on, when Mrs. But both things can exist. I thought all the kid performers were fantastic. There were people I knew from another cast, maybe two other casts, in the hotel, too. Harriet the Spy came out in 1996, the same year as The Rosie O’Donnell Show debuted. One of my favorite things about Harriet is that she’s the rare young female character who’s not nice — in fact, she’s kind of an asshole, sometimes. So I feel like it was a charming movie, but in my mind, it’s very different from the book. Harriett was Hughe’s directorial debut, which she followed up with Forces of Nature. I kind of looked up to him … he’s like a star in my mind, this really unique, cool actor. So it was a bit schizophrenic for me in my mind because I had gotten the part reading some version in between the book and what it ended up as. She and I kind of rediscovered each other on Twitter a few years ago. Twenty-five years after the movie hit theaters, we called up J. It’s such a New York story! I read that the movie was filmed in Toronto, despite being a classic New York story. How was having Rosie as a co-star?Golly [in the movie] was completely different from the character in the book, but Rosie was so game and very natural and ebullient in the part. It sounds like you were a big fan of the book originally.Yes, I was. She’s sort of a little monster. What was it like working with her? Then when I got the script, it was all different and she was much more warm and fuzzy. Critics, though, were less effusive, with most praising Trachtenberg and co-star Rosie O’Donnell’s performances but criticizing its slow pacing and lack of a real plot (harsh, but fair). And then at one point in the makeup trailer, I remember her telling me that she thought I looked like Patti LuPone, which I’d never heard before, so I was kind of thrilled by it. What was it like working with so many child actors?I like working with kids, and I’ve played a mom so much in my career that that happens a lot. I remember a scene with Bob and Michelle where we’re kind of dealing with her, and we had this repartee, and I had such joy working with Bob and this charming kid. There’s the novel I loved, and the characters I loved from the novel, and then our movie, which I also loved, but was not Harriet the Spy, exactly.

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The Handsome Tragedies of Y: The Last Man

She proves to be cunning, kind, blunt, and increasingly adept at noticing where her own weak points remain, especially once Regina Oliver (a slimy Jennifer Wigmore), a more senior member of the government whom Jennifer once publicly (and rightly) deemed a xenophobe, is found alive in Tel Aviv. The show is also willing to touch on some bitter subject matter, revealing the various ways women perpetuate the patriarchy in order to hold onto illusory scraps of understanding and power. How do women perpetuate the very systems of oppression that have led our world to rot? Posters, strewn with pleas for “Our Sons” or the stark visage of a president believed to be hiding truths about the wreckage humanity is now navigating, crowd outside the remnants of the White House. After watching the seven episodes made available to critics, it’s clear the artists behind the series are interested in prodding this story in directions even bolder than I expected, balancing swift entertainment with heady political and bodily consideration. Sure, there are the knotted scientific and political questions around how all this death and sorrow truly started. How can we rebuild toward something better than what came before? By opaquely noting that biology and gender aren’t as neat as we’d like to pretend they are, the series cracks open a gimlet-eyed perspective on the questions and possibilities driving current conversations around gender. This is as much a testament to Romans’s skills as it is a mark against the show’s inertly beautiful visual efforts by cinematographers Kira Kelly, Claudine Sauvé, and Catherine Lutes. He’s a touch lovable and more than a little naïve, a trust-fund kid supported by his parents — including his congresswoman mother, Jennifer (Diane Lane), who, because of the line of succession, becomes president of an increasingly torn United States of America —and unable to grasp the gravity of his fate beyond whatever present predicament he’s navigating. In the world before, she was an EMT in a complicated relationship with her married boss, a man she accidentally kills in the heat of an argument. In the “event,” everyone with a Y chromosome, mammalian animals included, died brutally and bloodily. Is the nature of humankind to destroy and subdue, or are there gleams of tenderness and love to be found? Part of the problem is that the show is not served well by Amber Tamblyn’s performance. This is complicated territory that nearly every white showrunner has failed to fully grapple with. Such a thing shouldn’t be presented as novel, nor is it — Ava DuVernay’s series Queen Sugar has been doing something similar for six seasons. But I’m more interested in what lies elsewhere. The show has so far proven to be a complex, engaging, and even thrilling work of adaptation. She’s a walking question mark that, seven episodes in, we’ve only touched the surface of. How can we heal in the face of continuous trauma? Brutal, commanding, and undaunted, these women see themselves as Amazons, performing baptisms and naming rituals among the ruins of the big-box store they now inhabit. Despite the argument that television has become broadly cinematic, most TV still moves and feels like television visually — more intent on getting across information in the simplest way possible than putting care into every shot, every piece of production design, each garment of costuming in a way that feels revelatory or brims with intrigue. She’s a mystery without feeling emptied of interiority, the way far too many Black women characters can feel in the hands of a white showrunner. He’s preoccupied by a search for his girlfriend, Beth (Juliana Canfield), despite the fact that she turned down his proposal right before everything went to hell. But I sometimes wished it would slow down a beat, circling around the wounds these characters carry instead of trying to make sense of why this happened. Photo: Rafy Winterfeld/FX

Everyone in the new series Y: The Last Man — no matter race, gender identity, or closely held loyalties — is experiencing the worst day of their lives in perpetuity. The impossible odds she’s up against multiply as Kimberly Campbell Cunninghan (Amber Tamblyn), the daughter of the previous president, starts to exploit Jennifer’s weaknesses and grow her own following — not only to “take back” the White House, but bring back men period. When called toward great emotion like the penultimate scene in episode seven, which see Kimberly trembling from totemic loss, her mouth agape as she releases a guttural scream through the halls of the Pentagon, Tamblyn is too aware of what the character represents to infuse her with nuance or incite mixed emotions in the viewer. Conversations about gender increase in their didacticism when Yorick and Agent 355 find the geneticist Dr. Subscribe Now! But it also sees people finding communion amid horror or clinging fiercely to ideologies that can no longer serve them. The series poses increasingly tricksy questions as it charts the consequences of this cataclysm and the lives of the only beings with a Y chromosome spared: the somewhat sad-sack, late 20-something escape artist Yorick Brown (Ben Schnetzer) and his beloved monkey, Ampersand. Sure, the series is handsome the way most television is right now: Characters careen down narrow, amber-lit hallways, trees pop with color against the graying world they’re rooted in. Their practices seek to grasp power from a world that previously denied it to them; they view Sam as an aberration and are willing to beat anyone who talks to him alone within an inch of their lives. At its pinnacle, it functions boldly on multiple levels — as a gripping thriller cast against a world plunged into dystopia, a curious thought experiment blooming with ideas about gender, a portrait of a family’s healing backdropped by darkness, and an adaptation that is already besting the graphic novel source material by Brian K. This point bleeds into another curious issue at the core of the series: No one seems to be questioning whether bringing back the United States of America is a good, worthy thing, or if starting completely anew is the better path forward. Kimberly doesn’t feel lived in; she feels like a point hammered home, an easy layup to gain points for criticizing the obvious rather than revealing with canny precision that Kimberly and Regina’s whiteness isn’t created in a vacuum or a singular experience, but representative of a system of oppression and power. She’s steely without being blandly strong. They’re surrounded by the iconography we’ve come to associate with dystopia: splintered glass and crashed cars, dirty fingernails and hollow eyes, rotting animal carcasses punctuating a snow-dappled field, the shock of blood against pedestrian environments. The locus of villainy in the series is rooted in these kinds of women, forces Jennifer must navigate as she’s thrust into the role of president with the task of essentially saving the world. Vaughan and Pia Guerra by pushing its gender and political commentary into fascinating, if a touch didactic, directions. But the larger problem comes down to the writing: Kimberly edges toward parody in many scenes, a Meghan McCain-esque simulacrum of the white woman so keen to support the patriarchy, she is wholly incapable of seeing how it destroys everything around her. Yes, women like this exist, but when characters scream things like Kimberly does in episode seven — “We have to use him to bring back men … We will be a nation of mothers again!” — I worry the writers don’t have the finesse to wholly understand, interrogate, and critique the mores of whiteness without simplistic answers or bluntness. A helicopter teeters on the edge of a building, overlooking a desolate metropolis undone as much by external chaos as the internal horrors of humankind. These are white women who know how their tears are valued and won’t hesitate to use everything at their disposal to get what they desire — no matter the catastrophic effects. But will they have the gumption and intelligence necessary to answer these questions with the fullness they deserve? All these ideas are tangled within the series itself, and Y: The Last Man simmers in charting what happens among people in the wake of great collective and personal trauma. Here, at the intersection of gender and power, we find a knotted, festering emotional and psychic wounding. His efforts to find testosterone or navigate an enclave of armed, transphobic women who provide shelter and supplies he and Hero could never obtain otherwise are touching reminders of not only the various losses these survivors must face, but the seeming impossibility of finding solace. There are some intriguing editing choices here and there; a few images tickle the imagination but don’t quite stick to it. It’s not enough to lay all the blame at the feet of Republican monstresses when the truth is in fact far more damning. Diane Lane’s performance has a sharp magnificence; she’s at once a bruised woman trying to make sense of what’s left of her family, protect her son, and rebuild the country into something better than it was before. His life has been defined by ease. Here, the series is at its least intriguing. Everyone is grieving, but Kimberly can only see her own pain, and teaming up with Regina in order to dismantle Jennifer’s presidency is just one of her twisted goals. Y: The Last Man has already started to gain praise for its all-women slate of directors and cinematographers, as well as its majority female writing staff. What inspires is the broad range of characters interlocking into his story, all of whom are scrounging together an existence among the debris of a past that can never be returned to. The best visual moments are often written across actor Ashley Romans’s face and physicality: a glare, a swift punch, an eye roll toward one of Yorick’s misplaced jokes, a marked tension in her clenched jaw. *A version of this article appears in the September 27, 2021, issue of New York Magazine. Agent 355 is the kind of character who brings up more questions than answers, especially since the shadowy assignment she received right before the crisis — to protect the now-dead president (Paul Gross) — may be more integral to the mysteries of the event than anyone realizes. Yorick moves about the decay around him like a child, never heeding the obvious danger — as Agent 355 tells him in episode four, “You need to grow the fuck up.” How Yorick functions isn’t always rooted in curiosity so much as privilege; he’s used to being given the benefit of the doubt, of moving through rooms unseen until he wants to be acknowledged. Alongside President Jennifer Brown, the most intriguing character by far is that of Agent 355. Regina and especially Kimberly prove to be damning emblems of the nature of white femininity, but the show trips up by making them arch in a way that is gratingly entertaining but not always as revealing as it should be. That it glides by rather than pierces is telling given the world this show has been born into. The show also moves at a clip, bouncing between various story lines and places in order to find rich veins of thought and narrative experimentation. Clark and her collaborators are smart enough to know that Yorick shouldn’t be the sole emotional focal point of the series. Y: The Last Man, which airs Mondays on FX on Hulu, was ushered into existence by showrunner Eliza Clark after such a lengthy production history, I’m surprised it got made at all, let alone this well. The fallout sees survivors jockeying for power and control even as it becomes evident that such things are unavailable for absolute possession. Honestly, Yorick is the least compelling aspect of the series, even though Schnetzer plays him with an easygoing charm. Tags: Almost 700,000 people are dead from COVID-19 in this country alone. Among them is Yorick’s sister, Hero (a cutting Olivia Thirlby). Consider an exchange between Sam and one of their members in episode four: With a gun pointed at him, Sam is denigrated for “choosing to be a man.” The series is most ripe in its gender commentary through this story line, uncovering the ways people with little power (in this case, cis women) are willing to harm those below them on the social totem pole in order to feel more secure in their station. After a brief reconnection with his stunned mother, who is camping out with the administration in the Pentagon, Yorick is sent to find a geneticist to untangle the truth of his survival, accompanied by Agent 355 (Ashley Romans), a grimly determined undercover operative who saves his life countless times. What will be more instructive to the overall mission of Y: The Last Man is whether its artisans can thread the needle of critiquing whiteness, transphobia, and narrow gender ideals in a way that is potent and revealing. Allison Mann (Diana Bang); as she says, “Not everyone with a Y chromosome is a man.” But such statements are useful for understanding the shape of Y’s world-building and the ways the writers are pushing the graphic novel beyond a frustrating thought experiment into something truly engaging with potential radicalism. She’s slippery in the best way, especially as it becomes apparent that her loyalties are growing increasingly complicated beyond fealty for Jennifer. Fierce ideological divides and ongoing chaos have seeped into every aspect of our lives. The dangers of this new world are hammered home most eloquently in Hero and Sam’s encounters with this dangerous collective, led by former detective Roxanne (a chilly and evocative Missi Pyle). Using the gender apocalypse to hide her crime, she finds herself on the road with her all-too-kind friend, Sam (Elliot Fletcher), who struggles mightily as a trans man in places that require him to constantly explain who he is. Y: The Last Man comes at a time when white showrunners are keen on exploring and critiquing whiteness, from HBO’s The White Lotus to longer-running works like The Good Fight. These works often think merely mentioning privilege and whiteness, or positioning it as an individual failing, is enough to thoroughly critique a system that has caused untold horror throughout the world. You’ve seen women like Kimberly before: glossy, obsessed with presentation, foot soldiers for the patriarchy who so fiercely believe in the power of men they’ll break the world in two for them. But if the writers and artists bringing it to life can’t properly grapple with the questions they seek to illuminate or push its visual dimensions further, the series won’t touch the hem of greatness within its reach. All rich questions. Sam exemplifies the tension between the old world and this new one, the people we are and the person others want us to be for their own ease. We’ve seen this imagery countless times before, sometimes artfully (Children of Men) and other times bluntly (The Walking Dead).

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Spencer Trailer: Kristen Stewart Begins Her Reign As the People’s Princess

Like the queen’s infamous Balmoral stays, the visit functions more as a test for the princess. Worship is really the only proper reaction to the Spencer trailer starring K-Stew’s English accent. If Neon knows what they’re doing, there will be Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana commemorative plates on their website ASAP. Lady Diana gets a little more revenge when Spencer premieres in theaters November 5. The Prince and Princess of Wales are together in name primarily, with rumors of affairs and an impending divorce only adding to the familial unrest of a Christmas at Sandringham Estate with the royals. “Then, she’s late.” The trailer sees colorful ’90s fashion and decadent meals served in lavish halls, contrasting that with Diana’s pained breathing and worried glances. “Is she here yet?” Stella Gonet barbs in the trailer as Queen Elizabeth II. Written by Steven Knight, the film also stars Timothy Spall, Jack Farthing, and Sean Harris with costuming by Jacqueline Durran (Little Women). Related

Spencer Is a Portrait of a Princess Too Sane to Play the Royals’ Game

Pablo Larraín Isn’t Trying to Reinvent the Biopic With Spencer

Tags: “They know everything,” says Sally Hawkins as Diana’s personal dresser Maggie, warning her to play the game. But what if she’s done? Directed by Pablo Larraín, the director behind Jackie, the film picks up just about where The Crown season four left off. “Spencer is an imagining of what might have happened during those few fateful days,” a release adds, speculating on the ultra-private lives of some of the world’s most public and controversial figures.

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Watch the Trailer for Amazon’s I Know What You Did Last Summer Series

Adapted from both the 1997 slasher and the Lois Duncan YA novel, I Know What You Did Last Summer will once again focus on a group of teenagers who are stalked by a killer who knows what they did, as the French say, l’été dernier. Pumpkin-spice lattes are flowing, decorative gourds abound, and slashers are getting remade just in time for Halloween. The killer then bumps up the timetable for getting into their graves. Related

Muse Watson Answers Every Question We Have About I Know What You Did Last Summer

Tags: Amazon’s I Know What You Did Last Summer series drops October 15, and features 100 percent more women kissing each other than previous iterations. Update, September 23: The full, darker trailer is now here, in which it is indeed still brutal out here for the group of high-schoolers trying to hide a killing and escape their own — as you do in high school. The hot teens appear to kill a guy in a hit-and-run, and vow to take it to their graves. Amazon’s series stars Madison Iseman (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle), Brianne Tju (Light As a Feather), Ezekiel Goodman, and Ashley Moore (Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping). Welcome to Spooky Season, bitches!

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Paula Poundstone Wants You to Be Her Best Friend

The first thing was when I started out in Boston and in San Francisco, open-mic nights were hugely popular — big audiences, and a long list of comics who wanted to go on. But I just always thought that what we were going through was somehow unique, and it wasn’t stuff that you would tell other people, because you felt like a big loser. I’m a single mom, and maybe that made it more so, in some ways. But when you’re going through it, it does feel like a slog. On Why Her Audience Is Her Best Friend

It could mean a couple of things. So, my goal as a comic is to re-create the Rosses’ basement as much as I can. I don’t even very much react to that, because (a) it’s not generally a problem, and (b) I’ve been an asshole before. Good One
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On How She Got Into Crowd Work

My favorite part of being onstage is just plain talking to the audience. Mrs. Somewhere along the way, I would stop at a market and get junk food, and I would sit at a table near the stage so that I could be ready to jump onstage when the next comic was done. And your job is you open the night, tell some jokes, and bring up a comic. And it turns out, no, it happens to tons of people. Ross, who was really a wonderful woman, went partially deaf when we were kids. And gosh, one of the best feelings that one can have — for me anyways, as a performer — is that feeling that you’ve shared something that otherwise people feel really, really isolated about because they thought they were the only one. But out of nervousness, I forgot what I was going to say, so I was stuck talking to the audience. Hearing aids weren’t what they are now. The very first time I went on in Boston, I had written and typed out my set on the back of the obsolete paper place mat from the restaurant I was busing tables at, and I would spend the whole time I was busing tables memorizing that five minutes. Paula Poundstone. No one has ever taken the generic “What do you do for a living?” questions and been able to create mini-biographies, as she calls them, and foster such an atmosphere of closeness to everyone in the crowd. But every now and then, they’ll be like, “We’ll keep people quiet.” “No, I don’t want to keep people quiet.” If somebody was being an asshole, that’s one thing. And then sometimes I would read from the package of the Pop-Tarts, or I would offer everybody some, which is where that joke started. But there were times where I just felt like, Oh my gosh, this doesn’t happen to anybody else. As a person who only had like five minutes of material — and that was if I could remember it — I had exhausted the material I had within the first 30 minutes of the show. The other thing that happened — one of the probably the luckiest things that ever happened to me as a comic was at the wonderful Other Café in San Francisco, where I often hosted open-mic nights. I could never even measure how much time went by when we were down there. People were very touchy about this five-minute thing. I had nothing else to do. Tune in to Good One every Thursday on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, or wherever you get your podcasts. In fact, sometimes the comic would be offstage already, and the whole crowd would turn around and go, “Paula!”

On the Energy of Her Live Shows

As much as possible, I want the room to feel like the Rosses’ basement. And so after that, I was forced to work the crowd.I worked as a bike messenger during the day. There were two things that facilitated that. I had that.” Especially, for example, in raising my children, which is such a lonely pursuit in so many ways. I’d take a shower and head out to the club on the bus. Oftentimes I still had like a big bite of Pop-Tart in my mouth or a Hostess apple pie. Oh my gosh, people get mad at me. The comic may be very good or they may really be awful, but your job is to keep the audience there. There you might be bringing on, like, I don’t know, 25 people. After work, I’d take the bus home from downtown San Francisco. You can read an excerpt from the transcript or listen to the full episode below. Somebody would come down and say, like, “Oh, it’s dinnertime now. Like this, for example:

On Vulture’s Good One podcast, Poundstone discusses how she developed this style, how she convinced HBO to let her mic the audience, and why the audience is her best friend. The good news is she could turn that hearing aid off or just take them out altogether, and we could be as loud and obnoxious as we wanted, whereas in my mother’s house, she’d say she had a headache. It’s a real different vibe than the handful of clubs — usually they’re music clubs — where I work. But also, I tell them things about my life. I love working theaters. So, that’s why they’re my best friend. Plus, don’t you want to have a great time with your best friend? The premise of the open-mic night was that anybody who wanted to could sign up and go on for five minutes. Not as loud, I suppose. There were no lights in there, and it was our hide-and-seek place. Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photo by Michael S. We just laughed and laughed and laughed. The Rosses were a bad example because it really was something charmed about a lot of their experiences with one another. From the location of the glass house that I look out from, it’s very hard to find somebody else a bigger asshole than I can be. Like maybe I’m a really lousy friend and I don’t do well in regular relationships. Generally speaking, it’s not an issue. We would go down in their basement. I push for that sometimes because I’ve had the reverse experience, which is where I thought I was the only one and then I blurted something out onstage and everybody laughed, and I realized, Oh, my gosh, they weren’t laughing because like, “What a weird thing.” They were laughing because, “Oh my God, I have that.”

I was raised in a small town in Massachusetts, and I always thought that the challenges that we were having in our house were entirely different. There’s nothing I can say about my life that somebody else can’t say, “Oh yeah. Schwartz/Getty Images

Paula Poundstone does not like the term “crowd work.” She finds it “antiseptic,” like a service one can request on TaskRabbit: “I need someone to do some crowd work for an hour on Saturday night.” And yet, she is one of the all-time greats at it. And I have a great time with the audience. I then became notorious for going over, because now I don’t know what five minutes is anymore. You can see this in her live shows (she’s on tour this fall, including an October 7 show at Town Hall in New York), but maybe even more impressively, her filmed specials, where she pioneered ways to mic and shoot the audience. And, as it turns out, so many things — I would venture to say almost everything that we experience, given how many people there are in the world and who have gone before us — they’re not unique. More From This Series

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Tags: If you went on a second longer, you could hear knives sharpening in the back. But there’s a big difference between someone “heckling” or interrupting than what I have going on, and sometimes you try to explain it to the staff. There was a part of the basement that was really undeveloped. They were my next-door neighbors when I was growing up in a small town in Massachusetts. There was this sort of group feeling. So, at the Rosses’ house, it was the fun house. You have to go to your house.”

As a comic, I will never say anything as funny as the shit that got said in the Rosses’ basement.

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Yes, Fugees Were Late to Their First Reunion Show

Doors opened around 30 minutes late, per a Rolling Stone review, after sound check for the group’s massive backing band ran over. “Give the Haitians a pass like you did with the people coming from Afghanistan,” he addressed President Joe Biden directly afterward. Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, and Pras Michel taking the stage close to 10:30 p.m., hours past the show’s advertised 7 p.m. Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Global Citizen

As if you should have to ask at this point: No, the first Fugees reunion show did not start on time. The trio performed for around 45 minutes, running through songs from their second album The Score, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, including hits like “Ready or Not” and “Killing Me Softly.” During a freestyle, proud Haitian Jean — wearing the country’s flag on a bandanna — also took aim at the current Haitian migrant crisis. Later, Hill reportedly reminded the crowd, “Respect the miracle of this union. “I had to take a hiatus,” she explained at one point. Respect that we can get on this stage and still do this.”

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Tags: Hill, meanwhile, took her solo time to speak on the group’s complicated history, at their first performance together in over 15 years. That show happened on September 22 at Manhattan’s Pier 17, with Ms. The hip-hop trio announced their reunion earlier this week, with the first show set to be a pop-up in New York City, filmed for the upcoming Global Citizen Live event. start.

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Derry Girls to Graduate With Season Three

What a ride! Derry Girls creator Lisa McGee announced on September 23 that the upcoming third season of her BBC Channel Four comedy (which airs on Netflix in the U.S.) will be its last. “It was always the plan to say good-bye after three series,” McGee wrote on Twitter. pic.twitter.com/TvYKDRY697— Lisa McGee (@LisaMMcGee) September 23, 2021

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Tags: Season two first aired in spring 2019, and its story ended just after the 1994 IRA ceasefire, with James also deciding to stick around in Derry rather than following his mother back to London. It has been an honour to write it and I will forever be proud of everything it’s achieved.” To McGee, we say: sláinte, motherfucker! “Who knows if Erin, Clare, Orla, Michelle, and James will return in some other guise someday, but for now this is it for us and we’re excited to start filming this series with our incredible cast and crew to hopefully take our loyal fans on one last adventure,” McGee wrote. Photo: YouTube

Your favorite quintet of havoc-wreaking Irish high-schoolers is hitting the small screen for the last time. The writer, who has penned every episode of the series, added, “Derry Girls is a love letter to the place I come from and the people who shaped me. My Statement about #DerryGirls.

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Benedict Cumberbatch Is the First Man to Make Cat Memes in Louis Wain Trailer

It’s out October 22 in theaters and November 5 on Prime Video. This leads to plenty of shots in the trailer of Cumberbatch playing with kittens, which is huge news for Tumblr. It also means that Claire Foy, playing a governess who in real life was ten years Wain’s senior (Foy’s 37 and Cumberbatch is 45, though, because Hollywood), says things like, “I think you’re the first person to see that cats are ridiculous,” before they make out. Sad, but also, cats! The trailer for this period-piece biopic sees Cumberbatch playing Wain, a British illustrator active from the late 1800s to the early 1900s best known for his whimsical and proto-psychedelic illustrations of cats. If you’re disappointed that a Benedict Cumberbatch film called The Electrical Life of Louis Wain isn’t about a bumbling robot, don’t be, because it’s about something even better: a man who draws cats. The Electrical part of the title factors in as Wain begins to “sense” electricity and incorporate it into his art, which actually led to institutionalization and theories on whether he contracted toxoplasmosis through cat feces. Related

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The Crown Casts Diana’s Cute New Bloke

(That is, of course, noted wanker Prince Charles.) Variety reports that Kite Runner star Khalid Abdalla has been cast in The Crown’s fifth season as Dodi Al-Fayed, the Egyptian department-store heir and film producer who was romantically linked to Diana prior to their deaths in 1997. (Yeah, Vulture knows it’s time to do Dianas, Ranked.) Variety notes that although The Crown’s producers haven’t hinted at the season-five story lines just yet, Abdalla’s casting confirms the obvious: Diana’s personal life will continued to be explored following her separation and divorce from Charles, who will be played by scoundrel Dominic West. Abdalla will be acting alongside Elizabeth Debicki’s Diana, not to be confused with Kristen Stewart’s Diana. Related

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Huge: This guy never told Princess Diana to hang out with his mistress before he embarked on a royal tour of Australia.

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Lil Nas X Deserves a Better Industry

It’s a goofy question. Photo: Columbia Records

I spent a good amount of time in the last six months wondering why Lil Nas X pays any attention to haters and homophobes online. “Industry Baby” was just a cheeky reaction to the backlash from the first video (and maybe a love letter to the subdivision of hip-hop music videos that prominently featured glistening, shirtless men lifting weights in yards). The only real issue here is that the stuff on the back end is so cohesive and vital and necessary that it makes the front end feel too loose, too scattered. (“It is politically correct to be accepting, but behind closed doors, people are still hating,” Wendy Williams told vlogger DJ Vlad in 2013. “One of Me” is the other side of the coin, a moment of self-doubt where the guy who made “Old Town Road,” who was relentlessly scolded and attacked for making it, wonders if the audience will flake on him before he can get a whole album out. Starting with “Lost in the Citadel,” a plaintive and muted rock jam about a love connection growing frayed, Montero delivers a series of heartbreaking tunes about hurt and pain and doubt, where the slipperiness of “Old Town Road,” a hip-hop track whose sample of a rock star’s ambient album gave off faint country airs, shows face again. Even in triumph, there’s a fight. Note Williams’s own history on that front. It doesn’t feel like he’s cosplaying as a rocker or shuffling through musical styles for the express purpose of reaching a new market. “That’s What I Want” pines for someone to share the spoils of success with; “Dead Right Now” reflects on the struggle to build this career and what it took to get over his parents’ disapproval of his choice to pursue it. Lil Nas X, Cardi B, and the Anti-Pop Conservative Outrage Machine

When Genre Becomes a Prison

Tags: When you’re queer and comfortable in your skin, you are scrambling somebody’s circuits, someone who grew up believing “gay” meant “weak” or “bad,” who “has trouble accepting your lifestyle” because they’ve been socialized into believing you have chosen to reject a holy, natural order of cisgender, heterosexual love and procreation. If you’re worried about music videos turning your kid into a homosexual, you ignored a few decades of developments in science. (Never forget that Lil Nas has said many of his Black male peers in hip-hop don’t care to work with him. If your takeaway from those videos was concern about occult themes and sexually explicit content in hip-hop and whether or not kids should have access to the stuff, and you didn’t raise the same objections over strip club scenes and black-metal fashion aesthetics popping up elsewhere in the culture, you told on yourself. It bears repeating. You go toe-to-toe with these people because they need to be challenged, and you need to be affirmed, and because there’s a kid like you somewhere who deserves to know they can fight back. The title track lampoons party culture, swearing off casual drug use with such a clarity that it remains preposterous that some people thought the messaging of the single was worrisome. In her 2016 autobiography My Voice: A Memoir, rap radio veteran Angie Martinez recalled the failed quest in the late ’90s that Williams, her former co-worker, embarked on to expose closeted gay men she thought had infiltrated rap: “Every rapper you could think of in that era, I had heard Wendy Williams call them gay.”)

Lil Nas X blew everyone’s cover, tapping on pressure points and drawing out revealing overreactions. What’s frustrating about this — beyond the proliferation of pseudoscience and misinformation, the learning who is perturbed by the mere sight of same-sex affection in public spaces, and the many ways this “save our children” posturing dovetails with conservative political talking points in 2021 — is that it has fuck all to do with Montero, a short, sweet album about learning to love yourself and demanding all the respect that you deserve. The front half of the album covers all the bases you want a debut album to touch on in hip-hop, the believing in yourself when no one else would and the painstaking payoff. You give bigots smoke so they know that you know that theirs is an ideology of fear and lies and conformity and boredom. On Twitter this week, Kevin Abstract asked Lil Nas how he approached balancing fun and introspection on the album, and we learned that cohesion wasn’t the core focus. It’s the back end of Montero that bucks convention. The six-month shitstorm following Lil Nas X throughout the rollout of Montero has been a clinic in the intersecting moral inconsistencies you see in American culture and how they’ve trickled down and settled in hip-hop. He devotes less time to throwaway lines and much more on personal, capable singing. Over the last decade, as the Supreme Court rendered legal opposition to same-sex marriage unconstitutional, and as we’ve met artists like Frank Ocean who’ve kept same-sex relationships at the heart of their work, it’s become easier to talk openly about queer experiences in hip-hop than in the ’90s and ’00s, when rumors about gay rap stars reached a fever pitch and even the wokest rhymers couldn’t resist a homophobic jab. The trip to hell in the “Montero” video is only about facing your fears. “Sun Goes Down” goes for broke: “These gay thoughts would always haunt me / I prayed God would take it from me /It’s hard for you when you’re fighting / And nobody knows it when you’re silent.” In “Void,” he’s “trapped in a lonely loner life / Looking for love where I’m denied.” The lyricism here is more assured than on 2019’s patchy 7 EP, where Lil Nas professed love for a Cartoon Network character and wrote awkwardly in the perspective of a drug dealer on “Kick It”: “Come / Get weed from me / It’s good.” (And somehow 7 still earned him six Grammy nominations, including Album of the Year.) The mixture of genres is less gimmicky and more natural here, doubtlessly the work of Take a Daytrip (the production duo behind Sheck Wes’s “Mo Bamba,” 7’s “Panini,” and more, whose Twitter clapbacks are periodically as cold as Lil Nas’s) and John Cunningham, XXXTENTACION collaborator whose credits include the hit “Sad!”

While Lil Nas is delving into personal trials and generational trauma, pushing his voice and lyrics to new heights, Daytrip and Cunningham are surveying the landscape of modern music, pulling in the bits and pieces that seem appropriate. “Scoop” teams up with Doja Cat to celebrate the gains earned from a strict workout regimen; situating that one after the “Art of Realization” interlude, where Lil Nas says he feels like he’s speeding forward with no idea who it even benefits, gives “Scoop” a pop of drama. Is there a sort of silent protest happening here? Related

Do We Even Need to Tell You How Gay Lil Nas X’s ‘That’s What I Want’ Video Is? Across “Tales of Dominica,” “Sun Goes Down,” “Void,” and “Life After Salem,” Lil Nas X outlines and exorcises his troubles, shaking off pressure to shrink into a brand of masculinity that never fit quite right and encouraging others in similar predicaments by comforting and uplifting himself. I already know the answer. It is so rare to see Black gay men living in their truth at the top of Billboard charts that we’ve had to run defense throughout what should’ve been a peaceful rollout. Early projections for Montero’s first-week sales invite the question of whether or not some listeners are deliberately sitting this release out.)

Montero, as often as it chooses to commit to a single theme, is a song cycle where our 22-year-old narrator navigates the pressures and insecurities that come with being famous, with being queer, and with the intersections of queerness and fame. When that happens, here’s hoping the entitled bigots who made this rollout about themselves and their personal comforts have fucked off. The sentiment tracks when you consider the long list of rappers who have voiced disapproval with his music, his fashion sense, and his expressions of queerness, a list including but not limited to Boosie Badazz, Dave East, Tekashi 6ix9ine, Joyner Lucas, and Glasses Malone. Montero is aware of its strengths and committed to refining them. Maybe you grew up this way, too, and adolescence was complicated by the terror of realizing you are the thing you were taught to avoid, and you’ve spent your entire life dismantling the logic that tells you you’re not okay only to bump heads with people who haven’t had to or wanted to do this work. The effortless flow from the downcast reflection of “Sun Goes Down” to the soul-searching of “Void” to the rousing determination of “Don’t Want It” suggest that Lil Nas X has the full potential to make an album as balanced, flawlessly sequenced, and insightful as the best stretches Montero hint at. Montero builds on emo-adjacent SoundCloud rap, pop music with a flair for rock guitars, the bubbly hip-hop powering Doja’s Planet Her, ’90s grunge and shoegaze, and the specific brand of plush gospel-rap heard on recent Kanye records. The six-month shitstorm following Lil Nas X throughout the rollout of his debut album Montero — starting at the release of the racy music video for “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” in March and gaining fuel in the controversy over the “Satan shoes” collaboration with Brooklyn’s MSCHF collective and later with the homoerotic prison video for follow-up single “Industry Baby” — has been a clinic in the intersecting moral inconsistencies you see in American culture and how they’ve trickled down and settled in hip-hop. (Ye co-produced “Industry Baby,” but it’s “Dead Right Now,” which features vocals from Stellar Award nominees Jason McGee and the Choir, that sounds like it could fit comfortably on Donda.) The blend is careful; it rarely feels like Lil Nas is fishing for obvious hits or trying to recapture the magic of “Old Town Road” (as it did with 7’s Cardi B linkup “Rodeo,” fun as that was). There are less slurs in circulation, and marginally less hateful rhetoric in public circles, but it’s hard to know what is a result of goodwill and incremental societal change and what’s just everyone wisening up to what they can and can’t say in mixed company. Elsewhere, over songs like “Dolla Sign Slime” and “Industry Baby,” Montero addresses people who didn’t believe in Lil Nas just as flippantly as he does almost daily on Twitter.

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Tiger King 2 Is Happening for All You Cool Cats and Kittens

Photo: Netflix/Courtesy of NETFLIX

Hungry for more expired meat? Netflix has announced Tiger King 2, a sequel to the viral doc that captured our early-lockdown imaginations, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness. He died on September 7 this year. Tiger King 2 is out later this year, hopefully with an exclusive interview with Britney Spears’s 2001 VMAs snake. Directors Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin return, though it’s not yet revealed whom the documentary will follow this time around. In 2020, a judge granted Baskin ownership of Exotic’s wild-animal park, where most of the doc’s “WTF” moments took place, to satisfy the $1 million judgment she won against him. The self-described “Tiger King,” roadside-zoo owner Joe Exotic, is currently serving his 22-year sentence for his role in a plot to murder rival Big Cat Rescue activist Carole Baskin. Cowie, who worked with Joe Exotic for five years and hated being compared to Vince Neil because Mötley Crüe is “too plastic,” later testified against his boss. Meanwhile, Peacock is planning a scripted series starring John Cameron Mitchell as Exotic and Kate McKinnon as Baskin. In August 2020, she sold it — under the condition that the new owners would not use it as a zoo or create any new business on the property that refers to Tiger King. He was 52. Related

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Tags: Despite the world thinking she “killed her husband, whacked him,” thanks to the documentary, Baskin turned her 15 minutes of fame into a catwalk by appearing on Dancing With the Stars last season. Baskin declined to be on the reunion special hosted by Joel McHale, which caught up with fan favorites like Jeff and Lauren Lowe, Rick Kirkham, John Reinke, Kelci “Saff” Saffery, John Finlay, Josh Dial, and Erik Cowie. The new documentary was announced with four other upcoming films and series: The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman (January 2022); The Tinder Swindler (February 2022); Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King (2022); and Bad Vegan (2022).

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R. Kelly Hid His Crimes ‘in Plain Sight,’ Prosecutors Say in Closing Argument

“Others turned a blind eye.”

She described the situation as “a Robert Kelly–centric universe,” where his “inner circle revolved around him.”

 This is a developing story and will be updated accordingly. Photo: E. So, the accusers who testified — but weren’t part of the charges — were meant to show Kelly’s pattern of abuse. Six of these 11 were minors at the time of the alleged sexual abuse. Elizabeth Geddes, one of prosecutors on Kelly’s case, added, “He used his money and public persona to hide his crimes in plain sight.”

Geddes’s lengthy closing statement — she started at 1:52 p.m. Kelly Accuser Says She Witnessed Him Sexually Abuse Aaliyah at 13

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R. Kelly in 2019. Kelly Trial This Week

R. Kelly is charged with one count of racketeering and eight counts of the Mann Act, which relate to his alleged transporting of a teenage girl and a woman across state lines for illegal sexual activity. The indictment against Kelly lists six female victims — one being the late singer Aaliyah, whom Kelly allegedly illegally married in 1994 when she was 15 and he was 27. In addition to Aaliyah, three other accusers in this indictment were minors at the time of Kelly’s alleged sexual abuse. R. They claim that Kelly and his inner circle shared a “common purpose of achieving the objectives of the Enterprise” to promote his music and brand while luring victims into illicit sexual encounters. and, save for a brief break, is still going — aims to sum up six weeks of testimony and evidence. Two were male. In total, 11 accusers took the stand against Kelly during his trial. Kelly himself did not testify. Kelly’s Sex-Crimes Trial Comes to a Messy Close

The Worst Things That Happened at the R. Jason Wambsgans/Getty Images

R. “The defendant was more than just a part of his enterprise; he was the leader,” Geddes said, later observing that “for many years what happened in the defendant’s world stayed in the defendant’s world, but no longer.”

Geddes said that Kelly wouldn’t have been able to commit these crimes without his close network of associates, who did everything from drive women and girls to him to pass out his phone number at concerts. Prosecutors hope to prove Kelly’s alleged sexual misconduct involving teen girls, young women, teenage boys, and young men constitutes part of an orchestrated criminal enterprise. Kelly “used lies, manipulation, threats, and physical abuse to dominate his victims,” prosecutors told jurors Wednesday during their closing argument in his Brooklyn federal-court trial. Kelly has maintained his innocence. “Some actively assisted,” Geddes said of Kelly’s inner circle.

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 Britney vs. Spears Trailer: “I Just Want My Life Back”

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Why Does Britney Spears’s Dad Suddenly Want Her Free? “I just want my life back,” she said at the hearing, which can be heard in the new teaser. Britney vs. … I Did It Again.” Britney vs. In a non-official statement about creating another Fyre Fest situation, Netflix said “Oops! “It’s been 13 years, and it’s enough.” Netflix’s doc comes on the heels of Framing Britney, a Hulu and FX documentary produced by the New York Times. Spears’s 13-year conservatorship is finally being considered for termination several months after Spears’s moving testimony on June 23. Spears, directed by Erin Lee Carr, is out September 28. Tags: There’s still work to be done to #FreeBritney. It was her first time speaking publicly about the arrangement, recounting the trauma of having her life and career under court-ordered control. Spears, a new documentary from Netflix, charts Britney Spears’s controversial conservatorship through interviews with lawyers, those who worked with the pop star, and #FreeBritney activists, questioning who benefited from it.

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The Invasion Trailer Makes Us Question Who the Real Aliens Are

Apple TV+ will premiere three episodes of Invasion on October 22 — get the underground bunkers ready. However, executive producer Simon Kinberg, who also produced X-Men and Deadpool, is making us question who the real aliens are. Related

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Tags: “We’re all aliens,” says Kinberg to IGN. People are in disarray as they contend with the surrounding disasters of the alien invasion. “There is a sense of alienation that I think all people carry with them in some form, whether they’re alienated from their families, alienated from their communities, alienated from their jobs, there is a sense of disconnect.” The sense of alienation may be captured by an urgent warning made by a military member in the trailer: “We might be all that stands between life as we know it and the end of all existence.”

This article has been updated to reflect the correct release date. An apocalyptic scene unfolds in the trailer with bombs, explosions, and power outages. The sci-fi series, starring Sam Neill, Shamier Anderson, and Golshifteh Farahani, follows five ordinary people from across the world as they confront the alien invasion overwhelming Earth.

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Britney Spears Wants Her Conservatorship Over by Fall

Her legal team, spearheaded by attorney Mathew Rosengart, filed the request Wednesday, September 22, in Los Angeles Superior Court. Our investigation into the financial and other abusive conduct at issue is ongoing.”

Earlier this month, Britney’s father, Jamie Spears, made a stunning reversal in his stance and asked the court himself to end his daughter’s conservatorship, one that he has overseen since it was put in place in 2008. Spears’s efforts to obtain a large quid pro quo payout, while also making clear that Britney Spears will no longer be bullied. In the interim, we are moving forward with our July 26, 2021 Petition for the Suspension of James P. Rosengart said that Spears “fully consents” to the dissolution of her conservatorship and asked the court that it be done “expeditiously.” According to court papers, he expects the conservatorship to be terminated this fall. He said that would be the first step, and a substantial one, toward Britney regaining her freedom and “ending the Kafkaesque nightmare imposed by her father, so that her dignity and basic liberties can be restored.” Rosengart cited Jamie’s recent apparent “180” in supporting the end of the conservatorship as evidence of the need to immediately remove and suspend Jamie from being part of his daughter’s case. In today’s court papers, Rosengart reminded Judge Brenda Penny, who is overseeing the case, that his client has been asking since July 22 that her father be removed from the case. He said if Jamie actually had a “genuine epiphany” that it was welcome, but that there was reason to believe his motives are more about rehabilitating his reputation, avoiding suspension, and to impede Britney’s ability to further investigate his conduct since 2008. He accused Jamie of taking “unwarranted commissions from his daughter’s work, totaling millions of dollars” and taking a salary larger than Britney’s. Rosengart also reaffirmed to the court that Jamie had been trying to “extract substantial quid pro quo payments” from his daughter and was seeking to avoid responding to extensive and detailed discovery. We have exposed Mr. Photo: Getty Images

Britney Spears has told the court that she officially supports her father’s request to terminate her conservatorship. Rosengart said that Britney plans to file her own formal termination petition after “her father’s toxic presence (and his ability to object to termination) was removed.”

In a statement released after the papers were filed, Rosengart said, “We are pleased by Mr. More From This Series

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Why Does Britney Spears’s Dad Suddenly Want Her Free? He also said that in August 2019, the court issued a multiyear domestic-violence order against him, requiring him to stay away from Britney’s two sons. Spears clings to his post is another day of anguish and harm to his daughter.”

He also pointed out that to the judge that Britney’s father has even agreed that continuing to stay on as the conservator over his daughter’s finances wold be detrimental to her well-being. “Britney Spears’s life matters,” states the petition. Rosengart has said previously that he’s determined to do a full forensic accounting of the spending of Britney’s money while she was in the conservatorship; he’s particularly concerned by the fact that Jamie billed Britney’s estate more than a $500,000 for “unspecified media matters,” presumably having to do with the recent intense media coverage of his daughter’s situation. “Britney Spears’s wellbeing matters. He pointed out that Jamie had no training in economics or finance, and that Jamie himself has filed for bankruptcy. Rosengart said in court documents that Britney’s father was never actually qualified to serve as overseer his daughter’s vast estate. See All

Tags: Spears, which is a prerequisite to the immediate restoration of my client’s dignity and fundamental rights. And under the circumstances, every day matters because every day Mr. Spears. Spears’s recent forced concessions, and my client looks forward to the prompt termination of the conservatorship, and to her freedom. The next hearing on Britney Spears’s conservatorship is September 29. Spears has been under the care and control of a court-ordered conservatorship, which governs all aspects of her life, for the past 13 years. Rosengart also told the court that Britney is currently in the process of hiring a family lawyer to write a prenuptial agreement; Spears announced her engagement to boyfriend Sam Asghari on September 12, later “taking a break” from Instagram to celebrate their plans to marry.

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Well, at Least Rihanna Is ‘Having Fun’ With Her New Music

“I’m having fun,” Rihanna added. And music is like fashion, you should be able to play.” Of course, Rihanna herself has been playing for years, dropping hints about new album(s) since she last released Anti in January 2016. Related

Sounds Like Rihanna Is Facing the Music of a Pandemic Release

An Oral History of Rihanna’s Debut Song, ‘Pon de Replay’

Tags: “I’m really experimenting. The Associated Press, among others, asked the former pop star, current fashion designer, and newly minted billionaire about her long-, long-, long-teased upcoming album. pic.twitter.com/tOkty4ONAf— AP Entertainment (@APEntertainment) September 22, 2021

You know how it goes at this point: Another red-carpet appearance, another R9 non-update. “You’re not gonna expect what you hear,” Rihanna said with a smirk, perhaps knowing that we have come to expect hearing nothing at all. Rihanna says her next album is "going to be completely different." Promoting her latest Savage X Fenty Show, the pop star says she's been "having fun" recording new music. Rihanna stepped out for her Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 3, once again bravely showing her face in public with no new music in hand. At least that makes one of us. “Whatever you know of Rihanna is not gonna be what you hear,” she continued.

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Kim Kardashian, Jason Sudeikis, and Owen Wilson to Be First-Time SNL Hosts

The season will premiere on October 2 with Owen Wilson, who we seriously can’t believe has never hosted before (not even to promote Marley & Me?), and musical guest Kacey Musgraves. Photo-Illustration: Vulutre; Photos by Getty Images

Gather ’round, theater club, the cast list is up. If this doesn’t lead to Sudeikis bringing back his “What Up With That?” dance moves, possibly in character as Ted Lasso, it will all be for nothing. For the first time, this season will simultaneously air on NBC and livestream on the network’s streaming platform, Peacock. Internet-breaking stuff, folks. (@nbcsnl) September 22, 2021

Related

SNL to Return for Season 47 on October 2

Tags: pic.twitter.com/5E6HS5YnrC— SNL is back October 2! October 9 will see Kim Kardashian West try her hand at live sketch comedy for the first time with musical guest Halsey. Rami Malek hosts October 16 with musical guest Young Thug, and Jason Sudeikis will return to Studio 8H as a host on October 23, with Brandi Carlile performing. Saturday Night Live just announced its first four weeks of musical guests and hosts for season 47, including a ton of first-timers. Expect some sort of wow-off with Melissa Villaseñor.

R. Kelly’s Sex-Crimes Trial Comes to a Messy Close

Asked whether he had ever seen an underage female, Meeks again said no. Scholar also asked Hood whether he knew Angela, who claimed last week that Kelly had abused her when she was 14 or 15 years old. “Did you ever see Kelly lock a woman in a room?” Hood again answered in the negative. “Whenever we’d go to a restaurant, they’d sit down first, they’d order first, they’d eat first — I mean, chivalry, basically,” he said. And several described having misgivings about Kelly’s treatment of his girlfriends and their suspicion of his misconduct. The prosecution asked if, after the colleague told Meeks to let the person leave, “You were relieved?”

“I’m sure I was a lot of things, but I guess relieved was one,” he replied. (Vulture measured.) The only glimpse of jurors occurs when the camera catches them shuffling into the courtroom. He didn’t even know his own social-security number. The prosecutor asked if the forgery was “related to the use of counterfeit $100 bills.” Hood said yes,but added that he was “not aware the money was fake.”

“So you weren’t telling the truth when you were in court, under oath, when you were pleading guilty?”

“Yes.”

“You’re in court, under oath, here today?”

“Yes,” he said. Kelly’s lead lawyer, Devereaux Cannick, asked Copeland whether the doors at Kelly’s home could lock from the outside — an important question, considering how some accusers said they felt compelled to stay. Copeland said she was “fined” — that is, her pay was withheld — when she couldn’t find a “really rare puppy” Kelly had demanded. “No, sir,” Hood said. He had no control over that; he had no idea where his royalties were going. Robert did not have control over his bank accounts. Kelly didn’t use his headphones while these recordings were presented, which would have allowed him to hear them. Prosecutors have described Kelly as a “predator, a man who for decades used his fame, his popularity, and a network of people at his disposal to target, groom, and exploit girls, boys, and young women for his own sexual gratification.” They contend that this abuse was not just a series of horrendous incidents but rather was carried out as an orchestrated criminal enterprise — hence the racketeering charge. “I saw Robert and Aaliyah in a sexual situation. The defense also tried to use Copeland’s cross-examination to undermine claims that Kelly ran a criminal enterprise. They used specific allegations of sexual misconduct — from luring minors to psychological torment that kept them under his control — to make their racketeering case. Photo: E. Kelly Trial This Week

R. He leaned back in his chair and held the mic. On cross-examination, the prosecution asked whether Kelly ever had more than one female guest. The prosecution asked whether he had asked a colleague, “What do we do?”

“I do remember that,” he said. Did you ever see him deny a woman food?” Ramanan answered no. Ramanan — who said his job with Kelly was “to observe and to learn and to become” — described the artist as polite toward women. A woman from one of these recordings, called “Jane Doe #20” in court filings, was going to take the stand, but prosecutors changed their mind because of her emotional state. Because the press is relegated to a viewing room where the proceedings are displayed on two 52-inch TV screens, it’s unclear how jurors reacted to witnesses and evidence that corroborated what many, many other witnesses had already said. Another witness last week, Angela, testified that Kelly had abused her when she was 14 or 15 years old and that she saw him sexually abuse Aaliyah on a tour bus when the late singer was 13 or 14. The Mann Act counts relate to Kelly’s alleged shuttling of victims across state lines for illicit sex acts. They have contended that Kelly and his clique had a “common purpose of achieving the objectives of the Enterprise” to support his music and personal brand while enticing victims into unlawful sexual activity. Scholar asked Meeks questions about whether he had ever seen locks on the outside of studio doors and whether he had ever seen a woman locked inside a room. During Meeks’s testimony, his demeanor was that of a talk-show guest. There is no sense of how any of this will land. “As a police officer, I would have to take action against that,” Hood said of any alleged wrongdoing. That was a huge problem.”

This post has been updated throughout. A friend of Alex’s at the time, Louis, introduced him to Kelly. (It’s unclear if he became an officer before or after the wedding date; Hood claimed he didn’t attend these nuptials and found out about it only later.) He said he worked for Kelly when he was off duty and sometimes enlisted his fellow officers to work security “if we needed them.” Hood, who now sells cards, said he left the police department in 2007 “in good standing” and with his pension. Federal prosecutors called 45 witnesses to make their case. Kelly Accuser Says She Witnessed Him Sexually Abuse Aaliyah at 13

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R. “Did you ever see Robert Kelly acting inappropriately with Aaliyah?” Calvin Scholar, one of Kelly’s attorneys, asked. A court document filed Tuesday revealed that prosecutors planned on presenting recordings that “show the defendant physically and verbally abusing and threatening females.” But it remains unknown what exactly jurors heard or saw. “I just don’t remember.”

Meeks was then questioned about a time when he allegedly “saw a girl ask to leave,” as the prosecutors put it. Meeks said he had heard of Kelly. While Ramanan said he was always around Kelly, the prosecution revealed an inconsistency in that testimony when, during its line of questioning, he couldn’t remember some chronology surrounding tours, thereby undermining his claim of constantly being in the singer’s presence. The tail end of the prosecutors’ case could have proved pivotal for them, or it could have been damaging. Several described how Kelly had used his employees to meet girls and women, shuttle them around, and allegedly keep them in a state of isolation. Eleven of these witnesses were Kelly’s accusers; their allegations included sexual abuse and misconduct, with some accusing him of both. Did he see anything inappropriate with Angela? It appeared that he had his head in between her legs and was giving her oral sex,” Angela testified of the alleged incident, which she said took place in 1992 or 1993. “Yeah, she was just one of the young ladies who was around when Aaliyah was … one of Aaliyah’s little friends,” Hood answered. During Suzette Mayweather’s testimony several weeks ago, she described Kelly as being “like a brother” but admitted thinking that Jane “looked young” to her.)

Diana Copeland, another former Kelly assistant, also took the stand last week. Did you ever see him strike a woman? Did you ever see him lock a woman in a room? Before Hood’s testimony, Kelly’s longtime associate Dhanai Ramanan took the stand in the singer’s defense. Alex claimed to have met Kelly in 2007, when he was 16. Kelly’s Brooklyn federal-court trial rested on Wednesday afternoon after hours of messy testimony that came in fits and starts over the course of three days. “I mean, everybody did — remember Space Jam?”

In total, the defense called five witnesses. For the sake of her mental health, the government advised Jane Doe #20 that it would not call her as a witness at the trial.”

The conclusion of the prosecutors’ case did not have the jaw-dropping power of its first few weeks. “Do you recall telling federal agents that Kelly sometimes had three or four female guests?” prosecutors pressed. Kelly Hid His Crimes ‘in Plain Sight,’ Prosecutors Say in Closing Argument

The Worst Things That Happened at the R. Mayweather’s testimony revealed that she had expressed concern about one of his girlfriends, Jane, in a text to another employee. The jurors, who are now about enter their sixth week of testimony, may be exhausted at this point; a juror might have dozed off at some juncture, which happens even in the highest-profile trials. The defense’s third witness, Jeff Meeks, worked for Kelly at his studios from 2002 to 2010 and from 2014 through 2019 up until Kelly’s arrest. Another key unknown factor is how the jury interpreted Copeland’s cross-examination. “Something is really strange as to the treatment of the little one …” (Mayweather’s twin sister, Suzette, also worked as Kelly’s assistant. He started as an intern, working his way up to the role of assistant audio engineer. I was never made aware of wrongdoing.”

Prosecutors’ next line of questioning didn’t bode well for Hood’s believability. They said that “after the government played the audio recording for Jane Doe #20 and Jane Doe #20 traveled to New York to prepare for her testimony, she started to have panic attacks and appeared to have an emotional breakdown. Prior to Hughes’s testimony, one of Kelly’s former assistants, Cheryl Mack, said he had threatened her so she would support him in a lawsuit filed by an accuser, warning, “Generally, in these situations, people come up missing.”

Aliciette Mayweather, another former Kelly assistant, testified last week. Copeland’s name came up repeatedly throughout the trial, with witnesses saying she coordinated travel for Kelly’s female guests and kept an eye on them. She testified that Kelly’s girlfriends did not freely roam his homes. Hood became a Chicago Police Department officer in August 1994, the same month that Kelly, then 27, illegally wed Aaliyah, then 15. The prosecution’s final witness, psychologist Dawn Hughes, testified on Friday afternoon and Monday morning to explain that victims of domestic and sexual violence may remain with and return to their abusers — and that going back doesn’t negate victimhood. “I suppose,” Meeks replied. “When she gets to Florida, she should run and never come back,” the message said. Kelly in 2019. Kelly did not testify. Another witness mentioned the movie Space Jam in discussing his familiarity with Kelly. “He’s like a mentor to me, a friend, a good friend,” Ramanan said. He claimed to have met Kelly in the early aughts and was constantly around him for 15 years, including on tours. The prosecution then asked Meeks whether he knew about Kelly’s conduct before they worked together in 2002. “I never had to take any action. He gave short answers when he could and confusing ones when he couldn’t. Hood admitted that he had pleaded guilty to forgery charges. (Louis was the first man to come forward publicly with sexual-misconduct allegations against Kelly; he claims this abuse started when he was 17.) Alex, who said he had his first sexual encounter with Kelly at age 20, claimed he had been pressured into unwanted sexual activity. “I mean, I believe you,” he responded. Copeland, who quit her job and returned many times, said she did so “because I felt like he did not have trustworthy people around him. “Isn’t it true you left the police department in 2007 because you were convicted of felony forgery?” the prosecution asked. The only things that are really visible on these screens are the profiles of Kelly and two of his lawyers. One of Kelly’s defense witnesses stumbled over whether he had previously lied in court — not a great look when trying to convey credibility. “No, they did not,” Copeland said. Jurors could have seemed riveted, convinced, or bored by this week’s proceedings. The witness who choked on an answer about lying in court, Larry Hood, is Kelly’s friend from childhood who provided security for the musician from 1991 to 1995 and again from 2002 to 2004. This is the sixth week of the trial. “No, I did not,” Hood replied. Kelly faces one racketeering count and eight Mann Act counts. While he didn’t inspect every ID, he said he didn’t recall any underage girls. The prosecution also played recordings on Wednesday, but they were presented only to jurors and parties in the case; neither the media nor the public watching Kelly’s trial in a viewing room could see or hear any of it. On the small video screen, Meeks appeared to have a balding ponytail. Hughes’s testimony was meant to address the question of why women would stay with Kelly if he was abusing them

Witnesses preceding Hughes last week reiterated what earlier witnesses had said about Kelly’s dramatic highs and lows, describing him as an awful employer and an angry person. Alex, the second male accuser to publicly make allegations against Kelly, took the stand as well. “Did you ever see him with underage women?” Scholar asked. Meeks responded, “No.” Meeks also said that when he was working the phones, he took IDs. Everyone else’s head and face are the size of quarters. Jason Wambsgans-Pool/Getty Images

The defense in R. The defense asked, “During that entire time, did you ever see him abuse a woman? Eight of these witnesses were former employees. She also testified that she witnessed Kelly perform oral sex on Aaliyah on a tour bus when the late singer was 13 or 14.

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Bachelor in Paradise Recap: You Should Have Never Let Me Become This Powerful

So, let’s talk about Bachelor in Paradise or whatever. Everything eventually comes down to “words of affirmation” on these shows. That’s all you got? Aaron also says that Ivan is built like a chopstick, and he can snap him in half. Maurissa finally sits down with Riley and asks him how he would have felt if Demar asked her on the date (and she came to the beach for Demar) because she wants to know that he’s choosing her intentionally. He’s the one with the most emotional arcs that just keep happening. So you end up with people in their 20s and 30s thinking that if they can’t make a Bachelor in Paradise relationship work, what else is out there for them? Telling someone you’re falling in love with them and want to be with him is THE MOST FUN. Don’t panic. Bring in everyone’s mom for a relationship tribunal. Tacos are one of the world’s greatest treasures. My power is unlimited. Ed asks Natasha, and she’s ready for some SOMETHING on this beach. Demar and Ed arrive on the beach and immediately regret running on sand because it’s a lot farther than it looks. Uhh … and now Ivan doesn’t have a rose because apparently, he was into Kendall?!?? A violation. I have something I must share …

I WON A FREAKIN’ EMMY ON SUNDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Whether or not there was a Boom Boom Room on that plane of existence is still up for debate. My legal department is telling me that he is “attractive,” but if I close my eyes while looking at him, I completely forget what he looks like or anything about him. That’s all you got for the last few episodes of Paradise? I also keep forgetting that Tatty Daddy Blake is a person, but he was also invested in this saga because he likes Tia. Sure.” Let’s get to it. After some undisclosed period of time and a stay at a hotel, we’re back and ready for a daytime cocktail party and Rose Ceremony. I HATE THIS FOR EVERYONE. Bachelor In Paradise
Week Six, Part 1

Season 7

Episode 9

Editor’s Rating

3 stars

***

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America. It’s the next morning in Paradise, and it should be only smooth sailing from here on out. Give them their phones and let them check out their partners’ DMs. And really, “acts of service” or “quality time” are perfectly valid love languages, but they’re not very helpful on a reality show. Joe says he’s here for Kendall but just like hugs her with one arm, y’know? Don’t worry. Riley also talks about how difficult it is for him to maintain a relationship with his mother (seemingly because of the environment in the household) and how he’s only mended his relationship with his mother in the last ten years. Next up is Ivan; he’s getting stressed because he doesn’t know where his rose is coming from, and there’s not much time left. Can’t you feel it too? Send 30 aspiring country singers and Peloton instructors to the beach and let them rip these relationships apart with their bare abs. That’s fucking wild. Tags: Riley finally opens up, and the camera stays trained on his face with an extreme close-up as single tears drip down his face. YOU FOOLS! You darling people who click on this recap to have a little chuckle or giggle at your desk while you sip your morning Maple Bacon Latte. We get almost no footage of Demar and Chelsea, but Natasha and Ed are vibing, and they make out. Riley says he probably wouldn’t have said anything about it, and Maurissa says that’s not good! James painted her a little stoplight and the rest of the men are slacking!! When she gets closer and nuzzles in his neck, it makes it feel like someone is spying on them. Riley has been afraid of what kind of father and husband he would be because he didn’t have a good role model, and he’s spent a lot of time working on himself to be present and communicate in his relationships. No one should be alarmed, but they do have an hour to get the fuck out of there. It’s … a lot. Bachelor Nation Newsletter
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Terms of Service apply. My brothers have taken it on their work Zooms to show it off. Please, someone, heal our society. I have never looked hotter — on the red carpet or in the days that followed. Or if we do, it’ll be like, “Oh, okay. Meanwhile, the couples back on the beach are freaking out about the idea of “having a conversation about feelings” with the person they’ve been fucking for the last nine days straight. They go on a truly gross date. This time he’s calling Ivan a little snaky bitch boy. When sometimes, a relationship just doesn’t work because the guy lives off a different train line, and I’m not about to use my transfers all willy-nilly like that just for some dick. If the person you’re dating doesn’t want to share that with you, you didn’t ruin it by bringing it up. I’m still a little unclear if she genuinely thought she was going to get back together with Joe, but it does seem clear that she convinced herself that if the distance between them was eliminated, even for a couple of weeks in the summer, they could ascend to a higher emotional plane together. And love means never having to say you’re sorry! Man, to be a man over 35 on this beach. HAHHAHAHAHA! These relationships get forged in the faux-romantic crucible of Paradise, and love is supposed to conquer all! THEY ruined it. They have nothing else to compare it to, and their instincts don’t know how to respond to hanging out with a hot guy on a beach in Mexico. We have strayed too far from God’s light. The group date is a painting class where the women paint topless paintings of the men and then paint on the men’s abs. Aaron can sense when he’s being wronged, and he’s ready to launch into another string of curse-laden, misogynistic attacks. Slurping a chunk of avocado off your boyfriend’s abs? But dear God, we have to go!!!! Everyone says in unison, “This is not good.” There is a tropical storm approaching Paradise. And Kendall and Joe seem to have a lot of love for each other and a lot of respect for each other as partners and as people … but Joe moved on and is ready to have the process work for him again, and Kendall wants the process to deliver her Joe or, at least, something like Joe. Riley deeply hates watching Maurissa talk to Demar, and Aaron calls Ed’s legs two Christmas hams even though Demar ends up taking Chelsea on the date. Bring back that date where everyone has to take care of a random baby. And with that, Kendall leaves, and Joe is cemented as the main character of Paradise. Just eating a small pile of carnitas off your girlfriend’s titty? Every woman deserves a krunk. Something that doesn’t really get discussed when it comes to these Bachelor Nation relationships is for a lot of these people, the relationships formed on these shows are their first significant relationships. If they couldn’t find love in Paradise, where will they find love? Because … what does that MEAN, Kendall? Mari feels like she is falling in love and could definitely get engaged to Kenny. Tia reminds him that she has to pick between him and someone else, and James makes an effort. Do we think her personifying her vagina makes it feel like Tia isn’t the one that’s horny, and it gives her a little distance from her sexual feelings? Climate change has reached Paradise. YES! This was a bad idea. Blake is a fuck boy who wanted to rely on one make out to secure his rose. He has a face that’s so infinitely generic. YES! It’s clear both of them desperately want to have this moment but don’t know exactly how to navigate this conversation, but their commitment to each other and themselves lets them do it. Lil Jon gathers the Paradise Gang to tell them that he loves the drama and will bring in two men. EVERYTHING IS HAPPENING OVER HERE AND IT’S ALL HAPPENING TO ME. He should do that! Like, I love tacos. My reign is just beginning. And you complete me! Do they go shopping for candles together and then watch four hours of Real Housewives? You have to make out like three times. Blake says all he wants with her is a conversation. This was a bad idea for you. Kendall. He says, “I’m gonna do it because I have to … and I want to.”

The way the camera is just stuck on Riley’s face makes it feel like it’s just outside the room he and Maurissa are in. He lies down with Serena and reassures her that they’re still falling in love with each other. Kenny and Mari get a date card. Aaron is a lot of talk, and I would genuinely like to see him try and fight. Where there are tacos, there is God’s light — but drizzling SOUR CREAM on the hairy legs of your boyfriend and LICKING IT OFF. To be continued …

Oh God, it looks like Riley gets involved. That sounds like something Newsmax would label as “The only acceptable sex act in the leftist future.” But all the sour cream snacking has brought Kenny and Mari together, and they express they’re falling in love with each other and could see themselves getting engaged at the end of this. Ivan is quiet, and it’s the quiet ones you have to worry about. HAHAHHAHHAHAHAHA FIREWORK FIREWORK AIR HORN NOISE AIR HORN NOISE HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

OH OH WHAT A DAY LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

There is a very fancy gold lady holding an atom currently sitting on the coffee table in the other room of this hotel suite, and EVERY room service server has been very curious about what it is. “I’m not horny … my vagina is!” She takes him aside and tells him that he should have done something for her or at least came to talk to her before she could find him. First up, Tia and Tatty Daddy Blake. Everyone else is preparing for the reality of another Rose Ceremony when two men in black T-shirts appear. Lil Jon’s time with us has come to an end, and we’re ready for the drama! He tells some of the guys he’s not interested in stealing someone’s rose … then takes Chelsea aside to make out with her. It’s the best part!!! And THAT’S the kind of analysis you get from an EMMY-WINNING WRITER HAHAHAHAHAHA

Does anyone else feel like we’re not going to get a proposal this season? Maurissa doesn’t want to “ruin their fun” by telling him she loves him. Tia is VERY attracted to him, and her vagina keeps dancing. Aaron gets in Ivan’s face, and Ivan refuses to flinch. Lemme find a man off the Red Line because that runs all night, too. Terms & Privacy Notice
By submitting your email, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Notice and to receive email correspondence from us. If the best you got at this point in the game is Ed, let’s just pack it in now. There have been entire seasons of Sex and the City and other shows in the same “Single Gal, Looking for Love” genre dedicated to watching your older boyfriend fall in love with a younger woman, and somehow you’re forced to run into them at “magazine parties.” Which is a thing that exists only in television shows about New York as far as I’m concerned. There are solid couples, and people can sense that the end of Paradise is here. I guess because once you eat a hand-pressed corn tortilla off your lover’s pubis, it’s all or nothing. Sir, that is VERY easy to achieve on a show where there’s nothing to do but talk to each other. Something is happening with the atmospheric pressure. Riley talks about how his father wasn’t prepared or didn’t know how to be an attentive father and husband, and it cost him his relationship with his children and his wife. Maurissa wants to tell Riley how she’s feeling, but Riley uses his actions to express his feelings but not his words. FUCK. This week was a primer on how Love Languages work and how we’ve entirely demonized vulnerability and boundaries as a society. Kendall goes to talk to Joe, and they hug it out, and Kendall says he’s still her best friend. My dear sweet readers. This is beautiful but tough to watch and dances right on the edge of the kind of trauma the Bachelor Cinematic Universe likes to pull out of its Black contestants and leads. He’s a lawyer from New York; he’s basically Daredevil. I am here for the brilliant and beautiful Natasha having a charming lunk of a man sweep her off her feet in the final days of Paradise. Yes! A crime. She has the rose! Conan O’Brien got my mom a drink. Demar and Ed take a few ladies aside, and the men have to remain on a daybed and watch as their women are gently seduced away. We start the episode in the continued emotional torment of Kendall as she watches Joe express his growing love for a 23-year-old. YOU SHOULD HAVE NEVER LET ME BECOME THIS POWERFUL!!!!! See you next week for a THREE HOUR EXTRAVAGANZA!!

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Jasper Johns and Me

He’s splitting the tissues of seeing, naming, and knowing, as you annex deep philosophical and architectural structures at work. *A version of this article appears in the September 27, 2021, issue of New York Magazine. In this series (my favorite) we see what he meant when he wrote in his sketchbook notes, “Make something … which as it changes or falls apart (dies as it were) or increases in its parts (grows as it were) offers no clue as to what its state or form or nature was.” This is Usuyuki (1982) to me. At a dinner of about 12, I heard painter Cecily Brown talk to him about her pain around making art, how she felt like she didn’t know what she was doing: her anguish and fear. The work got much more coded, which set off thousands of wild-goose chases looking for the meaning of it all. We were alone in the gallery. I wonder if I have died in the instants between synapses of looking, knowing, then not knowing again. Johns came to the word through a Kabuki play, and it means “thin or light snow” in Japanese. Photo: © 2021 Jasper Johns / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. In his introduction to the show, Scott Rothkopf writes that Johns “has been considered an important — if not the most important living artist for more than 60 years.” (I left the show thinking, He is.) Yet, his critical reception hasn’t been a walk in the park. In 1960, Johns heard that de Kooning was so steamed about Castelli’s new gallery and all the sales that he said, “You could give that son of a bitch two beer cans and he could sell them.” Johns commented, “I thought, What a wonderful idea for a sculpture,” and made a painted bronze of just that. On Monday, January 20, 1958, Johns’s debut solo show opened at Castelli’s gallery. Rows can be read as one long number, counting up in integers that are there but impossible to precisely predict, in unexpected visual patterns and zigzags. It’s Pop Art before it existed, Warhol’s Brillo Boxes years before the fact. For all effective purposes, on the night of March 8, 1957, Modernism ended and contemporary art began. Photograph by Jamie Stukenberg, Professional Graphics, Rockford, Illinois

Green Target, 1958. It was like they were renaming all the animals. I knew too, on a deeper level, that the reasons I didn’t go inside myself were that I wanted to seem special to him, strike him as smart, show-off, assume an intimacy and natter at dinners ever after about my “brilliant” Flag story. Here, you see that these orders are part of yourself; you know them on an organic, cellular, atomic, and even cosmic level. He got off the art-historical train of isms. The two immigrants were about to become the deans of a new American avant-garde. It is time for me to leave.” He never fails to thank his host. An orthomorphic door opens — a portal to another kind of world that lives within us, alongside, visible, intuited, and invisible around us. One time, he visited my wife and me at a large rustic 19th-century mountain camp we rented that had no running water, electricity, and was lit by oil lamps. The numbers never line up in the same way twice; sometimes they pile on top of one another, like they’re adding themselves together, or collapsing into one Über-number. I’ve had scores of small dinners with him in other people’s homes. “If you avoid everything you can avoid, then you do what you can’t avoid doing … You do what is helpless, and unavoidable.” The word helpless is a key to his work. (This attribution, once debated, is now officially recognized.) I watched the two seem to pick artistic nits off one another, drilling into the minutiae and pleasures of this period. Like Flag, Usuyuki (1982) is a horizontal triptych. All had seen him do this before. Johns had made his mark not as a throwback but as a genuine revolutionary — one of the biggest in American art history. Or maybe I’m just a prig keeper of the Johns flame. By day’s end, they had arranged for MoMA to purchase Green Target and Flag (for $1,000 each), Target With Four Faces ($700), and White Numbers ($450). Photo: Jack Mitchell/Getty Images

In the fall of 1954, the 24-year-old, who had been laboring on muddy vaguely Abstract Expressionist–influenced works, effectively burned his artistic ships and destroyed all of his previous work. As we toured the house, he looked at every single piece of furniture, fixture, detail, old picture, magazine from the period, plate, rug — everything. (I told you it’s weird order.) I then somehow knew that it would appear again somewhere in the top row of the right-hand painting, that this one pattern, like all of them, it turns out, is traveling up, down, diagonally, and across the painting. Email

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Terms of Service apply. His work imparts a beautiful bewildering sense of being in touch with things much bigger and outside yourself, where everything and nothing is fixed. This is why Ed Ruscha called Johns “the atomic bomb of my education.”

Jasper Johns in 1971. I pick one, a pattern with a little teepee or triangle shape in the center. His career too is a paradox. You sense that these configurations are repeating in integral orders; you know there’s an intrinsic template here, a guide or an odd algorithm. Photo: © 2021 Jasper Johns / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. Some say he can be sharp. By the 1970s, he was making huge paintings with chairs, wax hands and feet, hangers, other paintings affixed face-down on-the-canvas, wire, or painted flagstone patterns. I was electric. In these responses, I almost always perceive in whatever question he’s been asked parts of it I had not noticed before. Someone I know slightly told me he once rang Johns’s Connecticut buzzer and asked “Is this Jasper Johns’s home? It is a sensuous fast-drying mix of heated beeswax and pigment that preserves every brushstroke in creamy, streaked, sluiced pentimento. This occupies the very lower left-hand panel. Then he always answers with a short, very specific, direct response. Rauschenberg returned with Johns a few minutes later. It’s a form of counting or ordered design. In this painting, made when he was over 50, Johns embarked on a whole new artistic journey. Composer Morton Feldman brought husband-and-wife art gallerists Leo Castelli, 49, and Ileana Sonnabend (then Castelli), 42, to Rauschenberg’s studio. Photograph courtesy the Wildenstein Plattner Institute, New York

I know Johns a bit, mostly secondhand, through friends. While almost all the Abstract Expressionists were straight white men (de Kooning called himself “cunt-crazy”), the younger artists included more women and a lot of gay men. Photograph by Jamie Stukenberg, Professional Graphics, Inc., Rockford, Illinois. It’s on the right-hand side of the middle row of the middle panel. Photo: Pari Dukovic for New York Magazine

I have a few Johns anecdotes. I said, “Ann, can you tell me what he thought?” She laughed, looked at me incredulously, and gave me the best answer I’ve ever heard for such a ridiculous question: “You cannot possibly think that I have any idea what he was thinking.”

I did hear him snap at someone once. The ideas that drove his work, that were once so pointed and iconoclastic, are much more to do with how things are made, what materials do, what touch is, how color works, while deploying a bizarre array of images “his mind” knows. I waited for a chance to get him alone. I seem to recall Diane Arbus’s 1967 Identical Twins. At a 1993 Pace Gallery de Kooning–Dubuffet exhibition, I got off the second-floor elevator and spied him across the room studying one de Kooning painting. The only time he asked me not to talk about something is when someone asked me ten years ago to talk about my time on a reality-TV show about art. I looked at him blankly. They already loved Rauschenberg’s work. Placing the generic stenciled numerals 0 to 9 in individual boxes on a regular grid, he triggers an abstract painting overlaid with absolutely unexpected orders. This great quasi-conceptualist who changed the course of art with art that ruptured definitions is now one of the most devoted craftsmen of painting alive. It was a sellout show. Here was the most known artist of my lifetime, an 87-year-old who’d already outlived his peers, changed art history, who said that even now, he didn’t know what he did or why or how he did the things he did. The same way we can’t see both versions of an optical illusion at once. Johns deploys a series of different configurations that repeat in different orders in different parts of the paintings. Don’t.” I didn’t. This was that atomic bomb that went off so many years before with Flag. “I decided to stop becoming, and to be an artist,” he said. Photo: © 2021 Jasper Johns/VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Just ten days before the Leo Castelli exhibition in 1984, in a Paula Cooper group show, I saw a single Johns painting that changed my life: Usuyuki (1982). In Johns’s surfaces, you glean every mark, touch, over- and underpainting, decision, and erasure. His exhibition was scheduled for two months after Johns’s. But the real track-jump happened, or started, with Johns — in part because, ironically, in rejecting self-consciously iconic grandiosity, he produced what turned out to be among the most iconic, if largely impersonal, works in all of art history. I have seen him look at things this way many times. The show shines for not being your parents’ Jasper Johns show. After he became aware that an assistant had been stealing and selling his art, I remember a cloud of remorse around him in the aftermath of having to let this person go. It contains over 500 works and is split between the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The two joined the rest of us for lunch long after we began eating. I’ll walk around the opposite direction, super-slow, and show him how hard I look at art. “It meant,” he said, “that I would be in a situation different than the one that I was in.” He had a few semesters of state-university art classes and a semester of art school in the 1940s and, in 1953, attended one day of classes at Hunter — going home, he fainted, stayed in bed for a week, “and that ended my career in higher education.” All by way of saying that like most great artists, Johns is self-taught, and making it up as he goes, out of himself. Not long after destroying his art, he woke up one morning and said, “I dreamed that I painted a large American flag. I’ve heard my own heart pounding in those silences. Then I see it, again, the same, but in different colors. Numbers, 2007 (cast 2008). It was mystifying, stupendous. It is iconic and ironic; a real thing and a fake; painterly and awkward; visually blistering and psychically cocooned; patriotic and subversive; a new form of beauty made of old forms; drop-dead obvious and forever at a distance. In the mid-1970s, Johns stopped making art out of “things the mind already knows” and began making a more inward, arcane, convoluted art — “things my mind already knows,” you could say. The mildewed rugs, wainscot walls with paper pasted on them to keep out the cold. I felt this in my bones, the morbid, dispossessed foulness that even after I was a “known” critic, had won prizes, and was recognized on the street, that all these are pretty vestments, cloaking devices, and advertisements that we have been turned into and made ourselves into — a commodity that is known for what it does but still does not know what that is precisely, still feels lost at the beginning of every piece, sick at the thought that maybe all this was a fluke, a deception, a series of lucky bounces and good timing — and that despite my incomprehensible doubt, that I have to go on. This article was featured in One Great Story, New York’s reading recommendation newsletter. It was sort of like the Beatles kicking out Elvis.”

Painted Bronze, 1960. The work’s surface has been built, collaged from newspapers, headlines, bits of print, ads, and the like. echoes Warhol, in Johns it comes from a more eccentric, personal, unknown, unknowable place. I surmised we’d bump into one another and then, feigning my surprise as we met, discuss these artists. I’ve seen very little proof of this. Usuyuki brings the possible and the necessary together and can make you the pattern-recognition machine that you are. A mystery about art opened: Perhaps none of us ever really knows exactly what we’re doing; maybe we only know how to do it; we just do what is “helpless.”

Usuyuki, 1982. Near the lower left-hand star, I saw something I’d never seen before and didn’t recall anyone ever writing about. “Jasper Johns: Mind/Mirror” is the largest retrospective ever mounted of this Ur-artist at the center of the late-20th-century art labyrinth. Flag is a triptych of panels and isn’t the proportions of a “real” flag. Several days later, however, “in a state of near despair,” Rauschenberg visited the gallery and asked if he would get a show. The medium marbleizes and congeals as you look at it, seemingly retracing and preserving his moves. He speculated that this almost ghost house reminded Johns of where he was born in Georgia, abandoned by his divorced mother and father (an alcoholic farmer), sent to live in South Carolina with a paternal grandfather, then with an aunt, then with his mother and a stepfather. “Jasper Johns: Mind/Mirror” is open September 29 to February 13 at the Whitney Museum of American Art. You are almost in his body, witnessing the morphological development of a work of art. These are invisible strings of the universe made briefly visible. Please don’t get up. Being around him in these settings conjures a Proustian world where personages become great, small talk reveals large things, social faux pas become apparent, everything takes on a lightness of being but also some weight. Sonnabend bought Figure I, a numbers painting, on the spot. The month that Johns’s first solo show opened, the best art magazine of the time, Art News, featured his Target With Four Faces on the cover of its January 1958 issue. No one batted an eye. Then, too, I’ve seen him withdraw at a dinner, disappear for long moments. Johns initiated a new century, still ongoing, in which works could be purposefully impure, imperfect, and connected to the things of the world, while also being serious philosophical machines. But by the early ’80s artists used Warhol and Judd as starting points, not Johns. That night, Castelli mentioned that he had just seen a green painting of a target in a group show. After an hour, I made it all the way around the gallery. He has said he wanted to be an artist since he was 5. He has also called it “a very rotten painting — physically.” What he meant is that the different paints were applied to an unstable surface. This expanded his art, for me. Each time I’m around him, I feel a kind of tidal force. Photo: © 2021 Jasper Johns / VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. I asked one of those Flag questions. Each of these orders presents itself one at a time, in turn, one then another, never all at once. Rauschenberg said that he and Johns “started every day by having to move out from the almost overpowering influence of Abstract Expressionism.” If Abstract Expressionist art was big, existential, emotional, serious, and about the “sublime,” their work would be smaller, figurative, vernacular, more ironic, profane, made from everyday materials, made from life. This may be why he sees shapes, patterns, configurations, figures, fragments, visual coincidences, contiguities, details, and geometries in ways others never have, or he has an extra wrinkle in his temporal lobe. He goes out often, drives himself everywhere, and has one of the best senses of humor and irony I’ve ever witnessed and the best blasting laugh. It is a large abstract grid of 27 equal-size vertical rectangles. This is where it lies. To leave, he simply will stand up and say, “Thank you. All the original furnishings were still in place. Look longer and you see how all the colors move in very distinct repeating ways. They all move according to the light waves and particles ordered in accordance to the spectrum — ROY G BIV. Obviously, he’d rendered what was there, no more and no less. Photo: Pari Dukovic for New York Magazine

One night in 1986, while standing at the top ramp of a Guggenheim Museum opening as an art-world wannabe, peering down at this social universe that seemed so distant and magical to me, I found myself standing next to an older man. The crosshatch pattern came from a car he saw while driving: “I only saw it for a second, “but knew immediately that I was going to use it … [It had] literalness, repetitiveness, an obsessive quality, order with dumbness and the possibility of complete lack of meaning.” While this “dumbness” etc. For a full century before, beginning with the Impressionists, cresting with Picasso, and reaching a sort of endpoint with the Abstract Expressionists, most of whom were a few decades older than Johns, the making of art was ruled by the principle of purity and the vision of the artist as a history-bending shamanic genius. I hear a pitch of viciousness and grievance in the criticism. Castelli bought Bed for $1,200 and in 1989 gave this absolute masterpiece to MoMA; it was by then valued at as much as $10 million. After a pause, I said, “I am sorry. There, stenciled, are the words “United States” in the star field. I saw Johns blanch, plumb a place inside himself, give a slight recognizing laugh, and say, “I never think that I know what I am doing or that I know how to paint.” I was floored. He is witty, articulate, patient, curious, thinks of things in almost microscopic detail, is generous with information, a great story- and joke teller. When Johns was still in his 30s, artist-critic Sidney Tillim opined that he was already in “decline,” calling him “a facile technician” who “has become a little seedy.” Tillim is referring to Johns’s work breaking up into parts, things that don’t add up, that are impure, that are no longer singular things like maps, targets, numbers, etc. You feel him slowly turning over your words in his mind, seeing exactly what you asked in different ways, thinking, weighing the emotional tenor of his answer and the information to be given. But it’s there nevertheless, akin to algebra or multiplication tables, longitudinal-wave patterns, strange rhyme schemes, and musical rhythms. He showed no quarter. Flag was acquired as a promised gift by Phillip Johnson because the curators feared museum trustees would reject the work as communistic and unpatriotic. By 1954, that war no longer mattered to an upcoming generation. The first is the worst. Artist Mel Bochner talked about “the ‘dark side’ of Eros” in Johns’s work. Of course, they were still extremely white. The reports of him being “difficult” stem, I think, from his being asked the same set of questions for more than a half-century. This is flat-out wrong. Usuyuki is now as much a part of myself and as real as The Iliad, Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony; the light, time, space, and color in Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon; Bob Dylan’s play-by-play psalm of love and loss “Tangled Up in Blue”; seeing the sum of all things in John and Yoko walking on Madison Avenue; hearing Howlin’ Wolf sing “Smokestack Lightning” in a Chicago blues bar; the photograph of Muhammad Ali standing over the body Sonny Liston shouting “Get up and fight, sucker”; and the most primordial picture of human suffering and cosmic pain I have ever seen — Rogier van der Weyden’s Descent From the Cross. Johns has always worked alone, and keeps changing, taking steps forward and back. I thought, I won’t disturb him. Betrayal, for him, seems to elicit powerful feelings. Jasper Johns’s work leaves me helpless. Mark Rothko complained, “We worked for years to get rid of all that.” He meant representation, unserious things and objects from the world. It’s an assembling, dissembling abstract map, kaleidoscopic camouflage, palm-frond wallpaper, and an unknown neural network. While artists everywhere were setting up huge studios with assistants making their work to meet the never-ending demand for similar-looking product, he was on his own koanlike island; a foundational but castaway artist, almost on another planet. Be it with the marks in Usuyuki, the maps, flags, targets, and much else in his art, you glean that each system is as infinite as every other, that every single thing contains a whole universe in itself. Target with Four Faces, 1955. The simple geometric seriality and oneness of this sculpture also triggers minimalism, not to say conceptualism. He is the most precise speaker I have ever heard. “Jasper Johns: Mind/Mirror” at the Whitney Museum of American Art. He was relentless, insistent. I saw counting. Rather than the usual ten-minute house-proud tour, this one took two hours. He turned to me and simply said, “Please, Jerry. He exudes dignity, magnanimity, poise, circumspection, and inwardness, and he doesn’t bear fools well. Meanwhile, Johns was almost embalmed in pious writing that could find no wrong in him. Writing on the occasion of Johns’s 2005 gallery show, at Matthew Marks, my good pal the critic Peter Schjeldahl called his work “arch … self-imitative … undernourished and overthought.” The year before, art historian James Meyer wrote, “my experience of Johns — contains nothing that justifies the term major.” It is true. Johns has always acknowledged Rauschenberg as the nuclear furnace of it all. Johns makes his art, he has said, from “things the mind already knows” and “things which suggest the world,” things “seen and not looked at, not examined.” For Johns, this means flags, flagstone patterns, silverware, cast body parts, sign language, and images of the Mona Lisa and existent systems like maps, numbers, and the alphabet. After paying tribute to the artist in his review of the MoMA’s 1996 Johns retrospective, New York Times’ then-chief art critic Michael Kimmelman, wrote the work was “self-mythologizing … preening obscurantism … rambling … sanctimonious.” By then, Johns was using encaustic less and his surfaces were growing flatter, duller, and were not as sensual. I thought I gleaned a look in his eyes that said, “Jerry!” But there was a crick of a smile at the corner of his lips that also told me that it was okay, as he seemed to take a trip into himself and made me know I hadn’t been abandoned, that he was actually thinking of this, and in this way I was granted the momentary delusion that we had merged. He’s often described as cryptic, difficult, taciturn, or distant. The two dealers went to Johns’s studio. Listening to these obsessives was like hearing the ocean rolls of an art history that have helped my work ever since. Castelli told the best chronicler of the period, Calvin Tomkins, that the first time he saw Green Target,  “I was thunderstruck … I saw evidence of the most incredible genius.” He said it was like wanting to “get married.” Castelli offered Johns a show at his new 4 East 77th Street gallery. In 2003, at MoMA, I had a mini-revelation while looking at Flag. In 2010 at the MoMA preview of Abstract Expressionist New York, I spotted him looking at the show — very, very slowly — with one of the MoMA’s chief curators, Ann Temkin. The Texan described Johns as “soft, beautiful, lean and poetic … he was always an intellectual … he would read Hart Crane’s poems to me.” Rauschenberg brought Johns into his world of artists like Josef and Anni Albers, Cy Twombly, Buckminster Fuller, Franz Kline, Dorothea Rockburne, Willem and Elaine de Kooning, and Merce Cunningham (Johns called him “my favorite artist in any field”) and the dancer’s partner John Cage — who called the couple “the Southern Renaissance.” It is no exaggeration to say this circle totally remade American culture at its very mid-century peak. Both lunches were cooked by him and were fantastic. Sometimes the boxes match up at the edges or overlap or break off. Rauschenberg seemed excited for Johns. What is your name?” He said, “My name is Jasper Johns.” It was a perfect picture of my unchecked egoism and his imperturbability, modesty, and honesty. I’m still mortified by it. His imagery was multiplying as he recycled and branched out at the same time. Both of us were in our own worlds. I see silence as a force and take comfort in John Currin saying, “Major genius is inaccessible.” All this reminded me of how Contemporary Christian music of that period could have no ambiguity and had to be clear, declarative, and unironic. “I must meet him,” said Castelli. (I didn’t understand this stuff either and am still playing catch-up.) This meant cool art about art, slick execution, self-conscious statements on other self-conscious statements, discourses of photography and mechanical reproduction. He is interested in everything — nature, politics, poetry, ceramics, plants, plays, history, movies, dance, cooking, whatever comes up. This isn’t random. This, then, is how this vision machine spoke to me. The embrace of these more feral artistic values opened a huge window for me. I handed him off to Roberta. This gives his career an arc of atavism and abnegating tragedy, a willful artist hopelessly at the mercy of his obsessions. Tracings of paintings he liked, patterns that caught his eye, prints of his own body and genitals, illustrations of insects, favorite pieces of pottery, and much else. I step outside myself and become more than one person seeing in different ways. Here were crosshatch paintings begun in the 1970s, now seemingly put through an abstract blast furnace that produced compression ruptures and expansion cracks across what looked like broken ice sheets. His numbers paintings work the same way. In the studio, they saw different flags, targets, numbers, letters, and more. Johns becomes a scribe incising clay, making his own abstract cuneiform tablets. My wife, Roberta Smith, and I have dined with Johns twice in his Connecticut home. Rather than art-for-rich-people, the usual march of the masterpieces, or endless bellybutton-gazing exegesis and historical analysis and interpretive study of all his images, “Mind/Mirror” is a much-needed close-read, experimental new geography of this artist who created his own private cork-lined bedroom and orchidology of art. I thought I saw how sand dunes form and dissolve, solar flares. (This was Johns’s Green Target.) Rauschenberg told them that the artist lived downstairs. There was an abrupt shift. He lets you see these things and simultaneously allows us to see how things “can be one thing at one time and something else at another time,” or “one thing working different ways at different times.” I hear echoes of Wallace Stevens’s “Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.”

But by 1968 he had changed his work several times, each time radically. He was only 56. It’s like an eruption of joy released. The next time we had lunch, he and Roberta entered a space-time warp talking about “God.” Not the entity but the 1917 readymade sculpture titled that — a twisted configuration of plumbing by the American artist Morton Schamberg (1881–1918). The Usuyuki series began in 1977. Subscribe Now! Soon you sense repeating shapes, configurations, and patterns. In this, he had predecessors, like Marcel Duchamp and Yves Klein, and successors, like Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter, and even Jean-Michel Basquiat. Sure enough, the same words or outlined shape are there every time. How a question is worded will change his answer altogether. I advise viewers to surrender to it. He seemed to be doing the same thing. This giant phosphorescent abstract layered atoll of cascading siliceous marks of what looks like finger paintings made in a cave or a prisoner making counting strokes and notations on a wall. The effect is spooky, somnambulant, lulling, hallucinogenic, and pleasurable — what Richard Serra meant when he said you see Johns’s art “millimeter by millimeter, second by second.” Johns is helping us to see time. Usuyuki is as vivid and implacable to me as the night I met my wife, the Sunday morning when I was 10 that my father told me that my mother had committed suicide and we never spoke of her again for the rest of his life; the bedroom I grew up in; the shortcuts I took to school; having an out-of-body experience in Berlin’s Tiergarten, where I felt I was astral projecting across the universe; the taste of cinnamon; or the smell of fresh bread cooked every morning in a now-destroyed Soho bakery. Every time. I saw that he placed so much faith in tools, technique, processes, materials, and mediums that this was not a trivial issue for him. Soon, the enamel house paint he was using “wouldn’t dry quickly enough,” so he switched to a technique he had “read or heard about.” This is encaustic, a wellspring of much of the look of all his art that is an ancient technique used in Egyptian faiyûm portraits and Roman painting. Many claim he’s this cloistered Scrooge-sphinx who’s spent the last 30 years living hermitlike in Sharon, Connecticut. He was seen as an eccentric or lost. American art history was about to jump the tracks. Any question put to him, no matter how trivial, vain, or bizarre, elicits a pause. I couldn’t wait to see him again. Johns remarked that Flag took “a long time” to paint. It looks like a geranium field of iridescent red, flickering green, aqueous blue, filmy oranges, and violet. Even the “tasteful” wildflower bouquets I placed nonchalantly about the house. It’s as much an opaque stained-glass window, mosaic floor, or mossy Persian carpet. Over cocktails, I heard these horrific words come out of my mouth: “Why did you paint the words ‘United States’ on Flag?” He stopped for a moment. Terms & Privacy Notice
By submitting your email, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Notice and to receive email correspondence from us. These works are no longer even about “majorness.” They are personal workings, explorations, platforms for ideas, occasions for experience, fleeting, silent. By contrast, Rauschenberg’s show saw just two sales, one of which was returned. That became vivid to me as I glimpsed this eternal, driven “helpless” quality he refers to. After a while, he turned at me and said, “Hello, Jerry.” I was surprised. The year after his debut, he created garish abstract paintings, some with sticks attached that seem to have been used by the artist to inscribe a circle (a painting that shows its own making); he stenciled names of colors atop other colors that toggle in the mind between seeing and thinking; he attached a thermometer to work and painted numbers around it. Johns’s work makes you come to terms with your own lazy angels. He has about the best manners I have ever seen. Always in alternating orders of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. As Johns has said, all these are “taken … not mine.”

Looking at Johns’s work, I sometimes almost no longer feel like a person. It is an American version of Méret Oppenheim’s fur-lined teacup. Succulent, voluptuous, it’s covered in individual painted encaustic brushstrokes — as if the paint had been applied by fingers or a stick, one stroke at a time. I think Johns’s dream was partly inspired by “the first person I knew who was a real artist.” This was Robert Rauschenberg, whom he met in 1954. Not simple 1-2-3, 1-2-3, or any obvious pattern. At the first meal, Roberta shattered him into laughter by describing a lyrical loopy shape in a late de Kooning as “the Flying Nun.” I spent much of my time noodling around, studying what art he owned. Photo: © 2021 Jasper Johns / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. All this as the painting seems to oscillate colors like an octopus. From about 1981 onward, you see his art in parts, not all at once: details; shapes within shapes; the eye changing focus, moving about a work, never centering, never knowing what one is seeing. In these pauses, I’ve seen the air go out of dinner parties as the table falls silent. I have never seen anyone look at art as closely as he does. I moved slower than I ever had before in my life. It felt like proof that by then, Johns was being seen as an outmoded artist from another era. I watched for 45 minutes, afraid of his intensity, as he anatomized an infinitesimal point about one small aspect of a printmaking process. “Why did you paint this?” “What does so-and-so mean?” “Where does this image come from?”  “Can you talk about being gay?” “How did you come to paint Flag?” “Tell me about your breakup with Rauschenberg.” “What’s that green-angel shape in all those paintings?” It reminds me of what Who drummer Keith Moon said about always being asked about the rock opera Tommy: “I’m fed up with talking about it; I’m certainly not fed up with playing it.”

The installation of “Jasper Johns: Mind/Mirror” at the Whitney. I went home, studied other flag paintings and prints. I waited for him to leave and approached Temkin. Related

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Tags: Each of the 27 vertical boxes sports a configuration of these marks. One Great Story: A Nightly Newsletter for the Best of New York
The one story you shouldn’t miss today, selected by New York’s editors. Much later, a friend told me he thought Johns returned alone when we weren’t there. Of his childhood, he has said it “wasn’t specially cheerful.”

What else? Five days later, Alfred Barr, the MoMA’s director of museum collections, arrived with MoMA curator Dorothy Miller at Castelli. It was here that I grasped that the largest waves don’t come at the beginning of a storm and that maybe I would one day gather my own forces. The next morning, I got up and I went out and bought the materials to begin it.” The result is Flag, the most iconic, transgressive object/amulet in late-20th-century American art. Since his mind was helpless to slow down his thinking and seeing to the speed of enamel, he had to speed up the paint. The two became lovers. It’s in our biology not to be able to. May I come in?” Without missing a beat, Johns replied, “Yes, it is, and no, you may not.” Recently, I asked, “How are your knees?” After a moment of thinking, he said, “Much as they were yesterday.” This isn’t to say that sometimes he doesn’t come off as a perverse Zen master. They flicker left to right, top to bottom, reverse, change orders, while always following the order of nature. (Johns’s art was not drawn from the existential self and dark nights of the artistic soul.) Leo Steinberg, among Johns’s greatest eventual apostles, wrote, “It looked to me like the death of painting, a rude stop, the end of the track.” One prominent abstract painter attending his first show raged, “If this is painting, I might as well give up.” We see the impact Johns had on peers when Serra observed, “He presented a new model. It gives us a deeper, more complex artist who is so committed to his materials that we see, as one of Oscar Wilde’s characters had it, a “mind expressing itself under the conditions of matter.” As Johns put it, “The medium expresses itself to you by what it is” — free of language that makes your mind work in different ways — and allows you to see things in multiple ways. This was unheard of at the time. Soon Johns had attached a broom, a tin can, and a spoon to different works. The artists of the previous generation, many of whom had escaped Europe for America, were serious and committed to the project of Modernism — art as a cause that amounted almost to total war. The writing visible through the translucent encaustic has “no significance to me,” Johns said. The two went on for 90 minutes parsing the work and then talking about how they thought that it should be co-attributed to the Baroness Elsa Hildegard von Freytag-Loringhoven (1874–1927). Everything you’re seeing conforms to some complex, correlated, schematic unitary whole. Or at least our Gertrude Stein — which would make Johns, effectively, Hemingway. In the 1990s, the critical roof fell in. I don’t think that I have ever heard him swear. Study the painting, drift over it, zero in, and space out. View Flag as a paradox: something in which contradictory truths are revealed. Somehow you glean that while all these patterns have been cooked up by Johns, nevertheless there’s structure “the mind already knows” here. He is much taller, larger than you might imagine. Theory-heavy postmodernism ruled the art roost. He didn’t see me. As I prepared to look up and see him, I turned around and saw that he hadn’t budged an inch and was still studying the same painting. I scan, with close looking, and not looking at all, trying to use my body to see. Courtesy of the Whitney Museum of American Art

The first Johns show I ever saw in the flesh was the 1984 Leo Castelli exhibition, where I witnessed an artist being reborn. Then he said, “Well, those words must have been there, so I left them there.” These were the manufacturer’s stitched or printed letters that were on the flag. And he answered exactly what I asked. “I learned more about painting from Bob than I learned from any other artist or teacher.” One critic remembered Johns saying that “Rauschenberg was the man who in this century had invented the most since Picasso.” Indeed, Rauschenberg is the American Picasso. For the art world, however, the hull integrity of his artistic wholeness collapsed. It sounds like an evasion, and maybe it is. I never glanced back at him. His answer revealed that had I thought a bit more, paid attention to the work, and his work in general, the answer was already known. Sign up here to get it nightly.

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Warning: The Sex Lives of College Girls Teaser Plays the Annoying iPhone Alarm

“It sounds like it’s inside my head!” Amrit Kaur, Bela, shouts back. It’s a battle for the ages: Teenager versus Alarm Clock. Set your alarms. The ten-episode rollout continues with three episode each week until the final two premiere on December 9. “I think I’m still drunk,” Pauline Chalamet’s Kimberly moans from bed as the iPhone radar alarm blasts. Mindy Kaling goes from the high-school foibles of Never Have I Ever to The Sex Lives of College Girls, created with Justin Noble. (And, yes, she’s a Chalamet of the Timothée Chalamets.) “Bela, turn it off!” Alyah Chanelle Scott’s Whitney yells. Kaling (Dartmouth Class of 2001) and showrunner Noble (Yale Class of 2007) wrote the first episode. The show follows four college roommates at a prestigious New England university as they work hard, play hard, and sleep even harder. Related

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Tags: The Sex Lives of College Girls premieres with two episodes on Thursday, November 18. The cast is rounded out by Reneé Rapp as Leighton and series regulars Midori Francis, Gavin Leatherwood, Chris Meyer, Ilia Isorelys Paulino, Lauren Spencer, and Renika Williams.

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How Do You Say the Name of Comcast’s New Streaming Box?

The XiOne will ship with a voice remote and will support the WiFi 6 standard, 4K UHD, HDR, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos. and European models also differ a bit but run on the same software. Streamliner

At your service. So “X – i – 1,” according to the patient Comcast spokesperson I asked to explain this after it confused me and my fellow Vulture colleagues. Those numbers are dropping fast, however, and the choice pay TV companies face is existential: Adapt or become an American horror story. It looks, well, a lot like other set-top box devices on the market right now, but the good news is that it’ll be offered free to Comcast’s customers; they just have to sign up for one of the subscription tiers. Today the company rolled out an announcement for a new device with a funny name, XiOne — intended to be pronounced “more like an acronym, so the letter X, the letter I, and then the number one. Details in today’s release are sparse, but judging by the photos released, the size of the gadget and the remote functionality look comparable to what users of Apple TVs and Roku Ultras might already be familiar with. households still subscribed to cable, satellite, or telecom TV. Comcast’s answer to this problem is … a new streaming box! Related

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Tags: The U.S. subscribers, but did not give a timeline on that. The Sky Q model has that company’s logo, but is also a bit boxy, whereas the U.S. Peacock Premium is on it, of course, because that subscription comes bundled for Flex users already. Photo: Comcast

With more new streaming services to keep track of in the past few years than Ryan Murphy Netflix shows, you’d be forgiven for assuming cable was on the way out, but this time last year, 77.6 million U.S. Comcast also confirmed to Vulture that it would run on the company’s Flex OS, pack 4GB of RAM under the hood (the latest Apple TV 4K has 3GB), and include access to 250 streaming apps and services, including major ones like Disney+, Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube, and Hulu. Meet the XiOne (not pronounced Zee-Own). model is rounded-off and looks a lot like one of my hard drives. Comcast said it planned to eventually make it available to Xfinity X1 U.S. The box is already available for Sky Q customers in Germany and Italy and will soon roll out initially to customers on the Xfinity Flex plan, the company’s Internet-only package.

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Woman Suing Nicki Minaj Claims She Was Threatened With Bounty

It hurt coming from another woman.” Minaj’s claims, including a 2018 Instagram comment, are referenced in the lawsuit as contributing to social-media harassment against Hough, along with alleged emotional distress. He was charged in March 2020, after not updating his registration when he moved from New York to California with Minaj, and pleaded not guilty at the time of the initial charge, but reportedly struck a plea deal. Discussing her current lawsuit, Hough said she received “threats” from associates of Minaj after continuing to refuse to recant her accusation. Minaj and Petty have yet to publicly respond to the lawsuit; The Real said their representatives did not reply to requests for comment. “The last message I received was that I should’ve taken the money ’cause they’re going to use that money to put on my head.” While the alleged $20,000 bribe is detailed in the lawsuit, the bounty is a new claim. Many interpreted Minaj’s recent Twitter misinformation campaign against the COVID-19 vaccine as an attempt to distract from Hough’s lawsuit and her husband’s criminal history. “It doesn’t matter how much money you have, it doesn’t matter what your status is, you can’t intimidate people to make things go better for you,” Hough added. “You have 150-something-million followers [on Instagram], and they all believed it. “And that’s what they did.”

Hough also recounted her 1994 rape by Petty when they were both 16, reiterating her claim that they were not in a relationship, despite insinuations by Minaj that they were in a relationship at the time and Hough was older. Meanwhile, Petty recently pleaded guilty on September 9 to failing to register as a sex offender in California, resulting from his attempted-rape conviction. “The last incident was when one of their associates put $20,000 on my lap. “I’m tired of being afraid,” she told co-hosts Adrienne Houghton and Garcelle Beauvais. “I don’t know you and you don’t know me, to know that that statement you put out to the world to be true,” Hough said. Petty is currently scheduled to be sentenced on the charge, which carries a minimum sentence of five years’ supervised release and a maximum of ten years in prison, on January 24. Hough’s lawsuit notes that Minaj first reached out around the same time as this charge. And I still kept saying no,” Hough said. Related

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Tags: After suing Nicki Minaj and her husband, Kenneth Petty, for alleged harassment, Jennifer Hough is speaking out further. Hough — who accused Petty of rape in a 1995 case that resulted in Petty’s conviction for first-degree attempted rape — appeared on The Real on September 22 to detail her allegations against Minaj and Petty, who she claims tried to bribe her and her family to recant her rape accusation against Petty.

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